C. W. G. (Cornelius Willet Gillam) Hyde.

The green valley school, a pedagogical story online

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range and quality which of itself would have given her
the entree into society circles had it not been that her
turbulent temper often betrayed her into brilliant and
forcible character sketches of her neighbors. These
sketches often had the merit of truth, but always the
disadvantage of being distasteful to their subjects, who
received them direct from the factory. It was under-
stood by those who had caught glimpses behind the
domestic curtain, that Doctor Wakeley was a henpecked

Doctor Wakeley was a tall man, of large frame,
weighing, perhaps, a score of pounds over two
hundred. He was well educated, skillful in his
profession, and was recognized as the leading-
physician of his section of the state. He was of


genial disposition, and this, with a fund of anec-
dote and a ready tongue, made him a favorite with both
sexes in all classes. The general respect for him was
qualified, however, by a proneness to bluster, which,
like the Neapolitan volcano, had seasons of rest fol-
lowed by periods of activity. The Doctor's cronies had
noticed the singular fact that his most violent eruptions
of boast fulness were synchronous with the visits he
made to Jake Rice's saloon ; and it was further noted,
by his next-door neighbors, that such a visit was the
invariable finale to a Wakely operatic exhibition, the
predominant features of which were impassioned solos
and duets rendered by a high soprano and a basso

These were the immediate ancestors of the boy
whom we left hastening homeward, with the intent of
rousing the maternal lioness. Dr. Wakeley had been
very cordial to the new teacher, and had expressed his
pleasure at the progress his son appeared to be making
in his studies.

"Where's mother?" James bawled to his sister,
Nellie, whom he found in the front yard.

"She's in the parlor; why?"

James made no answer, but rushed into the house.
Pausing a moment in the hallway, he caught the in-
jured elbow in his left hand, contorted his face with
simulated pain, and entered the parlor, his body bent
with an agony he did not feel. His mother looked up.

"Why, James," she cried, starting forward, "what's
the matter?"

"O, mother! my elbow is awfully hurt?"
"Why, James ! how did you hurt it ?"
"I (Kdn't hurt it ; Stockley did it."


"Stockley, eh ? Let me see it."

"Oh, I don't believe I can get my coat off; it is

"Let me help you off with your coat."

"O, mother, I can't straighten my arm out; I'm
afraid there's a bone broken."

"What's the matter," said a deep voice. Dr. Waka-
ley stood in the door.

"Here's some more of Stockley's work. He drove
Arthur Blazer out of school, and now he has begun on
James," wrathfully exclaimed Mrs. Wakely.

The Doctor came forward. "Are you hurt?" he
asked. "Your elbow, is it? Here let me get your
coat off."

"Ouch!" yelled James, as his father, straightened
out the arm", "you hurt."

Paying little attention to the protests of his youthful
heir, the Doctor rolled up the shirt sleeve and looked at
the elbow. He found a slight abrasion, from which
a little blood had oozed, staining the white shirt sleeve.
"His arm literally bathed in blood," was Mrs. Wake-
ley's description of the injury to a neighbor, that even-

Dr. Wakely's surgical sense told him that the
scratch was not serious enough to be spoken of as an
injury, and he had seen enough of malingering to know
that James's agony was wholly feigned. He was about
to say something to that effect when he checked himself
and called for bandages and liniment. .- He knew from
experience that to oppose his wife's view ci the serious
character of the case would ring up the curtain on a
domestic comic opera, in which he would be made to


appear as a tyrant husband, abusing a delicate wife who
is trying to protect her innocent child from his bru-

"Now, Doctor Wakeley," said his wife, when he had
finished bandaging the arm, "I want to know what
you're going to do about this. Are you going to call
that ruffian to account, or have I got to go and do it ?"

"I don't know yet how it happened," said the Doc-
tor. "How was it, James?"

In a feeble voice, interrupted by catchings of the
breath, and spasmodic movements of the elbow to in-
dicate paroxysms of pain, James told his father how
Lizzie Dalny had caught hold of him in the school
house entry; how Stockley had rushed at him, seized
him by the throat, pushed him over and then pounded
him up and down on the hard floor until every joint in
his body was sore and his elbow felt as if the bone was
broken; how Stockley had yanked him up from the
floor and made him go to his seat, when he could just
drag one foot after the other ; how he had suffered such
awful pain that he couldn't study; and how he had just
strength enough to crawl home when school was out.

The Doctor listened to the lying tale without com-
ment, recognizing its essential falsity, and when his
irate spouse demanded that he should, that very night,
visit condign punishment upon the "brute" who had
"almost killed" his child, he muttered that he would
see the teacher and "straighten the matter out." At
supper he was silent, while his wife entertained the
family with tirades against "beggarly upstarts, that set
themselves up as professors" and "people that call
themselves men and haven't courage enough to pro-


tect their own children." As soon as the meal was
finished, the Doctor put on his hat and went out.

He walked slowly down town. He found himself
involved in a serious dilemma. If he were to act on
his own judgment, he would seek the teacher;
would tell him that he had heard of his trou-
ble with James and assure him that if the boy had
misbehaved, he would co-operate with him, the
teacher, in disciplining him ; and would then hear
Stockley's version of the trouble. On the other hand,
he realized that he would be held to a strict account of
his interview with the schoolmaster and that his
home would be made a place of torment to him unless
he were able to report that he had "licked" or, at
least, thoroughly bullied him.

In the midst of his doubts, his eye caught the red
sign on the glass door of Jake Rice's saloon. There
was that inside which would calm his nerves and blunt
the mental pain he was enduring. He entered and or-
dered a glass of whisky. Taking it to a table, he sat
and sipped it. In less than a minute, an agreeable
sensation of warmth stole over him. By the time the
glass was empty, his wife's view of the case seemed
a little less unreasonable to him. He ordered his glass
replenished. In two minutes it was again empty. The
liquor had warmed "the cockles of his heart." To t*>
sure, he thought, James had not been seriously crip-
pled, but what right had a stranger to come to a
peaceful town and begin abusing the young people
whose parents were trying to give them an education ?
It wasn't at all likely that Stockley was a saint who
couldn't do wrong and that James was a little fiend,
who couldn't tell the truth. "What motive," he asked


himself, "what motive that's where it is what mo-
tive could that poor boy possibly have for lying about
his teacher?" He felt that he was beginning to take
a healthy, a reasonable view of the case. He struck
the table with his fist and ordered a third glass.

"Fill it up full," he ordered.

His sips were now larger and more frequent. As
the level of the liquor lowered, the matter that had
troubled him gradually took a different form, and ap-
peared in a clearer light. The lying spirit of Alcohol
fastened its grip upon him. It whispered to him that
his wife's maternal instinct was unerring; that at all
events, she was his wife; she had always been true to
him ; she was the mother of his boy and that boy was
his child, and "by the great horn spoon," no rascally
upstart should come into his family and club his child-
ren (here a parental tear filled his eye ) with impunity.
He had reached the fighting stage of intoxication. He
had sense enough to know that another glass would be
too much and that he must act quickly before his
courage should ooze away. It would have taken a
close observer to note any unsteadiness in his gait as
he emerged from the saloon.

He inquired of the first man he met on the street
if he had seen anything of Professor Stockley, and
was informed that the man he sought was then in the
office of the Excelsior Hotel. Proceeding thither, he
saw his victim through the glass front. He opened the
door and called to him. "Professor," he said, "may I
speak to you a moment outside?" Stockley had stop-
ped in passing, to speak with Austin Green, the young
landlord, for the two had become excellent friends


during the teacher's stay at the hotel. He stepped out
on the piazza. He conjectured the object of the Doc-
tor's call, and his olfactory sense informed him of his
visitor's condition.

"Good evening, Doctor," said he, "what can I do
for you?"

"You can't do anything for me, you've done too
much already, you've been beating my boy, and I'm
here (here he raised his voice) to know what you
mean by it."

"You are in error," replied Stockley, "I did not
beat James."

"Yes, you did, and you needn't try to lie out of it.
I know all about it. I've heard the whole story and
you can't throw any dust in my eyes and I've come
here to have this thing out with you right here with-
out any palaver, and it's no use for you to say that
you didn't intend to hurt the boy, for you did, you
did. I'm not going to do anything rash without giving
you a chance t' mention any 'xtenuating circumstances
if th'r are any, but you've got to speak almighty quick.
Now, young man, have you got anything to say for

Without Stockley's knowledge, Austin Black had
sent his burly hostler out of a back door, with instruc-
tions to pass around to the front, post himself behind
a pillar, and "sail in" if the Doctor should lift his arm
against the teacher. For the same purpose, Black had
placed himself at the office door, which he held a lit-
tle ajar, listening to the conversation.

"You have a perfect right to inquire, in a gentle-
manly way about my treatment of James," replied


Stockley, "and I will be glad to explain this matter to
you" (he was about to say, "when you have sobered
off," but refrained,) "at some other time."

"Some other time won't answer. I want your ex-
planation right here, if you have any to offer, and it
must be straight and satisfying to th' intellect of any
man, woman 'r child and-a no p'varication n'r foolish-
ness. Never b'fore has 't fall'n to my lot to find fault
'th a teacher's treatment 'f a child 'f mine, but I want
it und'stood th't no int'loper c'n come into this peace-
ful c'mun'ty and abuse my child w'th im-p'r-tun'ty.
I've a good mind to lick you right here."

The peculiarity of the Doctor's language was not
due to lack of intelligence, but to that thickening of
the tongue and that partial loss of control over the
mental processes which characterize the stage of in-
ebriety he had then reached. As he grew more in-
coherent and more belligerent, the office door opened
a little wider, and a burly form edged almost into
view around the pillar which concealed it. The Doc-
tor's threat stirred Stockley's fighting blood, but keep-
ing in mind the unfortunate condition of his antago-
nist, as well as the friendly spirit he had hitherto shown,
he did not attempt to reason with him. His reply was
brief and pointed.

"Doctor Wakely," he said, quietly and firmly, "you
are a larger man than I, and can perhaps 'lick' me,
but you cannot frighten me. If James continues in
school, he will be under my authority. If you're go-
ing to lick me, begin now, for I have other business to
attend to."

The Doctor was dazed. The affair was taking- a


different turn from what he had expected. He was
passing out of the fighting and into the depressed stage
of intoxication. After waiting a few seconds without
receiving a reply, Stockley re-entered the hotel. The
Doctor went home, where he reported that he had fixed
"that fellow" so that he wouldn't want to "monkey
with James any more."

The effect this report had on James's subsequent
conduct in school will be related in another chapter.



A mighty pain to love it is,

And 't is a pain that pain to miss ;

But of all pains, the greatest pain

It is to love, but love in vain. Cowley.

"Will you please help me with this example in
percentage ?"

Stockley supposed all the pupils had passed out of
the room, and was making up his daily attendance rec-
ord when he heard these words in a soft voice at the
side of his desk. He had become quite familiar with
the tones, for he had several times, within the past two
weeks, heard them preferring a similar request. Ur-
line Simpton was a quiet and studious girl of seven-
teen or thereabout, with brown hair, a high forehead
surmounting full cheeks tinged with red and sparingly
sown with freckles which were invisible except to a
close observer. The sadness in her large, light-blue
eyes always impressed strangers and led them to won-
der what sombre history was written in their depths.
Urline was often the last pupil to leave the school at
night, and altho Stockley's duties usually detained him
after the pupils had gone, he had frequently over-
taken her and had walked some distance with her on
his homeward way. Of late, she had had many diffi-
culties with her studies, and had asked his help in
overcoming them. In his glances about the room
while the school was in session he had frequently
found her great eyes bent upon him, with a sorrow-


ful expression which impressed him in a peculiar man-
ner, and which he was unable to interpret. On this
evening, when he heard her request for assistance, the
expression of her face, as he looked up, was a revela-
tion to him. Her head was ever so little inclined to
one side, and the ghost of a melancholy smile faded
away as his eyes rested on her

"Can it be," flashed into his mind, "that the girl is
in love with me?"

His manner was almost brusque as he rendered the
desired help. As soon as he had given it he rose and
took his hat from its peg, preparatory to passing out.
Urline turned away with what Stockley fancied to be
a grieved expression, and as soon as she had started
for the village he walked away in the opposite direc-

When the teacher entered the schoolroom me next
morning, Urline was at her desk, bending over a book,
while half a dozen other pupils were sitting or walking
about, in lively conversation. On the teacher's desk
lay a small, square envelope, addressed in a neat, fem-
inine hand to

<Js4.a.4fe*t4.a^. <-%.. c-Sw

"Urline Simpton!" was his first thought. He laid
the envelope to one side, took his seat, and commenced
writing. After a minute or more had passed, he
looked up and glanced slowly about the room. When
his eye at last rested on Urline, he was at once struck
with the intensity of her study, and this, with the
scarlet in her usually pale forehead confirmed his sus-


picion that she was the correspondent. It was not un-
til the last student had departed that evening, and he
had carefully locked the door on the inside, that he
broke the seal of the little missive. The contents were
slightly amusing and decidedly embarrassing to him.
This is what he read :


At morning-tide I sit me down
'By the bright brooklet's gurgling stream,
And muse, far from the noisy town,
On mem'ries sweet, which ever seem

To be of thee,

Only of thee.

'At eve's still hour I walk beside
The darksome river's treach'rous flow,
And think how like its turbid tide
Would be the blackness of my woe

Bereft of thee,

Ah me, of thee!

O, when I stem, from shore to shore,
The torrent deep which lies between
The now and the forevermore,
Still, still my heart will swell, I ween,

With thoughts of thee,

Sweet thoughts of thee.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Rutledge Stockley
was so constituted that the funny side of an experience
like this was the first to present itself. He laughed
audibly at the picture of Urline Simpton dragging her
skirts thru the wet grass on the banks of streams of as-
sorted sizes, depths, and turbidness, and mooning on
his account. But his mood quickly changed. Urline
was a faithful student and a good girl. Moreover,
although her lines indicated a morbid mental condition
they were not entirely destitute of merit. A half-


hour's rumination matured a plan, which he success-
fully carried out, to renovate the poor girl's diseased
mentality with healthful thoughts from his own super-
abundant vigor.

The next morning, Stockley was at the school-
house half an hour before the time for opening. He
was not mistaken in his expectation that Urline would
be one of the early comers. An opportunity soon pre-
sented itself for speaking to her in the presence of
other girls. Seeing Eva Black and Allie Harley near
her desk, he walked briskly thither, with an open smile
on his face and her poem in hand.

"Urline," he said, taking no pains to conceal his
words from the other girls, who at once discontinued
their conversation and listened, "Urline, your poem is
really very good. I suppose you wanted me to know
about your poetic talent. I had not suspected it. It
came to me as a very agreeable surprise. The im-
aginary guide and friend (or is he a real one?) to
whom you address it may well feel complimented.
You ought to cultivate your talent for rhyme and
measure, Urline."

"What! Urline writing poetry?" exclaimed Eva;
"can't we read it?" She made a movement as if to take
it from Stockley 's hand.

"O, Mr. Stockley !" cried Urline, springing forward
with a crimson face.

The teacher put the paper behind him. "You need
not fear, Urline," said he, "no one shall see it with-
out your permission; but you must not be so modest.
I think we must look to you for an original poem to be
read by you at our next Friday afternoon rhetoricals.



Now, girls," he laughed, addressing Eva and Allie,
"with your permission, I'm going to ask our poetess to
grant me the favor of a private audience." The girls
good-naturedly retired and the teacher, after making


some suggestions to Urline en minor points relating to
language and construction, returned to nis desk.

Urline's sensitive soul was wounded. She had con-
ceived for Stockley a vague and dreamy but none the
less intense passion such as girls of her temperament
sometimes form for their favorite teachers. She had
not attempted to analyze her feeling; she was simply
conscious of a sadly sweet sentiment, too sacred to be
revealed to anyone but its object, which filled her
soul, and was to be she firmly believed the domi-
nant influence in her life. Stockley's light treatment
of the matter was a shock to her. It showed the fu-
tility of hoping for any response to her sentiment. But
while it grieved and humiliated her, it began a work
of disillusion and planted seeds which, under the
watchful care of the teacher, developed, in time, into
a healthful growth. By the end of the year, she had
outgrown her sentimental weakness and had passed
into a stage of normal activity. When the pain in-
duced by the teacher's kindly rebuff had sufficiently
subsided, she composed, at his suggestion, a little
poem which was read in public on a Visitors Day, in
the early spring. It spoke of river and brook, as her
former poem had done, and perhaps she designed it to
inform her teacher of the new viewpoint from which
she looked upon life. While the latter poem was, pos-
sibly, no better than the other from a literary point of
view, its tone indicated a more normal habit of



The bounding, dancing, purling streams

Sing blithesomely all day;
And filled with joy, with rapture, seems

Their merry roundelay.

The river adds its deep, full bass;

A glad duet they make;
And laughter brightens Nature's face

In meadow, hill, and lake.

But when I list the choral song

Of river, brook, and mead.
My soul responds with courage strong

For noble thought and deed.

Thus pleasantly, tho strenuously, did the young
teacher pursue his

"Delightful task, to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot."

If his guardian angel brought him any warning of
threatened disaster, the premonition was unheeded and
even unheard.


Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor.
A subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious.

Gorgias Leontinus.

The next morning after Dr. Wakely's futile attempt
to bully the schoolmaster, the latter was smilingly
accosted by two or three friends on his way to the
school. John McMillan stood in the door of his hard-
ware store when the teacher came along.

"Good morning, Stockley," said John, laughing,
"Doc. called on you last night, didn't he ?"

"Yes he did," Stockley replied, his manner in-
dicating some reluctance to discuss the subject.

"Oh, you needn't hesitate to speak of it," said John,
"everybody in town knows about it by this time and,
what's more, everybody's glad you called 1 his bluff and
sent him off with his flag hauled down."

"Why, Mr. McMillan, there was no fighting, and I
have no wish to be regarded as an upper dog. Besides,
I have, perhaps, not heard the last of it from the Doctor.
He believed I had abused his son, and I don't blame
him for wishing to protect the boy."

"Bosh! He knew very well you hadn't hurt Jim,
and he knew, too, thai if Jim had his deseri, you'd have
given him a good whaling."

"How did you know anything about it?" inquired
the teacher.

'Why, Austin Black was in the store last night after


you sent Doc. packing, and you never saw a crowd
more tickled than the fellows were when he told how
you wound him up. Ha, ha, ha !"

"But how do you know whether James deserved
punishment or anything about what I really did to

"O, Charlie Loring told all about it, last night, in
Dan's grocery. Jim has always had trouble with his
teachers and he needs a good lathering about once
in so often to make him know what's what."

"Still, the Doctor appeared to really believe that
James had been unjustly treated."

"Don't you believe it. His wife just put him up to
it, and he wouldn't have dared to peep to you about
it if he hadn't filled up on Dutch courage first. Some
of us fellows saw him going into Jake Rice's saloon just
after we heard Charlie Loring's story, and we all knew
what that meant. Doc's a great blusterer, but he'd run
away from a ten year old boy if the kid shook his fist at
him. Doc's naturally a good-natured man and means to
do the right thing, but I'll bet a dollar his wife bullied
him into looking you up to 'ick you and he didn't dare
to go home without trying to do it."

"Well," said Stockley, "I only want James to be
a good boy and attend to his work."

He started along the street and met Dan Loring.

"Hello," cried Loring, "I'm mighty glad you're able
to be out!'' He walked around the schoolmaster and
gingery felt of his arnu and legs, his skull and collar
bones, ' 1 expected Doc'd have to turn to and set
ah your bones after he got thru with you last night.
He, he, lie!"


"No," said Stockley, "it wasn't quite as bad as

"Look here," said Dan, with assumed seriousness,
"half a dozen of us fellows will go with you for a
body guard till you get past Doc's house, if you just
say the word."

"No, never mind. I'm much obliged, but I think
there's no seriou,s danger. I must hurry along or I'll
be late at school."

The secretary of the Minnesota State Board of
Health, in one of his addresses delivered before the
State Educational Association, spoke of the importance
of cultivating hygienic habits in the young. "Young
people," said he, "need to be constantly reminded of
those practices which are beneficial to health and preju-
dicial to it. If parents and teachers are persistent, there
comes a time, at the age of from 17 to 21, when the
boy begins to hang up his hat, to shut the door, to eat,
drink, and sleep hygienically." Some of the pupils in
the Green Valley school had reached the stage of de-

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Online LibraryC. W. G. (Cornelius Willet Gillam) HydeThe green valley school, a pedagogical story → online text (page 6 of 12)