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THE SAN FRANCISCO CALTJ, SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, IPIO.— THE JUNIOR CALT
8 A SPENCERIAN ROMANCE CHARLES CRISTADORO ITURN back, the annual hand of the , ' clock of life nearly 50 years and I sec myself a boy at'a desk, and in' front of me is a ne / glass Ink well, carefully filled, lest It .overflow, with an acrid smelling blue black liquid, ink. 1 finger over half a dozen_ little elon- • gated crescents of polished steel, pointed and ingeniously split, my pens, with "Gillott" stamped upon their sur face. In. those days, in the pen line, it was Gillotfs pens or a quill, you took your, choice. : ... \u25a0\u25a0 ; The penholder was a masterpiece of polished, turning, smelling of tho cedar chest in which the furs. were stored at home in 'the attic. Into this holder we were shown how. to insert, the pen, not too far, but just far enough to avoid dipping too deeply Jn the Ink and soil ing our fingers, a' precautionary meas ure futile in Its outcome, as .a rule. . The portfolio wasa.parallelogram of pasteboards held together, to form a pocket,' concealing crimson colored sheets of .very thin blotting paper, that only top often '.'blotted". instead of ab-' sorbing, the outer surface of the port-; folio being covered with a thin glazed, fabric, of some, kind. You rarely ever • see one nowadays in \usc In this conn- - itry, although common on the desks of French officials, and very likely even now present in. their schools. I im agine they were imported, from France. > And' now came the orthographic taskmaster, the copy book/ Spencerlan, filled with up and .down strokes, fine and shaded, pot hooks. and V's and W's, that were the despair of the tyro's life. And the impossible narrow, space between lines to which we must re strict ourselves. That book was, *in a penmanship sense, truly a pons asln orum. Those hair- line -up strokes. .How. could we even ;do those without the pen spluttering and maybe breaking and making an. inky constellation upon the page? Troubles real and burden some may,, and do, come in after life v plenty, but what be they to the trials and sorrows and tribulations of the school boy? The frowning, mas ter, the unlearned lesson, the dunce's conical headgear and the high stool in the corner, and the bunch of.birch en twigs or. leather, strap or ruler, long, flat and weather. beaten. .-.'. "No blots" was the slogan that wo heard when writing lesson was , an nounced, but how did we know that we. must first moisten . the ; nib .with our, lips before dipping It into the ink well? And in this we had to have our expe- 5 rlence by blotting our nicely engraved page and making the most calamitous of all "steps, a bad beginning. . And so we struggled on, first. through the angular, ups and. downs, then the curves and the shading, untir passing through , the. individual, letters we were actually writing, as they say In. "Hani let." "words, words, words," "Virtue is Its own reward,'.' "To be good. is to ".be " happy," "Daretodo right." And so we were maximed and taught, to < write at. oik' and tho same time.' But, tho fear ful blots! And the borrowlng.of. pen knives and the' Incessant -'.scratching' that but too often left openings clean through the paper. The boy who really could show a blotless, unscratched and neat copybook deserved the head place in the class and no envy followed him. And so the, days went on until" wo arose to the dignity of writing home in a more or less perfect simulation of the true Spencerlan style. Months, or perhaps a year or two after, a writing teacher, a specialist, came along. A fine, well set-up French* man of 60 or more, bearded and as ma jestic looking as Michael Angelo'a ' MudPH, He hud tho accent, but whllo noticeable it did not interfere with his making things 'very clear to us, al though he would unguardedly exclaim at times, "Viola! Attendez. Comme ca! Tres facile," etc. • . . f And what did this old gentleman from the sunny, vine clad lit 11s of la belle France do but go to the black board, which he nicely cleaned and with a fresh long piece of chalk, tho same identically as that in use today, make circles, circles, and more circles. First from left to right with the shad ing on the down stroke at the right, and then from right to left, with tho heavy down stroke on the left. • We were a .little amused at first. Some of us, boylike, tittered at the novelty, queerness of the actions of the old writing master, but there was method in his madness. He never made a straight line; nor a pothook on that board, but circles, or perhaps better and more correct, ovals, ovals, ovals, for many lessons. And we were told 'to practice, practice, practice. It was quite some fun and tho freedom over the former way that held us down to narrow spaces was most agreeable. We could swing and swing our whole hand and forearm, and then the arm from the shoulder "to the finger tips. It was real fun when we got the hang and . full swing of It. •-'. But for a long time It was nothing but ovals, and we wondered and won vdered'What was coming next. It turned out to be capitals. From A to Z- the writing master went down the Hue, clearly illustrating th* fact that the oval came into play and importance in •every letter. "Volla!" he would Bay as with a swing of his chalk ho formed the letter A and the B and tho C, "You zee, ze oval is ze important, ze in-dis pen-sablo movement. It Is ne-ces-salre zat you must first make zo oval. It ecs tres Important." • : So from "c ovals" wo made capitals and they certainly did come easy, and did fit Into the ovals whether the shad INSTINCT AND REASON An- illustration showing the \u25a0 differ* enco between instinct and reason in monkeys came under the observation of David Starr Jordan, the famous educator. At one time he had two lively Macacus monkeys called; Bob and Jocko. These were nut and fruit eating monkeys and Instinctively knew just how to crack nuts and peel fruits. At the same time ho had a baby mon key, Mono, of a kind that had the offer eating Instinct, , But Mono had never yet seen an egg. .To each of the three monkeys Dr. Jordan gave an egg, the first that any of them had ever seen. Baby Mono, descended from egg eating ancestors, handled his egg with all the inherited nxpertness of a long developed in stinct. He cracked It with his upper teeth, making a hole in it, and sucked out all it* uubstance. Then, holding the eggshell up to the light and see. ing there was no longer anything in it, he threw it away. All this he did ing was right or left. And from capitals we ascended or descended to the small letters, and there was a swing to our writing that had with it a freedom of movement that was pleasant. We crabbed the pen in our fingers no more. Held well between the thumb and two fingers, using the tip .of the small fingers \u25a0 to swing upon, .we did wonders., "And in- after years when my writ " ing helped me along in my position I claimed I had learned all, l knew about writing from making ovals, ovals, ovals. So one day a. little Savoyard, a blos som from sunny Italy, with sJioc blacklng equipment, blew into my of fice about closing timo, and asked, "Shine?" "Yes, go ahead." And I asked questions. He was working all the day, but went to night school. Yes, he could write, and when ho had \u25a0earned his nickel I gave him pen and paper and told him to write. And, grabbing his pen .with, his fingers bunched up close, almost to the touch ing of the Ink, stained pen point itself, , ho wrote, a crabbed, scrawly lot of let tering. . * I took the pen from him, and, tak ing a letter head, made ovals, right and left, as the old French relncar mechanically, automatically and just as well with the first egg as with any other he afterward had. And all eggs since given him he has treated in the same way. The monkey Bob took his egg for some kind; of nut. He broke it with his teeth and tried to pull off the Bhell. When the, lnside ran out and fell on the ground ho' looked at:, it for a mo ment In bewilderment, then with both hands scooped up the yolk and the Band mixed with it and swallowed it. Then he .stuffed the shell into his mouth. This act was not instinct; it was reason. He was not familiar by Inherited Instinct with eggs. He would handle one better next time, however. Reason very often makes mistakes at first, but when it is tra.ined it becomes a means far more valuable and power ful than instinct. The third monkey, Jocko, tried to eat his egg in much the uarne way that Bob did; but, not liking the taste, he threw it away. — St. Nicholas. nation of Moses did for us when we were school children. Here, I- said, after carefully blotting It, is your copy. You make those . with pen. or pencil, plenty of them, on any kind of paper — wrapping paper, newspaper, any kind. It was not many days after before the shipping clerk, taking, a "shine" to the bright, cheerful little olive com- . plexioned shaver, had him "between , shines" running messages for him.'tip ping him so that he did as well as a \u25a0 messenger, pecuniarily, as a shoe shiner. Ho was always around at closing time and Invariably came into the of fice and handed me a packet of ovals, done on backs of torn bills of lading, shipping receipts, brown paper, and what not. Dirty, very dirty at first, and ink smeared, but always an Im provement, marked as the days went O*ll. ' \u25a0 : In time the ovals were not only, very creditable 1 and all done in; ink, no more lead pencil, but the blots had dis appeared and his work was done on clean white paper, letter heads fur nished him by the shipping clerk. 1 v And then I stepped Into a Stationery store and bought a Spencerlan copy book. My! the l'ecollections brought up by that book! The playgrounds and study halls, , the class rooms and ""call bell, that sent -us to sleep, to work, toldinner and to play^-I can "hear: its Old familiar ding dong, ding dong. now echoing in my ears— and the faces of the boys of my childhood days, van ished now like a pleasant dream, with •all their disinterested and friendly,as sociations! How familiar those ups and downs and those Vs and W's and the old' (but how- disregarded in these days of high finance) adage of /'Hon esty is the : . best policy" and, all "Wall street to the contrary, it-is the pollcy that wins out in the finals of the great game of life. So when the little fellow, now neater In his dress and cleaner as to his hands and nails (he had the run of the ship ping clerk's wash basin) than of yore, 'stopped in to leave his daily stint of ovals, nothing but ovals (I wonder whether he. ever dreamed of." ovals < at night), I 'showed him the Spencerlan copy book. "Now," I;: said, "you have niade ovals enough. Here Is a copy book, : pens, and pen holder,' all new, fresh and clean. Here, too," taking a fresh, clean dollar bill from my pocket, silk threaded, geometrically engraved, vignetted and signed, "'is a fresh, clean dollar bill. I am going to put it in this envelope and save it for you. It is your dollar bill, when,: without a blot or. a smutch of any kind, you re turn this copy book filled from cover to cover. I want no more ovals. "•'.< . And tho first thing that Jurio eyed boy did was to find a clean piece of wrapping. paper and wr"ap the book.up. , If .elasticity of step imlicated anything, as the boy shouldered his blacking-box and went hurrying toward his Baxter street home, ho certainly was walking on air, for I had also given him a* shiny, ticking Ingersoll watch. \u25a0 It is many years ago and hard to re ' memben just how . quickly that book came back, but it did come back clean, yes, as "spotless town." No .blot, scratch or blemish marred the surface of the pages. .The ups and downs were a little shaky but good', and the V.'a' and the W'« . were open to criticism, and his "learn to do good. X. Y. G. •Wlx." might have been bettered,' but the effort' and purpose of the boy showed In every line. Tho last pages of the book were simply excellent and beyond criticism, ull tho circumstances considered. I certainly was proud »of my pupil and, the boy was not far off, as to his showing, So I watched his face wreath itself in smiles, his lips twitch and extend, the fresh young . blood in the cheeks coursing under the thin, olive hued epidermis, his great blue eyes all but .suffused In tears of joy, as were Juno'» (sufTusis oculis) when I reached Into my drawer, opened. ; the envelope and handed him the much dreampt of and coveted'dolhir promise of. Uncle Ham. And ho wanted the envelope to protect it as he tucked it away in his pocket.. There was great rejoicings, I know, in that little back room tenement up three or four flights of stairs in BOMit- "double decker" la Baxter street that night. Changes came. 1 was away months, years, from New York. I returned and ran across the old shipping clerk. "And I whatever became of little Angelln'o?" • "Shipping clerk with a big plate glasa house, married and living comfortably. ,Writes with copper plate, and always asks ufter you and says you got him the Job all right."