“Assuredly not, but I see your Quintilian in great danger of coming to keep company with my Pliny,” answered the doctor.
Then, after shaking hands with his two friends, he accompanied them to the door.
The thirteen days of Christmas.
The next day Erik began his new life at school.
Dr. Schwaryencrona first took him to his tailors, and fitted him out with some new suits of clothes; then he introduced him to the principal of one of the best schools in town. It was called in Swedish “Hogre elementar larovek.”
In this school were taught the ancient and modern languages, the elementary sciences, and all that it was necessary to learn before entering college. As in Germany and Italy, the students did not board in the college. They lived with their families in the town, with the professors, or wherever they could obtain comfortable accommodations. The charges are very moderate; in fact, they have been reduced almost to nothing. Large gymnasiums are attached to each of the higher classes, and physical culture is as carefully attended to as the intellectual.
Erik at once gained the head of his division. He learned everything with such extreme facility that he had a great deal of time to himself. The doctor therefore thought that it would be better for him to utilize his evenings by taking a course at the “Slodjskolan,” the great industrial school of Stockholm. It was an establishment especially devoted to the practice of the sciences, particularly to making experiments in physics and chemistry, and to geometrical constructions which are only taught theoretically in the schools.
Doctor Schwaryencrona judged rightly that the teachings of this school, which was one of the wonders of Stockholm, would give a new impetus to the rapid progress which Erik was making, and he hoped for great results from this double training.
His young protege, proved worthy of the advantages which he procured for him. He penetrated the depths of the fundamental sciences, and instead of vague and superficial ideas, the ordinary lot of so many pupils, he stored up a provision of just, precise, and definite facts. The future development of these excellent principles could only be a question of time.
Hereafter he would be able to learn without difficulty the more elevated branches of these studies which would be required in college; in fact it would be only play to him.
The same service which Mr. Malarius had rendered him, in teaching him languages, history, and botany, the “Slodjskolan” now did for him by inculcating the A, B, C, of the industrial arts; without which the best teaching so often remains a dead letter.
Far from fatiguing Erik’s brain, the multiplicity and variety of his studies strengthened it much more than a special course of instruction could have done.