“He took him by the hand and led him back, looking at us, and smiling; and he told him that each boy had his own seat in school, and he must keep it.”

“You are a great one, Jimmy,” exclaimed Thomas, tossing the little midget into the air again. “You will make music for them in school.”

“Well, children, I am glad that you like your school so well,” remarked their mother, who had been listening to the prattle with maternal interest. “You must make the most of it, too, for we can’t expect many school advantages in these woods. Poor opportunities are better than none.”

Ohio schools were of the poorest class then, short and miserable. The teachers knew but little to begin with, and children had to travel so far to school that their attendance was limited to certain parts of the year. In many schools reading, spelling, and writing were the only branches taught. Geography and arithmetic were added to the studies in some schools. All of these branches were pursued in the school which the Garfield children attended. Teachers in the new settlements, at that time, were usually males; it was not supposed that females could teach school well. That females make the best teachers, as a class, is a recent discovery.

The books used in the best pioneer schools of Ohio were Webster’s Spelling-book, the English Reader, Pike’s and Adam’s Arithmetic, and Morse’s (old) Geography. The Garfields possessed all of these. They had, also, the Farmers’ Almanack, and a copy of Davy Crockett’s Almanack, which was found, at one time, in almost every cabin of the West. Reading books were scarce then throughout the country, in comparison with the present time; in the wilds of Ohio they were not so plenty as panthers and wolves. Many of the few books found there related to exciting adventures with beasts of prey, hair-breadth escapes on perilous waters, and the daring exploits of pirates and rascals; and they were illustrated with very poor pictures. Three or four volumes, besides the Bible and school-books, constituted the whole literary outfit of the Garfields. They had more brains than books, as the sequel will abundantly prove.

The village where the school was located was not much of a village after all. In addition to the log school- house, eighteen by twenty feet, there was a grist-mill, and a log-house, in a part of which was a store, the other part being used for a dwelling. The place is now known by the name of Chagrin Falls, and derived its singular name from the following fact. A bright Yankee began the settlement, attracted thither by the stream of water. He removed to the place in the winter time, when the stream was swollen and swift, and he erected a saw-mill. But when the summer came the stream dried up, and his hopes dried up with it. His chagrin was so great over his dry enterprise that he named the locality as above, in order to warn his Yankee relations against repeating his folly.

We cannot delay to rehearse much that transpired in school during the first term that James attended. Two or three matters of special interest only can be noticed.

We have said that James was very familiar with Bible stories; and we have intimated, too, that he was very inquisitive. His questions often created a laugh in school, both teacher and scholars enjoying their originality and pertinency very much. The fact was, James meant to understand things as he went along, and so his active brain put many inquiries over which the school was merry. They were not merry because his questions were pointless and childish; far otherwise. They were merry because such a little fellow showed so much brightness and precocity by his inquiries. Scholars and teachers came to regard him as a sort of prodigy.

One day, at noon, an older scholar set him upon the table, saying,—

“Now, Jimmy, you be master and ask questions, and we will be scholars and answer them.”

“Take ’oo seats, then,” responded Jimmy, by way of consenting, his bright eyes sparkling with delight.

The pupils took their seats in glee.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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