The Mason-Bees

The Mason-Bees

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The Mason-Bees by Jean-Henri Fabre

Published:

1914

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The Mason-Bees

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Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos

Book Excerpt

pen door, when the weather permitted, and a narrow prison-window, with iron bars and lozenge panes set in lead. By way of benches there was a plank fastened to the wall all round the room, while in the middle was a chair bereft of its straw, a black-board and a stick of chalk.

Morning and evening, at the sound of the bell, there came rushing in some fifty young imps who, having shown themselves hopeless dunces with their Cornelius Nepos, had been relegated, in the phrase of the day, to 'a few good years of French.' Those who had found mensa too much for them came to me to get a smattering of grammar. Children and strapping lads were there, mixed up together, at very different educational stages, but all incorrigibly agreed to play tricks upon the master, the boy master who was no older than some of them, or even younger.

To the little ones I gave their first lessons in reading; the intermediate ones I showed how they should hold their pen to write a few lines of dictation on their knees; to the big ones

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