oks, no slates, no paper, no pencils. The children sat on the damp earth, crushed and apathetic.
"Well, I can at least love them," she said to herself.
It was easy for her to love children. She loved everything that was small--babies, kittens, puppies, birds, and flowers (the latter she called "baby-flowers" when they were satisfyingly little). She taught the children trifles that did not amount to much; but beneath the tenderness of her presence these starved plants began to put forth blossoms. The dark eyes, opened in wonder, softened in reverence. One day one of the little girls took her hand going home from school; and after that she was always followed by a dozen demure little maids who took her hand a few steps in turn. She taught the class a song, and since there was not much to do, with the dearth of what was needed, they often sang, in their low, plaintive notes, their eyes fixed upon her in mute adoration.
They called her Mathilda, and she thought it very sweet.