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thankful joy the fact of his having saved his first guinea, and he said to a friend that “he was now a rich man.” Thus industry, sobriety, and thrift, were the true secret of Stephenson's success as a young man, and these sterling qualities afterwards made him useful, prosperous, and honoured.
2. After his marriage in 1802, he still employed his leisure in mending shoes, and then proceeded to make shoe-lasts, in which he did a very good trade. An accident having happened to his clock, he took it to pieces, and repaired the mischief so well that other clocks were sent to him, and he soon became one of the most famous clock-doctors in the neighbourhood.
3. But a heavy trial awaited him in the early death of his wife, leaving one son, Robert Stephen
He was now employed as brakesman in the Killingworth Colliery. He went away for one year to superintend the working of one of Watt's engines at Montrose in Scotland. On his return he found his father had been blinded by an accident and reduced to want. With part of the money saved in Scotland, George at once paid off his father's debts and placed him and his mother in a comfortable cottage near his own home, where he supported them until their death.
4. A great triumph now awaited him, the fitting reward of his own close attention and
perseverance. An engine of defective construction had been erected for the purpose of pumping out the water from a neighbouring pit. It proved utterly incapable of doing the work for which it had been erected. All
the best engineers in the district had tried to remedy its defects and failed. Stephenson examined it, and expressed his belief that he could make it efficient, and, as a last resource, he was asked to undertake it. Very quickly the pit was cleared of water, and George received a present of ten pounds for the job —the largest sum he had ever received up to this time in one amount. His fame as an engineer was now firmly established.
5. It would be a pleasant task to follow the growing success of this noble young man step by stepto read of his honest pride at having saved his first 100 guineas—of his resolve to give his son the best education he could, of his own unceasing efforts at self-improvement, of his ingenuity, his untiring industry and his masculine vigour. In 1812, when thirty-one years of age he was appointed enginewright to the Killingworth Colliery at a salary of
£100 a year.
6. One interesting fact we must mention. With the assistance of his son, and a copy of Ferguson's Astronomy which Robert had brought from Newcastle, Stephenson resolved to construct a sun-dial in front of his cottage. Many difficulties were in the way, but perseverance and ingenuity overcame them all, and at last the sun-dial was fixed much to the astonishment of the neighbours. It is believed that the dial still remains with the date carved
upon it, “ August 11th, 1816.”
7. Thus amid difficulties of no ordinary kind, George Stephenson was gradually preparing himself for his great and enduring work, the construction of the locomotive engine, and the introduction of the vast railway system, which still ranks highest amid all the wonderful products of this wonderful nineteenth century. expert, skilful.
masculine, manly. sterling, thoroughly good astronomy, science of defective, not perfect. the stars. incapable, unable. sun-dial, an instrument to efficient, in good working mark the time by means order.
of the sun. ingenuity, practical skill. enduring, lasting ac-ci-dent grad-u-al-ly neigh-bour-hood so-bri-e-ty brakes-man guin-ea pur-pose en-gineer mis-chief
How did George Stephenson increase his earnings? What made him think he was now a rich man? Why did he go to Scotland ? What did he find on his return? What great triumph awaited him? What appointment did he receive at thirty-one years of age? Give the story of his sun-dial. For what great work was Stephenson gradually preparing himself?
1. Snow, snow, beautiful snow,
As heavenly gifts do ever-
Lost in the gushing river.
2. Snow, snow, beautiful snow, Lying so lightly on all below,
Garden and field spread over, White as a spotless winding sheet; The flowers are lifeless, and thus 'tis meet
The face of the dead to cover.
3. Snow, snow, beautiful snow, Melting so softly from all below,
Into the cold earth sinking; Soon the last traces shall disappear, And Spring, with carpets of flowers, be here,
And none of the snow be thinking.
4. Yet greener the hollows among the hills, And fuller the flow of the sparkling rills,
Since the snow with moisture fed them. Thus when our lives shall melt
away, Fresh and bright would their influence stay
If in holy deeds we shed them.