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IN the old-time spellin'-school, that met in some .places as often as once a week, there was one exercise the spellers frequently went through in concert. When sides had been chosen, and the long line of each of the contending forces had ranged itself along the schoolroom wall, facing its opponent, the master gave out the word, —
All together the school pronounced the word, and spelled it as
follows, in a resounding chorus: —
C-i-s, cis; n-e, ne, cisne; c-r-i-s, cris, cisnecris; t-o, to, cisnecristo; v-e-r, ver, cisnecristover; v-a-n, van, cisnecristovervan; p-r-o, pro, cisnecristovervanpro; v-a-n, van, cisnecristovervanprovan; t-i-m, tim, cisnecristovervanprovantim; t-a-m, tam, cisnecristovervanprovantimtam; t-i-r-e, tire, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtire; l-i-r-e, lire, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtirelire; m-a-c-k, mack, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtireliremack; f-a-m-e, fame, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtireliremackfame; w-edouble l, well, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtireliremackfamewell; d-o-n-e, done, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtireliremackfamewelldone; s-q-u-i-r-e, squire, cisnecristovervanprovantimtamtireliremackfamewelldonesquire!
In some day-schools the word was also spelled by the scholars in unison, just after they came in from recess. It took their attention, and had a quieting effect on them.
To new scholars the spellin'-master sometimes put the word "Constantinople." The scholars began, "C-o-n, Con; s-t-a-n, stan, Constan; t-i, ti, Constants" — "No," said the teacher at this point; and the scholar thought he had made a mistake, and let the word go on to the next. So it went until some one noted the joke, and saw that the master was pronouncing the next syllable of the word.
The word Constantinople was likewise capable of being put through the following gymnastics: —
C-o-n, Con, with a Con; isn't that a Con? S-t-a-n, stan, with a stan; isn't that a stan, and isn't that a Constan? T-i, ti, with a ti; isn't that a ti, and isn't that a stanti, and isn't that a Constanti? N-o, no, with a no; isn't that a no, and isn't that a ti-no, and isn't that astan-ti-no, and isn't that a Con-stan-ti-no? P-l-e, ple, with a ple ;isn't that a ple, and isn't that a no-ple, and isn't that a ti-no-ple, and isn't that astan-ti-no-ple, and isn't that a Con-stan-ti-no-ple? and isn't that a Constantinople?
"Spell elderblow tea with four letters" was a request sometimes made fifty years ago.
Answer. "L, double o, t."
A third party might comment, "Well, I c'n spell it with two letters."
First person, "Let's hear you, then."
Answer. "I-t, it."
H and an a, and a b and an a, and a k and a k, and a u and a k; Habakkuk.
Double u, double u,
Put one o, put two o, put three o, put four o, put five o, put six o, put seven o, put eight o.
M-i-double s, i-double s, i-double p-i.
B-a-c — k-a — c-h-e.
Spell huckleberry pie.
H-u, huckle; b-u, buckle; c-u, cuckle; y; huckleberry pie.
One a see, two a see, three a see, four a see, five a see, six a see, seven a see, eight a see, nine a see, Tennessee.
P double-unkin, p double i; p doubleunkin, punkin-pie.
When a company gathered for an evening, years ago, they sometimes amused themselves by spelling, or learning to spell, the phrase, "Abominable bumblebee with his tail cut off." Here is the way they spelled it: "A, there's your a; b-o, bo, there's your bo and your a-bo; m-i, mi, there's your mi, and your bo-mi, and your a-bo-mi; n-a, nā, there's your na, and your mi-na, and your bo-mina, and a-bo-mi-na; b-l-e, ble (pronounced "bell"), there's your ble, and your na-ble, and your mi-na-ble, and your bo-mi-na-ble, and your a-bo-mi-na-ble."
Thus they spelled on down to the final syllable, and the matter ended thus: "O double f, off, there's your off; and your cut off, and your tail cut off, and your his tail cut off, and your with his tail cut off, and your bee with his tail cut off, and your ble bee with his tail cut off, and your bum-ble-bee with his tail cut off, and your ble bum-ble-bee with his tail cut off, and your na-ble bumblebee with his tail cut off, and your mi-na-ble bum-ble-bee with his tail cut off, and your bo-mi-na-ble bum-ble-bee with his tail cut off, and there's your abominable bumblebee with his tail cut off!"
This spelling was very exciting, tongue-tripping, and laughable, and not many could carry it clear through to the end.
Spelled in the same way was the word, "Ho-no - ri-fi - cabili - ni-tudini - tu - tebus - que."
Also the word "Incomprehensibility."