Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
YALE AND EUROPE -- 1850-1857

A T the close of my year at the little Western New York College I felt that it was enough time wasted, and, anxious to try for something better, urged upon my father my desire to go to one of the larger New England universities. But to this he would not listen. He was assured by the authorities of the little college that I had been doing well, and his churchmanship, as well as his respect for the bishop, led him to do what was very unusual with him -- to refuse my request. Up to this period he had allowed me to take my own course; but now he was determined that I should take his. He was one of the kindest of men, but he had stern ideas as to proper subordination, and these he felt it his duty to maintain. I was obliged to make a coup d'état, and for a time it cost me dear. Braving the censure of family and friends, in the early autumn of 1850 I deliberately left the college, and took refuge with my old instructor P-----, who had prepared me for college at Syracuse, and who was now principal of the academy at Moravia, near the head of Owasco Lake, some fifty miles distant. To thus defy the wishes of those dearest to me was a serious matter. My father at first took it deeply to heart. His letters were very severe. He thought my career wrecked, avowed that he had lost all interest in it, and declared that he would rather have received news of my death than of such a disgrace. But I knew that my dear mother was on my side. Her letters remained as affectionate as ever; and I determined to atone for my disobe

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