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in substantives, verbs, and particles." In 1766 his father moved to another farm, Mount Oliphant, which was so far from the school that the boys could no longer attend regularly; and on the departure of their teacher and friend some months later from that part of the country their attendance ceased altogether. "There being no school near us," wrote his brother Gilbert, "and our little services being useful on the farm, my father undertook to teach us arithmetic in the winter evenings, by candle-light; and in this way my two eldest sisters got all the education they received." At the age of thirteen he was sent with his brother Gilbert, "week about" during the summer quarter, to the parish school of Dalrymple, to improve his writing. His brother concludes the narrative of his schooling thus: "The summer after we had been at Dalrymple school, my father sent Robert to Ayr, to revise his English grammar, with his former teacher [Murdock]. He had been there only one week, when he was obliged to return, to assist at the harvest. When the harvest was over, he went back to school, where he remained two weeks; and this completes the account of his school education, excepting one summer quarter, some time afterwards [in his nine
1 Autobiographical letter to Dr. Moore, Currie (op. cit.), p. 37.
2 Currie (op. cit.), p. 61.
teenth year], that he attended the parish school of Kirk-Oswald . . . to learn surveying."" to learn surveying." During the last two weeks that he was with Murdock he made so good a start in French, that with the aid of a French dictionary and grammar, and the Aventures de Télémaque by Fénelon he acquired "in a little while,” so writes his brother, "such a knowledge of the language, as to read and understand any French author in prose."
Notwithstanding the good use to which outward opportunities for education had been put whenever they presented themselves, so few and limited had they been, although supplemented by considerable reading, that Burns had to work out single-handed, for the most part, the intellectual tools with which to direct his life and shape his art. His poverty was not without its rich compensations, but it remorselessly denied him access to the great intellectual storehouses of human experience at a time when his genius might have entered and claimed its own.2 Not so in the case of Carlyle.
Carlyle, if not precocious, at least gave evidence when a child that there was something unusual in him. Before entering the village school he had learned
1 Currie (op. cit.), p. 66.
2 Cf. pp. 8, 9, and 59 of the Essay on Burns.
to read from his mother, and under the hand of his father had taken his first steps in arithmetic. "I remember, perhaps in my fifth year, his teaching me Arithmetical things: especially how to divide (of my letters taught me by my mother, I have no recollection whatever: of reading scarcely any): he said, 'This is the divider (divisor) this' etc., and gave me a quite clear notion how to do. My mother said I would forget it all; to which he answered: Not so much as they that never learned it. - Five years or so after, he said to me once: 'Tom, I do not grudge thy schooling, now when thy Uncle Frank owns thee to be a better Arithmetician than himself.'" 1 At the age of seven he was reported by the village schoolmaster as "complete in English," and soon began the study of Latin under the pastor and his son. In 1806 he was sent to the academy or "Grammar School" at Annan, a small town on Solway Firth about five miles south of Ecclefechan, to prepare for the University with a final outlook toward the ministry. Here, in spite of mechanical teaching and barbarian associates, he learned to read
1 Reminiscences, i., p. 45. .
2 For points of interest in regard to his life at the Annan Academy see Froude, Thomas Carlyle, A History of the First Forty Years of his Life, Vol. I., chap. ii.; Reminiscences, i.. p. 46; and Sartor Resartus, Book II., chapter on “Pedagogy.”
Latin and French fluently, and made considerable progress in algebra and geometry; so that he was prepared to enter the University of Edinburgh at the age of thirteen in the fall of 1809.
His career at the University was not distinguished by brilliant scholarship. The only subject, as taught at the University, which aroused his enthusiasm was mathematics, in which he made marked progress, though winning no prizes; and, conversely, the professor of mathematics seems to have been the only member of the faculty who discerned in him any gift above the average. His acquaintances among the
students were few; but as for these few intimate acquaintances, "intellectually and morally, he had impressed them as absolutely unique among them all,
such a combination of strength of character, rugged independence of manner, prudence, great literary powers, high aspirations and ambition, habitual despondency, and a variety of other humors, ranging from the ferociously sarcastic to the wildly tender, that it was impossible to set limits to what he was likely to become in the world." Perhaps the chief benefit derived from the University was the wide course of reading which he pursued independently
1 Masson, "Carlyle's Edinburgh Life" in Edinburgh Sketches and Memories, p. 243.
throughout the four years of residence there.1 the Universities can mainly do for you, what I have found the University did for me," said Carlyle many years afterward (1866) in his inaugural address to the students of the same University, "is, That it taught me to read, in various languages, in various sciences; so that I could go into books which treated of these things, and gradually penetrate into any department I wanted to make myself master of, as I found it suit me." A passage from the chapter on "Pedagogy" in Sartor Resartus is at least mythically autobiographical on this point: "Nay from the chaos of that Library, I succeeded in fishing-up more books perhaps than had been known to the very keepers thereof. The foundation of a Literary Life was hereby laid. I learned, on my own strength, to read fluently in almost all cultivated languages, on almost all subjects and sciences; farther, as man is ever the prime object to man, already it was my favorite employment to read character in speculation, and from the Writing to construe the Writer. A certain groundplan of Human Nature and Life began to fashion itself in me; wondrous enough, now when I look back on
1 For lists of the books drawn by Carlyle from the University library during the first two years of residence, see Masson (op. cit.), p. 231.