"The Story of Victor."
VI. A little “HOODLUM’S” Virtue kindles at the touch of joy.
Griggs “being a Butterfly."
Paulina’s “good-mornings to Johnny Cass."
VII. PATSY FINDS HIS THREE LOST YEARS.
sat silently by the window."
THE SILVER STREET KINDERGARTEN.
“It makes a heaven-wide difference whether the soul of the child is regarded as a piece of blank paper, to be written upon, or as a living power, to be quickened by sympathy, to be educated by truth.”
It had been a long, wearisome day at the Free Kindergarten, and I was alone in the silent, deserted room. Gone were all the little heads, yellow and black, curly and smooth; the dancing, restless, curious eyes; the too mischievous, naughty, eager hands and noisy feet; the merry voices that had made the great room human, but now left it quiet and empty. Eighty pairs of tiny boots had clattered down the stairs; eighty baby woes had been relieved; eighty little torn coats pulled on with patient hands; eighty shabby little hats, not one with a “strawberry mark” to distinguish it from any other, had been distributed with infinite discrimination among their possessors; numberless sloppy kisses had been pressed upon a willing cheek or hand, and another day was over. No,—not quite over, after all. A murderous yell from below brought me to my feet, and I flew like an anxious hen to my brood. One small quarrel in the hall; very small, but it must be inquired into on the way to the greater one. Mercedes McGafferty had taunted Jenny Crawhall with being Irish. The fact that she herself had been born in Cork about three years previous did not trouble her in the least. Jenny, in a voice choked with sobs, and with the stamp of a tiny foot, was announcing hotly that she was “NOT Irish, no sech a thing,—she was Plesberterian!” I was not quite clear whether this was a theological or racial controversy, but I settled it speedily, and they ran off together hand in hand. I hastened to the steps. The yells had come from Joe Guinee and Mike Higgins, who were fighting for the possession of a banana; a banana, too, that should have been fought for, if at all, many days before,—a banana better suited, in its respectable old age, to peaceful consumption than the fortunes of war. My unexpected apparition had such an effect that I might have been an avenging angel. The boys dropped the banana simultaneously, and it fell to the steps quite exhausted, in such a condition that whoever proved to be in the right would get but little enjoyment from it.
“O my boys, my boys!” I exclaimed, “did you forget so soon? What shall we do? Must Miss Kate follow you everywhere? If that is the only way in which you can be good, we might as well give up trying. Must I watch you to the corner every day, no matter how tired I am?”