Mistress Slightly ran the Dame School in Cockbill Street which the six-year-old Sam Vimes attended for nine months. It cost a penny a day, but the dame was happy to accept old clothes, firewood, or, best of all, gin. She taught a limited curriculum of Numbers, Letters, Weights and Measures. It seems that, when she accepted too much gin from well-wishers and clients, a certain Dame Venting took over. She was the stereotypical dame: fat, with the impression that she was made of marshmallows. She was aware of the fundamental law of preschool teaching, that the bladders of small boys were equivalent in treachery to the bladders of old men. She taught the basics of the world with a minimum of cruelty and a maximum of marshmallow, and always had a peppermint in her pocket for a boy who knows his alphabet and could say it backwards.
It should be no surprise to scholars of Narrative Causality that Mistress Slightly kept geese, had a mob-cap and a laugh like rainwater going down a drain. It can be conjectured that, underneath the endless layers of petticoats, she wears red and white spotted drawers, although no-one has the bravery to verify this claim. She takes lessons while peeling potatoes, or plucking one of the geese from her growing collection.
Dame Slightly holds a special part in Vime's heart, as she helped him conquer his fears. A book in her tiny sitting room (The Goode Childe's Booke of Faerie Tales) had a picture of a Goblin on page seven- the "Jolly Goblin", if the caption is anything to go by. The young Sam, in a fit of anxiety, was terrified of this image. Was it laughing? Was it scowling? Was it hungry? Was it about to bite your head off? Therefore, he had spent the rest of the morning under a chair, with the proviso that most of the other children felt that way. The famed innocence of childhood was often more of a slightly damp terror. However, Mistress Slightly took the future policeman on her knee and made him look carefully at the picture- it was made up of dots! Tiny dots! The closer you looked at the picture, the more it lost its ability to frighten, the more it disappeared. The dame herself said: "I hear that they are wretched, badly made mortals. Half-finished folk, or so I hear. It's only a blessing this one had something to be jolly about."
As Sam Vimes was trustworthy, he was given the prestigious role of Blackboard Monitor- one who can erase the writings that are already there, and a role that carries a lot of weight in the Dwarf community.