Page:Letters of Life.djvu/72

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were of all the appliances of modern luxury. Remnants of a barbarous age they might doubtless now be styled. Nevertheless, they subserved the purposes of knowledge and of discipline. We had seen nothing better, and were content. The teacher is of more consequence than the temple. Gratified as I am that the progress in taste and comfort should embrace the structures allotted to education, I still look back to the lowly ones of my own nurture with associations of loving thought.

The master of this endowed school was somewhat stricken in years, and had held his office from early manhood, it being sufficiently lucrative for a life concern. He was a thorough scholar, and austere. Not being addicted to social pleasures, he was considerably past his prime before he entered the marriage relation, and he still retained the temperament of a recluse. Never having had opportunity to wreathe his features into a smile for a babe of his own, they were not often moved to that form by the children of others. Indeed, according to the system of Rochefoucault, he seemed to take it for granted that every boy was a rogue, until proved to the contrary. Neither was slight proof sufficient to overcome his skepticism. He was of a tall, spare form, with a keen, black eye. Every one in school could imitate his frown, his measured gait, and precision of speech.

"Boy, I shall be compelled to punish you severely,