“That is what I am trying for.”

“I think we had better try this young man,” said one of the trustees, addressing the chairman. He was much impressed by the earnestness and intelligence of the applicant, and was in favour of rendering him all the aid possible.

“Yes,” answered the chairman; “he has started out upon a noble work, and we must help him all we can.”

“How do we know that you can do the sweeping and bell-ringing to suit us?” inquired another trustee of James.

“Try me—try me two weeks, and if it is not done to your entire satisfaction, I will retire without a word.”

James’s honest reply settled the matter.

James was nineteen years old at this time; he became twenty in the following November. So he was duly installed bell-ringer and sweeper-general.

Hiram was a small, out-of-the-way town, twelve miles from the railroad, the “centre” being at a cross- roads, with two churches and half a dozen other building. The institution was located there to accommodate the sons and daughters of the Western Reserve farmers. President Hinsdale, who now presides over the college (it was elevated to a college twelve or fifteen years ago), says: “The Institute building, a plain but substantially built brick structure, was put on the top of a windy hill, in the middle of a corn-field. One of the cannon that General Scott’s soldiers dragged to the city of Mexico in 1847, planted on the roof of the new structure, would not have commanded a score of farmhouses. Here the school opened at the time Garfield was closing his studies at Chester. It had been in operation two terms when he offered himself for enrolment. Hiram furnished a location, the board of trustees a building and the first teachers, the surrounding country students, but the spiritual Hiram made itself. Everything was new. Society, traditions, the genius of the school had to be evolved from the forces of the teachers and pupils, limited by the general and local environment. Let no one be surprised when I say that such a school as this was the best of all places for young Garfield. There was freedom, opportunity, a large society of rapidly and eagerly opening young minds, instructors who were learned enough to instruct him, and abundant scope for ability and force of character, of which he had a superabundance.

“Few of the students who came to Hiram in that day had more than a district-school education, though some had attended the high schools and academies scattered over the country; so that Garfield, although he had made but slight progress in the classics and the higher mathematics previous to his arrival, ranked well up with the first scholars. In ability, all acknowledged that he was the peer of any; soon his superiority to all others was generally conceded.”

James sought an early opportunity to confer with the principal.

“I want your advice as to my course of study,” he said.

“My purpose is to enter college, and I want to pursue the best way there.”

“You want to make thorough work of it as you go along?” the principal answered, by way of inquiry.

“Yes, sir, as thorough as possible. What I know, I want to know certainly.”

“That is a good idea; better take time, and master everything as you go along. Many students fail because they are satisfied with a smattering of knowledge. Be a scholar, or don’t undertake.”

“I agree with you perfectly, and I am ready to accept your advice, and will regulate my course accordingly.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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