212 Old-time Schools and School-books
was a woman of engaging manners, and unblemished character. Jack's teacher, Mr. Clement, was very fond of him, and used to call him little General Washington, because he acted with so much honor and manliness. Jack scorned the vile mischief that low bred fellows sometimes practice, and which they seem to think very cunning.
If he saw a silly fellow skulk behind a bench, or behind another boy, to do some sly trick, while the teacher was looking the other way, he would say, when they went out, that bad scholars took more pains to be dunces than would be needed to become men of talents.
Jack's little sisters were charming girls, very fond of learning ; and, when he came home, he would find pretty stories for Mary to read, and teach Betsey in her a b abs. He always treated his mother and sisters with great attention, and was very polite to other ladies of his acquaintance.
The story goes on to say that " Jack's conduct began to attract notice in the town where he lived." Major Wilson, " a gentleman of distinction," whose house was about four miles distant from Mr. Halyard's, had a ten-year-old son, named Peter, " and Peter was inclined to be idle and childish." When other boys were sliding and skating, Peter would sit moping indoors. One day the lads were asking among themselves where Peter was, and Solomon Belmot said, " Oh, he is sitting in the corner to keep the cat from eating the tongs. That is all he is good for; the ninny is too lazy even to play."
Major Wilson was mortified, at having such a shameful lubber of a son. He thought of Jack Halyard, and concluded the best thing he could do, would be to get so smart a boy to come and live a while with his son.