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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Hoosier Schoolboy - Chapter 13. Professor Susan
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The Hoosier Schoolboy - Chapter 13. Professor Susan Post by :kdwashere Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Eggleston Date :May 2012 Read :1072

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The Hoosier Schoolboy - Chapter 13. Professor Susan


Mr. Ball did not let go easily. He had been engaged for the term, and he declared that he would go on to the end of the term, if there should be nothing but empty benches. In truth, he and his partisans hoped that the storm would blow over and the old man be allowed to go on teaching and thrashing as heretofore. He had a great advantage in that he had been trained in all the common branches better than most masters, and was regarded as a miracle of skill in arithmetical calculations. He even knew how to survey land.

Jack was much disappointed to miss his winter's schooling, and there was no probability that he would be able to attend school again. He went on as best he could at home, but he stuck fast on some difficult problems in the middle of the arithmetic. Columbus had by this time begun to recover his slender health, and he was even able to walk over to Jack's house occasionally. Finding Jack in despair over some of his "sums," he said:

"Why don't you ask Susan Lanham to show you? I believe she would; and she has been clean through the arithmetic, and she is 'most as good as the master himself."

"I don't like to," said Jack. "She wouldn't want to take the trouble."

But the next morning Christopher Columbus managed to creep over to the Lanhams:

"Cousin Sukey," he said, coaxingly, "I wish you'd do something for me. I want to ask a favor of you."

"What is it, Columbus?" said Sue. "Anything you ask shall be given, to the half of my kingdom!" and she struck an attitude, as Isabella of Castile, addressing the great Columbus, with the dust-brush for a sceptre, and the towel, which she had pinned about her head, for a crown.

"You are so funny," he said, with a faint smile. "But I wish you'd be sober a minute."

"Haven't had but one cup of coffee this morning. But what do you want?"


"Oh, yes, it's always Jack with you. But that's right--Jack deserves it."

"Jack can't do his sums, and he won't ask you to help him."

"And so he got you to ask?"

"No, he didn't. He wouldn't let me, if he knew. He thinks a young lady like you wouldn't want to take the trouble to help him."

"Do you tell that stupid Jack, that if he doesn't want to offend me so that I'll never, never forgive him, he is to bring his slate and pencil over here after supper this evening. And you'll come, too, with your geography. Yours truly, Susan Lanham, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Science in the Greenbank Independent and Miscellaneous Academy. Do you hear?"

"All right." And Columbus, smiling faintly, went off to tell Jack the good news. That evening Susan had, besides her own brother and two sisters, two pupils who learned more arithmetic than they would have gotten in the same time from Mr. Ball, though she did keep them laughing at her drollery. The next evening, little Joanna Merwin joined the party, and Professor Susan felt quite proud of her "academy," as she called it.

Bob Holliday caught the infection, and went to studying at home. As he was not so far advanced as Jack, he contented himself with asking Jack's help when he was in trouble. At length, he had a difficulty that Jack could not solve.

"Why don't you take that to the professor?" asked Jack. "I'll ask her to show you."

"I dursn't," said Bob, with a frightened look.

"Nonsense!" said Jack.

That evening, when the lessons were ended, Jack said:

"Professor Susan, there was a story in the old First Reader we had in the first school that I went to, about a dog who had a lame foot. A doctor cured his foot, and some time after, the patient brought another lame dog to the doctor, and showed by signs that he wanted this other dog cured, too."

"That's rather a good dog-story," said Susan. "But what made you think of it?"

"Because I'm that first dog."

"You are?"

"Yes. You've helped me, but there's Bob Holliday. I've been helping him, but he's got to a place where I don't quite understand the thing myself. Now Bob wouldn't dare ask you to help him----"

"Bring him along. How the Greenbank Academy grows!" laughed Susan, turning to her father.

Bob was afraid of Susan at first--his large fingers trembled so much that he had trouble to use his slate-pencil. But by the third evening his shyness had worn off, so that he got on well.

One evening, after a week of attendance, he was missing. The next morning he came to Jack's house with his face scratched and his eye bruised.

"What's the matter?" asked Jack.

"Well, you see, yesterday I was at the school-house at noon, and Pewee, egged on by Riley, said something he oughtn't to, about Susan, and I couldn't stand there and hear that girl made fun of, and so I up and downed him, and made him take it back. I can't go till my face looks better, you know, for I wouldn't want her to know anything about it."

But the professor heard all about it from Joanna, who had it from one of the school-boys. Susan sent Columbus to tell Bob that she knew all about it, and that he must come back to school.

"So you've been fighting, have you?" she said, severely, when Bob appeared. The poor fellow was glad she took that tone--if she had thanked him he wouldn't have been able to reply.


"Well, don't you do it any more. It's very wrong to fight. It makes boys brutal. A girl with ability enough to teach the Greenbank Academy can take care of herself, and she doesn't want her scholars to fight."

"All right," said Bob. "But," he muttered, "I'll thrash him all the same, and more than ever, if he ever says anything like that again."

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