The Silver Maple

Cover of book The Silver Maple
Categories: Nonfiction

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RS The Saxon force, the Celtic fire, These are thy manhood's heritage! ?C. G. D. Robebts. OLD IAN MCALLISTER, schoolmaster of Section Number Nine, Oro, was calling his flock into the educational fold. It was no clarion ring that summoned the youths from the forest, for the times were early and a settlement might be proud to possess a school, without going to the extremity of such foolishness as a bell, and Number Nine was not extravagant. But the schoolmaster's ingenuity had improvised a very good substitute. He stood in the doorway, hammering upon the doorpost with a long, flexible ruler, and making a peremptory clatter that echoed far away into the arches of the forest and hastened the steps of any tardy youths approaching from its depths. Good cause they had to be expeditious, too, for well they knew, did they linger, the master would be apt to resume the bastinado upon their belated persons when theydid arrive. This original method had other advantages, from the schoolmaster's point of view, for, as his pupils crowded past him through the narrow doorway, he had many a fine opportunity to transfer occasional whacks to the heads of such boys, and girls, too, as he felt would need the admonition before the day was over, and who could not manage to dodge him. So those approaching the school, even before they came within sight of the place, could reckon exactly the state of the master's temper, and the number of victims sacrificed thereto, by the intermittent sounds of the summoning stick. Indeed, Number Nine possessed an almost superhuman knowledge of their master's mental workings. When he was fiercest then they were most hopeful; for they knew that, like other active volcanoes, having once indulged in a terrible eruption he was not likely to break f...

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