Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 468 pages of information about Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood.
of it—­and this not without a knowledge of the declensions and conjugations.  As to the syntax, I made the sentences themselves teach him that.  Now I know that, as an end, all this was of no great value; but as a beginning, it was invaluable, for it made and kept him hungry for more; whereas, in most modes of teaching, the beginnings are such that without the pressure of circumstances, no boy, especially after an interval of cessation, will return to them.  Such is not Nature’s mode, for the beginnings with her are as pleasant as the fruition, and that without being less thorough than they can be.  The knowledge a child gains of the external world is the foundation upon which all his future philosophy is built.  Every discovery he makes is fraught with pleasure—­that is the secret of his progress, and the essence of my theory:  that learning should, in each individual case, as in the first case, be discovery—­bringing its own pleasure with it.  Nor is this to be confounded with turning study into play.  It is upon the moon itself that the infant speculates, after the moon itself—­that he stretches out his eager hands—­to find in after years that he still wants her, but that in science and poetry he has her a thousand-fold more than if she had been handed him down to suck.

So, after all, I have bored my reader with a shadow of my theory, instead of a description.  After all, again, the description would have plagued him more, and that must be both his and my comfort.

So through the whole of that summer and the following winter, I went on teaching Tom Weir.  He was a lad of uncommon ability, else he could not have effected what I say he had within his first three months of Latin, let my theory be not only perfect in itself, but true as well—­true to human nature, I mean.  And his father, though his own book-learning was but small, had enough of insight to perceive that his son was something out of the common, and that any possible advantage he might lose by remaining in Marshmallows was considerably more than counterbalanced by the instruction he got from the vicar.  Hence, I believe, it was that not a word was said about another situation for Tom.  And I was glad of it; for it seemed to me that the lad had abilities equal to any profession whatever.

CHAPTER XV.

Dr Duncan’s story.

On the next Sunday but one—­which was surprising to me when I considered the manner of our last parting—­Catherine Weir was in church, for the second time since I had come to the place.  As it happened, only as Spenser says—­

“It chanced—­eternal God that chance did guide,”

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Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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