IT was something for a raw country boy scarcely twentyone, and without even the dignity of a Harvard degree, to be invited to teach in Boston, and the responsibility weighed on him. Awkward and ungainly, clad in an ill-fitting suit and coarse shoes, his hands rough from the toil of the farm and the bench, Theodore found his natural shyness increased, and he sought to make up in diligence and learning for what he lacked in social grace. How much they expected of him here; he was asked to teach Latin, Greek, French, mathematics, and, just to be sure nothing had been overlooked, "all sorts of philosophy." He was weak on mathematics, and had to take instruction from Mr. Francis Grund; science fascinated him, but he knew little of it, and in all Boston there was not a copy of Newton's "Principia" to be bought. His real interest was in languages and history, and six hours of teaching left him, after all, the best part of the day for work. "I had always from ten to twelve hours a day for my own private studies out of school," he remembered later. "Judge if I did not work; it makes my flesh creep to think how I used to work, and how much I learned that year and the four next."

He had brought his books with him from Lexington: Homer and Horace and Vergil, the companions of those endless winter evenings on the farm, and a dozen volumes of history and philosophy, the pages loose from much reading. The stalls of the bookshops on Cornhill were tempting, but his salary of fifteen dollars a month did not run to bookbuying. But he was not without resources: there was the


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Theodore Parker


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