A SPECIAL DAY
At last it was time for the spelling-match, Marjorie put away her books, and sat waiting, with folded arms and a smiling face.
Miss Lawrence was surprised, for the child usually was worried and anxious in spelling class.
Two captains were chosen, and these two selected the pupils, one by one, to be their aids.
Marjorie was never chosen until toward the last, for though everybody loved her, yet her inability to spell was known by all, and she was not a desirable assistant in a match.
But at last her name was called, and she demurely took her place near the foot of the line on one side.
Gladys was on the other side, near the head. She was a good speller, and rarely made a mistake.
Miss Lawrence began to give out the words, and the children spelled away blithely. Now and then one would miss and another would go above.
To everybody's surprise, Marjorie began to work her way up toward the head of her line. She spelled correctly words that the others missed, and with a happy smile went along up the line.
At last the "spelling down" began. This meant that whoever missed a word must go to his seat, leaving only those standing who did not miss any word.
One by one the crestfallen unsuccessful ones went to their seats, and, to the amazement of all, Marjorie remained standing. At last, there were but six left in the match.
"Macaroni," said Miss Lawrence.
"M-a-c-c-a-r-o-n-i," said Jack Norton, and regretfully Miss Lawrence told him he must sit down.
Three more spelled the word wrongly, and then it was Marjorie's turn:
"M-a-c-a-r-o-n-i," said she, triumphantly, remembering her father's remark that there were no double letters in it.
Miss Lawrence looked astounded. Now there were left only Marjorie and Gladys, one on either side of the room. It was an unfortunate situation, for so fond were the girls of each other that each would almost rather fail herself than to have her friend fail.
On they went, spelling the words as fast as Miss Lawrence could pronounce them.
Finally she gave Gladys the word "weird."
It was a hard word, and one often misspelled by people much older and wiser than these children.
"W-i-e-r-d," said Gladys, in a confident tone.
"Next," said Miss Lawrence, with a sympathetic look at Gladys.
"W-e-i-r-d," said Marjorie, slowly. Her father had drilled her carefully on this word, bidding her remember that it began with two pronouns: that is, we followed by I. Often by such verbal tricks as this he fastened the letters in Marjorie's mind.
The match was over, and Marjorie had won, for the first time in her life.
Gladys was truly pleased, for she would rather have lost to Marjorie than anyone else, and Miss Lawrence was delighted, though mystified.
"I won! I won!" cried Marjorie, as she ran into the house and found her mother. "Oh, Mother, I won the spelling-match! Now, aren't you glad I went after my book?"
"I'm glad you won, dearie; but hereafter I want you to stick to civilized behavior."
"I will, Mother! I truly will. I'm so glad I won the match, I'll stick to anything you say."
"Well, my girlie, just try to do what you think Mother wants you to, and try not to make mistakes."