Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/47

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"Please, Sir", I'd pipe up—"Take 500 lines and keep quiet".

"But, Sir"—in remonstrance.

"Take 1000 lines and if you answer again, I'll send you to the Doctor"—which meant I'd get a caning or a long talking to.

The English masters one and all ruled by punishment; consequently I was indoors writing out lines almost every day, and every half-holiday for the first year. Then my father, prompted by Vernon, complained to the Doctor that writing out lines was ruining my handwriting.

After that I was punished by lines to learn by heart; the lines quickly grew into pages, and before the end of the first half year it was found that I knew the whole school history of England by heart, through these punishments. Another remonstrance from my father, and I was given lines of Vergil to learn. Thank God! that seemed worth learning and the story of Ulysses and Dido on "the wild sea-banks" became a series of living pictures to me, not to be dimmed even, so long as I live.

That English school for a year and a half was to me a brutal prison with stupid daily punishments. At the end of that time I was given a seat by myself, thanks to the Mathematical master; but that's another story.

The two or three best boys of my age in England were far more advanced than I was in Latin and had already waded through half the Greek Grammar, which I had not begun, but I was better in Mathematics than any one in the whole lower school. Because I was behind the English standard in languages, the Form-master took me to be stupid and called me "stupid", and as a result I never learned a Latin or Greek lesson in my two and a half years