And Trove was to think of it when he himself was like the poor dog that wore a fox’s tail.
A Day at the Linley Schoolhouse
A remarkable figure was young Sidney Trove, the new teacher in District No. 1. He was nearing nineteen years of age that winter.
“I like that,” he said to the trustee, who had been telling him of the unruly boys—great, hulking fellows that made trouble every winter term. “Trouble—it’s a grand thing I—but I’m not selfish, and if I find any, I’ll agree to divide it with the boys. I don’t know but I’ll be generous and let them have the most of it. If they put me out of the schoolhouse, I’ll have learned something.”
The trustee looked at the six feet and two inches of bone and muscle that sat lounging in a chair—looked from end to end of it.
“What’s that?” he inquired, smiling.
“That I’ve no business there,” said young Mr. Trove.
“I guess you’ll dew,” said the trustee. “Make ’em toe the line; that’s all I got t’ say.”
“And all I’ve got to do is my best—I don’t promise any more,” the other answered modestly, as he rose to leave.
Linley School was at the four corners in Pleasant Valley,—a low, frame structure, small and weathered gray. Windows, with no shade, or shutter, were set, two on a side, in perfect apposition. A passing traveller could see through them to the rocky pasture beyond. Who came there for knowledge, though a fool, was dubbed a “scholar.” It was a word sharply etched in the dialect of that region. If one were to say skollur-r-r, he might come near it. Every winter morning the scholar entered a little vestibule which was part of the woodshed. He passed an ash barrel and the odour of drying wood, hung cap and coat On a peg in the closet, lifted the latch of a pine door, and came into the schoolroom. If before nine, it would be noisy with shout and laughter, the buzz of tongues, the tread of running feet. Big girls, in neat aprons, would be gossiping at the stove hearth; small boys would be chasing each other up and down aisles and leaping the whittled desks of pine; little girls, in checked flannel, or homespun, would be circling in a song play; big boys would be trying feats of strength that ended in loud laughter. So it was, the first morning of that winter term in 1850. A tall youth stood by the window. Suddenly he gave a loud “sh—h—h!” Running feet fell silently and halted; words begun with a shout ended in a whisper. A boy making caricatures at the blackboard dropped his chalk, that now fell noisily. A whisper, heavy with awe and expectation, flew hissing from lip to lip—“The teacher!” There came a tramping in the vestibule, the door-latch jumped with a loud rattle, and in came Sidney Trove. All eyes were turned upon him. A look of rectitude, dovelike and too good to be true, came over many faces.