The busy season was over at last, and the harvest all gathered in; on the following Monday I was to enter as a pupil at Fulton Academy. I had long anxiously looked forward to this day, and now that it was so near, I grew restless with expectation. I spent the Saturday afternoon roaming among the old woods which skirted the farm on one side, and seated by turns at the roots of some of the fine old trees, whose covering of many-hued leaves had long since fallen to the ground, my thoughts wove themselves into many bright forms, and many a purpose for good was matured in my mind. I dreamed of a time when, by the unaided exertions of manhood I would purchase ease and relaxation for my patient mother and loving sister, and next to those of my own household I breathed a wish for the happiness of the loved companion of my childhood Charley Gray.
The important day arrived when I was to begin school-life at the Village Academy, the day I had so long looked forward to with pleasant anticipations. The teacher who had taught the Fulton Academy for several years was a gentleman of high culture, and of sound judgment. Teaching with him was a loved life-work. He had been left an orphan at an early age, and had, by his own exertions, obtained the education which enabled him to occupy a position of influence and respectability, consequently, he was all the better able to sympathize and assist studious pupils who laboured against many discouragements to obtain an education. Instead of regarding the pupils under his charge as only objects for correction and reproof, he treated them as reasonable beings, and laboured diligently to develop their better natures, as well as their intellectual powers. When I entered the school-room, and Mr. Oswald made some enquiries regarding my studies, and other matters, I looked in his clear honest, but withal searching eyes, and felt certain I had found a friend in my teacher. My ideas at the time, of my new home as well as my school, will I presume be best expressed by transcribing the copy of a letter, written to Charley Gray about this time. I lately found it among, some old papers. It reads thus:
Fulton, Oct. 25th, 18—
As I cannot possibly see you, I will do the next best by writing to you in answer to your kind and very welcome letter, which came to hand two days since. I have so much to tell you that I hardly know where to begin; but if I intend to finish I must make a beginning in some way. I will first endeavour to tell you something about my home. You know I feared Uncle Nathan might be like Farmer Judson; but never were two more unlike; he never scolds or frets, and, although he is not a great talker, somehow or other when he does talk I always like to listen to what he says. I am sure you would like Uncle Nathan, and if you could pay a visit to his farm he would not drive you off as Mr. Judson did. My grandma and aunt live with my uncle. Grandma is a very old woman, but she looks happy and contented as she sits day after day in her large arm-chair, dividing her time between her knitting work and reading in the large-print Bible which always lies close to her hand; sometimes she says it tries her eyes to read, and then I wish you could see how pleased she seems when I offer to read to her.