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BOSTON
PUBLIC
LIBRARY




■ i






WHEN SARAH WENT
TO SCHOOL




SEHTM,



(page 18)



IT IS NOT RIGHT FOR ME TO GO



WHEN SAKAH WENT
TO SCHOOL

BY ELSIE SINGMASTER

AUTHOR OF " WHEN SARAH SAVED THE DAY W

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS




BOSTON AND NEW YORK

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

OCfce jatoetgi&e pre^ Cambridge



COPYRIGHT, I9IO, BY ELSIE SINGMASTER.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO REPRODUCE
THIS BOOK OR PARTS THEREOF IN ANY FORM



Published October iqic



n



PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.



TO THE MEMORY OF OUR

GRANDMOTHER

SARAH MATTERN SINGMASTER



What -did the other children do ?

And what were childhood, wanting you ?



CONTENTS

I. The Dress Parade 1

II. "The Normal" 21

III. Sarah loses her Temper 44

IV. Sarah explains 65

V. Professor Minturn's Experiment ... 81

VI. The "Christmas Carol" 09

VII. Sarah saves the Day Once More . . . 121
VIII. The Result of Professor Minturn's

Experiment 139

IX. The State Board lo8

X. The Chairman makes a Speech . . . > 173



ILLUSTRATIONS

11 It is not right for me to go " (page 18) Frontispiece
On the Threshold stood Miss Ellingwood . . 64

She seems to have fainted 146

He kept her beside him 186



From drawings by Wilson C. Dexter.



WHEN SARAH WENT TO
SCHOOL

CHAPTER I

THE DRESS PARADE

Across the angle of the post-and-rail fence
at the lower corner of the Wenners' yard, a
board had been laid, and behind the board
stood a short, slender, bright-eyed young
girl, her hands busy with an assortment of
small articles spread out before her. There
were a few glass beads, a string of buttons,
half a dozen small, worn toys, a basket of
early apples, and a plate of crullers. When
they were arranged to her satisfaction, she
took an apple in one hand and a cruller in
the other, and, climbing the fence, perched
on the upper rail and began to eat.

Before she had taken more than two bitea
an extraordinary procession appeared round



2 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

the corner of the house. Ellen Louisa, one
of the Wenner twins, dressed in a long ging-
ham dress of her sister-in-law's, leaned af-
fectionately upon the arm of the other twin,
Louisa Ellen, who wore with ludicrous effect
a coat and hat of their brother William's.
Clinging to Louisa Ellen's hand was a small
fat boy. They solemnly approached the im-
provised store.

" Is any one at home in this store ? " asked
Louisa Ellen in a gruff voice.

The proprietress slid down from the top
of the fence. She spoke carefully, but she
did not quite succeed in disguising her Penn-
sylvania-German accent.

" Well, sir, what is it to-day ? "

"I want — " It was Ellen Louisa, who
spoke in a simpering tone — "I want a
penny's worth of what you can get the most
of for a penny, missis. I want it for my little
boy. Apples will do. He has it sometimes in
his stomach, and — M

A loud crash interrupted Ellen Louisa's



THE DRESS PARADE 3

account of Albert's delicate constitution.
He had seized the propitious moment for the
purloining of two crullers, and in order to
establish his ownership, had taken a large
bite out of each. It was the storekeeper's
quick grab which brought the counter to
the ground, and mingled all the wares in
wild confusion on the grass.

Albert looked frightened. When, instead
of scolding, Sarah dropped to her knees and
helped him gather up the toys, he stared at
her, bewildered.

" You 'd catch it if I was n't going to the
Normal to-morrow to be learned ! " said
Sarah. " But to-day is a special day. What
shall we play next ? "

The twins swiftly shed their superfluous
garments, and became two thin little girls,
who could scarcely be told apart. Their plaid
gingham aprons waved in the breeze as they
danced about.

" Let us play < Uncle Daniel,' " they cried
together.



4 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

Even sixteen -year -old Sarah hopped up
and down at the brilliancy of the suggestion.
Uncle Daniel Swartz was their mother's
brother, who lived on the next farm. After
their mother and father had died, and their
older brother had apparently disappeared
into the frozen North, whither he had gone
to seek his fortune, Uncle Daniel, who had
long coveted the fine farm, had attempted to
divide the little family and add the fertile
acres to his own. It was Sarah who had
stubbornly opposed him, holding bravely
out until William had come home. William
had married pretty Miss Miflin, the district-
school teacher, and, giving up his plans for
further adventure, had settled down to be-
come a truck farmer. Already he was suc-
ceeding beyond his rosiest hopes.

Both he and his wife were anxious that
Sarah should go to school, and all the sum
mer Laura had been helping her to recall
the small knowledge she had had before
heavy care and responsibility had taken her



THE DRESS PARADE 5

from the district school. To-inorrow she was
to enter the sub-Junior class of the Normal
School, which William and Laura had at-
tended. Laura had corresponded with the
principal, Doctor Ellis, and had engaged
Sarah's room. It had been a busy summer.
Sarah had kept up her Geography after she
had left school, but in other branches she
had needed a good deal of tutoring.

No one who saw her now, in her wild
game with the twins, would have guessed
that she had ever had any care or responsi-
bility. She assumed first the character of
Uncle Daniel ; she told the twins that they
must go to live with Aunt Mena, she tried
to entice Albert away. Then she was Uncle
Daniel's hired man, Jacob Kalb, who had
translated his name to Calf, because he was
anxious to be thought English. In this role
she was pursued round the barn by the
twins, who brandished an old, disabled gun,
which in Sarah's hands had once terrified
Jacob Kalb.



6 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

Once, in this delightful game, they passed
close to the fence beyond which Jacob him-
self was working. Sarah balanced for a sec-
nd on the upper rail.

" Jacob Calf,
You make me laugh ! "

she shrieked, and then jumped down back-
ward. The twins held the gun aloft, scream-
ing with delight.

The game closed with a scene in the Or-
phans' Court, where Uncle Daniel demanded
that he be made their guardian, and where
William returned at exactly the proper and
dramatic moment.

"And now," announced Sarah breath-
lessly, when it was all over, " I am going to
say good-by to everything."

A feeling of solemnity fell suddenly upon
the twins and Albert. Who would be store*
keeper on the morrow ? Who would be
Uncle Daniel and Jacob Kalb and the judge
of the Orphans' Court in swift succession ?



THE DRESS PARADE 7

Who would help them with their lessons ?
Who would defend them if Uncle Daniel
should ever come threatening again? Who
would draw bears and tigers and " nele-
phunts " and all manner of birds and beasts ?
" May we go fishing? " they would ask Sis-
ter Laura, and Sister Laura would answer,
" Yes, if Sarah will go with you." " May
we write with ink? " — " Yes, if Sarah will
spread some newspapers on the table, and
sit beside you with her book." Would these
treats be forbidden them? Or would they
be allowed to do as they chose ? But even
independence would be distasteful without
Sarah. Each twin seized her by the hand.

" It is a long time till Christmas," mourned
Louisa Ellen.

" Ach, stay by us ! " wailed Ellen Louisa.

" And grow up to be like Jacob Calf ! "
cried Sarah derisively. " I guess not ! I am
going to be a teacher, and if you ever get in
my school, then look out ! You will theu
find out once if you don't study. I will then



8 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

learn you Latin and Greek and Algebray
and more things than you ever heard of in
the world, Ellen Louisa and Louisa Ellen.
You would like to grow up like the fishes in
the crick. Good-by, crick ! " Sarah drew
her hands away from the twins, and dabbled
them in the cool, fresh water. " Good-by,
fishes ! Good-by, bridge ! Good-by, bushes !
Why, Ellen Louisa ! Louisa Ellen ! " Sarah
looked at them with an expression of com-
ical surprise. Louisa Ellen and Ellen Louisa
were crying. " Stop it this minute ! " She
seized Albert by the hand. Albert had
already opened his mouth, preparatory to
joining his sisters in a wail. " Albert and
I will beat you to the barn.

" One for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to make ready,
And four to go ! "

Louisa Ellen and Ellen Louisa did not stop
to dry their tears, but scampered over the
ground like young colts, their skirts flying.



THE DRESS PARADE 9

When Albert and Sarah got to the door, the
twins had vanished, and there ensued a game
of hide and seek such as the old barn had
never smiled upon. Sarah climbed about like
X monkey. She seemed to be in half a dozen
places at once. The twins thought she was
downstairs in one of the mangers, when sud-
denly her voice was heard from the top of
the haymow. They played tag on the barn-
floor, they sang, they danced, with Sarah
always in the lead. It was certain that the
stately Normal School would open its doors
on the morrow to no such hoyden as this.
They were in the midst of

" Barnum had a nelephunt,
Chumbo was his name, sir,"

when the barn-door opened, and a young
woman appeared. She watched them for a
moment silently.

" Well, young Indians," she said.

The oldest of the young Indians clasped
her hands in distress.



10 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

" Is it time to get supper already ? "

" Not quite. And if four members of the
family did n't insist upon having waffles, you
should n't help at all. Your clothes are all
ready, and I want you to come and see them."

The twins raced wildly toward the house,
and Sarah followed more slowly with her
sister-in-law and Albert. She looked shyly
and gratefully at Laura. She had not yet
grown quite accustomed to having" Teacher "
a member of the family. She had so long
looked up to her with awe and admiration
that her constant presence in the house did
not seem quite real. Laura often laughed at
her.

" I should think, Sarah, that after you had
cleared up my outrageous bread-dough three
times, and had taken my burnt pies from the
oven, you would begin to feel fairly well ac-
quainted with me."

Sarah flushed with embarrassment. It was
true that Laura was slow about learning to
cook. But cooking was such an ordinary,



THE DRESS PARADE 11

every-day accomplishment ! It was much more
remarkable never to have had to cook.

" But now you can make good bread and
pies/' she would insist.

The whole summer had seemed like a
dream. The hcfuse was no longer strange and
dark and lonely as it had been after their
father had died. Sarah no longer crept fear-
fully about at night, fastening the shutters
before dark, for fear that Uncle Daniel would
try to get in. It had been a happy, happy
summer. William came and went, whistling,
teasing the twins, riding fat Albert round
on his shoulder. Uncle Daniel annoyed them
no more. " Teacher " bent with flushed face
over the stove, laughing at her mistakes, and
calling occasionally to Sarah for help ; and
Sarah herself sat by the window, a little table
before her, on which were books and paper
and pencils.

The little table was gone from the window
mow, the lessons with Laura were over, to-
morrow night Sarah would sleep away from



12 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

home for the first time in her life. They had
expected that the trolley company, which had
given them a good price for the right of
way through the farm, would have finished
its line, and that Sarah would have been able
to go back and forth to school each week.
But the tracks had just begun to creep out
from the county-seat.

The twins had run upstairs; their deep
ohsf and achs! could be heard in the kitchen
below. They shrieked for Sarah, who was
already on the steps.

When she looked round the familiar room,
she clasped her hands and then stood per-
fectly still. Beside her bed was an open trunk,
and spread out on the bed itself and on the
twins' trundle-bed was her outfit for school.
There were two school dresses, and a better
dress and a best dress, — the last of red cash-
mere, with bands of silk. There were new
shoes and a new coat and two hats and gloves
and an umbrella and handkerchiefs and
underwear, all marked with her name, and a



THE DRESS PARADE 13

gymnasium suit, and a scarlet kimono and a
comfort and pencils and tablets and — Sarah
began suddenly to tremble- — a little silver
watch and chain and a fountain-pen.

" The little watch was my first one, Sarah,"
explained her sister-in-law. " It keeps good
time. And the fountain-pen is from William,
and the umbrella — "

" And the umberella" — the twins and Al-
bert had seized upon it simultaneously — " the
umberella is from us. William, he sold our
Spotty Calf for us, and this is some of the
money, and you can make it up and put it
down, and it has a cover like a snake, and —
Look at it, once ! "

Sarah took the umbrella in her hand. Her
school dresses had been tried on by Laura,
who had made them ; she had known all about
those. And William and Laura had made a
trip to town and had been very short and
mysterious about the bundles they brought
home. She had supposed they had brought
a few things for her, — a new pair of shoes,



14 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

perhaps, or a new shawl. But these things!
Once, during her mother's lifetime, she had
had a red woolen dress ; she still cherished a
patch which remained after it had been made
over for one of the twins. Except for that,
her dresses had always been of gingham or
calico. And two hats, when last year she
had had only a sun-bonnet ! And a fountain-
pen, like Laura's, and Laura's own silver
watch ! A lump came into Sarah's throat.

Perhaps Laura felt a lump in her own.

" Come," she said brightly but a little
huskily. " You must try these things on, and
you must hurry if you are going to bake
waffles for this hungry brood." With one
hand she took the umbrella from Sarah, with
the other she unbuttoned her gingham dress.
"Children, shut down the trunk-lid and sit on
it. Now, Sarah, the gymnasium suit first."

Sarah chuckled hysterically as she was
helped into the flannel blouse and bloomers.

" She looks like a bear," giggled Louisa
Ellen.



THE DRESS PARADE 15

" Like a pretty thin bear/' said Sister
Laura. " She will have to be fatter when
she comes home. Louisa Ellen, run and get
my work-basket. These elastics must be
tightened. Now, Sarah, the school dresses,
then the blue sailor suit and the blue hat.
You are to wear those to-morrow."

Sarah stared down at her dress, still speech-
less with amazement and delight.

" And now the red dress. Your brother
William chose this color, Sarah, and your
hat and coat match it."

Fat and silent Albert opened his mouth
to speak.

"She looks like — " he began, but could
think of nothing to which to compare her.
" She don't look like nothing."

"She looks like a — a fine lady," said
Louisa Ellen. " Ach, when can we go to
the Normal ? "

Laura had turned down the glass in the
old-fashioned bureau.

"Now, Sarah, take a good look, and then



16 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

undress. These sleeves must be shortened a
little. I can do that this evening. I '11 pack
the trunk while you get supper."

Sarah revolved obediently before the glass.
But her eyes saw nothing. The lump in her
throat seemed now to suffocate her; she
struggled frantically to swallow it, but it
only grew larger. The twins watched her in
fright. Presently Louisa Ellen slid down
from the trunk, and went across the room
and touched Laura on the arm.

" Something is after Sarah," she whispered
in shocked surprise. Never before had Sarah
behaved like this.

Laura laid down her work.

" Why, Sarah, dear ! What is the matter ? "

It was a moment before Sarah could speak.
She rubbed her eyes, then she looked down
at the new red dress, and the new red coat,
and then at the old gingham dress and apron
on the floor, and at her hands, on which still
linger^ fhe marks of heavy toil.

"I would rather stay at home," she faltered



THE DRESS PARADE 17

" Ellen Louisa and Louisa Ellen can have
my things, and — and when they are big,
they can go in — in the Normal. I — I would
rather stay at home and do the work."

Laura sat down again in her chair by the
window, and drew Sarah to her knee.

"Why would you rather stay at home,
Sarah ?" she asked gently. It was not strange
that a reaction had come. There had been
the struggle with Uncle Daniel, and then the
long, hot months of summer, and now the im-
mediate excitement of the afternoon. " Tell
me, Sarah."

" I am too dumb," wailed Sarah. " Nobody
can't teach me nothing."

"I thought I had taught you a good deal
this summer."

" But there won't be any teachers like you
at the Normal. I would rather stay at home.
I am too old to go any more in the school.
I am little but I am old."

"Like Runty," cried Louisa Ellen. Tho
twins had been listening in frightened and



18 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

fascinated attention. Runty was a pig which
had never grown. "Runty is little, but he
is old."

Even Sarah had to smile at this.

" But you will have too much work to do,"
she said to Laura. " It is not right for me
to go."

Laura laughed.

" Cast no aspersions upon my ability to
keep this house, young lady," she cried gayly.
"And you will be no older than many of
the girls and boys in your class. Now take
off your dress and go mix your batter, and
in ten minutes I '11 be there, and then Wil-
liam will come home, and then we '11 have
supper, and then you must go to bed early."

When William came, there was no trace
of Sarah's tears. He teased her gayly, as
William always did, and said, as he helped
himself to a fifth waffle, that the first four
samples were pretty good, and that now he
was really beginning to eat. It was not until
she was safely in bed that the lump came back



THE DRESS PARADE 13

into her throat. This going away to school
seemed suddenly worse than the long strug-
gle against Uncle Daniel. She was going to
live among strangers, — she would hear no
more dear, familiar Pennsylvania-German,
she would see only strange, critical faces.
The Normal students would probably laugh
at her, as she laughed at Jacob Kalb. They
might make rhymes about her, as she made
rhymes about Jacob.

Laura, who tiptoed into the room to put
the red coat with its shortened sleeves into
her trunk, heard her whisper.

" What did you say, Sarah ? " she asked.

Sarah hid her face in her pillow in an
agony of embarrassment. She could not pos-
sibly tell Laura what she was saying to her-
self, and Laura, thinking that she was talk-
ing in her sleep, tiptoed out again to com-
plete her preparations for the next day's
journey.

Before Sarah went to sleep, she smothered
an hysterical giggle. One possible rhyme



20 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

which might occur to the Normalites had
come into her mind. It was that which she
had been saying to herself. It was ominous,
but she could not help laughing. It ran,—

" Sarah 's Dutch,
She is not much."



CHAPTER II



THE NORMAL"



In the morning Sarah found, fortunately,
no time for regret or grief. She had said
good-by to the twins and Albert the night
before, and though they had loudly insisted
that they would be up in time to see her off,
they did not wake and were not called. The
three older members of the household had
breakfast together, then the new trunk was
lifted to the back of the spring-wagon, and
Sarah, in her new sailor suit and blue hat,
climbed to her place between William and
Laura for the drive to the station.

Her heart beat so rapidly that she could
not speak. She looked back at the broad,
low-lying house, shadowed by a great hickory
tree ; at the friendly barn, which had been
a playground for them all ; and then at the
winding, twisting stream, which made their



22 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

land so fertile. Was it possible that a few
days ago she had wished to go away ?

Up at Uncle Daniel's house, the family
was already astir. Jacob Kalb crossed the
barn-yard, milk-pail in hand, disdaining to
look back, though he must have heard
plainly the sound of the spring-wagon.

" He will go in and peek out," laughed
Sarah. " Jacob, he would n't miss nothing."

" ' Jacob would n't miss anything ' is what
you mean, is n't it, Sarah? " asked her sister-
in-law.

" Ach, yes ! " cried Sarah penitently.
" But what is coming ? "

She grew pale. Down from the Swartz
house hurried L unt 'Liza. " She can't stop
me ! " said Saral i, gasping.

William laugLed. " No, indeed."

Aunt 'Liza caie to the side of the wagon.
She had never approved of Uncle Daniel's
methods.

" Here is something for Sarah," she said.
tc I thought while she was going off I would



THE NORMAL 23

make her a little cake, once, and a little apple
schnitz. She liked always apple schnitz"

Sarah jumped down over the wheel of the
spring- wagon.

"Ach, I thank myself."

And she seized the stout lady in a fer-
vent hug, which her aunt as fervently re-
turned.

" And now," said Sarah happily, as she
climbed back, " I am not cross over nobody,
and nobody is cross over me. Ach, I know
I am talking dumb again ! But after I get
on the cars, I will say everything right."

She could scarcely sit still. Laura and
William looked at each other and smiled.

In all her life Sarah had been on the train
but once. That was six months ago, when,
accompanied by the twins and " Teacher,"
she had gone to the county-seat to protest
against Uncle Daniel's being made their
guardian. She was too much worried then
to enjoy the roar of the great engine as it
rushed upon them, the hurry with which



24 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

they scrambled aboard, the wild thrill of de-
light as the train got under way. Now she
enjoyed each sensation to the full. There
had never been such a wonderful train as
this, whose seats were so luxuriously cush-
ioned, which moved so swiftly, which was so
filled with interesting persons. Sarah waved
her hand to William, she tried to call to him
a final message to the twins, and then they
were off. Sarah drew a deep breath.

"Ach! " she wailed. " My trunk ! "

Laura showed her the check. " Your trunk
is on the train, my dear."

" Ach, it is too wonderful ! " cried Sarah.
"No, I won't say ach any more. Ach, but
I am going to try ! " She clapped her hand
over her mouth and looked up comically.
" Ach — I can't express me without ach"

" Yes, you can," Laura assured her. " See
the girls opposite us. They 're probably going
to the Normal School."

Sarah looked eagerly across the aisle. The
girls were laughing and talking together as



THE NORMAL 25

though they had not seen each other for a
long time. They were tall and slender, and
they were unlike any girls that Sarah's ad-
miring eyes had ever seen. One had blonde
curly hair, the other was dark, with wide,
lovely eyes.

"Do you think I will know those girls?"
she whispered.

" Of course you will. Those and many



more."



Sarah clasped her hands happily. The stern
and critical race with which she had peopled
the Normal School suddenly ceased to exist,
and lovely creatures like these took its place.
Sarah's eyes brightened as she smoothed
down her new blue dress. Then she sighed.
The bothersome consciousness of her own
unworthiness overwhelmed her.

"The Normal will have a hard time to
make me look like them," she said to herself.

Once, long ago, when her mother and
father were still alive, and the twins scarcely
more than babies, the Wenners had taken a



26 WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL

long holiday drive. One of the towns which
they visited was that in which the Normal
School was situated. It was then that her
father promised that if Sarah studied, she
should go there. She could see the school
as plainly as though it were yesterday instead
of eight weary years ago ; she could hear
her father's voice. Her recollection of the
low house and the barn and the creek which
they had left that morning was not more
vivid. Before the train stopped, she saw the
tall tower, which she remembered ; she knew
just how it overshadowed the other buildings.
And there had been beautiful trees and ten-
nis-courts and young people going back and
forth.

She scrambled down from the train, and
clung close to Laura, a little frightened by
the noise and confusion about her, the loud
greetings, the shouts of hackmen.

" This way to the Normal School. Take
my carriage, lady ! "

They picked their way round a great pile


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