…And when the paste was made, it was left upon a plate to cool. Frank, as soon as it was cool enough to be used, took it to his father, and asked him, if he might now begin to make his kite; but his father said, “My dear, I cannot find a slip of wood for you; and you cannot well make your kite without that; but I am going to the carpenter’s; and I can get such a bit as I want from him—If you wish to come, you may come with me.” Frank said that he should like to go to the carpenter’s; so his father took him along with him.
The carpenter lived in a village, which was about a mile from Frank’s home ; and the way to it was by the turnpike road. As he walked along with his father, he saw some men, who were lifting up a tree, which they had just cut down—It had been growing in a hedge by the road side—The men put the tree upon a sort of carriage; and then they dragged the carriage along the road. “What are they going to do with this tree, papa ?” said Frank—”Will you ask them ?”
The men said, that they were carrying the tree to the sawpit, to have it cut into boards. They went on a little farther; and then the men turned up a lane, and dragged the carriage, with the tree upon it, after them; and Frank told his father, that he should like very much to see the saw-pit. It was not far off; and his father went down the lane, and showed it to him.
At the saw-pit, Frank observed how the sawyer sawed wood: he looked at some boards which had just been sawed asunder—When the sawyer rested himself, Frank looked at the large sharp teeth of his saw; and when the sawyer went on with his work, Frank’s father asked him to saw slowly; and Frank observed that the teeth of the saw cut and broke off very small parts of the wood, as the saw was pushed and drawn backwards and forwards—He saw a great deal of yellow dust in the saw-pit, which his father told him was called saw-dust; and fresh saw-dust fell from the teeth of the saw as it was moved.
The men who had brought the tree to be sawed into boards, were all this time busy in cutting off, with a hatchet, the small branches; and Frank turned to look at what they were doing; but his father said, “Frank, I cannot wait any longer now: I have business to do at the carpenter’s.” So Frank followed his father directly; and they went on, as fast as they could, to the carpenter’s.
When they came to the door of his workshop, they heard the noise of hammering: and Frank clapped his hands, and said, “I am glad to hear hammering—I shall like to hammer myself.” “But,” said his father, stopping him, just as he pulled up the latch of the door—”Remember that the hammer in this house is not your’s; and you must not meddle with it, nor with any of the carpenter’s tools, without his leave.” “Yes, papa,” said Frank, “I know that I must not meddle with things that are not mine—I did not meddle with any of the flowers, or cherries, in the gardener’s nice garden; and I will not meddle with any of the carpenter’s tools.”
So his father took him into the workshop; and he saw the bench upon which the carpenter worked, which was called a work bench; upon it he saw several tools, a plane, and a chisel, and a saw, and a gimlet, and a hammer; he did not meddle with any of them; and, after his father had been some time in the work-shop, and when he saw that Frank did not touch any of these things, he asked the carpenter to let him touch them, and to show him their use.
The carpenter, who had observed that Frank had not meddled with any of his tools, readily lent them to him to look at, and when he had looked at them, showed him their use— He planed a little slip of wood with a plane; and he bored a hole through it with the gimlet; and he sloped off the end of it with his chisel; and then he nailed it to another piece of wood with nails, which he struck into the wood with his hammer.
And Frank asked if he might take the hammer and a nail, and hammer it into a bit of wood himself. “You may try, if the carpenter will give you leave,” said his father. So Frank took the hammer, and tried to hammer a nail into a bit of wood—He hit his fingers, instead of the nail, two or three times; but at last he drove it into the wood; and he said, ” I thought it was much easier to do this, when I saw the carpenter hammering.”
Frank afterwards tried to use the plane, and the saw, which he thought he could manage very easily; but he found that he could not; and he asked his father, what was the reason that he could not do all this as well as the carpenter. The carpenter smiled, and said, “I have been learning to do all this, master, a great long while—When I first took a plane in my hand, I could not use it better than you do now.”
“Then perhaps, papa, I may learn too, in time—But papa,” said Frank, recollecting his kite, “will you be so good as to ask for the slip of wood for my kite ?” His father did so; and the carpenter found a slip that was just fit for his purpose, and gave it to him; and his father then desired him not to talk any more ; “For,” said he, “We have business to do; and you must not interrupt us.”
Whilst his father was speaking to the carpenter about his own business, Frank went to the window to look at it; for it was a different sort of window from those which he had been used to see in his father’s house—It opened like a door; and the panes of the glass were very small, and had flat slips of lead all round them. Whilst Frank was examining this window, he heard the sound of a horse trotting ; and he looked out, and he saw a horse upon the road which was before the window. The horse had a saddle and bridle on; but nobody was riding upon it—It stopped, and eat some grass by the road-side, and then went down a lane.
Soon after Frank had seen the horse go by, his father, who had finished his business with the carpenter, called to Frank, and told him that he was going home. Frank thanked the carpenter for letting him look at the plane, and the saw, and the chisel, and for giving him a slip of wood for his kite; and he took the bit of wood with him, and followed his father…
Early Lessons – 1801