Autumn

Autumn

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Autumn by Robert Nathan

Published:

1921

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Autumn

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Rural life in New England forms the background of this story of Mr. Jeminy, a school teacher who has outlived his usefulness in teaching but not in living.

Book Excerpt

Age was in bed; only the young moved and whispered in the shadows; youth, obscure and immortal; love and hope, love and sorrow. From the meadows ascended the choir of cicada: katy did, katy didn't, katy did. . . .

Mr. Jeminy turned and went indoors.

II

SCHOOL LETS OUT

The next day being a holiday, Mr. Jeminy lay in bed, watching, through his window, the branches of an oak tree, which is last of all to leaf. When he finally arose, the morning was already bright and hot; the rooms were swept; all was in order.

Later in the day he followed Mrs. Grumble to the schoolhouse, carrying a pail, soap, a scrubbing brush, and a broom. After Mr. Jeminy had filled the pail with water at the school pump, Mrs. Grumble got down on her knees, and began to scrub the floor. The schoolmaster went ahead with the broom. "Sweep in all the corners," she said. "For," she added, "it's in the corners one finds everything." As she spoke, the brush, under her freckled hands, pushed forward a wave o

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