Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/147

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From Atlantic Monthly

AT TEN there minutes before twelve, according to his daily custom, Professor Boynton got up from his study table, stretched his arms vigorously once or twice above his early gray head, and strolled out through the open door of his study to the veranda. At its farther end his daughter Helen was sitting between two of her high-school classmates, all three surrounded by a sea of books and notebooks and scattered papers.

"Why didn't you ever have me learn any history when I was little, Father?" she reproached him, as he came up the porch. "When you used to teach it——"

Boynton let himself down into the hammock behind her. "Probably that's why. Whether you teach it or whether you write it, you find out how much of it isn't so. What's the examination this time?"

"She isn't giving an examination; it's a question we're to write on for Monday. 'In your opinion, what has Magna Carta given to West Brookins?' She means, what's lasted that we get out of it."

"She's chosen a good place to put the question," Boynton commented. "Now if she were teaching in San Francisco, and trying to find what fragments they still had—— What are you deciding?”

"We haven't finished yet, but there are three things—— What is it, Mother?”

Mrs. Boynton had been putting last touches on the lunch table inside. She came to the door now.

"Nothing. Only I wanted to tell your father something.