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The brothers were very near of an age, and constant playmates and workmates. This brother was uncommonly bright and of a lovely character. Through life Mr. Philbrick never ceased to mourn this loss, and its anniversary was always a sad day to him. By this blow he became now his father's only dependence, and the difficulty of his absence was accordingly increased, but he still persevered in his course.
His name appears in the Pembroke catalogues of 1834 and 1835, in that of Strafford in 1836, nowhere in 1837, but again in the Pembroke catalogue of 1838. But he was present at these schools only at odd terms.
Pembroke Academy, at this time, was a flourishing and excellent higher seminary, and, with the exception of Phillips Academy at Exeter, one of the best schools in New Hampshire. Its catalogue of 1834, a little pamphlet of eight pages, as big over as your hand, contains 176 names, divided, to use its own words, into “ 108 Males and 68 Females." It contains no regular course of study, but names the books, in their order to be studied in preparation for college. It divides the year into three terms, two of fourteen weeks each and one of sixteen weeks. The fee for a certificate of admission is 25 cents. The tuition for the two shorter terms is $4.25, and for the longer term $4.87, with an additional dollar each term to each scholar who studies the French language. The price of board is $1.25 or $1.50 per week, but by walking a moderate distance from the Academy students can be boarded for a less sum.
The catalogues for 1835 and 1836 are substantially the
same. During these three years Joseph Dow was princi. pal. The catalogues of 1837 and 1838, when Isaac Kinsman became principal, show a marked educational advance; three-year courses of study are laid out, term by term, both for the Male and Female Departments. Some very pertinent observations are made under the head of studies and courses, It is interesting to quote a bit of its plain English:
“The examination of compositions and the rehearsals of declamations will each constitute a daily recitation. The whole school will not attend these recitations together as a class, but in succession, four or five individuals at a time. Each composition will be read by the teacher, with the writer by his side. It will be scrutinized word by word and sentence by sentence. All its superfluities and misconceptions, and, so far as possible, its deficiencies will be pointed out. In oratory, the scholar will be drilled. Tone, inflection, emphasis, position, motion, if faulty, will be criticised on the spot."
Mr. Kinsman was a thorough and an inspiring teacher, and as such exerted at this time and afterwards no little influence over the young student, Philbrick. But the main motive which led him to persevere at the academy, and to go on to college, was the same which first started him in this direction,- the sympathy and encouragement of the maternal uncle, whom he mentions. This uncle, in writing to his sister, Mr. Philbrick's mother, in 1838, says : —
“I am extremely glad that John has manifested so much determination and decision, in pursuing his education; you can do nothing for him, in my opinion, which
will be of so much real and substantial benefit to him in after life, and for which he will ever hold you in so grateful remembrance, as to assist and encourage him in this course. He must enter college this fall without fail; if he goes in debt a few hundred dollars, don't be scared ; he will be able if he has his health, in one or two years at most, to clear himself.”
The debt of gratitude to this uncle, Elbridge G Dudley, afterward a lawyer in this city, was never forgotten.
Writing to his father from Pembroke, May 2, 1835, he says he appreciates the valuable privileges there enjoyed of intellectual and moral education, but is aware that they will not always last, and that, as his father is doubtless impatiently awaiting his return, he is using every exertion to accomplish what he can in the little time he has to stay. Writing later, he says he regrets that time should fly so swiftly, and that he has so short a time to remain. It appears that this term of his school was to close, July 30, and his father had expected him to return home by the Fourth of July, to assist with the haying. In a letter he pleads to be allowed to remain, if not the whole term, at least until the ith, and says he has good reason to hope that this request will not be denied him.
Such was the continual struggle which covered these four years. An odd term or a part of a term at the acad. emy was had, when he could be released from helping at home, and when a little ready money for expenses could be gathered together. To provide a part of this money,
he at this time spent his winters in teaching in the district schools of his own neighborhood, ļn teaching one of
these schools he boarded round. One winter he taught in his home district, where he had lately been a pupil. These schools were attended by the large boys and girls, as well as by the smaller of all ages, and he had pupils as old as or older than himself. I have heard those who were pupils at this school, old men now of seventy, within the past year, tell what a good school he kept and how much he was liked as a master. One told me how he would go out and take part with the boys in the sports, at noon or recess, and how on one occasion he accidentally got a hard hit over the eye with a snowball, so that the eye had to be bandaged for the afternoon. “ But," said the old man, “he made nothing of it; I tell you, we liked him.”
In 1837 he does not appear to have gone away to school at all; but he taught in the winter of 1836–1837, in the adjoining town of Nottingham. An old pupil from this place, whom he scarcely remembered, writes to him fourteen years after : “Your memory is still dear to the citizens of this district; the school has not flourished since as it did while you were here. Often do I hear your evening school and exhibition spoken of; they left a deep and abiding impression on the hearts of all who attended them.”
In June of this year, 1837, he wrote his uncle saying he had not attended school a single day, not having found any opportunity to leave home ; that it was a source of great anxiety to him that he had been able to make so little progress in literary pursuits, because, he added, “I fear I shall not be able to keep the promise I made you. I feel unwilling to lose so good an opportunity to go to college. For that reason I have been trying to do all I could at home, but I have labored with only a faint hope of success. I am determined, however, to persevere in the study of the languages till I see you, when I hope the affair will be settled. Cicero and Sallust, I think with a little study I can handle, but Virgil and the Greek Reader will go rather hard.”
LIFE AT COLLEGE.
And he did “persevere," and his “faint hope of success ” became a hope realized. At twenty years of age, in August, 1838, he successfully presented himself for admission to Dartmouth College. This was a proud day for the struggling student. He says in a letter written at the time: “I went to the president and applied for admission. I was immediately admitted to examination on presenting my recommendation, and was directed to two professors, to have the business “done up.” Latin went easy, as well as Algebra, but Greek did not go quite so smooth, though my examination was on the whole by no means a severe one. I, of course, had to promise to make up that part of the Greek Reader I had not read, and also the four Gospels. The others from Pembroke had to do the same.”
He at once set about to procure lodgings, and writes that he and his roommate have two very delightful rooms, one of which they used for a sleeping-room, clothes-press, and woodhouse, and the other for a study. room. For their furniture they paid twelve dollars,