The Deserted Village Questions and Answers
by Oliver Goldsmith

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Why did the children laugh with "counterfeited glee" at the schoolmaster's jokes in "The Deserted Village"?  

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The children laugh with "counterfeited glee" at the village schoolteacher's jokes because he could often be severe and stern, scolding those who skipped school until they trembled. The children seem to want to prolong the schoolmaster's lighter moods, these periods of levity, so as to prevent him from returning to his more serious self, and so they are sure to laugh at his jokes in an attempt to encourage him to be like this more often. The children, evidently, could tell when he was in a bad mood and would warn one another not to provoke him. However, he also, apparently, knew a lot of jokes, and he could, perhaps, be persuaded to tell more of them when the children laughed at the ones he told before.

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