Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/23

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21
SCHOOL DAYS.

life of the family, of his dream father we hear little. He describes himself as standing by his mother's knee in an oval-shaped room, an upper room of a strangely-shaped house. Not strange in shape to the child, but to the man. Her hand is toying with, his curls and she is saying—"My dear boy is now two years old and has therefore reached the age of moral responsibility. He is no longer an infant, but a child who understands many things and knows when he is doing right. He can always appeal to mother for counsel and help; but he is now accounted as responsible to his own conscience and to the Giver of all Good for his actions. So far my boy's life has been all happiness and pleasure; he has not known that wrong is possible, nor that there are such things as temptation and sin. His life will probably be spent amongst good people who are devoid of pride and envy, but temptation of some kind is sure to arise and my boy will have to do right under all circumstances. As he is two years of age my boy must begin his educational course also. This will begin to-morrow.

"Did you go to school when you were two, mother?"

"Yes, I did."

"And how old are you now, mother?"

"I am nearly fourteen. There, now, my boy can go and play with Emma for a little while, and he will join Hildreth's class tomorrow."

This is the first mention of his sister Emma, who is at this period half his age. He mentions no older child, so he must have been the first born in dreamland.


CHAPTER V.


School Days.

WHEN mother told me that I had to join Hildreth'a class she did not threaten me. Hildreth is a teacher of infants, and she makes all infants who come to her desire to do so. I had had many a game of romps with her, and she had entirely won my young heart. About twenty of us next morning met in Hildreth's class room. Not more than twenty-five pupils were allowed to any teacher, and I found out that there were many teachers who, like Hildreth, had the affection of every child present.

Our lessons were mostly a series of easy movements—marching and singing. We threw hoops with pairs of sticks and caught other hoops with the same sticks. We played with balls, and we taught each other to build houses. Hildreth played music for us, and showed us how to move in musical time.

Each child had a recess with shelves, upon which it kept its tools and toys. I had to learn now to get mine and put them all in their places when done with. We were kept under control all morning, and yet were only