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and from here driven, after the morning voice, would bar his retreat to the milking, to the schoolhouse corner and north. Seeing himself thus outwitted, sent running east. The country to the and fairly trapped, the steer would lower west was more difficult ground for cow- his horns and tail and enter the yard. hunting, and so long as pasture was Now, though I must at this time have good to the east, we were careful to been a fairly well-seasoned cowboy, with keep our cows from 'going west.' a year or more of cow-punching to my
credit, this was the first major operation in cowboy strategy of which I had
had immediate command. I knew It was about three o'clock of a July enough of the functioning of a steer's afternoon, I being then aged 'five, go- brain to know that the chances of yarding on six,' that, sitting at my desk in ing the brute were at least not all in my the schoolhouse, I saw through the favor. By this time the steer was trotopen door, a red-roan steer come trot- ting down the south road, and we had ting down the east road and into the much ado to keep up with his swift schoolhouse yard. It was our big three- gait. year-old. My hand shot up.
Hot, excited, and blown, we reached 'Teacher,' I said, “it's our steer. the cow-pen, the bars of which were inHe's strayed. Can me and Orill be ex- vitingly down. But the steer did not cused to drive him home?'
see the yard at all. He ran beyond it, At her prompt assent, we seized our then slowed his speed a little. I ducked straw hats and tin lunch-pails, and ran into the cornfield to the east of the out. I rushed to block the west road, road, and, by hard running, overhauled while Orill ran to the east. It was com- and headed him back. Back he ran, paratively easy to head the animal into again past the bars, but Orill's club and the lane going south, for he seemed cries turned him. himself to have chosen to travel that Now thoroughly flustered by his preway.
dicament, the steer headed at me on the Now, impounding in a roadside pen run, while I, dancing, yelling, and swing
I on the prairie a three-year-old steer of ing my dinner-pail, halted him again. the type prevailing in Wisconsin in the But instead of charging back upon year 1865, gone astray from his herd Orill, he wheeled to the west and, rising, and nervous with nostalgia, was a prob- vaulted the old rail-fence, and coming lem serious enough for a cowboy much down with a crash, bounded off into beyond five years of age; though at the a forty-acre field of green and waving time I was not aware of the fact. My wheat. plan of campaign was based on the pre- As he came down on the broken sumption that, reaching the yard, the fence, I, bursting with hot and baffled steer would go directly into it. Then I rage, shouted, ‘God damn you!' would rush up behind him and put up All I remember further as to that the bars, and there he would be caught steer is how he looked as he triumphand safely held till we should bring the antly headed westward, trailing down rest of the herd from the commons in the slope through the waving wheat, the evening. In the event that the spoiling valuable grain. steer ran past the bars, I would duck I was dazed, terrified at what I had under the fence, run through the field done. I had said the very wickedest on the east of the road, and head him possible swear-word. I had taken the off, while Orill, with lifted club and name of God in vain. I had never be
fore used such words, or even enter- at the steer when he jumped over the tained them for use. No one of our fam- fence'? Such a thing was unthinkable. ily had in their lives done so wicked a There was but one way escape
from thing. And to add woe to wickedness, the dilemma, and that was boldly to lie I had said this in the presence of Orill my way out. Nor would this have been Huntley, son of godless parents. I re- the first time I had found a lie a very member putting my head down on a
present help in trouble. rail of the fence and crying, and Orill's Before the exercises began, as I was coming up to comfort me.
sitting in fear and trembling, down the 'It ain't bad to say it just once,' he east road came a wagon with the whole said. "It's when you say it all the time Huntley family in it. They were comthat's wicked.'
ing to Sunday School. Orill would be But I refused to be comforted by with them, of course, and when father such sophistry. Father's theology con- would put his awful question, ‘Did you tained no such modifying clause. It ever take the name of the Lord thy God could not look upon sin with the least in vain?' and I answered, "No, sir, degree of allowance. I believed myself Orill would rise and in a loud voice to be the chief of sinners, all unaware would
say, “Yes, you
did! You swore that this untaught lad was telling me a at the steer when he jumped over the great life-truth.
fence!' When, finally, I had dried my eyes, For about the space of one mortal, I solemnly charged Orill never to tell interminable minute, 'the fear of death on me, and he as solemnly promised. encompassed me and the pains of hell Thus temporarily calmed, I went about gat hold
me.' I had never before, the day's business with a leaden lump nor have I since, experienced such rebeneath the bosom of my little hickory finement of terror as I suffered then. shirt. I remember no more of the Punishment of that quality after death week's occurrences except that I kept would be sufficient penalty for any mormy secret well.
tal sin in the category. But Sunday brought torment. I rode But the wagon passed. It was not in the farm wagon with the family to the Huntleys' wagon at all. The Huntthe Sunday service, as a condemned
leys had never attended our Sunday criminal rides on his coffin to the gal- School. Father did not ask us to repeat lows. I had pictured to myself the any of the commandments that day; scene that would occur in Sunday nor, of course, was the awful question School. We would repeat the Third asked. It did not occur to me then that Commandment in concert: ‘Thou shalt there was not the remotest possibility not take the name, thou shalt not take that father would ask such a question. the name, of the Lord thy God in vain, I went home relieved and reprieved, of the Lord thy God in vain'-and at but not pardoned. I carried my dark the close father would turn to me and secret safely but heavily for what seem say, 'Did you ever take the name of the to me to have been long years, during Lord thy God in vain?' and I had fully which period I entertained for a time determined within myself to answer up
the fear that I had committed the 'unwith what promptness and firmness I pardonable sin.' could muster, "No, sir.'
It never occurred to me then that my What else could one do? Could one determination to add bold and willful say, to his own confusion, before the as- lying to profanity was the only really sembled congregation, 'Yes, sir, I swore wicked act of the whole sad affair. But VOL. 128-NO. 2
had I known it well, I doubt not that I a very wicked boy that week, but he should have been willing to assume the hoped he had asked the Lord to forrisk of lying in order to escape the pun- give him. ishment that would probably have been Willet did not respond to the call to meted out to me, had my fault been dis- testify, but hid his burning face in his covered. What that punishment might arms on the school-desk and kept sihave been I had reason later to guess, lence. Willet was nine years old. Mofrom the ill luck that befell brother ther made no interference. I wonder Willet some two years after.
she did not. But from what I learned One evening, when Willet, coming later of her tender heart, she must have from school, was being badgered be suffered anguish for her sinful little son yond endurance by some bullying during this inquisitional torture; and neighbor boy, he turned on his tormen- knowing her, later, so well, I wonder tor and told him to go to hell.' The re- that some good angel had not sent port of this dreadful lapse flew on swift blaspheming me to her on that illwings to our parents' ears. Then the starred summer day, to weep my sin · wheels of industry on our farm stopped out in her gentle arms instead of on a stock-still. There was a star-chamber fence-rail. session in the West Room — father and The terrible conscientiousness of a mother in prayer with the little culprit, parent, which could stir up such storm asking God for mercy and pardon for and stress of soul in a child's young life, him; and following this, sentence may seem beyond any justification. passed on him by father, without mercy But looking back now over a half-cenor pardon. One of the items of the sen- tury of the world as it is, I am convinced tence was that Willet must read noth- that freedom from the habit of irrevering for two weeks but the Bible and ence may be cheaply bought, even at the Methodist hymn-book. But the that. Indeed, I came to that conclusion peak of the punishment was reserved before I was a grown youth. for the class-meeting on the following Ten years or so after my adventure Sunday.
in profanity, I was sent on an early At these class-meetings the lay mem- morning errand to the house of a neighbers were waited on in turn by the class boring farmer. A group of rough young leader and asked to “testify.' Each rose men were in the kitchen, waiting for in his seat and gave his religious experi- breakfast. It was the very hour when ence for the week last past, and usually father, in our home, was praying in the added his hopes and good resolves for midst of his children. One of the men the week to come all spoken in a had on his knee a prattling child, evimore or less formal and solemn way, as dently struggling with his first coherent if a punishment were being endured in speech. There was loud laughter and the process. The leader advised, com- great merriment among the men. A girl mended, rebuked, or encouraged, as the of about fourteen years called to her case might require, then passed on to mother in the next room, the next victim.
‘Maw, O maw! come hear baby! Oh, When father came to his little shamed ain't he cunnin'?' and penitent boy, he prefaced his call The baby was practising the same for a testimony by the general informa- high explosive I had used when the steer
. tion to the house that Willet had been jumped over the fence.
ITS TWO LITTLE HORNS
BY FRANCES THERESA RUSSELL
If a dilemma would be content to the tact of the Speaker of the House. wear only one horn, innocent adven- Perhaps the total effect can best be conturers into the field of debate and argu- veyed in the form of a colloquy by the ment would be less dangerously beset members of the class, with the author by the beast of embarrassing alterna- of 'What Do Teachers Know?' as the tives. Then, for instance, when a col- object of the inquiries. The general imlege professor catches sight of a fel- pression was somewhat as follows: low traveler, wantonly strayed from Question. "The writer says, "The anthe royal road of reason and distress- cients were interested in interpreting ingly impaled on the right horn of a facts, not in accumulating them." How logical dilemma, - labeled 'What Do could they interpret what they had not Students Know?' — he will not feel accumulated and therefore did not called upon to precipitate himself, as a have?' gratuitous exercise in agility, on the Answer. Silence. left horn, inscribed 'What Do Teachers Question. If "intelligence is insensiKnow?' There is, to be sure, a safe ag- tive to mere facts, and reacts only to nostic front between these two perilous ideas," where does it get the ideas to projections, called 'What Does Any- react from? What is an idea but a debody Know?' But that is a place of un- duction from two or more facts?' profitable repose and affords no scope Answer. Silence. for mental gymnastics.
Question. 'If "artichokes and chaSuch opportunity was offered, how- meleons and Yale and the date of the ever, by the gyrations of Professor battle of Lexington have very little Boas, for the play of the intellectual place in the production of understandmuscles of a certain group of spectators, ing and intelligence and critical power,” that I am recording this latter reaction what has?' for the entertainment of yet other be- Answer. 'A benevolent and humanholders who may be interested.
istic skepticism, and a willingness to This morning I carried the May At- weigh and balance, to expound and elulantic into my classroom and read to cidate, are all that is needed.' my aspiring essay-writers this accepted Question. But what is there to be article, as a sample of how to do it. skeptical about but facts? What is Quite on their own initiative, the young there to put in the balance and weigh? neophytes discovered that in many re- What to expound and elucidate about? spects it was rather an object-lesson on Answer. Silence. how not to do it. So promptly was the Question (from a demure maid in the bone of contention pounced upon, so back row). “Does n't Professor Boas thick and fast came the responses, from seem to have a good many facts at his Sophomore and Senior, from lads and command, and use them pretty freely lassies, that my position demanded all in this very anathema against them?'
Answer. 'They speak for themselves.' Question. 'Even if a field can be
Question. “Socrates is eulogized for “melancholy,” by permission of the his "sublime ignorance." Was it hon- pathetic fallacy and in spite of Ruskin, est-to-goodness ignorance or a sublime how can it be “evasive”?' assumption of it?'
Answer (from the end-man). 'By Answer. Silence from the Oracle, disregarding mere facts.' broken by a modest voice from over by Question. ‘All these English courses the window. 'Seems to me I read some- that are listed as a waste of time and where that the Socratic method was money does any one student have to simply the wise man's pretense of an swallow them all? And if anyone did ignorance that longed for enlighten- have a honing to know about, say, the ment, and that “on this baited hook Bible, or Johnson and his circle, or Celwere caught the unwary whose pretense tic poetry, or the American Novel, why was to a wisdom when they had it not.” should it be forbidden him? Are they
Question. 'In what “mysterious not all honorable subjects? If one conway" does information come when it sumes his beef and bread, can't he add a is needed?'
salad, an entrée, or a dessert?' Answer (from a sad Sophomore). Answer (from the teacher). 'If he “Sometimes, in my caseanyhow, through has a good digestion and a sharp appechagrin and bitterness, by first having tite, he may go right through the whole my ignorance exposed.'
menu, with impunity and profit, from Question. The Ph.D. is rebuked for cocktail to cheese and coffee. Nay, for writing a treatise on something that no- the elect there are still cakes and ale, body had ever thought of before. What and ginger shall be hot in the mouth.” would be its value if somebody had Question. 'If to one who has been in thought of it before and done it? the army "the university seems as a Answer. Silence.
kingdom of shadows where ghosts Question. 'In that connection, if no- teach living men," do the professors body ever did an unthought-of thing, who were in the army seem like ghosts, what would become of pioneering and and the students who never left home, progress? Who would be in the van and like living men?' blaze the trail?'
Answer. Silence. Answer. Silence.
Question (from a Sophomore). “If the Question. “When did the Ph.D. can- cynical Seniors have found out there is didate begin being ignorant of every- “nothing in it,” why don't they pass thing else in order to write his disserta- the word down and stave off some of tion?'
this stampede toward halls of learning? Answer (from an irreverent youth Most failures don't keep on being more next the radiator). ‘Since no credit is and more popular, as the colleges seem given him for the eighteen or twenty to be doing.' years of education from the kindergar- Answer (from a strangely cheerful ten through the Master's degree, he Senior). “Pure maliciousness. They must have risen right up from his cradle like to see more silly flies walk into the to “bore, face downward, into his prob- same spider's web. lem, while the world floated by in Question (from the teacher). "The clouds, and he as unaware as a lamprey grand climax of the wholesale indictof logarithmic functions.” He could ment before us is one on which you have had no more information or cul- should be able to testify. So far as your ture to start in with than a Hottentot.' own experience goes, is it true that “the