CHAPTER III
AN AMERICAN COLLEGE IN 1850

IN 1849 I thought I was prepared for college. My Uncle Charles did not agree with me. He was right and I was wrong. But nevertheless I had my way. He had not thought, a year before, that I was ready to take up Greek. So I had got hold, somehow, of a little Greek grammar and studied it by myself out of school hours. My persistence won, and I was put into the Greek class; my impression is that it consisted of two pupils. By the summer of 1849 I had read, as I recall, a little of Xenophon and two or three books of the "Iliad," but my preparation in grammar was both scanty and superficial. I had not read Virgil; but I knew the Latin grammar almost as I knew my alphabet; and I was so familiar with the Latin of Cicero that when we took up "De Senectute" and "De Amicitia" in college I was accustomed, while the class was reciting the day's lesson, to read to myself the lesson for the next day, leaving occasional unknown words and perplexing constructions to be examined when I got home.

But before I entered college I was, very unexpectedly to myself, confronted with one of the most serious problems of my life. My father called me into his room one day -- this was probably in the spring vacation in 1849 -- and something like the following colloquy occurred between us:--

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