The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 291
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Recollections of Early Schools.
The next school which I attended was taught in the same place
in the year 1840 by Mr. Cummins, a young man from the States-
that was as near as I ever learned the country of his nativity. He
understood what he taught, and taught what he understood. His
discipline was as severe, if not more so, than that of Dyas. I could
not compare their teaching, but I learned more, perhaps only be-
cause I was older. We were ranked and arrayed in two spelling
classes-the senior and the junior; and of course all in Webster's
spelling book. I with a few others belonged to both, and it became
a consuming ambition with me to be head of both classes, in which
I succeeded once or twice, "and then I left it like a child." I have
followed many greater ambitions of less importance. We reached
and mastered "indivisibility" and unintelligibility, and physic and
phthisic and other long and hard words. Indeed, came at last to
the closing lessons, where there was a column of words pronounced
alike but spelled differently, the first two of which were "air, the'
atmosphere; are, plural of am." Now I hear it is considered style
to pronounce are arr. They don't know the spelling book; are,
should be pronounced air. Further on there was a lesson in punc-
tuation, which Mr. Cummins required us to memorize, giving it
in charge on Friday evening; but the words were long and tough,
and when Monday morning came, we came up unprepared. Not
so the teacher; he did not go after a switch, he already had one and
applied it without delay. Beginning at the head of the class, he
dusted every jacket in the rank down to the foot and sent us all
to our seats to learn it before playtime. We learned it. I can say
it yet. There was also a lesson in the same connection, in which
the letters of the alphabet occurred in a horizontal line. This les-
son, a chum and I thought we could read with facility, and we had
planned that when this came to us we would see which could say
the a b c's the fastest. I believe he suggested this exploit, and the
irony of fate awarded him the lead. He was hardly half way before
the teacher was upon him with the switch. The offense was that
there was a comma after each letter, indicating a pause. My old
school mate is living yet. I hear that he is a preacher. I have not
heard him, but will vouch for him that he knows one important
lesson not always learned by clergymen, namely, to mind the stops.
We got through the lessons on punctuation and read of the old
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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/m1/317/: accessed July 6, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.