previous next
[43] standing amusement of the family to try and puzzle the boy with words, and no one remembers succeeding. Spelling, moreover, was one of the great points of the district schools in those days, and he who could out-spell, or, as the phrase was, ‘spell down’ the whole school, ranked second oily to him who surpassed the rest in arithmetic. Those were the palmy days of the spelling-school. The pupils assembled once a week, voluntarily, at the school-house, chose ‘sides,’ and contended with one another long and earnestly for the victory. Horace, young as he was, was eager to attend the spelling school, and was never known to injure the ‘side’ on which he was chosen by missing a word, and it soon became a prime object at the spelling-school to get the first choice, because that enabled the lucky side to secure the powerful aid of Horace Greeley. He is well remembered by his companions in orthography. They delight still to tell of the little fellow, in the long evenings, falling asleep in his place, and when it came his turn, his neighbors gave him an anxious nudge, and he would wake instantly, spell off his word, and drop asleep again in a moment.

Horace went to school three terms in Londonderry, spending part of each year at home. I will state as nearly as possible in their own words, what his school-fellows there remember of him.

One of them can just recall him as a very small boy with a head as white as snow, who ‘was almost always up head in his class, and took it so much to heart when he did happen to lose his place, that he would cry bitterly; so that some boys when they had gained the right to get above him, declined the honor, because it hurt Horace's feelings so.’ He was the pet of the school. Those whom he used to excel most signally liked him as well as the rest. He was an active, bright, eager boy, but not fond of play, and seldom took part in the sports of the other boys. One muster day, this informant remembers, the clergyman of Londonderry, who had heard glowing accounts of Horace's feats at school, took him on his lap in the field, questioned him a long time, tried to puzzle him with hard words, and concluded by saying with strong emphasis to one of the boy's relatives, ‘Mark my words, Mr. Woodburn, that boy was not made for nothing.’

Another, besides confirming the above, adds, that Horace was in some respects exceedingly brave, and in others exceedingly tim

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Londonderry, N. H. (New Hampshire, United States) (2)
Horace (Ohio, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
David Woodburn (1)
Horace Greeley (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: