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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesA Little Mother To The Others - Chapter 11. Jog'aphy
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A Little Mother To The Others - Chapter 11. Jog'aphy Post by :gademir Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :3214

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A Little Mother To The Others - Chapter 11. Jog'aphy


The next day lessons began with a vengeance. It was one thing for the four Delaney children to work with Miss Stevenson at the old Manor House. Lessons in mother's time were rather pleasant than otherwise; as often as not they were conducted in the garden, and when the day happened to be very hot, and the little people somewhat impatient of restraint, Miss Stevenson gave them a certain amount of liberty; but lessons at the Rectory were an altogether different matter. Miss Ramsay, when she awoke the next day, had seemed emphatically to have put on all her armor. During the holiday, neither Orion nor Diana, neither Apollo nor Iris, thought Miss Ramsay of any special account. They stared a good deal at Uncle Dolman, and they watched Aunt Jane with anxious eyes, but Miss Ramsay did not matter, one way or the other. The next day, however, they came to have a totally different opinion with regard to her.

At breakfast, on the following morning, whenever Diana opened her rosebud lips, she was told that she must not speak unless she could do so in the French tongue. Now, all that Diana could manage to say in French was 'Oui' and 'Non,' nor was she very certain when to say either of these very simple words. She hated being silent, for she was a very talkative, cheery little body, except when she was angry. Accordingly, the meal was a depressing one, and Diana began to yawn and to look wearily out on the sunshiny garden before it was half-finished. But, of course, there was no play in the garden for any of the children that morning. Immediately after breakfast they all went up to the schoolroom. Now, the schoolroom was a very pleasant room, nicely and suitably furnished, but in summer it was hot, and on very sunshiny days it was painfully hot; its single large bay window faced due south, and the sun poured in relentlessly all during the hours of morning school. Miss Ramsay, seated at the head of the baize-covered table with her spectacles on, looked decidedly formidable, and each of the children gazed at their governess with anxious eyes. Mary and Lucy were always good little girls, but Philip and Conrad were as idle as boys could possibly be, and did their utmost to evade Miss Ramsay's endeavors to instill learning into their small heads. Orion sat between his two little boy cousins, but for some reason or other Orion did not look well that morning. His little face, not unlike Diana's in appearance, was bloated, his eyes were heavy, he had scarcely touched his breakfast, and he earnestly, most earnestly longed to get out of the hot schoolroom.

Miss Ramsay, when all the little people were seated round her, knocked sharply on the table with her ruler, and proceeded to make a speech. "My dear old pupils," she said, looking at the five little Dolmans as she spoke, "on account of your cousins, who, I fear, are ignorant little children, I mean on this occasion to speak to you in the English tongue. I have now got nine pupils to instruct, and nine pupils are a great many for one person to teach. Your mother, however, has promised that the master from the village shall come up to instruct you all in arithmetic, and your French master and your music master will, of course, attend here as usual. I trust, therefore, that by more attention on the part of my pupils I may be able to continue the heavy task which I have undertaken. What I want to impress upon you children"--here she turned abruptly to the little Delaneys--"is that lessons are lessons, and play is play. During lesson-time I allow _no wandering thoughts, I allow no attempts at shirking your duties. The tasks I set you will be carefully chosen according to your different abilities, and I can assure you beforehand that learned they must be. If I find that they are not carefully prepared I shall punish you. By being attentive, by making the best of your time, you can easily get through the lessons appointed you, and then when they are over I hope you will thoroughly enjoy your time of play. Now, all of you sit quiet. We will begin with a lesson from English history."

Miss Ramsay then began to lecture in her usual style. She was really an excellent teacher, and Iris found what she said very interesting. She began to tell about the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and she made that time quite live to the intelligent little girl. But Apollo had not nearly come to the reign of Elizabeth in his English history. He, consequently, could not follow the story, and soon began to look out of the window, and to count the flies which were buzzing in the hot sunshine on the window-panes. When Miss Ramsay addressed a sudden question to him he was unable to reply. She passed it on to Ann, who instantly gave the correct answer. But Apollo felt himself to be in his governess' black books. As this was the first morning of lessons, she was not going to be severe, and, telling the little boy to take his history away to another table, desired him to read it all carefully through.

"I will question you to-morrow about what I told you to-day," she said. "Now, remember, you must tell me the whole story of the Spanish Armada to-morrow."

"But I have not gone farther than the reign of John," said Apollo.

"Don't answer me, Apollo," said Miss Ramsay; "you are to read this part of your history book. Now, sit with your back to the others and begin."

Apollo shrugged his shoulders. For a short time he made an effort to read his dull history, but then once again his eyes sought the sunshine and the flies on the window panes.

Meanwhile Diana, Orion, and the two little Dolman boys were in a class by themselves, busily engaged over a geography lesson.

Diana had not the smallest wish to become acquainted with any portion of the globe where she was not herself residing. Her thoughts were all full of the bow and arrow which Apollo had carefully hidden in a little dell at the entrance of the wood, on the previous night. She was wondering when she could run off to secure the prize, and when she would have an opportunity of punishing her enemies. She began to think that it would be really necessary to give Miss Ramsay a prick with the fatal arrow. Miss Ramsay was turning out to be most disagreeable.

Meanwhile, the heat of the room, and a curious giddy sensation in her head, caused it to sink lower and lower, until finally it rested on her book, and little Diana was off in the land of dreams.

A sharp tap on her shoulders roused her with a start. Miss Ramsay was standing over her, looking very angry.

"Come, Diana! this will never do," she cried. "How dare you go to sleep! Do you know your geography?"

"P'ease, I doesn't know what jog-aphy is," said Diana.

"What a very naughty little girl you are! Have not I been taking pains to explain it all to you? You will have to stay in the schoolroom when lessons are over for quite five minutes. Now, stand up on your chair, hold your book in your hands, don't look out of the window, keep your eyes fixed on your book, and then you will soon learn what is required of you."

Diana obeyed this mandate with a very grave face.

In about ten minutes Miss Ramsay called her to her side.

"Well, do you know your lesson?" she asked.

"Kite perfect," replied Diana.

"Well, let me hear you. What is the capital of England?"

"Dublin Bay," replied Diana, with avidity.

"You are a very naughty child. How can you tell me you know your lesson? See, I will ask you one more question. What is the capital of Scotland?"

"Ireland," answered Diana, in an earnest voice.

Miss Ramsay shut the book with a bang. Diana looked calmly at her.

"I thought I knew it," she said. "I's sossy. I don't think I care to go on learning jog-aphy; it don't suit me." She stretched herself, gave utterance to a big yawn, and half turned her back on her teacher. "You is getting in temper," she continued, "and that isn't wight; I don't care to learn jog-aphy."

What serious consequences might not have arisen at that moment it is hard to tell, had not Orion caused a sudden diversion. He fell off his chair in a heap on the floor.

Iris sprang from her seat and ran to the rescue.

"I'm drefful sick," said Orion; "I think it was the lollipops and ginger-beer. Please let me go to bed."

"Lollipops and ginger-beer!" cried Miss Ramsay in alarm. "What does the child mean?"

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