How To Do It

How To Do It
Catalog # SKU1383
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Edward Everett Hale


How To Do It

Edward Everett Hale

A Primer in Common Sense for the adolescent entering into adulthood. The author is famous for his other works, such 'Man Without a Country', and this little diamond has been forgotten over time.


I shall do something to make the little book more intelligible, and to connect its parts, if in this introduction I tell of the one occasion when the dramatis personae met each other; and in order to that, if I tell how they all met me.

First of all, then, my dear young friends, I began active life, as soon as I had left college, as I can well wish all of you might do. I began in keeping school. Not that I want to have any of you do this long, unless an evident fitness or "manifest destiny" appear so to order. But you may be sure that, for a year or two of the start of life, there is nothing that will teach you your own ignorance so well as having to teach children the few things you know, and to answer, as best you can, their questions on all grounds.

There was poor Jane, on the first day of that charming visit at the Penroses, who was betrayed by the simplicity and cordiality of the dinner-table--where she was the youngest of ten or twelve strangers--into taking a protective lead of all the conversation, till at the very last I heard her explaining to dear Mr. Tom Coram himself,--a gentleman who had lived in Java ten years,--that coffee-berries were red when they were ripe.

I was sadly mortified for my poor Jane as Tom's eyes twinkled. She would never have got into that rattletrap way of talking if she had kept school for two years. Here, again, is a capital letter from Oliver Ferguson, Asaph's younger brother, describing his life on the Island at Paris all through the siege. I should have sent it yesterday to Mr. Osgood, who would be delighted to print it in the Atlantic Monthly, but that the spelling is disgraceful. Mr. Osgood and Mr. Howells would think Oliver a fool before they had read down the first page. "L-i-n, lin, n-e-n, nen, linen." Think of that! Oliver would never have spelled "linen" like that if he had been two years a teacher. You can go through four years at Harvard College spelling so, but you cannot go through two years as a schoolmaster.

Well, I say I was fortunate enough to spend two years as an assistant schoolmaster at the old Boston Latin School,--the oldest institution of learning, as we are fond of saying, in the United States. And there first I made my manhood's acquaintance with boys.

"Do you think," said dear Dr. Malone to me one day, "that my son Robert will be too young to enter college next August?" "How old will he be?" said I, and I was told. Then as Robert was at that moment just six months younger than I, who had already graduated, I said wisely, that I thought he would do, and Dr. Malone chuckled, I doubt not, as I did certainly, at the gravity of my answer. A nice set of boys I had. I had above me two of the most loyal and honorable of gentlemen, who screened me from all reproof for my blunders. My discipline was not of the best, but my purposes were; and I and the boys got along admirably.

It was the old schoolhouse. I believe I shall explain in another place, in this volume, that it stood where Parker's Hotel stands, and my room occupied the spot in space where you, Florence, and you, Theodora, dined with your aunt Dorcas last Wednesday before you took the cars for Andover,--the ladies' dining-room looking on what was then Cook's Court, and is now Chapman Place. Who Cook was I know not. The "Province Street" of to-day was then much more fitly called "Governor's Alley." For boys do not know that that minstrel-saloon so long known as "Ordway's," just now changed into Sargent's Hotel, was for a century, more or less, the official residence of the Governor of Massachusetts. It was the "Province House."

On the top of it, for a weathercock, was the large mechanical brazen Indian, who, whenever he heard the Old South clock strike twelve, shot off his brazen arrow. The little boys used to hope to see this. But just as twelve came was the bustle of dismissal, and I have never seen one who did see him, though for myself I know he did as was said, and have never questioned it. That opportunity, however, was up stairs, in Mr. Dixwell's room. In my room, in the basement, we had no such opportunity.

The glory of our room was that it was supposed, rightly or not, that a part of it was included in the old schoolhouse which was there before the Revolution. There were old men still living who remembered the troublous times, the times that stirred boys' souls, as the struggle for independence began. I have myself talked with Jonathan Darby Robbins, who was himself one of the committee who waited on the British general to demand that their coasting should not be obstructed. There is a reading piece about it in one of the school-books. This general was not Gage, as he is said to be in the histories, but General Haldimand; and his quarters were at the house which stood nearly where Franklin's statue stands now, just below King's Chapel.

His servant had put ashes on the coast which the boys had made, on the sidewalk which passes the Chapel as you go down School Street. When the boys remonstrated, the servant ridiculed them,--he was not going to mind a gang of rebel boys. So the boys, who were much of their fathers' minds, appointed a committee, of whom my friend was one, to wait on General Haldimand himself. They called on him, and they told him that coasting was one of their inalienable rights and that he must not take it away. The General knew too well that the people of the town must not be irritated to take up his servant's quarrel, and he told the boys that their coast should not be interfered with.

So they carried their point. The story-book says that he clasped his hands and said, "Heavens! Liberty is in the very air! Even these boys speak of their rights as do their patriot sires!" But of this Mr. Robbins told me nothing, and as Haldimand was a Hessian, of no great enthusiasm for liberty, I do not, for my part, believe it.

155+ pages - 8 x 5 inches SoftCover


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