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Title: The Country School - An Entertainment in Two Scenes
Author: Orne, Martha Russell
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Country School - An Entertainment in Two Scenes" ***

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                          THE
                    COUNTRY SCHOOL

               An Entertainment in Two Scenes.

                          BY

                      M. R. ORNE.

        Copyright, 1890, BY WALTER H. BAKER & CO.

                        BOSTON


                      SUGGESTIONS.

                       __________


THE characters in this little sketch should be played by prominent
citizens of your town, if such can be prevailed upon to appear--the
more elderly, staid, and incongruous in years and bearing, the better.
Dignified professors, judges, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.,
should be prevailed upon to forget their present greatness, don the
costumes and revive the scenes of their youth.

The dress may be left largely to individual taste. Short pantaloons,
jumpers, long-sleeved tires, caps, broad-brimmed straw hats, heavy
cowhide boots, are suggested for the gentlemen; while short dresses,
the historic pantalette, sun-bonnets, tires, aprons, etc., are
proposed for the ladies. The latter should have their hair braided
or hanging in long curls. All should be neatly dressed in "ye
olden time" costumes, except one or two, who may represent the
tatterdemalion fraternity. One of these may be the bright boy of the
class, the other the dullard, who stumbles through his lessons,
loses his place, has a passion for catching flies, throwing spit-balls,
etc. One boy may have a penchant for drawing pictures on his
slate or the blackboard, in which his teacher and mates play a
prominent part as models. One girl a proneness for chewing gum,
another for large pickles; another thinks herself smart, but
generally manages to give wrong answers. A few names have been
suggested in the dialogue, but they may be easily varied. Where a
name is not necessary, the author has used the word "Pupil,"
so that the parts may be distributed according to the number
of performers.

The by-play that goes on among the scholars who are not reciting
must be of such a nature that it will not attract the attention of
the teacher unless it is a part of the programme.

The motion song can be introduced elsewhere in the dialogue if advisable.

As a rule, pupils should raise hands (at the same time saying
"Huh! huh!" or snapping thumb and finger), and obtain permission
before speaking; but where the dialogue becomes spirited, this
rule may be broken.

An indefinite number can take part in this entertainment.


                       THE COUNTRY SCHOOL.

                       __________________


                          INTRODUCTION.
THE curtain should rise upon an introductory front scene depicting
the pupils on their way to school, singly, or in groups of two or
three, swinging book-bags or dinner-pails; one group of girls play
bean-bag; a group of boys play marbles; one boy tries to fly a kite;
some skip, others walk sedately, or jump rope, drive hoop, etc.

                    (_Enter_ BOY, _whittling._)

BOY. Say, Seth, old Hickory's coming! Got your hands all waxed,
sonny? 'Cause you'll have to ketch it hot and heavy this morning.
Teacher's awful mad about your stealing Squire Green's apples.

SETH CRANE (_who has book-bag, etc._). Don't care. I ain't going to
school to-day, anyway. I'm going to play hookey.

BOY. Did your ma say you might?

SETH. Bet your life she didn't. I'm not tied to my ma's apron strings,
Bubby; I'm no baby!

BOY. Here he comes! Run, Seth, or he'll ketch you.

(SETH _runs off. Teacher passes along saying "Good-morning" etc.,
to children._)

BOY. (_still whittling, to group which comes up_). Say, boys, Seth
Crane's going to play hookey. Let's pay, him back for saying we
stole Squire Green's apples, will you, and tell his mother? She's
a daisy, though, ain't she?

SECOND BOY. Agreed! But who'll tell the old lady?

BOY. Let Daniel. He's teacher's pet anyway, and if he's late,
nothing'll be said. Will you go, Dan?

DANIEL. Yes. The old lady'll give me some of her nice doughnuts.
(_Smacking lips, he runs off. Boys pass off in other direction,
crying, "Save some for us, Dan," etc._)

The above merely serves to indicate the general nature of the
dialogue that may be characteristically employed, the precise
points to be made depending for their humorous value so entirely
upon the identity of the actor in each case and their contradiction
of his well-known character and dignity, that they must be left to the
invention of the players. The dialogue, whatever its nature, should
be accompanied by an incessant pantomimic action of characteristic
boyish antics and practical jokes, made inexpressibly ludicrous
by whiskers, bass voices, and other personal anachronisms.

At the close of this introductory part, and while the curtain is
rising on the school scene, a large bell should be rung vigorously.

                     ______________


                     THE SCHOOLROOM.

SCENE.--_The interior of the little red schoolhouse of our grandfathers.
Teacher's desk at R., stove L., chair for committee man in front of
stove, desks at back, leaving an open space in front for classes, etc.
Blackboard and map at back. Blackboard down in R. corner, by teacher's
desk, facing house. Door at back, C._

_As pupils enter they courtesy to the teacher, and after hanging
hats and bonnets on nails, take their seats. One pupil is granted
the privilege of ringing the bell at the door, whereupon the
rest enter. The school is them called to order and the roll is read.
Each answers "here" or "present" to his name. When the name of
"James Peters" is read there is no reply. At length one of the girls
explains that he "had to stay to hum to mind the baby." Another
scholar reports that "the reason Molly Jenkins didn't come was
because she hadn't no shoes."_

TEACHER. I see a few new scholars here. I will now take their names.
What name do you call yourself, sir?

J. C. SMITH. I don't call myself any names! But Nappy Jones does,
and ef he ever does it again (_doubling up his fists and threatening
the same, who returns the compliment_), I'll lick him, see ef I don't!
My name is Julius Caesar Smith, and don't you forget it.

TEACHER. How old are you, Julius Caesar?

J. C. S. I'm five years old next Christmas.

TEACHER. That will do. The next scholar.

J. CALL. I'm Jule Call, and my brother's name is Bill Call.

TEACHER. Your brother can speak for himself. It is very improper to
say "Jule" and "Bill;" you should say Julius. Now, what is your name?

J. C. Julius Call, sir.

TEACHER. Next?

B. CALL. Bilious Call, sir.

TEACHER. What, sir!

B. C. Bilious Call. (_In surprise._)

TEACHER. There is no such proper name as "Bilous." Your name is
probably William.

J. C. He's my brother Bill anyway, and ef I'm Julius he's Bilious,
ain't we?

TEACHER. Silence I want no impudence from any of my pupils. (JULIUS,
_silenced but not convinced, shakes his head and gesticulates to his
friends, all of whom show him their sympathy with his views._) What
is your name, my dear?

Z. S. Zenobia Snellings, may it please you, sir. (_Makes low courtesy._)

TEACHER. Are you a native of this place?

Z. S. Yes, sir--part of the year.

TEACHER. Part of the year! What do you mean?

Z. S. Vacations I spend with Aunt Nancy at ____. (_Supply a neighboring
town._)

(_Interruption in the shape of DANIEL WEBSTER TOMKINS, who rushes in
out of breath and trips over the threshold, upsetting lunch basket,
revealing contents._)

D. W. T. Has bell rang?

TEACHER (_severely pointing to the door_). Try that again, Daniel.

D. W. T. I got enough of it that time. Let some other feller try it.
(_Rubbing knees and elbows._)

TEACHER. Sit down, sir.

D. W. T. Wait till I pick up some of these cold wittles round here.

TEACHER (_resuming_). Next, what shall I call you?

V. M. W. Venus Matildy Weeks. I'm her sister. (_Pointing._)

TEACHER. Her name's Snellings and yours Weeks; how's that?

V. M. W. Well, we didn't used to be any relation, but we married
her mother--me and my father.

TEACHER. Oh, I see a second marriage. Who are you? (_Silence._) I mean
the boy with red hair. (_Boys nudge and girls giggle._)

C. C. F. (_rising slowly._) C-C-C-Christopher C-C-C-Colum-b-b-b-bus
F-F-Fitts. I st-st-st-stutter! (_Sitting._)

TEACHER. Ah! do you?

C. C. F. (_rising slowly_). Ye-ye-yes, sir! s-s-s-s-sometimes. (_Sitting._)

TEACHER. Next!

B. F. S. (_drawling_). My father knows you. He used ter go to school
with you. Says you and him played hookey one day and tumbled inter
the mill-pond--and--he! he! ye both got a flogging!--My name's
Benjamin Franklin Squeers, like my father's. (_Scholars titter._)

TEACHER. That will do, Benjamin Franklin. Your father evidently had
some one else in mind. The class may sing the multiplication table.
(_Class sing "Five times one are five," etc., to the tune of Yankee
Doodle._)

TEACHER. You may now all take your books and slates. The infant class
may pass out on the floor. You may look at the words on the board
and get ready to read them. (_Class forms a semicircle in front of
teacher's desk or board. Teacher writes the following on board:_)

1. Herod the tetrarch.
2. This is a worm; do not tread on it.
3. This is the heir; come, let us kill him.

FIRST BOY (_reads slowly_). He--rode--the--Don't know that word.

TEACHER. Didn't I tell you to study while I was writing?

BOY. Yes, sir. (_Crying._)

TEACHER. Then go on.

BOY. Boo-hoo! I can't read it.

TEACHER. Try it again immediately.

BOY. He (_boo-hoo!_) rode--the--tater--cart! (_Weeps profusely._)

TEACHER. Next scholar read it.

GIRL. Herod--the--the--the (_is prompted by someone_) the tetrarch.

TEACHER. Very good. Next boy, the second sentence.

BOY. This--is--a--warm--This--is--a--warm--doughnut--tread on it.

TEACHER (_presenting dunce cap_). Put that on and stand in the corner.
(_Boy scuffs to corner, where he spends his time throwing spitballs
and eating doughnuts, thrown him by pupils when the teacher is not
looking._) Next read. (_Boy steps up to ask teacher about an example._)

GIRL (_prompted by one of the boys_). Thith ith a wurrum.
Be--careful--not--to--tread--on--it (_again prompted_), or it
will bite you.

TEACHER (_to boy_). You have multiplied wrong. Let me see: five times
nine are forty-five, put down the five and carry the four, etc.
(_Class push and pull, but straighten into line when the teacher
looks up._) Next read.

BOY. This--is--the--hair--comb. Let--us--kill--him!

TEACHER. I am ashamed of you. Does c-o-m-e spell comb? (_Sends
boy with slate to his seat._) Hands up--those who can tell me what
it does spell. Well, John?

JOHN. It spells come.

TEACHER. Right. You may read it.

JOHN. This--is--the--hair. Come--let--us--kill--him. Ow-oo-oo!
(_Dancing round._)

TEACHER. Well, John! What's the matter?

JOHN. Somebody pulled my hair!

TEACHER (_severely_). Who pulled John's hair?

PUPIL. I did; I couldn't help it. (_Hanging head._)

TEACHER. Couldn't help pulling hair! That is a likely story.
You may pass to the foot.

PUPIL. No, I couldn't. I went to raise my hand and his hair was
right in the way. (_Scuffs to foot._)

TEACHER. I will try you on one more sentence, and if you cannot read
that properly you must take your seats and study. (_Writes: "Stephen
says that the girls are knitting."_) Next read.

PUPIL. Step-hen! (_Hands of class go up._)

TEACHER. Wrong! Next! (_Is interrupted by boy who wants a drink.
Two boys are appointed to get a bucket of water and pass it to
the others in tin cups._)

NEXT PUPIL. Stephen--says--that--the--girls--are--kissing.
(_Boys laugh._)

GIRL (_indignantly_). He didn't read that right!

TEACHER. Very well. You may read it.

GIRL (_still unmollified_). Stephen says that girls are kittens.

(_Teacher sends class to seats in disgrace to study their lesson._)

BOY (_in seat_). Teacher, how many is five less one?

TEACHER. Think that out yourself. If there were five crows in
Squire Green's field and you should shoot one, how many would
there be left?

BOY. Only one.

TEACHER. What? Think again.

BOY. The other four would fly off, wouldn't they?

GIRL (_raising hand_). How many scruples are there in a drachm?

TEACHER. Jonathan, tell Maria how many scruples there are in a drachm.

JONATHAN. Don't know, only that ma said as how pa took his dram
every morning without any scruples. I guess some drams don't
have no scruples.

TEACHER. Both of you refer to your tables.

GIRL (_raising hand_). Teacher, why does an elephant have a trunk?

BOY (_raising hand_). So's't he'd be an elephant, of course!

TEACHER. I will now hear the class in history. (_They pass out
to places, the boys trying to get a drink on the way._) The first
scholar may tell me something about Christopher Columbus.

FIRST GIRL. Christopher was once a little boy like me--no, I mean
he was a little girl like me--no, I don't!--well, he went to school
like me anyway. His mother's name was Geneva.

BOY. Hoh! It wasn't either. That was his father's name.

ANOTHER GIRL. Teacher, wasn't Geneva where he was born?

TEACHER. Yes, Mary, go on.

MARY. Somebody bought him a yacht or a steamer, I believe, and one
Friday he sailed over here to America and asked us if we had
been discovered yet, and we told him "No." "All right," he said,
"you have." So he took some of our Indians home with him to tell
the king that they had been discovered, and we named the United States
after him.

TEACHER. That is right in the main. One or two points I might take
exceptions to. The next may take George Washington and tell us
about him. (_Is interrupted by a boy in seat who raises his hand
and asks how many days there are in a year._) Who can tell Julius
how many days in a year?

VENUS. Three hundred and sixty-five days and a fourth.

BOY. What d'ye mean by "a fourth"?

DANIEL. Fourth of July, of course!

TEACHER. We will hear the next scholar.

PUPIL. George was born in Washington, D.C., and was named for that city.

C. C. FITTS. W-w-what d-d-does d-d-d-D.C. m-mean?

PUPIL. Down South, don't it, teacher?

TEACHER. Go on with your recitation. You ask too many questions.

PUPIL. His mother's maiden name was Miss Hatchet--and his father's
maiden name was George.

TEACHER. Next, go on.

SECOND PUPIL. When Washington wasn't fighting he lived on the top of
Mount Vernon, and his tomb is in one side of the mountain.

TEACHER. What day is celebrated as his birthday?

ALL (_eagerly_). The Twenty-second of February!

TEACHER. Why should his birthday be celebrated any more than mine?

                (_Thoughtful silence._)

GIRL (_raising hand triumphantly_). Because he never told a lie!

TEACHER. You may take your seat until you can be more respectful
to your elders.

SCHOLAR (_at back of room, or near door_). Say, teacher, there's
somebody knocking at the door. I guess it's the committee!

TEACHER. Class, toe the line! Scholars, if any one of you gets out of
order while the committee is here I'll flog you! Do you understand?

CHORUS. Yes, sir!

TEACHER. Martha Washington Hibbs, you may open the door.

    (_Enter MRS. CRANE with her son by the ear._)

MRS. CRANE. I've brought him, Mr. Snodgrass! Neow, Seth Crane,
you miserable little truant you, jest go and set deown in that
ere seat and behave yourself as ef you hed some bringing-up, or
you'll get it when you get home--and you sha'n't go out to play
for a week. Do you hear?

SETH (_boo-hooing_). 'Tain't my seat! It belongs to a gerrul!
My seat's over there.

MRS. CRANE. You go set deown, or I'll put ye deown. (SETH _sits._)
Neow, Mr. Snodgrass, I jest want you tu make my son behave, and ef
he don't, I want yeou to flog him!--not enough to hurt him, for he's
a very delicate child, and I wouldn't hev the dear boy hurt for
nothing; but easy like, just enough to make him mind. (_Wiping her eyes._)
He is a most affectionate boy--Seth, dear, go right to studying
(_to_ SETH, _who growls, "I won't"_)--and more easily led than driven.
But he's so nervous! I'm afraid he'll never live to grow up. Whenever
you see him whispering or playing in school, Mr. Snodgrass, you may
be sure it's all nervousness. He was a-goin' to play truant to-day,
because he thinks you don't like him! What a be-u-tiful school you
have--sech handsome-looking boys and girls.

TEACHER (_offering chair_). Yes, a very fine school for these parts.
Won't you be seated?

MRS. CRANE. Mercy sakes alive! no. My punkin pies'll be burned
to cinders, all on account o' that vagabond a-settin' there and
grinnin' (_shaking a warning finger at him_)--ef I don't give you a
walloping when you get hum!--Call reound, Mr. Snodgrass, and git some
o' eour new apple juice. Jeremiah'll be glad tu hev ye. Good-mornin'.

TEACHER. I thank you, ma'am. I will with pleasure. Good-morning.

(_Exit_ MRS. CRANE, _with a card reading_ "BACK SHORTLY" _pinned on
her back by some mischievous scholar._)

BOY (_in seat_). What does c-u-t-i-c-l-e mean?

TEACHER. What have you all over your hands and face?

BOY. Freckles.

TEACHER. Well, that is not what I was thinking of Christopher!

C. C. FITTS. I g-g-guess it's d-d-dirt!

TEACHER. There's a dictionary somewhere in the schoolhouse. You may
hunt it up and look for that word. (_The two boys, appearing tired
and discouraged, start on their quest, looking in the most unlikely
places, even on the nails where pupils' garments are hung. The quest
should be a quiet one, the fun lying in its utter hopelessness._)

BOY (_in seat_). I don't understand this question. (_Reads._) A milkman
spilled a pint of milk out of an eight-gallon can, how much milk
was left?

SECOND BOY (_in seat_). Hoh! that's easy. There wasn't none left.

TEACHER. Explain.

SECOND BOY. 'Cause the rest was water.

TEACHER (_resuming_). The next may tell me about some Bible character.
Who was Esau?

PUPIL. Esau lived six hundred years before Christ. He wrote fables
for a living, and sold the copyright of them for a bottle of potash.

GIRL (_raising hand_). I thought it was Æsop that wrote fables.

BOY (_raising hand_). And didn't Esau sell his _birthright_, or was
it _copyright_?

BOY (_in seat, raising hand_). It says in my book that some of the
stars are bigger'n the earth; 'tain't true, is it?

TEACHER. Certainly. Why not?

BOY. 'Cause why don't they keep the rain off, then?

C. C. FITTS. 'C-c-cause they're round and the r-r-r-rain s-s-slides
off onto us!

                 (_Other hands are raised._)

GIRL. What's the capital of Turkey?

TEACHER. Can you answer that, John?

JOHN (_who has been inattentive_). It hasn't any capital. Pa says
it's bankrupt.

BOY. If you multiply forty-two apples by six pounds of beef the
answer'll be mince pies, won't it?

TEACHER (_to scholars in seats_). Class, can two concrete numbers
be multiplied together?

CHORUS. No, sir!

BOY. I don't see anything concrete about apples, or beef either.

GIRL. Does the Isthmus of Panama connect the north and south pole?

TEACHER. Look at your map and see.

GIRL. Does s-l-o-u-g-h spell slough?

TEACHER. Yes.

GIRL. Then c-o-u-g-h spells cow, doesn't it?

TEACHER. No, that spells cough.

GIRL. B-o-u-g-h spells buff, then, and p-l-o-u-g-h, pluff?

TEACHER. No, bough and plough are the words you have spelled.

GIRL. Then does d-o-u-g-h spell dow, or duff, or doff?

TEACHER. It spells neither; your last word is dough.

GIRL. Is r-o-u-g-h row, or row, or roff? [o as in mow, o as in how]

TEACHER. None of them. It is rough.

GIRL (_in despair_). Well, how can you tell?

SCHOLAR (_near door_). Teacher, I just seen the committee, Squire Small,
coming down the hill past Squire Green's barn. (_Laughing._) He tried to
jump the wall and tumbled over it. I guess his rheumatiz caught him.

TEACHER (_hastily_). This class may take their seats. (_Rap at door._)
All who are out of their seats may return to them. Remember what I
said about disorder. Heads erect. Remember your manners. Maria
Sophrony, the door. (_Enter_ COMMITTEE-MAN; _all rise._)

CHORUS (_drawling_). Good-morning--Mr. Committee-man!

COM. Good-mornin', boys and gals! Good-mornin', Mr. Snodgrass.
(_Shakes hands._) Thought I'd jest drap in to examine ye, bein' the
deestrict committee, an' see how the edification was gettin' on.
I spose ye hev 'ritin' an' riffentick an' readin' every day?

(_A boy begins to draw a caricature of the visitor on black board
at back._)

TEACHER. Oh, yes, yes, every day,--that is, we shall after we get
fully started; but it's rather early in the term to examine, isn't it?

COM. No!--no!--an' histery, an' filoserpy, an' quotations, an'
flirtations, an' kerdrilles, an' all them things.

TEACHER. Yes, yes; that is, most of them.

COM. (_severely_). Most on 'em, Mr. Snodgrass? Don't ye hev 'em all?

TEACHER. Oh, yes! all you would approve of.

COM. Wal, s'pose ye call out a class and let me examine 'em.
(_Takes off coat and seats himself, placing his hat on floor._)

TEACHER. What will you have, geography or spelling?

COM. Wal, yeou jest hand me a spellin'-book an' I'll put 'em
through a course o' sprouts on that.

TEACHER. First class in spelling, rise and take places. (_A general
scramble for places._)

FIRST PUPIL. Teacher, I'm head. I got above him yesterday.

SECOND PUPIL. He didn't. I spelled _catalepsy_ first and got
above him. (_Trying to pass._)

TEACHER. Thomas Henry, take the head; the other two may go to
the foot. (_Both go down and scramble for the foot._)

THIRD PUPIL. Thomas Henry pinched me.

TEACHER. He may go to the foot also.

THIRD PUPIL (_dancing on one foot, holding the other in his hands_).
Ow! he trod on my foot.

THOMAS HENRY. He shouldn't have such big feet. I couldn't stop
to go round.

TEACHER. Thomas Henry, you may stop after school and I'll remind
you of a little promise I made a while ago. (ONE _and_ TWO _rejoice
in dumb show over_ THOMAS HENRY'S _downfall._) Julius, stand erect.
Mary, take that gum out of your mouth. Bring that apple to me.
All, toe the line. Attention!

COM. Neow, scholars, there is one thing I'm very pertickler 'bout,
and that is _pronouncé_-ation. I want every one on ye tu be keerful
on that one p'int. The fust word is _charitable_.

HEAD PUPIL (_slowly_). C-h-a-i-r, _char_--i-t, _it_--charit--t-a,
_ta_--_charita_--b-u-l, _ble_--_charitable_.

COM. (_examining book closely_). Wrong! Next!

SECOND PUPIL (_with spirit_). C-h-a-i-r spells _chair_, and t-a-b-l-e
spells _table_, and i-t spells _it_; therefore, c-h-a-i-r-i-t-t-a-b-l-e
spells _charitable_.

COM. (_doubtfully_). Wal, that's putty straight reasonin', an' I
reckon you're right, though 'tain't jest like the book. Take your
place. Next, _merlasses_.

THIRD PUPIL. M-e-r, _mer_.

FOURTH PUPIL (_raising hand_). 'Tain't _mer_lasses; it's _mo_lasses.

COM. (_examining book_). I reckon I've seen more merlasses than you
ever seen an' oughter know what it is by this time. _Mer_lasses,
I said, an' merlasses it shall be.

THIRD PUPIL. Please, sir, I can't spell it.

COM. Why not?

THIRD PUPIL. I ain't got no book.

COM. Where is your book?

THIRD PUPIL. I dropped it into a mud-puddle on the way to school,
and the lesson come out.

COM. Next.

FOURTH PUPIL. M-o-l-a-s-s-e-s, molasses.

COM. That don't sound jest right, but you've got the book on your
side, so I s'pose it's all right. Take yer place! (NUMBER FOUR _is
tripped by_ NUMBER THREE.) Neow I'd like tu see a leetle writin'.
The next may take the word "_squanders_" and put it in a sentence
on the blackboard.

(NUMBER FIVE _writes in a legible schoolboy hand, "The boy squanders
round a good deal."_ FIFTH PUPIL _reads what he has written._)

COM. Very good. The next may take "_cornice_" in the same way.
(_After a good deal of erasing he writes: "I will meat you on
the cornice."_ SIXTH PUPIL _reads what he has written._)

COM. The next ken take "_lionized_," and the next "_spinster_."

SEVENTH PUPIL (_writes and reads_). "Daniel was lionized in the
lions' den."

EIGHTH PUPIL (_writes and reads_). "Seth Crane is a spinster."

COM. Wall, I hed an idee that a spinster was allus a woman.
(_Scratching his head._)

EIGHTH PUPIL. My book says that _er_ means _one_ _who_, and anyway
_baker_ means one who bakes, and _builder_ means one who builds--and--

FIRST PUPIL. Does Quaker mean one who quakes?

COM. That ain't to the p'int, as I ken see!

EIGHTH PUPIL. Well, a spinster is one who spins, ain't it?

COM. Mebbe, mebbe! But heow ken ye say that of Seth Crane, that
never did a useful thing in his life?

EIGHTH PUPIL. I should think that any fellar that spins a top
'ud be a spinster.

COM. Wal, you've got me there, youngster. I reckon ye're right.
Next, tell me the meaning of excruciating.

GIRL (_glibly_).  Excruciating means that natural and peculiar
prohibition of undulatory and molecular attraction which encompasses
the plausibility of capillary promulgation and gelatinous hyperbole,
while giving an enallage of paradigms.

COM. That's a likely gal. You'll make a good housekeeper one of
these days. Ef my wife hed sech a mem'ry as that, I shouldn't carry
her letters in my pocket tu weeks before mailin' 'em.

SAME PUPIL. Yes, sir; thank you, sir. But I don't quite understand
what it means by "encompassing the plausibility of capillary
promulgation"!

COM. Oh--ahem!--that is very simple--ahem! ahem! in fact it is
simplicity itself. It means--it means--well, I don't want to
overtax your young brain, my dear, so I will not explain now;
but one of these days, when you are as wise as me and your teacher,
you will understand all these profound thoughts. Hain't that so,
Mr. Snodgrass? Next, _terbacker_.

SEVENTH PUPIL. T-e-r, _ter_--b-a-c-k, _back_--_terback_--k-e-r,
_ker_--_terbacker_. A poisonous leaf with niggertine in it; and ef the
niggertine gets into the cistern, it'll kill a man quicker'n a dog.

FIRST PUPIL. I don't believe it's a poison. My brother smokes and
he ain't dead; 'nd my father's fifty years old 'nd he's smoked for
most forty years 'nd he ain't dead yet.

FOURTH PUPIL. Pooh! That's nothing. Ef your father hedn't smoked,
he mighter been a hundred by this time.

EIGHTH PUPIL. My grandfather's ninety years old and he's smoked too!

FOURTH PUPIL. Well, and ef _my_ grandfather was alive he'd be a
hundred and fifty years old! So that don't prove nothing.

THIRD PUPIL. Tobacco ain't no poisoner nor pickles, anyhow. (_Groan
from the girls._) I went into the store t'other day to get some
pickles for ma, and a feller--he was one o' them city chaps that
sells things--and he said, "You ain't going to eat them sour green
things, are you?" and I said, "No, I hain't; why?" And he told me
of a girl seventeen years old who eat pickuls and died! (_Horrified
look on girls' faces._) And they opened her stummick and them pickuls
had turned everything in it tu glass!! (_Confusion and whispering
among the girls. They indignantly shake their heads and say, "I don't
believe it," etc., etc._)

COM. Order! (_Pounding table._) Order! The next may explain "_phenomena_."

GIRL (_glibly_). Phenomena is that immaculate preponderance of
preternatural possibility as to make an exaggerated conception
of auxiliary precedents, and oleaginous metamorphosis into an
indivisible synthetical analysis.

COM. That's putty good. You hev exceeded my suspicions and I am
disguised that yu should du so well. This is the most supernatural
class I ever seen. Mr. Snodgrass, I congratterlate you on sech
ambiguous pupils. Gee there now and take yer seats. (_Class pass
to seats._) Neow yeou ain't got no little song you can sing, hev ye?

CHORUS. Yes, yes, our Motion Song!

COM. Wal, I wouldn't mind hearing it, Mr. Snodgrass, ef it's conwenient.

TEACHER. You may all put away your books.

BOY (_laughing_). He! he! he!

TEACHER. Robert, stand! Explain what you were laughing at.

ROBERT (_half laughing and half crying_). Nappy Jones says that Seth
Green's striped stockings make him look like a barber's pole!

COM. (_laughing_). Wal, he's only a leetle shaver, anyhow! Ain't
that so, Seth?

SETH. Yes sir! (_Doubling up fists and threatening_ N. JONES.) You
jest wait till I ketch you after school! (_Said in an undertone._)

TEACHER. Robert, go out in the shed and chop to-morrow's wood.
I'll excuse you the rest of the morning. (_Exit_ ROBERT.)

SETH. Teacher, can I help him?

TEACHER. Yes. (_Exit_ SETH, _who grimaces at_ JONES _as he goes out._)

(_The_ TEACHER _now takes tuning-fork and gives the pitch. The new
scholars, without creating any disturbance, can make ludicrous
attempts to take the movements with the others. As the singing
begins the_ COMMITTEE-MAN _rises, whereupon a boy immediately takes
his hat from the floor and puts it in the chair he has just vacated._)

                      RECREATION SONG.

TUNE.--"When Johnny comes marching home again."--

MOTIONS. (1.) School rise and stand erect. (2.) Raise hands ready
to strike. (3.) Clap hands in correct time. (4.) Turn round twice
while repeating this line. (5.) Tread, left and right foot.
(6.) Right arm across waist, left at side. (7.) Touch right hand
to forehead, like military salute. (8.) Keep marching time with feet.
(9.) Raise hands, palms out, spread fingers. (10.) Hands on hips,
elbows out, look sideways at each other. (11.) Make a low bow.
(12.) Hop lightly on each foot. (13.) Let arms hang and swing.
(14.) Fold arms, grow sleepy. (15.) Drop heads. (16.) Glide into
seats, sing slowly and softly, nodding heads, and diminishing tone
gradually to last note, finally resting arms on the desks and
supporting heads asleep. After a moment of dead silence, teacher
may strike bell suddenly, when all must raise heads (17.) and hands
as if frightened and go on (all seated). (18.) Rub eyes with knuckles.
(19.) Take books hurriedly. (20.) Turn leaves quickly with thumbs.
(21.) Throw heads from side to side with careless good-nature. The
last line of every verse should be repeated.

         (1.) With shoulders erect and toes turned out,
                      Hurrah! Hurrah!
               Now let us in unison gayly shout,
                      Hurrah! Hurrah!
         (2.) With hands upraised as we sing the rhyme,
         (3.) We strike them together to keep the time,
||: (4.) And we'll wheel quite round while singing our motion song. :||

         (5.) Now left and right we'll march along,
                      Hurrah! Hurrah!
              We fill the air with our merry song,
                      Hurrah! Hurrah!
         (6.) We carry our muskets like heroes of old,
         (7.) Saluting our captain so brave and so bold,
||: (8.) And we march, march, march while singing our motion song. :||

         (9.) Our fingers and thumbs are eight and two,
                      Hurrah! Hurrah!
              There's plenty of work for them to do,
                      Hurrah! Hurrah!
         (10.) With elbows akimbo and looks so shy,
         (11.) We bow to our partners so gracefully,
||: (12.) And we hop and dance while singing our motion song.:||

         (13.) As back and forth our arms we throw,
                      Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho!
               It's pretty hard work now, you may know,
                      Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho!
         (14.) For trying our best our eyes open to keep,
         (15.) We drop all our heads as if going to sleep,
||: (16.) And we nod, nod, nod, while singing our motion song.:||

         (17.) What terrible noise is that we hear?
                      Dear me! Dear me!
         (18.) We've all been snoozing, that's quite clear.
                      Dear me! Dear me!
         (19.) So let us take books and be ready for work,
         (20.) For we are not willing our lessons to shirk,
||: (21.) Though it's jolly good fun, when singing our motion song.: ||

COM. Very good, children, very good. Yew hev a very well behaved
school, Mr. Snodgrass. (_Sits down on his hat, crushing it all out
of shape. Pupils all laugh._ COM. _picks it up and points at it
indignantly. TEACHER apologizes in pantomime._ COM. _resentfully turns
and starts to set it on the stove, but burns himself in so doing.
Pupils laugh._ COM. _shakes his fist at them and exit[s] angrily._)

BOY (_raising hand_). Teacher, Matildy Weeks keeps laughing at me.

TEACHER. You shouldn't look at her, then.

BOY. She'll laugh to some other feller ef I don't. (_Grins._)

(GIRL _near_ CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS FITTS _laughs aloud._)

TEACHER. Mehitable, was that you laughed?

MEHIT. Yes, sir. I couldn't help it. (_Laughs._) Christopher Columbus
asked me if I loved carrots. (_All look at_ C. C., _who is vainly
trying to hide an immense carrot by putting it in his pocket._)

TEACHER. Bring that this way, sir.

C. C. F. (_presenting the carrot_). Y-y-you c-c-c-can h-h-have it!
I d-d-d-don't want it!

TEACHER. I think the best punishment I can give you, Christopher,
for your disobedience is to make you eat it before the class.

CHRIS. (_in dismay_). I d-d-didn't b-b-b-b-b-bring it t-t-to eat
m-m-myself. The d-d-doctor s-s-s-said I m-mustn't eat one more
c-c-c-c-carrot. If I d-d-did I would d-d-die! I d-d-don't want
to d-d-die! (_Crying._)

TEACHER. I'll let you off on one condition, and that is that you'll
bring a cabbage to-morrow morning to go with it.

CHRIS. Y-yes, s-sir. I'll bring t-t-t-two! (_Is sent to seat, rejoicing._)

BOY. Is Squire Small's cane a piece of the North Pole?

TEACHER. Joseph, when will you ever learn anything? If you studied
your lessons you never would ask such a question.

JOSEPH. I didn't see nothing 'bout Squire Small's cane in my book.

TEACHER. I told you to prepare a composition for to-day. How many
are ready? (_No response for a second; then boy near_ JONES _points
at him and says, "Nappy Jones has."_ JONES _shakes his head and
pretends that he hasn't, until called out by the teacher, when
he produces from his pocket a strip of paper about two yards long
which he proceeds to unroll. The top is tied with a strip of
bright-colored calico in imitation of graduation essays. He makes
an awkward bow to the audience and reads:_)

                    COMPOSITION ON BOYS.

(I didn't want ter write this compersition, but pa said I must
'cause he wants me ter be a lawyer one of these days. This is a
hard world fur boys, anyway. It doesn't make no diffrunce what a
boy does or says, he's sure ter get inter trouble.)

'Tain't so with girls. Everything girls does is right. I wish't
I was a girl. I'm the only boy in our family, 'nd it's a awful
responsibility to be the only boy. I've got three sisters, but
they're all girls. Sis and Tom Golder took me to the city t'other day,
and we took our dinner at a bang-up hotel, I tell you. When the
waiter arsked me ef I'd hev the bill of fare I said, "Thank you,"
jest as perlite as I knew how, but it made Sis mad b'cause I told him
"Only a little piece, please." How'd I know what it was, when they
hev sech outlandish names fur things! Tom larfed and larfed; but
I told the waiter he mustn't mind him; he was my sister's feller,
and I guessed he warn't used ter city ways; but he was all right
and as rich as a Jew. Everybody but Sis at that was hotel seemed
good-natured. The waiter was orful jolly, too. I pointed out to him
a sickly-looking chap--Tom said he was a dude--at an opposite table
and told him that dude was eating the bouquet, and how that
feller larft! He said it was only celery, and wouldn't I like some,
but I told him, "No, thank you, I'd ruther hev my greens cooked."
On the way home Sis took off her hat and put it on the seat in
front of her, without saying anything to me about it. Ov course when
I sot down that hat was right under me and feather 'nd all was jambed
flatter'n a pancake. Tom larfed, but Sis didn't. He said he guessed
I thort I was a-sittin' on the style. When I got home I felt's if
I'd been a-settin' on a hornet's nest. Pa's the most onreasonable
man I ever seen! He told me one day not ter pick another flower
outer the garding without leave; so next time I was jest as keerful
as I could be 'nd picked 'em all _with_ leaves. Perhaps you won't
believe it, but I got a thrashing fur that. Then one dark night,
as pa and me went out ter the barn, pa run against a post, and he
said he wished that darned post was in the lower regions; but I told
him he'd better not wish it there, fur he might run into it again.
But what's the use o' trying to help your relations? I hed to go to
bed a week right after supper, jest fur that. But I'd ruther do
that than hev ma talk to me, she's so orful sober about it.
She finished up a long talk last Sunday night with, "I hev tried
to give you every advantage, Napoleon, and this is how you treat me;"
and I said, "Of course I wouldn't take advantage of my ma,"
'nd I vum ef she didn't tell pa of that. It's orful discouraging
to be a boy. I sha'n't try very much longer. I shall be glad when
I'm a lawyer, 'cause then I can be as wicked as I want to.
(_Bows and returns to seat._)

(_School then sings "Auld Lang Syne," and having been dismissed
by_ TEACHER, _exeunt with characteristic noise._)

                         CURTAIN.





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