The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
“Oh, yes,” replied the boy, “I’ve been clean through ’Webster’s Elementary and the Progressive Reader.’” “Can you tell me the subject of any of your lessons?” “I can just remember one story about a dog that was crossing a river on a plank with a piece of meat in his mouth, and when he saw his shadder in the water, made a spring at it and dropped the meat which he held in his mouth, and it was at once carried away by the current.”  “Well,” said the teacher, “as you remember the story so well, you can perhaps tell me what lesson we can learn from this fable.”  “I thought,” replied the boy, “when I read the story, that the best way is to hold on to what we are sure of, and not grab after a shadder and lose the whole.”  “Your idea is certainly a correct one,” said the master, “and now we will turn to some other branch of study; can you cipher?” “Don’t know, I never tried,” replied the boy, with the greatest coolness imaginable.  “Well,” replied the teacher, “we will after a time see how you succeed, when you do try.  Can you tell me what the study of Geography teaches us!” “O,” said the boy, “geography tells all about the world, the folks who live in it, and ’most every thing else.”  The master then asked him some questions regarding the divisions of land and water, and for a short time he answered with some degree of correctness.  At length, while referring to the divisions of water, the master said “can you tell me what is a strait?” This question seemed a “puzzler” to him, and for some moments he looked down as if studying the matter; when the question was repeated in rather a sharp tone, it seemed he thought it wiser to give an answer of some kind than none at all, and he replied:  “When a river runs in a straight course, we call it straight, and when it twists and winds about, we call it crooked.”  “A river is not a strait,” replied the teacher with the manner of one who prayed for patience.  “Well! at any rate,” said the boy, “straight is straight, and crooked is crooked, and that is all I know about it.”  It was evident from the teacher’s manner that he was half inclined to think the boy was endeavoring to impose upon him by feigning ignorance; and he dismissed him to his seat for the time being, thinking, no doubt, that he had met with a case out of the common order of school experience.  It seems that the boy had never before attended school with punctuality, and it required a long time to teach him to observe anything like system either in his conduct or studies.  Our teacher though very firm, was mild and judicious in his government; and, thinking that possibly Ned’s disposition had been injured by former harshness at school, resolved to avoid inflicting corporal punishment as long as possible; and try upon him the effect of kindness and mild persuasion.  He had one very annoying habit, and that was he would very seldom give a satisfactory answer if suddenly asked a direct question, and often his reply would be very absurd, sometimes bordering
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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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