And here--with "zoological" and "geological" in his mind, but not ready to his tongue--the small scholar has innocently gone and let out a couple of secrets which ought never to have been divulged in any circumstances:

There are a good many donkeys in theological gardens.

Some of the best fossils are found in theological gardens.

Under the head of "Grammar" the little scholars furnish the following information:

Gender is the distinguishing nouns without regard to sex.

A verb is something to eat.

Adverbs should always be used as adjectives and adjectives as adverbs.

Every sentence and name of God must begin with a caterpillar.

"Caterpillar" is well enough, but capital letter would have been stricter. The following is a brave attempt at a solution, but it failed to liquify:

When they are going to say some prose or poetry before they say the poetry or prose they must put a semicolon just after the introduction of the prose or poetry.

The chapter on "Mathematics" is full of fruit. From it I take a few samples--mainly in an unripe state:

A straight line is any distance between two places.

Parallel lines are lines that can never meet until they run together.

A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle.

Things which are equal to each other are equal to anything else.

To find the number of square feet in a room you multiply the room by the number of the feet. The product is the result.

Right you are. In the matter of geography this little book is unspeakably rich. The questions do not appear to have applied the microscope to the subject, as did those quoted by Professor Ravenstein; still, they proved plenty difficult enough without that. These pupils did not hunt with a microscope, they hunted with a shot-gun; this is shown by the crippled condition of the game they brought in:

America is divided into the Passiffic slope and the Mississippi valey.

North America is separated by Spain.

America consists from north to south about five hundred miles.

The United States is quite a small country compared with some other countrys, but it about as industrious.

The capital of the United States is Long Island.

The five seaports of the U.S. are Newfunlan and Sanfrancisco.

The principal products of the U.S. is earthquakes and volcanoes.

The Alaginnies are mountains in Philadelphia.

The Rocky Mountains are on the western side of Philadelphia.

Cape Hateras is a vast body of water surrounded by land and flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Mason and Dixon's line is the Equator.

One of the leading industries of the United States is mollasses, book-covers, numbers, gas, teaching, lumber, manufacturers, paper-making, publishers, coal.

In Austria the principal occupation is gathering Austrich feathers.

Gibraltar is an island built on a rock.

Russia is very cold and tyrannical.

Sicily is one of the Sandwich Islands.

Hindoostan flows through the Ganges and empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

Ireland is called the Emigrant Isle because it is so beautiful and green.

The width of the different zones Europe lies in depend upon the surrounding country.

The imports of a country are the things that are paid for, the exports are the things that are not.

Climate lasts all the time and weather only a few days.

The two most famous volcanoes of Europe are Sodom and Gomorrah.

The chapter headed "Analysis" shows us that the pupils in our public schools are not merely loaded up with those showy facts about geography, mathematics, and so on, and left in that incomplete state; no, there's machinery for clarifying and expanding their minds. They are required to take poems and analyze them, dig out their common sense, reduce them to statistics, and reproduce them in a luminous prose translation which shall tell you at a glance what the poet was trying to get at. One sample will do. Here is a stanza from "The Lady of the Lake," followed by the pupil's impressive explanation of it:

Alone, but with unbated zeal, The horseman plied with scourge and steel; For jaded now and spent with toil, Embossed with foam and dark with soil, While every gasp with sobs he drew, The laboring stag strained full in view.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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