take him at last," for she had heard of "Dodd" and his exploits before she had been in her place a week.
"I don't haf to," returned the youth, scraping a piece of black loam off his left boot with the toe of his right, and rubbing the sticky lump into the floor.
But Miss Stone had faith in her training. She hastily ran through all the precepts and maxims of Froebel, and also such others as his American followers have added by way of perfecting this highly wrought system, but though she thought a great deal more rapidly than usual, she found no rules and regulations duly made and provided for a case just like this.
For the first time in her life she realized that there was one thing in this world that even a German specialist, backed up by St. Louis philosophy, had not reached; neither Froebel nor his followers said a word about poking mud off one boot with the toe of the other, nor of rubbing mud into the floor, nor what to do with a saucy little boy who said defiantly, "I don't haf to."
Had she been teaching in a large city she might have sent for the principal, and he might have telephoned the superintendent, who might have called a meeting of the Board to consider the case, and so overcome the dilemma; but Circleville had a school of only three rooms, and the principal, so called, heard twenty-two recitations a day, in his own room, and had little time for anything else. So there was no help from that quarter, and for the time Miss Stone was dumb.
There is a tradition that her smile left her for a moment, but the fact is not well authenticated and should not be too freely believed.
How long this teacher would have remained in her unfortunate condition it is impossible to tell, for just at this instant Esther Tracy, a motherly little soul, aged seven, who had been conscientiously trying for half an hour to see in how many different ways she could arrange four wooden tooth-picks upon the desk, according to a modified form of Froebel's canons, as interpreted by Miss Stone, took the ends of her