Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 453 pages of information about Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant — Volume 1.
owner left, I begged to be allowed to take him at the price demanded.  My father yielded, but said twenty dollars was all the horse was worth, and told me to offer that price; if it was not accepted I was to offer twenty-two and a half, and if that would not get him, to give the twenty-five.  I at once mounted a horse and went for the colt.  When I got to Mr. Ralston’s house, I said to him:  “Papa says I may offer you twenty dollars for the colt, but if you won’t take that, I am to offer twenty-two and a half, and if you won’t take that, to give you twenty-five.”  It would not require a Connecticut man to guess the price finally agreed upon.  This story is nearly true.  I certainly showed very plainly that I had come for the colt and meant to have him.  I could not have been over eight years old at the time.  This transaction caused me great heart-burning.  The story got out among the boys of the village, and it was a long time before I heard the last of it.  Boys enjoy the misery of their companions, at least village boys in that day did, and in later life I have found that all adults are not free from the peculiarity.  I kept the horse until he was four years old, when he went blind, and I sold him for twenty dollars.  When I went to Maysville to school, in 1836, at the age of fourteen, I recognized my colt as one of the blind horses working on the tread-wheel of the ferry-boat.

I have describes enough of my early life to give an impression of the whole.  I did not like to work; but I did as much of it, while young, as grown men can be hired to do in these days, and attended school at the same time.  I had as many privileges as any boy in the village, and probably more than most of them.  I have no recollection of ever having been punished at home, either by scolding or by the rod.  But at school the case was different.  The rod was freely used there, and I was not exempt from its influence.  I can see John D. White—­the school teacher —­now, with his long beech switch always in his hand.  It was not always the same one, either.  Switches were brought in bundles, from a beech wood near the school house, by the boys for whose benefit they were intended.  Often a whole bundle would be used up in a single day.  I never had any hard feelings against my teacher, either while attending the school, or in later years when reflecting upon my experience.  Mr. White was a kindhearted man, and was much respected by the community in which he lived.  He only followed the universal custom of the period, and that under which he had received his own education.


West point—­graduation.

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