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Or have fays hidden it,
Lest we should be Tortured with needle-work · After our tea ?
Hunt for it, hope for it,
All through the moss;
'Tis such a loss !
Fan finds a stone,
Which is mother's own!
Run with it, fly with it,
Don't let it fall :
Mother thanks all.
Think what a shame!-
THE ARITHMETIC PRIZE.
“I SAY, Ted, who will get the arithmetic prize this year ?" said a rosy-faced little boy to one of his friends, as they raced out of school.
“What, in the first-class ? Why, my brother, of course. Who did you think ?”
“Well, I did not know; but father said, last night at tea-time, that he should ask the committee to let him have a boy out of the first class to help with the little ones: and he said he thought whoever got the arithmetic prize would—but I forgot, I was not to say anything about it.”
“Well, you have said something now," replied Ted Musgrove. “I hope Phil won't get the place. I should like to see him teaching me! He is always at his books! Father says it frightens him to see Phil's book of figures. He's doing fractions now, denominators, and mixed numbers, and I don't know what all. There is one awful-looking sum, that slopes all over the slate. I did ask him about that, and he said I was to go on dividing till it came to nothing. I don't know what he meant; and when I asked him, he said, "Don't bother!' Oh, I do hate sums! at least what you do on a slate.”
“You mean you like mental arithmetic?” said the schoolmaster's son, who was given to long words.
“Yes, I don't mind reckoning in my head, for then no one can ask how one did the thing, and it comes out right somehow.”
“I suppose,” said a third boy, who had joined the two others, “Phil does all the books now, doesn't he?"
“No, he don't; he says he hasn't time; and mother says he is not to be teased, he is so clever; and so I have to help her all I can. Sometimes, I wish Phil wasn't so very clever, he might be of some use; but I forget, I was to go down to the
Smiths and ask if they want another cake. Good night!” And the boys separated.
Ted Musgrove came racing home in about half an hour, and found his brother Philip sitting in the corner of the room, with his slate before him. Soon he put it down, and sat staring at the fire without speaking. He was thinking about the examination, and what his chance of a prize might be.
“My Scripture knowledge is all right,” thought he, “that's one mercy. No one but me knew who Noah's grandfather was, and young Williams said he never could remember the difference between Elijah and Elisha. I wish they would ask about Asia in geography, or else the tributary streams of the Humber. I know all the places where Saint Paul stopped right off. Then history's safe too. Charlie Smith reads a good bit; but he is such a fool, he likes to bother on with one reign; says it interests him ; so of course he don't get time for the important things. I'll see if I can remember the rhyme about the kings
• First William the Norman, then William his son;
Next Richard and Edward together came on.' No, that's not it, “Edwards, one, two, and three. Victoria the loved and the last,' I know it ends. I'm quite sure about my summing, though ; but I should like to have time just to finish all these; it would make the gentlemen stare so, to hear I'd done all the fraction sums in a month.”
The examination day came. The school-room was lighted up, and adorned with evergreens and wreaths of flowers. Numbers of parents sat on the back benches, each thinking their own boys were quite sure to deserve the prizes. Among the firstclass boys sat Philip Musgrove, full of delight at the prospect of his own praises.
The first subject was geography. Phil answered well, and heard one of the gentlemen say, “Sharp lad that; son of Musgrove the baker.”
History was the next subject. A different gentleman rose to question the boys. “What do you know of William the Third, boys ?”
Philip's hand was up instantly. “He invaded England; fought the battle of Waterloo, wherein the Black Prince was slain ; and thus England and Ireland, united under_”.
The gentleman turned to the schoolmaster and said, “What is the boy saying? I do not understand. Is he an idiot?”
“Only a parrot,” whispered one of the audience.
The master, colouring, and much vexed, said, “Sit down, Musgrove. He has got confused, sir.”
And then came the arithmetic. A black board, on which sums were set, was placed before the boys, and they were provided with slates. Each time Philip's was the first filled, and every sum was right. He felt full of hope. Just when it was expected that the winner of the arithmetic prize would be declared, one of the gentlemen stepped to the front of the platform and said, “Before we can decide who deserves the arithmetio
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 be 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