“We know there’ll be a lot coming to you and it will be interesting to know what you’ll do with it and how long you’ll have it.”
“He will never add anything to it,” said Ted, who also was the son of wealth, but not in the least snobbish. The others all laughed at this and Terry turned away angrily.
Bill, further inspired by what he deemed an unfair reference to Edison, began to wax eloquent to the others concerning his hero.
“I don’t believe Edison would have amounted to half as much as he has if he hadn’t had the hard knocks that a poor fellow always gets. Terry makes me tired with his high and mighty——”
“Oh, don’t you mind him!” said Cora.
“You’ve read a lot about Edison, haven’t you, Bill?” asked Dot, knowing that the lame boy possessed a hero worshiper’s admiration for the wizard of electricity and an overmastering desire to emulate the great inventor. The girl sat down on the grassy bank, pulled Cora down beside her and in her gentle, kindly way, continued to draw Bill out. “When only quite a little fellow he had become a great reader, the lecturer said.”
“I should say he was a reader!” Bill declared. “Why, when he was eleven years old he had read Hume’s History of England all through and—”
“Understood about a quarter of it, I reckon,” laughed Ted.
“Understood more than you think,” Bill retorted. “He did more in that library than just read an old encyclopedia; he got every book off the shelves, one after the other, and dipped into them all, but of course, some didn’t interest him. He read a lot on ’most every subject; mostly about science and chemistry and engineering and mechanics, but a lot also on law and even moral philosophy and what you call it? oh—ethics—and all that sort of thing. He had to read to find out things; there seemed to be no one who could tell him the half that he wanted to know, and I guess a lot of people got pretty tired of having him ask so many questions they couldn’t answer. And when they would say, ‘I don’t know,’ he’d get mad and yell: ‘Why don’t you know?’”
“Hume’s history,—why, we have that at home, in ten volumes. If he got outside of all of that he was going some!” declared Ted.
“Well, he did, and all of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, too.”
“Holy cats! What stopped him?” Ted queried.
“He didn’t stop—never stopped. But he had to earn his living—didn’t he? He couldn’t read all the books and find out about everything right off. But you bet he found out a lot, and he believes that after a fellow gets some rudiments of education he can learn more by studying in his own way and experimenting than by just learning by rote and rule. Maybe he’s not altogether right about that, for education is mighty fine and I’d like to go to a technical school; Gus and I both are aiming for that, but we’re going to read and study a lot our own way, too, and experiment; aren’t we, Gus? Nobody can throw Edison’s ideas down when they stop to think how much he knows and what he’s done.”