ONE day in the Spring of 1888 Doctor John Meigs, Head Master of the great Hill School at Pottstown, Pa., entered my room and offered me a position as teacher. I told him I had no experience. 'You will get it with us.' At that time the Hill School had no superior in America and I was flattered by the offer, especially as a good salary came with it. We talked it over, and I was about to accept, when I thought I had better ask what subject he expected me to teach. 'Mathematics.' Then I knew the Hill School was not for me. I told him I was incapable. 'But these are elementary mathematics.' I said there were no elementary mathematics; I had had a wide experience, and had never seen any. 'Can't you teach arithmetic?''No, Sir; it would be taking money on false pretences.' He laboured with me for a long while, and finally went away sorrowful. I was not very happy myself; but in two or three weeks Mr. William Lee Cushing entered the same room, and said he was about to found a new school for boys at Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., to be called Westminster School, and wanted me to teach there. 'What subject?''Anything you like.' I liked all the history and all the English, and we came to an agreement in a few minutes.
The salary was even better than that from the other school. As there were practically no expenses, I saved enough to help me through another year of graduate study, to give me three months bicycling in Europe, and to leave five hundred dollars for my wedding journey.
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Publication information: Book title: Autobiography, with Letters. Contributors: William Lyon Phelps - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 211.