The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 288
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288 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
more in the style of the shillalah than of the ferule to the largest
boys. Some of them ran from him, but none ever struck back,
it being a point of honor not to strike the teacher, though I some-
times fancied that he looked disappointed that he did not have a
more interesting bout with them. I do not remember that he ever
whipped any of the girls.
As for the studies, we all had Webster's spelling book, and were
ranked and classed according to our proficiency in that great
classic. I have forgotten my relative rank at that time, and but
few attained the end. The last few pages contained some stories
and fables, intended for reading lessons, illustrated with engrav-
ings, and the last of these had a picture of a wolf, by some accident
well executed-a fact which tended to establish the book in our esti-
mation, because we saw wolves every day. "The picture of the wolf
in the spelling book" thus became the synonym of graduation.
Whether it originated with us or not I do not know, but the ex-
pression was long used in a humorous sense as equivalent to a di-
ploma, and when it was said of a boy that he had studied to "the
picture of the wolf in the spelling book" his proficiency was not
afterward questioned. The best class in reading used a text-book
called "the English Reader," consisting of extracts from the writ-
ings of eminent authors, chiefly dry didactics and some poetry. My
brother was in that class and also in a class by himself reading Gold-
smith's History of Greece. The pupils brought such books as they
happened to have, and one young man had Robinson Crusoe for
his reading book. His recitations interested me greatly, but I ap-
prehend that my attention was given to the adventures of Crusoe
rather than to the teacher's precepts for reading well. Several
had Weem's Life of Washington, in which the story of the little
hatchet and the cherry tree was most impressed upon our memory.
It grieves me yet that criticsm has thrown doubt on the verity of
a story which so successfully impressed children with the honor of
veracity. One boy had an illustrated edition of Goldsmith's Nat-
ural History, and there were a variety of other books, nearly all
by famous authors.
We had a variety of arithmetics, and it was during this school
that a consignment of new slates and pencils arrived, not enough
to go around, but some of the boys got a new outfit. The impres-
sion it made on me was one of surprise at the seeming abundance
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898, periodical, 1897/1898; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/m1/314/: accessed June 6, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.