Miss Hunter was in the schoolhouse the next morning, assigning different arithmetic work to
different grades. Martha Rose had not come to school; Miss Hunter wondered whether the paddling
had anything to do with it.
She had just finished giving out the work when Mrs. Coverdale opened the door.
"Miss Hunter, I wish to speak to you... outside."
"I'll be right there. Children, go on with your work, and no talking, please. And remember, you are on your honor."
"Miss Hunter," Martha Rose's mother began as soon as the teacher came outside, "how dare you paddle my daughter!
Who do you think you are?"
"I acted within my rights," Miss Hunter replied with dignity, "and I was not unduly severe. Besides," she added, "the paddling
was Martha Rose's idea in the first place."
"Miss Hunter, you certainly do not expect me to believe that my daughter ASKED you to spank her!" Mrs. Coverdale snapped.
"Of course not, Mrs. Coverdale." Miss Hunter went on to explain exactly what had led up to the paddling.
"Well," Mrs. Coverdale said when she had finished, "at least my daughter did not curse, as Mary Ellen Walton did."
"The difference," Miss Hunter said, "is that what Mary Ellen said just slipped out, and she looked ashamed as soon
as it did."
"As well she should!"
"Martha Rose, on the other hand, continually and deliberately taunted Mary Ellen."
"Well, after all, Mary Ellen did plagiarize that poem!"
"I see no point in continuing this discussion," Miss Hunter said. "I'll expect to see Martha Rose back at school tomorrow."
"Only if you give me your word that you will never paddle her again.
"I assure you that I won't," said Miss Hunter. "And now I must get back to my students. Good day, Mrs. Coverdale."
Martha Rose returned to school the next day. She did not taunt Mary Ellen in any way; as a matter of fact, she avoided her.
"Perhaps," Miss Hunter said to herself, "I need to reconsider my views on corporal punishment. It certainly seems to have
worked in this case."
But Miss Hunter was mistaken, as she found out later that afternoon.
Martha Rose was in Ike Godsey's store, buying candy.
"I'll have ten cents' worth of gumdrops," Martha Rose began, "and ten cents' worth of jelly beans."
The Walton children came in on an errand for their Grandma while Ike was measuring out the candy.
"Mr. Godsey, those Waltons are here," Martha Rose announced. "I'd keep an eye on Mary Ellen if I were you."
"Why?" asked Ike Godsey.
Miss Hunter walked into the store in time to hear Martha Rose's next sentence, "Well, everyone knows she's a cheat, so she
might also be a thief."
"Martha Rose is worse than ever," thought John-Boy.
Miss Hunter cleared her throat.
"You can't punish me," Martha Rose interrupted Miss Hunter. "There's nothing you can do about what I do or say
outside of school."
"Oh, yes," Miss Hunter thought to herself, "there is something I can do."