Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

KD 6 14 86

DEC 14 1961

THE American edition of "SELF-HELP," published by Messrs. TICKNOR AND FIELDS, is the only one authorized by me, as they did me the honor to enter into an arrangement, previous to the publication of the work in England, to bring it out simultaneously in the United States.






THE origin of this book may be briefly told. Some fifteen years since, the author was requested to deliver an address before the members of some evening classes, which had been formed in a northern town for mutual improvement, under the following circumstances:

[ocr errors]

Two or three young men of the humblest rank resolved to meet in the winter evenings, for the purpose of improving themselves by exchanging knowledge with each other. Their first meetings were held in the room of a cottage in which one of the members lived; and, as others shortly joined them, the place soon became inconveniently filled. When summer set in, they adjourned to the cottage garden outside; and the classes were then held in the open air, round a little boarded hut used as a garden-house, in which those who officiated as teachers set the sums, and gave forth the lessons of the evening. When the weather was fine, the youths might be seen, until a late hour, hanging round the door of the hut like a cluster of bees; but sometimes a sudden shower of

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

rain would dash the sums from their slates, and disperse them for the evening unsatisfied.

Winter, with its cold nights, was drawing near, and what were they to do for shelter? Their numbers had by this time so increased, that no room of an ordinary cottage could accommodate them. Though they were for the most part young men earning comparatively small weekly wages, they resolved to incur the risk of hiring a room; and, on making inquiry, they found a large, dingy apartment to let, which had been used as a temporary Cholera-hospital. No tenant could be found for the place, which was avoided as if a plague still clung to it. But the mutual improvement youths, nothing daunted, hired the cholera-room, at so much a week, lit it up, placed a few benches and a deal table in it, and began their winter classes. The place soon presented a busy and cheerful appearance in the evenings. The teaching may have been, as no doubt it was, of a very rude and imperfect sort; but it was done with a will. Those who knew a little taught those who knew less, -improving themselves while they improved the others; and, at all events, setting before them a good working example. Thus these youths and there were also grown men amongst them proceeded to teach themselves and each other, reading and writing, arithmetic and geography; and even mathematics, chemistry, and some of the modern languages.

About a hundred young men had thus come together, when, growing ambitious, they desired to have lectures delivered to them; and then it was that the

« AnteriorContinuar »