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Chapter 3: early childhood.

  • The village of Amherst
  • -- character of the adjacent country -- the Greeley farm -- the Tribune in the room in which its editor was born -- Horace learns to read -- book up-side down -- goes to school in Londonderry -- a district school forty years ago -- Horace as a young orator -- has a mania for spelling hard words -- gets great glory at the spelling school -- recollections of his surviving schoolfellows -- his future eminence foretold -- delicacy of ear -- early choice of a trade -- his courage and timidity -- goes to school in Bedford -- a favorite among his schoolfellows-his early fondness for the village newspaper -- lies in ambush for the post-rider who brought it -- Scours the country for books -- project of sending him to an academy -- the old sea-captain -- Horace as a farmer's boy -- let us do our stint first -- his way of fishing.

Amherst is the county town of Hillsborough, one of the three counties of New Hampshire which are bounded on the South by the State of Massachusetts. It is forty-two miles north-west of Boston.

The village of Amherst is a pleasant place. Seen from the summit of a distant hill, it is a white dot in the middle of a level plain, encircled by cultivated and gently-sloping hills. On a nearer approach the traveler perceives that it is a cluster of white houses, looking as if they had alighted among the trees and might take to wing again. On entering it he finds himself in a very pretty village, built round an ample green and shaded by lofty trees. It contains three churches, a printing-office, a court-house, a jail, a tavern, half a dozen stores, an exceedingly minute watchmaker's shop, and a hundred private houses. There is not a human being to be seen, nor a sound to be heard, except the twittering of birds overhead, and the distant whistle of a locomotive, which in those remote regions seems to make the silence audible. The utter silence and the deserted aspect of the older villages in New England are remarkable. In the morning and evening there is some appearance of life in Amherst; but in the hours of the day when the men are at work, the women busy with their household affairs, and the children at school, the visitor may sit at the window

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