When the time drew near for me to go, Father found himself too poor, or the expense looked too big none of the other boys had had such privileges, and why should I? So I swallowed my disappointment and attended the home district school for another winter. Yet I am not sure but I went to Harpersfield after all.
I think it quite possible that my dreams gave me the best there was in Harpersfield anyway a worthy aspiration is never lost. All these things differentiate me from my brothers. My interest in theological questions showed itself about the same time.
I followed the plough those September days with dreams of Harpersfield Academy hovering about me, but the reality never came. Father concluded, after I had finished my job of ploughing, that he could not afford it. Butter was low and he had too many other ways for using his money.
Then the next fall I had the promise of going to the Academy at Harpersfield, where one of the neighbor's boys, Dick Van Dyke, went. How I dreamed of Harpersfield! That fall I did my first ploughing, stimulated to it by the promise of Harpersfield. It was in September, in the lot above the sugar bush cross-ploughing, to prepare the ground for rye.
There was also another trail leading from Schoharie to Harpersfield and thence down the Charlotte creek to the Susquehanna. "We had gone on about ten miles farther which brought us as low down as where Collier's bridge now crosses the river.
How many days I ploughed, I do not remember; but Harpersfield was the lure at the end of each furrow, I remember that. To this day I cannot hear the name without seeing a momentary glow upon my mental horizon a finger of enchantment is for an instant laid upon me. But I did not go to Harpersfield.
But my desire to go, and dreaming of it, impressed it and him upon me more, perhaps, than the boys who really went were impressed. How outside of it all I felt when I used to go down there to the school exhibitions! It was after that that I had my dream of going to Harpersfield Seminary the very name had a romantic sound.
One season when I was fifteen or sixteen, I set my heart on going to school at Harpersfield. A boy whom I knew in the village attended it and I wanted to accompany him. Father talked encouragingly and held it out as a possible reward if I helped hurry the farm work along. This I did, and for the first time taking to field with the team and plough and "summer fallowing" one of the oat-stubble lots.