7. CHAPTER SEVEN
Now Mr. Davis had declared limes a contraband article, and
solemnly vowed to publicly ferrule 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, 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
"Young ladies, attention, if you please!"
At the stern order the buzz ceased, and fifty pairs of blue,
black, gray, and brown eyes were obediently fixed upon his awful
"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 neighbor, a young lady of great
presence of mind.