Many people wonder at the memory I have. It may be true that my mind in my early years was more sensitive and more retentive than that of others, but at the present I have considerable difficulty in remembering names and faces and even the appearance of places until repetition has brought a certain familiarity with them. Well, I suppose the mind is like wax, which takes an impression better when it is fresh than when it gets old and hardened.
Anyway, I can remember things that happened when I was still in the cradle. While it was still my bed I had an attack of fever and imagined that horrible monkeys were there pressing me on both sides in the narrow cradle that was big enough for only one. I remember old Miss Ann Mavitty who was a frequent visitor at our house, and how she would carry me around wrapped in her apron, which smelled strongly of snuff of which she was an inveterate taker, and occasionally she used the wrong side of her apron as a handkerchief.
Of my first school days I have no recollection, but I remember going to the little stone schoolhouse one mile east of Pittsford in Monroe County, New York, and perhaps a half mile west of our home. I think a Miss Cleaveland was my first teacher, and another to succeed her was Miss Betsy Ann Roller. As we left this place in 1852, I could not have been much over three years old when I began to go to school. Miss Roller must have thought it was all right [alright] for me to attend school at that age, for in after years in her letters to one of my elder sisters she said she had found no child of my age who surpassed me in school duties.
I remember my last term in that school very well, for the teacher was a man, and for some infraction of the rules he attempted to whip one of my brothers. The fault had been committed in the fore-noon and he put off the correction until the afternoon session. My brothers went home for dinner, while I remained at the schoolhouse. During the noon interval the teacher [brought] out a hickory sprout that he seasoned in the fire and passed under his foot to make it tough and pliable, remarking to me at the time that it was for my brother when he came back to school. He came back and the fun began. I had three other brothers in the school and they all took a hand in the fray. Most of the rest of us ran out, some crying and all frightened. I ran home and found that someone had informed my father who was on his way to the school to settle the difficulty. No great damage was done, but the affair was settled and I never went back to that school again.
My father was a miller, and the mill stood close to the house, so we children (there were eleven of us, ranging from twenty years of age down to a baby girl of only a few months) had spacious playgrounds around the mill and the mill pond close by. The mill
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