results, and the biography of a teacher, even though he be a great master of his profession, will not often contain much that is very new or very striking to the non-professional reader.
's life, as a teacher, was singularly monotonous.
He seldom opened his mouth except from absolute necessity.
As Dick Taylor
said: ‘If silence is golden, Jackson
was a bonanza.’
He had his text-books, and he prescribed the lessons—fearfully long and desperately hard lessons they were—and at the appointed time he ‘heard’ them, and this was about all of it. Discussions in the class-room were unknown, and even explanations were infrequent, and when they did occur they usually left the matter where they found it. The text was the one great thing which he came to ‘hear,’ and we came to ‘say,’ if we could, and most of us commonly couldn't, when the said text was Bartlett's Course of Natural Philosoipy
, in three of the toughest volumes that this scribe ever attacked—‘Mechanics,’ ‘Optics and Acoustics,’ and ‘Spherical Astronomy.’
He was my room-mate during my first year (1854-55), and with L. B. Williams
, of Orange
; L. W. T. Patton
, of Richmond
; Peyton Slaughter
, of Madison
, and myself, made up room No. 13.
Where are they now?
were all of the same class; all occupied the same room; all graduated the same day; were all young lawyers; all colonels of Virginia
regiments, and all fell at Gettysburg
had been disabled for life before the sad day on which our room-mates fell.
When I went in the ‘Third Class’ I used to see Allen
tugging over ‘Old Jack's’ terrible lessons in Bartlett
's Optics, and one day I opened the book and found on the fly-leaf the following stanza, which I suspect was Allen
'Tis said that Optics treats of light,
believe it not, my lark;
I've studied it with all my might,
And still it's left me in the dark.
was perfectly at home in the long, intricate and multitudinous ‘equations’ and other mathematical formulas which make up so large a part of Bartlett
's three volumes, and many of the cadets often expressed the belief that none of these ponderous tomes contained an equation or a formula which ‘Old Jack’ could not repeat ‘by heart.’