joiners' tools. When, however, we wanted a 'whirl' at snow-balling with the 'Lawtonites,' and the Seminary boys, we went via Maple street. We had many such strifes, out of which, from our standpoint, we always came off victorious. Our captain in such battles was John S. Miller, of stalwart frame, and with heart and 'sand' in I full proportion to his frame. I have in mind very distinctly the history of the old High School from 1835 to 1840. The teachers during those years were Messrs. Vaille, Knox, Sykes, and Burnett. These were all gentlemen of education and great worth, teachers who made their marks upon the many boys under their tuition. Each had his own methods; each of them, if my feeling is a criterion, fills a warm corner in the heart of many a boy of sixty to-day. Mr. Vaille was perhaps the most muscular Christian of all of these teachers, and the one most prone to let a self-sufficient boy 'drop.' I well remember several instances of this kind. I well know it for I was there. Entering the school at eleven years of age, I was in my own estimation a smart boy. On the first day of the term the new boys were called up to be classified and each was sent to the blackboard to show his points. I remember taking a lump of chalk and saying, 'Ready.' The teacher looked at me with, I thought, mischief in his eye. Seeing the ear-marks of greenness instead of bravado, however, he withheld reproof and said mildly, 'Reduce one hundred-weight to ounces.' I flourished my chalk and proceeded as follows: '28 x 4 x 16-' 'Where is your one hundred-weight?' said the teacher. 'No use setting it down,' said I. 'Set it down,' said the teacher, 'and then, instead of multiplying 28 by 4, multiply 4 by 28.' My knees weakened and I was homesick, excited, and my head whirled. I could do no more. I was told to take my seat, and a remark was made to the effect that if I did not work hard I would probably be invited to leave the school. I was so thoroughly squelched that the teacher's sympathy was aroused, and he changed his tone suddenly, and said, 'Work, you will make a man yet, and you will be able be-
© Laurel O'Donnell 1998 - 2005, all rights reserved
This document may be downloaded for personal non-commerical use only
and should not be reproduced or distributed without permission.