98 Old-time Schools and School-books
country communities by the custom of " Saying the Catechism " yearly in church. Three summer Sundays were set apart for the purpose, and a portion was recited each Sunday at the close of the afternoon service. It was a momentous occasion, and when the parson announced from the pulpit that, " Sabbath after next, the first division of the Catechism will be recited here," a thrill of excitement ran through the congregation. In this recitation all the children between eight and fifteen years took part. There were fortnight intervals between the three Sundays to allow the children to perfect their memory of the next lot of questions. They must know every answer, and old primers were looked up, new ones bought, and the young folk got to work in earnest.
When the first of the great days came, and the other exercises of the day were concluded, the children, arrayed in their " Sabba'day clothes," gathered in two long lines in the broad aisle, the boys on one side, the girls on the other. The lines began near the deacon's seat under the brow of the pulpit, and very likely extended the full length of the broad aisle and around into the aisles at the rear. Parents and relatives crowded the pews and galleries, all watching the scene with solemn interest — an interest that was tinged on the part of the mothers with anxiety lest their children should not acquit themselves with credit.
The minister, standing in the pulpit, gave out the questions. Each child, in order, stepped forth into mid-aisle, faced the pulpit, made his manners, an-