Backless benches served for seats, and the change to a schoolroom was very easily made.
Most schools had to be content with buildings far less substantial than this one; yet the worst trouble was that the structures seldom received the attention they should have had when they began to get out of repair. We are given a rather startling impression of what these conditions might be by a master who, writing in 1681 of the " inconveniences " of his schoolhouse, describes
the confused and shattered and nastie posture that it is in, the glass broke, and thereupon very raw and cold ; the floor very much broken and torn up to kindle fires, the hearth spoiled, the seats some burned and others out of kilter, that one had well-nigh as goods keep school in a hog stie as in it.
A very prolific source of annoyance to the schoolmaster was the supply of firewood. The parents were required to bring a certain quantity of wood to the schoolhouse for each of their children attending. Thus, in 1699, we find one of our New England towns ordering " that all and every Scholler bring one load of wood though they goe but two months, that is two months from the beginning of October to ye first of Aprill." During the other portion of the year little or no fire was needed. Those who failed to do their duty in this matter of fuel were to pay a fine of four shillings. A penalty of some sort was a necessity ; and it is explained that many who " sent their children to Schoole were too negligent in bringing of wood for want whereof the Schoole oft