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THE COZY CORNER
May 3, 1896

 

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.


AFTEN SALYER, The Grove, Coryell Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Spring is here, and with it comes every beautiful flower of summer. So you must not blame me for coming with the rest. I come not as the queenly rose with all its beauty and perfumery, not as the modest violet with its lovely hue, and not even as the graceful honeysuckle with all its fragrant blooms, but I come as a plant by the wayside that requires neither your inspection nor tilling. But may not a cast-away plant be of some benefit to its master? This is my second letter to The News. My other was not printed, but I was not at all surprised at not seeing it when I read in Little Miss Big Bonnet's letter that Peggy was feasting on all the letters that were written with a pencil. Well, cousins, I want to give you a question to discuss. "Which had a man rather have, a lazy or a slovenly wife?" Now, girls, it will be interesting to hear the boys' different opinions. And, boys, it will be funny to hear the girls describe themselves. I read the Cousins' League in the Farm and Ranch and the Big Hat department in The News, and I think the latter far ahead. I would like correspondents of either sex about my age, which is 16. I live within two and one-half miles of The Grove. It is a small place of only about 300 inhabitants. It is noted for the extensive cedar brakes that enclose it from view.


VANADA PEBBLE BAKER, Coleman, Coleman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I like to read the cousins' letters. I will answer W. B. Wilson's question: Anson Jones said: "The first act in the great drama is now performed. The republic of Texas is now no more." The first public school in Texas was established in San Antonio in 1854. Only the poorest children were allowed to attend. Henderson was the first governor of Texas. Joe C. Graves, I am not afraid of a mouse, and anyway, if girls are afraid of mice, they can beat the boys writing. Miss Big Bonnet, when you get your new picture taken without that big bonnet on I will send for one. Mr. Big Hat, have you Peggy's picture? If so I want one. Peggy, I will send you some flowers. You must say whether you like them or not.

[Mr. Big Hat's response]:
     Don't you see Peggy's picture in the paper quite often? These are all he has. He is not fond of anything but letters to eat.


TRUDIE BOHANNON, Kings' Farm, Cass Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have never seen my name in print. I will write to the children's department. My little chum, Lizzie King, came over to see me yesterday evening. We had a fine time; went down on the creek and gathered violets. I have been going to school, but had to stop on account of the measles. I like to go to school very much. There are three mountains in sight of the school house. We go up on them every day, and such a nice time we do have. I live away out in the country, about twenty miles from any town, but we have several little stores close by. The woods are so pretty and green now; I can just see flowers everywhere. I like this time of year to come, for everything is so green and the flowers and trees are all in bloom. Mr. Big Hat, how would you like to live way out in this part of the world? We are going to have an Easter party Saturday evening. The last Easter party I went to I found twelve eggs. I am 14 years old. I have five sisters and two brothers. I would like to correspond with some of the cousins about my age. Most of the cousins tell of their pets. I have no pets except a little pig and cat. Mr. Big Hat, do you know how to play on the violin? I have two sisters that play. I think a violin makes the sweetest of music. I will be glad when fruit gets ripe, for we have so much. You must come down and help me eat fruit and melons. My father is a farmer. He raises almost everything that can be raised on a farm. I work in the field but don't plow. I don't work very hard. When I get tired I get out in the shade and play mumblepeg.


DALE NELSON, Mansfield, Tarrant Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: I have just finished reading the cousins' letters. Some do sure write interesting ones, while some endeavor to. There are rumors to the effect that we are going to have a debating society at our school house, among us boys at first. After awhile we will admit the ladies. I think if it is carried on orderly there could be no more pleasant thing than this, and what is better, it is beneficial. The subject for the next meeting is: Which is the more useful to man, locomotive or the printing press? What think all of you? If it were not for the press I would not be writing this letter to the happy band. We could not read the gospel. We could have done without the press; but what would be our condition? We would be very like the North American savage and the heathen. I believe that next to the unbelieving the uneducated are to be pitied. I am 17 years old and would like to correspond with some near my age.


LOIS O'MARA, Denton, Denton Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is the first time I have attempted to write to The News. I am 9 years old and in the third reader. My eldest sister is 11 years old and in the fourth reader. Her name is Gussie. I have three sisters. Esther is 2 years old and Ruth is 4 years old. Ruth knows the letters, but can't read. Our school was out the last of March. I liked the teacher ever so well.


MINNIE JACKSON, Rosebud, Falls Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have not written to The News in a long time. I have moved to Falls county. I don't like to live here because it is so muddy when it rains, and the mud sticks so. I live in Rosebud. It has about twenty-six stores, four saloons, five hotels and there are waterworks here now. I love flowers so much. I have planted some. I like to go to school and try to learn fast. I am in the fifth grade. We have an honor roll at school for all perfect lessons and for those who are not tardy or absent either. I like to read story books and history, but I never read a novel. I will answer Maudie Wilson's question: The battle of Lundy's Lane was fought in the year 1814, and the Cabots discovered the eastern coast of New England in 1498. I will ask a question or two: When was the battle of the Alamo fought? What is the covering of the larynx called? I sent 40 cents to the Sam Houston stone fund. I think that is a good thing. If any of the cousins study Texas history they ought to write and tell all about him. I never studied Texas history. I study United States history. I think Mr. Big Hat looks nice up so high between Peggy's ears. I guess Peggy has a nice time eating the letters written with a lead pencil.


OPIE BUNCH, Sterrett, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: After reading so many nice letters from the many merry members of this league, I will make an attempt to write again. How many of the cousins have read the "Count of Monte Cristo?" I have, and think it just splendid. Amy Spears, the answer to one of your questions, "Why is a proud girl like a music box?" is, because she is full of airs. Fanny Boydstun, John Adams of Massachusetts was the first vice president. Hattie, Charles Guiteau killed Garfield. Elmer Davis, needles were first made in England by a native of India, A. D. 1545. I will ask a few questions: How many years was Rome at war with other nations? When was Iceland and Greenland settled? When and where were spinning wheels invented? When and by whom were the first silk stockings worn? When and where was the first Sunday school established? When was alphabetical writing introduced in Europe? When did Moses, the Hebrew law giver, die? When did Cleopatra, the beautiful queen of Egypt, die? I solicit correspondence. My age is 18 years.


ARTHUR HALTON, Jeddo, Bastrop Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Since reading the last issue of The News, I have noticed that the cousins have taken a great step toward contributing money for the monument of Gen. Sam Houston and I suppose it is nothing but right that he should have a stone over his grave just as well as many others not half as noble as he. Mr. Big Hat, how much have you already collected, and about how much do you suppose the stone will cost, or have you any idea? Speaking a little of farm news, the people around Jeddo have all of their corn planted, and some of their cotton. Crops are looking very well now, as we have had plenty of rain. The principal talk throughout Jeddo is the construction of a new railroad to extend from Aransas harbor to Smithville. Many of the people have given the company a free pass for the road through their land. Cousin Tommie Russell, the answer to your problem is eleven days. It was solved by arithmetical progression. Cousin B. S. Chandler, the answer to your problem is 31 1/2. It is solved by the rule of three. Cousin Silas Granberry, your age is 16 years. I did as you bid me in the problem. Now, I will give you a problem or any of the cousins to be solved by arithmetic only: A man has two horses, he saddles the first and he is worth twice as much as the second horse. He then saddles his second horse and he is worth three times as much as the first horse. The price of the saddle is $50. What is the price of each horse?


ERNEST BLASINGAME, Dike, Oklahoma Co., Okla. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As I see so many nice letters in The News I thought I would try again. I have written two letters and Peggy got one of them, and Mr. Big Hat said he deserved the other. So I have decided to keep on trying. The grass has come and Peggy won't be so hungry now. I have just come home. I have been going to school at Vernon. I loved my teacher very much. I have to wash dishes, churn and sweep. I have no sisters, but have five brothers. My oldest brother is in Ellis county going to school. I received a letter from him to-day. I am a boy 11 years old. I send 10 cents for the memorial stone for Sam Houston.


BEULAH WHEELER, Honey Grove, Fannin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: As I did not see my other letter in print, I will write again. I am sure Peggy got it, and am surprised it did not make her sick. I hope this one will if she gets it. I will answer some of the cousins questions: John Adams was the first vice president of the United States. The first thing a boy says when he stubs his toe is "oh!" Louisiana was settled by the French. William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the United States. The rooster was in Noah's ark when everybody in the world heard him. Put down XI and rub out the lower half and it will leave VI. David killed Goliath. "Jesus wept" is the shortest verse in the Bible, and you will find it in the eleventh chapter and thirty-fifth verse of St. John. I will ask some questions: When and where was Christ when he washed his disciples' feet? What two ex-presidents died the same day, and on what day did they die? Of whom was he speaking and what ex-president said: "If his soul were turned inside out not a spot would be found on it?" I inclose 5 cents for the Sam Houston memorial stone fund.


AGNES WEATHERRED, Itasca, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another silent admirer of your happy circle. I have been a constant reader of the Cousins' Corner for several years. I am very fond of reading. We have a library at school. I had read all the books, but this year many more books were added, and as I have been studying hard in order to be promoted to another grade, I have not had time to read much. I like to read the biographies of great men. Some wrote for money, some for fame and some for the good it did others. Charles Dickens was one that was successful in all these aims. Many bought and read his books and many European nation sung his praises, and many hearts were touched and opened toward motherless boys by the story of poor little Paul Dombey, surrounded as he was by all the appliances of wealth, but with no mother. I think we ought to read the history of our own country, not merely the dates and incidents such as one finds in any chronological table, but read the history of the times, of the men and women who laid the foundations of this government. Of course, one wants to know who settled the southern parts of our country on the shores of the gulf of Mexico and the region of the Mississippi, of the pilgrims who came over in the "Mayflowers" and landed at Plymouth Rock, of William Penn and his followers and the Dutch who swarmed on the Hudson. Then next to our country's history, the history of England is most important, for we have inherited her laws, her language, her literature and we can not understand our own history until we read or study her history. And then we should read the Bible, for Mr. Comegys has said: "Where there is no religion there can not be true, civil liberty." I agree with one of the other cousins about writing about pets. We ought to write what would interest others. I solicit correspondence. I will ask the cousins: Who was the author of "Thirty Years' View?"


A. J. RICHARDSON, Village Mills, Hardin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It has been a long time since I wrote you all, so I decided to come again; that is, if you all have no objections. But if you do the mule may have this, and I think he will be satisfied then for some time. Some of the cousins write nice letters, although I do not get to read them all now, for our subscriptions to The News has expired. But I shall try to have it renewed it soon. I don't like to be without the paper. Maud Denton, aren't you mistaken as to Texas joining the union March 1? I think Texas first joined the union Dec. 29, 1845. Well, I am satisfied if Mr. Big Hat is on the road from Galveston to Dallas. He will wish he had not started, for he will certainly get wet, especially if it is raining there like it is here. Mr. Big Hat, do you still require the cousins to tell their age? If so, I am 6592 days old. Cousins, when you say you are so many days old do you always think to add the extra day for each leap year? If not you do not get the exact number of days, for every fourth year has 366 days. Cousins, how many of you like to sing? You are all cordially invited to attend a big sing at Springer, in Tyler county. Now, if you will all come we will have a fine time, for they are going to have dinner on the grounds Saturday and Sunday in May. I attended a singing convention at Kountze, in Hardin county, last fifth Sunday, and never did enjoy anything better. I guess the cousins are still asking questions, so I will try to ask a few: When was Ohio admitted to the union? The Atlantic ocean includes an area of how many square miles? Where is the longest telephone line in the United States? Have Bessie Bee and T. O. Stewart quit writing? I solicit correspondence from either sex, but boys, don't think I am a girl this time.


C. McCORMICK, Chicota, Lamar Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and cousins, both large and small: As my other letter was published, I thought I would write again. I will tell you about our little town, Chicota. It, like the proud City of Rome, is situated upon seven hills, more or less. It has three general merchandise stores, one drug store and one grocery store, two blacksmith ships, one shoe shop and one cotton gin. Last, but by no means least, we have four churches. There are four Sabbath schools -- one at each church. There is an Epworth League at the Methodist church, called Forest Chapel. I attend the Methodist church. I like to go to Sabbath school and preaching, and in fact I like to go to any Christian gathering. There are about 400 inhabitants in Chicota. We live on Saunder's prairie. The soil is black and sticky, not quite black-waxy though. Miss Jennie Faulkner, I think you put the age of Cousin M. C. Williams too high. I do not believe he is over 25 at the most. I like your plan of a Cozy Corner scrap book, and think it would do all of us good. Write to me if you want to, and or all of you. I think Mr. Big Hat on Peggy's head looks like a very small boy on a very large mule. Say, did any of the cousins see Mr. Big Hat while he was making his trip? I am from old Missouri, but I am a citizen of Texas now, because I have been here over a year, as I first landed in Texas, Jan. 2, 1895. My age is 7152 days.


ANNIE E. GRIMES, Jefferson, Marion Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: It has been several weeks since I wrote to the Cozy Corner, but as so many of the cousins did not write, I thought I would stay away, too, a while and give others a chance. Thank you for asking me to come again, Mable McCraw. I am glad you like my letters. How would you like to correspond with me? If you write, I will surely answer your letter. One of the cousins asked me to correspond with her. I answered her letter right away, but never heard from her. I would not treat you so badly. Well, as I do not know what else to write about, this time, I will tell you about a great friend of my mamma's. Her name is Mrs. Dawson. I call her "Dada" and she loves me most as much as mamma does. They have been friends for fifteen years, and have been together so much that they look like each other. People often take on for the other. A funny thing happened when I was 3 years old. I strayed off one evening and came to a boarding house. The table was all set for supper and I went in and climbed upon a seat at the table. The lady was surprised and said: "Whose baby is that?" Her little girl answered: "It is Mrs. Grimes' and Mrs. Dawson's baby." I send 10 cents for the Memorial stone fund, and will close by asking a riddle: What is it that lives in winter, dies in summer, and grows with the roots upward?


ROSA LEE HAMBLEN, Moody, McLennan Co., -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have just been reading the nice letters in this week's issue. Odis Riddle has paid us a call. What a good letter he writes! I have just returned from my music. How many of the cousins take music? It is my favorite study and literature comes next. I do not go to school and am glad of it, too. Mr. Big Hat, would you care if some of my little friends would write to The News? If you don't, I will get them to write. I have written quite often of late. Don't you all get tired of one who writes often? I do not dance much. Agnes Aston, I do not agree with you; highly cultured people dance quite often. I am "as good as anybody," and I dance a little. A quite dance is productive of no more harm than a social. I have read some very good books of late. I will give you the names of some of them: "Jack and Jill," "She," "Sunshine and Roses," "A Crooked Path" and "The Scarlet Letter," all by popular authors. There is to be an ice cream supper here Sunday night. It is to make money for a school library. My age is 13, and "a sweeter child could not be found." I do not "brag" on my good looks, but I have to give myself my dues.

[Mr. Big Hat's response]:
     Your little friends will be welcome, and their letters will be printed if they are suitable for the department.


JEANE NICHOLS, Paris, Lamar Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another cousin to join your happy band. I wish Mr. Big Hat wouldn't request us to tell our age, but as he does I will have to tell mine. I am 15. I want to answer some of the cousins' questions. Kate Norton, Edward Wingfield was the first president of the Jamestown colony. The last words of Arnold von Winkelried were: "Comrades, I will open a road for you." The island of Manhattan was bought by the English for $24. Maudie Wilson, the battle of Lundy's Lane was fought in 1814. Le Ota French (what a queer name!), there are fifty-four judicial districts in Texas. Gene Kirkpatrick, the answer to your riddle was that the rooster was in the Garden of Eden when he crowed and there wasn't anybody but Adam and Eve to hear it. See? Erl Thompson, it was Nebuchadnezzar that ate grass with the oxen for three months. David killed Goliath. "Jesus wept" is the shortest verse in the Bible, and it is in the book of John, I think. Oscar Lewis, we have had four vice presidents elected presidents of the United States. I will ask a question: What are current events?


NORA WILSON, Clifton, Bosque Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: Here comes a 13-year-old dancing girl to join your happy band. My papa is a show man and is abroad with his show. I am staying with my Uncle Jake; going to school. He lives twelve miles from Clifton. I am in the sixth grade. I love to study and make use of the talent that is given me. Agnes Aston, I quite differ with you on your opinion of dancing. I have been dancing since I was 5 years old. Papa has spent hundreds of dollars to teach me to dance and I have made thousands of dollars for papa since I learned to dance. I never think of dancing for less than $25 a night. Dancing has made me strong and healthy, I am more active, and can run faster than even school boys much older than myself. Cousin Agnes, perhaps you do not know what dancing is. I have never seen an animal dance in my life. I have seen them jump up and down. Do you think they danced like animals when the prodigal son came home? They had music all the same. You certainly do not know much about dancing. I would like to dance with you. You would think you were not in it. Uncle Jake is a strong church member and was bitterly opposed to dancing, but since I have stayed here he sees how strong and healthy I am. He says if he had a dozen children he would send every one of them to dancing school. He calls me his race horse. Is it not good of Mr. Big Hat to give us space to write in his valuable paper? I think the cousins have improved so much. By reading and writing, we gain knowledge which makes us strong mentally, as well as dancing makes us strong and healthy physically. Mr. Big Hat, you look so cute in your dress! You remind me of my dress when I was on the stage. Now, Cousin Agnes, do not get discouraged, but write again. We are all liable to get wrong ideas sometimes, and see a splinter in somebody else's eyes, when at the same time we have a fence rail in our own.


GRACE FARMER, Checotah, Indian Territory > McIntosh Co., Okla. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: The Cozy Corner is getting so interesting I can not refrain from writing. I am a little girl 9 years old. This is my first attempt to write to the Corner. My papa takes The News and I love to read the little folks' letters. I have three sisters and one brother. My oldest sister is at Muscogee, going to school. She is 13 years old and my brother is 11 years old. For a pet I have my little 3-year-old sister.


LULA BYNUM, Tishomingo, Indian Territory > Johnston Co., Okla. -- Mr. Big Hat: Will you permit another little girl to join your happy band? I have been reading the cousins' letters for some time, but this is my first attempt to write. I am 13 years old and I am going to school every day that I can. I am in the fifth grade and I have not been going to school very long -- about three years in all. I have seen very few letters from the Indian Territory. Mr. Big Hat, you look very cute standing up there with such a big hat on. If Miss Big Bonnet had off her bonnet she would look better. My papa is county judge of Tishomingo. I have two sisters and one brother. I have two sisters dead, and my mother is dead, so we are left very lonesome. I live near Blue Creek. My home is just at the edge of the timber. My father has a large farm.


MAUDE E. OLSON, Norse, Bosque Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: The Cozy Corner is getting so interesting I can no longer refrain from writing. Our school closed the 27th of March. We had a fine time. We had examination during the day, and speeches, songs and dialogues at night. My desk mate was Cora Anderson. I studied five studies. I liked my teacher very well, and I hope he will teach next year, too. We have about 150 small chicks, and they are the prettiest little things. I will answer Pearl Wood's question: The first steamboat was sailed on the Hudson river. I will ask some questions: What great service was rendered by Lafayette? When did congress remove from New York to Philadelphia? When to Washington?


BERTHA GRIFFIN, Calhoun, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is my first attempt to write to your valuable paper. My age is 11 years. Our school is out and I am so lonesome. My deskmate was Lalla Jackson and we had such a nice time. I will ask a question: Who said: "I think we had better march out in the open air. I don't want to be hemmed up?" I send 25 cents for the Sam Houston stone.


W. M. KALE, Tishomingo, Indian Territory > Johnston Co., Okla. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I guess you all have forgotten me, it has been so long since I wrote last. Cousins, you ought [to] be with me and fish. We live one-half mile from the river. We have very good land to cultivate. It looks like spring here now. The fruit trees are in bloom. Mr. Big Hat, you had better sell Peggy and buy a cow. I will ask some questions: When was the first United States locomotive built? When was the Suez canal opened? When was Florida discovered? When was Gen. Harrison born? When were the West Indies discovered? When was Grover Cleveland born? When was electricity discovered? Mr. Big Hat, we subscribed for The News and got it the 3d of March. Please tell me about the Sam Houston stone fund, for I didn't get the papers telling about it.


EDDIE WALTERS, Rockett, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat: Here comes a little boy 13 years old, tapping for admittance at the door. I feel I am half asleep, though I am wide enough awake to know that we have had no correspondence before. I am not going to school now, as I had to stop to work on the farm. I am a farmer's boy, though I did hate to stop school to go to work. My sister, Fannie, writes to you. Her letters are all I have seen from this part, and I have been reading the cousins' letters for a long time. I will ask a question: What is the difference between a bad boy and a postage stamp?


LULA LISEMBY, Hubbard, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have been reading the letters from the cousins a long time. They are so interesting that I thought I would like to join the band. My brother takes The News and I am always glad to get the Friday's issue. The first thing I do when I get the paper I look for letters from Rusk, for that has been my home all my life until two years ago. I am going to school. Our school will be out in June. We are going to play an April fool trick on the teacher the first day of April. Mr. Big Hat, come again; your letter was very interesting. Poor Laura Bridgeman and Helen Keller! We ought to be glad that we possess the gracious gifts that were taken away from them. I will ask a question: Who was the man who was shipwrecked and cast on an island? How long did he stay there, and on what did he live? Minnie Stevens and Kate Norton, come again.


FLORENCE COKER, Ladonia, Fannin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I have been reading some in the Cozy Corner of your valuable paper, and have often desired to write, but I saw a picture of Peggy standing by a great basketful of cousins' letters that never had been printed. I know the cousins must have felt disappointed, for I could almost feel it myself, and I was afraid mine might share their fate, as I have never tried writing to a newspaper before. But when I found that my friend and schoolmate, Mary Cook, had been initiated, I felt encouraged and determined to write. I go to school at Oak Ridge academy, along with Cousin May Cook; that is, I did not till the measles broke out in school, then, as none of us have had them (papa and mamma included), papa thought best to stop us for the present. Oh, I did hate awfully to stop, for I had learned to love both my teacher and my schoolmates, and I dearly love to go to school, any way. I am in the fifth grade, though I am only 11 years old, and I don't get to go nearly all the time. My papa is a farmer and sometimes I have to stop and help him work. Our school only lasts six months in a year. As it seems customary to ask questions, I will ask some: Was the western continent ever seen by white men prior to Columbus? By whom and when?


GRACIE THORNTON, Johnson['s Station], Tarrant Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes a little girl 12 years of age. This is my first attempt to write to the cousins. I've read the cousins departments with much interest. My father is a farmer. He has his corn planted. He made twenty-nine bales of cotton last year. Papa owns in interest in the gin at Arlington. They have ginned ninety bales in one day and part of the night. Kate Norton said she didn't know what was the first thing that anybody did when they fell in to the water. It is to get wet. Nora Nuckols asked how long did J. P. Henderson serve? He served one term. America McCollum asked when was the first mission built in Texas? It was begun in 1718 and ended in 1771. Mr. Big Hat, I will correspond with any of the cousins that will write to me first.


GENEVIEVE MYRDOCK, Owlet Green, Van Zandt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and little men and women: The year that I started to school we were living on a farm in one of our western counties, eight or ten miles from one of the larger cities and several miles from the nearest country postoffice. The regular school was out, but one lady in the community decided to help out her husband's bad crops by teaching during the months of May, June and July. Our schoolhouse, 8x16 feet perhaps, was the "shed room" of her home. Along one side of the room was nailed at the proper angle a plank, on which we laid our books and rested our elbows. A shelf underneath held our remaining books, and on a long, backless bench in front of it sat the six girls of our school. Two of these were "big girls" of 14 or 15, and it seemed to us little ones that they knew enough to quit school. The remaining pupils, eight small boys, ranging in age from 6 to 10, sat on three short benches arranged crosswise of the room. They had but one book, the inevitable "blue back" speller. We had recess, with the accent on the first syllable, morning and evening and an hour for dinner. And such fun we did have! We waded barefooted in the little creek near by; we played "rap jacket" with switches cut from the peach trees, and we had many a merry race with Don, our teacher's pet dog. Often we children had picnic dinners -- that is, we spread napkins and newspapers in the shade of a tree and put all our dinners together. Two poor little fellows never brought anything but a kind of light bread filled with caraway seed. We never ate it and even Don would sniff at it and wag his tail for something else. On Friday evenings we all had speeches, not recitations. But the three months glided slowly but surely by. For the last day we all prepared extra long pieces and our teacher told us we might also have a candy pulling, and (hold your breath, cousins) for each of us to bring a bottle of molasses to make the candy! Most of us got there safely with our contribution; but one little fellow was unfortunate. His mother filled his bottle full and under the influence of the July sun it began to "boil" and "boiled" all over his hands and his trousers and was trickling in little streams down his bare legs when he reached school. After saying our speeches we proceeded to pull the candy -- that is, we pulled what we didn't smear on chairs, windows and floors. Then we kissed our teacher good-bye and "school was out." Marie Taylor, if we lived within visiting distance I think we'd neighbor back and forth right often. If we didn't 'twould be your fault, not mine. Joe Farmer, you'll have to raise your offer. Several here have offered more than twice that amount to see me in my new woman costume. Joe Dawson, brother says if you call me little you wouldn't call anything big but the fat woman in Barnum's circus. I think perhaps he was just trying to flatter me, though, for he asked me soon after to brush his Sunday-go-to-meetin' coat and put it away. Mary West, give us a pen picture of our ideal brother. I've a curiosity to see how near my "buds" are to models. Oh, yes! Joe Farmer, I've something to ask you: Are you the same Joe F----- who used to be so popular in the Y. F. D. of the Louisville Courier-Journal? If so, do you ever write to it now? Neil Morris, Kate Norton and Reba Smith, write again soon. Say, now, cousins, have I ever said I climbed a tree? How many of you girls are tomboys? Cousin Jess says he doesn't know whether to call me a tomboy or a book worm. I am half crazy for a bicycle now. Some of you girls who have one write and tell me if you have much fun with it.


HATTIE FRIEND, Harbin, Erath Co., Tex. -- Good morning Mr. Big Hat: I thought your letter in the last issue was very interesting. I always like to read the life and strange story of such noted and unfortunate people as Laura Bridgeman and Helen Keller. Oh, cousin[s], we sometimes think ourselves poor, but just imagine yourselves in Helen Keller's position, without speech, sight, taste, hearing or smell. Yet that girl my be contented. I do hope science will do its most for her. Cousins, how many of you have got correspondents? In my first letter I said I would like to correspond with some of the cousins and I have three correspondents now. Our school closed the 31st of March. I think, though, that I will keep up my studies during the summer. Miss Big Bonnet, I guess you are pretty, but you thought we would compliment you if you showed your face, so you thought you had better not be seen. Rachel Sanders, did you really put out your sister's eye? Ludie Sanders, I think you have done right well for a Texas clod-hopper, and when you had to plow, too. Katie Norton, don't get too poetical about the day being so dark and dreary. My sister Bertha and I went fishing yesterday, but didn't catch more than 100 fish. Anna Moore, we are thinking of moving to Whitney. Is it a pretty country? Harbin is only a big place in the road. I wish I could write interesting letters as some of the cousins do. Odis Riddle, I never heard of any such thing as fox suppers. I wish you would please tell us about one. Ray Hill, is your ambition to be an orator? Gov. Murrah of Texas fled to Mexico. Katie Norton, Peter Minuits bought the Island of Manhattan for $24. Lillie Pope, the longest bone in the body is the femur. Lillie, the ear does not hear; the sound is conveyed by the ear to the brain. It is the brain that hears. There is just eighteen pounds of blood in the body. I will ask some questions: What man while dying said: "Hardy, if you could see my heart, there would be a thousand frigates written there." Who was it that wished a pound of human flesh instead of money?


MINNIE STEVENS, Rusk, Cherokee Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I was surprised to see my other letter in print and I was glad to see Miss Big Bonnet's picture. I think she is a cute young lady, with her great sunbonnet on, and I will bet a cotton string against a wooden one that she is pretty. I wish she would beat Mr. Big Hat to his chair often, not that I don't enjoy his letters, but because Miss Big Bonnet tells us all about her dolls and playhouses. Oh, don't you know she will look pretty with her new dress on. I agree with Marion York and I hope all the cousins do. I think we had all better say with our parents and treat them well. I also agree with Mr. Big Hat about Sam Houston. We ought to do all we can to write the memory of his life on the hearts of the people of Texas. He was one of the bravest heroes of the state. I wish some of the cousins would come and see me and we would pay Rusk penitentiary a visit. There you can see so many poor convicts. They don't keep women there, however. One of the northern cousins asked if a girl could earn her living in the south. I can just say this much, that a girl has got to work, and do her work well. I think we larger cousins ought to think about something besides pets, but as for the little ones, let them tell as much about them as they want to. I know they enjoy it, for I used to. I must tell the cousins about going flower hunting and what a time we had. There were three of us and we found every kind of flower. We were just having a fine time when one of the girls said: "I heard something." "What is it?" "Oh, me! It is a wolf! What will we do?" And we began to run. One ran into a holly bush and tore her skirt. One jumped into a mud hole and lost her slipper. I went up a tree and how do you reckon I got down? Well, I got down just like I went up. We all lost our flowers.


EUGENE SIMPSON, Rosser, Kaufman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have just finished reading the cousins' letters and thought I would write again, as it has been some time since I wrote to you. It is very cold to-day for April. I think sometimes spring will never come. How many of the cousins like to go fishing? I for one. I went one day last week, but did not have much luck. I am going some day and stay all day. I wish some of the cousins that like to fish were here to go with me. Well, boys, the girls are going to get ahead of you in writing. Ray H., I think you write nice letters. Ludie Sanders, I saw you two years ago at Cottonwood. Hattie Bowman, I have some cousins living at Hillsboro named Jetton[?]. I have not seen them in a long time. I think the Sam Houston memorial stone is a grand thing and I will send 10 cents this time.


CHARLEY FLEMING, Milano, Milam Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: It looks like every time I write Peggy is hungry and eats my letter. Peggy, I will send you some grass this time, if you will not eat my letter. I will ask a question before I go. Which is the strongest day of the seven?

 

- May 3, 1896, The Dallas Morning News, p. 14, col. 3-7.
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