“You brutal ruffian!” shrieked Mrs. Tootle. “How dare you touch my child? You shall answer for this in the police court, sir.”
“Waymark,” cried her husband, who had struggled to the scene through the crowd of cheering boys, “what’s the meaning of this? You forget yourself, sir. Who gave you authority to use corporal chastisement?”
“The boy has long deserved a good thrashing,” he said, “and I’m glad I lost my temper sufficiently to give him a portion of his deserts. If you wish to know the immediate cause, it simply was that he threw a book at his governess’s head and hit her.”
“Mr. O’Gree,” called out the doctor, “take your boys back to their duties, sir! I am quite unable to understand this disgraceful lack of discipline. Every boy who is not at his seat in one minute will have five hundred verses of the Psalms to write out!—Mr. Waymark, I shall be obliged to you if you will step into my study.”
Five minutes after, Waymark was closeted with Dr. Tootle. The latter had all at once put off his appearance of indignation.
“Really,” he began, “it’s a great pity you let yourself be carried away like that. I think it very probable indeed that Felix deserved castigation of some kind, but you would have done much better to report him to me, you know, and let me see to it. You have put me in an awkward position. I fear you must make an apology to Mrs. Tootle, and then perhaps the matter can be allowed to blow over.”
“I think not,” replied Waymark, whose mind was evidently made up. There was a look of recklessness on his face which one could at any time have detected lurking beneath the hard self-control which usually marked him. “I don’t feel disposed to apologise, and I am tired of my position here. I must give it up.”
Dr. Tootle was annoyed. It would not be easy to get another teacher of the kind at so cheap a rate.
“Come, you don’t mean this,” he said. “You are out of temper for the moment. Perhaps the apology could be dispensed with; I think I may promise that it can be. The lad will be no worse for his little correction. Possibly we can come to some more satisfactory arrangements for the future—”
“No,” interposed Waymark; “I have quite made up my mind. I mean to give up teaching altogether; it doesn’t suit me. Of course I am willing to come as usual the next two days.”
“You are aware that this notice should have been given me at the beginning of the quarter?” hinted the principal.