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THE MUDDLEMENT OF SCHOOL BOY BRAINS.

«. GEMS OF UNCONSCIOUS HUMOR. The Lrndon correspondent of the " Duaodin Star " sends the following amusing letter to that journal : — One of thcß<* raro literary .genriß of V parr. at ray sereao" which ocoaaionally lark within the jmproaiitiim! covers of a ' Blue 800k 1 ban been exhumed by an enterprising c jqtribnto? «o .the «' Standard . from the 6nuu.l reporl of e3uo*»ion in Scotland. It con.-fcta of a scries r.f choice epec'mens culled him thp_ wild Answers of hardpressed pu^ila, amlJa. >n parts inexpreß-, eibly funoy. In definition (says the discoverer of this o'd r ffiolal report) and In grammar t.'ene?'!'y tho nitiv). talent of the pupil for absurdity appe'.ra most brllllen'ly; " Blackguard — one who has been a hhooblack' 1 has a tpuob of genla* about it which slni'Hit reminds as of Johnson's definition of » lexicographer and an exciseman, thoa«h the perplexed tximineo Is about tha lest person in the world not to bo depperstelv in earnest. Compared with th-e, foe dtfinltlon of a " blackguard" as being a" man dressed in black " or " a polioeman." is poor, Bat it is Impossible not to suspect the pnpil of risking a bit of humor when he defines a '< vilhn" as " an Innkeeper " or " an ngly person, from vile." To affirm that the adjective " polite "h dirlved frota " Pole," owing to the affiblllty of the Polish raoe, is not much worse than some etymologies which we have seen iu more pretentious .places ; and there la something worthy of Home Tooke In deriving « charity " from "chair, whence the Queen, doleth out. gifts." 11 Heathen, from Latin « rsefcbum ' (faith) and ' en* (not)," is really fiuo ; ihongh it la, in its way, run close by the answer to the effect that " heathen " means "covered with heath." Compared with this, to connect the Aryans with Arias is oommonplace. POZZLUB OP GSOMBTBY. The seeker after amusement fares lndltferently well when he oomea to the mathematical papers. " A straight line," it 13 'he optoton of one youth, '• Is one which lies In the same regular length from point to point." " A superficies," remarked Another papil with his b»ok to the wall, "la the poiut tnken between any two straight lines." Compared with the definition of a circle as " t figure bounded by a straight line," or the demonstration, " since the whole are equal, the part mast be equal," the characterisation of "an Isosceles triangle " as one 11 having two. opposite sides to one another" is hlnap'y a pleoe of doltish stupidity. In reality, It Is impossible to read thes9, and a host of simitar blunders, j without a certain degree of pity. They display some shocking bad teaching, In addition to some egieglously bad learning. NEW VIeWiN SACKED HISTORY. The narrative of Jonah and "that whale who was almost persuaded to be a Christian " is pifafolly good. But it Is not equal to the biography of the same Patriarch compiled by a board-school boy competing for one of the Peek prizes. " He was the father of Lot, and had two wires . One was called Ishmale, and the other Hugher j he kept one at home, and he turned the other into the dessert, when she became a pillow of salt In the day time and a pillow of fire at night." The following is almost equally impressive : " Mosses was an Egyptian. Ha lived in an ark made of bullrushes, and he kept a golden oalf and worshipped brazen snakes, and et nothing but kwales and manna for forty years. J3e was oaught by the hair of his- head while. riding under the bough of a tree, and he was killed by his son Absalom aa he was hanging ftom the bough." LITERARY HISTORY. To attribute ' Guy Mannering' and •Pevarll of the Peak* to Lord Beaoonefield, and « Don Juan' to Miss Braddon, are comparatively venial blunder? ; and to ascribe the « Sanda of Dae' to Mti Hemanß betrays a certain critical faoulty, divorced from knowledge of literary history, whioh Is lacking In the loyal desperado who ventorea to oredlt Prince Leopold with its authorship. BY-WAYS OS 1 GEOGRAPHY. It would be diffioult to equal the followIng explanation of the seasons written down by a London Sohool Board pupil no later than four years ago. "The sun goes round On its axis. The earth's axis Is a pole put through the centre of the eun, which turns It round, and thus we get the aeaaons ;" or, 11 the Equator Is aline running through the centre of the earth. At one end la the Tropic of Cancer , at the other, the Tropic of Capricorn ;" or, " the Nile is thd only remarkable river In the world, It was discovered by Df Ltvlngatone. and it rises in Mungo Park." "The Boers are the wild people of the Oape Colony " Is not bad j though It Is far In the rear of that despatoh (from Downing street) which suggested that the ohaplaln at Port EUz*beth mjflht do duty »t Pletermwitaburg on the same day; or tha reported opinion of ai Admiralty clerk to tho effect that Potohefatroom might be attacked from sea. There is only a i trifling mix up of Id j»s In the mind of the boy wba makes Gibraltar " an island built on a rook " and •« discovered In 1704 by 8> G Kooke." The following description of Constantinople, if lacking something In accuracy, la notable for its splendid comprehensiveness :—" It 1 8 on the Golden! Horn j a strong fortress ; has a university and is the residence of Peter the Great Its ohlef building is the Sublime Port." . HISTORICAL BBVJBL ATJONS. Oliver. Cromwell is always a favorite perqonage with unfortunate examinees. The following, whioh some yeara ago went the rounds, Is perhaps as choioe as »ny of the many answers touohlng his blsory whioh have been presented to Bxamineea •— «« Oliver Cromwell la arid to have exclaimed, when be out off King I Charles head and got the throne, « If I had sarved nay God as I served my Klati He would not have left me to mine snemiea.' Also that the word • Charles ' would be found on heart." '«Ocomirell'i eyes," we are told, " were keen and ?rey ; but he \ras a God fearing man"— the Lord PeOteotdr's pious disposition being evidently, in the mind of. the lad, a set eff against the color of hid eyes. Another pupil— and it ought to be remarked that these " mangle* flowera of rhetoric and poetry," as Inspector Bathgate styles them, are not the work of the ordinary aohoolhoy, bqt of students from the training colleges for teaohero—avers that the same ruler had "a head too ble for Lis body ;" but, he adds, "he ruled hia army well. " This Information was not Inaccurate, though somewhat beside, tb* mark— like that of the lad who, as the sum total of hia acquaintance with the history of Nelßon remarks that he "was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, amid the groans of a dying nation." One more specimen of tbe endless examples of " blunders " by daaed or deßper&te examinees, take,n from wme given by candidates for admission to a training college, will serve to show what oramming, confu^on, and an incapacity tp bflDg ordinary intelligence to bear upon the oontenta of books oan accomplish "The Spanish Armada," wrote a young man of seventeen; "took place in the I reign of Queen Anne, She married Philip of Spain, who wag a very cruel man . The Spanish and the English fought very bravely against oach other. The English wanted, to oonquet Spain. Several bats lea were fought, fa which hundreds of the JgoKlißh and Spanish were defeated; .They lost eome very large abips, and were at a great loss on. both aides." The ■cholar who told his tormentors that " the. 8«?;o^s retired to reft in tho time of the Heptvchy in a Btate of nudity, and laid upon a bed of atraw^-they was w> eminently Bociaj <'— w«a a lad Oeaimed for loafer tfajng^

*

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18881203.2.13

Bibliographic details

THE MUDDLEMENT OF SCHOOL BOY BRAINS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2003, 3 December 1888

Word Count
1,325

THE MUDDLEMENT OF SCHOOL BOY BRAINS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2003, 3 December 1888

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