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.And the last is Joseph’s.Rosalie, please return the book to the shelf and take a seat at the first table.”Whether from lack of English proficiency or defiance, none of the children did as she asked.Sophia took the bucket from Marguerite and passed it to Frank.Guiding his hands, she helped the boy squeeze out the rag, wipe off the first pane, and rinse.“Now finish the rest, then hand it to Joseph.”“I am Joseph.”Sophia bit her lip and narrowed her eyes.She looked him up and down.The patches.“You told me your name is Frank.”The boy nodded.“Teacher smart.”“The last teacher didn’t bother to learn their names,” Will said from the doorway.Sophia jumped.The open-door policy, necessary in the summer heat, would require some adjustment.“I can see how that would take a certain amount of discernment.”He frowned at Joseph, engrossed in the sounds a wet rag made on glass.“Ponca men don’t do housework.”“I have been so informed.Fortunately, this is schoolwork.May I help you with anything else?”“Where do you want your outhouse?”“At least twenty paces downwind.Unless.I am sorry, I do not know the geologic term.Will you dig into water?”“Not likely.” He returned to the yard.Out of the corner of her eye—the part that would get the most use apparently—she saw him pace off and mark a spot with the heel of his boot.A man with waist-length black hair began shoveling.Now, she must be about her own work.The children had smeared the dirt on the windows, leaving dark streaks running down the wall to puddle on the floor.They should wash their hands before handling books.Rosalie tugged on Sophia’s skirt.“Water? Drink?”“Certainly.” Sophia looked around.Had she used the drinking water bucket for chores? It should be washed.Thoroughly.She clapped her hands twice.“Students.Form a line.We will walk to the spring.”The line looked more like a pile, with the boys elbowing each other and bumping into the girls.Sophia set them in order, then directed Marguerite to lead the way.“Leaving already?” Will asked from his work site.Besides the man shoveling, two others sawed planks.“To the spring.” In that brief moment while she was distracted, the line fell apart.The boys raced ahead.Little Rosalie lagged behind.Sophia opened her mouth to reprimand the children but reconsidered.Was order necessary to become an American or a Christian?Well, church members lined up for communion.Men lined up to vote.All right, then, she would teach them to form a line.As soon as she caught them.The path passed by a house.It had been built the same size as the others, then a newer addition set perpendicular had almost doubled it.Several rags, laundry perhaps, fluttered in the wind on the pergola.Yellow puppies scampered out from beneath the steps to greet the children.“Whose house is this?”No one answered.“Who lives here?”Five voices said, “Me.”Ah! They looked alike because they were related.“So you are brothers and sisters?”No one responded.“You are family? With the same mother and father?”“No,” Susette said.“Yes.Uncle.”All these children lived in one house with just an uncle to supervise them? No wonder they were so poorly dressed.Perhaps the clothing the church ladies sent could be put to use.The spring burbled from the bluff behind the house.Marguerite scoured the bucket with gravel, then rinsed three times.The children all drank from the spring, which seemed a good idea until Sophia drenched her skirt.“Frank.Joseph,” she called to the boys.“Do not leave Marguerite to do all the work.”“Women’s work.”Apparently their only sentence in English.She raised an eyebrow.“Perhaps you are not as strong as Marguerite.Your arms cannot lift the bucket, even if two of you carry it.”They rose to the challenge, growling and snatching the handle.Half the water splashed out and the lesson on walking in line was postponed yet again.Will’s dark eyes lifted from his hammering to watch her return.Would his expression change if he hit his thumb?“All right, students.Please take your seats.” She guided Rosalie to the first bench.The older girls sat in the next row and the boys took the last.The teacher she had spoken with in New York—had it been only last month?—recommended starting with the youngest for recitations.But what could this little one know? “Frank, we will start with you.Stand up and—”Rosalie tugged her skirt.“Hungry.”Sophia consulted her pocket watch.“Yes, it is lunchtime.Did anyone bring food? Is anyone going home to eat?”The students stared at the pail.Once again the carpenter was right.“Since it is a beautiful day, let us eat outside.Form a line.” This they did with a minimum of wiggling, testimony to the motivating power of food.Sophia led them to a shady spot on the opposite side from the latrine project.She swept her boots through the grass.“Are there any snakes out here?”Will called, “No poisonous ones.”Remarkably good hearing.Quite annoying.Sophia distributed the bread and cheese, then hesitated.Should she not say grace? She had heard prayers before every meal at the College, but never had to say one.Perhaps she could ask one of the children to say thanks.But no, they were nearly finished.Oh dear.What sort of missionary forgot to say grace?CHAPTER SIXThere is a spark of God in everyone.Will believed that.And he believed God wanted His people to look for that spark in others.But he hadn’t really expected to find it in Miss Sophia Makinoff, an obvious member of the upper crust.Yes, she was pretty, with her pink cheeks and all.Like gingerbread trim on a house—fancy but of no real use.Still, she hadn’t quit at first sight of the village.And she hadn’t pulled away when the children touched her.Then finally, this afternoon, as he built her outhouse, he found the spark.He paused in his hammering to listen.She had a voice.She could sing.The Poncas sang—with enthusiasm.Although, over the past three years he’d been living here, most of what he’d heard was mourning songs.But the teacher.She stopped singing to point out a drawing of a lamb in the McGuffey Reader, then the picture in the front of the room of Jesus carrying a sheep.Since the people didn’t have sheep, she had a bit of explaining to do.Which she did with her pretty way of speaking, with pauses as she searched for the right word and different ways of saying her vowels.Henry worried the children might pick up some foreign language.To Will’s mind Russian would be a far sight better than what they’d heard from the previous schoolmaster.He had turned the air blue with his cursing, never used polite words, and—Yellow Spotted Buffalo passed him a plank.His coworker didn’t say a word, just raised his right eyebrow a sixteenth of an inch and let the end of the board thump into Will’s palm, meaning “Get back to work.”“Please sing!” Rosalie asked.Good girl.Miss Makinoff started in again with the children this time.Then she stopped.After a bit, he heard the plink, plink of a stringed instrument.Yellow Spotted Buffalo looked at Will, then at Brown Eagle and Long Runner [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]