The Garies and Their Friends eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 488 pages of information about The Garies and Their Friends.

“Not a little,” rejoined Mrs. Bird, “but a great deal; and, my dear Mr. Whately, I want you to exercise it in my behalf.  I wish to enter as a scholar that little boy I brought with me this morning.”

“Impossible!” said Mr. Whately.  “My good friend, the boy is coloured!”

“I am well aware of that,” continued Mrs. Bird; “if he were not there would not be the least trouble about his admission; nor am I sure there will be as it is, if you espouse his cause.  One who has been such a benefactor to the academy as yourself, could, I suppose, accomplish anything.”

“Yes; but that is stretching my influence unduly.  I would be willing to oblige you in almost anything else, but I hesitate to attempt this.  Why not send him to the public school?—­they have a separate bench for black children; he can be taught there all that is necessary for him to know.”

“He is far in advance of any of the scholars there.  I attended the examination of the school to which he was attached,” said Mrs. Bird, “and I was very much surprised at the acquirements of the pupils; this lad was distinguished above all the rest—­he answered questions that would have puzzled older heads, with the greatest facility.  I am exceedingly anxious to get him admitted to the academy, as I am confident he will do honour to the interest I take in him.”

“And a very warm interest it must be, my dear Mrs. Bird, to induce you to attempt placing him in such an expensive and exclusive school.  I am very much afraid you will have to give it up:  many of the scholars’ parents, I am sure, will object strenuously to the admission of a coloured boy as a scholar.”

“Only tell me that you will propose him, and I will risk the refusal,” replied Mrs. Bird—­“it can be tried at all events; and if you will make the effort I shall be under deep obligations to you.”

“Well, Mrs. Bird, let us grant him admitted—­what benefit can accrue to the lad from an education beyond his station?  He cannot enter into any of the learned professions:  both whilst he is there, and after his education is finished, he will be like a fish out of water.  You must pardon me if I say I think, in this case, your benevolence misdirected.  The boy’s parents are poor, I presume?”

“They certainly are not rich,” rejoined Mrs. Bird; “and it is for that reason I wish to do all that I can for him.  If I can keep him with me, and give him a good education, it may be greatly for his advantage; there may be a great change in public sentiment before he is a man—­we cannot say what opening there may be for him in the future.”

“Not unless it changes very much.  I never knew prejudice more rampant than it is at this hour.  To get the boy admitted as a right is totally out of the question:  if he is received at all, it will be as a special favour, and a favour which—­I am sure it will require all my influence to obtain.  I will set about it immediately, and, rely upon it, I will do my best for your protege.”

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The Garies and Their Friends from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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