Gateway to the Classics: Ruth of Boston by James Otis
Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

Difficult Lessons

The first lesson which Master Pormont gave to those of us children who could read and write fairly well, was from the Latin grammar, and he required that we have at our tongue's end within the first day, the different forms of no less than six verbs; and this regardless of the fact that we had never so much as put our eyes to the language before!

Do not let it be understood that I am in any way complaining of whatsoever Master Pormont did, for although I could not understand the reason for many of the lessons at that time, there can be no question but that so wise a man as he knew what was best suited for us children.

But surely, to Susan and me, who knew no more of arithmetic than was to be found in the multiplying, dividing, and adding of small sums, it was most grievous work to stumble over such terms as "fret," "tare," and "net," when we had no idea of their meaning.

Nor would Master Pormont give us such information, claiming that we should seek it from our parents, or from other people in the town, to the end that if it was gained by much labor we would the longer remember it.

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