Saturday, January 24, 2015


First Day at School

F.A. Paley (1815-1888), "The Adventures of a Schoolboy. By a Convert," Dolman's Magazine 6 (July-December 1847) 319-327, 383-402, and 7 (January-June 1848) 20-25, 105-114, 138-147, 213-219, 286-290, 366-374 (at 6:322-323, from chapter II):
I was hoisted on to a chair, where I sat with my legs dangling, whilst my mother was garrulously expatiating on my brilliant talents and hopeful qualities. At length, turning sharply round to me, with a suddenness that made me drop my cap within the fender from the mere shock, he addressed me thus:

"Well, you little devil, can you tell me the future tense of τύπτω yet?"

I felt rather flattered than otherwise at being called a devil by so distinguished a man. There was something playful and friendly in such an appellation, which pleased me mightily. I wished, indeed, he had selected a less ominous verb than τύπτω for conjugation; but there was no help for it; so summoning up courage, and collecting my wandering faculties, I answered faintly, "τέτυφα, sir."

Dr. Buzby gave me a peculiar look, which seemed to say, "you and I shall have something more to do with that little verb before I have done with you."

It was only on going out again that my egregious blunder flashed upon me. I almost fainted with horror at the commission of it.

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