Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

sion which his mother had encouraged him to hope would be granted him.

From that day, Locke was a new creature. As happy as the lark, with which he rose in the morning, he cheerfully and diligently toiled through the day; giving his undivided attention to any and every kind of work upon which he was requested to engage. So complete a revolution in the business character of his son was the cause of much wonder to Mr. Amsden, who had predicted, that the permission he had given him to go abroad to school in the fall, instead of diminishing, would so increase the faults of which he complained, as entirely to spoil him for business; little dreaming, that his own conduct, in trying to repress his son's overpowering inclinations for .study, had more than all else contributed to bring him into that state of mental abstraction and despondency, from which, through his mother's influence, he had been so timely rescued, by the only means, probably, that could ever have proved availing.

In this manner passed away the summer season; and the happy period, which was to reward Locke for his toils, at length approached. As the time drew near, Mr. Amsden, although his strict regard for his word forbade all thought of breaking his promise to his son, began, nevertheless, to feel a great reluctance at parting with him. And when he thought of the efficient help which the boy had rendered him through most of the season, at which he had been both gratified and profited, he could not forbear, by various favorable offers, to try to tempt the other to remain. It was, however, all in vain ; for Locke, steady to his unalterable purpose, would listen to nothing short of the promised year's opportunity for study. And when the day fixed for his departure arrived, he packed up his books and scanty wardrobe, and, bidding the family adieu, set out on foot, with a light heart,

for the village where the academy at which he proposed to pursue his studies was located. A little more than a day's walk brought him to his destination, when, to his great joy, he found the institution under the charge of his old teacher, Seaver, who, a month or two previous, at the close of his collegiate career, had been engaged as a permanent preceptor.

It is not our purpose to follow our hero in his course of studies through the year that now succeeded. Suffice it to say, that, by the advice of his preceptor, he devoted his time chiefly to the acquisition of the Latin and Greek languages, reserving, however, certain hours of the day, and such times as others generally spent in recreations, to the study of his own language, and such of the higher branches of English education as he had never had an opportunity of acquiring. Having, in his previous course of self-education, been accustomed to depend almost wholly on his own energies for the successful prosecution of his studies, he relaxed nothing from his mental habits here ; and the result was, as it will ever be with those who do the like, that although he consulted his teacher, perhaps, less than any one in school, he yet outstripped them all in the rapidity of his progress. And as he was about to leave the institution, at the end of the

year,

he had the satisfaction of receiving from his venerated instructor the flattering encomium, that he had never known so great an amount of knowledge acquired by any individual in so short a period.

After the close of his year at the academy, young Amsden, who had now shot up into the usual proportions of manhood, returned to his father's with the intention of commencing a vocation to which he had long looked forward with pleasing solicitude — that of imparting to others the knowledge which had afforded him so much happiness in acquiring: For,

from his childhood upward, he had heard no one employment 80 much lauded for honor and usefulness, as that of an instructor of youth; he had seen the same idea reiterated by the most celebrated of authors; and he had not yet learned, that the world too often applaud most what their practice shows they hold in the least estimation.

CHAPTER III.

“ The little knowledge he had gain'd,
Was all from simple nature drain'd."

GAY.

It was late in the season when our hero returned home; and having inadvertently omitted to apprise his friends of his intention to engage himself as a teacher of some of the winter schools in the vicinity of his father's residence, he found, on his arrival, every situation to which his undoubted qualifications should prompt him to aspire, already occupied by others. He was therefore compelled, unless he relinquished his purpose, to listen to the less eligible offers which came from such smaller and more backward districts or societies as had not engaged their instructors for the winter. One of these he was on the point of deciding to accept, when he received information of a district where the master, from some cause or other, had been dismissed during the first week of his engagement, and where the committee were now in search of another to supply his place. The district from which this information came, was situated in one of the mountain towns about a dozen miles distant, and the particular neighborhood of its location was known in the vicinity, to a considerable extent, by the name of the Horn of the Moon ; an appellation generally understood to be derived from a peculiar curvature of a mountain that partially enclosed the place. Knowing nothing of the causes which had here led to the recent dismissal of the teacher, nor indeed of the particular character of the school, further than that it was a large one, and one, probably, which, though in rather a new part of the

country, would yet furnish something like an adequate remize neration to a good instructor, Locke had no hesitation in deciding to make an immediate application for the situation. Accordingly, the next morning he mounted a horse, and set out for the place in question.

It was a mild December's day; the ground had not yet assumed its winter covering, and the route taken by our hero becoming soon bordered on either side by wild and picturesque mountain scenery, upon which he had ever delighted

“To look from nature up to nature's God," the excursion in going was a pleasant one. And occupied by the reflections thus occasioned, together with anticipations of happy results from his expected engagement, he arrived, after a ride of a few hours, at the borders of the romanticlooking place of which he was in quest.

At this point in his journey, he overtook a man on foot, of whom, after discovering him to belong somewhere in the neighborhood, he proceeded to make some inquiries relative to the situation of the school.

“Why,” replied the man, “ as I live out there in the tip of the Horn, which is, of course, at the outer edge of the district, I know but little about the school affairs ; but one thing is certain, they have shipped the master, and want to get another, I suppose.”

“For what cause was the master dismissed ? For lack of qualifications ?”

“Yes, lack of qualifications for our district. The fellow, however, had learning enough, as all agreed, but no spunk ; and the young Bunkers, and some others of the big boys, mistrusting this, and being a little riled at some things he had said to them, took it into their heads to train him a little, which they did ; when he, instead of showing any grit on the occasion, got frightened and cleared out.”

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »