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thought old enough for school. At an earlier age than usual, however, he was sent; and then he went from Ache to Abomination in half the summers and winters it took the rest of us to go over the same space. It was astonishing how quickly he mastered column after column, section after section, of obstinate orthographies.
3. Those martial terms I have just used, together with our hero's celerity, put me in mind of Cæsar; so I will quote him. Memorus might have said, in respect to the hosts of the spelling-book, “I came, I saw, I conquered." He generally stood at the head of a class every member of which was two years his elder. Poor creatures ! they studied hard, some of them, but it did no good: Memorus Wordwell was born to be above them, as some men are said to have been “ born to command.”
4. Master Wordwell was a remarkable reader, too. When but five years old he could rattle off a word as extensive as the name of a Russian noble, as easily as the schoolmaster himself. “He can read in the hardest chapters of the Testament as fast ag'in as I can," said his mother. — “I never did see any thing beat it!” exclaimed his father; "he speaks up as loud as a minister.” But I have said enough about this prodigy. I have said thus much because, although he was thought 80 surpassingly bright, he was the most decided ninny in the school. The fact is, he did not know what the sounds he uttered meant. It never entered his head, nor the heads of his parents and most of his teachers, that words and sentences were written, and should be read, only to be understood.
5. One little anecdote about Memorus Wordwell before we let him go. It happened one day that the "cut and split” wood for the fire fell short, and Jonas Patch was out wielding the ax in school-time. He had been at work about half an hour, when Memorus, who was perceived to have less to do than the rest, was sent out to take his place. He was about ten years old, and four years younger than Jonas. “Memorus," said the teacher, “ you may go out and spell Jonas." Our hero did not think of the Yankee sense in which the master used the word spell. Indeed, Memorus had never attached but one meaning to it whenever it was used with reference to himself. He supposed the mas. ter was granting him a ride extraordinary on his favorite hobby. So he put his spelling-book under his arm, and was out at the wood-pile with the speed of a boy rushing to play.
6. “Have you learnt your spellin'-lesson, Jonas ? " was his first salutation. — “I have n't looked at it yit," was the reply. “I mean to cut up this plaguy great log, spellin' or no spellin', before I go in. I had as lief keep warm here choppin' wood, as freeze up there in that cold back seat.” —"Well, the master sent me out to hear you spell.” – “Did he? Well, put out the words, and I'll spell.”: Memorus being so distinguished a speller, Jonas did not doubt but that he was really sent out on this errand. So our deputy spelling-master mounted the top of the wood-pile, just in front of Jonas, to put out words to his temporary pupil, who still kept on cutting out chips.
7. “Do you know where the lesson begins, Jonas ?”
"No, I don't; but I s'pose I shall find out now.” — “Well, here 't is.” (They both belonged to the same class.) “Spell A-bom-i-na'tion.” Jonas spells: A b-o-m bom a-bom—in the mean time up goes the ax high in air - i a-bom-i — down it goes again into the wood N-a na a-bom-i-na — up it goes againt-i-o-n tion, a-bom-i-na-tion. Chuck goes the ax again, and at the same time out flies a furious chip, and hits Memorus on the nose. At this moment the master appeared just at the corner of the school-house, with one foot still on the threshold. “Jonas, why don't you come in ? 'Did n't I send Memorus out to spell you?” — “Yes, sir; and he has been spelling me. How could I come in, if he spelt me here?”
8. At this the master's eye caught Memorus perched up on the top stick, with his book open upon his lap, rubbing his nose, and just in the act of putting out the next word of the column. “Ac-com-mo-da'tion,” pronounced Memorus, in a broken but louder voice than before; for he had caught a glimpse of the master, and he wished to let him know that he was doing his duty. This was too much for the master's gravity. He perceived the mistake, and, without saying more, wheeled back into the school-room, almost bursting with the most tumultuous laugh he ever tried to suppress. The scholars wondered at his looks, and grinned in sympathy. .
9. In a few moments Jonas came in, followed by Memorus with his spelling-book, who exclaimed, “I have heard him spell clean through the whole lesson, and he did n't spell one quarter of 'em right." The master could hold in no longer. The scholars, too, perceived the blunder, and there was one simulta'neous roar from teacher and pupils ; the scholars laughing twice as loud and uproariously in consequence of being permitted to laugh in school-time, and to do it with the accompaniment of the master.
10. It was some time before Memorus could be made to see where the joke lay. At last the teacher told him to look out the word spell in the dictionary. He did so, and found among the definitions under spell, when a transitive verb, the following: “to take the turn or place of.” Light began to dawn on the mind of the champion.
It must be so.— Plato, thou reasonest well.
Eternity !- thou pleasing, dreadful thoughts
Thus I ly armed. My death and life, My bane and antidote, are both before me. This * in a moment brings me to my end; But this t informs me I shall never die. The soul, secure in her existence, smiles At the drawn dagger, and defies its point. The stars shall fade away, the sun himself Grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years ; But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, Unhurt amid the war of elements, The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds. ADDISON.
† Plato's treatise on the immortality of the soul.
Avoid saying win'der for window ; foller for follow; wus for worse ; weels for wheels ; wen for when ; neow for now. The th in underneath is vocal as in breathe, not aspirate as in breath. The first o in where'fore should have the sound it has in where. Do not give the a in many (pronounced men'ny) a long sound. Give the u in ingratitude its y sound.
WHEREFORE rejoice that Cæsar comes in triumph ?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things! · O you hard hearts ! you cruel men of Rome!
Knew you not Pompey ? Many a time and oft
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
And do you now put on your best attire ?
WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE. (1564 — 1616.)