THE COZY CORNER
October 18, 1896
TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing a letter to this department,
first give your full name, postoffice and state. Use pen and
ink, on smooth paper, not larger than note size. Write only on
one side of the paper and do now sew, paste or pin the sheets
together. These rules must be observed to insure publication.
How Mr. Big Hat
Came to Edit
"Little Men and Women."
six years ago, there appeared at The News office one morning,
an odd-looking little chap wearing a Scotch plaid kilt skirt,
a velvet jacket, an immense polka dot tie, under a deep lace
collar, and an up-to-date "stovepipe" hat. He carried
a good-sized hickory stick and wore glasses. He stepped briskly
into the manager's office, paying little attention to the stares
and smiles of the clerks, and, at once, announced that he wanted
"You, work?" laughed
the manager. "Why, what can you do? You're not even big
enough to empty a good-sized waste basket. Whose little boy are
"I'm not a little boy,"
gravely replied the little man. "I'm Little Mr. Big Hat,
and I belong to myself. I've been reading your paper ever since
I could read anything, and I like it -- all, but one thing."
"What don't you like about
it?" asked the manger more respectfully; for managers of
newspapers want every one to like their papers, and are always
ready to get the ideas other people may have as to how their
papers can be made better. This manager took a good, long look
at his odd visitor, and saw that under that quaint hat and those
big round glasses, twinkled a pair of bright eyes that seemed
to say that the head of the owner was chock full of bright ideas.
So, he said again: "What is it about The News you don't
like, Little Mr. Big Hat?"
"Well," answered the
latter, "in almost every family that takes The News, there
are more children than there are grown-up folks, and these children
usually have more time to read than the grown-up folks. They
will read something, and if they can't find anything good to
read, they can most always find something that isn't good. Now,
it seems to me that a great big paper like The News ought to
have something in it for the children; it ought to have something
in it for every member of the family, in fact, but the children,
especially, ought to be helped, so that every week, they can
get something good to read that will cultivate in them, a love
for good literature. The children will read all of your paper
some day, and write for it, too, and the more they are educated
now, the better the class of readers and correspondents you will
have when they get to be men and women."
"That isn't a bad idea,"
reflected the manager. "But, I don't know as we could carry
it out. You see, we're pretty busy here, and we've all got as
much as we can do now."
"Why, that's just it,"
said Little Mr. Big Hat. "That's just what I came to say
-- that, if you'd give me a desk and a place for Peggy, I'd edit
a children's page for you."
"A place for Peggy?"
asked the manager, wrinkling up his forehead. "Who, on earth,
"He's my 'Bureau of Emigration,'
" said Mr. Big Hat. "Isn't that what they call them
at Washington? There he is out there," and he waved his
hand toward the open door.
The manager look, and there, flopping
his great ears in the doorway, stood a little shaggy gray burro,
with the biggest head and the longest ears imaginable. Just then,
he caught sight of his little master, and he opened his jaws
and made a noise that sounded like a big saw tearing through
a plank at a saw mill, and all the clerks knocked over their
ink bottles and dropped their pens in fright. The typewriter's
teeth chattered, and even the manager looked uneasy, until Mr.
Big Hat assured him that Peggy would not bite, except with his
heels, and they were still on the outside.
After the confusion had subsided
and the pens were scratching up and down the ledgers again, and
the typewriter had climbed down from the top of her desk, Mr.
Big Hat began again:
"Now, Mr. Manager, if you'll
give me a page of your paper for the children of Texas, I'll
make you a department for Little Men and Women that can't be
beat in the whole country, and that will be read by more children
in this state, than any other paper."
"Oh, come now, my little man.
We couldn't give you a whole page. You're a pretty nice little
chap, and I've half a mind to give you a column or two just to
experiment with, but we could never think of giving you a whole
Little Mr. Big Hat smiled. "I'll
take your offer for a couple of columns, if that's the beast
you can do now. But, don't say you'll never think of giving me
a page, for you will. I'll make you a present of Peggy, if you
don't, and if you do, why, you'll have to get me an assistant."
So, the bargain was made, and the
next week, Little Mr. Big Hat and Peggy were put on the pay roll
of The News. Mr. Big Hat wrote his first letter to the children
of Texas and waited for replies, and Peggy stood around and switched
flies, and looked gloomily at an empty waste basket. When Mr.
Big Hat's head was turned, he nibbled at the straw till he succeeded
in getting a good chew now and then, but whenever the little
editor wheeled about in his chair, Peggy stood innocently by
with sleepy, half-shut eyes.
By and by, the air began to rustle
with letters. Then, a pair of ancient saddle-bags came out and
were strapped on Peggy's back, his little master mounted, and
they began to journey back and forth between Galveston and Dallas
to gather the letters that the little folks sent to the two of
them. Then, Peggy began to look happy, and from a scraggy, thin
burro, he took on portly, well-fed proportions, till he was as
slick and prosperous a "bureau of emigration" as you
would find in Washington, or anywhere. The reason of this was
soon discovered. He had developed a mania for eating young folks'
letters -- or rather, those that were written with lead pencil,
badly spelled and uninteresting. He got so expert, that he could
tell that kind of a letter by just sniffing at the envelope;
then, open would fly his jaws, and down it would go. So, it was
just as well, after all, that he demolished the waste basket
when he did, for Little Mr. Big Hat has no use for such an article
while Peggy is about.
After a while, the letters came
so thick and fast, that the manager said one morning: "Big
Hat, you seem to have aroused so much interest among the youngsters,
that we have decided to give you three columns, and just a little
while later, he said: "Big Hat, I was pretty sure I was
going to get that mule for a present, but I guess, instead, you'll
get an assistant, for we're going to give you a whole page. Who
can you get to help you?"
"Little Miss Big Bonnet, if
"Little Miss Big Bonnet! If
that doesn't beat all! Next thing, you'll have some Little Big
Hoods and Little Big Caps flying around here. Who's this Bonnet
"My sister, sir. She's been
wanting to write for the little bits of folks this long while.
She's got sand heaps and dolls and kittens, and a whole lot of
truck that she says little boys and girls like to read about,
and, she's always getting into trouble and getting out, and wanting
to tell all about it. Of course, I'm getting too big for that
sort of thing. I'm a good deal bigger on the inside than I look
to be on the outside, and I've got an idea I'd like to teach
"Yes, I want to run a Summer
School. I want to teach the children something about their own
country during vacation. I don't want Texas children to be like
most Americans -- know more about some other country than about
their own. The more they know about Texas, the better Texans
they will be -- the better citizens."
So, it came about that Miss Big
Bonnet came down to the office whenever Big Hat was busy with
his school, and she wrote letters for the tiny folks, and the
tiny folks answered them. And, Mr. Big Hat got up his school,
and over 800 of the cousins of the children's department joined.
He printed the lessons in his department and the cousins learned
them, and answered the examination questions by letter. The first
school was held world's fair year (1893), and so, the study was
on Columbian history. There were twenty-six cousins that won
gold Columbian medals for excellence of work this term of the
Summer School, and three who won books. Besides that, several
hundred earned beautifully engraved Columbian diplomas.
The next summer (1894), the study
was Texas history, and the following (1895), was Texas topography.
Valuable prizes were again distributed and hundreds of Texas
diplomas. This study of Texas history so inspired the cousins
with reverence for the heroes of Texas independence, that during
the present year, they have exerted themselves to raise a memorial
stone fund, to place a block of Texas granite, the gift of the
children of the state, at the grave of Sam Houston, to show love
for his memory and appreciation of his valor on the battlefield
of San Jacinto and years of public service later on. Houston's
grave at Huntsville is marked only by a crumbling, weather-stained
slab, which illy represents the honor due to that illustrious
man. The cousins decided that it should be replaced by something,
that while not pretentious, should impress the visitor at his
grave with the patriotic reverence in which his name is cherished
in the hearts of Texas children, to whom his heroism bequeathed
a free and independent republic, and the greatest state in the
union. The fund for this work is now nearly completed, and the
memorial stone assured. Composed of the nickels and dimes from
the child readers of a newspaper, it represents a patriotic work
never before undertaken in similar manner, and of which Mr. Big
Hat is justly proud.
During the present summer (1896),
the idea of the Summer School was varied, to make room for a
literary contest, to stimulate the best effort of the literary
talent that has been developed among Texas youth by the medium
of Mr. Big Hat's department. This souvenir edition is the success
of that contest, which awarded eleven prizes for as many unusually
excellent poems, stories, essays, descriptive articles and letters,
all of which, accompanied by portraits and sketches of the writers,
appear in this issue.
So, not only has Little Mr. Big
Hat's prediction that his department would, some day, command
a whole page of The News, come true, but, for once, at least,
two pages are placed at his disposal.
From a small beginning, the Cozy
Corner, as the letter department is known, has grown to such
proportions, that it is impossible to accommodate its extensive
correspondence. The cousins all claim that it is the best department
of its kind they ever read in any paper, a compliment that reflects
great credit on the cousins themselves, since, to a large extent,
the page is made up of their contributions, displaying much excellent
literary talent. The department has correspondents in England,
Ireland and Wales, South America, Central America and Mexico,
and from nearly every state in the union.
prize compositions in this number, Class A comprised competitors
between 14 and 18 years of age, Class B competitors, not more
than 14 years of age. The prizes for letters were competed for
by children not more than 15 years of age.
Prize Poem, Class
My Fairy Friends.
was born in Palestine, Tex., Dec. 15, 1878. She lived nine years
at San Marcos, and attended public schools there, and at Palestine.
She graduated last June at Baylor university, with B. A. degree.
Her parents were J. Word and Margaret Nance (nee Williams), formerly
of Rienzi, Miss., and Cartersville, Ga., respectively.
By Nellie Nance, Aged 17.
I have a host of little fairy friends,
Who play before me when alone I sit
At night, beside my window, and with eyes
Upturned and gazing far away, my soul
Is thrilled with rapture too divinely sweet
For any one of mortals vain to dare
Attempt describe. For then, sweet Dian shows
Her modest face, with radiance more subdued,
With gentler grace than e'er Apollo could.
Yet, in her quiet, unassuming way,
Giving more pleasure to the race of man,
By simply doing what her father, Jove,
Assigned for her to do, than if she strove
To match her power against her brother's might.
The maidens, too, who, on the goddess wait,
Appear in graceful groups with faltering haste.
Showing such modesty, that in the chase
Which, nightly, through the heavens, they pursue,
For fear their mistress should not lead the race,
They lag full many paces in the rear,
And, but their glimm'ring torches we can see.
My little friends all love a night like this,
For then, Diana, eager in the race,
Forgets to bind her golden tresses up,
But, lets them float, loose, waving, where they may.
And, in their long, bright strands the fairies play
Until the rosy dawning of the day.
They slip, they slide, they frolic up and down,
They clamber o'er each other in their glee,
They push, they pull, they romp and roll around
Until, it seems, their little limbs would tire.
They whisk, they frisk, then, with a merry turn,
They dart and dance along at such a speed
As only fairies can. With tinkling trips
And filmy, flitting wings, they quickly reach
A distant point on some bright, slippery ray.
Where, halting suddenly, they face about.
And then, slide swiftly down to meet their friends.
My heart laughs loudly at their merry sport,
But ne'er a sound is uttered by my lips,
For it would fright away the pretty dears
If human voice should grate upon their ears.
How can they be my friends then? do you ask.
Since neither of us ever speaks a word?
They are my friends because, so willingly
They've let me watch them play, and with their smiles
Have seemed to say that they delight to cheer
Me when they can. Ah! many happy hours
Have thus been spent among my fairy friends.
Prize story, Class
KATIE A. SHARP
|Katie A. Sharp
is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Sharp. Her mother's
maiden name was Annie T. Anderson. Katie was born in Groesbeck,
Tex., Feb. 18, 1879. When she was 2 years old, her mother died,
and since then, she has lived with her sister and brother-in-law,
Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Anglin. She has attended the Groesbeck graded
schools for eight years.
By Katie A. Sharp, Aged 17.
us a story, grandpa," the children cried, as they gathered
around him before the big open fire, one cold Christmas night.
"Yes, do," said Hester,
coming into the room with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes.
"Well, what shall it be about?"
"Something about your young
days," said Hester, as she took a seat on a stool at his
"Well, Hester, it shall be
something for you this time," said grandpa, and he glanced
across the room at grandmother and smiled.
"In my early manhood, I was
very bashful, and this often placed me at a disadvantage. When
we first came to Texas, great herds of cattle roamed over its
western prairies. We were rounding up beeves to drive to market
when I first met Miss Hester Jones.
"We had rounded up about 500
head, and penned them at old man Jones'. We were enjoying a splendid
meal, which Mrs. Jones and her pretty daughter (whom I very much
admired, but was far too bashful to tell so) had prepared for
us, when a small boy came running in and said the cattle had
"All of us ran for our horses.
I grabbed my hat as I ran through the house. We mounted our horses,
and went as hard as we could after the cattle. I was dodging
limbs to keep them from hurting me, and as my horse ran into
a particularly low limb, I threw up my hand to keep it from knocking
my hat off; but -- 'Great Caesar!' I cried; 'What is the matter
with my hat?'
"Coming to an open place,
I took off my hat to examine it, and behold, it was not my hat
at all, but a woman's, I was wearing. In my haste, I had picked
up the wrong hat.
"If ever a man was in trouble,
I was. There I was with that hat. How was I to get through the
trees without tearing it up? And, how was I to get back without
the boys seeing me? Then, what was I to do when I did get back
"All this flashed over me
in a moment, but I could not stop there; if I did, my cattle
would all be gone. At first, I had a mind to throw it away, but
in those days, hats were too scarce to even think of throwing
one away. Then, how was I to know, but that some one had seen
me leave the house with it?
"I put that hat back on my
head and went as hard as I could go after the cattle. Finally,
we got the cattle stopped. I went on ahead of the boys, in hopes
of getting rid of that hat before they saw me.
"Reaching the house, I got
down and hitched my horse. I had already planned to tell Miss
Hester that I had made a mistake and worn the wrong hat, and
would buy another for her. But, I was so confused, that I only
said, 'Good evening, Miss Hester, I-I thought maybe you would
allow m-me the pl-pleasure of b-buying your hats for you.'
"She blushed, then said, 'You
will have to ask pa.'
"She went into the house,
and I soon heard her say, 'Ma, Mr. Charley Woodward has asked
me to marry him.'
"There it was again! I had
not asked that girl to marry me. But, I was too bashful to go
and tell her that she was mistaken."
Here, grandpa paused and looked
at grandma with a smile.
"What did you do, grandpa?
You didn't marry her, did you?"
Grandpa looked at the fire a moment,
then said, "Some day, get your grandma to show you that
Prize Story, Class
JOSEPH MARTIN DAWSON
A HARD CONFESSION.
Dawson is the eldest son of Martin J. and Laura F. Dawson, and
was born in Ellis county, Texas, June 21, 1879, where he still
resides. His advantages in an educational line have been very
limited. What education he has was received from district schools
and by close application to study at home.
By Joseph Martin Dawson, Aged
Wilkins was not really a mean boy, as the neighbors were wont
to call him, but just full of life, careless and pleasure-loving.
His mother was a widow in very moderate circumstances, with three
other children, a daughter, aged 19, Jim, older, and George,
younger, than Hub, to clothe and keep of "respectable appearance,"
as the good lady put it.
Mrs. Wilkins lived on the little
farm that her husband had "taken up" and improved when
they first came to Texas. Katie, their "sis," as the
boys called her, was just a year old then, and when her papa
died, she was 10. "Mamma, I'll have to help you raise the
boys now," she said, and was, henceforth, a little lady,
ever helping mamma.
Since the little farm had been
settled by the Wilkins, a small village had grown up about them,
and there were other boys just as full of fun as Hub. For this
reason, Hub came to grow up an idle, fun-loving boy. How he did
hate to pick cotton!
"Mother, can't you let me
do something else and make Jim and George pick the cotton?"
he asked one Monday morning, as he started to the field. "Mr.
Jones has offered to give me a job at a dollar a day in the gin,
if you will let me take it."
"Well, run along to the field
to-day, my son; I'll study over the matter," said the mother.
Hub went, but came in about 10
o'clock, sick. Mrs. Wilkins understood full well why he was sick,
and gave him a nauseating dose of castor oil, and sent him to
"Mother, I do wish you wouldn't
give me this stuff when I'm sick. Ugh!" he said, as he gulped
it down with a forced swallow.
"But, you said you were sick,
and therefore, you must take something to make you well,"
expostulated his mother.
All the afternoon, Mrs. Wilkins
studied whether it would do to humor Hub in his whim. "I
will have to hire a hand and put him in the cotton field in h
is place," she reasoned, "and then, it may ruin him,"
but, I might as well do it; he will never do anything this way.
Maybe he will find ginning as hard as cotton picking." She
gave it up in despair.
That night, Mrs. Wilkins told Hub,
in a quiet, subdued kind of way, that she guessed he might as
well go to work in the gin for Mr. Jones.
"Thank you! Thank you, mother!"
he exclaimed, in wild delight, and walking over to where she
sat, he gave her a warm kiss. But, somehow or other, he could
not keep a kind of guilty sense from overcoming him.
"I've hurt her feelings some
way," he said, as he went to bed. "But, when she sees
how well I will work in the gin, she will be all right with me.
I didn't mean to do wrong, or anything out of the way, in not
wanting to pick cotton. I just hate it, and for that reason,
I can't stand to work at it. Jim and George like it, so, let
them pick the stuff. I can do a heap better working in the gin,"
he said, right honestly, to himself; yet, his conscience contended
against him all the more strongly, the longer he kept raking
up excuses. Finally, he went to sleep, to dream that he was working
in the press at the gin, and became buried in the fluffy lint,
and they "run up" the press and he was pressed into
a jelly in the center of a bale of cotton!
The following day found Hub hard
at work "tromping" cotton in the press. The morning
seemed made up of days. He had "tromped in" ten bales,
and still, the clock on the wall ticked at half past eleven.
"My stars! when will dinner
time come?" He prepared to begin on a new bale.
"That Wilkins boy eats pretty
hearty, doesn't he?" commented Mrs. Jones, as she and her
daughter washed the dishes that day.
"Acts like he hadn't had anything
to eat for some time," returned the daughter, with feeling.
The evening did not seem so long
to Hub, but you may guess he was glad to get to ride down home
with Jim and George in the cotton wagon, which they had brought
full, an hour before, to have ginned.
"It's pretty hard work, but
I like it all right," he remarked, as he met the questioning
look in his mother's eyes.
"I hope you will like it well
enough to stick to it," said Mrs. Wilkins.
"You need have no fears about
that, mother," said Hub, very cheerfully.
Hub worked away manfully at the
gin, more so, than his mother expected. There was one thing,
however, that he was troubled about. He did wish he had money
of his own, like Will Jones did, instead of having to turn it
all over to his mother. But, he was too proud to ask her for
any, and besides, Jim and George had none; so, how could he ask
One Saturday evening, Mr. Jones
requested Hub to come to his house the next morning for his wages,
as he did not have any money then, but would have it in the morning.
Hub was on hand at the hour named, received the money, and with
a light heart, started off home at a brisk trot on a handsome
black colt. This 3-year-old was noted throughout the neighborhood
for his speed. On the way, Hub met Will Jones, going over to
Berry's chapel, a church four miles distant, where a camp meeting
was in progress.
"Hullo, Hub; Come, go over
to Berry's chapel with me. Gee whiz! but that colt of yours looks
"Why, I don't know; I didn't
ask mother about going."
"Oh, well, we can get back
by dinner time, and your mother will not care. Anyway, she needn't
know anything about it."
"Well, I reckon I'll go. I
guess it will be all right."
They had gone perhaps a half mile,
when Will said:
"Let's run a race. I'll bet
you $20 to $5, I can beat you."
"What would mother say about
me running a horse race on Sunday?" asked Hub. "Besides,
she thinks it is wrong to run a race at any time." His conscience
began to burn within him at the thought of such a thing.
"Plague take your mother!
She's what's told you all that sort of stuff. What's she got
to do with your running a race, and betting, if you want to?
It's your money. You worked for it. My mother used to tell me
that, too, but she's quit it now. Come on. Your horse is a dandy.
I've not the least idea, but that you will beat. Here goes,"
and he touched his horse's flank with his spurs, and she was
The idea of appearing a kid in
the eyes of the Jones boy, and the temptation to win the money,
was too much for Hub, and in a second, he was by his side, the
fiery young black fast carrying him past Will Jones' mare. On,
on they went, leaving a cloud of dust behind, when all at once,
the black stumbled, hurling Hub a distance of several feet ahead,
with terrible force. He lay for some moments, dazed, gazing up
into the bright morning sky, wondering what had happened. When
he came to himself, Will was shaking him and saying: "Golly,
Hub, your horse has broken his neck!" Are you hurt?"
At the news of the colt's having
broken his neck, Hub Jerked himself up hastily, and started over
to where it lay, but fell back with a groan. His leg was broken.
"You stay here until I can
go for the doctor, Hub. I will be back with him in a few minutes,
and as soon as he gets to you, you will be all right, old boy,"
Jones said, in as cheery a voice as his guilty conscience would
let him muster.
Hub knew nothing more until he
was snug in his bed at home. He looked up and met his mother's
face, full of anxiety, looking down into his own. The doctor
was busy fixing bandages and linaments. He tried to remember
what was the matter with himself, but could not locate any special
pain; his whole body seemed so heavy and his head felt like a
chunk of lead fastened on to his shoulders.
"You will have to keep him
very quiet for a while, and not let him move about too much.
I think he will get over it all right by careful nursing,"
he heard the doctor saying.
His mother still sat by his side
when he awoke after a two-hours' nap, feeling much easier. She
wore the same anxious face, but the doctor was not in the room.
"Mother, I've hurt myself
some way. How was it? Oh, yes, the cold stumbled and threw me."
"Yes, that was the way of
it; but, you must lie still, my son, or the doctor will have
to am---" She stopped and shuddered at the thought of Hub's
having to have his leg amputated.
"But, mother, I must tell
you something. I did wrong -- very wrong -- It seems as if the
walls of his heart would part as Hub told her how wrong he had
acted, and how sorry he was for it. How good he felt when his
mother told him he had her forgiveness.
Hub was not able to pick cotton
that autumn, but each succeeding one, found him drawing a heavy
sack after him. Nor, was Jim or George ever able to beat him
He is a man now, and though he
does not pick cotton any more, he attributes his success in life
to the cotton field. And, he thanks God for arresting him in
his mad flight toward a wild career on that Sunday morning, and
awakening him to a full realization of his danger and the duty
he owed his mother, to obey her in all things, both great and
Prize Essay, Class
MARY GWYN NESBIT
CIVIL SERVICE REFORM.
|Mary Gwyn Nesbit
is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Nesbit, and was born
Nov. 20, 1880, at Nesbit, Desoto Co., Miss. Eleven years ago,
the family moved to Rockwall, which has since been their home.
Mary is a student of Rockwall college. She will graduate next
June, taking a degree. She has written a prize poem, won a medal
in elocution and is fair in the study of music.
By Mary Gwyn Nesbit, Aged 15.
civil service reform, its history, and the benefits arising from
Our government is divided into
three branches -- the legislative, the judicial and the executive.
Civil service is the executive
branch of public service, distinct from naval and military service.
Civil service is the service performed by the four great classes
of clerkships in Washington.
In the civil service of the United
States, there is employed a vast army, over 100,000 persons,
filling responsible places, and nearly 50,000 postmasters with
tens of thousands of subordinates.
The magnitude of the work is appalling.
The work done by these is work done for a nation, and not for
a party. It is clearly business, and requires to be done on business
principles, and has no bearing, whatever, on politics.
President Andrew Jackson, during
his administration, introduced what is called "rotation
in office." He believed, that "to the victor, belongs
the spoils," so, he "turned the rascals out,"
and filled the offices with favorites of his own political views.
Such a system often sacrificed intellect and capacity to party
creed and greed, and gross abuses were practiced. The party in
power, for the sake of patronage, gave these places to their
Great Britain, fifty years ago,
enforced competitive examinations for the selection of administrative
officials in British India. This act of Great Britain was the
basis of our civil service reform.
As far back as 1853, the congress
of the United States required examinations for an appointment
to any place in the four great classes of clerkships in Washington.
Grant enforced the system in 1872 and 1874. He appointed a civil
service commission to attend to the matter, and the result was,
the reform displaced party favoritism with moral and intellectual
power. Some congressmen violently opposed these measures, because
they wanted their favorites in office, and hence, it was only
a partial success. President Hayes re-established competitive
examinations at the postoffice and custom house of New York city.
He promised to make "no dismissals, except for cause, and
no promotion, except for merit." His example was followed
by Presidents Garfield and Arthur.
In 1883, congress passed an act
providing for a complete system of competitive examinations.
These rules, since that time, have been enforced in national
departments, and also in various state and municipal governments.
The benefits arising from the civil
service reform are easily seen. We have now skilled employes,
whereas, in the olden time, a man's faithfulness to his party
interest awarded him a place, and his competence and fitness
for the work were not considered. Thus, one of the most fruitful
sources of political corruption has been destroyed. The intention
of our government is not to benefit only those who "sit
in high places" and their friends, but the whole people.
The civil service reform has established
competitive examinations of all candidates for subordinate offices,
and promotes to higher places on principles of service and merit;
it grants tenure of office during good behavior for a number
of years. The new system "establishes justice" and
"promotes the general welfare" -- two distinct objects
of our constitution.
Article, Class A.
THE STATE PRISON
|Eva Dreeben was
born in Rusk, Tex., Jan. 20, 1881. Her educational advantages
have been few. She entered the public schools at 9 years of age,
and attended until last year, when she became a pupil in the
East Texas Baptist college at Rusk. Her parents are Barney and
By Eva Dreeben, Aged 15.
the most interesting and attractive buildings in east Texas is
the state penitentiary for men, which is located in the thriving
little city of Rusk. This penitentiary comprises several buildings,
the largest of which, are built of stone and brick. The place
is noted for the cleanliness and order which exists everywhere
about the buildings.
Entering the grounds, one sees
a beautiful stone building, called the administration building.
This building is four stories high, with the basement. In this
building, are the offices of the superintendent, financial agent,
etc. The armory is in the basement, sleeping apartments for the
guards are upstairs, and the cells are in the wings of the building.
The building also contains dining-rooms, kitchen, chapel and
some of the workshops.
The cells are small, only large
enough to hold a small bed, bureau and chair. They are divided
by very thick walls and doors of very heavy iron. One can generally
judge the tastes of the men by seeing their cells. Some of them
are decorated by pictures of all kinds and photographs of relatives
and friends. Never is a cell seen untidy. Several
of the convicts whose imprisonment is for a long term, make their
own furniture and have their cells very attractive. Some of them
have beds like berths, so two can occupy a cell. There are, in
all, about 560 cells.
After resting a few minutes in
the superintendent's office, you are conducted by an official
or guard through a large hall. Passing through two immense iron
gates, you find yourself in a beautiful garden, which makes you
feel as if you were in an "enchanted wood." This garden
is one of the greatest attractions of the prison. On each side
of the broad paths are to be seen beds of the most beautiful
flowers of every kind, color and variety. The finest collection
of roses, violets, pinks, pansies, lilies and others, too numerous
to mention, are seen blooming during the various seasons of the
year. The garden is kept so clean, that not even a scrap of paper
is to be seen on the grounds. Lovers of flowers find this spot
a never-tiring place of interest. There are trees and beautiful
fountains in the garden. The hothouse and its plants are very
pretty. This beautiful and well kept inclosure does not give
one the impression of a prison garden; it is more like a beautiful
city park. From it, you can enter any of the other departments.
The greatest attention is shown by the guard, who never tires
answering the many questions one will ask.
The dining-rooms are very neat
and clean. There are two dining-rooms, one for the officials,
the other for the convicts. The dining-room for convicts is very
large and seats several hundred. The kitchen is large and the
cooking vessels are immense. The big coffee pot, I believe, is
the largest of all the vessels. The kitchen is so clean that
it is the envy of every housekeeper who sees it. Every department
is so clean, that there is not any danger of the whitest dress
being soiled. If you wish to resist a temptation to steal, then
don't go into the bakery when the baker takes out his bread and
rolls from the large oven. Finer bread, rolls and pastry were
The workshops are very interesting.
The convicts seem so cheerful over their work, that it is really
a pleasure to watch them. They make hay rope, stoves, dog-irons,
sad irons, ice cream freezers, kitchenware furniture, even patent
iron tombstones. Those who work in the woodshops make pretty
picture frames, jewel boxes and toilet cases from different kinds
of fancy wood. These articles, they sell or send to their relatives
and friends. There are tailors and shoemakers who make clothes
and shoes for the convicts. Recently, a new building has been
built. In it, is the chapel, opera-house and the fine machinery
hall. The finest machinery is in this hall.
The chapel is another place of
interest to see. It is a large, well-seated room. Every Sunday,
the convicts assemble in the chapel and the chaplain preaches
to them, and they have regular church service. There is a fine
library, to which the convicts have access. There are books in
this library by all the standard authors, on religion, science
and philosophy. Any one could well be proud of such a fine collection
of books. Every Christmas and New Year, a minstrel is given.
It is called the "Old Alcalde Minstrel." The convicts
take part in this. Then, one can hear the sweetest music and
singing and see good acrobatic talent. At these minstrels, stage
talent of every kind is shown.
On such holidays as Christmas and
New Year, the convicts are given fine dinners. The decorations
on such occasions are beautiful. The dining-room decorations
are superb, and many visit the prison during Christmas week,
mainly to see them.
The dispensary hospital and convalescent
rooms are above the dining-room. In these rooms, the utmost cleanliness
The furnace and iron works are
exceedingly interesting. The "Old Alcalde" blast furnace
was erected in 1884. It is situated in an inclosure, perhaps
100 yards east of, and directly in front of, the prison, and
is surrounded by a plank wall fifteen feet high. On top of the
wall are pickets for guards, placed at convenient distances.
The furnace, of course, is in operation night and day, and makes
three "runs" during the twenty-four hours, or a "run"
every eight hours, making some thirty to thirty-six tons of pig
iron daily. This iron is mainly used in the large pipe foundry
and the ordinary foundry, which is situated inside the main wall.
In the same inclosure as the furnace, is situated the "Jim
Hogg" pipe foundry, erected during Gov. Hogg's administration,
at a cost of $100,000. Here, as fine iron water pipe is made
as can be bought in the United States, in all sizes, from four
to sixteen inches in diameter. The pipe foundry makes only one
daily run. The pipes are all subjected to a high test before
being shipped or offered for sale. Water pipes have been shipped
from these works to many towns and cities, even as far as Salt
Lake City. It is a beautiful sight to watch the "run"
at night. The light and sparks illumine the prison beautifully.
The penitentiary was built in 1876,
during Gov. Hubbard's administration. There are now about 800
prisoners in its walls. It is situated at one of the prettiest
locations surrounding Rusk. It can be viewed from almost every
place in town. The prison affords many pleasant attractions for
visitors and people who reside in the town.
Prize Poem, Class
A MORNING REVERIE.
is the daughter of L.W. Canady and Rebecca Canady (nee Pressley
of Brenham, Tex.). She was born in Greenville, Hunt Co., Tex.,
Sept. 7, 1883. Her father is a railway conductor on the Texas
and Pacific, and Myrtle has had advantages of travel. She has
attended public school in Fort Worth and El Paso, Tex., and Portland,
Ore. Her forte is music, and her talent is especially displayed
on the violin, which has won her many honors for one so young.
She is now at the Chicago musical college for the perfection
of violin study.
By Myrtle Canady, Aged 12.
The wood bird calls, the shadows
The sun comes golden from the sea;
Across the meadows as I stray,
For you, I take the fern-fringed way,
To gather violets wet with dew,
Which only bloom, my love, for you
For you, my love, alone for you.
The grasses bend, the dew drops shine,
The hawthorn's breath is sweet as wine;
The soft wind steals with presence sweet,
To fling white petals at my feet.
To lift the leaves from violets blue,
Hidden to wait, my love, for you;
For you, my love, alone for you.
El Paso, Tex.
Prize Story, Class
PAULA POTTER EVANS
A THANKSGIVING ENTERTAINMENT.
Evans was born at Syenite, Mo., May 26, 1883. She came to Texas
when 8-months old. Her father, L. K. Evans, was born and raised
at Farmington, St. Francois Co., Mos., and her mother, whose
maiden name was Pandora Potter, was born and raised at Gainesville,
Tex. She entered school first in the public school at Belcherville,
Tex., Sept. 4, 1892. The family moved to Nocona in August, 1894,
and she has been a pupil of the public school there for two terms.
She is now in the tenth grade.
By Paula P. Evans, Aged 13.
only a short time before Thanksgiving day, and Miss Edith Hamilton,
the kindergarten teacher, had decided to have an entertainment
on the night before Thanksgiving. One of the pieces which she
had arranged to have was a little play entitled, "Cinderella
and the Little Glass Slipper," and she had chosen little
8-year-old Sybil Grey for Cinderella.
Sybil was delighted with the part
which her teacher had assigned to her. She skipped home in an
ecstasy of pleasure and delight, and, running into her mother's
room, she seated herself in a little chair, exclaiming, "Oh,
mother, we are going to have a concert next Wednesday night,
and Miss Hamilton says she wants me to take Cinderella's part
in the play, because I have long golden hair, and I look pretty
in white. You know I have to wear a pretty white dress and a
veil and silver paper slippers. You must commence my dress to-morrow,
mamma, for this is Friday, and I have to wear it next Wednesday
night. Miss Hamilton said she would make my slippers."
There was silence in the room for
a few minutes and Mrs. Grey looked very unhappy as she slowly
replied, "No, Sybil, darling, I think you will have to give
up your wishes this time. Mamma is very sorry to disappoint you,
dear, but, with the rent and the grocery bill to pay, I don't
see how I can afford to spend the amount of money that the dress
would cost. Then, you know, I have to finish that blue silk dress
for Miss Brent, and I don't know how I would have time to make
it for you, even if I had the material." Then, as Sybil
began to sob and cry, she said, "Don't cry, dearest, and
I will do the best I can for you."
"Oh, mamma, can't you make
it out of an old dress, or even a sheet?" pleaded little
"Well, Sybil," answered
her mother, "you might wear one of your old white dresses,
but still, you would not have the veil. Never mind about it now,
but just come on and eat your supper. Mamma will think about
it and see what she can do for her good little daughter."
An hour later, the door opened
and Miss Hazel Brent entered the cozy little room. The lamp was
not yet lighted, and Sybil sat in a corner sobbing, while her
mother was in her low rocking-chair by the front window, at work
on the blue silk dress.
"Good evening, Mrs. Grey,"
said Miss Brent as she seated herself in a willow rocker. "Light
the lamp and let me see your face, and then I will tell you my
errand." Then, as Mrs. Grey lighted the lamp, she glanced
at the little figure in the corner and inquired, ""What
is the matter with Sybil?"
"She is crying," answered
Mrs. Grey, "because her teacher, Miss Hamilton, wants her
to take Cinderella's part in a play which she is arranging for
next Wednesday night. If Sybil takes the part, she will need
a new dress and a veil, and I can't afford to buy them for her."
"Poor little Sybil,"
murmured Miss Brent, and something like a sigh escaped her. Then,
she said aloud, "Mrs. Grey, you know mamma and I are going
away to St. Louis in about two weeks. Well, I have bought the
loveliest black silk dress for mamma, and I want to have it made
before we go to Galveston later on. That is why I came this evening
to see if you could make the dress for mamma. We are going to
Galveston as soon as we come back from St. Louis, and you can
make the dress while we are gone, if you like. I have been to
see every dressmaker in town, and they are all too busy to make
it. And, if you don't care, I will pay you now, for my dress
and ma's, too, so that little Sybil can have her costume for
"Thank you, Miss Brent,"
returned Mrs. Grey, "but, if I had a dress for Sybil, I
could not make it before Thanksgiving. I have a great deal of
sewing to do this week. I will have your mother's dress ready
for her in about two weeks, and I can finish this in a few days."
"Well then, Mrs. Grey,"
said Miss Brent kindly, "let me send up a dress for Sybil
and you can just take it as part payment on my dress. I know
Sybil wants to take Cinderella's part, and I will send the very
prettiest dress I can find, and a tarleton veil, too."
"Come, Sybil, do you hear
that?" asked Mrs. Grey. "Miss Brent has promised to
send you a pretty little dress and veil, so that you can take
the part that Miss Hamilton asked you to take. Now, isn't that
When Sybil heard this, she came
out of the corner, wiped her eyes, kissed Miss Brent and ran
off to bed, Mrs. Grey and Miss Brent chatted together for [a
few] minutes, and then, the latter took her leave first, promising
to accompany Sybil and her mother to the entertainment on Wednesday
night, and Mrs. Grey, after working half an hour on the blue
The next Wednesday morning dawned
clear and bright, but rather cool. Sybil was up early, and after
eating a somewhat hasty breakfast, sat down by the front window
to watch for the dress. She waited very impatiently for half
an hour. At the end of that time, a negro boy knocked at the
door. When Mrs. Grey opened it, he entered, carrying a large
pasteboard box, which he set down on the floor. He said Miss
Hazel Brent had sent it, and then went away, without another
"Why, mamma," exclaimed
Sybil in surprise, "surely, this isn't my dress, for the
box is so large." Then, coming nearer and glancing at the
card which lay on the lid of the box, she cried, "Yes, it
is for me, mamma, for this card says, 'Miss Sybil Grey.' "
In a few minutes, the little clock
on the mantel struck 9, and Sybil put on her hat and started
At 8 o'clock that evening, Sybil
and her mother, accompanied by Mrs. Brent and Miss Hazel, started
for the opera-house, for the entertainment was to begin at 8:30.
Miss Hamilton and several of her pupils were already there.
"Why, Sybil, how cute you
look!" exclaimed Minnie Patterson, admiringly.
"Yes," answered Miss
Hamilton, "our little Cinderella looks very pretty. No wonder
she will capture the prince's heart."
They went through with the play
very nicely, and everybody was pleased.
Miss Hamilton had decided that
half of the proceeds should go to the city orchestra, who furnished
them with several beautiful selections of music. The other half,
she said, should go to the children who had taken part in the
When Sybil came home to dinner
the next day, she astonished her mother by putting into that
lady's hand, a nice sum of money, saying, as she took off her
hat, "There, mamma dear, that is our share of the money
that we made last night. Miss Hamilton divided it equally, and
that is my share and yours. Aren't you glad, mamma?"
Prize Essay, Class
ARCHIE OVERTON HARRIS
CIVIL SERVICE REFORM.
Harris, who has been a popular writer in Mr. Big Hat's department,
under the pen name of Usto Bee Hazbin, was born at Brenham, Tex.,
April 21, 1883. His parents, Bessie Dabney and Frederick Harris,
taught him till he was 9 years old. His mother then died, and
he went to the Dallas public schools, where he is now in the
ninth grade. He has always lived in Texas.
By Archie Overton Harris, Aged
(Usto Bee Hazbin)
early days of our republic, there were only about 4,000,000 people
as our population. Few officers were required to enforce the
laws of the nation. The persons who represented a state or a
district in the general congress were, as a rule, honest and
able men, who were elected by popular vote. The people chose
them because they were favored by dishonest political organizations
The branch of government of which
the president was head, was, in duty bound, to execute laws made
by these representatives. It was, therefore, called the executive
branch. Subordinate officers were required to help in carrying
out these laws. The president appointed these subordinates. Often,
when an officer for a distant section was to be chosen, he asked
the assistance of the representative from that section in selecting
him. The representative named the applicant whom he thought was
most competent, and the appointment was made at once. Competent
and honest officers were thus secured without regard to political
Before Jackson's accession to the
presidency, few removals of minor civil service (or executive)
officials were made for other than just causes. This president
made many political enemies, and to retain his party popularity,
he made many removals for purely partisan reasons. The politicians
of the country saw in this, the means of securing office as a
reward for political influence. So much pressure was brought
to bear on the succeeding presidents, that they were compelled
to choose officers only from members of their respective parties.
This was practically the beginning of the "spoils system."
William H. Harrison must have seen
the wrong in such corrupt political methods. He worked so incessantly
endeavoring to choose good and competent officers, that a neglected
cold caused his untimely death. Thus, it is demonstrated how
impossible, even in 1841, it was to choose proper officers by
personal appointment, without the president's neglect of other
matters equally important.
In 1853, a law was made, empowering
the president to separate the clerkships at Washington into four
classes. Persons who wished to gain admittance to any of these
clerkships were to pass through a competitive test to prove their
fitness. Probably, this issue, which was the beginning of American
civil service reform, was lost sight of during the years before
the civil war. However that may be, it is certain that no further
steps were taken to extend and enforce the system before 1871.
During Grant's administration,
political partisanship had greatly corrupted the civil service.
The victorious north stood triumphant over the vanquished south
; the republican over the democrat. Party feeling, naturally,
ran very high. It so affected Grant, that many unjust partisan
choices were made. George William Curtis, a pure and intellectual
republican, saw the danger in which his party stood from its
corrupt practices. In order that these might be remedied, he
proposed a reform in the civil service. After weeks of labor,
he secured Grant's approval of his measures. He was made head
of a committee, whose civil service reform ideas were soon approved
by congress, also. Curtis' movement provided for the enforcement
of measures before adopted, and added some additional features.
One of these empowered the president to classify the civil service
so that it would be possible to systematically enforce competitive
This system of examinations seemed,
from a democratic standpoint, to be totally inadequate. The leaders
of the party thought it was only a scheme to keep their opponents
in power. Consequently, they inflamed the public mind so much
against it, that the growth of the system was materially retarded.
Hayes endeavored to enforce the
system when he came to power. So did Garfield and Arthur. Lincoln's
expressions, after a day's work appointing officers, would lead
us to the conclusion, that had the issue been discussed during
his administration, he would have given the reformers his hearty
support. All these were republican presidents, so many persons
think that civil service reform originated in that party. It
was not the fault of its promoters that the issue was misunderstood,
for they worked diligently in its behalf.
By 1883, the people began to see
the good in a much assailed idea. The democrats reversed their
position when they discovered their mistaken views. In fact,
the first person who really made a great effort to reform the
civil service, was a democratic senator from Ohio, who prepared
a bill for that purpose. George H. Pendleton was the champion
of reform who urged the great step. His speech introducing the
bill was an eloquent one. He showed the great wastefulness of
the party in power. Many superfluous persons, he said, were employed.
Twenty messengers, for instance, were employed where one efficient
person could easily have done the same work. At the end of the
year, a certain official had a balance left over, and in order
that it might not be returned to the treasury, he employed enough
unnecessary counters to use it up entirely.
Pendleton's bill was a declaration
of the principles of civil service reform. The bill provides
for a commission of three persons to conduct these examinations.
Another duty of the commission is to aid the president in enforcing
the rules. Any commissioner who is dishonest, is punished. Any
person may compete in the examinations, provided he (or she)
furnishes certificates of good moral character, health and physical
and mental capacity. The certificates are obtained under oath.
The examinations, which are held
in almost all important cities, consist of such subjects as will
be required in the future duties of the applicant. Thus, a copyist
is examined in spelling, penmanship, elementary arithmetic and
copying, before he secures his position. A clerk's examination
is harder than a copyist's. Almost all other examinations are
based on these two. Only geography and United States history
are impractical, and they never count more than 5 per cent. An
ordinary applicant's age is limited, and he must answer 70 per
cent of the questions given. A person honorably discharged from
martial service need be of no certain age, and need answer only
65 per cent of the questions. Many higher officers are not subject
to these rules.
The three great classes protected
by this bill are: The departmental services at Washington, the
classified customs service, and the classified postal service.
The bill was adopted by a vote of 38 to 5 in the senate.
The great system is growing gradually.
Some small extensions have been made. President Cleveland has
declared his intention to slowly bring postmasters under the
reform. The National Reform league has expressed its satisfaction
at the progress recently made. Other countries have the reform,
also -- in fact, we borrowed our system from Great Britain.
Of course, the workings of civil
service reform are not perfect -- few systems are. Senator Sherman
suggests an improvement. He says, that if no congressman were
allowed to influence the president in his choice of subordinates,
another step forward would be made.
Looking back over the strangely-checkered
career of civil service reform, we can not fail to see the benefits
it has wrought. A clerk is under no moral obligation to politicians.
His scanty purse should not be need for campaign expenses. He
has a right to think for himself. The "spoils system"
forbids this; reform demands it.
Through civil service reform, we
have secured honest, competent officers, an economical, but methodical,
system, the downfall of many partisan leaders, the saving of
the president's valuable time, and we have given a death blow
to the iniquitous, grinding, scheming "spoils system."
Let us hope that civil service
reform will advance, that politics will be purified, and that
in reality, as Emerson says, "Education will some day take
the place of government."
article, Class B.
JOHNNIE A. JACKSON
MY TRIP TO THE SALT
|Johnnie A. Jackson
is the son of Thomas P. and N. E. Jackson, and was born Jan.
7, 1882, in Warren county, Kentucky. He then lived on a farm.
He moved to Texas in 1883. His principal educational advantages
were obtained at home, and in the Mineola (Tex.) public schools.
By Johnnie A. Jackson, Aged 14.
morning in autumn, when the silver and golden leaves were falling,
I accompanied a party of friends and relatives to a neighboring
village to visit the salt-works. We started very early and traveled
over red clay hills and rocks, under trestles and through cool,
clear, shady brooks, where the horses willingly quenched their
thirst. While the horses drank, the bending branches of the graceful
willows shaded us. Soon, the horses started up, and we moved
on our way through woods and green fields, where we gathered
grapes, persimmons, prickly pears and "musky-dimes,"
as Aunt Margit and "de rest of de cullud pussons" call
On the way, we stopped under a
large tree. My friend, Thomas, and myself, got out of the wagon
to climb around amongst the trees (as all boys do) and have some
fun, when Thomas discovered a nest, in which was a flying-squirrel.
We tried to catch it, but it jumped, or flew, as you might say,
around so fast, we could hardly watch it, least of all, touch
When we stopped the flying-squirrel
chase, we were quite a distance from the wagon, but soon, we
heard a familiar voice halloo, "We are going." The
wagon moved off, and we ran and caught up with them. We now came
to a broad prairie, where we saw cows licking the ground for
the salt. There were no trees and no grass, except what is known
as salt or wire grass. Soon, we came in sight of the little village
that contained the saltworks.
We drove over many piles of dirty
or refuse salt before we entered the building. We met the manager
and he told us the way they procured the salt was by digging
a well straight down in the ground and then curbing it immediately,
to prevent surface water from running down to the salt, which
is reached at the distance of about 1800 or 2000 feet. The salt,
thus reached, is pure salt. It is solid and hard as a rock, and
is termed "rock salt." After the curbing is put in,
two pipes are let down. The first is used to pump fresh, clean
water on the salt. The water lies on the salt until it has absorbed
all the salt it will take. Then, the second pipe pumps the salty
water into the supply tank.
From the supply tank, the water
runs into the evaporating pans. The evaporating pans are made
of iron and copper. They are about ninety feet long, by thirty
feet wide, and about two or four feet deep. Some evaporating
pans are larger and some are smaller. The heat is applied to
the under side; also, pipes run through the water in the evaporating
pans. You understand that heat is passing through these pipes
all the time, which heats the water. Men were there with rakes,
made especially for the purpose, stirring the salt all the time
to keep it from scorching.
When the water has evaporated reasonably
low, the heat is stopped. The pan is then allowed to cool off.
The men then take shovels and shovel the salt on the dripping
table. The dripping table is a convenient distance from all edges
of the pan, and is above the water some feet. It is over the
evaporating pan, of course. The remaining water will drip out
of the salt, and when it is thoroughly dry, a platform is thrown
across, from the edge of the pan, to the dripping table and men
take trucks, shovels, boxes, and other working implements, to
convey the salt to the packing-room, which is in the bottom story.
When the salt is thrown into large
piles in the packing-room, it looks like great banks of snow.
Some of this salt is packed in this gross state into grass sacks
and barrels, to be shipped away. Some of it goes to the refinery-room,
where a great wheel, turning round in an iron box, grinds it
up fine. It is then turned upon tables, where girls from 8 to
17 years old are employed in filling and sewing up little sacks
of dairy or table salt. They seemed very busy.
We visited the engine-room, also,
the rooms under the evaporating pans. In all these rooms, we
saw icicle-like formations hanging down from the ceiling. I decided
to get and preserve some of them as curiosities, but they were
hollow and too fragile to be handled, so, they crumbled into
salt as fine as dust, the moment I began handling them. They
were formed by salt water leaking down, and the salt settling
and the water evaporating. Under the supply tank, which is made
of wood, there were wooden pillars, also, wooden braces. They
were covered with salt what resembled beautiful white curtains,
tied back. They had the folds plainly formed. It looked like
the room of some princess, carved out of white marble. We saw
some rock salt that was as hard as a rock, and when broken, glistened
like a mirror at the edges that had not been exposed at some
The cooperage was near by, but,
I could not describe it comprehensibly. After seeing all that
was to be seen, we walked down to a little stream, rested in
the shade of some sweet gum trees a moment, and picked gum, some
to chew. Soon, the horses were ready to start and we turned the
wagon tongue homeward. After driving a long way, Thomas and myself
became tired of riding, so, we hung on the back of the wagon,
walking every few minutes. While walking, we got some tickle-tongue,
and Osage oranges.
We passed an old, dilapidated jail
that held prisoners in pioneer days. It was said to be haunted.
We drove near an old, worn-out farm, with farmhouse and outhouses
on it. The roof was sunken, and a few native trees were still
standing in the yard. Long spikes had been driven in them, but
they were nearly grown over by the bark, which told that the
trees were not saplings. On one, sat a dove, cooing so mournfully,
that I fancied that the inmates of this once-stately farm-house
had fallen into the last slumber, three score years past, and
had left this little feathered pet to tell the tale of their
departure. To make the scene more lonely, a flock of shepherdless
sheep wandered across the green. My friend changed the thought
just here, and said: "Bah!" All the sheep shook their
tails and raised their heads, but made no reply. We then drove
out of sight. The next thing of interest was a herd of razor-backed
hogs, which, when they heard the rattle of the wagon, looked
up and said, "Woof, woof, woof," and broke off into
the brambles on the neighboring creek. We crossed the creek and
saw lying up there in the pretty green vines, a large green snake,
waiting to snap a bird or anything that came near. The vine was
covered with beautiful red woodbine flowers. So, you see, it
is best not to venture about anything that takes your eye, before
you closely examine it.
We were on the top of the next
well-beaten clay hill, when the breast-yoke came off the tongue
of the wagon and the wagon slid down the hill. Bumpty, jolty,
we went to the bottom of the hill. The horses had to jump to
keep out of the way of the wagon. We fastened the tongue as soon
as the opportunity offered itself, and the rest of the trip was
Girls' Prize Letter.
By Miriam Margaret Hedges of
MIRIAM MARGARET HEDGES
Hedges, daughter of John R. and Margaret V. Hedges, was born
at Mansfield, O., Sept. 23, 1887. When she was 3 years old, she
entered a kindergarten at Fort Worth, and has attended kindergarten
at Mansfield and at Dallas. She was a pupil at the world's fair
kindergarten, also. With the exception of 1892, she has always
lived in Texas. She has been a pupil in the Galveston public
schools for two years. She has traveled a good deal for one so
young, going to northern states and Canada for the summer, and
this is probably the reason why her favorite study is geography.
Big Hat: As I will be 9 years old in September, I thought I would
try for the prize for the best letter.
My sister and I are out at Alto
Loma Inn, thirteen miles from Galveston. It is a nice place of
about fifteen acres, and it is enclosed with a fence. There are
many large trees and lots of vegetables planted, and a great
many wild flowers.
There are about 200 chickens and
ducks all together. There is a boathouse and two boats.
Yesterday afternoon, my sister
and I went down to the boathouse and saw a double rainbow. I
could see all the seven colors distinctly, red, orange, yellow,
green, indigo, blue and violet. Last night, we went rowing, and
over at the west, we saw the clouds and the sunset, on them,
and the new moon on top of that, and over at the north, we saw
the lightning, and it looked so pretty.
Mr. Borden went floundering last
night, and caught six flounders. At 8 o'clock or later, the men
take a bright light and a stick with a sharp, iron point in the
end. They get down in the water and walk along the shore. The
fish come up to the shore after dark, and when they see the light,
they stick their heads down in the mud, and then the men spear
I wish some of the cousins were
here to play with me, for we would have so much fun with Leo.
He is a big Newfoundland dog. His name means "Lion."
Boys' Prize Letter.
By Jacob Hugley Threlkeld of
Iowa Park, Tex., Aged 9.
JACOB HUGLEY THRELKELD
Threlkeld was born Jan. 26, 1887, in Missouri. His parents, John
and Anna Threlkeld, died before he was 4 years old. He was adopted
by a lady, with whom he came to Iowa Park, Tex., in January 1892.
One term at public school there, with home instructions, constitute
his educational advantages, so far.
Big Hat: Since you gave me such a kindly welcome to the Cozy
Corner, I will write again. I enjoy the cousins' letters very
much and would like to know some of the writers. I especially
would like to see Daisy Field, who says she is 8844 years of
age, for I have never seen a little girl so old as that. I think
she must be Methuselah's great-grandmother.
- October 18, 1896,
The Dallas Morning News,
I don't like speechifying any better
than that other cousin, who makes faces about it in the Cozy
Corner, although, I won the prize for the best speech in a Sunday
school contest in 1893. I said a speech to a crowded house in
Missouri when I was 3 years old, which everybody said "brought
down the house." I often wondered what they meant, as the
house was still standing when I left there.
I think I would like that little
cousin who says he doesn't swear, for I do not use bad language
myself, and do not like to play with boys who do. We cousins
can make ourselves happy by trying to make our companions, our
parents and our teachers, happy. I, for one, am most miserable
when everything goes wrong with me, and I fell like saying cuss
words, but, if I laugh it off, the happiness comes back.
How many of the 9-year-old cousins
are as tall as I? I am 4 feet 10 inches tall. I grow up like
Jack's bean stalk, but don't get very heavy. I weigh but 68 pounds.
This part of the country is very
ho and dry at present, but we will soon have irrigation, and
then we will be in the swim.
Little Miss Big Bonnet, if I had
been there, instead of that other boy, when you fell into the
water, you surely would have gone to the bottom, for I can not
swim and don't know when I will ever have a chance to learn,
for I never see enough water, unless I look down into the cistern.
I wonder how many of the cousins
can ride horseback? I will tell you about the first horseback
ride I ever took. I had on my first pair of pants and was riding
an old gray horse to water. The horse's name was Old Jeff. When
I rode down into the creek, Old Jeff concluded he must have a
drink from under a stooping willow, which grew on the brink of
the stream, and, of course, when he went under it to drink, I
was raked off into the water. I was not drowned, but was terribly
scared, and the first thing I said when I got out, was: "Did
it [split] my britches?" I have never been horseback riding
any more, so, you see, in telling of my first ride, I have told
of my last one, also. I am going to learn to ride a wheel some
I like little Miss Big Bonnet (I
suppose she will not care if a boy likes her), and wish I could
write as nice letters as she does.
I will end my letter by wishing
all the cousins, a happy, hot vacation; Mr. Big Hat and Peggy,
an extra stock of patience for the cousins' contest, and for
myself, a prize.
Little Men and Women Section, pp. 1-4.
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