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.
place with a pompous consequential manner, as if expecting to win countless laurels for his proficiency.  He got along very well till some one put the question, “What may the Island of Australia properly be called on account of its vast size?” “One of the Pyramids,” answered Ned in a loud confident voice.  The gentleman who was questioning us looked astounded, and there fell an awkward silence, which was only broken by the half-smothered laughter of the others in the class.  The teacher wishing to get over the matter in some way, at length said, “I am surprised, Edward, that you should give so senseless an answer to so simple a question.”  Now, one very striking peculiarity in Ned’s character was his unwillingness to acknowledge himself in the wrong, however ridiculous his answer might be; and he was disposed to argue his point up on this occasion.  “Any way,” said he, “the Pyramids are large, and so is Australia; and I thought it might sometimes be called a pyramid for convenience of description.”  The idea of Ned entering into an argument with the trustees of the school, struck the rest of the boys as so extremely ludicrous, that our long pent-up mirth found vent in a burst of laughter through the whole class, and no one present had the heart to chide us; for it was with intense difficulty that the elderly gentlemen maintained their own gravity.  The teacher was obliged to exercise his authority before Ned could be silenced; and the remaining part of the examination proved rather a failure.  I know not how it happened, but from that day there was a marked improvement in Edward Barton, in every respect.  He attended the school for two years; and when he left us it was to accompany his parents to one of the far Western States.  His father had relatives residing in the West, and had received from them such glowing accounts of the country, that he decided upon removing thither.  Any one who saw Ned when he left us would almost have failed to recognize him as the same boy who entered the school two years previous.  Mr. S. was his friend as well as his teacher; and during the second year of his stay took a deep interest in him; he had thoroughly studied his disposition, and learned to bear with his faults, and under his judicious management Ned began really to make good progress in study.  We had all become attached to him, and were all sorry when he left us.  He was much elated with the prospect of his journey to the West; and talked much of the wonders he expected to behold on his way thither.  He came one day at the noon-hour to collect his books and bid us good-bye, his father having come to take him home for a short time before setting out on their journey.  The boys were all on the play ground when he entered the school-room to bid his teacher good-bye.  When he came out he looked very sober, and there was a suspicious moisture in his eyes which very much resembled tears.  Instead of the usual noisy mirth on the play ground there was almost complete silence, while Ned shook
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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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