Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Group Title: Locke Amsden, or, The schoolmaster: a tale
Title: Locke Amsden, or, The Schoolmaster
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002133/00001
 Material Information
Title: Locke Amsden, or, The Schoolmaster : a tale
Alternate Title: The Schoolmaster
Physical Description: 231 p. : ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thompson, Daniel P ( Daniel Pierce ), 1795-1868 ( Author, Primary )
Dickinson, Samuel N ( Samuel Nelson ), 1801-1848
B.B. Mussey and Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Benjamin B. Mussey and Co.
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Stereotyped and printed by S.N. Dickinson
Publication Date: 1852
Copyright Date: 1847
Subject: Teachers -- Fiction   ( lcsh )
Education -- Fiction   ( lcsh )
Teacher-student relationships -- Fiction   ( lcsh )
School stories -- 1852   ( local )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: School stories   ( local )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Statement of Responsibility: by the author of "May Martin," "The green mountain boys," etc.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002133
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002238491
oclc - 00752626
notis - ALH9006
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
        Front page 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
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    Back Cover
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Full Text


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In every me mne msl letIt teah;
And, if we eo, at om both ple.m an ps~h."9
Pon's beam.


Zntue dmordion to Act ofr onpe.s, In the year l7,


h the Clerk's Offe of the District Coort of the Ditrlet of Muachnebt.















"To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm than all the gloss of art.

OuR story, contrary perhaps to fashionable precedent,
opens at a common farm-house, situated on one of the prin.
cipal roads leading through the interior of the northerly
portion of the Union. It was near the middle of the day,
in that part of the spring season when the rough and chill
features of winter are becoming so equally blended with the
soft and mild ones of summer upon the face of nature, that
we feel at loss in deciding whether the characteristics of the
one or the other most prevail. The hills were mostly bare,
but their appearance was not that of summer; and the tempted
eye turned away unsatisfied from the cheerless prospect which
their dreary and frost-blackened sides presented. The levels,
on the other hand, were still covered with snow; and yet their
aspect was not that of winter. Clumps of willows, scattered
along the hedges, or around the waste-places of the meadows,
were white with the starting buds or blossoms of spring.
The old white mantle of the frost-king was also becoming
sadly dingy and tattered. Each stump and stone was en-
closed by a widening circle of bare ground; while the tops
of the furrows, peering through the dissolving snows, were


beginning to streak, with long, faint, dotted lines, the self.
disclosing plough-fields. The cattle were lazily ruminating
in the barn-yard, occasionally lowing and casting a wistful
glance at the bare hills around, but without offering to move
towards them, as if they thought that the prospects there
were hardly sufficient to induce them yet to leave their
winter quarters. The earth-loving sheep, however, had
broken from their fold, and, having reached the borders of
the hills by some partially trod path, were busily nibbling at
the roots of the shriveled herbage, unheedful of the bleating
cries of their feebler companions, that they had left stuck in
the treacherous snow-drifts, encountered in their migrations
from one bare patch to another.
The owner of the farming establishment, in reference to
which we have been speaking, was in the door-yard, engaged
in splitting and piling up his yearly stock of fire-wood. He
was a man of about forty, not of a very intellectual counte-
nance, indeed, but of a stout, hardy, and well-made frame,
which showed to advantage in the handsome and appropriate
long, striped, woollen frock, in which he was plying himself
with the moderate and easy motions which are, perhaps,
peculiar to men of great physical power. A rugged and
resolute-looking boy, of perhaps a dozen years of age, having
thrown himself upon one knee before a small pile of prepared
wood, lying near the kitchen door for immediate use, and
having heaped the clefts into one arm till they reached to
his chin, as if in whim to see how much he could carry in,
was now engaged in trying, with a capricious, bravado-like
air, to balance an additional stick on his head, by way of
increasing his already enormous load.
In another part of the yard, and as near his master as he
could remain undisturbed, lay the well-fed house-dog, reclining
upon his belly, with his muzzle, which was pointed in a
direction most favorable for a look-out, resting on a clean,



broad chip, with ears attent, and eyes keenly following the
slow, creeping motions of a small carriage, that was now
seen in the distance winding along the road from the south,
of whose approach he, from time to time, as he considered
himself in duty tound, gave notice by a low growl, which, as
the vehicle at length emerged from some partially screening
bushes into plain and near view, was raised to a lazy wow I
The carriage in question proved to be a light, open wagon,
drawn by one horse, and containing a middle-aged man, of a
fine, gentlemanly appearance, and by his side a small female
figure, closely muffled in hood and cloak. Carefully guiding
his horse, and turning him from one side to the other of the
still icy road, to avoid the most sidling and dangerous-looking
places, the traveller at length came abreast of the house;
when the animal lost his footing, and after two or three
violent but fruitless flounders to regain it, by which the car-
riage was nearly overset, finally landed flat on his side, and
lay as if dead.
"My stars I" exclaimed the farmer, pausing with uplifted
axe to see the mishap, if that was 'nt a narrow escape from
capsizing, it 's no matter I"
A second thought now seeming to occur to him, he suddenly
dropped his axe, darted forward to the spot, and, seizing the
prostrate horse by the bits, held him down.
"Clear the wagon," he said, hastily motioning with his
head to the traveller, the horse will be as likely to overturn
you in rising as he was in falling. Jump down, and lift out
the girl, and I will then let him up."
This advice was instantly complied with; when the horse,
being spurred to an effort, soon safely regained his feet.
Your beast has lost a shoe, sir," said the farmer, ap-
proaching the panting animal, and lifting a suspected foot;
yes, here is the fo^t, as bare as your hand. But you must
have another put on before you drive him another rod in


that wagon over these sidling ice-patches, unless you want
your neck broke."
I have no very particular wishes for that, certainly," said
the gentleman with a smile; "but where can I find a smith
within any reasonable distance ?"
There's one, and a good one too, about a mile from here,
on another road; but I think the horse can be taken across
my pasture to the shop much nearer."
Should I be likely to meet with any difficulty about
finding the way ? "
Why, yes,,you might; and I'll tell you what, sir you
had better let me clap my boy on to the creature's back,
after unharnessing, and he will take him over and get him
shod, while you take your little girl into the house, and
remain here. Ben!" continued the speaker, shouting for
the boy who had gone in with the wood, with which we have
noticed him as loading himself, "Ben! Ben Amsden show
your profile out here in the yard, if you will."
The boy promptly made his appearance.
That boy ? asked the stranger, doubtingly. "My horse
has considerable spirit can he manage him safely ? "
"He will think so, I guess," replied the farmer, laughingly.
"What say you, Benjamin ? We want you to ride this horse
over to neighbor Dighton's to get a shoe put on; and the
gentleman appears to have some doubts whether you can
manage him, seeing he has some spirit what do you think
about it, sir ?"
"Why, I guess I'l agree to find neck as long as the
gentleman will find horse," said the boy smartly.
Well, then, lead him with the wagon into the yard; strip
him of the harness; take our bridle, and ride across the
pasture to the shop; tell Mr. Dighton to put on a new shoe,
and charge it to me, as we have deal; though you may ask
the price, that the gentleman may hand it to me if he wants


to. Come, Mister, now you and your little girl go with me
into the house."
"I will assist the boy to unharness first,"
no, it will be nothing but fun for him. Come, come
on. It is strange," continued the man, after pausing a mo-
ment to see the wagon got safely around into the yard, "it is
strange what a natural difference there is in boys. Now
this chap, as little knurl of a thing as he appears, will mount
and manage any thing in the shape of horse-fleh, even to
the breaking of colts; while my other boy, now tending the
sugar place over in the woods yonder, though nearly four
years older than this, don't appear to have the least notion
about a horse, or any thing else, scarcely, in the way of active
life, so long as he can get a book to read and think about"
Mr. Amaden--for such, as the reader may have already
inferred, was the farmer's name-now ushered the travellers
into the house, and introduced them, as such, to his wife, a
dark-eyed and finely-featured dame, who received them with
simple kindness, and at once proceeded to assist the little girl
in unrobing herself of the thick outward garments in which
she was encased to guard against the damps and chills of the
The girl, who proved to be the gentleman's daughter, was
apparently just entering her teens, neatly rounded, and rather
slender in form, and in feature and countenance the softened
and beautified image of her very fine-looking, though now
-somewhat pale and emaciated father. The personal appear-
ance of both father and daughter, indeed, was of a character
to awaken at once the attention and interest of the beholder;
while the countenances of each exhibited so finely blended
an expression of benevolence and intelligence, as to carry
along with it the assurance of qualities within, which should
secure the interest and make good the prepossessions that
outward comeliness had created. The gentleman, as just



intimated, had slightly the appearance of an invalid. Indeed,
he soon stated, in the way of accounting for being on a
journey at such an unfavorable time, that, being about to take
a sea-voyage for the benefit of his health, he had broken up
housekeeping at his late residence, in a village some fifty
miles south of the place to which he had now arrived; and it
had therefore become necessary to take his daughter, who,
with himself, now composed all his family, to reside, in his
absence, with a relative, to whose residence another day's
ride would easily carry them.
A few moments, with the gentleman's easy and social turn,
was sufficient to place him on a footing of familiarity with
the family. And having effected this, and seen his daughter
beginning to appear cheerful and at ease, through the delicate
and motherly attentions shown her by the amiable hostess,
he proposed to Mr. Amsden a walk to the barn for an inspeo-
tion of his stock, and such other things as should afford
samples of his management and skill as a farmer.
Certainly," said Amsden, evidently gratified at the
interest which one, who did not appear to be of his calling,
seemed to take in his farming affairs, certainly, sir, we will
go. And you, wife," he continued, turning to the dame, who
was already giving signs of culinary preparation, "you can
look round a little while we are gone, and see what can be
done in the way of a dinner. These folks, as well as ourselves,
would like one soon, probably."
By being allowed to pay for it, we should," replied the
"Time enough to talk about that when you get it," rejoined
Amsden good-humoredly, as the two left the house on their
way to the barn.
On arriving at the yard, its various and thrifty-looking
tenants were successively pointed out to the observing stranger
by the farmer, who proudly descanted on the virtues of his



oxen, the qualities of his cows, the breed of his horses and
colts, and his mode of tending and rearing each, and the
profits he respectively derived from them. After this,
Amjden took his guest to a little elevation near the barn,
and directed his attention to the different portions of his
farm, describing the uses to which the various fields in view
were devoted, and dwelling on the advantages which, as a
whole, the farm possessed over those that surrounded it.
"It is a good farm, evidently," responded the stranger,
"and as evidently well conducted. But yonder is your sugar-
orchard, I think you said: I should be pleased to see your
manner of managing that also."
Well, I have as good a sugar-place as any body else in
all these parts," replied Amsden; but I can't say much for
its management, as, considering sugar-making no great object
further than for the supply of my family, I have, late years,
left it almost wholly to the boys, who are allowed to carry it
on pretty much as they please. However, we will walk out
there, and see what is going on, since you have named it."
A short walk brought them to the border of the forest,
where a body of three or four hundred straight, tall, and
thrifty rock-maple trees, standing on an area of about five
acres, composed the sugar-place. The tops of t trees were
gently swaying to a moderate west wind; and ~e sap, as
usual in a wind from that quarter, with the required freeze
of the preceding night, was dropping freely, and with pulse-
like regularity, from the spouts at the incisions, into the
cleanly looking tubs placed beneath to receive the pure aad
flavorous liquid. Taking a path leading to a central part of
the sugar-lot, Amsden and his guest soon came ia sight of the
boiling-place, as indicated by the cloud of *tingled smoke
and steam which rose from the seething kettles anit the hot
fires beneath them. The farmer, now espying some tubs at a
short distance from the path, that needed adjusting on their



sinking foundations of snow, stepped aside, bidding the other
go on; and the latter accordingly proceeded, with a leisurely
step, alone towards the boiling-place. On arriving within a
rod or two of the spot, he paused, and looked around for the
one in superintendence; when his eye soon fell on the person
of a boy of about sixteen, lying on some straw at the mouth
of the shantee, which opened towards the row of boiling
kettles in front. The lad had a ciphering slate, and a large,
old, cover-worn volume spread before him; and upon this
he was so absorbingly engaged, that neither the sight or
sound of his approaching visitor appeared to make the least
impression on his senses. Hesitating to disturb one evidently
so little expecting it, the stranger stood a moment, now
looking around for the absent farmer, and now glancing with
an air of interest and surprised curiosity at the picturesque
attitude, shapely limbs, and finely-turned head of the boy;
who, with bosom thrown open, hat cast aside, the fingers of
one hand twisted in his curly, raven hair, and those of the
other grasping the nimbly-plying pencil, was thus engaged in
an employment so little looked for by the other on a common
farm,and least of all in the woods. The gentleman was not
allowed, however, much time for his musing upon so unusual
a spectacle; for, the next moment, our little student of the
woods leaped suddenly upon his feet, sad, with the exulting
shout of Archimedes of old, exclaimed aloud, I have done
it! I have done it I" adding, as he turned back and shook
his fist at the book, now, Old Pike, just show me another
sum that I can't do, will you ? you are conquered, air!"
Having thus delivered himself, the boy turned round, when,
his eyes for the first time falling upon the stranger, he
instantly dropped his head, and stood covered with shame
and contusion.
Locke I" exclaimed the farmer, emerging, at this juncture,
from the bushes on the opposite side of the fire, and going




up and peering into the steaming kettles, "why, Locke, w!ht
have you been about ? This smallest kettle has boiled 9Wm
into sugar, and is burning up, dirt, settling, and all togetr
Where on earth," he petulantly continued, hasti swinging
off the kettle, where on earth can have been the boy's eyes
and wits, to stand by and let ten or a dozen pounds of sugar
spoil for want of putting in a little sap IWhat is the
meaning of it? What is the case? Zounds, sir, why don't
you speak?"
But the now doubly confused object of this tirade of the
provoked farmer, was unable to utter one word in extenastioa
of his delinquency; and, after one or two ineffectual attempts
to speak, sunk down on a log, and hid his burning face with
his hands. At once appreciating the feelings of the boy, and
touched at the sensibilities he exhibited under the mingled
emotions arising from wounded delicacy and conscious &kut,
the stranger immediately interposed, by observing, as he
pointed to the slate and arithmetic still lying where the owner
had used them,
Your boy is a mathematician, r perceive, sir; and yonder
is the innocent cause, and at the same time the excuse for
his oversight, as I have reason to suspect"
"Yes, yes, I'll warrant it," replied Amsden pettishly,
"it's just like him. His head is always so full of ciphaing
questions, grammar puzzles, and all sorts of bookish wrinlAes,
that there is no room for any thing else; and I can scarcely
trust him to manage the most simple business, he is often so
absent-minded and blundering."
And yet," rejoined the other, I should feel proud of his
faults,.while they sprang only from such causes, if I was his
father. Come, come, my lad," he continued, turning and
soothingly addressing the boy, "cheer up; you have com-
mitted no very serious offence, I suspect At all events, I
will venture to take the sugar which yar father thinks is


spoiled off his hands, and pay full price for it, to give to my
little girl down at the house. She is very fond of the maple
sweet, I believe."
Pay for it ? buy it ? No, you sha'nt, unless you really
want to buy some for yourself, and then you should have
some better than this," quickly interposed the father, taken
wholly aback by this unexpected proposition and course of
the stranger; "no, indeed, sir. Why, it is all nothing. I
was only a little vexed at the boy's carelessness, that's all.
I care nothing about the sugar, even if it had been burnt up,
as it is not, I presume. But we will now see. And at any
rate, the little girl shall have as much sugar as she wants,
without paying for it either. Locke, bring us a clean tub to
turn it into, and we will see what can be done with it."
You are quite mistaken about the quantity of what might
be made of all that is in that kettle, father," said the boy, now
brightening up, and bringing the receptacle asked for; "I
took the syrup from the kettle but a few hours ago, and,
gathering a few pails of the clearest sap I could find, and
straining it, I filled up anew, thinking I would boil down a
few pounds as nice as I could for brag-sugar."
Well, it does look pretty clear, and it is not done down
to sugar yet, I see. I was deceived by there being so little
of it," remarked the father, in a moderated tone, as he turned
off into the tub the rich, red fluid, which, after all, had only
boiled down to the consistency of a very thin molasses. 0,
yes, this may be brought to something quite decent. Have
you any milk or eggs for cleansing, Locke ? "
"Yes, sir, both."
"Well, then, beat up the white of an egg, and add a little
milk, if you please; and by the time you have prepared the
mixture, I will have the syrup cool enough for clarifying.
We may as well finish it now, perhaps."
In a few moments, the liquid was sufficiently cooled, the


TIR soaOOLxAsTE.n 15

mixture stirred in, and the whole placed in the kettle over a
small fire, before which the farmer, with skimmer in hand,
took his station, to be ready for the process of cleansing.
The liquor, beginning almost instantly to feel the heat, at
first gave out a sharp, singing sound, which, as the greenish-
gray cloud of impurities rapidly rose and gathered in a thick,
mantling coat over the surface, gradually changed into a low,
stifled roar, growing more bass and indistinct, till it suddenly
ceased with the first bubble that rose to the disrupturing
surface. The feculent coat, thus collected and broken, was
then quickly skimmed off, leaving the pure and brightly
contrasting liquid to rise, as the next instant it did, with
diffusing ebulitions, to the top of the kettle in a fleckered
mass of yellow foam, resembling some fantastic fret-work of
While the father stood over the kettle rapidly plying his
skimmer to prevent the contents from boiling over, the
stranger turned to the son, and entered into conversation
with him, with the apparent object of drawing him out; asking
him many questions relative to his studies, and often mani-
festing both interest and surprise at the answers which were
promptly returned.
"Your son bears the name of a great and learned man,"
observed the gentleman, turning at length to the father. Do
you intend he shall try to rival his namesake in knowledge
and fame ? "
Don't know any thing about that. But you are wandering
considerable further than you need to for his name. He got
that from his mother: her maiden name was Locke."
"O, hoI But don't you think of giving him an educa-
tion "
"Education ? why I am giving him one. He attends our
district school regularly every winter."
I meant a public education."


Then I say, No; I intend him for a farmer."
That is right it is a noble calling, but one, let me tell
you, sir, that affords no argument against a public education.
I am well aware, that it is deemed unnecessary, by the people
of the Middle and Northern States, especially, to give liberal
educations to any of their sons, except those destined for the
learned professions; but I cannot but consider this a great
error, and one whose consequences are seriously felt by the
agricultural interest, which, in its various relations, must
ever remain the great and leading interest of the country."
"How so ?"
"Why, the first and direct consequence of the course I
condemn is, that it places nearly all the science, and most of
the intellect, of the country in the professions; and from this
spring a train of others, all tending to the same point. The
business of agriculture is thus left to be conducted by the
unscientific and more unthinking portion of community, and
its advance in improvement will, of course, be comparatively
slow. Grades are thus established in society, in which the
farming is made less honorable than professional business,
operating as an inducement for all the most enterprising and
ambitious to leave the former, already too much neglected,
and crowd into the latter, already so much overstocked as to
have become the fruitful source of demagogues and sharpers.
And besides all this, the farming interest, under the present
order of things, will never be efficiently or adequately repre-
sented in our legislatures, where those interests will always
be best protected and promoted which furnish the most talent
to advocate and forward them."
"Well, some part of that may be true, sir, especially your
notion about too many quitting work to go into the professions,
and become idlers and sharpers; but I really can't see what
use high learning is to a man in carrying on the business of
farming can you?"



Yes, air. Even in the mere management of yourgrounds,
a thorough knowledge of the sciences will give you many and
great advantages."
What advantages, I should like to know? "
One, and a great one, too, will be that it will show you
the true nature and capabilities of the different soils of your
farm, which can be accurately known only by a knowledge
of chemistry and geology. It was through these sciences
that plaster was discovered, and its use in supplying the
place of some ingredient which, by the same means, was
found to be wanting to make the soil fruitful. You have
used this article, perhaps, on your own farm ? "
"Yes, I have; and if the article came by the sciences, I
should be willing, for one, that the sciences should take it
away again. A year or two ago, I laid out about a dosen
dollars in ground plaster to sow over an old, worn-out piece
of bottom land of mine; and I might have as well son so
much ground moonshine, as for any good it did. Well, the
next year, I put a lot on to a heavy, wet piece of land, to see
whether it might not help that; and I come out with just
about as much benefit as before. In both cases, my money
was thrown away."
"And yet, sir, that is one of those facts which go strongly
to prove what I have said. Without chemical analysis, it
can with no certainty be determined what ingredients are
lacking in any soil to restore its fertility. The knowledge I
contend for would have taught you this, and enabled you to
lay out your money where, instead of being thrown away, it
would have been doubled. It would have taught you, that
alluvial soils, or meadows, are rarely, if ever, benefited by
plaster; lime, potash, salt, or a mixture of some other soil
being required, to produce the necessary change. And so
with wet, heavy soils, whose defects are better remedied by
an addition of peat, loam, or gravel; while high and dry



soils are generally made productive, to an astonishing degree,
by plaster alone"
"Is that a fact ? Well, I never knew it before."
"Yes, sir; this, and much more of the same character, has
already been ascertained, not by practical farmers, but by
men of science, who have made these discoveries by only
occasionally turning their attention to the subject. And if
so much has been done by those who made it not their main
object and business, what might not be effected by a whole
community of educated farmers, whose whole energies and
interests were devoted to the work of improvement ? Indeed,
sir, I seriously believe, that if our legislatures would establish
a fund for the liberal education of young farmers, with the
condition that they should remain such, they would do a
thousand times more towards promoting and elevating the
great interest of agriculture, to say nothing of the general
benefits which would follow-- would do a thousand times
more than by all the premiums they could offer for best
products, or all the societies they could establish."
"Well, I confess, sir, that your ideas, which are new to
me, look kinder reasonable. But what is the reason all these
things cannot be learned in our common schools ? We have
them in all our districts, both summer and winter, and gen-
erally keep our children in them more than half of the year,
from the ages of four to twenty."
"Perhaps most of the sciences might be acquired in our
common schools, if they were conducted properly, and by
teachers of adequate qualifications. But as at present man-
aged, and with the low wages now given, it is next to a
miracle to find a teacher thus qualified. Now, for instance,
as regards your son here, I very much doubt whether you
will ever have a.teacher in your district, who will be able to
instruct him much more, especially in those higher branches
which he is now evidently capable of entering upon with



profit to himself. No, sir, you should send him to the public
schools. It will give him advantages in life, which he can
never otherwise obtain. Knowledge is power."
Well, sir, if knowledge is power, as in some respects it
probably is, it is often used, I fear, by those who have it, to
take advantage of the weak and honest laboring people, who
don't happen to be so well educated."
Such advantages may be, and sometimes doubtless are,
taken by some, who have knowledge without moral principle.
But the proportion of unprincipled men among the well
educated, I am satisfied, is much smaller than among an
equal number of almost any class of society. Allowing,
however, the proportion to be the same, or greater, how
would you disarm them of that power? In no other way,
certainly, than by placing the same weapons of knowledge in
the hands of the many, instead of the few. I am no advocate
for power to be used in the manner you mention. I am no
advocate for the doctrine,
'That those who think, must govern those who toil'
I believe, sir, as I have been endeavoring to show, that those
who think and those who toil should be one and the same
class; and, as I have already intimated, I believe this desirable
object can never be effected, without affording the means of
a more general and thorough education."
During the foregoing dialogue between Mr. Amsden and
his guest, who stood over the kettle of boiling sugar, occa-
sionally dipping into it with their slender wooden spoons or
paddles, to sip the pure liquid, or the less cloying sweet of
the snowy scum continually gathering in concentric and
surgy lines around the point of ebulition, Locke stood like
one spell-bound to the spot, eagerly drinking in the words
and opinions of the courteous stranger, who had so eloquently
expressed the feelings of his own breast, and given a definite



shape to many a confused idea of a similar bearing, which
had often risen in his own mind. His heart, swelling with
irrepressible emotions, gratefully responded to every senti-
ment he had heard; and he felt as if he could have fallen
down and worshipped, as a superior being, the man who had
uttered them. He had often before, as just intimated, har-
bored thoughts, feelings, and wishes like those of the stranger;
yet they had been vague and uncertain, and he never dared
cherish them as practicable for himself, or indulge in any
expectation of their fulfilment. But now the train, which
had long been preparing in his bosom, was fired never more
to be extinguished.
By this time, the now slowly boiling sugar had settled
low in the kettle, and assumed that deep, orange hue, which
indicates a near approach to that point at which granulation
takes place almost as soon as the mass ceases boiling.
Come, Locke," said Mr. Amsden, raising aloft his skim-
mer, from which each falling drop was followed by a fine,
silken harl, that stiffened and shivered in the breeze; come,
it throws off the hairs pretty smartly, I see; we may as
well call it done, I think. You may bring," he continued,
lifting off the kettle, "you may bring me a clean pail to take
it home in. And hav 'nt you a tin cup or something, Locke,
into which you can take some by itself to carry to the gentle-
man's little girl ? it might please her better."
"We have nothing fit for that, here, father, I believe,"
replied the boy. "But stay I made something the other
day that will do, I think; and I will give it to her, sugar
and all, to carry off with her, if she will accept it."
So saying, he ran into the shantee, and returned with a
small, neatly-made, oblong box, holding, perhaps, about a
pint, which he had chiseled and cut out from a solid billet of
the beautiful bird's-eye maple, having provided it with a
curiously carved slide-cover, and tastefully stained the whole



with the pale pink of some vegetable coloring-matter that he
had found in the woods.
Upon my word I" said the stranger, glancing at the box,
as it was being filled and set aside to cool by its ingenious
and free-hearted little owner, "upon my word, Master Locke,
you seem to have a genius for every thing. That is one of
the neatest specimens of mechanical skill, considering your
means of making it here in the woods, which I have seen
this long while. My daughter, I think, will feel quite proud
of her present."
the boy knows enough," said Amden with affected
indifference, as he, with the pail of new sugar, and his son,
with the box, having filled up the kettles with sap, and
replenished the fires, now started with their guest for the
house, "he knows enough, no doubt; and if he would only
turn his mind on business to some account, he might make
considerable of a man."
On reaching and entering the house, our young hero sent
a sheepish and inquiring glance around the room in search
of the object on which he had promised himself the pleasure
of bestowing his sweet and pretty gift; but when that fair
object met his admiring gaze, with her brightly blue eyes
and sweetly expressive countenance, his courage suddenly
failed him, and he found himself unable to approach and
make the offering, till her father, interposing, directed her
attention to the present, which he told her his young friend,
Master Locke, had generously proposed to make her; when,
feeling that there was now no retreat for him, he timidly
advanced, and silently presented the box to the smiling girl,
who received it, at first, with a playful thank'ee," and then,
as she drew out the cover, and ascertained the contents, with
lively expressions of grateful delight. This breaking the ice
of his bashfulness, Locke soon found himself engaged with
his fair friend in a sociable conversation, which was main.



trained on her part with that sort of unconscious frankness, or
forwardness, perhaps we might say, which characterizes the
manners of the'sex at the age of the one in question.
The company were now summoned to the excellent dinner,
which the provident and ambitious mistress of the house had
prepared for the occasion. The meal, which she had spread
on her best cherry table, covered with a cloth of snowy
whiteness, the workmanship of her own hands from distaff to
hemming and marking, consisted, in the first place, of ham,
eggs, and other varieties of the substantial food usually
found upon the farmer's table. Then came the fine meal
Indian Johnny-cake, mixed with cream, eggs, and sugar, and
forming, when rightly made, perhaps the most delectable
esculent of the bread kind, that ever gratified an epicure's
palate. This last, and the light, hot biscuit, for those who
chose them, together with pies, both apple and minced, stewed
fruit, gooseberry preserves, honey, and new sugar, constituted
the desert, the whole making a repast which gave proof
that the farmer has ample materials of his own raising, if he
has but a wife of competent skill in cookery to manage them,
to furnish a table which may be made to rival the boasted
banquet-boards of princes.
As soon as the dinner, which had passed off with great
sociability and good feeling, was finished, the travellers,
pleading the necessity of diligence on their way, immediately
commenced preparations for resuming their journey. The
horse, which, in the mean time, had been returned and well
cared for by the boy who had taken him in charge, was now,
by the same active little groom, speedily cleaned, harnessed,
and brought up with the carriage to the door. And, the
next moment, the gentleman, with the sprightly little Mary
(for such, it appeared, was the girl's name,) emerged from the
house, followed by the family, who now gathered round the
carriage to witness the departure of those who seemed to



have succeeded, in two brief hours, in awakening an interest
which is usually created only by a long and intimate ae-
"Now, Mr. Amsden," said the stranger, turning to his
host, after placing his daughter in her seat, "now, I wvi'l
settle with you for the shoeing of the horse, our dinners, and
all other trouble, to say nothing of the hospitable kindness
with which you all have made us feel so much at home.
What, sir, will be your bill ? "
"Ben, what did Mr. Dighton say he should charge?"
asked the other, turning to his boy.
Forty cents, sir," was the prompt reply.
Well, forty cents, then, is the bill," resumed the farmer.
"Yes, but the rest of your 'charges ?"
"We will trust you for that."
"I should prefer to pay, sir."
"You may, if you will allow me to direct the manner of
"Very well, sir; speak on."
"Why, when you get settled down in life again, give some
other traveller a dinner, if he is as good company as you
have been, and that shall square the account between us."
"I will, however, make your boys a present."
"Better see whether they will take any thing first, sir."
no, no, sir," quickly interposed Locke, as the gentlemen
was opening his purse.
"Not a cent for me, Mister; that aint the way I get my
living," chimed in the spirited and proud little Ben.
"Ah, I see you are all determined to have your way at
this time," smilingly remarked the stranger: "however, all
may come right hereafter, perhaps. But as the matter now
stands, I have only to express my sense of obligation to each
and all of you. And one thing more, before we part, Mr.




Amaden let me repeat to you my advice, to give this elder
son of yours the chance for a good education."
"Do you think he has capacities which would warrant
such a step, sir?" asked the gratified mother of the boy.
Indeed, I certainly do, Madam; even to sending him to a
college," replied the other.
That would be impossible in my circumstances, provided
I thought as you do on the subject," remarked Mr. Amsden.
"Let him go to a good academy, then," rejoined the
Well, now, I don't exactly know about that," replied the
other. He may go winters to our district schools as long
as he pleases; and I think, for the present, at least, that he
should, and will be, quite satisfied with that. Is it not so,
Locke ?"
Why," answered the boy diffidently, I should be satis-
fled to go to our district masters, if they could tell me the
reasons of things, which I always wish to know."
"That is right, Master Locke, responded the stranger;
"you have expressed, in almost a word, the great aim and
essence of all true knowledge and.philosophy -'to know the
reason of things.' Yes, my young friend, let that still be
your ambition; and, if your father will give you the opportu-
nity, I doubt not you will do honor to the motto you have
Well, I would be a scholar, Locke, if I was you," added
Mary, with charming naivet6; and if you will, and come and
keep school where I live, I will go to school to you, and
become a great scholar too, if I can."
The travellers now took their leave of the family, and drove
from the yard, attended by the repeatedly expressed good
wishes of the good-hearted farmer, and his equally kind and
more high-minded companion. And, in these wishes, they


were joined by another, who, though he had uttered less, yet
felt more than they had expressed I That was our young
hero; who, as the rest of the family returned into the house,
stood mutely gazing after the receding carriage, till its last
traces were lost to his sight; when he slowly turned away,
the big drops of tears standing in his eyes, and his lip quiv-
ering with emotions which had been awakened by this brie4
but to him, as will appear in the sequel, important visit of
these interesting strangers



The dream, the thirst, the wild desire,
Delirious, yet divine -to know! "

THa accidental call of the travellers at the house of the
farmer, as narrated in our opening chapter, formed an era in
the life of Locke Amsden. By that call, new thoughts
had been suggested to his mind new feelings and hopes
awakened in his bosom; and, as the slumbering energies of
his intellectual and moral nature became thus aroused, young
ambition began to point him upward to the temple of science,
over whose distanced-hallowed pinnacles floated the mystic
banner of fame. At first, every word of the revered stranger
was recalled, every position revolved over and over in mind,
and every argument carefully weighed; and the result of the
process was faith and conviction. Then came the inspiriting
words of the beautiful little being, who, in angel shape, had
thus appeared in his path to incite him onward; and, I
would be a scholar, Locke," continued to ring in his ears.
Ay, and I will be a scholar I" he at length mentally ejacu-
lated; "and then I will go where she lives, and she shall
know that I have worthily done her bidding, and justified
the good opinion of her father. But where does she live ? -
yes, where?" For he now recollected, that he had not
learned from her, or her father, the place of their residence;
and, under the proud and joyous impulse which his reverie
had imparted, he flew to his parents with the inquiry. But
neither of them could answer it. They had not ascertained
even the family name of their visitors. Mr. Amsden had


thought of asking the man these particulars; but, it occurring
to him that his wife would naturally find them out from the
little girl, he desisted. And this Mrs. Amsden had intended
to do; but her attention was so much engrossed in the cares
of preparing the dinner, that she had neglected it, till the
return of the gentleman into the house deprived her of the
opportunity of doing so, without appearing obtrusive. The
Christian name of the girl, therefore, with the fact, that she
and her father came from a place some fifty miles to the
south, and were destined to another nearly as far to the
north, was all that had been ascertained concerning them,
other than what their personal appearance indicated. But,
although our young hero was thus left in ignorance of the
names, residence, character, and calling of his new friends,
and for many years was doomed to remain so, yet the event
of their visit was not the less destined to exercise an important
influence on his future life and fortunes. It seemed to be,
indeed, one of those trifling incidents which so often seem to
change the fate of individuals, and impart an enduring im-
pulse towards a destiny to which, in all human probability,
they otherwise would never have been called. Such an
impulse had been imparted, in the present instance, by the
mere call of two entire strangers; and that simple incident
would probably have been sufficient of itself, had no other
grown out of it, to give a new and continuing direction to
the energies of him on whom it so peculiarly operated. But
there yet remained to be added another occurrence arising
from the circumstances of the first, which was directly calcu-
lated to strengthen every impulse already received, and every
resolution formed under it.
About a month from the time the incidents we have been
sketching transpired, a strong board box, directed to Master
Locke Amsden, was left at the door by a teamster; who, saying
he had received it from another teamster, with directions to



leave it at this place, went on his way, without giving any
further information respecting it, or those who sent it.
Wondering what might be the contents of the box, the
receipt of which was so unexpected to him, though partly
anticipating the source from which it must have come, Locke
flew for his hammer, and knocked off the cover; when, to
his joyful surprise, he found the box filled with books, upon
the top of which lay a neatly folded and superscribed little
billet, directed to himself. Eagerly snatching up the paper,
he opened it, and read, in the finely-traced characters of an
unsettled female hand, the laconic contents: -
"A lot of old, musty volumes, in return for your nice
little present. Father has picked them out from his old
college books, and given them to me to send to you, saying
you would like them. If you think, as he says, about them,
I shall be pleased to have you accept them from
Your friend,

With a low shout of irrepressible joy, he now hastily
caught up his treasure, rushed into the house, and, calling on
his mother to come and witness his good fortune, fell to
unpacking the books, greedily running over the title-pages
of each, as, with many a half-suppressed exclamation of
pleasure, he successively took out the different volumes,
which, to the number of eight or ten, the box contained, and
spread them around him on the floor. The collection con-
sisted of a complete set of mathematics, from common
arithmetic to fluxions; a standard work on natural philoso-
phy; another on astronomy; together with separate treatises
upon geology, mineralogy, and chemistry; while the whole
was accompanied by a good set of mathematical instru-
From what we have already shown the reader of the



character and inclinations of Locke, it may be easily image
ined with what rapture he doted on this munificent and
appropriate present, not only from its intrinsic value, and *
the untold advantages which he was to reap from it, but for
the fair giver, and her prompting father, by whom it had
been so delicately and flatteringly bestowed,--with what
pleasure he looked forward to the time when he should be
allowed to devote himself wholly to the great, but coveted
task, which, in these books, he now saw set before him. By
most others, perhaps, the course of mathematics here pre-
sented, had been viewed only as a labor of almost endless
toil and difficulty. He, however, looked upon it but as a
labor of delight, so much the better for its promised length,
since that would add so much the more to the fund of his
happiness. For the first week, his leisure was given to
looking over the subject matter on which the volumes of his
prized little library severally treated, and arranging the
order, in which his own good sense and discrimination
rightly taught him they should be studied. Having settled
this, and accordingly determined to make mathematics his
first study, while he should proceed with geology and the
like as his light reading, he began with algebra, assiduously,
and with his usual systematic perseverance, devoting to it
every hour he could snatch from his customary employment
on the farm. And thus, making what progress he could, in
the brief intervals allowed him for the purpose, and leaving
all knotty points to be thought over and solved while at work
in the field, he alone, unassisted and unprompted, steadily
pursued the course he had marked out for himself neither
seeking nor asking any other recreation or pleasure than
what his studies afforded. But, although this course was a
source of constant pleasure to Locke, not so did it soon
become to his honest but simple-minded father, who, rightly
enough attributing his son's growing inadvertencies in busi


ness to these books, often wished, in his heart, the whole
collection at the bottom of the sea. And these inadvertencies,
which so naturally grew out of the course he was pursuing,
were, it must be confessed, not infrequently of a character
to cause vexation to a business man of a less petulant turn
than Mr. Amsden. For, if the latter had reason to complain
of his son in this respect before, he had much more cause
for doing so now; since, with the greatest willingness and
undoubted capacities for work, the boy too often effected but
little, and as often did that little wrong. In those kinds of
labor, to be sure, where he could induce his father to task him,
he would apply every energy of body and mind, till his task
was completed, which was generally by noon; when, for the
remainder of the day, he might be seen lying on the grass,
under some shady tree, with his book and instruments spread
before him. But in work which would not admit of this, the
problems that he took with him in his head into the field,
often led to singular oversights in the business about which
his hands were employed. If he was sent on an errand to
some other part of the farm, he would sometimes wholly
forget what he went for. Sometimes he would leave the
bars down, the cows unmilked, or the hogs unfed; and some-
times, when hoeing alone in the cornfield, and when some
mathematical question occurred to his mind which he wished
to solve, he would stop work, and making a smooth bed of
earth to serve for slate or paper, fall to figuring or making
diagrams with his finger in the place he had thus prepared,
and think no more of his hoeing, perhaps, till roused from
his study by the loud note of the tin house-trumpet sum-
moning him home to his mid-day or evening meal. All
these, as innocently done as they were, cost him, as may well
be supposed, many a scolding and fretful expostulation from
his impatient and driving father, who, as the season of out.
door labor drew to a close, expressed himself heartily



thankful that the time for beginning the winter school had
at length come, that Locke's body might now go where his
head and heart had been all summer. On the last point, at
least, the father and son were quite of the same mind. And,
accordingly, the latter, as the long wished-for period when
he could be allowed to give himself wholly to his studies
arrived, joyfully packed up his books, and changed the scene
of his mental operations from the farm to the school-house.
But here again it was his fortune soon to become, though not
exactly in the same way as before, the unintentional cause of
much uneasiness and perplexity to another personage. That
other personage was the schoolmaster, who -his acquire-
ments, as usual with the mass of our district-chool teachers,
being confined to common arithmetic, grammar, and the like,
without the ability to illustrate one half of the principles
even of these-viewed with considerable alarm, at theoutset,
the formidable-looking books which Locke had brought into
the school with the avowed intention of pursuing the studies
they contained. And he made several attempts to draw the
other from his purpose. Common arithmetic, said he, should
first be thoroughly studied, and all the sums worked over
and over, till they were as familiar as the alphabet. Locke,
in reply, said he should like to have a sum pointed out to
him in any of the arithmetics which he could not already do;
though, if the master would illustrate to him the rules of
allegation and double position, he would like to listen, as he
did not quite understand all the reasons for the results of
these two rules. Not caring to push the matter any farther
on that tack, the teacher next recommended geography as a
useful and interesting study. In answer to this, Locke pro-
posed to submit himself to an examination; being able, as he
believed, to answer every ordinary question that could be
raised, either on the maps or in the text-book. The master
then mentioned English grammar, advising the other agin



to commit the grammar book to memory. Here, also, he
was met by the obdurate pupil, who, though willing to join
the parsing class at their lessons, objected to spending any
more time upon his grammar book; and, by the way of
furnishing a reason for his objections, he immediately brought
forward the book in question, and, handing it to the former,
kept him reluctantly looking over till the whole was rattled
off at one recitation.
Being foiled in these and every other attempt of the kind,
the master concluded to let Locke go on in his chosen pursuits
unmolested; and right thankful would.he have been for a
reciprocation of the favor. This, however, as with reason
he had feared, was not granted him by the unconscious
object of his dread, who soon called on him for explanations
of problems or principles, of which he knew about as much
as the man in the moon; but of which he had unwisely
determined to conceal his ignorance, lest it should be said in
the district, that there were scholars in the school who knew
more than their master. And having settled on this course,
no other alternative now remained for him, but to meet these
calls for instruction in the best way he could. And it would
have been amusing enough to a spectator, in the secret, to
have witnessed the various shifts to which the poor fellow
was driven, to get along with his troublesome pupil, without
exposing the ignorance which he was so anxious to conceal.
At one time, when thus called on for instruction, he would
pretend such a hurry, that he could not attend to the
required explanation; at another, when apparently he was
about to comply with the request of his pupil, he would
suddenly discover some delinquency in the school, which he
must immediately attend to, and which would be made to
occupy his attention so long, that he would have barely time
to hurry through the ordinary duties of school, before the
established hour of closing. At another time, he would takq



the book, look over the difficult passage, and, handing it back
to Locke with a knowing smile, advise him to try it again;
he would soon see the only difficulty, and it would be better
for him to discover it for himself And at yet another, when
hard pressed for assistance, he would read the problem in
question several times, and after glancing at the context till
he had got the run of the technical terms, proceed with a
pretended explanation, for which neither himself, pupil, or
any one else, could ever be any the wiser. From this
unpleasant predicament, however, the thus sadly annoyed
teacher was at length happily relieved. For Locke, finding
himself unable to make any thing out of the man, even when
he was successful enough to get him to look at his studies,
came, after a while, to the conclusion to let him entirely
alone, and depend only on himself for mastering the difficul-
ties which he met in his progress. And, with his excellent
self-formed habits of thought that of patient investigation,
and of thoroughly understanding every thing, as, step by
step, he carefully advanced he found but little trouble in
overcoming every obstacle that presented itself in his course
onward. And if ever, as was rarely the ease, he was com-
pelled to pass over a difficulty unexplained, he never lost
sight of it till it was conquered.
There is nothing, perhaps, upon which the growth of
intellect so much depends, as upon habits of thought;
nothing which so clearly constitutes the great distinguishing
difference, in the present, between a strong intellect and
a feeble one; and nothing which so conclusively accounts
for the beginning and constant increase of that difference in
the past, as the opposite habits of thought that have been
contracted in youth, or, at the latest, in the first years of
manhood. A glance at the contrasted methods adopted and
pursued by two individuals of the two different classes of
thinkers to which we have alluded, will show the truth of


this position; and, at the same time, explain the causes of
their respective intellectual conditions. An individual of one
of these classes begins, we will suppose, upon one of the
rudiments of education. Before mastering the first elemen-
tary principle, he leaves, or is suffered to leave it, for the
next. In coming upon this, he has not only to contend with
the difficulties he left unmastered in the former lesson, but
those likewise of the intrinsically worse one of the present.
Both the temptation and excuse are now doubled for sliding
superficially over this also. The third, in this way, is found
still worse, and consequently is still more imperfectly mas-
tered; and so on, in the particular branch on which he is
engaged, or any other, probably, which he shall undertake to
learn, to the end of the chapter; at which he will arrive little
or none benefited by all that he has acquired. For the
knowledge thus gained is imperfect and uncertain, and
cannot be relied on as datg for reasoning, but is constantly
leading to false conclusions. And besides this, he has wholly
failed of gaining one of the great objects of study mental
discipline. He has contracted the habit of thinking superfi-
cially upon every thing. All his ideas become vague and
confused; and all the operations of his mind, are, conse-
quently, imbecile and unsafe, producing no fruits, or but the
fruits of error. This intellectual condition, indeed, becomes
one that would seem almost to justify the absurd, and without
considerable qualification, the false assertion of Pope,
A little learning is a dangerous thing."
Now for an individual of the other class. Like the former,
and with no other advantages, he commences the same rudi-
ments. But, unlike the former, he is induced to make
himself completely master of the first principle, and familiar
with all its details, before proceeding any farther. This
being accomplished, he thus becomes armed with power to



encounter the next; which, in this way, he finds but little if
any more difficult than the preceding; and which, when
equally well perfected, gives him still additional strength to
grapple with the third. And so he proceeds, or may proceed,
through the whole circle of the sciences, carefully making
his way, step by step, onward; never sliding over a difficulty,
but often retracing his steps to return to the onset with
improved means of overcoming the obstacle in his progress
In this way, as he advances in the path of acquirement, just
so much certain knowledge he gains, to be stored away in
the chambers of his mind for future appropriation, either to
its direct uses, or to the purposes of induction, comparison,
or other process of reasoning. In this way, also, his mind
acquires method, clearness, and vigor; and he thus becomes
enabled to think correctly and thoroughly, and arrive at safe
conclusions on whatever subject is presented for his investi-
gation. Now these two individuals will carry the different
habits of thought, thus respectively formed by them, into the
business and various concerns of life; and the results will
there be equally visible, as in the walks of science. The
one never thoroughly investigates any subject. His views,
as before intimated, are all superficial; and his conclusions,
consequently, as often as otherwise, are erroneous, leading
him into false movements in business, if guided by his own
mind, if not reducing him to a miserable dependence on the
opinions of others, by whom he is liable to be equally misled.
The other examines every subject presented for his consider-
ation patiently, weighs it carefully, sees it in all its bearings
clearly, and thus becomes prepared to decide with confidence
and correctness. The one, in short, seeing only part of the
bearings of the various questions which are constantly arising
in life for his decision, makes bad bargains, or rejects good
ones, rushes into uncertain speculations, lives in continued
embarrassments and troubles, which he calls misfortunes, but



which good habits of thought would have enabled him to
avoid, and ends his career, most probably, in poverty and
insignificance, or in sudden ruin and disgrace. The other,
carrying along with him the means of avoiding the evil,
which is brought upon its victim through the causes we have
just named, and, at the same time, the means of grasping the
good, which, through similar causes, is rejected, goes on
increasing in competence, wisdom, and influence, moving
quietly through life, and leaving, at his death, a useful
example, and an honest fiune behind him.
Such are generally the results deducible from good and
bad habits of thought; and yet who will say these habits,
for good or for evil, are not usually formed through the care
or negligence of teachers? Instructors of youth, where
rests the responsibility ?
But to return to our young hero. For the remainder of
the winter school, though left, for the best of reasons, by the
master, to work his way unassisted, he pressed forward
steadily and rapidly in his chosen course of mathematics.
And the school having at length been brought to a close,
spring, summer, and autumn again succeeded but to find
him, in every moment of his leisure, employed on his studies
in the same manner, and with the same untiring perseverance,
as in the preceding season. One incident, however, occurred
this season to vary the monotony of his secluded life; while,
at the same time, it became the means of affording him
advantages in his studies, which he never before had been so
fortunate as to receive. That was an accidental acquaintance
he formed with an old, self-taught land-surveyor, who resided
in a different part of the same town; and who, like himself,
was a great lover of that strong, but healthy food of the
mind the science of numbers and quantities. Locke and
this man, by that sort of intellectual free-masonry which
passes among sympathetic minds, were not long, when the



opportunity occurred, in finding each other out, and forming
a close intimacy. The surveyor, having studied much more
than was immediately necessary for the exercise of his
calling, and dipped considerably deep into principles, was
able to explain to the former many knotty points which he
had been puzzled to resolve, besides showing him the practi-
cal part of surveying, upon which, having gone through
geometry and trigonometry, he had now commenced. Locke,
in return, brought the other his books, which, to the extent
of more than half of them, at least, he had never seen;
and which, being loaned him, he fell to studying with boyish
enthusiasm. No sooner was this singular companionship
thus fairly established, than our boy-hero was found, every
rainy day, and at other times when he had finished his tasks,
during the summer and fall, posting off on foot to commune
and practise with his gray-headed brother in science. And
when met, the two might have been seen intently engaged
in surveying fields, measuring heights and distances, or
patiently plodding on together in navigation, which they
soon jointly commenced.
This pleasing intercourse, however, was at length brought
to a close by the stormy weather and bad travelling which
immediately preceded the setting-in of winter. And Locke,
bidding his old friend farewell, took home his books for the
purpose of resuming his studies in the winter school, for the
beginning of which the time had now arrived. But in this
purpose he was for some time doomed to be disappointed.
For, when the usual time for commencing the school came,
it was found that no teacher had been engaged. The com-
mittee, up to this time, had been waiting for applications ftr
the school, expecting that their only trouble, as usual, would
be in deciding upon a selection of the various applicants.
But it somehow had unaccountably happened, that not a
single application had been made; and the committee wee



now consequently forced to bestir themselves in going out in
search of a teacher. But in this, also, they were without
success; for, though they found candidates for teaching in
plenty, they could find no one, when they named their par-
ticular school, who made not some excuse for not undertaking
to instruct it. This they thought very strange, as their
school had ever been considered a very orderly one. But as
strange and uncommon as the trouble was, they were com-
pelled to yield to it, and reluctantly give up all thought of
having a school that winter.
Various were the conjectures formed in the district, by
way of accounting for this unexpected failure. Some con-
tended, that the school, after all, must be so unruly that no
teacher would engage in it; others, that the masters had not
been treated with sufficient attention by the inhabitants of
the district; and yet others, that the schoolmasters had
combined to strike for higher wages, and had come to the
determination not to teach till the punished public should
voluntarily come forward, and offer the secretly-fixed prices.
Among all these, and other sage conjectures of the cause,
however, no one had hit upon the truth. For the true secret
of the misfortune at length leaked out; when the discovery
was made, that Locke Amsden had, in fact, been the innocent
and unconscious cause of the whole of it. He, it appeared,
besides annoying his own teacher with questions too hard for
him, had also been the means of a similar annoyance to
many other teachers of the neighboring districts. He had
been in the habit, the preceding winter, of frequently at-
tending the evening spelling-schools, which it was customary
for the instructors in that section of the country to appoint
and hold at intervals, through the whole term of their en-
gagements. And at each of these evening schools, which he
thus went abroad to attend, he was sure to propose to one or
two of the best scholars, for answer, some difficult point in


grammar, some mathematical question of his own origi-
nating, or, as was more generally the case, such as he had
met with in his studies, and was anxious to see explained.
Nearly all these questions, as had been expected, and, indeed,
commonly requested by the mover, were carried for solution
to the master; who, too often, was compelled to resort to
some pitiful evasion to hide his inability to furnish the
required answer. And the same questions, also, besides
being agitated in the schools into which they were first
introduced, were often communicated to other schools, and
thus became a source of trouble to other masters; so that, in
this way, there was scarcely a teacher, anywhere in the
vicinity, who had not experienced the inconvenience of
Locke's scholarship and inquiring disposition; and most of
them, though they prudently kept the fact to themselves,
fairly wished him out of the country, and secretly r&olved
never to be caught engaging to instruct any school where he
should be a pupil. It appeared, therefore, that the failure
of the committee, before mentioned, was occasioned, not by
there being bad scholars in the school, but good ones; or
rather one, whose aptitude and acquirements had made him
so much the dread of the schoolmasters, with whom the
country then happened to be favored, as effectually to keep
them out of the district.
The disappointment thus occasioned the district, however,
as vexatious as it was to Locke at the time, was, like many
other disappointments in life, of which we are wont to comr
plain, destined, in a short time, to prove a blessing, not only
to him, but to the whole school. For, in a few weeks, an
unforeseen occurrence brought them an instructor well quali-
fied for his task. This was a senior collegian, who had
returned to spend his last vacation at his father's residence,
in a neighboring town; and who, on accidentally learning
that the district in question had been unable to supply them.


selves with a teacher, from the suspected causes we have
named, was thereby induced to send them word he would
come and instruct their school, if they would give him a
dollarr per day and board. To be sure, the very unusual price
demanded by the young man, threatened, for some days, to
prove an insurmountable obstacle to engaging him. The
sum asked, contended the committee, was outrageous, unheard
of, and it was out of all question that they should give it.
But all the larger boys and girls clamored; Locke election-
eered as if life and death hung on the event; and his mother,
whose influence was generally felt in the neighborhood, when
she chose to exert it, went round to see other mothers, who,
being either convinced by her arguments in favor of the
cause she had espoused, or tired of having their noisy chil-
dren any longer at home, beset their husbands to beset the
committee; and the result was, that the committee, unable
to stem the current thus brought to bear against them, started
off, and engaged the young gentleman, whose name was
Seaver, at his own price. The next Monday morning, to
the great joy of Locke, he appeared on the ground, and
commenced the duties of his school.
We have said that Mr. Seaver, the instructor now em-
ployed, was well qualified for the task he had undertaken;
and in so saying, we meant much more than what extensive
attainments in science and literature, merely, would necessa-
rily imply. He possessed science, indeed, to an eminent
degree; but as is too rarely the case, especially with those
fresh from the schools, he possessed it without any of that
learned quackery of technical terms and unusual words,
which is so often made to shut out knowledge from the
common mind as effectually as the monastic walls of the dark
ages. His language, indeed, on whatever subject employed,
though the most abstruse to be found in the books, was as
simple as that of childhood itself; while, at the same time,



he had the happy faculty of putting the minds of all he
addressed, even to the youngest and weakest, at once into
the full possession of his ideas. This, with a good under.
standing of human nature, --and of human nature, par-
ticularly, as developed in the philosophy of the young head
and the young heart, to enable him to know how, when,
and where to interest, incite, check, and control, -together
with a temperament of his own, and a general discrimination
to insure a judicious application of his other faculties, com-
bined to make him that invaluable acquisition to society a
good schoolmaster; one who, if adequately rewarded, would
do his part in throwing the full light of science, within
the gliding years of half a generation, over the mind of a
The instruction of a teacher of the character we have
just described, was a new thing to Locke Amaden. And it
is needless for us to say, perhaps, how the advantages thus
furnished him were improved. The first week he spent in
looking up, and obtaining from his teacher, explanations
and illustrations of all the knotty points which he had left
unmastered in his course of mathematics. When all these
were clearly understood and familiarized to his mind, he
commenced, in good earnest, his onward progress. Day and
night, almost unceasingly, applying every energy of his
mind, he soon finished what remained yet to be studied of
the ordinary course of mathematics, and thence passed on
into and through physics, or natural philosophy, astronomy,
and even a considerable portion of fluxions, with a rapidity
and comprehension of what he passed over, which perfectly
astonished his instructor; who, unwilling to check him in a
career where he was accomplishing so much which was
important, and which is so often neglected after the pupil is
put upon more seductive studies, had thus far suffered him
to bestow nearly his undivided attention to the branches we


have enumerated. But as the school drew to a close, that
instructor began to direct the attention of his favorite scholar
to studies which had never, or not so particularly, occupied
his mind. After a course of delicate questioning, calcu-
lated, with one of his turn, to make him keenly feel his own
ignorance, and, at the same time, to furnish incentives to
action, the former opened to the wondering and longing view
of the latter the necessity and advantage of exploring other
departments in the wide field of learning. And, fired with
new zeal at the prospect, our young aspirant, as he was thus
made to see before him

Alps on Alps arise,"
now became doubly ambitious to mount their glittering
steeps. But the close of the school, which was now at hand,
precluded all opportunity, for the present at least, of entering
upon this glorious field of exertion; and, with peculiar regret
and sorrow, he was compelled to bid adieu to his beloved
instructor, relinquish study, and return to the labors of the
After the termination of this school, Locke found himself
in a different situation from what he had ever been in before,
at least, since he had begun the work of self-education. The
books which had been presented him by the kind strangers -
around whose fondly-remembered images, fancy, as he grew
older, was daily throwing a more romantic interest -had all
been studied, and their contents mastered; and, as he was
unable to procure others upon those branches which he next
wished to peruse, he now found himself without any food
for his hungering mind, or at least such as would satisfy a
mind like his, whose desires, instead of being appeased, were
now tenfold increased. And from this state of unsatisfied
longings, without employment for his mental energies in the
present, and without hope to encourage him to look forward



with certainty to any period when his inclinations could be
gratified in the future, fancy began to obtrude her illusive
creations into those chambers of thought which before had
been devoted to the operations of reason. He became
absent, moody, and despondent, and was fast falling a prey to
a morbid imagination a malady than which, for strong and
sensitive minds, nothing scarcely is more to be dreaded; for

"Woe to the youth whom Fancy gains,
Winning from Reason's hands the reins;
Pity and woe for such a mind
Is soft, contemplative, and kind."

In vain did his father attempt to.rouse him from his almost
continual reverie in vain attempt to repress those secret
desires which he well knew to be the leading cause of his
abstraction, and awaken an interest for busine~. But he
little understood the nature of the mind he attempted to
control; for as well may we attempt to chain the lightning
of heaven, as the soul really thirsting after knowledge. Such
a mind may be thwarted, chilled, ruined; but it can never he
so far restrained as to be moulded to other purposes, at least
till opportunity be allowed for its ruling desires to become,
in some good degree, sated. The father, wholly failing, at
length gave up the attempt in vexation and despair; but
another, who better understood the nature of the mind thus
diseased, and the only remedies which could effect its cure,
now undertook the task, and was successful.
One evening, as Locke sat alone in an open window,
vacantly, and in moody thoughtfulness, gazing out at the
rising moon, or the stars that were fading in her over-
powering beams, his mother gently approached, and took a
seat by his side.
Locke," said she, in kind and gentle tones, after sitting a
moment without appearing to attract the attention of the



other, "Locke, your father complains that you are unusually
inattentive to business, this summer."
Complains ? Well, he is always complaining of me I
can do nothing right; but brother Benjamin--he can do
nothing wrong."
It is possible, indeed, that you may sometimes get more
censure than you should, and your brother more praise than
he deserves, in the contrast which one of your father's turn
would naturally draw between you. But still, Locke, I fear
you have given too much cause for these complaints. I have
myself often noted your neglect and heedlessness; and I
now put it to your own conscience, my son, whether such a
course is right, is justifiable, in you ? "
"Perhaps I may sometimes do wrong, in these respects,
though it is not because I am unwilling to work to do
right. But you know how anxious I am to study, and may
be, I think too much about that, to be as quick and ready as
some. Still, I cannot help it; I have almost every thing
yet to learn, and I must know, 0 mother, I must know !"
"I see, Locke, that your whole heart is set on being a
great scholar. But scholarship alone, my son, will never
make you truly great or happy. It is not the one thing
needful; it brings not the pearl of great price. It may,
indeed, bring you, as I once read in the works of some poet,

"The world's applause, perhaps the prince's smile,
And flattery's pois'nous potions, smooth as oil;
The poet's laurel, or the victor's palm;
But not one drop of Gilead's precious balm."

"I have often heard you speak of religion, mother, and I
have never denied its importance; but I have never before
heard you speak in this manner of learning. You surely do
not hold it so lightly as one might think from what you have
just said, do you ?"



I hold it lightly only, my son, when compared with the
things of heaven. It would be my highest ambition to see
you, as you enter life, a religious and an educated man."
"Why, then, mother, are you not willing I should be
allowed an opportunity to obtain an education ? "
I am, Locke I am willing even desirous; but such
an education as I fear our means would be sufficient to afford
you, would not, I suppose, satisfy you.* And yet, seeing
how much your mind is set upon it, I have lately been
thinking, that something might, and perhaps should now, be
done for you. If a year to a good academy would serve
your purpose "
"A whole year, mother!"
"Oh! if I could go a whole year I But father would
never consent to it."
"Judge not too hastily, Locke; perhaps he will consent
to it. Your brother has grown to a lusty and active boy,
and you might now be much better spared; that is, after the
present work-season is over. And that is as soon as I shall
be able to fit you out with the necessary clothing. But
suppose, Locke, I should try to intercede with your father
for you, would you take hold of business as you ought, till
after harvesting ? "
I would try, mother; and if you will bring father to the
promise, I think indeed, I know that neither he or you
shall have reason to complain of me any more."
Well, then, my son, go to your rest now, and get up in
the morning with a cheerful look, and go to your business
like a man with his senses about him; and, within a few days,
we will see what can be done."
Locke did as his mother had advised; and, two days after.
wards, his father made the glad announcement of the permise



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 busi-
ness 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 com-
plained, as entirely to spoil him for business; little dreaming,
that his own conduct, in trying to repress his son's over-
powering 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 influ-
ence, 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 grati-
fied 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 opportu-
nity 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 pre-
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 accus-
tomed 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 out-
stripped 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
so 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.


The little knowledge he had gained,
Was all from simple nature drain'."

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 occu-
pied by others. He was therefore compelled, unless he
relinquished his purpose, to listen to the less eligible offers
which cmne from such smaller and more backward districts
or societies as had not engaged their instructors for the win-
ter. 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 partic-
ular 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 pecu-
liar 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 remu4
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 pictu-
resque 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 romantic-
looking 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."




Why, sir, did his scholars offer him personal violence ? "
0 no not violence. They took him up quite carefully,
bound him on to a plank, as I understood, and carried him on
their shoulders, in a sort of procession, three times around
the schoolhouse, and then, unloosing him, told him to go at
his business again."
And was all this suffered to take place without any inter-
ference from your committee ? "
"Yes, our committee-man would not interfere in such a
case. A master must fight his own way in our district."
"Who is your committee, sir? "
Captain Bill Bunker is now. They had a meeting after
the fracas, and chose a new one."
Is he a man who is capable of ascertaining for himself
the qualifications of a teacher ?"
0 yes at least I had as lief have Bill Bunker's judg-
ment of a man who applied for the school as any other in.
the district; and yet he is the only man in the whole district
but what can read and write, I believe."
"Your school committee not able to read and write ?"
"Not a word, and still he does more business than any
man in this neighborhood. Why, sir, he keeps a sort of
store, sells to A., B., and C., and charges on book in a fashion
of his own; and I would as soon trust to his book as that of
any regular merchant in the country; though, to be sure, he
has got into a jumble, I hear, about some charges against a
man at otherr end of the Horn, and they are having a court
about it to-day at Bunker's house, I understand."
"Where does he live ? "
"Right on the road, about a mile ahead. You will see his
name chalked on a sort of a shop-looking building, which he
uses for a store."
The man here turned off from the road, leaving our hero
so much surprised and staggered at what he had just heard,


not only of the general character of the school of which he
had come to propose himself as a teacher, but of the man
who now had the control of it, that he drew up the reins,
stopped his horse in the road, and sat hesitating some mo-
ments whether he would go back or forward. It occurring
to him, however, that he could do as he liked about accepting
any offer of the place which might be made him, and feeling,
moreover, some curiosity to see how a man who could neither
read nor write would manage in capacity of an examining
school committee, he resolved to go forward, and present
himself as a candidate for the school Accordingly, he rode
on, and soon reached a rough-built, but substantial-looking
farm-house, with sundry out-buildings, on one of which he
read, as he had been told he might, the name of the singular
occupant. In the last-named building, he at once perceived
that there was a gathering of qyite a number of individuals,
the nature of which was explained to him by the hint he had
received from his informant on the road. And tying his
horse, he joined several who were going in, and soon found
himself in the midst of the company assembled in the low,
unfinished room which constituted the interior, as parties,
witnesses, and spectators of a justice's court, the ceremonies
of which were about to be commenced. There were no
counters, counting-room, or desk; and a few broad shelves,
clumsily put up on one side, afforded the only indication,
observable in the interior arrangement of the room, of the
use to which it was devoted. On these shelves were scat-
tered, at intervals, small bunches of hoes, axes, bed-cords,
and such articles as are generally purchased by those who
purchase little; while casks of nails, grindstones, quintals of
dried salt fsh, and te like, arranged round the room on the
floor, made up the rest of the owner's merchandise, aa
annual supply of which, it appeared, he obtained in the cities
every winter in exchange for the products of his farm; ever



careful, like a good political economist, that the balance of
trade should not be against him. The only table and chair
in the room were now occupied by the justice; the heads of
casks, grindstones, or bunches of rakes, answering for seats
for the rest of the company. On the left of the justice sat
the defendant, whose composed look, and occasional knowing
smile, seemed to indicate his confidence in the strength of
his defence, as well as a consciousness of possessing some
secret advantage over his opponent. On the other hand sat
Bunker, the plaintiff in the suit. Ascertaining from the
remarks of the bystanders his identity with the committee-
man he had become so curious to see, Locke fell to noting
his appearance closely, and the result was, upon the whole, a
highly favorable prepossession. He was a remarkably stout,
hardy-looking man; and although his features were extremely
rough and swarthy, they yet combined to give him an open,
honest, and very intelligent countenance. Behind him, as
backers, were standing in a group three or four of his sons,
of ages varying from fifteen to twenty, and of bodily propor-
tions promising any thing but disparagement to the Herculean
stock from which they originated. The parties were now
called and sworn; when Bunker, there being no attorneys
employed to make two-hour speeches on preliminary ques-
tions, proceeded at once to the merits of his case. He
produced and spread open his account-book, and then went
on to show his manner of charging, which was wholly by
hieroglyphics, generally designating the debtor by picturing
him out at the top of the page with some peculiarity of his
person or calling. In the present case, the debtor, who was
a cooper, was designated by the rude picture of a man in the
act of hooping a barrel; and the article charged, there being
but one item in the account, was placed immediately beneath,
and represented by a shaded, circular figure, which the plain.



tiff said was intended for a cheese, that had been sold to the
defendant some years before.
"Now, Mr. Justice," said Bunker, after explaining, in a
direct, off-hand manner, his peculiar method of book-keeping,
" now, the article here charged the man had I will, and do
swear to it; for here it is in black and white. And I having
demanded my pay, and he having not only refused it, but
denied ever buying the article in question, I have brought
this suit to recover my just due. And now I wish to see if
he will get up here in court, and deny the charge under oath.
If he will, let him; but may the Lord have mercy on his
Well, sir," replied the defendant, promptly rising, "you
shall not be kept from having your wish a minute; for I
here, under oath, do swear, that I never bought or had a
cheese of you in my life."
Under the oath of God you declare it, do you ? sharply
asked Bunker.
"I do, sir," firmly answered the other.
"Well, well !" exclaimed the former, with looks of utter
astonishment, "I would not have believed that there was a
man in all of the Horn of the Moon who would dare to do
After the parties had been indulged in the usual amount
of sparring for such occasions, the justice interposed and
suggested, that as the oaths of the parties were at complete
issue, the evidence of the book itself, which he seemed to
think was entitled to credit, would turn the scale in favor of
the plaintiff, unless the defendant could produce some rebut-
ting testimony. Upon this hint, the latter called up two of his
neighbors, who testified in his behalf, that he himself always
made a sufficient supply of cheese for his family; and
they were further knowing, that, on the year of the alleged


mz scrio"Aetoist.

purchase, instead of buying, he actually sold a considerable
quantity of the article.
This evidence seemed to settle the question in the mind of
the justice; and he now soon announced, that he felt bound
to give judgment to the defendant for his costs.
"Judged and sworn out of the whole of it, as I am a sm-
ner I" cried the disconcerted Bunker, after sitting a moment
working his rough features in indignant surprise; "yes,
fairly sworn out of it, and saddled with a bill of cost to boot
But I can pay it; so reckon it up, Mr. Justice, and we will
have it all squared on the spot. And, on the whole, I am
not so sure but a dollar or two is well spent, at any time, in
finding out a fellow to be a scoundrel who has been passing
himself off among people for an honest man," he added,
pulling out his purse, and angrily dashing the required
amount down upon the table.
Now, Bill Bunker," said the defendant, after very coolly
pocketing his costs, you have flung out a good deal of your
stuff here, and I have bore it without getting riled a hair;
for I saw, all the time, that you correct as folks generally
think you that you did n't know what you was about. But
now it's all fixed and settled, I am going jist to convince you
that I am not quite the one that has sworn to a perjury in
this 'ere business."
Well, we will see," rejoined Bunker, eying his opponent
with a look of mingled doubt and defiance.
Yes, we will see," responded the other, determinedly;
"we will see if we can't make you eat your own words.
But I want first to tell you where you missed it. When you
dtuned me, Bunker, for the pay for a cheese, and I said I
never had one of you, you went off a little too quick; you
called me a liar, before giving me a chance to say another
word. And then, I thought I would let you take your own
course, till you took that name back. If you had held on a


minute, without breaking out so upon me, I should have told
you all how it was, and you would have got your pay on the
spot; but "
"Pay!" fiercely interrupted Bunker, "then you admit
you had the cheese, do you ?"
"No, sir, I admit no sich thing," quickly rejoined the
former; "for I still say I never had a cheese of you in the
world. But I did have a small grindstone of you at the
time, and at jest the price you have charged for your sup-
posed cheese; and here is your money for it, sir. Now,
Bunker, what do you say to that ? "
Grindstone cheese-cheese-grindstone !" exclaimed
the now evidently nonplussed and doubtful Bunker, taking a
few rapid turns about the room, and occasionally stopping at
the table to scrutinize anew his hieroglyphical charge; I
must think this matter over again. Grindstone cheese -
cheese grindstone. Ah! I have it; but may God forgive
me for what I have done It was a grindstone, but I forgot
to make a hole in the middle for the crank."
Upon this curious development, as will be readily imag-
ined, the opposing parties were not long in effecting an
amicable and satisfactory adjustment. And, in a short time,
the company broke up and departed, all obviously as much
gratified as amused at this singular but happy result of the
As soon as all had left the room but Bunker and his sons,
Locke, perceiving that the others now seemed to expect an
announcement of his business, at once proceeded to make
known the object of his visit.
Ah, indeed!" said Bunker, in surprise, as he keenly ran
his eye over the rather slight proportions of the other.
Why, I had supposed, all the while, that you were some
young sprig of the law, who had scented out our foolish little
quarrel here from a distance, and had come to see whether



the court, like the monkey judge in the fable, would work up
all the cheese himself, or leave enough to afford a nibble to a
lawyer. But have you really come to offer yourself as a
master for such a school as ours ? "
"I came for that purpose, sir," replied Locke; "and I
trust to be found qualified for the situation. I have brought
with me a certificate of qualifications; and further, I am
very willing to be examined personally by yourself and
"I have been examining you, for some minutes, with my
eyes," said the other, and that is a way of examining mas-
ters, for our school at least, which is more necessary than
you may imagine. You may have learning enough for us,
perhaps; but the question first to be decided is, whether you
will be equal to managing our rough boys in the mountains
The two largest boys, who had stood in a corner glancing
at the person of our hero with a sort of contemptuous twink-
ling of their eyes, now whispered together, and giggled
outright, apparently at the thought that such a fellow should
ever attempt to give them a thrashing; for they had always
been so accustomed to associate schoolmasters with thrash-
ings, that they never thought of the former without the
accompanying idea of the latter.
"Boys," resumed Bunker, "do you know what Josh
Bemus intends doing this winter. I have been thinking, for
a day or two past, that he probably would have about enough
of the tiger in him to make you a very suitable master, if he
could be had. You have had king log, and trod upon him;
and now, if you don't get king stork, it wont be because you
don't deserve it."
You will hardly get Josh, I think," replied one of the
boys. He told me, at the turkey-shooting last week, that
he had engaged to tend horses this winter at the stage-tavern



down on Roaring River, because he rather do it than keep
"Well, every one for his taste," said Bunker, laughing.
"I suppose Josh is not a fellow that would take much pleas-
ure in a thinking life ; though, as he has succeeded in sub-
duing one or two unruly schools, I had thought of him for
ours. But as that is now out of the question, and as I can
hear of no other person who will do, I think we may as well
examine into this gentleman's qualifications, now he has
applied for the school."
I have but little hope, sir, that I shall be considered a
proper teacher of your district," observed Locke, who had
become so much disconcerted by the ominous conduct of the
boys, and the remarks of their father of a similar significance,
that he now began to think of beating a retreat. I cannot
be the person you want, I think, from what I gather from
your observations; and therefore we may as well drop the
subject at once, perhaps."
O, don't know about that, sir," rejoined Bunker. "You
look hardly equal to the task, be sure; but there is consider-
able snap in those black eyes of yours, I see. I have seen
several fellows, in my time, of as little bodily show as you,
who turned out to be a match for any thing when called to
act. And I should not be surprised if you should prove to
be one of the same kidney. Boys," he continued, turning to
his sons, you know how sadly you all got disappointed in
that little, feeble-looking master of yours last winter. You
calculated, when he began his school, that you should be able
to control him as you pleased; but you soon found you had
reckoned without your host, I believe."
"Well, he was a mean scamp, for all that," replied the
oldest boy; "and we should have shipped him, at one time,
if some of the boys had not flummuxed from the agreement.
For he deserved it enough, and no mistake. Only think I



He made a rule, that every one who did not get into the
school-house as soon as he did, after our play-spell at noon,
should take a ferruling. And then what does he do but join
us in sliding down hill on a hand-sled; and when we got
warm at it, and just as a great load of us, he and all, had got
under weigh and could n't stop, off he jumps, gives the sled
a kick, and cuts and runs for the school-house, which he
reached first, of course; and we had to be ferruled for
breaking the rule. Now, you know, father, that was n't a
fair shake, and he ought to have been walloped for it; and
the boys were sneaks, that they had not stood by us, when
we tried, the next day, to turn the tables on him "
"As he had first done on you, for some previous trick,
eigh ?" interrupted the former. "You have generally had
strange doings in school, both by scholars and teachers, we
all know; but now they have put me in committee, I intend
to look after you a little myself. Now, sir," he added, again
turning to Locke, now, sir, we will come back to your case,
if you please--what will be your price a month, and
boarded ?"
"Fifteen dollars."
"We gave but fourteen last winter, and the master could
manage such a set of fellows as ours, too. The district will
never consent to rise on that price. Can't you fall a dollar ? "
Perhaps I might, if I could make up my mind to under-
take your school."
"Make up your mind! why, you offered yourself; and
you did not come to trifle with me, did you ?"
Certainly not."
"Well, wait then till we have thought and talked this
business all out. Don't get frightened before you are hurt.
You may think better of some of us before we get through.
But there is another thing: our district require a master to
teach all the working days in the month, and not twenty-two



days, as you masters generally make a month would you
consent to that ? "
Perhaps I should not be disposed to quarrel with you,
even on that point, if I were to take your school."
Very well. So then we can agree upon the terms, I
see," said Bunker. Now, for the main question do you
know any thing ?"
I trust so, sir," said Locke, hardly knowing yet what to
make of the man, "I trust so. Here is a certificate from
my late preceptor will you hear it read ? "
No," replied the other, I should place no dependence
on any thing of that sort. Every one who goes to an acad-
emy gets a certificate, if e wants one, I have noticed; while
not one in three, who go there, are fit for teachers. So you
see, that there is more than an even chance that we get
cheated, when we take a man on certificate. Why, how, sir,
could a preceptor know whether you could govern a school,
when you had never tried it? And how could he certify,
that you had a faculty to teach in a school that neither of
you had ever seen, where every scholar, perhaps, would
require the application of a different method, before he could
be brought to learn any thing worth mentioning ? "
"I offered the paper only to show my acquirements-
that I understood all the sciences taught in common schools,"
said Locke in reply.
I presume you have gone over enough of what is put
down in the books," resumed the other. But how can I
tell, from your recommendation, whether you can think for
yourself, independent of your books; and what is more for a
teacher, whether you can teach others to think for them-
selves ? Why, sir, I have known many a fellow returned
from an academy, and even a college, who had no more ideas
of his own than a blue jay. And besides that, his brains
were so trammeled by rules, &c. that there was little pros-



pect of his ever bettering his condition. Now, the main
object of education should be, in my opinion, to teach men
to think, and not depend upon books for every thing to be
known. Now, here is the great book of nature open before
us, full of every kind of knowledge for those who can think.
Then, don't you see the advantage which a man who can
read that has over one who can only read the books of men,
which are so liable to contain errors ?"
"I certainly agree with you in much you have said,
sir; but if you intend to say that book learning, as you
would term it, is useless, I must wholly dissent," observed
I don't say or think so," said Bunker. "No, it gives
one great advantages in knowing what others in different
parts of the world have found out, and may be, if rightly
used and understood, a great help to him in thinking and
making discoveries for himself. No, I don't think so of
learning; for I am'half bothered to death for the want of it
myself, as you have to-day seen. And all I want of you is,
to find out whether you have it; and, if so, whether it has
made you a good thinker, and one who can teach others to
be so, as well as to teach them the books."
Very well, sir," responded the other, I am quite willing
you should satisfy yourself, and in your own way."
I will," replied Bunker. And first, let us see how you
stand in arithmetic. What will twenty-seven multiplied by
twenty-three produce ? Don't look round for a slate or
paper, but work it out in your head, as I do all my reck-
This sum, as soon as the answer was given by the one and
pronounced correct by the other, was followed by more ques-
tions in each of the other fundamental rules of the science
under consideration. Then came questions requiring, first,
the aid of two of these rules, then three, then all, each



question being more difficult and complex, till the whole
ground-work of common arithmetic was passed over by the
questioner; in all of which he showed himself a proficient in
mental arithmetic to a degree that perfectly astonished our
hero, who, though he was, from his former habits of working
sums in his head while at work, uncommonly ready at this
exercise, was yet often put to his best powers in furnishing
answers as soon as they were obtained by the proposer.
"Well, well, young man," said Bunker, with a look of
approbation, as he brought his questions in this branch to a
close, "it is not every one that can do what you have done.
But we will now see if you can do as well in other matters.
We will take geography, which I rank next to arithmetic in
usefulness. Boys, will one of you step into the house, and
bring us my maps ?"
The boy despatched soon returned with a full and valuable
set of maps, with which, to the surprise of Locke, the owner
soon showed himself perfectly familiar; he, it appeared,
having purchased them, some years before, for himself and
children, with whom he had studied them, always keeping a
boy by his side, when thus occupied, to read him the names
of rivers, lakes, &c., as, one by one, he traced out each on
the~nap with his finger, till he had mastered the whole.
A thorough and critical examination was now commenced,
and, for some time, carried on by Bunker, in a series of novel
and ingenious questions, well calculated to detect any defi-
ciency in the examined.
"Very well, very well, sir," said the interrogator, good
humoredly, as he finished this part of his examination, I
don't see but what you understand geography nearly as well
as a man who can neither read nor write. There is one
general question more, however, that I will ask you -which
do you call the largest river in the world? "
The Amazon is so accounted," replied the other.



Yes, I know it is so laid down in the books; but do you
think it so yourself? "
I had supposed that to be the case, sir."
Why ? "
"Because it discharges the most water in a given time."
"You have got hold of the right manner of testing it, if
it was only capable of being reduced to practice; and what
you assert of this river may be a fact; but the question is,
how it can be ascertained."
"Why, sir, it is the widest river, certainly."
"Widest! There again is one of your book rules, and
see where it will land you, sir I Don't these fools of book-
makers know, that one river may be twice as deep, and run
twice as fast as another; and consequently, that one river of
a mile wide may discharge as much water as another of
double that width, in the same time ? "
I had concluded that all these circumstances had been
taken into the account, when comparing the size of this river
with that of the Mississippi, or other large rivers, before the
fact in question was put down as established."
Some guess-work of the kind may have been had on the
subject, probably enough. But that is all; for do you sup-
pose anybody has ever measured the depth or swiftness of the
currents of these rivers ? No Why, it would take a board
of engineers two years, and at the cost of millions, to do this
with any accuracy. They would have to go, foot by foot,
through the constantly-varying currents from one side to the
other; and even then, how would they ascertain whether the
water at the surface did not move twice as fast as at the bot-
tom ? No, sir, this never was or will be done. We must
depend on other methods for ascertaining facts of this kind."
"What other method would you then propose ? "
"Why, I have been able to think of no method so good as
to ascertain the number of square miles which is drained by



a river whose comparative size you wish to know s and when
the quantity of surface thus drained is found, take another
river, find the surface that drains also, compare the results,
and you have the relative size of the two. Now here is a
very simple method, which I practise for this purpose," con-
tinued the speaker, spreading open the maps of North and
South America. "Both these are on the same scale, you
see. Now I will place this piece of white paper over that
part of South America which is drained by the Amazon, and
then cut it down with the scissors, so that its outline shall
just cover the extreme points, or sources of all the tributa-
ries of this great river. Then we will cut the paper, thus
made to represent the required surface on the same scale
with the map, into triangles, or such other figures as can be
put together again in some square shape, for measurement in
square miles. In this manner, if the map be correct, you
get the surface drained by the Amazon. You then can go
through the same operation with the Mississippi, obtain your
result, compare it with that of the former, and you will have
the difference between the sizes of these two king-rivers of
the new world. And whenever you do it, you will find that
difference much less than is generally supposed; you will
find that our Mississippi of a mile wide, when it meets the
tide-waters, is more than three-fourths as large as the mighty
Amazon, which is put down in the books to be from fifty to
one hundred and eighty miles wide at its mouth. And if the
maps could be corrected, so as to show the exact truth, I am
not so sure but one would be found as large as the other."
"Your method is new to me, Mr. Bunker," observed
Locke, and I shall probably be indebted to you for a new
idea. I will think of it."
"Ay, think that's the way to get true knowledge."
"Have you any questions to ask me in the other branches
sir ?"



"Not many. There is reading, writing, grammar, &c.,
which I know nothing about; and as to them, I must, of
course, take you by guess, which will not be much of a guess,
after all, if I find you have thought well on all other mat.
ters. Do you understand philosophy? It is not often
required of our common schoolmasters, I know, but it is a
grand thing for them to understand something of it; for then
they will naturally, on a thousand occasions, be putting new
ideas into the heads of their scholars, and in that way set
them to thinking for themselves."
"To what branch of philosophy do you allude, sir ?"
"To the only branch there is."
"But you are aware, that philosophy is divided into differ-
ent kinds, as natural, moral, and intellectual ?"
"Nonsense! philosophy is philosophy, and means the
study of the reasons and causes of the things which we see,
whether it be applied to a crazy man's dreams, or the roasting
of potatoes. Have you attended to it ?"
"Yes, to a considerable extent, sir."
"I will put a question or two, then, if you please. What
is the reason of the fact, for it is a fact, that the damp breath
of a person blown on to a good knife, and on to a bad one,
will soonest disappear from the well-tempered blade ? "
It may be owing to the difference in the polish of the
two blades, perhaps," replied Locke.
Ah! that is an answer that don't go deeper than the sur-
face," rejoined Bunker, humorously. As good a thinker as
you evidently are, you have not thought of this subject, I
suspect. It took me a week, in all, I presume, of hard
thinking, and making experiments at a blacksmith's shop, to
discover the reason of this. It is not the polish; for take
two blades of equal polish, and the breath will disappear
from one as much quicker than it does from the other, as the
blade is better. It is because the material of the blade is



more compact, or less porous, in one case than in the other.
In the first place, I ascertained that steel was made more
compact by being hammered and tempered, and that the
better it was tempered, the more compact it would become;
the size of the pores being made, of course, less in the same
proportion. Well, then, I saw the reason I was in search
of, at once. For we know a wet sponge is longer in drying
than a wet piece of green wood, because the pores of the first
are bigger. A seasoned or shrunk piece of wood dries
quicker than a green one, for the same reason. Or you
might bore a piece of wood with large gimblet holes, and
another with small ones, fill them both with water, and let
them stand till the water evaporated, and the difference of
time it would take to do this, would make the case still more
plain. So with the blades; the wet or vapor lingers longest
on the worst wrought and tempered one, because the pores,
being larger, take in more of the wet particles, and require
more time in drying."
Your theory is at least a very ingenious one," observed
Locke, and I am reminded by it of another of the natural
phenomena, of the true explanation of which I have not
been able to satisfy myself. It is this: what makes the
earth freeze harder and deeper under a trodden path than
the untrodden earth around it. All that I have asked, say
it is because the trodden earth is more compact. But is that
reason a sufficient one ? "
No," said Bunker, but I will tell you what the reason
is; for I thought that out long ago. You know that, in the
freezing months, much of the warmth we get is given out by
the earth, frqm which, at intervals, if not constantly, to some
extent, ascend the warm vapors to mingle with and moderate
the cold atmosphere above. Now those ascending streams
of warm air would be almost wholly obstructed by the com-
pactness of a trodden path, and they would naturally divide



at some distance below it, and pass up through the loose
earth on each side, leaving the ground along the line of the
path, to a great depth beneath it, a cold, dead makes, through
which the frost would continue to penetrate, unchecked by
the internal heat, which, in its unobstructed ascent on each
side, would be continually checking or overcoming the frost
in its action on the earth around. That, sir, is the true phi-
losophy of the case, you may depend upon it. But now let
me ask you a question and it shall be the last one a
question which, perhaps, you may think a trifling one, but
which, for all that, is full of meaning. What is the truest
sign by which you can judge of the coming weather ? "
The quantity of dew that has fallen the night before, or
that is then falling, if it be evening and the prognostic is
required for the next day," replied the other. At least I
have never noticed any better criterion."
"That is an old rule, and a good one, I grant you,"
remarked Bunker; "but not so curious and unfailing as
another which I, some time ago, began to observe."
"What may that be, sir ? "
"Why, this, when you wish to know what the weather is
going to be, just go out, and select the smallest cloud you can
see, keep your eye upon it, and if it decreases and disap-
pears, it shows a state of the air which will be sure to be
followed by fair weather; but if it increases, you may as
well take your great coat with you, if you are going from
home, for falling weather will not be far off."
That is, indeed, a curious and interesting fact in meteor-
ology," responded Locke, "and I can readily see the reason
why the indication should generally, at least, hold good."
"And what is that reason ? asked Bunker, with interest.
"Why, it is resolvable into electric phenomenon, I sus-
pect," answered the former. "Whenever the air is be.
coming charged with electricity, you will see every cloud



attracting all less ones towards it, till it gathers into a shower.
And, on the contrary, when this fluid is passing off, or dif-
fusing itself, even a large cloud will be seen breaking to
pieces and dissolving."
Right, sir !" cried Bunker; "you are a thinker, and no
mistake. And let me tell you, there's more depending on
that same electricity than your book philosophers dream of.
I am pretty well satisfied, that not only our dry seasons and
our wet ones, our cold seasons and our warm ones, are caused
by some variation in the state of the electric fluid, but that
our epidemical diseases, and a thousand other things that we
cannot account for, are to be attributed to the same cause.
But we will now drop the discussion of these matters; for
I am abundantly satisfied, that you have not only knowledge
enough, but that you can think for yourself. And now, sir,
all I wish to know further about you is, whether you can
teach others to think, which is half the battle with a teacher.
But as I have had an eye on this point, while attending to
the others, probably one experiment, which I will put upon
you to make on one of the boys here, will be all I shall
"Proceed, sir," said the other.
"Ay, sir," rejoined Bunker, turning to the open fire-place,
in which the burning wood was sending up a column of
smoke; there you see that smoke rising, don't you ? Well,
you and I know the reason why smoke goes upward, but my
youngest boy don't, I rather think. Now take your own
way, and see if you can make him clearly understand it."
Locke, after a moment's reflection and a glance round the
room for something to serve for apparatus, took from a shelf,
where he had espied a number of the articles, the smallest
of a set of cast-iron cart-boxes, as is usually termed the
round, hollow tubes, in which the axletree of a carriage
turns. Then selecting a tin cup, that would just take in the



box, and turning into the cup as much water as he judged,
with the box, would fill it, he presented them separately to
the boy, and said,
There, my lad, tell me which of these is the heaviest ?"
Why, the cart-box, to be sure," replied the boy, taking
the cup half-filled with water in one hand, and the hollow
iron in the other.
"Then you think this iron is heavier than as much water
as would fill the place of it, do you ? resumed Locke.
Why, yes, as heavy again, and more too I know 't i,"
promptly said the boy.
Well, sir, now mark what I do," proceeded the former,
dropping into the cup the iron box, through the hollow of
which the water instantly rose to the brim of the vessel
There, you saw that water rise to the top of the cup, did
you ? "
"Yes, I did."
"Very well, what caused it to do so ?"
"Why, I know well enough, if I could think; why, it is
because the iron is the heaviest, and as it comes all round
the water so it can't get away sideways, it is forced up."
"That is right; and now I want you to tell me what
makes that smoke rise up the chimney."
"Why, I guess," replied the boy, scratching his head, I
guess I guess I don't know."
Did you ever get up in a chair to look on some high
shelf, so that your head was brought near the ceiling of a
heated room, in winter ? and, if so, did you notice any differ-
ence between the air up there and the air near the floor
below ? "
"Yes, I remember-- I have, and found the air up there
as warm as mustard; and when I got down, and bent my
head near the floor to pick up something, I found it as cold
as tunket."

. 9


That is ever the case; but I wish you to tell me how
the cold air always happens to settle down to the lower part
of the room, while the warm air, some how, at the same
time, gets above."
Why, why, heavy things settle down, and the cold air -
yes, that's it, can't it ? the cold air is heaviest, and so set-
tles down, and crowds up the warm air, that is lightest."
Very good. You then understand that cold air is heavier
than the heated air, as that iron is heavier than the water;
so we now will go back to the main question what makes
the smoke go upwards ? "
Oh II see it now as plain as day; the cold air settles
down all round, like the iron box, and drives up the hot air,
as fast as the fire heats it in the middle, like the water; and
so the hot air carries the smoke along up with it, same as
feathers and things in a whirlwind. Gorry! I have found out
what makes smoke go up it is curious, though, an't it, you ? "
Done like a philosopher cried Bunker. The thing
is settled. I will give up that you are an academician of a
thousand. You can not only think for yourself, but can
teach others to think; and I therefore pronounce you well
qualified for a schoolmaster, in every thing except govern-
ment, about which we will hope for the best, and run the
risk; so you may call it a bargain as quick as you please."
"You offer to make it so on your part, I suppose you
mean to be understood," said Locke; "for on mine, you
remember I told you, some time ago, that I feel unwilling to
undertake to govern a school of the character I have discov-
ered yours to be."
What, back out now ? exclaimed the other, with a dis-
appointed air. "Why, I was beginning to have a first-rate
opinion of you, and thought, of course, you would have
spunk enough to make a trial, at least. Surely, you can't
such a coward as to be afraid to do that, are you ? "



These last remarks of Bunker, as taunting as they were
in import, were yet made in such a half-reproachful, half-
respectful manner, that they might not have brought our
hero to any decision, but for the low, deriding laugh which
the two larger boys set up on the occasion, and which fell upon
his ears with such an exasperating effect, that it brought him to
an instant determination, and he replied, with unwonted spirit,
I will come on, sir; and with your permission, we will
see whether pupil or teacher shall be the master of the school
for the remainder of the winter."
"Good! that sounds like something," said Banker, with
returning good humor. Boys," he continued, nodding sig-
nificantly to his two oldest sons, boys, did you hear that ?
Ah all will come out well enough, I imagine. But come,
sir, now we have settled the contract, we will walk into the
house for a little refreshment before we let you go home;
and while taking it, we will fix on the day of beginning the
school, first boarding place, &c. Come, sir, come on; and if
you have a good appetite, I will promise you a good dinner."
The decisive answer, which bound our hero to engage in
this school, had now been given, and he had too much pride
to make any attempts to recede from it; although, it must be
confessed, that as soon as the momentary impulse, under
which he had thus consummated the bargain, had died away,
he more than half regretted the step he had taken. As it was,
however, he soon determined to throw aside, as far as possi-
ble, both fears and regrets, and, arming himself with the
rectitude of his purposes, proceed boldly and decidedly upon
the task now before him. He at once saw, that, in this
school, as in many others in our country, especially in the
newer parts of it, a false standard of honor had, from some
peculiar combination of circumstances, sprung up among the
scholars; that instead of intellectual attainments, physical
prowess, or mere brute force, had unfortunately been made



the subject of predominating applause; and that this, as a
very natural consequence, had led to the insubordination,
and the frequent attempts of bullying the master, of which
he had heard. And he justly reasoned, that, if he could
break down this false standard, and set up the true one, as
he was resolved, as far as practicable, to do, it would not
only insure his own success, but prove the greatest of bless-
ings to the school. He could not expect, however, to effect
this object, at once; and the greatest difficulties, therefore,
he would have to encounter, would be likely to occur during
the first weeks of his school. It was this which had caused
him so long to hesitate. But having, at length, been spurred
into the undertaking, in the manner above mentioned, he
now made up his mind to face the dangers manfully; and, if
acts of moral courage would not serve, physical force, accord-
ing to the best of his ability, should be employed to complete
the conquest, till his contemplated reformation, in this objec-
tionable feature of the school, could be effected. It was
with these feelings, that, after an interesting hour spent in
general conversation, during the preparing and partaking of
the substantial meal provided on the occasion, Locke Amsden
took leave of his singular host and employer, and departed.
On his way homeward, young Amsden fell to revolving
over in mind the occurrences of the day, dwelling on the
unexpected manner in which he had been received and ex-
amined, and on the still more unexpected intelligence of the
man with whom he had thus come in contact, with the
interested and curious feelings of one to whom some new
leaf in the book of human nature has been presented for
contemplation and study. He had been taken by complete
surprise by the character of Bunker. Like many other stu-
dents, whose intercourse is 9et mainly confined to their fellows
and instructors of the high schools, he had been led to
underrat the strength and compass of the uneducated mind;



and he had expected to find, in the person in question, when
he understood him to be ignorant of even the simplest rudi-
ments of learning, one of a corresponding ignorance of
principles and lack of ideas. But, instead of this, he had
found a wholly unlettered man, who had grasped and mastered
all the leading principles of severafof the most important
sciences; and who, by his own unassisted thought and obser-
vation, had stored his mind with a fund of original ideas
more ample, perhaps, than that of many a scholar who had
trod the whole round of the sciences. Some of Bunker's
notions, it is true such, for instance, as his opinion of book-
learning, and the views he apparently entertained relative to
a dependence on force for governing a school our hero
believed to be entirely erroneous; but the greater part of
the man's ideas had struck him as not only new, but gen-
erally as forcible and just. And now, as he again called
them to mind, and thought of the disadvantages under which
they had been acquired, he could not forbear mentally ex-
claiming, "What might not such a mind become by the
assistance of a well-applied education ? "
Such were the reflections of our young aspirant, who, ever
eager for knowledge, from whatever source it might come,
felt himself instructed by what he had that day heard and
witnessed. And well and wisely had he acted, in listening,
in the spirit of candid inquiry, to the suggestions of one
whose ideas were so entirely the fruits of his own inde-
pendent thought and discriminating observation; for among
people of such minds, however obscure or illiterate they may
be, will be found, for those who can separate truth from the
errors with which it may there occasionally be intermixed,
the most productive fields for gleaning knowledge.
It was a favorite theory of the self-taught mountaineer
whom we have introduced, it will be recollected, that every
thing depended on being able to think. It would be well,



perhaps, for the cause of science, if there were among those
claiming to be friends to her advancement, more who held to
the same opinion-who were at the same pains to enforce,
by precept and example, this theory in its true meaning, as
they are to remould, amplify, and bring out in new dresses,
the thoughts whfnh those old strong thinkers of gone-by
days have wrought out for the appropriation of the intel-
lectual idlers and surface-skimming book-makers of the
present. This may be, and doubtless is, a reading age; but
with all its advantages, we see not what claim it has to be
called a thinking age. The cause of this may, in some
measure, perhaps, be attributable to the prevailing utilitarian
spirit of the times, which is more likely to lead only to the
lighter investigations required in turning to account what is
already known in science, than to laborious thinking, and
those profound researches by which the scholars of past
times were accustomed to push their way in the field of dis-
covery; and which, by inviting and turning, through superior
inducement, the greater proportion of the talents of the day
into one channel, may have a tendency to circumscribe, im-
pede, and weaken the operations of mind, and unfit it for the
free, bold, and vigorous action which ever characterizes a
thinking age. Another cause for this intellectual character-
istic of our times may, perhaps, be found in the great
comparative ease with which knowledge is now acquired.
The sciences, as now taught in our schools, are simplified to
the utmost. Besides this, a great proportion of our text-
books are prepared with questions involving most of what
is essential to be learned on the subject matter therein
contained. The answers to these questions, we fear, are
quite too often obtained at an easier rate than by investiga-
tions of the lessons from which they alone should be gathered,
and consequently without a full understanding of the subject.
What is still ivorse in this system, as usually conducted,



it naturally fixes in the mind of the pupil a lipnit beyond which
he conceives he need not push his investigations; and when
that limit, which embraces all the questions propounded, is
gained, he thinks his task perfected. In this manner he
is deterred from extending his inquiries on many different
points which might otherwise occur to his mind, and from
examining many bearings of the subject which he otherwise
would do. But whatever may be the cause of the fact, if
fact it be, as we believe, the existence of that fact is an evil
which is as unnecessary as it is ominous to the progress of
scientific discovery; and it should awaken the attention of
the friends of science to the adoption of a course of measures
that shall have a tendency to supply a remedy, without
infringing upon the advantages to be derived from any real
improvements which have been made.
We will now return from our digression. After a long
And tedious ride, during which a dark and squally night had
shut down over the desolate landscape, our hero's eyes were
at length greeted with the cheering light that issued from the
blazing logs, which, as usual on nights of the wintry character
of the present, were liberally piled on the hearth of his
father's kitchen. On reaching the house, he put his horse
into the stable, and joined the family group within, whom,
for the last hour, he had been envying, as he truly pictured
them sitting in comfort around the social fireside. Having
done good justice to a choice repast which maternal solicitude
had prepared and kept in readiness for his expected return,
he related the adventures of his excursion and the result,
and paused to hear the comments which his parents and
brother might make on the occasion.
They must be strange people," remarked Mrs. Amsden;
"and as parents, singular, indeed, must be their notions,
which permit them thus to sanction the conduct of their



boys, in such treatment of their instructors. Why, t am
sorry you engaged in such a place, Locke."
* "O, I don't know," said Mr. Amsden; they seem rather
rough, according to Locke's story, to be sure; but it may do
him good to place him among folks that will wake him up a
little. There's spunk enough in him, if you could get it to
the surface, I rather guess. At all events, now he has
engaged, I would do my best to carry it out, if I was he."
"So would I," promptly responded Ben. Why, I 've
seen those Horn-of-the-Moon boys often enough at the wrest-
ling rings at the muster training. Some of 'em, particularly
the Bunkers, are as strong as mooses, sure enough; but, in
any case that takes real grit to carry it out, I don't believe
they are any great scratch. I saw a little up-and-coming
sort of a fellow, from Sodom corner, in a fracas that a lot of
'em got into at the last muster, fairly scare from the ground
a fellow of the Horn gang as big as two of him; and then
stumped all the rest to come on, one at a time, and there
was n't a soul of the whole boodle that dared go it. Concern
'em! I could contrive a way to manage 'em."
And what would be the general features of your plan of
operations, my learned brother ? said Locke, smiling good-
naturedly at the thought of the other turning adviser in
matters of school-keeping.
I am learned enough to know what is the best way of
getting along with such a pack as the Horn-of-the-Moon
boys, at any rate, I think," replied Ben, slightly nettled;
and that is more than you know, or can do, without help, I
fear. But if you want to kndw my plan, Iwill tell you:-
In the first place, I would give out, in some way, that I was
most furious, quick-tempered, and so unfortunate bad and
ructious, that from a child, when any one crossed and dis-
puted me, I would fly all to pieces, and, without knowing



what I did, lay hold of the first thing I could find, and knock
him down. Now, don't you think they would be rather
careful what they did, after they believed that ?"
I shall go on and endeavor to do my duty in a proper
and decided manner," said Locke, in reply; "but to adopt
your plan, though it might have its effect for a while, would
yet be practising a deception to which I could never conde-
That is right, my son," said Mrs. Amsden: I approve
your determination to practise no deception; I would not,
whatever the result."
Why, mother," said Ben, to fight Old Nick with Old
Nick's play, if we must fight him at all, I thought was right,
the world over."
"No, Benjamin," rejoined the mother seriously, but
kindly, "that is a bad principle to act upon. Deception
never long prospers; and, by its destructive effect on the
morals of him who begins to practise it, generally ends in
the ruin of him and all his plans."
Ben did not attempt to controvert his mother's general
position, but still manifested a disposition to adhere to his
opinion respecting the right and expediency of adopting the
particular project he had advanced; and muttering, "Well,
Locke must be helped for all that," fell to musing and
devising some means by which his plan might be carried
into effect without his brother's agency; but, not seeing fit to
make known any of his conclusions, his remarks were soon
forgotten, and the whole subject being at length dropped, the
family retired for the night.



SDelightful task to rear the tender thought--
To teach the young idea how to shoot I"

THOSE who have had much experience in the business of
school-keeping, before yielding their unqualified assent to
the oft-quoted sentiment of the great rural poet which we
have placed over this chapter, would generally, we appre-
hend, wish to offer, as legislators say, an amendment to the
proposition, in the shape of a proviso, something like the
following:-Provided always, that the teacher can have
the privilege of selecting his pupils. Such, at all events,
were the feelings of our hero, as, with many misgivings, he
set out, on the appointed day, for the place where he was to
establish a government, in which (since the understood
failure of Mr. Jefferson's experiment of introducing self.
government, on the principles of a republic, into the college
of which he was the founder) the golden mean between
absolute monarchy and anarchy is wholly wanting a gov-
ernment over what, he had reason to believe, would prove, in
the present instance, as rebellious a set of subjects as were
ever brought to order beneath the birchen sceptre of a peda-
gogue. But however mild his disposition, or unassuming his
general demeanor, Locke Amsden was by no means wanting
in resolution. He possessed, indeed, one of those seemingly
paradoxical characters, so often to be found in the world, and
yet almost as often misunderstood, in which great diffidence
of manner is united with great firmness of purpose, and a
full confidence in the ability to execute. And, consequently,


whatever fEs fears and misgivings, he bravely combated
them, and endeavored to fortify his mind against the ap-
proaching hour of trial. In this, he was much aided by his
resolute little brother, Ben; who, for some secret reason, had
contrived to defeat a previously-made different arrangement
for the present journey, that he might himself attend the
former, in whose success his pride and interest seemed to be
wonderfully awakened.
On reaching the district where he had been engaged,
Locke repaired at once to the residence of his employer, at
whose house, it had been before arranged, he should first
take up his lodgings, as the beginning of that round of
boarding through the district, which here, as in many other
places, was made to add variety, to say the least of it, to the
monotonous life of the schoolmaster. He was received with
much rough cordiality by Bunker, and with some show of
respect by his mastiff-mannered boys. The good dame of
the house soon began to bestir herself ji preparation for a
meal for the new master and his brother, the latter of
whom, it was understood, after obtaining refreshment for
himself and horse, was to return home that evening.
While the dinner was preparing, Ben, having departed for
the stables, to see to his horse, in company with the boys, with
whom he seemed determined to scrape acquaintance, Locke
and his host soon became engaged in conversation on those
topics in which they had previously discovered themselves to
feel a mutual interest.
"I have felt considerable curiosity, since I became ac-
quainted with you, the other day," observed our hero, at a
point in the conversation when the remark might seem
appropriately introduced, "to know how it could have hap-
pened, that so thinking a man as yourself had never learned
to read?"



Are you quite certain I should have been so much of a
thinker as I am, if I had received a book-education ? said
Bunker, in reply.
"Your knowledge would have been more extensive, in that
case, doubtless, sir; and if you had been the worse thinker
for it, the fault would have been your own, I imagine,"
replied the other.
"All that may be," remarked Bunker, musingly, "and
perhaps it is so -perhaps it is with learning, as it is with
property, which we never keep and improve so well when
given to us, or get easily, as when it is obtained by our own
exertions by hard knocks and long digging. But whether
this is so or not, one thing to my mind is certain, and that is,
that more than half of your great book-men are, after all,
but very shallow thinkers; though the way they dress up a
subject with language, generally procures them the credit of
being otherwise; for it is curious enough to see what a deal
of real ignorance a few long words and learned terms are
made to conceal."
"Ay," said Locke, "but does not your argument run
against the abuse of learning, rather than its use ?"
"Possibly," replied Bunker; "but, at any rate, I have
often thought, that if I had received an education equal to
some of your great scholars, I should have found out rather
more than most of them appear to have done."
Your impressions," rejoined Locke, are, I suspect, by
no means uncommon. I formerly thought so myself; but
the more I study, the more I am convinced, that the unlearned
are accustomed to expect much more from the learned than
they should do. Scholars, however profound, can never
discover what God has purposely hidden from the human
There may be something in your remarks," observed the



other, and I will think over the subject again. But now,
to return to your first question What was the reason I had
never learned to read, was it ?"
"It was."
"Well, I will tell you honestly: it was, first, total want
of opportunity, and then pride, till I had got to be so old a
dog, that I thought I would not attempt to learn any new
"Those are rather unusual reasons, for this country, at
least, are they not ? "
"They are the true ones, in my case, neverthe ess. My
father was a trapper, and pitched his cabin at the very outskirts
of civilization, on one of the great rivers in Canada, where
schools were wholly out of the question;- even books were
so rare, that I don't recollect of ever seeing but one during
the whole of my boyhood. That one was my mother's old
worn and torn bible, which, at last, a gray squirrel, that
came in through the roof of our cabin, one day when we were
all out, knocked down from a shelf into the fire, as we con-
cluded, because we saw him escaping with a leaf in his
mouth, to help make his nest. This, as I said, was the only
book I remember to have seen; and this I should not recol-
lect, probably, but for the singular manner in which it was
destroyed, and the fact also that my mother, when she dis-
covered her loss, sat down and cried like a child- God bless
her memory -if she had lived, she would have got another,
and most likely have taught me to read it. But she died
soon after, leaving me, at the age of about five, to the care
of an ignorant hussy, that my father, in due time, married.
Well, there I remained till I was twenty; when I left, and
found my way into this part of the country, among people,
who, to my surprise, could all read and write. I was not
long, however, in discovering, that I was about as ignorant a
heathen as ever came out of the bush. But, instead of going



to school as I might and should have done, I felt ashamed to
let people know my condition, and so let pride deprive me
of a blessing which I could have easily obtained. And so it
continued with me, till I married and settled down here on a
new farm; when, if the pride I spoke of died away, its place
was soon supplied by business cares and a lot of little squall-
ers, that took away all chance or thought of learning to read.
But, though not able to read myself, I can easily get others
to do this for me. And, late years, having bought a good
many books of different kinds for my wife or boys to read to
me, I have got, in this way, and by talking with book-men
both roua home and abroad, a pretty tolerable good run of
most that has been printed. And the result has been, that I
have been sadly disappointed in what I used to suppose the
mighty wisdom of books. To be sure, there are many books
that are full of information and true philosophy; but let me
tell you, sir, there is a prodigious sight of nonsense bound
up together in the shape of books."
The dinner being now announced as in readiness, Locke
went out to call in his brother, whom he at length espied in
the yard of a grist-mill belonging to Bunker, and situated at
no great distance from his house. Ben had here collected
round him not only the young Bunkers, but several other
boys who had come to mill from different parts of the dis-
trict; and he was apparently making some communications
to them, to which they were very evidently listening with
considerable interest and surprise. What might be the
nature of his communication, however, Locke, at that time,
neither suspected nor ascertained, as he did not go near
enough to hear what was said, and as Ben, when questioned
on the subject, after joining the other, refused or evaded any
direct answer.
As soon as the brothers had finished the repast which had
been prepared for them, Ben got up his team, and, bidding



his brother to remember to put on a stiff upper lip when
he went into his school," cracked his whip and started off for
The next morning, after breakfast, as Locke was about to
leave for the school-house, for the commencement of his
task, Bunker took him aside: -
I should like to ask you one question, master," he said;
"and if you answer it at all, which you can do as you like
about, I hope you will do it candidly."
Certainly, I will, Mr. Bunker," replied the other, in some
Well, I overheard my boys saying last night, that your
brother, who came with you, told them and some others down
at the mill, that you had such a fiery and ungovernable tem-
per, that your family, as well as all the boys in your neigh-
borhood, always run from you, when you get offended (as
you often do at almost nothing), lest you should seize an
axe and split their brains out; and he begged of them, with
tears in his eyes, not to cross you in school, or break any of
your orders; for if they did, you would be almost certain to
seize the shovel or a cleft of wood, and kill one of them on
the spot; and then he should have to see his brother hung
for doing only what was natural to him, and what he could n't
help. Now, though I have said nothing, yet I think I see
through the object of tlis story; and I want to ask you, not
whether it is true for I think it must be all humbug but
whether you put your brother up to this little plot, or whether
it was one of his own hatching ? "
It was one solely of his own contriving, and used without
my knowledge or consent," replied Locke, promptly.
I am glad of it," rejoined Bunker; "for, though there
would have been nothing very criminal in such a course, yet,
I confess, it would have lowered you in my opinion. It was
well enough in such a chick as I suspect your brother to be;



and I have concluded to have it go, for the present, just as
he left it; for there is no knowing how much it may help
you in keeping the boys under. So I advise you to keep
your own counsel, go to your school, be decided, but treat
your scholars like men and women, and not like slaves or
senseless puppets, as some of our masters have done, to their
own sorrow, I think. Do this, and I presume you will have
no trouble in managing them. But whatever method you
may take to govern them, be sure that you make them good
On reaching the school-house, where he found most of the
pupils assembled, Locke soon saw indications, which con-
vinced him, that Ben's bugbear representations, which had
been made with so much address and apparent honesty that
the truth of them seems not to have been doubted, were
already known to every individual in school; and that, in
consequence, he had become, with the younger portion of
them especially, the object of a terror which he little thought
it would ever be his lot to inspire. This, indeed, was plainly
discoverable the first moment he entered the house; for
coming among them somewhat unexpectedly, while his fan-
cied traits of character were under discussion, they scattered
for their seats with nearly as much haste and trepidation, as
they would have shown had a dangerous wild beast walked
into the room. And, in two minutes, all was so still, that
not a sound, unless it was the beating of the hearts of the
more timid, could be heard in the apartment. Nor did
the vivid impressions of their new master's severity,
which had thus oddly been received by the scholars, and
which had fairly frightened them into such unwonted still-
ness, prove of so temporary a character as he expected.
And often during the day, while arranging his classes or
attending to the ordinary duties of the school, he scarcely
knew whether he felt most secret amusement or pity at the



evident sensations of many around him, as he observed with
what trembling anxiety his movements were watched, and
saw how many furtive and expressive glances were cast at
his face, in which, as their excited imaginations then pictured
him, they appeared to read that which put all thoughts of
roguery or misbehavior to instant flight. All this, to be sure,
had reference mainly to the younger portion of the pupils.
The older part, it is true, though their demeanor was marked
by a respectful quietness, appeared rather to be debating in
their minds the expediency of taking their former courses, than
entertaining any particular alarms for themselves, while their
behavior should be, to a decent degree, orderly. And during
the intermissions of the first two or three days, little groups
of the usually insubordinate might have been seen engaged
in discussing the momentous question, how far it might be
safe or feasible to attempt to subjugate the master, in the
same way they had several of his predecessors. In all these
consultations, however, Tom Bunker, whom his father had
secretly engaged to take Locke's part in case of trouble,
unexpectedly hung back, telling them they could do as they
pleased; but perhaps they would find out, that they had
better let the man alone. This coming, as it did, from their
acknowledged champion, and one who had generally acted as
ringleader in their former outbreaks against their teachers,
not a little dampened the ardor of the advocates of rebellion.
And after a few idle threats and expressions of defiance,
thrown out by the way of warding off any imputations which
might be made on their courage for retreating from their posi-
tion, they finally relinquished their designs on the master, and
concluded to submit to his authority, at least till he became
the aggressor, in those acts of tyranny that they expected he
would ere long exhibit towards them. The movements of
the latter, therefore, were watched with no less silent suspi-
cion by the larger, than with fear by the smaller pupils,



during the first week of his school. Perceiving all this, he
very wisely shaped his course for establishing his authority
on a more permanent foundation than can ever be raised in
feelings where fear alone is the governing principle. While
dignity and decision of manner marked his conduct in enforc-
ing good order in school, he yet made kindness and courtesy
to characterize his general demeanor towards all his scholars.
This course he adopted no less from the suggestions of his
own mind, drawn from the remembrance of the effect which
kindness and respect in a teacher always produced on his
feelings when he himself was a pupil, than from the recom-
mendation of Bunker, "to treat his scholars like men and
The sentiment of the last-named person on this subject is
indeed one well deserving of the consideration of all instruc-
tors of youth. Few teachers seem to be aware what a just
estimate children put upon manners how quickly they pass
a sentence of condemnation on all that is coarse, contemptu-
ous, or unfeeling, and how soon they appreciate every thing
that denotes respect and kindness towards them. If teachers
would properly consider this, they would find less difficulty,
perhaps, in accounting for the little influence which they often
find themselves capable of exercising over the minds of their
pupils: for almost as certain as one pursues the first-named
-course of conduct towards them, will his precepts be rejected;
while the precepts of him who exhibits the last-mentioned
conduct will be readily received, and treasured up for im-
And such was the effect of the kind and judicious manner
which Locke displayed among the rough and uncultured
pupils he had undertaken to control. When they saw, that,
instead of turning out the cruel and capricious tyrant they
had expected, he wanted nothing of them but what their own
consciences told them was just and reasonable, and especially



When they found themselves uniformly treated with such re-
spectful courtesy, when their behavior was not exceptionable,
all the mingled feelings of hatred, fear, and suspicion, with
which they had armed themselves in anticipation of an oppo-
site treatment, rapidly melted into an affectionate reverence,
that not only destroyed, in most of them, all inclination for
insubordinate conduct, but made them anxious to gain his
approbation; the more particularly so, doubtless, from the
belief they still entertained, that his displeasure would be
attended with fearful consequences to themselves.
The first object of our instructor, that of gaining willing
ears for what he wished to impart, was now, to a good de-
gree, accomplished. And no sooner had he made sure of
this important point, than he began to redouble his exertions
to rouse their minds from that cold and listless intellectual
condition in which they were unconsciously sunk, and which
caused them to look upon learning and all attempts at
mental excellence as a mere matter of secondary concern.
This he did, not so much by general exhortation (for he well
knew that scholars generally hate preaching masters), as by
what logicians call arguments -ad hominem, addressing the
self-love of one, the vanity of another, the curiosity of a
third, and so on; the dispositions of each having been pre-
viously studied for the purpose. In fine, he adopted almost
as many expedients as he had pupils, in inciting them to
push forward in their particular studies, and in awakening
in their bosoms a love of learning. And, in doing this, he
also labored incessantly, with argument, ridicule, and such
familiar illustrations as they could best understand and
appreciate, in showing them the superiority of mind over
matter, or mere physical powers; and in setting up the true
standard of excellence among them, instead of the false one,
to attain to which seemed hitherto to have been the only
object of their emulation. The happy results of these well.



directed exertions were soon apparent. The exploits of the
wrestling ring, the leaping match, and other of the rough
athletics, in which it had been their chief pride to excel,
were no longer the main topic of conversation; and the
feats of bullies and hectoring blades, exercised upon school-
masters, ministers, and deacons, were no longer considered a
matter of boasting. The keen interest formerly manifested
on all these subjects, indeed, had so sensibly declined, that
they were now seldom mentioned. But in their place were
heard, both during the intermissions of school, and the
evenings spent at home, almost nothing but talk of studies,
anecdotes of the school, or the discussion of the arithmetical
puzzles, and the various interesting and curious questions
relative to the phenomena of nature, which the teacher was
in the habit of putting out, with which to exercise the minds
of his pupils. The parents of the district witnessed this
change in their children with no less surprise than pleasure,
and wondered by what magic it could have been effected.
Bunker, the committee-man, daily grew proud of his selec-
tion of a teacher, and declared he had already done more
towards making good thinkers of his scholars than any of
their former instructors had done in a whole winter. In
short, before two weeks had elapsed, the whole Horn-of-
the-Moon was ringing with praises of the new master.
But although young Amsden's school was fast becoming
what he had so sedulously labored to make it, and although
his pupils had generally, since the expiration of the first
half week of their attendance, so far shown themselves
disposed to obedience and propriety of behavior, as led him
to believe that no attempt would now be made to resist his
orders, yet it was not long before he found he should not be
permitted to avoid the test to which a master's firmness and
discretion are almost invariably put, in maintaining his au-
thority, at some period or other of his school.



This period, which forms a sort of crisis in the teacher's
government, resulting either in its overthrow, or in its estab-
lishment on a permanent basis, generally occurs about the third
week of the school. After the first few days of the school,
during which the restraints which scholars feel under a new
master, or the fears they may entertain of his yet untried
spirit and promptitude in administering punishment, usually
keep them quiet and orderly, they begin to take liberties;
though at first of so trivial a character, that a teacher, not
finding in them any particular cause of complaint, suffers
them to pass unnoticed. From this, the more evil-disposed
go on crowding, crowding a little, and a little more, upon his
authority, till they get so bold that he finds the most de-
cisive measures will alone save his dominion from a total
Something like this was the process which Locke had
perceived going on in his school, without knowing exactly
where to interpose his authority; when one, a boy of about
fourteen, who had been more forward than others in the
course, one day grew so bold as to place his orders at abso-
lute defiance. Perceiving at once that his government was
at an end, unless the offender was conquered, and indignant
at his unexpected audacity, our hero, under the impulse of
the moment, was about to chastise him on the spot. A second
thought, however, told him that he was too much irritated
to do this now with the best effect on the offender, or on
others inclined to become so; and he accordingly apprised
the boy of the reason for deferring his punishment, but'prom-
ised him, at the same time, that punishment would certainly
follow. Although this act of disobedience was not instigated
by any one, even by those from whom he had most reason
to apprehend difficulties, yet either that, or the threatened
chastisement, seemed to produce considerable sensation
among them, by awakening, perhaps, remembrances of their



old fracases in resisting their teachers on similar occasions,
and in exciting in some degree their sleeping inclinations to
take some such part when the punishment of the present
offender should be inflicted. In addition to these suspi.
cious appearances, he noticed, after his school was dismissed
for the day, considerable mysterious whispering among two
or three of those just mentioned, and overheard one of
them, a relative of the offender, trying to excite the others
to join him in preventing the threatened punishment, which
they supposed would take place on the opening of the school
the next morning. But our hero, unmoved by these unex-
pected and somewhat ominous demonstrations, resolved to go
resolutely forward and do his duty, whatever might be the
consequences to himself. On his way homeward, however,
while reflecting upon the subject of school-punishment, its
object, and the most effective manner of administering it to
obtain that object, he began seriously to doubt the wisdom
and expediency of the custom which he had always witnessed,
and which he had proposed to follow in the present case, -
that of inflicting chastisements in open school. He reasoned,
and from a just notion of the human heart too, that the
presence of companions, whom the delinquent knew to be
looking on to see with what spirit he bore up under the
operation, that they might afterwards praise him for the
spunk he exhibited, or taunt him for his weakness if he was
seen to succumb, would in most instances have a tendency
to arm him with feelings of pride and obstinacy, which
would not only destroy all the beneficial effects to be gained
from the punishment, but often make him more obdurate than
before. So strongly, indeed, did these considerations weigh
on the mind of Locke, that he at length determined to adopt
a different mode of punishing the boy in question; and after
trying to judge of his own feelings, were he placed in the
offender's situation, as to what course would most conduce to



that penitence and humility best calculated for amendment,
and calling to mind all he had ever observed of the effects
of punishment on others, he at last hit on a plan which
he determined to carry into immediate execution. Accord-
ingly, after obtaining his supper, he repaired at once to the
culprit's residence, and, taking his father aside, made known
tlboy's conduct, the absolute necessity of his punishment,
and gave his reasons for wishing to inflict that punishment
in private; ending with a request, that the other should call
out his boy, and that they all three should repair together to
the school-house for the purpose he had mentioned.
Why, the boy deserves a basting richly enough, no
doubt," observed the father; yes, and a good one too. And,
if I was you, I would give it to him. But what on earth do
you want my help in flogging him for? Why, that is part
of what we are paying you for, I take it, master."
"I wish for no help in the mere chastisement," replied
Locke; "but I think your presence would add much to its
beneficial effects, and it is only for your son's good that I
request you to go."
Well, well," rejoined the former, if you think it will do
the boy any good,-and I don't know but you are half right
about it; for I think if I was a boy, I should dislike most
confoundedly to be licked by a schoolmaster before my
father- if you think this, why, I will go with you but I
kinder hate to, that's a fact."
His reluctance having been thus wisely overcome, the fa-
ther promptly called out his boy, who, not daring to disobey
the command which was then given him, followed the two
others, in dogged silence, to the school-house. On reaching
the house, which, as expected and desired, was entirely
solitary, Locke raised a light, and proceeded to the painful
task before him. He first kindly addressed the offender; and,
in a manner calculated to humble without irritating, set forth



the probable consequences, both to him and the school, of
suffering his offence to pass without punishment, which he
had been called there to receive, and then administered a
chastisement of adequate severity. After this, he was again
addressed by his teacher, the father occasionally putting in a
word, for nearly an hour, before the expiration of which he
gave unequivocal evidence of not only being deeply penipnt
for the past, but resolved on good behavior for the future.
While so many alterations and improvements have been
made in the education and management of children and
youth at school, it is somewhat remarkable, that so little
variation has taken place in the mode and character of school
punishments, which, with some slight abatement, perhaps, in
degree and frequency, have remained nearly the same since
the days of King Solomon, who had a wondrous high opinion,
it will be recollected, of the virtues of the rod. From nearly
all our civil codes, instituted for the government of men,
whipping, for the punishment of offences, has been repudi-
ated, as not only barbarous, but calculated to harden rather
than amend; and confinement in prison, or other punishment,
substituted. Is the distinction which is thus kept up between
the government of men and children, made because the
young are more obdurate than the old? Certainly not; for
the reverse of this is acknowledged to be the fact. Is it,
then, because a similar change in the government of schools
is impracticable? We understand not why this should be;
since, if expulsions or degradations would not effect the
object, rooms for solitary confinement might easily be pro-
vided for every school-house, and the delinquent imprisoned
till he would be glad to purchase liberty by amendment.
There may be sound reasons for the distinction we have
mentioned, but we oonfess we are unable to discover them.
But suppose we admit, that the punishment of whipping
is sometimes indispensable for insuring obedience and order


in school, is there not room for improvement both in the
frequency and manner of its application? Nothing has a
greater tendency to brutalize the feelings, to deaden all
the best sensibilities of the heart, than frequent repetitions
of this questionable practice. If it must be resorted to, let
it be seldom; and then, for reasons before suggested, let it
be done in private, and, if possible, in the presence of a
parent. If thus done, unless we have read in vain the
young heart, its restraining fears, and its keen aad over-
powering sense of guilt and shame, when conscious that
there is no one present to uphold and countenance it in
error, rare indeed will be the cases in which a repetition of
the punishment will ever be found necessary.
The scholars, the next morning, assembled under the
expectation that the business of the day would be opened by
the promised punishment of the culprit of yesterday. But
when they perceived that no movement of the kind was
likely to be made, and especially when they noticed the
altered demeanor of the boy, whose whole appearance, in-
stead of the brazen looks which he wore on leaving school
the preceding evening, now indicated the deepest humility,
their disappointment was equalled only by their surprise. It
was evident enough to them, that something had occurred to
effect this unexpected alteration of circumstances. But what
this was, they were wholly at a loss to conjecture. And, as
the boy, when they went out, either avoided them or evaded
their questions, the mystery was not solved till one of the
boys, who had been home for his dinner, accidentally got
hold of the truth; and hastened back to impart the important
news to his companions.
"'HurraI boys," he exclaimed, as he came puffing up to a
group assembled in the school-house yard to discuss the
subject anew before entering the school for the afternoon,
hurra! boys, I have found out all about it, now."



How was it, how was it?" asked a dozen eager voices
at once.
"I'll tell ye," replied the boy, lowering his voice, and as-
suming a look of awe, as he thought of what he was about to
relate. "They took him--that is, his father and the master--
they took him last night .here to the school-house- only
think of that, all alone in the night! and then the master
gave him, I do spose, one of the terriblest hidings that ever
was heard of."
"What! right afore his father ?" exclaimed several of the
older boys, evidently surprised and disconcerted to hear of
this new mode of punishment, which might soon be adopted
in their own cases.
"Yes," replied the former, "and then kept him half the
night, forzino, talking to him like a minister, till he most cried
himself to death, they said. How awfully want it, now?"
"Why, I rather he'd a killed me," responded one of the
former, in which he seemed to be joined by both old and
young; all of whom, for different reasons, saw much to dis-
like and dread in the picture.
"Well, I give in beat," observed the young bully, who, as
before intimated, was meditating resistance to the punish-
ment in question; "somehow, I can't get the hang of this
new master. He does every thing so different from what a
fellow is looking for; and I have about concluded we may as
well mind our own business, and let him alone."
"So, Mike, you have come to my opinion at last, have
you ?" said Tom Bunker, who had been listening in silence.
" Now I have said but little about this affair, from first to
last; and if you had had a chance to go on with the shine
you was thinking of, I can't say what part I should have
taken, if the master had needed help; but I want to tell you
I think he has used us all like a gentleman, and I would fight
for him. And now, Mike, what do you say to backing him



up in keeping order, and using him as he wants to use us,
for the rest of the winter ? "
"That is what I have been thinking of myself-I am
agreed," answered Mike.
"Well, then, boys," rejoined Tom, "let us all hands now
into the house for our books; and the one that learns the
most, and behaves the best, shall be the best fellow."
The crisis had passed. In the defeat of this last and im-
potent attempt to break down the authority of our school-
master, his triumph was completed. All seemed to under-
stand this; and, for the.remainder of the season, no school
could have been more distinguished for good order and
All troubles in regard to government being now at an end,
and no others being anticipated by Locke, he urged his
pupils forward in their studies with all the incitements he
could command. But even this may sometimes, perhaps, be
carried too far. At all events, he was accused of so doing,
in connection with an event which soon occurred, and which
came near reeking up his school But the relation of this
unexpected and painful incident, we will reserve for a new



So swift the ill of such mysterious kind,
That fear with pity mingled in each mind."'

IT was near the middle of the dark and dreary season
which characterizes our northern clime. Old Winter had
taken his January nap. And having protracted longer than
usual his cold, sweaty slumbers, he had now, as if to make
amends for his remissness, aroused himself with a rage and
fury which seemed to show his determination to expel the
last vestige of his antagonistic element, heat, that had thus
invaded and for a while disarmed him, for ever from his do-
minions. The whole season, indeed, to drop the metaphori-
cal for plain language, had been one of uncomnbn mildness.
A warm and broken December had been succeeded by a still
warmer and more thawy January. And so little had people
been made aware of the presence of winter thus far, that
their doors were often left open, and small fires only were
either used or required. But the cold weather now set in
with intense severity, and compelled all to keep tightly closed
doors and roaring fires.
The school-house, which we have been for some time
making the scene of action, had been built the preceding fall;
and the interior, consequently, had been freshly plastered;
while the wood-work of the doors and windows, already tight
before from its newness, had been swollen by the recent
thawy weather; so that the whole room, by this, and the
finishing operation of the frost in closing up the remaining


interstices, had been made almost wholly impervious to the
admission of any fresh air from without. From this, how-
ever, no evil consequences, owing to the mildness of the
season, and the attendant circumstances we have mentioned,
had resulted to the school. But scarcely a week had elapsed,
after the change of weather just described, before the schol-
ars, though apparently much enjoying the contrasted comforts
of their tight, stove-heated room, while the eold, savage
blasts could be heard raging and howling without, became
very visibly affected. A livid paleness overspread their fea-
tures; while their every appearance and movement indicated
great and increasing languor and feebleness. The general
health of the school, in short, including that of the master,
seemed to be rapidly failing. These indications were soon
followed by several instances of so great illness as to confine
its victims to their homes, and even to their beds. Among
the latter was the case of the only son and child of a poor,
but pious and intelligent widow, by the name of Marvin,
which excited in the boom of Locke feelings of the deepest
sorrow for the misfortune of the boy, and sympathy in the
affliction of his dating parent. And it was not without
reason that both teacher and parent were touched with pecu-
liar grief on the occasion; for the boy, who was about ten
years old, was not only kind and amiable in disposition, but
a very excellent scholar. And now, almost for the first time,
having the advantages of good instruction, and his ambition
and natural love of learning having been kindled into enthu-
siasm by the various incitements held out to him by his
instructor, with whom he had become a secret favorite, he
pursued his studies with an ardor and assiduity which knew
no relaxation. And having made surprising progress in
grammar, during the few weeks the school had kept, he had
recently solicited and obtained leave to commence arithmetic,
to which he was giving his whole heart and soul, when he



was thus snatched from his engrossing pursuit by the hand
of sickness.
These cases of sickness, and especially the more serious
one of the good and studious little Henry, the boy we have
particularized, produced much sensation in the neighborhood.
And the cause, not only of these instances of absolute illness,
but of the altered and sickly appearance of the whole school,
which now excited observation and uneasiness, began to be
generally discussed. As no epidemic was prevailing in the
country, and as all other schools in the vicinity, as far as
could be heard from, were even unusually healthy, it was
soon concluded that the present unhealthiness must be occa-
sioned by something wrong about the school-house, or in the
manner of conducting the school. And as nothing amiss
could possibly be perceived in the school-house, which all
pronounced warm and comfortable, it was settled that the
fault, of course, must be looked for in the master. Some
averred that the latter, by undue severity, or by some other
means, had broken down the spirit of his scholars, which had
caused them to become melancholy, drooping, and sickly.
Others said that he had made the scholars study so hard,
that it had caused their health to give way under the tasks
which they were induced, through fear, or some mysterious
influence he had obtained over their minds, to perform. And
there were yet others who carried still farther the idea thrown
out by those last named, and contended that the master must
have resorted to some unlawful art or power, which he had
exercised upon his pupils, not only to subjugate them, but
somehow to give them an unnatural thirst for their studies,
and as unnatural a power of mastering them. In proof of
this, one man cited the instance of his son, who, having be-
come half-crazed on his arithmetic, and having worked all
one evening on a sum which he could not do, went to bed,
leaving his slate upon the table, but rose some time in the


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