[Footnote 5: This apparatus has been previously described. See p. 47.]
As this is the only rule of the school, it deserves a little more full explanation; for not only your progress in study, but your influence in promoting the welfare of the school, and, consequently, your peace and happiness while you are a member of it, will depend upon the strictness with which you observe it.
Whenever, then, the study card goes up, and you hear the sound of its little bell, immediately and instantaneously stop, whatever you are saying. If you are away from your seat, go directly to it and there remain, and forget in your own silent and solitary studies, so far as you can, all that are around you. You will remember that all communication is forbidden. Whispering, making signs, writing upon paper or a slate, bowing to any one, and, in fact, every possible way by which one person may have any sort of mental intercourse with another, is wrong. A large number of the scholars take a pride and pleasure in carrying this rule into as perfect an observance as possible. They say that as this is the only rule with which I trouble them, they ought certainly to observe this faithfully. I myself, however, put it upon other ground. I am satisfied that it is better and pleasanter for you to observe it most rigidly, if it is attempted to be enforced at all.
You will ask, “Can not we obtain permission of you or of the teachers to leave our seats or to whisper if it is necessary?” The answer is “No.” You must never ask permission of me or of the teachers. You can leave seats or speak at the direction of the teachers, that is, when they of their own accord ask you to do it, but you are never to ask their permission. If you should, and if any teachers should give you permission, it would be of no avail. I have never given them authority to grant any permissions of the kind.
You will then say, “Are we never, on any occasion whatever, to leave our seats in study hours?” Yes, you are. There are two ways:
1. At the direction of teachers.—Going to and from recitations is considered as at the direction of teachers. So, if a person is requested by a teacher to transact any business, or is elected to a public office, or appointed upon a committee, leaving seats or speaking, so far as is really necessary for the accomplishing such a purpose, is considered as at the direction of teachers, and is consequently right. In the same manner, if a teacher should ask you individually, or give general notice to the members of a class, to come to her seat for private instruction, or to go to any part of the school-room for her, it would be right to do it. The distinction, you observe, is this: the teacher may, of her own accord, direct any leaving of seats which she may think necessary to accomplish the objects of the school. She must not, however, at the request of an individual,