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.