Kilmeny of the Orchard
III. The Master Of Lindsay School
One evening, a month later, Eric Marshall came out of the old, white-washed
schoolhouse at Lindsay, and locked the door--which was carved over with initials
innumerable, and built of double plank in order that it might withstand all the assaults
and batteries to which it might be subjected.
Eric's pupils had gone home an hour before, but he had stayed to solve some algebra
problems, and correct some Latin exercises for his advanced students.
The sun was slanting in warm yellow lines through the thick grove of maples to the west
of the building, and the dim green air beneath them burst into golden bloom. A couple of
sheep were nibbling the lush grass in a far corner of the play-ground; a cow-bell,
somewhere in the maple woods, tinkled faintly and musically, on the still crystal air,
which, in spite of its blandness, still retained a touch of the wholesome austerity and
poignancy of a Canadian spring. The whole world seemed to have fallen, for the time
being, into a pleasant untroubled dream.
The scene was very peaceful and pastoral--almost too much so, the young man
thought, with a shrug of his shoulders, as he stood in the worn steps and gazed about
him. How was he going to put in a whole month here, he wondered, with a little smile at
his own expense.
"Father would chuckle if he knew I was sick of it already," he thought, as he walked
across the play-ground to the long red road that ran past the school. "Well, one week is
ended, at any rate. I've earned my own living for five whole days, and that is something I
could never say before in all my twenty-four years of existence. It is an exhilarating
thought. But teaching the Lindsay district school is distinctly NOT exhilarating--at least
in such a well-behaved school as this, where the pupils are so painfully good that I
haven't even the traditional excitement of thrashing obstreperous bad boys. Everything
seems to go by clock work in Lindsay educational institution. Larry must certainly have
possessed a marked gift for organizing and drilling. I feel as if I were merely a big cog in
an orderly machine that ran itself. However, I understand that there are some pupils
who haven't shown up yet, and who, according to all reports, have not yet had the old
Adam totally drilled out of them. They may make things more interesting. Also a few
more compositions, such as John Reid's, would furnish some spice to professional life."
Eric's laughter wakened the echoes as he swung into the road down the long sloping
hill. He had given his fourth grade pupils their own choice of subjects in the composition
class that morning, and John Reid, a sober, matter-of-fact little urchin, with not the
slightest embryonic development of a sense of humour, had, acting upon the whispered
suggestion of a roguish desk-mate, elected to write upon "Courting." His opening
sentence made Eric's face twitch mutinously whenever he recalled it during the day.
"Courting is a very pleasant thing which a great many people go too far with."