as it was only the profusion of these ideas that suggested

Published on 2023-12-03 00:10:39 source:Spring Breeze and Summer Rain

The course was somewhat elective, but her advice to me was, not to omit anything because I did not like it. I had a natural distaste for mathematics, and my recollections of my struggles with trigonometry and conic sections are not altogether those of a conquering heroine. But my teacher told me that my mind had need of just that exact sort of discipline, and I think she was right.

as it was only the profusion of these ideas that suggested

A habit of indiscriminate, unsystematized reading, such as I had fallen into, is entirely foreign to the scholarly habit of mind. Attention is the secret of real acquirement; but it was months before I could command my own attention, even when I was interested in the subject I was examining. It seemed as if all the pages of all the books I had ever read were turning themselves over between me and this one page that I wanted to understand. I found that mere reading does not by any means make a student.

as it was only the profusion of these ideas that suggested

It was more to me to come into communication with my wise teacher as a friend than even to receive the wisdom she had to impart. She was dignified and reticent, but beneath her reserve, as is often the case, was a sealed fountain of sympathy, which one who had the key could easily unlock. Thinking of her nobleness of character, her piety, her learning, her power, and her sweetness, it seems to me as if I had once had a Christian Zenobia or Hypatia for my teacher.

as it was only the profusion of these ideas that suggested

We speak with awed tenderness of our unseen guardian angels, but have we not all had our guiding angels, who came to us in visible form, and, recognized or unknown, kept beside us on our difficult path until they had done for us all they could? It seems to me as if one had succeeded another by my side all through the years,-- always some one whose influence made my heart stronger and my way clearer; though sometimes it has been only a little child that came and laid its hand into my hand as if I were its guide, instead of its being mine.

My dear and honored Lady-Principal was surely one of my strong guiding angels, sent to meet me as I went to meet her upon my life-road, just at the point where I most needed her. For the one great thing she gave her pupils,--scope, often quite left out of woman's education,--I especially thank her. The true education is to go on forever. But how can there be any hopeful going on without outlook? And having an infinite outlook, how can progress ever cease? It was worth while for me to go to those Western prairies, if only for the broader mental view that opened upon me in my pupilage there.

During my first year at the seminary I was appointed teacher of the Preparatory Department,--a separate school of thirty or forty girls,--with the opportunity to go on with my studies at the same time. It was a little hard, but I was very glad to do it, as I was unwilling to receive an education without rendering an equivalent, and I did not wish to incur a debt.

I believe that the postponement of these maturer studies to my early womanhood, after I had worked and taught, was a benefit to me. I had found out some of my special ignorances, what the things were which I most needed to know. I had learned that the book-knowledge I so much craved was not itself education, was not even culture, but only a help, an adjunct to both. As I studied more earnestly, I cared for fewer books, but those few made themselves indispensable. It still seems to me that in the Lowell mills, and in my log-cabin schoolhouse on the Western prairies, I received the best part of my early education.

The great advantage of a seminary course to me was that under my broad-minded Principal I learned what education really is: the penetrating deeper and rising higher into life, as well as making continually wider explorations; the rounding of the whole human being out of its nebulous elements into form, as planets and suns are rounded, until they give out safe and steady light. This makes the process an infinite one, not possible to be completed at any school.

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