His decision was in accordance with the practice of that Church. On the whole, that vacation in the college library was a very profitable one to James. It was just what he needed after so many years of hard study in the sciences and classics.
It was well for him, too, to be relieved from the strain of study and pecuniary support, that had taxed him heavily from the outset. He had no carpenters job on hand, or class to teach for his support. For exercise, the beauty and grandeur of the scenery lured him into the fields and over the mountains. The wild, mountainous country around presented a striking contrast with the level, monotonous landscape of the Western Reserve. He enjoyed explorations of the region; climbing Greylock to its summit that he might take in the view, plunging into forests, and ranging fields, until the country for miles around was almost as familiar to him as Orange township, Ohio. By the time the college term opened, he was as familiar with the locality as any of the students.
Hill, what do think of that westerner? said one of the juniors to his classmate, Hill, a few days after the term began. Got acquainted with him?
Not exactly; havent had time yet. Have you?
A little acquainted; not much, though.
He is not a slave to the fashions, I conclude; alluding to his uncouth dress.
No; he gives tailors a wide berth, in my judgment: but he is none the worse for that. Put him into a tasty garb, and he would be a splendid-looking fellow.
Thats so; but neither his character nor scholarship would be improved by the change. If dress would improve these, some of our fellows would patronize tailors more than butchers, a great deal.
I think I shall like him, judging from a slight acquaintance. A little western in his speech.
Yes; though not bad. Evidently he is one of the fellows who will go through thick and thin to acquire an education. There must be considerable in him, or he never could enter a New England college two years in advance, especially if he prepared at the west.
Do you know where in the west he fitted for college?
At a little place on the Western Reserve somewhere; an academy that belongs to a sect called Disciples. So one of the boys says.
Disciples! I never heard of that sect before, except the one in New Testament times. A disciple will work in well here; trying to be humorous.
This conversation shows quite well the circumstances in which James was brought into contact with the students. That they should scrutinize his apparel and appearance is not strange. James expected that, and the thought caused him some embarrassment. He knew very well that his dress must appear shabby to young men who consulted tailors, and that his speech was marred by provincialisms that must sound queerly to them. So he very naturally dreaded the introduction to college life. Yet he proved as much of a philosopher here as elsewhere, and made the best of the situation. He was happily disappointed in his intercourse with students. He found no pride or caste among them. They treated him kindly, and gave him a hearty welcome to their companionship. Within a few weeks he ranked among the best fellows of the college. The college boys soon found that the Great West had turned out a great scholar; that the student who had the least to do with tailors was a rare fellow; and they treated him accordingly. James never had any reason to complain of his treatment by the faculty and students of Williams College.
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