As promised, we return to McGuffey's Fourth Eclectic Reader
. The following was transcribed (including the definitions and exercises), not because of its message, but because of its relative brevity - I didn't want to spend all night typing. The unspoken message of lesson XLVIII, though, is typical of all the readings: there is a right and a wrong way to think and behave, learn from this. Not sure these values are being transmitted today. Our loss.
1. Frank's father was speaking to a friend, one day, on the subject of competition at school. He said that he could answer for it that envy is not always connected with it.
2. He had been excelled by many, but did not recollect ever having felt envious of his successful rivals; "nor did my winning many a prize from my friend Birch," he said, "ever lessen his friendship for me."
3. In support of the truth of this, a friend who was present related an anecdote which had fallen under his own notice in a school in his neighborhood.
4. At this school the sons of several wealthy farmers, and others, who were poorer, received instruction. Frank listened with great attention while the gentleman gave the following account of the two rivals:
5. It happened that the son of a rich farmer and the son of a poor widow came in competition for the head of their class. They were so nearly equal that the teacher could scarcely decide between them; some days one, and some days the other, gained the head of the class. It was determined by seeing who should be at the head of the class for the greater number of days in the week.
6. The widow's son, by the last day's trial, gained the victory, and kept his place the following week, till the school was dismissed for the holidays.
7. When they met again the widow's son did not appear, and the farmer's son, being next to him, might now have been at the head of his class. Instead of seizing the vacant place, however, he went to the widow's house to inquire what could be the cause of her son's absence.
8. Poverty was the cause; the poor woman found that she was unable, with her utmost efforts, to continue to pay for the tuition and books of her son, and so he, poor fellow! had been compelled to give up his schooling, and to return to labor for her support.
9. The farmer's son, out of the allowance of pocket money which his father gave him, bought all the necessary books and paid for the tuition of his rival. He also permitted him to be brought back again to the head of his class, where he continued for some time, at the expense of his generous rival.
Definitions. - Em-u-la tion, rivalry, contest 1. Com-pe-ti tion, rivalry. 2. Ex-celled, surpassed, exceeded in good qualities. Ri-vals, those who pursue the same thing. 3. An-ec-dote, a short story. 8. Tu-i-tion, payment for teaching.
Exercises. - What is the subject of this lesson? What do you mean by emulation? What is envy? What story is told about the two rivals? Is it right to envy any person?