of his maintenance and tuition.
But his mother could not let him go, his father needed his assistance at home, and the boy himself is said not to have favored the scheme.
A wise, a fortunate choice, I cannot help believing.
That academy may
have been an institution where boys received more good than harm—where real knowledge
was imparted—where souls were inspired with the love of high and good things, and inflamed with an ambition to run a high and good career—where boys did not
lose all their modesty and half their sense—where chests were expanded—where cheeks were ruddy—where limbs were active—where stomachs were peptic.
But if it was, it was a different academy from many whose praises are in all the newspapers.
It was better not to run the risk.
If that young man's offer had been accepted, it is a question whether the world would have ever heard of Horace Greeley
Probably his fragile body would not have sustained the brain-stimulating treatment which a forward and eager boy generally receives at an academy.
A better friend, though not a better meaning one, was a jovial neighbor, a sea-captain, who had taken to farming.
The captain had seen the world, posessed the yarn-spinning faculty, and besides, being himself a walking traveller's library, had a considerable collection of books, which he freely lent to Horace.
His salute, on meeting the boy, was not “How do you do, Horace?”
but “Well, Horace, what's the capital of Turkey
” or, “Who fought the battle of Eutaw springs
or, “How do you spell Encyclopedia, or Kamtschatka, or Nebuchadnezzar?”
The old gentleman used to question the boy upon the contents of the books he had lent him, and was again and again surprised at the fluency, the accuracy, and the fullness of his replies.
The captain was of service to Horace in various ways, and he is remembered by the family with gratitude.
's brother he once gave a sheep and a load of hay to keep it on during the winter, thus adapting his benefactions to the various tastes of his juvenile friends.
A clergyman, too, is spoken of, who took great interest in Horace, and gave him instruction in grammar, often giving the boy erroneous information to test his knowledge.
Horace, he used to say, could never be shaken on a point which he had once clearly understood, but would stand to his opinion, and defend it against anybody and everybody—teacher, pastor, or public opinion.