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     Elsewhere, The News presents the young folks' page that appeared in the semi-weekly of March 29. This feature has grown to be popular, and withal, commands so much interest among the readers of The Semi-Weekly News, that The News feels a pride in giving just one specimen page to its daily readers. There is much in Big Hat's letters to interest "grown-up" folks. The sweet, bubbling, innocent chatter of the lads and lassies is, at once, charming and refreshing. A sharp contrast is afforded in this page to the class of matter known as general news, printed from day to day. One has a chance to note how newspaper features may be worked up to suit people of all ages. Another point that must not be overlooked, is that, in this page, is being developed the literary talent of Texas, which is to "come after us." These little men and women will take the places of the newspaper, magazine and book writers now so well known in Texas, but will have seen their day by the time the Big Hat writers emerge from the ranks of the "cousins" and join the brigade that has to work for daily bread. Thus, one sees how great a developer The News is. Pursuant to, and in line with, its high and studied efforts to elevate the people, it has not overlooked the younger generation. In this connection, it should be said that "Summer Schools" are conducted in the young folks' page. Last summer, the subject was Texas history, and the summer before, the discovery of the Americas, the latter being most appropriate for the world's fair year. The News will, next Sunday, give a specimen of its woman's page in the semi-weekly, known as the "Woman's Century.

- March 31, 1895, The Dallas Morning News, p. 6.
- o o o -

March 31, 1895

TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing letters to Big Hat's department for publication, write on one side of the paper only. Printers never turn their copy, and the editor has no time to rewrite half, or even part, of your letters. Give your full name and address. Anonymous letters are never printed. These rules are imperative.

     One of the cousins asks for Mr. Big Hat's opinion of novel reading. There is so much to be taken into consideration in answering this question, and especially, so much depends on the character of the novel, that it is difficult for Mr. Big Hat to express his opinion, entire, in the space at his disposal.
     A novel is a fictitious story. On the teachings of the story, then, depends its designation as a good or bad book, excepting only its literary value. That is to say, if the teachings of a store are elevating in their purpose, and in addition, the story is so well told as to deserve praise also from a literary point of view, that story can not help but be of some benefit to its readers.
     Then comes another consideration in novel reading -- whether or not a person has acquired it as a habit, a sort of dissipation. Ice cream and cake form a very acceptable dessert, but one would hardly recommend it as a diet. So with novel reading. Its chief aim (beyond those books which are known as "purpose novels," because they are written to convey some important truth put in novel form to attract more readers) is to amuse and divert the mind, just as a schoolboy plays ball as a recreation from study or work. And, novel reading should be enjoyed in the same way. No more should one wish to live constantly in a world peopled only by the imagination, than to play ball or other games from daylight to dark.
     All children should be taught to enjoy good literature by having only good literature given them to read. They will then find that the trashy novels so much complained about, do not satisfy the appetite of the mind for recreation, at all. When a child begins to show a desire to read, the works of Louisa M. Alcott, Sophia May, Panzy, Margaret Sydney, T. S. Arthur, Oliver Optic and a dozen other juvenile authors Mr. Big Hat could name, are all safe to place in its hands, and as it grows older, the love of pure literature, thus inculcated, will need little admonition, but will take kindly to Irving, Cooper, Dickens, Hawthorne, Scott, Eliot and the modern classics. Where, among later writers, the name is not familiar, the publisher's name forms a very good basis for judgment. The works issued by Harper Bros., the Century, D. Lothrop & Co., and many other prominent firms, can be taken on sight, so far as moral worth and literary excellence is concerned. And, with a good book for a companion, a child is always in the best of company, and is certain to close its covers better and wiser for its contents.

     The youngest cousin has knocked at the door for admission, John Yates of Ryan, I. T. [Jefferson Co., Okla.], aged 5 years. Mr. Big Hat here produces his letter as nearly as possible like the original, as the types can make it:


     A little foreign cousin has also written a letter that pleases Mr. Big Hat very much. The penmanship is so beautifully exact and plain, that one does not mind the spelling and awkward construction. How many of us would do as well in a foreign language, with our first letter?

MARTIN KRALL, Hogg, Burleson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and dear cousins: I am puddy big boy about 13 years of age last spring; now I am 14 years old. Mr. Big Hat, I have a fine fun after them feelarks (field larks), with douidle [double?] shotgun. They wanted to eat all corn what comes out from the ground. I thought it will be better to throw from slink (a sling) after them, but they did not mind yet before the rock hit him on his head. Then he is kill for sure. I got not school yet now, but I think it will begin in the summer, and next fall I will be glad, for it will be school here for that time. Mr. Big Hat, I like to read from Mr. Big Hat's letters, so this is my first letter what I write to The News. I like to see my first letter printed in the newspapers.

MATTIE MABLE RIGDON, Holland, Bell Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Good morning! I am glad to talk with you this bright spring morning. I suppose you all are glad that grim old winter, bound in his frosty chains, has bidden us adieu. Beautiful spring has stepped upon nature's stage, to play her part for 1895. Robed in her beauty and splendor, she is the loveliest of seasons. When we awake in the beautiful morning, we hear the wild bird's happy song among the deep green trees of the forest. Deep in the meadows of rich verdure, sweet flowers, kissed by the cool spring showers, seem to welcome the golden rays of sunlight. It is as if smiles from heaven, itself, brightened, warmed and gladdened the whole fair world. What is more charming than music and art? What would this world be without either? Can you conceive what a graveyard of a place this world would be without music? What darkness and gloom! It would be sad, indeed. Music lights up the world with joy. It inspires the sick and relieves pain. It cheers the old, as well as the young. Nature's art is the grandest of all! The pastures and fields, once darkened by the icy breath of winter, are now bursting into greenness. The sprouting grass, the budding trees and the pink, blooming orchard are all nature's handiwork. Cousins, isn't it pleasant to sit beneath the shady trees, among the beautiful wild flowers, and hear the sweet birds singing all around you? As I looked out upon this beautiful morning, everything wore an inviting appearance. The dark, misty curtains had been drawn from the blue vault above, as if to give the sun a view of the beautiful spring season here below. I thought it would be a pleasant time to chat with the cousins. So, I found pencil and paper handy and walked down below the garden. I am now seated on an old log, by the side of a little spring branch, where I can hear the sweet ripple of falling waters. I wish some of the cousins were here. I could tell them many funny things that have happened near this place. I find that most all the cousins go to school. Well, I suppose you have all read in the old fourth reader about "Meddlesome Mattie." I remember very well when that was my lesson. The teacher called my class, then asked what the lesson was about, and some one answered, "Meddlesome Mattie." Then, the teacher laughed and looked at me and said: "Meddlesome Mattie May." Of course, I cried a little for him, which amused my class very much. As true as there is a character, it is being stamped in school days. And, it is doubtless too true, that a great many fail to comprehend the possibilities of their educational privileges, until they are past. I think literature is the most interesting study any one can find. It is so inspiring to read the accomplishments of the great men of the past. In literature, the Greeks far surpassed every other people of antiquity. They attained a degree of excellence in poetry, in oratory and in history, which has scarcely been equaled by any modern people. Here, as in art, they are still the teachers of the world. Now, cousins, let us not only study the great deeds accomplished by the people of the past, but let us study for the future in a way that our history will be worth the thought of others, as the history of these ancient Greens is worth ours. When we depart from this world, let us not leave a mere blank, but achieve something that will be lasting in the progress of time. "Where there is a will, there is a way." Mr. Big Hat, please tell me what the cousins mean when they say that they have received their diplomas or prizes.

Mr. Big Hat's response:
     For the past two years, Mr. Big Hat has taught a summer school of history, by means of lessons in The News. Sixteen lessons covered four months of study during the summer vacation. The summer of 1893, Columbian year, the history of Columbus, his contemporaries and their discoveries, was completed. At the close, a long list of test questions appeared, to which the cousins sent in answers. Those answering 60 per cent or more of these questions were awarded a handsomely lithographed diploma to that effect, and twenty-six gold Columbian medals were distributed to the writers of the prize papers. Last summer, the study was Texas history, for which appropriate diplomas and prizes were awarded in the same way. Mr. Big Hat will conduct a similar course of study the coming summer.

MAUD CARSON, Mount Vernon, Rowan Co., N. C. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I was glad to see my other letter in print. Bessie Bee, Bessie Lakey and Adella Estes write the most interesting letters of all. I never saw our department improve so much in so short a time. It is so kind in Mr. Big Hat to let us have a place in his paper. I think we all ought to see who can write the best letters. We may not be offered such a good opportunity again. I am going to try and do my best, but if I do my best, I can't catch up with Adella and the two Bessies. Adella, you say you saw convicts working. Convicts worked on our road, but have moved now. I don't expect all of the cousins have seen them, so, I will tell something about the way convicts are worked here. People that do meanness are put on the chain gang (they call it chain gang because they have chains all over them so as to fasten them at night). They move from road to road and live in tents. They have one cook, one washer, one to chop and haul wood, and one for a waiting boy. There are three guards and one boss man. The convicts all wear striped clothes so they can be told from others if they run off. The guards have guns and the boss man has a big leather strap to whip them with. I believe the convicts are afraid of the whip more than they are of the guns. I wish I could tell more about them, but for fear Mr. Big Hat will get disgusted with me, I will stop. Papa wants me to write to The News every week. I am afraid Mr. Big Hat would get tired printing my badly written letters.

EVANGEL BOWMAN, Mineola, Wood Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: According to promise, I will tell you the story of my getting lost, which is a true one. I once was lost, but now I am found, and I am going to try and stay found. It was two years ago next month, and I was not quite 7 years old. My mamma, sister, brother, cousin and myself went fishing. It was a beautiful day and we started early, and the place went to fish at was a nice stream of deep, clear water, with clean, sandy banks. After reaching the place, the first thing mamma and brother did was to take the horse from the buggy and tie him where he could eat grass, for we were going to stay all day. Cousin Addie and sister went with a hatchet to get some poles to set them. Mamma gave brother his hook and we went to fishing, and mamma thought I was with Cousin Addie and sister, and they thought I was with mamma. So, mamma went fishing, too. As soon as I was helped from the buggy, I had seen a beautiful cluster of wild verbenas and ran to gather it; then, I saw a tall bunch of sweet williams, and large wild violets, with long stems, and on I went, gathering all I could find. I would run when I saw one at any distance away. I went on near the creek in a path until I came to a large hawthorn bush, all covered with clusters of small white flowers. Among the branches of this bush grew a woodbine, which was also in bloom. The coral brushes of woodbine, all mixed with the white flowers, was indeed a lovely sight, but it leaned so far over the water, that I could reach but few of them. As I was breaking them, I heard a noise near, which, I found, was made by a squirrel. But, soon he leaped into a tree and was out of sight. Then, I went on, never thinking where I was, until I had gone almost a mile from where I started. I didn't know when I would have stopped, but I saw just ahead of me, two negro boys about grown, standing on the bank of the creek fishing. I then began to look for mamma and cry, but I never moved from where I was when I first realized that I was lost. For the first time in my life, I tried to pray another prayer besides the one mamma had taught me, and I know God heard me, for just then, mamma began to wonder if I was with Cousin Addie and asked her. Then, they all began to cry and call, "Baby, Baby!" and now, I have another proof that God heard my prayer, for mamma started just the way I was, and kept calling me until I heard her, and oh, how glad I was to hear her! It is an awful thing to be lost in the woods, but mamma says children get lost in worse places than the woods when they are not good. But, if they will stop, as I did, and ask the kind, heavenly father to help them, they will be brought back into his loving arms. But, if they keep on going deeper into the woods of wickedness, their cries will not be heard. Well, cousins, after I got back, mamma gave me a hook, and I caught the largest fish that was caught, and the first one.

TOMMY CAMPBELL, Fincastle, Henderson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am my mamma's baby and was 12 years old the 4th of this month. I can agree with you, Evangel Bowman, for I am called "Baby," and do not like it. My papa died when I was 6 years old. I began my first plowing last Monday. Mamma hired two hands to help me plant my patches, and I will work them till my brother returns from school, and he will help me. I have only one brother. I see some of the cousins describe their country. I will try to describe mine. I have heard papa say, when he came here in 1854, that there was very little timber, and he could see a deer as far as the eye could reach. Now, the timber is so thick, we can see one but a short distance. The country is kind of hilly. We have some small mountains, at least, we call them such, but I expect some of the cousins who live in a mountainous country would call them hills. The timber consists principally of red oak, hickory, elm, birch, walnut and mulberry. The land produces cotton, corn, peas, potatoes and oats. Well, in fact, most anything you plant here does well. We have about 100 acres of open land, all in cultivation this year. Mr. Big Hat, your picture reminds me of myself when I was a little boy wearing dresses and big neckties. What is your weight? Mine is 72 pounds. I know you will think I am a little boy for my age. It was Lawrence who said: "Don't give up the ship." The best way to keep a coat is not to wear it. I will ask some questions: What is the longest mountain range in the world? To what country did Texas once belong? How old is a dog when it begins to turn gray around its mouth?

NELL MORRIS, Corsicana, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Let me tell you of the mischief the norther did, which came up so suddenly on the 6th of February. Mamma said it wasn't the norther, but her naughty children -- anyway, it wouldn't have all happened if that norther had come up milder. Mamma and papa had gone away for the day, and we had all promised by many "yes'ms" and "I wills" to be good children. When we were sure they out of sight and hearing, we seven children (Cousin Allie and Lou were to spend the day with us) held a solemn consultation to determine what we would do for fun. In the afternoon, we were having a big time. Allie and Evie were in the kitchen, trying some new cooking receipts; Lou and I were making popcorn balls by a fire in mamma's room; Bob and Jack concluded they would give papa and mamma a surprise by repainting the north side of the house (for which purpose papa already had the paints, but meant to employ a more experienced painter); Laura, like the boys, was a more industrious turn of mind, and was "going to have the house look like a palace on mamma's return." The north porch was covered with shining buckets and pans -- the marks of her industry -- while the yard was covered with beds and bed clothes, which she had out sunning while she swept and dusted. Occasionally, she would emerge from a closet with an armful of old papers and "useless things," she called them, to burn in the fire she had made for that purpose. All this time, the sun was shining and the wind was calmly blowing from the south. Suddenly, a puff of wind came from the north, so strong, that we were all silenced with fear, until Laura's cries in the yard for help soon brought us to her rescue. The wind was playing havoc with her patient industry. The pans and buckets went running off down the hill like a cycle race; the beds were turning somersaults as actively as clowns, while the quilts and sheets arose like a flock of wild geese and fairly flew away. Bob and Jack were soon racing after the runaway buckets and pans, while we five girls were struggling with the wind and beds. We finally reached the gallery, after many tumbles, with our last mattress, when a yell from Jack and Bob called our attention to the meadow lot and haystacks which were fire, having caught from Laura's bonfire of "useless things." We all went at this, Bob and Jack looking quite comical (though, I never thought of them) with only a pan apiece, while each dug one fist into his eyes. We stood watching the fire until it had about died out, not thinking of anything else, until sharp-eyed Jack caught sight of papa's buggy coming over the hill. We all made a break for the house. The cakes, candy and popcorn were all burned to a crisp, so while Allie was smuggling the charred remains to the pig pen, we, the remaining four, were trying to put the house to order, minus many of the bed clothes, when we heard the most heartrending howls on the north side of the house. Poor boys! Their freshly-painted white wall was now about the color of the soil from which its last coat was laid by the cruel north wind. The storm that followed can better be imagined than described. Who was to blame, Mr. Big Hat?

Mr. Big Hat's response:
     Mr. Big Hat, like the wise old owl, can only answer, "Who, who?"

LLEWELLYN HAROLD SHELTON, Corsicana, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: Some time ago, you asked what strikes one most about South Wales. If you ever go there, you will feel such an all-over shock, that you will know how hard it is to tell what strikes one most, after having lived in Texas. Should you meet a woman with a baby, and you are sure to do that, you would, at once, try to see how she is carrying the child so high on the left shoulder. You would find it wrapped in one corner of a shawl, folded crosswise, the rest of the shawl passed around the woman's back under the right arm, and pinned near the left hip. This holds the child and leaves the weight on the back of the mother, while the right arm is free and the left, nearly so. You will not go far, either, before you will be asked: "O, come in and have tea and cake." You will find that cake to be apple pie, if it is not rhubarb. You will find no matter how many names a child may have, it is called by them all, and that Gladys Priscilla is engaged to Henry Llewellyn John, only 14 years and 6 months this christmas, long courtships being the rule. Every woman that can, keeps a black dress, etc., to go to funerals. When a child dies, the room where it lies, is draped in white. Few are buried earlier than four or five days after death, old or young, and you will be told when the face turns dark, they are calling for the earth. Men on the street always raise their hats when they see a coffin, standing just a moment while doing so; also, women and children bow their heads, and drivers stop their horses. This makes one think lots when seen for the first time. The next thing that will make you wonder, is the color of the trees on the mountains. They are in light and dark stripes to the right and left. Look where you may, it is the same. It is caused by planting so many different trees in each space. Each year, so many are cut, and so many planted for the use of the miners, who use them to brace the dirt up while they dig out the coal. A few miles Caerphilly, on a mountain, the figures of the queen's jubilee year are growing. The surroundings are of the dark trees, the light ones forming the figures. What are those figures, cousins? They look very beautiful and will be used by the miners when large enough. I came to Corsicana when 4 months old. Don't you think being born in old Caerphilly had a wonderful effect on my memory? Please tell me what I should be called, being born in South Wales, raised on Scotch oats, with an American father and an English mother. Many say I am Welsh, but my mother says that can't be, for if I had been born in a stable, I would not be called an ass.

Mr. Big Hat's response:
     The cousins will find it of interest to look up the location of Caerphilly, in connection with this letter from Lewellyn Harold (Mr. Big Hat will follow the Welch custom of addressing him in full). For the benefit of those who have not large atlases, Mr. Big Hat will say that the town is in Glamorgan county. He hopes the little cousin of much mixed nationality will come again.

CLARENCE RICHARDSON, Francis, [Greer Co.], Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I am not in the habit of writing for publication, so I hope you will excuse my shortcomings. The country in which I live is known as Greer county, and is in litigation between the United States and the state of Texas. The greater portion of it is settled up by farmers. The soil is productive and varies from black waxy to a very sandy loam. This is a fine cattle country, and the stockmen are fully aware of the fact, for there are several large ranches in the western and northern portions of the county. Probably, a few words about the "cow business" may interest some of the eastern cousins. The cattle are rounded up in the spring by the different "outfits," and when all the cattle wanted are cut out, the rest are turned loose. Later on, when branding time comes, they are "worked" again and the calves branded. Then comes beef gathering. The beeves are gathered and driven to the railroad and shipped to Kansas City or Chicago. The cowboys, after "work" is over, proceed to enjoy life, and the majority spend the winter and their wages going to dances, or perhaps, visiting the "folks at home." "Going up the trail" is not what it used to be. Fifteen years ago, it meant driving to Kansas to ship, but with the advent of railroads in the panhandle, things have changed. Most of the cattle companies of this country now ship from Higgins on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe road in Lipscomb county. The trip to Higgins is a delightful one. Suppose we start from the JO (buckle) ranch with a herd of beeves. The first night, we camp on North Fork of Red river, the boundary between this and the Cheyenne country. The cattle are "bedded," and after "chuck," two men go "on guard," riding in opposite directions around the herd. A frosty night with nothing to break the stillness, except the songs of the men, as they ride around; by and by, some lone coyote strikes up a doleful note, and in a minute, is joined by his comrades on all sides. After the "first guard's" time is up, two more men take their place, and so on through the night. By daylight, the cook has breakfast, and some of the hands relieve the last guard and move the cattle off the bed-ground. We are soon across the river and in the beautiful Cheyenne country. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, and for two days, we drive across the numerous small streams running with pure water and marked for miles by the strips of timber which clothe their banks. The third day, we reach the Washita, a beautiful stream heading in Texas and becoming quite a river down further in the Territory. Here, we see some antelope and deer, and passing on, the next day, we cross the Canadian river, noted for its quicksand. Another day, and we camp within four miles of the shipping place. After the cattle are shipped, the outfit starts on the return trip. And, a jolly crowd it is that gathers around the campfire and tell stories of their "cow life" and sing songs! Then, sleeping in the open air, and up before day to "wrangle" the horses. After three days, we are once more at the ranch, and getting out "time" for this, the last work of the year. The wages of a "hand" is about $30 per month, while the "boss" receives from $50 to $150. Miss Aggie Kelly of Jester, I should like to make your acquaintance. You are just the kind of a girl I like, and we are almost neighbors, too! Write again, please.

CARRIE NORRIS, Bazette, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is my first attempt to write to The News. I live 200 miles below Dallas, according to the survey of the river Trinity in Navarro county, in one of the prettiest prairie counties in Texas. We are four miles from the old Buffalo townsite. Buffalo ran against Austin for the capital of the state, and only lacked five votes of getting it. There is nothing left of it now, but a few old blocks. I go to Buffalo school now. It is named after the old town. My father is an old Texan. He came to Ellis county in 1852, and he has been taking The News for over twenty years. He said he could not live without it. We have Sunday school at Buffalo every Sunday when it is pretty weather. We live within a half a mile of Buffalo, but I don't go to Sunday school much. My father owns a gin and has ginned 712 bales of cotton, and is not through yet. My age is 12 years.

EDGAR PEARSON, Gainesville, Cooke Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I thought I would crowd into the cosy corner again and overcome bashfulness to talk a while with the cousins. Mr. Big Hat, I agree with you about that knife scrape. When a fellow is mad at his teacher, he thinks that she is the meanest woman on earth. My teacher reproves me sometimes, but I like her all the more. I have got into some more trouble to relate. This time, it isn't with the teacher, but with an old gentleman, his wife, his son and my dog, not to forget an old goose, too. I was rowing with a friend in an old boat, when all at once, I heard my dog tree something. I looked up the creek, and he had an old goose out in the water, barking at her. Then, all at once, I saw and heard rocks flying in the air like hailstones. An old man came around the hill, while his wife stood on top, throwing down irons, sticks and other missiles. We had to dodge worse than a rabbit at a rabbit hunt. The old lady preached our funeral sermons, the old gentleman prayed and the son mourned for us. The old gentleman drove the prodigal old goose home, and peeped through the window and watched us go out of sight, over the hill, making the dust fly so high, that it looked like a storm was raging. Hurrah! cousins, we hold the old News up as the banner of all papers! Mr. Big Hat, give me your opinion of novel reading.

EUDA JACKSON, Mumford, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Dear Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Several months have elapsed since I wrote to you last. We are having some cold weather again. I fear it will kill the little corn and vegetables that are just peeping out of the ground. I have just gotten up to answer a telephone, as we have one in our home. It is so much company to us. We are living on the fork[?] ____ of the Brazos bottom. Farmers are doing well here. They can hardly gather their cotton in time to begin another crop. Convicts are worked a great deal here. There are three camps in sight of us. I guess there are about sixty convicts in each camp. It would be curiosity to some of the cousins to see them at work under guards, about ten convicts under each guard. One tried to run last year, almost in sight of here, and a guard shot and killed him. Papa, mamma and all of us have been to one of Uncle Joe Cul___'s camps twice at night, and the convicts gave us some nice music, both vocal and instrumental. I never heard such pretty singing in all my life. They danced for us, too. They looked as if they were happy. It was all carried on inside of the walls. We were not allowed to go in there with them, [neither?] are the guards. We went in the guard's office and peeped through the iron bars. Mamma has just spent two months in San Antonio, She visited the Alamo and saw where Crockett, Bowie and Travis were killed. Cousins, that is a building owned and preserved by the state and city, on account of its historical connection. There is a Mexican woman who occupied a room in the Alamo, opposite where Crockett was killed. She is still living in San Antonio. She is 112 years old. Mamma visited the Mexican curiosity store and the San Pedro springs, also. She said the spring is a beautiful place. There are [beautiful?], natural springs, groves and a lake. The water is so pretty and clear. She saw ___ swimming about. They have a museum ___ there, which, it is claimed, contains 200[?] specimens of Mexican and Texas wild animals. Cousins, I wish you could be with me sometimes. I go horseback riding. I went riding not long ago with three girls. We sure had a nice time. We have preaching here, but no Sunday school, but will have one soon. I go to Hearne sometimes to Sunday school. Mr. Big Hat, what can I say to make you answer me? All of us would like to get a word from you. Will you tell me where old 3-cent stamps can be disposed of? I am 12[?] years of age.

Mr. Big Hat's response:
     Ask your mamma to tell you about the old man who charge of the Alamo. He has learned the long story of its history by heart, and if you interrupt him with a question, he is obliged to go back to the beginning of whatever he is telling about, before he can continue it. Mr. Big Hat can not answer your stamp question, but if he ever finds out, he will let you know.

LAWRENCE W. NEFF, Paducah, Cottle Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: The people out here are all planting crops and gardens, as there is a good season in the ground now. The country around here is level and pretty on the south, with sand hills toward the north. Paducah is still small, but growing rapidly. The surrounding country is good for agriculture, but better for stock raising. I went with my father to Childress some time since. Childress is thirty miles north of here and contains something like 1000 people. When we came to within eight or ten miles of Childress, it began to rain, with a hard wind from the north. We reached Childress late in the evening and went to a wagon-yard. We counted on starting back home the following morning, but it rained constantly, so we were compelled to stay two nights and one day there. Fortunately, my brother, who is a school teacher, had some books in the express office there, which he had ordered from Chicago, and I put in some time reading "The Three Guardsmen," by Dumas, and did not get as lonesome as I would have, otherwise. Have any of the cousins read the "Three Guardsmen" series? I have read four of them, and like them better than any other books I ever read. In my last letter, I spoke of a certain word containing thirty-five letters. It was "Velocipedetrianistrianagrariansim." I know of a word that is longer than that one, over twice as long, but it is not English; it is Dutch. A Dutch writer in the Youth's Companion gives it. Let me get a long breath and I will try to say it. It is "Exclusivitatsherrenscheneidermeister___lieferungsanstaltsoberaufsichtskasse." It contains seventy-seven letters. The said "gentleman from over the Rhine" vouches for the reliability of the claims of the above to wording[?] and translates it thus: "The treasury of the directorium of the establishment for furnishing patterns to master tailors making clothes for exclusively living gentlemen only." Alta Herick[?], Mr. Woodlys moved to Paducah and will live here. Not long since, in "Notes for the Curious," the St. Louis Republic gave a sketch of a certain Christian Heinrich Heinecken, a German infant prodigy. I "took it with salt," but on referring to the unabridged dictionary, I found that it was true. I can not find the Republic which contained the biography, but I can tell something about him. He was born in 1821. At the age of 9 months, he could pronounce every word in the German language (the above possibly excepted). Before he was 2 years old, he knew all about geographies of that time, and had started on religion. When any verse in the Bible was repeated, he could tell the book, chapter and the number of the verse. He soon started on his investigations in oriental religion, when shortly before his fourth birthday, he suddenly died. The above is undoubtedly true. Macaulay was also something on that order. When a child, he could read whole pages of books by reading them only once. It is said that he knew Scott's "Lady of the Lake" by heart.

Mr. Big Hat's response:
     Mr. Big finds only thirty-four letters in the first long word you give. Is one missing?

DICK HANSEN, Pine Spring, Otero Co.?, N. M. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I live in Lincoln county, on the waters of the Penasco, near the Indian reservation. I work cattle, and next month, which is April, we will commence to gather beef steers to drive up the trail. There are large bands of cattle here belonging to companies, and also men, with but a few head. These cattle companies work one hand to every 1000 or 1500 head of cattle, and the men with but a few, put theirs in, and are given so much to drive off the cattle and sell. They drive to Clayton and sell or ship north to pastures. The hands get back about the 15th of June, and about the 1st of July, they commence to brand calves. The stockmen hold meetings and set the time to commence work. There are always three or four wagons, which is called the outfit, and fifteen or twenty men with each outfit. Each man has from five to eight horses and those horses are turned loose and one man herds them. Every man changes horses twice a day, and has an extra horse for a night horse. Every man has a slicker tied to his saddle, for it sure rains in this country in the summer. And then, every one must have with him, a good tarpaulin, or he will not sleep dry at night. Now, cousins, if any of you think of becoming a cowboy, and think it will be sport and play, you are off. The cowboy works all day, two hours at night standing guard, and Sunday, the same as Monday. There are a few living in this country that do not make a living running cattle. Some make it by farming. There are some irrigated farms that are very valuable, but higher up in the mountains, they have farms that are not irrigated, that the men make good crops on of oats, wheat, barley and potatoes. It is too cold for corn, and the seasons are too short. It is a long way to a railroad, and I think everything is very high. Everything sells by the pound. You never hear a man say a bushel of anything. There is quite a chance of Mexicans in this country. They live in little towns by themselves. Very few live among the Americans. Now, if Peggy doesn't get this (and, it is my first), I will write, if solicited, and give a description of these Indians and their way of living. Mr. Big Hat, I think you would make a nice cowboy. You look small, and that is the kind of men that don't hurt their horses.

Mr. Big Hat's response:
     Mr. Big Hat, of course, like all other boys, has times when he thinks seriously of being a cowboy. This is usually in the morning, when things don't go just his way; but, at night, when it gets dark and the wind howls, the plan doesn't seem just as brilliant as it did by daylight. And then, what a hard time Peggy would have, doing the work of three horses! Mr. Big Hat thinks he won't try to find out for himself how those Indians live, but will ask Dick to come again and tell all about them. That would be a much more comfortable and safer way.



By Lillie Kennedy (aged 12).

(This description of a visit to the second largest iron and steel works in the world is written for The News by a little girl in Belfast, Ireland, 12 years of age, and is sent to Mr. Big Hat and the cousins by her aunt, Mrs. L. E. Shelton of Corsicana, Tex.)

     One breezy October morning, a few years ago, a party of visitors, of whom Mrs. Shelton of Corsicana, Tex., was one, started from a pretty village in South Wales called Caerphilly, in order to visit the Dowlais iron and steel works. A journey of about twenty miles brought them to Dowlais. The following are some notes of what they saw there:
     On entering the works, the first thing noticeable were heaps of what appeared to be red earth lying about the yard. These were heaps of iron ore, called hematite. On the right, about 200 yards from the entrance gate, was a row of four white brick round towers, each about sixty feet in height. These were blast furnaces. They are the instruments of the first part of the process of iron and steel making, viz., of the separation of the metal from the coarser impurities, with which it is found mixed in nature.
     Our visitors were invited to step on the platform of an elevator attached to the side of a blast furnace, when, almost without their knowing what had happened, the elevator was shot up to the top of the furnace; but, no bright flame or roaring fire was to be seen there, as might have been expected. Around the top, which was circular in shape, there was a space about four feet wide, where we could walk about; the central portion being taken up by an iron, circular-shaped hopper, closed from below by a conical valvular shield or lid, suspended from the apex or point of the cone by a chain, which worked on a pulley. This chain was furnished with a counter-weight, which kept the lid in its place.
     A truckful of the iron ore mixed with limestone, and called a charge, was brought up on the elevator and tipped into the hopper, when the conical lid sank down a distance sufficient to let the charge fall from off its sides into the furnace. When cleared, the counter-weight brought back the lid into its place again. Another truck with a charge of fuel was then brought up and put into the furnace in the same way. Within the furnace, from top to bottom, are alternate layers of ore with limestone and of fuel. The heat of the furnace increased downwards from the top, where it is a dull red, until the base or hearth is reached, where it is at a white heat. The iron ore has then become molten pig iron, comparatively free from its natural impurities.
     The furnace having been lighted, is kept at a high temperature by a continuous blast of hot air, blown in at the base. Our visitors saw the ore in a molten state run off at the hearth of the furnace through a tube, on removal of a stone stopper, called a "damstone." This operation is known as "tapping the furnace." The molten metal ran along a sand-lined course and was collected in moulds. When cold, these are called "pigs."
     Formerly, blast furnaces were merely low circular kilns, open at the top and vomiting flame and smoke into the air, day and night. Since then, they have been built higher and higher, till some of them are 100 feet high. The conical lid, before mentioned, effects great economy of fuel, and enables a higher uniform heat to be constantly maintained than was possible in the old-style furnaces. The hot gases which are sent up from the blast at the base of the furnace are collected and driven off through a pipe underneath the hopper near the top of the furnace, and used as fuel in calcining and other furnaces.
     Our visitors were next taken to see steel-making by the Bessemer process, in which process, three furnaces or converters were in operation in Dowlais. Steel contains less carbon (charcoal) than pig (cast) iron, and more than malleable iron. Pig iron is that from which steel is prepared, under the Bessemer process, somewhat as follows: The Bessemer process consists in blowing compressed air through molten pig iron, until the greater part of the carbon is oxidized and removed. The vessel in which this operation is conducted is called a converter. The converter is a huge iron bottle, lined with a clayey substance. The neck of the bottle is curved. It is pretty to see the converter at work, while the charge of some four or five tons of melted pig iron is being run in at a red heat. What occurs in the converter is the complete blowing of carbon out from the iron, and the addition of pig iron, containing just as much carbon as will convert it into steel.
     They next witnessed the four furnaces employed in making steel, according to the Siemens-Martin method. This method is as follows: About two tons of pig iron (rich in carbon) in a half-molten state, is put into a chamber, heated to a very high temperature by a regenerative gas furnace. Small quantities of red hot wrought iron (deficient in carbon) are added from time to time, the mixture being vigorously stirred each time. When the carbon has been all burnt off, pig iron is added in sufficient quantity to convert the charge into steel. During the process, the charge passes to an intense, lustrous white heat. Our visitors were handed blue spectacles to enable them to look at what seemed to be a seething lake of glowing, liquid silver. In both these processes (Bessemer and Siemens-Martin), the liquid, when completely converted into steel, is run off into crucibles of various sizes, ranging from five or six hundred-weight up to some tons, each crucible being handled by means of huge tongs worked by hydraulic power, as easily as if it weighed but a few pounds. While still at a high temperature, many of the castings are conveyed to the steam hammers and wrought into requisite shape. There are several steam hammers at Dowlais, one being a 20-tonner. Their use is to do forgings too large to be done by ordinary hammers. The largest steam hammer requires only one man to work it, and so perfect is his control over it, that, while it can hammer thick blocks of steel into thin sheets, it can also crack an eggshell without crushing the egg or breaking the envelope which contains the yolk.
     The rolling mill where the steel rails for railways are made, known at Dowlais as the "goat mill," was not at work on this particular day, but our visitors were shown the powerful machinery by which long strips of steel were shaped into rails, being drawn by hydraulic power over steel rollers, furnished with rings, with a few inches distance between each ring. After the "drawing," the rails are planed and finished by hard steel-faced machinery.
     The coal washing machinery, which was also visited, was simply the arrangement of small blocks, or cubes, of coal, in troughs which oscillated in a lateral direction while a stream of water flowed over them. This coal is afterward put into ovens and burnt into coke, and used as the carbonizing element in making the steel.

- March 31, 1895, The Dallas Morning News, p. 6.
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