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prize, I must ask a few questions on the use of summing."
“To help us to keep shop, sir !” “To help us to buy things!” “ To teach us how to keep accounts !” said several of the boys at once.
“True; but when you go into a shop to buy some tea, does the shopman reckon up what it will come to with a board and chalk ?”.
“Well, my boys; I want to see if you can be as clever as a shopman. I shall give you a few very easy sums; but you must do them in your heads, and I shall not tell you how. Number one : If a man were born in the year 1810, and died in the year 1860, how long would he have lived ? Number two: Give the price of four ounces of tea at 4s. 6d. per lb ? Number three—What's the matter, Musgrove."
“I don't do those sort of sums, I do fractions ?”
“If you can do fractions, you ought to be able to do these. Write the answers on your slate. Number three : Six pounds of candles, at the rate of twelve pounds for eight shillings? If any boy in the lower classes can answer these questions he may do so, I give you five minutes."
The five minutes went by. The slates were handed up. The gentleman took Philip's, and read the questions and answers.
He then said, “ If a man were born in 1810, and died in 1860, he would be—why more than three million years old ! Methusaleh would be nothing to him! And four ounces of tea, at 4s. 6d. a pound, would be eighteen shillings; and your candles would cost forty-eight shillings. You are clever at multiplication, my boy; but I hope you don't keep your father's books! Let me see the slates of the lower boys. Edward Musgrove, nothing on yours ?”
“Please, sir, I had no pencil, but I have done the sums. First sum: Answer, 50 years. Second sum : Answer, one shilling and three half-pence. Third sum : Answer, four shillings.”
“Very well; can you do harder sums than these ?” “Yes sir, in my head.” “Not on a slate?” “No, sir, I only do simple rules.
“But you are sharp at this sort of summing. I cannot give you the prize which belongs to the first class; but there is a shilling for you.”
The first-class prize was then given to a boy who had been usually thought stupid, but who had common sense, and who, although he knew nothing about fractions, gave himself time to think before he began to reckon.
THE LITTLE SCHOONER.
They built a little ship
By the rough sea-side ;
And they launched it in pride.
All day and half night,
To make her all right.
Lightly was she rigged,
And strongly was she sparred; She had bow-lines and bunt-lines,
Topping-lift and yard.
When the wind blew piff-paff; For she was a little schooner,
And she sailed with a gaff.
The men who were making her
Talked of her at home“A smarter little creature
Shall never breast the foam : She is not built for battle,
Nor for any dark deed ; But for safety and money,
And comfort and speed.
She made two trips
In the smooth summer-days; Back she came merrily,
All sang her praise. Once she brought figs
From a land of good heat; Once she brought Memel wood,
Strong, hard, and sweet.
She made three trips
When winter gales were strong; Back she came gallantly,
Not a spar wrong.
She could scud before the wind
With just a sail set; Or beat up and go about
With not a foot wet.
It was in September
That she went out anew, As fresh as a little daisy
Brimful of morning dew. Brushed, painted, holystoned,
Tarred, trimmed, and laced, Like a beauty in a ball-dress
With a sash round her waist.
She went out of harbour
With a light breeze and fair, And every shred of canvas spread
Upon the soft blue air ; But when she passed the Needles,
It was blowing half a gale, And she took in a double reef
And hauled down haif her sail.
Just as the sun was sinking,
A cloud sprang from the east, Like an angry whiff of darkness
Before the daylight ceased. It went rushing up the sky,
And a black wind rushed below, And struck the little schooner
As a man strikes his foe.
She fought like a hero
Alas ! how could she fight,
Who roar in the seas by night?
With driving clouds before; You saw her driven like a cloud
Upon a cruel lee-shore !
There were ten souls on board of her,
The crew, I ween, were eight; And the ninth was a woman,
And she was the skipper's mate:
With a prayer upon her lip;
And this was his first trip.
As they drove upon the rocks,
Before they settled down,
Along a shining town.
Came through the swirls of foam, And they cried to one another,
“Oh! thus it looks at home !"
By those bright hearths they guessed not,
Closing their peaceful day,
Not half-a-mile away.