The high-school is really the first telescope through which a boy so born and bred looks fairly out upon this planet. The astronomer who instructs him is often of just the sort for the labor, a being also climbing, one not to be a high-school principal forever, but using this occupation merely as a stepping-stone upon his ascending journey. If he be conscientious, he instils, together with his information that all Gaul is divided and that a parasang is not something to eat, also the belief that the game sought is worth the candle, and that hard study is not wasted time. Such a teacher found young Harlson; such a teacher was Professor—they always call the high-school principal “Professor” in small towns—Morgan, and he took an interest in the youth, not the interest of the typical great educator, but rather that of an older and aspiring jockey aiding a younger one with his first mount, or of a railroad engineer who tells his fireman of a locomotive’s moods and teaches him the tricks of management. They might help each other some day. Well equipped, too, was Morgan for the service. No shallow graduate of some mere diploma-manufactory, but one who believed in the perfection of means for an end,—an advocate of thoroughness.
So it came that for four years Grant Harlson studied feverishly,—selfishly might be almost the word,—such was the impulse that moved him under Morgan’s teaching, and so purely objective all his reasoning. In his vacations he hunted, fished, and developed the more thews and sinews, and acquired new fancies as to whether an Irish setter or a Gordon made the better dog with woodcock, and upon various other healthful topics, but his main purpose never varied. In his classes there were fair girls, and in high-schools there is much callow gallantry; but at this period of his life he would have none of it. He was not timid, but he was absorbed. Morgan told him one day that he was ready for college.
New forces at work.
“You will be kind enough, sir, to write upon the blackboard two couplets:
“’What do you think
I’ll shave you for nothing and give you a drink.’