A distinguished personage happened to visit the school that morning, and Amy's beautifully drawn maps received praise, which honour to her foe rankled in the soul of Miss Snow, and caused Miss March to assume the airs of a studious young peacock. But, alas, alas! pride goes before a fall, and the revengeful Snow turned the tables with disastrous success. No sooner had the guest paid the usual stale compliments, and bowed himself out than Jenny, under pretence of asking an important question, informed Mr. Davis, the teacher, that Amy March had pickled limes in her desk.
Now Mr. Davis had declared limes a contraband article, and solemnly vowed to ferrule publicly the first person who was found breaking the law. This much-enduring man had succeeded in banishing chewing- gum after a long and stormy war, and had made a bonfire of the confiscated novels and newspapers, had suppressed a private post office, had forbidden distortions of the face, nicknames, and caricatures, and done all that one man could do to keep half-a-hundred rebellious girls in order. Boys are trying enough to human patience, goodness knows! but girls are infinitely more so, especially to nervous gentlemen, with tyrannical tempers, and no more talent for teaching than Dr. Blimber. Mr. Davis knew any quantity of Greek, Latin, Algebra, and ologies of all sorts, so he was called a fine teacher, and manners, morals, feelings, and examples were not considered of any particular importance. It was a most unfortunate moment for denouncing Amy, and Jenny knew it. Mr. Davis had evidently taken his coffee too strong that morning; there was an east wind, which always affected his neuralgia; and his pupils had not done him the credit which he felt he deserved: therefore, to use the expressive, if not elegant, language of a schoolgirl, `he was as nervous as a witch, and as cross as a bear'. The word `limes' was like fire to powder; his yellow face flushed, and he rapped on his desk with an energy which made jenny skip to her seat with unusual rapidity.
`Young ladies, attention, if you please!'
At the stern order the buzz ceased, and fifty pairs of blue, black, grey, and brown eyes were obediently fixed upon his awful countenance.
`Miss March, come to the desk.'
Amy rose to comply with outward composure, but a secret fear oppressed her, for the limes weighed upon her conscience.
`Bring with you the limes you have in your desk,' was the unexpected command which arrested her before she got out of her seat.
`Don't take all,' whispered her neighbour, a young lady of great presence of mind.
Amy hastily shook out half a dozen, and laid the rest down before Mr. Davis, feeling that any man possessing a human heart would relent when that delicious perfume met his nose. Unfortunately Mr. Davis particularly detested the odour of the fashionable pickle, and disgust added to his wrath.
`Is that all?'
`Not quite,' stammered Amy.
`Bring the rest immediately.'
With a despairing glance at her set, she obeyed.
`You are sure there are no more?'
`I never lie, sir.'
`So I see. Now take these disgusting things two by two, and throw them out of the window.'
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