"Don't You Want a Boy to Learn the Trade?"
NO ONE was awake earlier in the Greeley household than Hod next morning, nor more eager to finish his part of the early chores. Soon he was on his way alone on the eleven-mile road to East Poultney; at the Northern Spectator office he was told to go to the home of the Rev. Dr. Amos Bliss, a Baptist minister who was also the editor. He found him in his garden preparing the ground for its summer work. In early April turning over and breaking the frosty soil is a task for close attention, and Dr. Bliss was hard at it when he heard a voice unlike any other he had ever heard -- a voice that would have been unpleasantly shrill if it had much strength.
"Are you the man that carries on the printing office?"
In wonder Dr. Bliss stopped his spading and looked inquiringly toward the low, strange sound. Only a few yards away stood a figure as unusual in appearance as was the voice that came from it -- a boy of fourteen or fifteen years, tall and frail in body, cheeks so pale as to seem almost bloodless. The large, round head was covered with blond hair topped by a narrow-brimmed felt hat; he wore trousers that barely touched his shoes, no socks, and a close-fitting jacket like an Eton much the worse for wear and plainly outgrown. Dr. Bliss wondered why a boy so poorly clothed, so evidently destitute, was seeking him.
"Yes, I'm the man," he replied as he resumed his soil breaking, not caring to be interrupted.