to the world around him, alive only to the world to which he was transported by his book.
Visitors would come in, chat a while, and go away, without knowing he was present, and without his being aware of their coming and going.
It was a nightly struggle to get him to bed. His father required his services early in the morning, and was therefore desirous that he should go to bed early in the evening.
He feared, also, for the eye-sight of the boy, reading so many hours with his head in the fire and by the flaring, flickering light of a pine knot.
And so, by nine o'clock, his father would begin
the task of recalling the absent mind from its roving, and rousing the prostrate and dormant body.
And when Horace at length had been forced to beat a retreat, he kept his younger brother awake by telling over to him in bed what he had read, and by reciting the school lessons of the next day. His brother was by no means of a literary turn, and was prone—much to the chagrin of Horace—to fall asleep long before the lessons were all said and the tales all told.
So entire and passionate a devotion to the acquisition of knowledge in one so young, would be remarkable in any circumstances.
But when the situation of the boy is considered—living in a remote And very rural district—few books accessible—few literary persons residing near—the school contributing scarcely anything to his mental nourishment—no other boy in the neighborhood manifesting any particular interest in learning—the people about him all engaged in a rude and hard struggle to extract the means of subsistence from a rough and rocky soil—such an intense, absorbing, and persistent love of knowledge as that exhibited by Horace Greeley
, must be accounted very extraordinary.
That his neighbors so accounted it, they are still eager to attest.
Continually the wonder grew, that one small head should carry all he knew.
There were not wanting those who thought that superior means of instruction ought to be placed within the reach of so superior a child.
I have a somewhat vague, but very positive, and fully confirmed story, of a young man just returned from college to his father's house in Bedford
, who fell in with Horace, and was so struck with his capacity and attainments that he offered to send him to an academy in a neighboring town, and bear all the expenses