Fredericksburg Academy--Charles Dickens in Virginia--The Law Courts-- Judge Moncure--Falmouth Church--John Minor--The Methodist Conventicle--St. George's--First Religious Emotions.
IN my tenth year I was sent to the "Fredericksburg Classical and Mathematical Academy," the principal educational institution in northern Virginia. The academy grew out of the school founded by the admirable clergyman of French descent, James Marye, to which George Washington went just a hundred years before. Our principal, Thomas Hanson, taught Greek and Latin in the central building, other studies being in the wings under two assistants. The "scholars" were of many counties, and most of the historic families of Virginia were represented, though probably few of the youths knew or cared about their ancestors. I believe I was the youngest pupil, the ages ranging mostly between twelve and seventeen. The academy was under the auspices of St. George's Church, whose venerable rector, Dr. Edward C. McGuire, occasionally visited us.
The Falmouth contingent was large, and there was some "chaffing" between them and the Fredericksburg scholars. These called our village "Hogtown," alleging that hogs were seen in the streets, and we retorted with "Sheeptown," with what connotation I cannot remember. But this exchange of epithets caused no fights, albeit among us (about 200) there was a normal proportion of bullies, and fisticuffs were not uncommon in the acre lot behind the school. Our recess games were chiefly chermany and bandy ("hockey"). An accidental blow from a bandystick on my right eye laid me up in darkness, with leeches. Though there was no visible sequel at the time, the eye became dim in after years, and finally became nearsighted.
Most of us were preparing for some college, and the keys to every college were Latin and Greek. To these our time was