The Life and Times of Robert B. McAfee, continued ______________
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from his mill. I bore it patiently & tried to parry her abuse by kindness, but all would not appease her. My cousin, Susan, took my part and would shame her for it which caused me to love her ever afterwards. At length weary of her persecutions, I complained to my father who took me away and I boarded with my Granfather McCoun, who then lived alone, except his black people which was a sore trial to me as I wanted some person to cheer me. Of course I did not learn much this summer and my father took me home before the school was out. Fortunately a young man by the name of Dunlavy came to the neighbor- hood enquiring for a school & my father employed him for six months. He commenced his school some time in September. He was a young man of fine Education, having received a classical education, and I was once more in my old school house. He was a first rate reader; his only defect was that he did not write a very good hand. He afterwards studied law and became a distinguished Judge in the State of Ohio, and had a brother who figured largely among the Shaker(s) at Pleasant hill in Mercer County, Ken- tucky and at Turtle Creek in Ohio. He wrote a book explanatory in deference to their doctrines.
With Mr. Dunlavy I progressed rapidly in learning to read distinctly, and also in Grammar and writing. He classed his scholars, and I had in my reading class my three Indian yelling boys -- Ben W. Casey, Enos Ashby & Robert Goudy -- who were about the same age and was very ambitious to excel each other. At the close of the first quarter he had premiums for the best reader & Capt. Thomas, the surveyor of the county & an old teacher, was selected as the judge. When time arrived I had practiced assiduously and we each had our portions of reading assigned us. I commenced with a beating heart, and had the high gratification to receive the Premium which I believe was a fine pen knife. The other boys yielded the palm to me with a good grace and I was as much pleased as if I had received a kingdom – which was greatly increased at seeing my Sweetheart, by the name of Jane Curry, receive the Premium on the part of the girls. She was a pretty girl and had a fine clear voice and was of a pleasant happy Temperament, and I was destined (young as I was) to feel Cupid’s arrows deep in my heart. I do not know that it was reciprocated,
as I never told her except by my looks and constant effort to make myself agreeable to her, by sharing with her all the good things I could get hold of, which she took in good part so that I finally resolved to make her my wife if I ever lived to get old enough. But all my visionary prospects, although I was firm in my resolve for many years but after we left school and absence for some time cured me. She lived in the neighborhood while I was sent from home. I did not meet her again for ten or eleven years when we met at a wedding of one of my relations upon whom I waited and my love had all evaporated. I contented myself with telling how much I had loved her at school but did not venture to renew the subject, as my circumstances forbid my marrying at that time & she was greatly changed.
I was now considered the best reader at school & my good mother required me to read her a chapter in the Bible or Testament every Sunday. She had taught me the Lord’s prayer and the shorter Catechism of the Presbyterian church at home as well as the child’s prayer, “now I lay me down to sleep &c” which I was punctual in saying over every night when I went to bed – yet my heart was not in it, and I often thought her too rigid especially in keeping me in the house and from playing on the Sabbath day. But I have had reason to thank Almighty God that my dear mother taught me these things so early although at that time I often eluded her vigilance, and one anecdote of the kind I will relate which took place at this time which made a deep impression on my mind ever afterwards & was of essential benefit to me in secular affairs. I had a cousin by the name of Sam[ue]l Walker Kerr who had lost his father & mother when an infant before my family moved to the country and my fa- ther became his Guardian. He was several years older than me and was my daily companion. One Sunday morning after we had read our usual task of read- ing in the Bible to my mother, we slipped out and went down Salt River and round to the North side of my father’s plantation, and came upon a large Fox so suddenly that he ran up a leaning White walnut tree. It leaned so much that the Fox was not more than fifteen or twenty feet from the ground. We were delighted with the idea of securing our prize, but we had neither dogs or an axe. Upon consultation my Cousin Walker, as we called him proposed to me to go back to the house and get the dogs and an axe and
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