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Garfield Memories

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Last Snturday's News contalned :i brief report of a' memorial meeting held at the Central Methodist efanrdt. While not wishini: to take up too much spare, I tliink u lew otlier point.s not inentioned at that meetiug would be ol' interest to tnany of your readers. U was my fortune to he a student of (aiticld's at llirani college, and daling my Intercourse with liim theie, while he Ih. president of the college and instructor, I carne to learn what was, as be told it to me blmself, the turning polnt In hls educatlonseeking career. He wus endeavoring to make up (ome extra temu in Latin in order that lic mlirht enter as udyaneed a class in th ïnstit nt(it was nut ¦ eollege Uien) as posible. Of course tliis had to I"' done without a tutor's aid. He liad linished the Latin grammar as lust he could, with little or no Instruction, and the nèxt in the course was ('iLsar. Itwasonthis book, yes, the very lirst tentenee of it, that provedthe turning poim in his calieras u student and acholar. The seutence is very simple, being Oallia ent umnis dvisa in partes tren, and jet it took our late president four tours of good solid labor to surmouut it. This is how it was done: 'l'here was a blackboard in his room, and on this he wrote the words down at the top of [he board, tlicn dlvtded tlieni olt' by drawinjj perpendicular and parallel lines between them. The lexicon wnsthen consulted, and under éach wonl he Wrote every deánition found in the lexicon (some were liard to rind o win ff to the döclenslon forms not beinggiven in the dletlonarr), and then when had thcni complete, he WOUld try the various readlngs the delinitions wouhl allow. knew he had to Kei a readlM that roald make sense. otherWiae he could not cali it a good translation. Well, when he. at Jast, got what he considered a sensible rende ring of the passage, he looked at the clock and found he had been just four and one -half hourt in maiing the translation; that he stood in his sliirt-sleeves, was collarless, and as wet with peispiration as if he had boen at wolk in the hay field; he had no idea of when liö had taken oft' his coat, vest, necktie and collar, so intent had he been on his work. Wblle the tiauslation was final ly accomplished, he considerad the time neoeaary to müke it so enorinous that he grew disheartened, discouraged ; lu fact, went to bed with the idea that the iann or boat was the place tor liitn, not college halls, i Iu the morniag the matter preyed so i heavily upon his niind that he decided, at i onetiue, to quit the school immcdiatelv. However, looking the matter squarely In tlie face again, during the forenoon- let rae give the reasoning in his own wonls as noar as I can, for I reniember them quite distinctly as they were given to me at a Ti ml when I considered, from a somerhat similar reason, Citsar not worth the said he: '-Ilere's Ca-sar, consideren iiot very hard Latín, and yet James Garlield can't master it ! Thousands have mastered it before; well then, James Garfield is not as good a scholar as all these thousands, that is all, if he don't do it. Caesar either masters James Gartield, or James Gartield masters Ganar! VVhichisit? Hethenadded the thought carne like a flash, and with it a tinge of boastful anger: "James Gartic ld has not been mastered yet, and he wül master Ciesar !" 11e sukl this was the last time anything like hesitancy or doubt ever crossed bil mind as to his ability to cope with therequirements for a collegiate degree. That questlon, in tiiat little room, with tlmt ïiist HBtepoe of Cesaron the blackboard before hini, wassettled, so far as mental declllon could settle it for him, for all time. This same peitinacity - stick-to-it-iveness is a hoinelier, tbough moreexpressive phrase - in educational matters wasequally shown fortb in his earlier days. When hè Cíame to work for my grandfither (he worked two rammen for bini, during hayinr and harvest time,) he was a lad of sonie 1(5 years. Tall, muscular, "raw-bomd," poorly ciad, pants reaching not down to hisankles, barefooted (as my gramlfather described liiin on histirst visit), bair furzy, wiry and rebellious to ,'¦¦?¦- ¦ .' ' and a frank v - ¦- '" rre naa a seythe , ung over his shoukler, and was walkLng with long, though not nngaiuly strides, towards the farm house. lïis first question was, after salutions, if my grandfather needed another man ? The reply was yes that he needed another man, but not a bot. Garlield then argued the Mint that if a boy could do a man's work, then a boy should have a nian's wages, and so far as the employer was concerned it ought not to matter how old the laborer was. The argument was so well pul that it attracted my grandfatber'ti attention, and instead of turnlikg liiin aWay abruptly, asbe intended dol ng, he licgan questioning bini as to his early history, lutêntioui, etc. Gartiekl explained quite minutely, ending with the remark that he had just quit the canal nnd that be Wantod to earn ome money with which to get an educatioii. The conversation ended in a contract that if the boy did the man' work, as the boy feit confident of doing. then he would receive a man 's wages (I think it was 75 cents for harvest hands). The next inorniug be was assigned his )ositioii, with four gooil nui't'rs, in a Beid of heavy timothy grass. The four uien thought they would have a little fun, so placed the "hoy" in the niiddle, two to lead liiui in swath-muking, and two to crowü Ii i ni olose at the retir and so turn tlieir swathsjupon hiin and "bush liirn'' as they liad plaiiued. Swatli after swath was cut ¦round the field, tlw "boy," rather tban laggiug behlnd, erowding a little n tira two mowers n front. Tbínnwere getting imcomfortable as the day advanced íor tlie four, lid when the iioon liorn was hlown they were very glad to get the hoiir's rest. The "boy" said nothing, ate bis diuner silently, and when the "nooning" was up, and t lie men returned to tlie fleta, uked it' they would allow him to "lead" in the afteriionn, as lie was anxious to makc h claim góod to Mr. Tnylor (my grand&tber). The boy' hands were tlien already blistered, thougfb he made no inurmur, as be struck into tlie grass as leader, or IWttb iiüinber one. It thiugs were uucomfortable íor the four in the forenoou, they were etting slill more so as the at'ternoon wore long; they wanted rest; hut thp "boy1' kttpt at work ,and linally put the four "to bush" wbile be keptsteadily along wlth a lure but slower swing of his seythe till Ihe liour for supper liad come. After Ibis was over the four went soon to bed; the "boy" asked for an extra "tallow dip" (as canule were called n these days). "What tor?" said my {rraiulfutber in great surprise. "Why, to sttidy by, slr; I liope you have no objeetions. It is the only time I have for such work, as you must very well know." "Wby, ceitainly; but bless you, sir, you have doue two inen's work to-dny and you onght to be in bed." "Never Bind me, Mr. Taylor, I don't teel very tired," was bis modest reply. And study he did that night till nearly 2 in the morning; and these evening studies wcic kipt up nigbtlytill the small hours of the niorniug during the entire slimmer. It is needlessto say that hereceived a"in:in' wages:" and always found bearty welconie at Worthy Taylor's. THE INAUGURAL KI3S. There is tnothsr subject closely eonneeti'd wlth bis ;arly history, on wliieli mncli is now said, but few know the rea! depth "iiiir nicMiiin tothat Inaugural kiss whlch ba iinpriiited on the witbcred bron of bis dcar old mother. It meant inuch more than the maas of people understand it to mean. - a mere token, pethapa heart&lt for the moment, of filial uffectlon. To James A. Garlleld t meant miicli more thftn ilüs. ín it reinemliered the niaiiy saerilices tile niothcr liad made tor liilll In ealiier yean - yes, verily tbe aystematlc Btarvatlo she underwent - tliat lie and lile brotber Thomas híhI liis two risten mlght have their ineiiis of plata corn bread, or inush, tliree linie a day. The Garfleld fiunily ere poor, very poor; (tbe president did nol bare a pairof slioes till lie was tour years oía) tbe mother's hand was Um om tliai -plil the rails to felice tlic li ti le log house out frota Ilie ntter wihlerness, añil so sImv a liltle the (lepredatifins of tlie wolves; It WU lier liainls too tliat rut the MTOod lo Ueep Ilieni warm that lust long and ilreary winter, and ulien the liltk' snik Of OOrn ineal was gradtially getÜM low, nir that, betbxe spring this wouM fail unleaa a niving amld be iniule somewhcre. She could notslinl the children, ?o she began lo sacriliee herse.lf, eatíng hut tWO meáis a da.v ol' her frugal tare in order tliat James aiid the otiléis iniht not suller huiiger; linally she saw that tiiis would not do. tliat still turtlier saeriñce must ba made and who but she must make Uf " i tli the heroism that Garfiekl himself sueins to have inheritcd Irom htr she. the little f rail woman, resol ve to do with only uit' muda ,,iy and frive, lier ihart of the other two meals to her liiinjírv children, in order that they might nc.t knowthe pangs that lack of lood would bring. 'J'his she did lieroieally for several week, and this was what (iarlield remembered whea he gave dis mother that klaaon that day when he was al t !¦¦ acmé OÍ liis ear;er. She made the incrlfloe, bo lu r bêionged tlie honor, all at least tliat he conld jrivv: that he tlioiiKht, and so lie turned the attention of the world to tliis mother on that eventl'ul day as lie I u I. The ad was siniily in keeping with the. whole-hearted man that


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News