Society exists for the purpose of doing justice to its members, and society had not begun to pay its debt to that youthful member whose lot had been cast in Calvary Alley. One Saturday afternoon in the early spring of Nance's fourth year at Forest Home, Miss Stanley stood in the school-house door, reading a letter.
To my utter amaze he dropped to the ground with a throttled kind of cry as if some one had smitten him unawares. Here was surely something that I did not understand. "Boyd, Boyd," I said in his ear, for I began to grow a little concerned myself not terrified, you know, only anxious "Boyd, it is only Duncan Duncan MacAlpine from the school-house."
They'd find him on the ground nex' morning, and he lowed the master war made of that air sort of stuff as would burn the dog-on'd ole school-house to ashes, or blow it into splinters, but what he'd beat. Howsumdever he'd said he was a-goin' to help, and help he would; but all the sinno in Golier wouldn't be no account again the cute they was in the head of the master."
And the poor Jews, who were carried away captive to Babylon? Yes; they would not listen to Lady Why, and so they were taken in hand by Madam How, and were seventy years in her terrible school-house, learning a lesson which, to do them justice, they never forgot again. But now we will talk of something pleasanter. We will go back to Lady Why, and listen to her voice.
Forsythe, it is true, tried to make her go home with them; tried to escort her to the Tanners'; tried to remain in the school-house with her awhile when she told him she had something to do there; but she would not let him, and he rode away half sulky at the last, a look of injured pride upon his face. Margaret went to the door finally, and looked down the road. He was gone, and she was alone.
Henninger and Smith, two of the three Mormon men living in the village, were standing before the closed door of the school-house. A tigerish feeling thrilled Shefford when he saw them on guard there. Shefford purposely avoided looking at Fay's cabin as long as he could keep from it.
He thought Tenie wuz crazy, en dey wa'n't no tellin' w'at she mout do nex'; en dey ain' much room in dis worl' fer crazy w'ite folks, let 'lone a crazy nigger. "Hit wa'n't long atter dat befo' Mars Marrabo sole a piece er his track er lan' ter Mars Dugal' McAdoo, MY ole marster, en dat's how de ole school-house happen to be on yo' place.
In this way a vigorous township government tends to grow up about the school-house as a nucleus, somewhat as in early New England it grew up about the church. When the western country was first settled, representative county government prevailed almost everywhere.
If I asked her some questions between the hill and Windyghoul you must not blame me, for this was my affair as well as theirs. She did not answer me; I know now that she did not hear me. But at the mud house she looked abruptly into my face, and said "You love him, too!" I trudged to the school-house with these words for company, and it was less her discovery than her confession that tortured me.
A joyous family had lived in the little village school-house; though they had poverty and want to fight against, these three happy human beings did not consider this a misfortune, but a necessary evil of life.