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as an orator; and his style was something quite new, at a time when I was little versed in our English classics.
Even this library, with its wealth of evangelistic theology, failed to advance my aims at a solution of the great puzzle of the way of salvation.
COLLEGE COURSE: OTHER STUDIES AND OCCUPATIONS—
Winter Session, 1836-37.
The college work this session was Greek, under Dr. Brown (three hours a day), and Latin, under Dr. Melvin (three-quarters of an hour daily). Brown was a fair scholar, and not a bad teacher, but liable to fits of absent-mindedness. He had to begin us with the Greek Grammar from the alphabet; he then took us through a book of extracts, and, finally, a portion of Homer. We also had lectures from him on the History of Greece, which I appreciated more than most, making notes as well as I was able—a new exercise. I did the work pretty steadily, but without enthusiasm, and made a fair appearance in the prize list (fourth). I could have done better, if I had had more books at my command. Brown's readings of translations from the authors were very enjoyable.
Melvin was a very different style of man from
Brown; and the little I had had of him at the Grammar School did not spoil my relish (as with others) for his peculiar mode of discipline in the minutiae of grammar. He gave us Livy and Horace, with exercises in translating and version making. The last I never excelled in. Yet, by carefully getting up what he had read with us, and by tact in translating, I got one of his prizes at the end. The session was a tolerable success, so far as Classics under the old-fashioned teaching and my small avidity could make it.
I still taught a Mathematical Class at the Mechanics' Institution, two evenings a week. I did little or nothing in the study of Mathematics; the Metaphysical furore having now set in. I got from the Marischal College Library, Stewart's biographies of Reid, Adam Smith, and Robertson; but, when I asked for Hume's Essays, the Librarian (our Greek professor) refused it. I ought to have been directed to a perusal of Reid by Stewart's Life; but, somehow, this did not happen. An incident at the close of the session is my best-remembered clue to the point of advancement I had reached in the subject.
It was a usage of Marischal College, to make every class in Arts pass through a public ritd voce examination, conducted by the professor. The students were called up in alphabetic order,
MODE OF TEACHING AT MARISCHAL COLLEGE. 45
and had leading questions put to them, usually in the sequence of the course. I made a point of listening to the whole examination in Moral Philosophy, and gained a good idea of the contents of the lectures. I must have pronounced it dull and flat, but had not then the presumption, which I should have had, two or three years afterwards, to think I could improve upon it.
The class was about fifty strong, and with a few members I had contracted friendships both intense and lasting.
Summer Recess, 1837.
More eventful even than the winter session, which closed in April, was the seven months' interval before commencing the next session.
With a view to maintenance, I went back to my occupation at the loom, but not so as to exclude a very large devotion to studious reading.
Having got, through Professor Tulloch, the privilege of taking out books from King's College Library,—which, in consequence of its being the College to receive all books passing through Stationers' Hall, was the better stocked of the two,—I had the means of getting almost any book I fancied. Concurrent with this advantage, was the permission to range the Library, and see what works it contained—an enormous advantage to one at my stage of acquirements. To look at the backs of the books and pull out and examine their contents at pleasure, was an education in itself. When any one treatise interested me, I could take it home and devour it at leisure. Hence, when I went across with some works already in my mind to be asked for, I had many others suggested by the sight of those in the shelves. My curiosity first turned upon the complete edition of Robert Hall's works, then recently published; and all the volumes I could get hold of were read and re-read with avidity. I was also profoundly impressed with Foster's Essays. Brown's Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind I took out, but did not fully peruse. Among the works suggested by scanning the shelves, I remember distinctly Hartley's Observations on Man. The first volume I read with great admiration ; but the additions of Priestley, on Natural Theology and Ethics, I thought namby-pamby, in comparison with Hartley himself. Stewart's Essays also I got; but a chance memorandum says the reading of them was superficial. Boswell's Johnson took an amazing hold of me. Johnson's dicta were thoroughly to my liking. Finding on the shelves an edition de luxe of Parr's works, I had them home, volume by volume, and enjoyed