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Hill Country Living

Hill Country Living
By Coulter Fussell

It’s a Wagner Week and I’m not really sure what to think about this letter from young Eugene to sister Jessie except that he is clearly obsessed with numbers.

Asheville, NC

Set, 16.1898

Dear Old Jessie,

Don’t forget your promise to write to me 2x every week. I never thought that this idea would ever enter your head that I would forget my old teacher.  That cut me to the core to ever consider forgetting you. We will commence to drill about next Tuesday. The lieutenant detailed by the U.S. Government for Bingham School has arrived yet. He went to Santiago and when he came home again he had some kind of fever so he has not come to B.S. yet.

I have not received a single letter from home for 4 days. Except this evening I got 2 letters, yours and a letter from John. He says that business is very dull and that there are no cases of yellow fever in WV…

There is one boy to be put in the guard house next Monday. His name is Tucker. Everyone here is known by his last name, for instance I am called Wagner. When two boys are of the same family they are known as these, “Buckner” and “Buckner Jr.” By the way, that boy Buckner was here when I first came home and about 3 days after I came he got so homesick that he went home and about 2 days ago he came back bringing his brother with him.

I do hope the yellow fever will not get to W.V. Please forgive all that I have done wrong in the past and only think of the present and look forward to the future.

There are two more boys within 5 demerits of the guard house. If you get 20 demerits in 2 weeks or 24 in 4 weeks you get in the guard house for one whole day.

I have not a single demerit. I have not ridden the evening or the night reception yet either. If you miss one of your lessons you go up in the study hall and study (ride reception) for one quarter of an hour in the evening. If you miss 2 of your lessons you ride reception for 2 quarters of an hour and so on. If you visit another boy’s room without permission during study hours you get 3 demerits and five nights on reception. The evening reception is for missing lessons. The night reception for misbehavior. I have a margin of 4 demerits before any will count. For I will explain: for every week that you get 0 demerits you have a chance to get 2 demerits the next week and they will not count them. I have been here 2 weeks and when I get 4 demerits they will not count them because I have so many to credits for behaving 2 weeks.

 There is the first supper here now. We have 5 minutes before supper to wash and comb our hair. I have already washed up for supper so I can write on but I guess I had better close.


Eugene Wagner

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