116 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
When the teacher shall have touched, in this way, soul for soul, each one of her pupils, awakening and inspiring the life within them as if she were an invisible spirit, she will then possess each soul, and a sign, a single word from her shall suffice; for each one will feel her in a living and vital way, will recognise her and will listen to her. There will come a day when the directress herself shall be filled with wonder to see that all the children obey her with gentleness and affection, not only ready, but intent, at a sign from her. They will look toward her who has made them live, and will hope and desire to receive from her, new life.
Experience has revealed all this, and it is something which forms the chief source of wonder for those who visit the " Children's Houses." Collective discipline is obtained as if by magic force. Eifty or sixty children from two and a half years to six years of age, all together, and at a single time know how to hold their peace so perfectly that the absolute silence seems that of a desert. And, if the teacher, speaking in a low voice, says to the children, " Rise, pass several times around the room on the tips of your toes and then come back to your place in silence " all together, as a single person, the children rise, and follow the order with the least possible noise. The teacher with that one voice has spoken to each one; and each child hopes from her intervention to receive some light and inner happiness. And feeling so, he goes forth intent and obedient like an anxious explorer, following the order in his own way.
In this matter of discipline we have again something of the egg of Christopher Columbus. A concert-master must