Boy Farmer

James at Farming—More Money Needed—Plans Suggested—Teaching in View—The“I Cans”—Swallowing the Egg—His Self-reliance— William Carey, the Missionary—Not Egotism, or Pride—“Where there’s a Will there’s a Way”—“God helps those who help themselves” —“Self-made, or Never Made”—What a Statesman Said —What James said Forty Years After—Playing in School, and Sent Home—The Humorous Side—Enlarging the Log-Cabin

At eight years of age, James had his daily labour to perform as steadily as Thomas. The latter went out to work among the neighbours, often imposing thereby quite a responsibility upon James, who looked after the stock and farm at home. He could chop wood, milk cows, shell corn, cultivate vegetables, and do many other things that farmers must do.

It was very great assistance to the family when Thomas could earn a little money by his labour. That money procured some indispensable articles, the absence of which was a real privation both to mother and children. They needed more money now than ever, because all must have shoes, and all must have books; and there were the teachers to pay, and occasional meetings at the school-house now were some expense. So that the earnings of Thomas just met a demand of the time, in which every member of the household shared.

“You are eight years old, my son, and Thomas is seventeen,” said Mrs. Garfield to James. “Thomas was not eleven years old when your father died, and he had to take your father’s place on the farm. You must be getting ready to take Thomas’s place, for he will soon be of age, and then he will have to go out into the world to seek his fortune, and you will have to take care of the farm.”

“I can do that,” James answered.

“Not without learning how to do it,” said his mother.

“ ‘Practice makes perfect,’ is an old and true proverb.”

“I know that I can take care of the farm if Tom could,” interrupted James, with some assurance.

“Yes, when you are as old as he,” suggested his mother.

“That is what I mean—when I get to be as old as he was.”

“I hope that some day you will do something better than farming,” continued Mrs. Garfield.

“What is there better than farming?” James asked.

“It is better for some men to teach and preach. Wouldn’t you like to teach school?”

“When I am old enough, I should.”

“Well, it won’t be long before you are old enough. If you are qualified, you can teach school when you are as old as Thomas is now.”

“When I am seventeen?” James responded with some surprise. All of his teachers had been older than that, and he could scarcely see how he could do the same at seventeen.

“Yes, at seventeen or eighteen. Many young men teach school as early as that. But farming comes first in order, as we are situated.”

“And it is time to get the cows now,” remarked James, hurrying off for them, and terminating the conversation.

James was a self-reliant boy, just the one to take hold of farm work with tact and vigour. He scarcely knew what “I can’t” meant. It was an expression that he never used. The phrase that he had just employed

  By PanEris using Melati.

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