My school days are over; grim old age now holds me as his victim. Long since feeling assured that my studies had been prosecuted far enough, I gave up the idea of ever again commencing school; yet with what extreme pleasure do I dwell upon Upon by-gone school
days; when by the power of association they are brought to my mind/a glance at an old school-book is enough to arouse every circumstance that occurred in reciting that particular lesson, and it was but yesterday I whiled a-way a pleasant hour in examining the contents of an old school bag worn in my scholastic life, and which my mother had affectionately and tenderly kept in its original state.
What memories of other days were refreshed; friends that are now no longer in touch were again beside me, and in fancy I was again young, living over those happy hours at school. You may wonder, that an old bag could awaken such recollections of the past, but when I have enumerated to you the contents, solved the mysteries, and unraveled the wonders of a school boys bag, methinks your wondering will have ceased. Since this is a matter of great curiosity I will rehearse to you the contents as I yesterday found them.
The first object seized was an old letter almost torn to pieces by over reading; anxious to discover its originator I unfolded it; well I do remember (I had just started Med School and was staying away from home for the first time in my life) when I received it how burning tears would start to my eyes as I pored over the endearing lines and how when my room-mates told me I was “homesick” I denied it and said I only wept because I wanted to. The next object was a little stumpy slate pencil; truly it deserved the rest the old bag afforded, for many were the long problems it had solved, and many a rich composition had it written; perhaps playing puzzle on the slate may have partly worn it out; but it matters not; suffice it to say I laid it by for the good it had done and resumed my search.
As “birds of a feather flock together,” so next in order were two or three lead pencils; they had once been my drawing pencils; of these my picture gallery tells full well that they have done their duty and finished their course on earth. Again I reached and found handfuls of sundry articles too many to mention. At length becoming wearied and beginning to think the pocket contained a little of everything, I turned it inside out and emptied it of its treasures. And now what a confused mass was presented; I never knew my worldly possessions were so great. Here were nut-shells and apple parings which years before I had put in my bag not being permitted to throw them on the floor of the school room.
Here were bits of ribbon from my classmates hair which had been thrust in my pocket during the merry romp. Here were more pencils, steel pens, a handkerchief, gloves with inky fingers, and there were fingers and scraps of papers without number. I read them; some were merry notes, such as school boys write; others were parts of lessons written down which recalled to my mind the recitation rooms where we could not hide our faces if we did not know the lesson. Tumbled in a roll were a broken shoe string, a half cake of carmine paint, the handle of an old nail brush, and a little bundle of cards with the names of cherished friends inscribed upon them; one bore the sentence “think of the past,” and I concluding my reflections had been long enough for the present, carefully replaced the many treasures in the bag, buckled the stuff up and replaced it on the top shelf of the cupboard where it lay all these years, to be re-examined each succeeding year of my life, and thereby keep my “memory green” of by-gone school-days.