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So teacher tells and Marian reads. Carmilla listens and reads just as Marian has read. 'Now read the last sentence, Carmilla.' Carmilla must read from the top, swiftly, with a little hum, till she comes to it. 'Do you like to make honey?' she reads glibly, and looks up to find that teacher's eyes have the little jokes in them. Like Salvadore, Carmilla cannot fool teacher. Now Salvadore will read:
"Bugs, bugs, little bees. Do you like to fly sunshines? You are busy little bees to make moneys for me. Do you like to make moneys?" Money means something to Salvadore, honey does not.
Down falls Jimmie's marble, thump, thump, thump, rolling on the floor to teacher. Teacher says, 'Um! Another lovely marble I have for my collection.' Carmilla sees that teacher looks with bright eyes upon the marble. It must be that teacher likes the beautiful marble. Carmilla has no beautiful marble to give to teacher, but she has the glass pendant she found in the alley, which Jaspar offered to trade for two marbles. The glass pendant is a fine thing to have, to make rainbows by - still, she would like to give teacher the beautiful marbles.
Now comes Peter back with the nine cents for Theresa. The father 'says like this' to teacher for Salvadore "Teacher shall close him up in a dark room.' The suggested punishment not being in accord with modern methods, teacher is wondering what she shall do with Salvadore and with Salvadore's class. Teacher has asked for kindergarten material for Room 16, to keep busy half the tiny restless folk, while the other tiny restless folk read; but no kindergarten material has come for teacher; for different things has teacher asked in vain. Five rooms use the scissors, and it is not now the turn of Room 16. Salvadore's class go to the board
and make 'two hills,' which is an n, and 'three hills,' which is an m, while the first-reader class read about the 'Shearing of the Sheep.'
'Oh, I know a sheep, teacher,' exclaims Joseph. 'We got one by our house.'
'Are you sure you have a sheep, Joseph?'
'No, teacher, he got no sheep. He got a dog. I seed it, teacher.'
Jassamine's reading of the 'Ba, ba, Black Sheep' is a sort of free translation into understandable language:
Ply the spade and ply the hoe,
Plant the seed and it will grow,
teacher's enthusiasm must be invincible. One child had indeed indicated a dim, associated notion of a hoe. 'It's what you sprinkles water wid, teacher.' Teacher did not write the book, or adopt it as the standard reader for the schools; teacher's business is to teach it.
As the C Class do not use the book, their reading lesson, of teacher's devising, is more flexible. 'Stand,' teacher says, and shows the word printed on a card. At the first lesson no one moves, and teacher lifts a child to his feet. Then a few have learned and show the other children by actions. 'Sit,' 'Run,' 'Jump.' So they work at the English vocabulary until recess.
The substitute in Room 14, Beginning First, - an experienced highergrade teacher, is trying to get her flock into ranks in the hall. The green Miss Shannon goes to her assistance.
"They can't understand you,' the
substitute teacher explains, in comic dismay. 'You have to lift them out of their seats and carry them into the coat-room. Then someone's hat is lost. "Boo-hoo-hoo. I wants my mudder." Where is his hat? Oh, where? "Why here's his hat," some little smart thing says. Put it on. Then - Well, I'm not coming back here to-morrow.'
The stout, dark teacher, farther up the hall, has come to say a friendly word to the substitute.
'You should hear our superintendent speak out in meeting,' she rejoins, and imitates him pompously. ""All children are alike susceptible. If our children are not as proficient as in other districts, it is the fault of the teacher."
'I would n't want better entertainment,' the substitute comments, 'than to watch some of these superintendents teach school a while. I should start them in your district.'
They laugh, and being merry, the stout, dark teacher goes on to tell them what her loyal Phena has just now imparted to her. 'I hearn a kid say youze fat,' tells Phena. "Youze is n't fat.'
Their laughter is cut short by the recess bell, and the substitute signals her despair to the green Miss Shannon, on hall duty, as the lines of wriggling, bobbing, evasive bambinos advance upon Room 14. Irrepressible are the bambinos. Twice must teacher speak to Theresa for whispering while teacher is telling the story of 'The Three Bears.' Carmilla tells the story after teacher, while Theresa whispers.
'Do you want me to pin this on you?' teacher reminds Theresa, and shows the big red-paper tongue. Theresa for a little while then does not whisper to Carmilla and Jassamine and Angelo and Peter. But soon again,
'Come here, Theresa,' says teacher. With reluctant steps Theresa complies. There she stands in the corner, with the red tongue pinned on. Yes, before now
has the red tongue been wet with tears.
They dramatize the Three Bears. Marian is Golden Locks, Peter is the big 'fah-der' bear, Becky is the middlesized 'mudder' bear, Dominic is the 'littlest' baby bear. They draw the Three Bears. There is writing, spelling, dismissal of the B and C classes, calisthenics, games, sight-reading from the dilapidated sets of books furnished by the Board, books, pages, parts missing, doubling up in seats, skipping pupils who draw blanks. - Noon.
Teacher sees the lines out, locks the door, and races for the penny-lunch room. The teachers volunteer to help serve the swarms of children, as at this hour the employees paid by the Board are swamped. Carmilla comes for the bowl of soup, the glass of milk, the sandwich-The pennies to pay for them? That is the green Miss Shannon's secret. When Carmilla first came to Room 16, she was thinner than now, and whiter. The green Miss Shannon watched, wondered; then one morning Carmilla fainted. Teacher sent quickly for the school doctor. Carmilla was under-nourished, the school doctor said. Teacher brought a bowl of soup from the penny-lunch room. Yes, soup was all the medicine Carmilla needed. The school nurse went to where Carmilla lived the father dead, the mother all day away at the laundry; in the evening the nurse went and showed Carmilla's mother how better to prepare the scanty fare. But for the green Miss Shannon and the penny lunch and the flower-bed in the square, little Carmilla
It was a breathless, spinning noon hour for the green Miss Shannon, stopped short by the gong, watching the lines of children flowing up the stairs and halls and into Room 16 again, closing the door. 'What have you there in your desk, Tony?' 'Nudding.' — 'Yes, teacher, he have. He swipe some
thing off de peddler.' What should a head of cabbage be doing in Tony Appa's desk? Where did you get that, Tony?'-'I buyed it for two cent off de peddler.' 'No, teacher, he never did. We seed him swipe it off de peddler.' Witnesses go with Tony to restore the cabbage to the peddler, while the room is at work constructing the cardboard house and furniture of the Three Bears.
A bambino comes from the substitute teacher in Room 14, and teacher goes with him, only for a little while. A man, a strange man, opens the door and looks on them with sharp eyes, and goes away. Rosie stands up.
"Teacher,' Rosie bursts out as the green Miss Shannon returns, ‘a man comes by us and he looks on us.'
'How did he look?'
'My God, I don't know. You better stay in here.'
Teacher 'looks on Rosie,' but Carmilla does not know what teacher is thinking. She is thinking of the strange things Rosie says, and is remembering about Rosie and the Christmas party. The day of the Christmas party Rosie came to school much too early, and when she saw the green Miss Shannon approaching, ran to her and asked when it would be time for the Christmas party to begin.
'Not yet. After a while.'
Then at recess Rosie asked again.
And at noon, and between times, when would it be time for the Christmas party to begin?
'Not yet. After a while.'
More and more incredulous and suspicious of teacher's assurances Rosie was growing. Time dragged to afternoon recess, lessons going on as usual. It was proper to rebuke and caution teacher as Rosie herself had been rebuked and cautioned; yet with restraint. 'I'm afraid you lie some, teacher; it's an awful sin.'
But how should Rosie reinstate herself after the party, which came off after all, in the kindergarten room, with a trimmed tree, and candy and red apples from teacher, and games and singing.
'O teacher, youze so lovely to us by your party,' said Rosie; 'just like a mudder.'
'Yes, just like a mudder,' agreed Joseph.
'Yes, teacher,' Dominic hesitated; 'but so many childrens and no fah-der?'
Again Carmilla does not know. Why is teacher smiling? But she likes to look on teacher when she smiles, and when the little jokes are in her eyes, and upon her green dress. Carmilla is a sort of small moon to teacher's sun. Carmilla goes on with the construction lesson, cutting and pasting the table on which are to stand the three bowls of broth of the Three Bears.
But this is not all of school, what they have been doing to-day. NoSometimes the superintendent comes. Then they all sit up very straight, just as the green Miss Shannon stands. They do not whisper, not even Theresa. She will certainly have the red tongue pinned upon her if she whispers before the big, prim, sad man who is the superintendent. Sometimes the smart young man in the office
he must be smart because he is the principal - comes in swiftly and goes out swiftly. Sometimes the man who does not wear his coat comes in and looks at the fixture on the wall (which is a thermostat) and goes out again. Sometimes the lady in the pretty dress and beads, a black one on each side and a green one in the middle, like an eye, three of them on a chain, — comes in briskly and smiles at teacher, and sits in the chair, and the bambinos
all stand and sing for teacher, blow out lights with their breath, and step up and down the scale and choose songs; and the bead lady tells them how nicely they sing, and talks a minute to teacher, and goes out briskly.
Sometimes, after teacher takes out all the drawings they have done, strings many along the blackboards, and puts many in a pile on her desk, the lady with the gray hair comes in slowly and looks at the drawings, and Carmilla, who is a monitor, and Marian, who is a monitor, and Antonio and Peter pass papers and crayons, and the children draw for teacher, and the lady with the gray hair tells teacher that the drawings are good, and goes out slowly.
Sometimes the young lady in the gym suit looks in, for whom they go to the gym; and the young lady in the gym suit sits and plays at the piano, and for teacher they march and skip and swing on the big swings and rings, as they have practised with teacher for the gym lady; and then with teacher and the gym lady they play the games.
Yes, all of these come sometimes and go sometimes. But teacher always stays. But what Carmilla does not know is that these folk, every one, and the teacher above in the domesticscience kitchen, and the teacher below in the manual-training shop, and the teachers three blocks off in the Mann Technical High School, are all much more important and dignified figures than her teacher, with much more important and dignified salaries.
It is true that, in the meetings of teachers, where Carmilla does not go, there is talk-admirable talk of teacher's service and devotion and selfsacrifice and indispensability; and the big, prim, sad man who is the superin
tendent says that the only part anyone else has in the system is to help teacher. But the stout dark primary teacher and the tall fair grammar teacher and the green Miss Shannon, who no longer care for words, and the young Miss O'Callahan and Miss Polonski, who never will care for words, reflect that they who would help should ask, not always tell, the doers what to do, and they question why teacher's must always be the lowest place. Carmilla does not know that the green Miss Shannon, and the blessed ones like her, are growing rarer and rarer. She is conscious in her small soul, as are the simple foreign folk about her, that the one who knows her, and who is her light and hope, is her teacher - Carmilla's teacher.
On the way home with teacher, across the strip of asphalt drive, along the cement walk toward the tulip-bed, Carmilla opens her little grimy fist, disclosing the two bright glass marbles traded by Jaspar for the pendant that makes rainbows. Wriggly coils of colors inside the crystal spheres, tiny rainbows imprisoned, the marbles wink up at Carmilla. Almost does the little fist close again on their shimmer.
'Here, teacher. Here's two marbles for you.'
'O Carmilla for me! Thank you, dear. Um, two such nice marbles.' The little jokes are in teacher's eyes. 'But you know Miss Shannon cannot have any marbles except those that go thump, thump, thump-' Now the little jokes are in Carmilla's eyes, too. 'You keep them, Carmilla. Mind you hold tight.' She bends down and closes the little fist over the gleaming bits. There is a sweet and tender light in the eyes of Carmilla's teacher.
BY RALPH BARTON PERRY
SUPERSTITIONS are perpetuated mainly in the church and the home, because whatever is said out loud in either place is intended to edify those who hear it. Parents and other adult members of the family belong to the priestly caste. It is their business to preach the doctrine and to be ostentatiously on their good behavior. Like their colleagues of the church, they feel the strain and find it necessary to enjoy stolen hours of unfrocked relaxation, which they spend with others of the profession who are pledged not to betray them. There are so many whom circumstance has placed in this position, but who feel unequal to its duties, that there is a widespread tendency to centralize the work of edification in the boarding-school, where it can be done by paid experts. As yet, however, this relief is too expensive to be generally enjoyed, and it still falls to the common lot of the adult to work, to pay taxes, and to officiate in the home.
Edification breeds superstition simply because fictions having sentimental value have to be preferred to facts. In the home this begins with the myths of Santa Claus and fairyland, and ends with the myth of the Perfect Gentleman and the Perfect Lady. In the home, as in the church, there are ecclesiastical as well as doctrinal superstitions - that is, superstitions having the function of protecting the prestige of the authorities. In the case of the home these superstitions have to do particu
larly with the pure benevolence, exemplary rectitude, and perfect manners of the parents. This idealized, fictitious parent may vary to any degree from the real parent. His activities off the stage, the friends with whom he associates there, and even his past history, are constructed and recast to fit the rôle of paragon which he assumes in the domestic drama.
Despite the weakness of his position otherwise, the adult member of the home enjoys this great advantage, that he fixes its superstitions in the form which they finally assume. He utilizes the experiences, deeds, and shrewd comments of the children, but puts his own interpretation on them. It is the adult who tells the story-sometimes, from motives of pride or retaliation, to other adults of rival domestic establishments; sometimes, for purposes of edification, to one of the children. In either case the moral that adorns the tale becomes its dominant feature, and it is the adult saga-maker who points the moral. He enjoys this advantage at his peril, however. For he is the most defenseless victim of his own eloquence. His rivals do not believe him because they possess prior domestic superstitions of their own. The children are protected by their inattention, levity, and worldly wisdom. But he himself hears himself so often, and takes himself so seriously, that he is like to become the only thoroughly orthodox adherent of his own teaching. It is in the hope of