Chapter 8

           Severalweekswentby,duringwhichMartinEdenstudiedhisgrammar,reviewedthebooksonetiquette,andreadvoraciouslythebooksthatcaughthisfancy. Ofhisownclasshesawnothing. ThegirlsoftheLotusClubwonderedwhathadbecomeofhimandworriedJimwithquestions,andsomeofthefellowswhoputonthegloveatRiley’sweregladthatMartincamenomore. Hemadeanotherdiscoveryoftreasure-troveinthelibrary. Asthegrammarhadshownhimthetie-ribsoflanguage,sothatbookshowedhimthetie-ribsofpoetry,andhebegantolearnmetreandconstructionandform,beneaththebeautyhelovedfindingthewhyandwhereforeofthatbeauty. Anothermodernbookhefoundtreatedpoetryasarepresentativeart,treateditexhaustively,withcopiousillustrationsfromthebestinliterature. Neverhadhereadfictionwithsokeenzestashestudiedthesebooks. Andhisfreshmind,untaxedfortwentyyearsandimpelledbymaturityofdesire,grippedholdofwhathereadwithavirilityunusualtothestudentmind. 

           Whenhelookedbacknowfromhisvantage-ground,theoldworldhehadknown,theworldoflandandseaandships,ofsailor-menandharpy-women,seemedaverysmallworld; andyetitblendedinwiththisnewworldandexpanded. Hismindmadeforunity,andhewassurprisedwhenatfirsthebegantoseepointsofcontactbetweenthetwoworlds. Andhewasennobled,aswell,bytheloftinessofthoughtandbeautyhefoundinthebooks. Thisledhimtobelievemorefirmlythaneverthatupabovehim,insocietylikeRuthandherfamily,allmenandwomenthoughtthesethoughtsandlivedthem. Downbelowwherehelivedwastheignoble,andhewantedtopurgehimselfoftheignoblethathadsoiledallhisdays,andtorisetothatsublimatedrealmwheredwelttheupperclasses. 

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