Old_book_-_Basking_Ridge_Historical_Society_(1)

Lost Lectures

So the first thing to do was to be coached in arithmetic and algebra. I was taught these subjects by an old specialist who lived in the Broad-High, or in Campion’s Piece. I think he had been in his day a Senior Classic. He was saturated in the amenities of the lower mathematics, and was redolent of old-world trigonometry. He was so highly optimistic and so afraid of depreciating his pupils’ capacity that he never believed they could get a sum wrong. If the sum seemed wrong—and it often did seem wrong—he took for granted the mistakes were either clerical or intentional, and he called them either slips or paradoxes; for instance, when one said that seven and four and six made nineteen, he would smile and say that he saw what one meant, but in this case the suggestion was perhaps a little daring for the examiners.

Photo credit: By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ, USA (Old books  Uploaded by guillom) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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