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so stirred up with his stories, recitations and continual ebullitions, which so fairly entranced his Grannie and Grandpa and the cousins, that the whole household economy was disordered. They lost their sleep, for "Jamie" held them spellbound night after night with his wonderful performances. The shy and contemplative youngster who had tramped among the hills, reciting the stirring ballads of the border, had found an admiring tho astonished audience at last, and had let loose upon them.

To the circle at home he was naturally shy and reserved, but to his Grannie, Grandpa, and Cousins, free from parental restraint, he could freely deliver his soul. His mind was stored with the legends of his country, its romance and poetry, and, strong Covenanters as were the Watts for generations, tales of the Martyrs were not wanting. The heather was on fire within Jamie's breast. But where got you all that perferidum Scotorum, my wee mannie-that store of precious nutriment that is to become part of yourself and remain in the core of your being to the end, hallowing and elevating your life with ever-increasing power? Not at the grammar school we trow. No school but one can instil that, where rules the one best teacher you will ever know, genius though you be-the school kept at your mother's knee. Such mothers as Watt had are the appointed trainers of genius, and make men good and great, if the needed spark be there to enkindle: "Kings they "make gods, and meaner subjects kings."

We have another story of Watt's childhood that proclaims the coming man. Precocious children are said rarely to develop far in later years, but Watt was pre-eminently a precocious child, and of this several proofs are related. A friend looking at the child of six said to his father, "You ought to "send your boy to a public school, and not allow "him to trifle away his time at home." "Look how "he is occupied before you condemn him," said the father. He was trying to solve a problem in geometry. His mother had taught him drawing, and with this he was captivated. A few toys were given him, which were constantly in use. Often he took them to pieces, and out of the parts sometimes constructed new ones, a source of great delight. In this way he employed and amused himself in the many long days during which he was confined to the house by ill health.

It is at this stage the steam and kettle story takes its rise. Mrs. Campbell, Watt's cousin and constant companion, recounts, in her memoranda, written in 1798:

Sitting one evening with his aunt, Mrs. Muirhead, at the teatable, she said: "James Watt, I never saw such an idle boy; take a book or employ yourself usefully; for the last hour you have not spoken one word, but taken off the lid of that kettle and put it on again, holding now a cup and now a silver spoon over the steam, watching how it rises from the spout, and catching and connecting the drops of hot water it falls into. Are you not ashamed of spending your time in this way?"

To what extent the precocious boy ruminated upon


the phenomenon must be left to conjecture. Enough that the story has a solid foundation upon which we can build. This more than justifies us in classing it with "Newton and the Apple," "Bruce and the Spider," "Tell and the Apple," "Galvani and the Frog," "Volta and the Damp Cloth," "Washington and His Little Hatchet," a string of gems, amongst the most precious of our legendary possessions. Let no rude iconoclast attempt to undermine one of them. if they never occurred, it matters little. They should have occurred, for they are too good to lose. We could part with many of the actual characters of the flesh in history without much loss; banish the imaginary host of the spirit and we were poor indeed. So with these inspiring legends; let us accept them and add others gladly as they arise, inquiring not too curiously into their origin.

While Watt was still in boyhood, his wise father not only taught him writing and arithmetic, but also provided a set of small tools for him in the shop among the workmen a wise and epoch-making gift, for young Watt soon revealed such wonderful manual dexterity, and could do such astonishing things, that the verdict of one of the workmen, "Jamie has a "fortune at his finger-ends," became a common saying among them. The most complicated work seemed to come naturally to him. One model after another was produced to the wonder and delight of his older fellow

workmen. Jamie was the pride of the shop, and no doubt of his fond father, who saw with pardonable pride that his promising son inherited his own traits, and gave bright promise of excelling as a skilled handicraftsman.

The mechanical dexterity of the Watts, grandfather, father and son, is not to be belittled, for most of the mechanical inventions have come from those who have been cunning of hand and have worked as manual laborers, generally in charge of the machinery or devices which they have improved. When new processes have been invented, these also have usually suggested themselves to the able workmen as they experienced the crudeness of existing methods. Indeed, few important inventions have come from those who have not been thus employed. It is with inventors as with poets; few have been born to the purple or with silver spoons in their mouths, and we shall plainly see later on that had it not been for Watt's inherited and acquired manual dexterity, it is probable that the steam engine could never have been perfected, so often did failure of experiments arise solely because it was in that day impossible to find men capable of executing the plans of the inventor. His problem was to teach them by example how to obtain the exact work required when the tools of precision of our day were unknown and the men themselves were only workmen of the crudest kind. Many of the most

delicate parts, even of working engines, passed through Watt's own hands, and for most of his experimental devices he had himself to make the models. Never was there an inventor who had such reason to thank fortune that in his youth he had learned to work with his hands. It proved literally true, as his fellowworkmen in the shop predicted, that "Jamie's fortune was at his finger-ends."

As before stated, he proved a backward scholar for a time, at the grammar school. No one seems to have divined the latent powers smoldering within. Latin and Greek classics moved him not, for his mind was stored with more entrancing classics learned at his mother's knee: his heroes were of nobler mould than the Greek demigods, and the story of his own romantic land more fruitful than that of any other of the past. Busy working man has not time to draw his inspiration from more than one national literature. Nor has any man yet drawn fully from any but that of his native tongue. We can no more draw our mental sustenance from two languages than we can think in two. Man can have but one deep source from whence come healing waters, as he can have but one mother tongue. So it was with Watt. He had Scotland and that sufficed. When the boy absorbs, or rather is absorbed by, Wallace, The Bruce, and Sir John Grahame, is fired by the story of the Martyrs, has at heart page after page of the country's ballads, and

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