After Vacation

Vacation—Building a Barn for his Mother—A Job with a Farmer— Behind Time—Evening Studies—The Lonely Ninepence—Horace Mann—Return to the Seminary—Giving away the Ninepence— The Milk Diet—The Result—A Better Diet Sought—Fifty Cents a Week the Maximum—Talk with Principal about Teaching School —His Qualifications for it—A Scrape Among the Boys—James Stands Up for the Right—A Profitable Term

A Vacation of two months in the summer gave James ample opportunity for manual labour. Thomas was at home, and he decided to build a frame-barn for his mother. He could have the assistance of James, who really knew more about barn-building than Thomas did.

“I s’pose you can frame it, Jim?” said Thomas.

“I suppose that I can, if algebra and philosophy have not driven out all I learned of the business.”

“You can try your hand at it, then. I should think that algebra and philosophy would help rather than hinder barn-building,” added Thomas.

“Precious little they have to do with barns, I tell you,” responded James. “They are taking studies, though.”

“It won’t take you long to find out what you can do,” continued Thomas; “it spoils some boys to go to school too much.”

Thomas had prepared sufficient timber when he was at home, at different times, for the barn. It was ail ready to be worked into the building; and the brothers proceeded to the task resolutely, James leading off in framing it. No outside help was called in, Thomas and James considering themselves equal to the task.

We need not delay to record the details of the job. It will answer our purpose to add, simply that the barn was built by the brothers, and thus one more convenience was added for the comfort of their mother. The day of log buildings was now over to the Garfield family. Times had wonderfully changed since Mr. Garfield died, and the population of the township had increased, so that “the wilderness and solitary place” had disappeared.

As soon as the barn was completed, James sought work elsewhere among the farmers. He must earn some money before returning to Chester, for a portion of his doctor’s bill remained unpaid, and then, a new suit of clothes, shirts, and other things would require quite an outlay.

He found a farmer behind time in getting his hay.

“Yes, I want you,” the farmer said; “and I wish you had been here two weeks ago: it seems as if haying would hold out all summer.”

“You are rather behind time, I judge,” replied James. “Better late than never, though.”

“I don’t know about that, James. I rather have it read, better never late,” remarked the sensible man.

“That is my rule,” answered James. “At school we are obliged to be in time. Tardiness is not allowable.”

“It never should be allowed anywhere. It seems as if we can never catch up when we once get behind,” continued the farmer; “and then there is no comfort in it. It keeps one in torment all the while to feel that he is behindhand; I don’t like it.”

“Neither do I,” answered James. “It is worse to be behindhand in school than it is on a farm; much worse, I think. A scholar behind his class is an object of pity.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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