108 Old-time Schools and School-books
one thought of getting the school wood ready long enough beforehand to allow it to season. Most of what was used was standing in the forests at the time the winter term began. When it was presently delivered in the schoolyard, it lay there exposed, and it was often wet by rain and buried in snow. In summer the place of the woodpile was marked by scattered chips and refuse.
The children usually played around outside for a while before school began in the morning, but at length a sudden outcry would arise, " There he is — the master's coming!" and they would all start pell-mell for the schoolroom and clatter noisily into their seats, girls on one side of the room, boys on the other. In below-zero weather, however, there was no lingering in the open air, and if the lad who made the fire was not prompt, the little children stood about the room crying with cold, while the big boys blew the flickering flames and coaxed them into a brisk blaze. Later in the morning the fire gradually waxed hotter and hotter until the heat was a real trial to those nearest the fireplace. But at the rear of the room the atmosphere might still be frigid, and the back-seat scholars would be asking, " Master, may I go to the fire ? " at the same time those in front were complaining, " Master, I am too hot."
In a winter school of forty pupils there might be a dozen young men and women who were practically grown up. On the other hand, quite a group of the youngest could not read, and several had not mastered the alphabet. The little scholars were