Chapter 9

           BackfromseaMartinEdencame,homingforCaliforniawithalover’sdesire. Hisstoreofmoneyexhausted,hehadshippedbeforethemastonthetreasure-huntingschooner; andtheSolomonIslands,aftereightmonthsoffailuretofindtreasure,hadwitnessedthebreakingupoftheexpedition. ThemenhadbeenpaidoffinAustralia,andMartinhadimmediatelyshippedonadeep-watervesselforSanFrancisco. Notalonehadthoseeightmonthsearnedhimenoughmoneytostayonlandformanyweeks,buttheyhadenabledhimtodoagreatdealofstudyingandreading. 

           Hiswasthestudent’smind,andbehindhisabilitytolearnwastheindomitabilityofhisnatureandhisloveforRuth. Thegrammarhehadtakenalonghewentthroughagainandagainuntilhisunjadedbrainhadmasteredit. Henoticedthebadgrammarusedbyhisshipmates,andmadeapointofmentallycorrectingandreconstructingtheircruditiesofspeech. Tohisgreatjoyhediscoveredthathisearwasbecomingsensitiveandthathewasdevelopinggrammaticalnerves. Adoublenegativejarredhimlikeadiscord,andoften,fromlackofpractice,itwasfromhisownlipsthatthejarcame. Histonguerefusedtolearnnewtricksinaday. 

           Afterhehadbeenthroughthegrammarrepeatedly,hetookupthedictionaryandaddedtwentywordsadaytohisvocabulary. Hefoundthatthiswasnolighttask,andatwheelorlookouthesteadilywentoverandoverhislengtheninglistofpronunciationsanddefinitions,whileheinvariablymemorizedhimselftosleep. "Neverdidanything,""ifIwere,"and"thosethings,"werephrases,withmanyvariations,thatherepeatedunderhisbreathinordertoaccustomhistonguetothelanguagespokenbyRuth. 

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