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READY FOR Business; OR CHOOSING AN OCCUPATION.*
By George J. MANSON.
RCHITECTS are fond of would be a
telling an amusing story really good
house-builders and mem- go through
bers of their own profession. a longtrainIt appears that Mr. Alexander, an ingandwait
eminent English architect, was in a patiently for certain lawsuit under cross-examination by a dis- years for the tinguished barrister who wished to detract from rewards of the weight of his testimony, and who, after asking his study. him his name, proceeded :
But to the “You are a builder, I believe ? "
youth who can afford to “ labor and to wait,” and “No, sir,” was the reply, “ I am not a builder; who has a proper talent for the occupation, the proI am an architect."
fession of an architect furnishes a very agreeable, “ They are much the same, I suppose ?" lucrative, and “genteel” field for earning a living.
“I beg your pardon, sir; I can not admit that; At the age of fifteen, a boy can tell whether he I consider them to be totally different.”
is fitted by nature and circumstances to be an “Oh, indeed! perhaps you will state wherein architect. To begin with, he should have an this great difference exists."
artistic mind; at all events, a mind that is not “An architect, sir," replied Mr. Alexander, “con- positively and absolutely mechanical in its operaceives the design, prepares the plan, draws out the tions. A distinguished architect informed me, specifications — in short, supplies the mind; the much to my surprise, that he was not by nature builder is the bricklayer or the carpenter. The build- sufficiently artistic for the purposes of his profeser, in fact, is the machine; the architect, the power sion, and, in that regard, he had to rely on wellthat puts the machine together and sets it going." qualified assistants. On the other hand, there
“Oh, very well, Mr. Architect,” said the lawyer; must be a taste for mathematics, for, while the "and now, after your ingenious distinction without purely artistic mind can give the architectural idea a difference, perhaps you can inform the court who beauty in form, it will of itself fail in the power of was the architect of the Tower of Babel?”— to which construction. The boy should understand algebra question Mr. Alexander made the prompt and tell- and geometry; should have learned to draw from ing rejoinder:
casts and from life, and should begin to cultivate “ There was no architect, sir, and hence the his taste, which little word, as defined by Webster confusion."
is, “nice perception, or the power of perceiving Mr. Alexander evidently had a very good opin- and relishing excellence in human performance; ion of his profession, and, considering the difficulty the faculty of discerning beauty, order, conwith which success in it is attained, he was cer- formity, symmetry, or whatever constitutes exceltainly justified in thinking well of it. For, it lence.” And this effort should be directed, not is only fair to say at the outset that the boy who only toward art, but into literature and music, also.
Copyright by G. J. MANSON, 1884.
In art, it would be well to make a special study of award “first " or “second mention,” according color. A term or two in one of the schools of to the quality of the work. To become a pupil technology and design would be very beneficial ; of the first class, one must have passed six examfor in such an institution, coming in contact, as inations and have obtained six “ first mentions" he will, with other pupils, and having all sorts of in the competitions of which I have just spoken. difficult problems forced upon his attention, his In the first class, there are no more examinations, intellect will be quickened and his progress helped but the contests are much more difficult. The by the spirit of competition. But the mere fact competitions are still public, and a jury still gives of having graduated at such an institution will its judgment on the work of the pupils. be of no help to him unless he has made good use There is no specific time for graduation; à of the advantages it affords. The schools are not student graduates when he has received the to blame,– but too many boys, while able to answer required number of “ first mentions.” It would questions put to them in regard to special studies, hardly be possible, under the most favorable conare not able to put to practical use the learning ditions, to graduate in less time than two years they have acquired. Such, at least, is a complaint and six months. Many pupils remain at the often heard from practical architects.
school from five to eight years without being able Having finished his school studies at the age of, to enter the first class. say, seventeen, if the boy is able to spare the time After graduating from this school, the pupil and the money, he should go to Paris and there enters the office of an architect, in some European become a pupil in the School of Fine Arts. This or American city, at a salary commensurate with is practically a free school. There is an initiation his abilities. There he will very soon acquire a fee amounting to ten dollars, and dues are assessed practical knowledge of his profession, and after each month to the sum of about one dollar and a while will be able to open an office for himself. twenty cents of American money,— these dues But let us suppose that the boy could not afford being applied to the purchase of material for the to go to Paris, and that he has graduated from one school. Boys and young men from all countries go of the Technical Schools of Design, of which there there to study painting, sculpture, and architect- are several in the country. What does he do ure; and, it may be said, there is no part of the then? He enters the office of an architect. In world where better accommodations and more in- England this is considered a great privilege and spiring influences can be found for the study of has to be roundly paid for; but here no charge is these arts than the capital of France.
exacted, and the student occasionally, though only To enter the architectural branch of this school, for a short time, gives his services gratuitously to the candidate must pass an examination in ele- his employer. His first work will be what is called mentary mathematics, history, free-hand drawing, “inking.” The “plan” of a building is first and architecture. He is obliged to obtain a certain made in pencil, for the reason that during the number of “points," or good marks, as we should progress of the drawing erasures may have to be call them, before he can be considered a pupil. made. When the drawing is considered to be
There are two classes in the architectural school, correct, the lines are “inked ” over by the beginthe second and first. The beginner enters the ner with a ruling-pen. Under the direction of his second class, and while there passes an examina- employer, he will also be studying books on archition in mathematics, including analytical geometry, tectural construction. The best book on this conic sections, geometry, perspective, and survey- subject is an English work, cntitled “ Notes on ing. Then there is an examination in architect- Building Construction,” in four volumes, three of ural construction, which is partly oral, and partly which have been published. And here it may consists in making an original design for a building; be said that the literature of architecture is vast. the student has three months' time in which to Some of the most useful books are in the French make this plan. In the meanwhile, he hears lect- language; hence a knowledge of that language, or ures on various topics pertaining to his studies. at least the ability to read it, is exceedingly desirAside from this, every two months there is a able. twelve hours' “ competition," each student mak- The boy's progress will depend on his talent and ing the sketch of a building which, during the industry. After a while he will be able to make a two months following the competition, is to be plan of a floor in a small house; then of several wrought out and elaborated, under the direction floors; then an elevation,” which is a representaof a professor. These sketches are publicly ex- tion of the flat side of a building, drawn with hibited and inspected by a committee of twenty or mathematical accuracy, but without the slightest twenty-five of the most eminent architects of Paris. attention to effect; and from that he will grad. The committee render judgment upon them, and ually work into details and complete knowledge.
While working for his employer, and learning the man and his surroundings. For some time, the theoretical part of his profession, he will not he will have to make plans of small private houses have had many opportunities, during the ordi- and private dwellings. When he has become the nary hours of business, to have seen work in the architect of some public building, and has decourse of execution. These opportunities he must signed a structure which not only pleases his emseize as best he can. His office hours will not be ployers, but attracts the attention of the general so late that he can not, if he is so disposed, find public, it may be safe to say that he is on the time to visit buildings in course of erection and see high road to pecuniary fortune. how the work is being done. For the architect is For drawing the plan of a house to cost six a sort of clerk of the works, and is obliged to see seven thousand dollars the architect receives that the plan he has made is being carried out from three hundred to three hundred and fifty dolaccording to the specifications. He must obtain a lars; in short, as a rule, his fee is five per cent. knowledge of all the materials used in the con- on the cost of the building. But upon buildings struction of a building,— the wood, the stone, the costing one hundred thousand dollars or more, the iron, the plumbing pipes and fittings. All this price paid the architect is ually a matter of seems quite formidable, but it is not a severe task. special agreement. The information is picked up gradually during During his early years, his greatest expense will the progress of office work, and the effort in ob- be for books. As already stated, the literature of taining it will hardly be felt.
architecture is extensive and, it might be added, The question of what wages the student will expensive; but books the young architect must have while he is in the office is a very difficult one have, and many of them. His capital lies as much to answer. There is no settled rate of pay for in his head as in his fingers, and the more he young men in such positions; the general rule knows, the better able will he be to do his work, seems to be to pay them what they are worth. and the better work will he be able to do. He One assistant may be making six or eight dollars a must be a constant student. The taste of the week, and another, in the same office, twenty dollars public changes; new styles of building are dea week, both having been there the same length manded; new materials are introduced in their of time. It may be said, however, that after he has construction. A few years ago, terra cotta began been in an architect's office for five years a young to be extensively used in building, and forthwith man, who has the proper talent and has been all the architects had to make a special study of faithful to his work, should be earning from twenty- that article, which, as you know, plays an imporfive to thirty dollars a week. If he has been in- tant part in some of the finest buildings in our large dolent, he can not expect such wages. A promi- cities. The student must read also good periodicals nent architect informed me that he had employed relating to his profession, and, if possible, some of in his office men fifty years of age who were the French publications, which are very good. absolutely inaccurate in the simplest details of If a young man fails in making at least a good the art; because they had never taken the pains living as an architect, it seems to me it must be to thoroughly learn their profession.
through his own fault. From what I have said, he But the enterprising young architect will prob- must see that the full knowledge for the profession ably wish to open an office of his own. To do is not easily acquired. It takes time, and a long this successfully he must secure patrons through time, to become proficient in it; but this will not personal acquaintances and influential friends. deter a youth whose ambition and talent lie in When he starts, he will know something in regard that direction. “ Some travelers,” says Bishop to what he can depend upon. He has a certain Hall, “have more shrunk at the map than at the circle of friends and acquaintances. From these way; between both, how many stand still with their he ought reasonably to expect a certain number arms folded !” Once having started on your archiof commissions, and, if he does good work, he will tectural journey; pursue it bravely, perseveringly, be recommended from one to another, until his patiently, to the end. Above all, having made up services are in demand. No rule can be set down your mind to be an architect, look to it. that you in such a case any more than in regard to a do not stand with folded arms lingering by the lawyer's or a doctor's practice. It all depends upon way-side.
BY A. TEMPLE BELLEW.
T a window, a scrap of sausage, nor a penny with which to buy
the little boy strange words, for the fever had mounted to his
might have been it in his sleep during the last few days. And whenin Ger
many, so smoky and ever he spoke of Christmas he would tell them the quaint
was it within, and story of the wise men following the star until so shel
tered was it by trees it led them to the manger where the little Christ without;
but it was really in the child lay. He had heard it read and told so often State of
New Jersey, and the by the good pastor of his little native village that trees that
waved bare branches above the words had never lost themselves in his it were part
of the woods that crowned mind, and he was always able to repeat it, and in one of the Orange Mountains.
exactly the same way, every time they wanted to The father
of the two children had hear it; and it was of this story that Otto was thinkcome to America, two years before, strong-hearted ing as they counted the stars. He wondered which and hopeful, -poor fellow ! — with his rosy-checked star it was — it must have been that large bright young wife and two chubby, round-eyed babies. one so nearly overhead; perhaps, if he were to But the rosy-cheeked young wife had died, and follow it, he too might find the Christ child, and he was left all alone in a strange country with his then all their troubles would be ended ; - he might two little children to keep and care for; and at
try at least. first he had succeeded very fairly,— by tilling, “Meenie,” he said, - in German, as he could scraping, and clearing the small patch of ground not speak English,—“I am going to follow that he owned. But at last came a year when, be- big star there, and see if I can find the little tween the potato-bugs in the ground, and the Christ child." chills and the fever in his own bones, he had a "Yes, and Meenie will go too," answered sorry time; and on Christmas Eve of that year, Meenie, nodding her head with satisfaction. he had been more than a week in bed, aching in “No, no, Meenie, it will be too cold, and you every joint, and perfectly helpless with the worst will be too tired." attack he had yet known.
But Meenie only smiled, and repeated, “Meenie The children, poor little things, were very good, will go too!” So Otto said no more. and cared for him to the best of their small ability. He built up the fire with the largest sticks he Meenie was only five years old, but rather tall for could find, and placed a tin cup of water by his her age,- indeed, she was quite as tall as Otto, who father's bedside, in case he should awake and be was six, and more helpful than many an American thirsty before their return; then he wrapped Meenie boy of twelve. He kept the fire bright with broken up in the queer, green, knitted scarf she always branches which he picked up, and fed his sister wore out-of-doors, and they crept from the house. with bread and sausage as long as there was any It was cold, cold, dreadfully cold! The sky was with which to feed her. The father could eat black and cold; the stars were shining and cold; nothing, and Otto munched his crusts dry. That and the wind came in long cold gusts that made night he had given Meenie the last bit of bread; the trees shudder, as if they missed their summer there was not a crumb more in the cupboard, nor clothing. The snow was frozen so stiff on top that