“Yes, you are good, punctual children,” he replied, glancing at the pretty little clock on the mantel; “for it still wants five minutes to nine.”
“Papa, I know what lessons to learn, of course,” remarked Lulu; “but the others are waiting for you to tell them.”
“Yes. I shall examine Max first,” the captain said, seating himself at his writing-table. “Bring your books here, my son.”
“Are you dreadfully frightened, Maxie? very afraid of your new teacher?” Lulu asked laughingly as her brother obeyed the order.
“I don’t expect to faint with fright,” he returned; “for I’ve a notion he’s pretty fond of me.”
“Of you and of all his pupils,” the captain said. “Lulu, you may take out your books, and begin to study.”
When the tasks had been assigned to each, “Now children,” he said, “I am going to leave you for a while. I can do so without fear that you will take advantage of my absence to idle away your time; for I know that you are honorable and trustworthy, also obedient. I have seldom known any one of you to disobey an order from me.”
“Thank you, papa,” Max said, answering for both himself and sisters, and coloring with pleasure as he spoke. “We’ll try to deserve your praise and your confidence. But are we to consider ourselves forbidden to speak at all to each other while you are gone?”
“No, not entirely; but do not engage in unnecessary talk, to the neglect of your studies.”
So saying, he went out and left them.
Returning exactly at the expiration of the first hour for study, he found them all busily at work.
He commended their industry, and gave permission for five minutes’ rest.
They were prompt to avail themselves of it, and gathered about him full of gleeful chat, the girls seating themselves one on each knee, Max standing close at his side.
School was a decided success that day, and neither teacher nor pupils saw any reason to regret the establishment of the new order of things.
Evelyn came soon after they were dismissed, spent the afternoon and evening, and, when she left, averred that it had been the most delightful visit she had ever paid.
LIFE AT WOODBURN.
Lulu’s temper was not conquered, but she was more successful than formerly in combating it. The terrible lesson she had had in the injury to her baby sister, consequent upon her outburst of passion, could not easily be forgotten: the bitter recollection was often a great restraint upon her, and her father’s loving watchfulness saved her many a time, when, without it, she would have fallen; he kept her with him almost constantly when at home,—and he was rarely absent,—scarcely allowed her to go anywhere off the estate without him, and seemed never for a moment to forget her and her special temptation: the slightest elevation in the tones of her voice was sure to catch his ear; and a warning look generally proved sufficient to put her on her guard, and check the rising storm of anger.