her old smock and her ragged grey coat, and said: To-day
In a lecture before the Royal Geographical Society Professor Ravenstein quoted the following list of frantic questions, and said that they had been asked in an examination:
Mention all names of places in the world derived from Julius Caesar or Augustus Caesar. Where are the following rivers: Pisuerga, Sakaria, Guadalete, Jalon, Mulde? All you know of the following: Machacha, Pilmo, Schebulos, Crivoscia, Basces, Mancikert, Taxhem, Citeaux, Meloria, Zutphen. The highest peaks of the Karakorum range. The number of universities in Prussia. Why are the tops of mountains continually covered with snow [sic]? Name the length and breadth of the streams of lava which issued from the Skaptar Jokul in the eruption of 1783.
That list would oversize nearly anybody's geographical knowledge. Isn't it reasonably possible that in our schools many of the questions in all studies are several miles ahead of where the pupil is?--that he is set to struggle with things that are ludicrously beyond his present reach, hopelessly beyond his present strength? This remark in passing, and by way of text; now I come to what I was going to say. I have just now fallen upon a darling literary curiosity. It is a little book, a manuscript compilation, and the compiler sent it to me with the request that I say whether I think it ought to be published or not. I said, Yes; but as I slowly grow wise I briskly grow cautious; and so, now that the publication is imminent, it has seemed to me that I should feel more comfortable if I could divide up this responsibility with the public by adding them to the court. Therefore I will print some extracts from the book, in the hope that they may make converts to my judgment that the volume has merit which entitles it to publication. As to its character. Every one has sampled "English as She is Spoke" and "English as She is Wrote"; this little volume furnishes us an instructive array of examples of "English as She is Taught"--in the public schools of--well, this country. The collection is made by a teacher in those schools, and all the examples in it are genuine; none of them have been tampered with, or doctored in any way. From time to time, during several years, whenever a pupil has delivered himself of anything peculiarly quaint or toothsome in the course of his recitations, this teacher and her associates have privately set that thing down in a memorandum-book; strictly following the original, as to grammar, construction, spelling, and all; and the result is this literary curiosity. The contents of the book consist mainly of answers given by the boys and girls to questions, said answers being given sometimes verbally, sometimes in writing. The subjects touched upon are fifteen in number: I. Etymology; II. Grammar; III. Mathematics; IV. Geography; V. "Original"; VI. Analysis; VII. History; VIII. "Intellectual"; IX. Philosophy; X. Physiology; XI. Astronomy; XII. Politics; XIII. Music; XIV. Oratory; XV. Metaphysics. You perceive that the poor little young idea has taken a shot at a good many kinds of game in the course of the book. Now as to results. Here are some quaint definitions of words. It will be noticed that in all of these instances the sound of the word, or the look of it on paper, has misled the child:
ABORIGINES, a system of mountains. ALIAS, a good man in the Bible. AMENABLE, anything that is mean. AMMONIA, the food of the gods. ASSIDUITY, state of being an acid. AURIFEROUS, pertaining to an orifice. CAPILLARY, a little caterpillar. CORNIFEROUS, rocks in which fossil corn is found. EMOLUMENT, a headstone to a grave. EQUESTRIAN, one who asks questions. EUCHARIST, one who plays euchre. FRANCHISE, anything belonging to the French. IDOLATER, a very idle person. IPECAC, a man who likes a good dinner. IRRIGATE, to make fun of. MENDACIOUS, what can be mended. MERCENARY, one who feels for another. PARASITE, a kind of umbrella. PARASITE, the murder of an infant. PUBLICAN, a man who does his prayers in public. TENACIOUS, ten acres of land.
Here is one where the phrase "publicans and sinners" has got mixed up in the child's mind with politics, and the result is a definition which takes one in a sudden and unexpected way:
REPUBLICAN, a sinner mentioned in the Bible.
Also in Democratic newspapers now and then. Here are two where the mistake has resulted from sound assisted by remote fact:
PLAGIARIST, a writer of plays. DEMAGOGUE, a vessel containing beer and other liquids.
- solid wall opened before her; it was another masked door.
- His masterful voice had the dry tone in it betokening excitement.
- I got my foot into the loop of chain, grasped at a projection
- Successfully resisting a temptation to glance behind, I
- either a watch or a clock; and an old man who was supposed
- would be nominated and he'd carry on the bloody work. We'd
- outrage, but to-night I felt more disposed to ascribe it
- Hilton. I had packed the suit which I had been wearing
- her arms, and laughed shrilly, insanely. Then she turned
- for two years, I followed him—along the hall and out
- insensible, but as Hilton seized his arm he moved and spoke
- The window from which the girl had looked was nearly on
- the great caravan routes entering the Sahara from the south.
- and its driver swerved perilously in avoiding Smith and
- being whose plans they thwarted abandoned his designs upon
- explained Smith rapidly. “I will go along the highroad
- the leadership of each to men whom he believed that he
- of iron though he was. I laid him swooning on the floor.
- some shady propositions in the past, but I did it right
- and being in a hurry, I had not left it to be initialled.
- his boys had deserted, for a hunting party from the bungalow
- I could not even conjecture; but it had the appearance
- The brakes were applied hurriedly. It was a big limousine,
- oddly nervous way, “one never knows, does one? If I thought
- gruffly, explaining that he had always been fond of the
- hall we laid down the unconscious man and stood, a strangely
- my impression is that you were searching for the girl—the
- Say that we are prepared to return the slipper—on conditions.
- and the land was wooded down to the water’s edge. In
- Dazed by the apparent sincerity in the voice of our lovely
- wrapped up I had little more than a glimpse of her. I am
- also sliding the tobacco jar nearer to his hand. The refined
- church bell by guess. The arrival of our boats was a rare
- I remembered (as, knowing the district, I should have remembered
- Before I had grasped the nature of his plan he was over
- indistinct, and was finally lost upon the hard ground outside
- very slowly northward along the trail that connects with
- I knew from the weight of the grip it wasn't mine, said
- Sure! But you and I have both got little scores up against
- One last glimpse I had of the man we had dispossessed,
- ‘beware’ for nothing.” They were soon anxious for
- “Up you come, Petrie!” he said, and reached down his
- there, looking from the dead man to the tortured man who
- Some object came humming through the air, and I ducked
- Max crossed the threshold hard upon her heels. Three descending
- my windows were lighted and that there was a light in the
- “Eltham!” he whispered—“Eltham! is Eltham here?”
- “I have asked you,” came with ever-increasing clearness
- golden dragon. Max pulled the keys from his pocket, and
- further door. A good two feet of moonlight showed along