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CHAPTER XVII.

SCHOOLS.

   Looking back over all the years my mind uncovers the events of early life like a ploughshare in the grass. There were school scenes for all of us. A little square-roofed school house stood upon the common; it was painted yellow. Many of us learned our letters in that house under the arbitrary rule of old Olive Cross, whose father built the Landon house, as well as the house where he lived and where Mr. Brais now lives. I say old Olive Cross, because I have no recollection of her as ever having been young, Her years seemed to have been perennial and eternal. A brother of John P. Calkins and uncle of Rev. Charles Calkins, who lived in a log house near H. G. Elliott's old farm, once beseiged the affections of this prim Methodist teacher. Olive's castle was impregnable—she declined to yield to his proposals, as she did to every one else, and died an old maid. She was a stern old Puritan, and required pure submission to her rules, and her punishments were such as the Inquisition could hardly have improved upon. She was considered a very good woman, very religious and proper in her manners, and seemed to have earned the prescriptive right to teach the rudiments of education to all the children in town. She won the confidence of the parents by her zeal in watching for offences and in punishing offenders. I have often thought if she had children of her own she would have been gentler in her nature, and would have learned that love in a school room, or in a family, is a more powerful weapon than fear. But the parents of those days were great sticklers for force. Children needed flogging as much as horses, and they got it too. There were the Dows, the Wallaces, the Athertons, the Averys, the Barbers, the Wellses, the Tiltons. What would any of them ever have amounted to if they had not been flogged? And what would a school have been good for, unless it conformed to the parental discipline at home? I have often wondered if in the happy home to which, when her spirit ceased from troubling, good old Oliver Cross was triumphantly