Bloody Lessons

Bloody Lessons by M. Louisa Locke Read Free Book Online

Book: Bloody Lessons by M. Louisa Locke Read Free Book Online
Authors: M. Louisa Locke
and Mrs. Stein not to spoil him too much. But he is a good boy.”
    Jamie wandered down the sidewalk in front of them, looking into the store front windows, oblivious to their conversation.
    After a moment, Laura said, “I wondered what you could tell me about Miss Della Thorndike who teaches the normal teacher training classes at Girl’s High. I got a note from her yesterday that said she wanted to meet with me on Monday to discuss having a student do her practice teaching work in my classroom.”
    “Miss Thorndike has taken over the normal class this year while Mrs. Kincaid is back east. Usually , she shares the duties with me for English literature and composition. Everyone speaks very highly of her. She has a long career as a teacher in all the grades. Before she came to San Francisco and started teaching at Girls' High, she taught briefly at the New York Freedonia Normal School. I assume that explains why she was chosen by Principal Swettto take over the normal class. Jamie had one of these practice teachers last year. Since Clement Grammar is only four blocks from Girls' High and it has all seven grades, it has been designated the main teaching school . ”
    “Yes, that makes sense. I guess I rather hoped to postpone having anyone come into my classroom until I had firmly established a routine. The students are just getting adjusted to me, and I…you probably think I am foolish.”
    Barbara looked over at her and smiled. “Oh, no, Laura. I know just what you mean. Establishing the right rapport with your students takes time and is a very delicate process.”
    Encouraged, Laura said, “Perhaps Miss Thorndike will understand if I ask her to find another class for her student, at least until later in the term. Do you think so?”
    “Well…I can’t really say. Miss Thorndike can be a very forceful personality, but her students seem to adore her, and they profess that she is very sympathetic. Oh, here is where we should cross. Jamie, please come hold my hand. It always makes me nervous when I have to cross Market.”
    Laura’s heart lurched as a man pushed by her, hurrying to catch up to the horsecar that was approaching. She was being silly. She couldn’t jump every time a man passed her on the street. He wasn’t even tall enough to be her assailant. And he didn’t look a bit like Seth. But that was what was worrying her to death. Could the man in the alley really have been Seth Timmons? Even before the attack, Laura kept thinking she saw him, despite the fact he was supposed to be in San Jose, finishing up his course of studies at the State Normal School.
    The first time she thought she sa w him was when she had just arrived in San Francisco eleven days ago. As the cab she and Nate were riding in pulled away from the railway station, she could have sworn she saw Seth standing in the crowd, his battered Stetson pulled down so low that it shadowed his flint-grey eyes, the full black mustache framing a mouth that was tight-lipped but could quirk up in a surprised smile, and the square jaw and broad shoulders straining a rusty black coat. At the time, she told herself she was imagining things. But a day later, she’d glimpsed that hat and broad shoulders in a man walking up the steep incline of Taylor towards Nob Hill, and the next afternoon, she noticed the hazy profile of a man that looked like him sitting in the depths of a restaurant. Then Friday, when she went to City Hall to register her state teaching certificate, she thought she heard Seth’s voice, deep and raspy, behind a closed door.
    No wonder she had flashed on the possibility that it was Seth in the alley. Like Seth, that man had been tall, wore a hat, and smelled of Bull Durham tobacco. But that could describe thousands of men in San Francisco. Surely the man couldn’t be Seth, a man who was kind and gentle––or had been until his altercation with her student Buck Morrison. Then she’d seen a side of Seth that had frightened her out of her

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