“Long A in tater-gravy,” one began,
And smothered laughter through the circle ran.
At close of day the roguish Thurston found
That he could give aright one vowel sound;
Long O comes natural to the quivering lips,
When the long A in fate meets with short I in whips.
The principal of the school — in white flannel dressing gown not free from ink-spots caused by frequent wipings of his pen, with cowhide in hand, running with noiseless slippers along the tops of the desks to reach that boy in the far corner, unaware of his approach and now at work on the core of an apple-would no doubt give the scholars of to-day reason to suppose that the master had suddenly become crazy.
Other punishments besides the cowhide are now also obsolete.
No boy, for example, is now made to stand on a bench with a bag of unbleached cotton
tied over his head, and no girl has to wear a split stick shaped like a clothles-pin on her nose.
We are told that cleanliness is next to godliness, but it hardly follows that wearing a sort of imitation clothes-pin on one's nose is conducive to virtue.
But however new or odd or multiplied were our pains and penalties, they were looked upon as incidents in our daily life, to be avoided if possible, or to be borne with becoming fortitude.
Children do accept their belongings as part of the essential structure of the universe.
Much of a teacher's time was taken up with pen making and mending, for writing was well taught, and steel pens were still in the future.
Beneath the desk, ye small offenders, quick,
Where bits of quill and stings of conscience prick.
But there stands solitary on the floor,
One known among us as the monitor.
Caught whispering he was, soon after dinner,