The school teacher

Three months passed. Little by little Andrew got used to this strange town, surrounded by the mountains, and to the people most of whom worked in the mines. The town was full of mines, factories, churches and small dirty old houses. There was no theatre, not even a cinema the workers could go to after work. But Andrew liked the people. They spoke little and worked much. They liked football, and what was more interesting, they were fond of music, good classical music. He often heard the sound of a piano, coming from this or that house.
It was clear to Andrew now, that Doctor Page would never see a patient again. Manson did all the work, and Mrs Page received all the money. She paid out to Manson less than one sixth of that – twenty pounds and sixteen shillings a month. Almost all of it Andrew sent to the University to pay his debt.
But at that time the question of money was not important to him. He had a few shillings in his pocket to buy cigarettes and he had his

work, and that was more than enough for him.
He had to work hard and to think much for he saw now that the professors at his University had given him very little to know about practical medicine.
He thought about all that walking in the direction of Riskin Street. There in Number 3 he found a small boy of nine years of age ill with measles. “I am sorry, Mrs Howells,” Andrew said to the boy’s mother. “But you must keep Idris home from school.” (Idris was Mrs Howells’ other son.)
“But Miss Barlow says he may come to school.”
“Oh? Who is Miss Barlow?”
“She is the teacher.”
“Miss Barlow has no right to let him come to school when his brother has measles,” Andrew said angrily.
Five minutes later he entered a classroom of the school. A very young woman of about twenty or twenty-two was writing something on the blackboard.
She turned to him.
“Are you Miss Barlow?”
“Yes.” Her large brown eyes were looking at him friendly.
“Are you Doctor Page’s new assistant?”
Andrew reddened suddenly.
“Yes,” he said, “I’m Doctor Manson. You know Idris’ brother has measles and so Idris must not be here.”
“Yes, I know, but the family is so poor and Mrs Howells is so busy. If Idris stays at home, he won’t get his cup of milk.
And, Doctor Manson, most of the children here have had measles already.”
“And what about the others? You must send that boy home at once.”
“Well, Doctor,” she interrupted him suddenly. “Don’t you understand that I’m the teacher of this class and here it’s my word that counts?”
“You can’t have him here, Miss Barlow. If you don’t send him home at once, I’ll have to report you.”
“Then report me, or have me arrested if you like.” She quickly turned to the class. “Stand up, children, and say: ‘Good-bye, Doctor Manson. Thank you for coming.’ ”
Before Andrew could say a word the door closed quietly in his face.



The school teacher