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it and operated by another weight and cord to the clock. In striking a light the match was drawn across a piece of sand paper and then applied to the wick. A similar contrivance dropped a lighted match upon the kindling in the stove and presto! there was a fire.
Before retiring the master of all of this machinery set his clock to arouse him at five o'clock. Exactly at that hour the clock would drop the stone
and John out of bed. Other stones would drop and light the lamp, start the fire, and heat the wash basin of water.
Still another curious device in this student's room was his study table. This also was operated by the big clock. "It didn't look much like a student's table. The legs were made of wooden compasses and wooden books. The top was slanting and made of a series of cogwheels with the big wheel, fourteen inches in diameter, in the center. It was cut through the center into equal halves. Beneath the wheels was a car, divided into stalls for holding the books."
In using his mechanical study table, Muir arranged the books in the order in which he wished to study them, adjusted the wheels to the number of minutes allotted each book, mounted a high stool, and awaited his books. The clock would move the car along, push a book up into place and open it for study. When time was up, this book would drop down and another take its place. In like manner each book in the car would appear and disappear.
Muir devised this table he said to make himself more orderly and more regular in his habits of study.
John Muir was called a mechanical genius. He could repair any kind of a machine and make a machine to do almost any kind of work one could wish. During his college days he contrived about fifty different kinds of curious machines, and his room became one of the show places of Madison.
While a student at the university, he boarded himself and earned money at anything he could find to do. His food consisted mostly of bread and molasses, graham mush, and occasionally a potato which the janitor kindly allowed him to bake on the hot coals of the furnace. In summer he worked on farms, and in winter taught a short term of school. In this manner he maintained himself for four years at the university. He left without graduating. "I was far from satisfied” he says, "with what I had learned and should have stayed longer. Anyhow I wandered away on a glorious botanical and geological excursion that has lasted more than fifty years.
"From the top of a hill on the north side of Lake Mendota, I gained a last wistful, lingering view of the beautiful University grounds and buildings where I had spent so many hungry and happy and hopeful days. There with streaming eyes
with streaming eyes I bade my blessed Alma Mater farewell. But I was only leaving one university for another—the University of the Wilderness."
Had Muir pursued the field of mechanics, it is said that his success would have been as great as that of Edison. Instead, he chose the realm of science and exploration. To his labors in these fields, America is largely indebted for her knowledge of Alaska and for the preservation of the great trees in California and of Yosemite Falls.
HELPS TO STUDY I. Read the first paragraph. When you finish indicate by AMERICA, THE BEAUTIFUL
looking at your teacher. Wait quietly until all are through.
thought. II. Read the next six paragraphs as rapidly as you can get
simple home life?
of fine character in the lad.
1. Why was John Muir called a mechanical genius?
and the use he made of his invention. IV. Complete the reading of the story.
1. What is a good name for this part?
world? Other Selections: The Old Clock on the Stairs, LONGFELLOW; How a Town was Saved by a Clock, SMITH; The Wonder Clock.
O beautiful for spacious skies,
O beautiful for heroes proved
O beautiful for patriot dream
- Katherine Lee Bates.
Do you like patriotic songs and stories? Do you suppose that hearing and singing about our country's heroes makes us more patriotic? The Roman mothers thought so.
According to the old legend Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who, as children, were nourished by a she-wolf.
Be that as it may, the Romans first appear upon the pages of history about 700 B.C. Their stronghold was the city of Rome, on the south banks of the Tiber. Their sturdiest rivals were the Etruscans, on the north banks of the river; and between the two neighbors there was eternal hatred.
It is said that every Roman mother desired her son to become a soldier and a patriot—to live for his country if possible, but to die for it if necessary;