The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 289
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Recollections of Early Schools.
of the material. From the care which we had to take of our frag-
ments of old slates and stubs of pencils I had somehow imbibed
the idea that with their going the world would see the last of the
slates; but here, to my relief, I found that the supply would keep
up with the forest of switches which I had in mind to extirpate.
There were no classes in arithmetic; each boy ciphered through his
text-book as fast as he could, and the stern teacher pointed to the
errors with the switch held like a pen, and a minatory wag of the
head that meant correction. One boy, or young man, for he was
nearly grown, persisted in carelessness as to the relative position in
which he wrote the figures on his slate, not under each other, in
perpendicular lines, with sufficient exactness. After several ad-
monitions Old Dyas attacked one day with one of the shillalah
class of switches, but only got in a blow or two before the spry
youngster sprang out of a window (there were no shutters, much
less glass). But then arose the dilemma that his hat was inside the
school house. To come after it was to beard the lion in his den; to
go without it was to blister in the sun. After some maneuvering,
however, one of the boys threw his hat out of the window, and,
pulling it over his ears, he made his escape. He came back, though,
in a day'or two, in a good humor, and the school went merrily on.
I knew this boy as a man for many years after, and, having occasion
to go over some calculations with him, I was amused to see that
although he neither wrote a good hand nor ciphered well, yet he
placed the figures under each other with the precision of a printed
book. A few days of Old Dyas in the public schools now would
probably eliminate one prolific source of errors.
We walked morning and evening to school, carrying our dinners
in tin pails and milk in a variety of bottles. Some had clear glass,
some green glass wine bottles, and some black or junk bottles. A
contention having arisen among the boys as to the relative strength
of these wares, it was submitted to the test of striking the bottles to-
gether, the boys whose bottles were broken admitting defeat-
which, in some vague way, I thought involved humiliation-while
the boys whose bottles survived the conflict vaunted their victories.
I do not see why it never occurred to us that the finer ware would
suffer in the conflict and the coarser prevail, but so it was. Bottles
were of vastly more value then than now, and some of the small
boys having cried about their loss, brought in the teacher with his
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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/m1/315/?rotate=270: accessed July 10, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.