Student and Teacher

Promoted to Teacher—Words of President Hinsdale—Shingling a House—James as a Worker—Extent of His Carpenter Work— Class of Three in Geometry—Miss Booth—In Class with Miss Booth—Their Studies—What they Accomplished—A Tribute to Her—Discussing his Thesis all Night—The Vacation Literary Society—Religious Life—Father Bentley—James Preaching— Amusing Anecdote—As Public Speaker—In the Lyceum—Fugitive Slave Bill—Miss Rudolph Again—An Important Step—In Social Life Valued—Proficient in Mezzotint Drawing—Versatility —Popularity as a Teacher—Hinsdale’s Testimony—Other Witnesses— Bethany or Williams College—His Decision, and Why— How the Money Came—Summary of his Work at Hiram

James ceased to be janitor at the close of his first year at Hiram, and was promoted to assistant teacher of the English department and ancient languages. His rapid advancement is set forth by Dr. Hinsdale, who is now president of the institution.

“His mind was now reaching out in all directions; and all the more widely because the elastic course of study, and the absence of traditionary trammels, gave him room. He was a vast elemental force, and nothing was so essential as space and opportunity. Hiram was now forming her future teachers, as well as creating her own culture. Naturally, then, when he had been only one year in the school he was given a place in the corps of teachers. In the catalogue of 1853-54 his name appears both with the pupils and teachers: ‘James A. Garfield, Cuyahoga County,’ and ‘J.A. Garfield, Teacher in the English Department, and of the Ancient Languages.’ His admission to the faculty page may be an index to a certain rawness in the school; but it gave to his talents and ambition the play that an older school, with higher standards, could not have afforded him.”

Now he was filling three important positions—student, teacher, and carpenter. He had become nearly as indispensable to the carpenter’s business as to that of the Institute. The sound of his hammer, before and after school, was familiar to the students and the citizens.

“See there!” exclaimed Clark, pointing to James on the roof of a house, building near the academy. “Jim has taken that house to shingle.”

“Alone?” inquired Jones.

“Yes, alone; and it won’t take him long, either, if he keeps his hammer going as it goes now. Jim’s a brick.”

“Very little brick about him, I should say; more brain than brick.”

“With steam enough on all the while to keep his brain running. Did you ever see such a worker?”

“Never. Work seems as necessary to him as air and food. If he was not compelled to work, in order to pay his way, his brain would shatter his body all to pieces in a year. He is about the only student I ever thought was fortunate in being poor as a stray cat.”

“I declare, I never thought of that. Poverty is a blessing sometimes. I had thought it was a curse to a student always.”

“It is Jim’s salvation,” added Jones. “I have thought of it many times. I suppose that his carpentering business is better exercise for him than our ball-playing or pitching quoits.”

“Minus the fun,” added Clark, quickly; really believing that James was depriving himself of all first-class sport. “Have you not observed how he enjoys a game of ball or quoits when he joins us?”

“Of course; but he does not seem to me to enjoy these games any more than he enjoys study, reading, and manual labour. He studies just as he plays ball, exactly, with all his might; and I suppose that is the way we all ought to do.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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