Comic Annual,  3 (1832), 163–74.

The Schoolmaster Abroad

[Thomas Hood]


Reminiscences, Spoof


Mathematics, Education, Physiognomy

    When the narrator, as stand-in schoolmaster for nine private pupils, came to teach mathematics, he was anxious: 'I knew very well that when the army of nine attacked my Bonnycastle, it would not long hold out'. Having given the same question to all the pupils, each of whom brought a different result, he had 'no resource but, Lavater-like, to go by Physiognomy, and accordingly selected the solution of the most mathematical-looking boy.' Lavater 'betrayed' him, as he discovered when one of the pupils produced a 'Tutor's Key' from his desk. The pupils began to question the tutor's right 'to rule nine, who was not competent to the Rule of Three'. (169)

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