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to it that his two sons never wanted for work. He believed that hard work, and plenty of it, was the very best training a boy could receive. That was the stern Scotch manner of discipline.
One evening John came across something in his reading that particularly interested him and he asked, as many another boy has done, for permission to read a few minutes longer -to the end of the chapter.
“John,” said his father in strong Scotch accent, “if ye maun read, git up in the mornin'. Noo to bed. Gude nicht.”
John took his father at his word, and exactly at one o'clock the next morning was out of bed, ready to devour as much of the book as possible before breakfast. The house was too cold for comfort, and he dared not build a fire for fear of disturbing his father, so he went quietly to the cellar where by the light of a candle he could read his beloved book undisturbed. And this operation he repeated morning after morning for the rest of the winter. Neither lack of sleep nor cold of cellar could keep him from his heart's desire. His father thought the boy had gone crazy, but could raise no objection; he had given his word.
Something in his reading suggested to the lad the making of a clock. Straightway he began reading and studying and drawing plans for such a timepiece as he thought he could make with the tools and material about the place. As soon as he had decided upon this undertaking, his whole mind became absorbed with the idea. He thought clocks and dreamed clocks until he could see just how every part was to be made and just what work each wheel was to perform; then he went to work. The cellar served for a work shop and a big jackknife was his principal tool.
From a pile of hickory slabs John selected such pieces as suited his needs and outlined on them the various wheels and cams of the clock. Then he was ready to whittle out the parts. As with his books, so with his invention; his enthusiasm for it called him from his dreams at one o'clock in the morning and
gave him five hours of uninterrupted pleasure. Sometimes he carried a wheel in his pocket and whittled at it during spare moments. As each part was finished, it was carefully concealed behind a bed upstairs lest a stern father should take offense and put an end to his "piece of foolishness."
After months of patient toil, the clock was completed and set going. At once it attracted attention, and neighbors came from miles around to see the queer machine and to wonder at the tricks which its inventor could make it perform.
"It's a regular curiosity,” said one of John's enthusiastic admirers. "You ought to take that to the state fair, John. It would be one of the chief attractions, and, no doubt, the officials would pay you well for exhibiting it there. I'll let you have dithe money for the trip."
The offer was accepted, and the following September young Muir shouldered his curious contrivance and started for the nearest railway station, bound for the fair. When the train arrived, John carried his clock to the baggage car and offered to put it aboard.
“You can't put that infernal machine in here!" said the baggageman, eyeing young Muir with suspicion, "not as long as I have a wife and baby dependin' on me. What is that thing, anyhow?”
"It's only a clock,” replied John, and perfectly harmless. May I put it aboard?"
“Oh, yes, certainly, if that's all it is. I thought it might be some kind of a machine for blastin' out stumps. It's goin' to Madison, is it, to the state fair?”
Assured that it was, the baggageman promised to take good care of the clock, and John turned his attention to other things. It was to be his first ride on a train, and the one thing that interested him most was what made the train go. He sought and obtained permission to ride on the engine so that he might watch the machinery work; and in this manner he completed his journey.
The young exhibitor was cordially received at the fair grounds and given the best location in the Hall of Fine Arts to show his invention. It was here that the scene took place described in the beginning of our story. As his friend predicted, the clock proved to be one of the chief attractions. Thousands of visitors stopped to admire the boy's invention and to laugh at its odd antics. And for his unique entertainment John received the large sum of five dollars a day!
It was at the fair that John Muir first learned of the University of Wisconsin and the opportunities that it offered for obtaining an education. “Alas, they are not for me,” he sighed. “An education costs money, and I have none to spare.
"You might board yourself," suggested a new acquaintance. “You can live on bread and milk; that's the way several of us are doing in South Hall. You can get along somehow. Think it over.” And he did.
A few months later John Muir with his wooden clock and a few other belongings applied for admission to the university. He had not been in school since he came to America, but somehow the university had learned of the boy with the wonderful clock and made his entrance easy.
The new student took his work seriously and studied almost incessantly. In order that he might not waste too much time in sleep, he arranged with Pat, the janitor, to give him an early call; when Pat came to poke up the fires in the early morning, he was to give a few gentle tugs on a string which hung to the ground outside of Muir's bedroom window. The plan worked all right until some mischievous students grew curious about that string. Luckily for John Muir, the string broke, or he might have been wanting a big toe for the rest of his life.
That experience taught John a lesson. He would depend upon himself thereafter. He would use the big wooden clock to regulate his hours of study and of sleep! So he made a bed with three long legs, two stiff ones at the head and a leg with a knee in it at the foot of the bed. When in use, the bed stood level, but when the knee went out from under it, the occupant rolled onto the floor. The knee was kept stiff by a wooden pin from the top of which a stout cord, with a heavy stone on the end of it, ran over to the clock.
On a shelf above his bed stood the lamp; beneath it was a wooden arm holding a match in the end of