How does learning to use proper English make Jethro feel?

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When Ross Milton, the editor of the local paper, treats Jethro to a meal at the restaurant, Jethro is grateful. During the meal, Milton asks Jethro whether he can read. Jethro tells him that his teacher, Shadrach Yale, left some of his books to him before he went off to fight in the war. For the studious Shadrach, Jethro's "quick mind and delight in learning" had been a great source of pleasure. Jethro is especially proud that he is reading a history of the American Revolution. Jethro informs Milton that he is reading the newspapers with his sister, Jenny. Before Shadrach left for the war, he assured Jethro that if Jethro persevered, the difficult books would become easy for him soon enough.

Milton tells Jethro that his former teacher, Doc Bailey, was the one who impressed upon him a respect for the King's English. Jethro confides to Milton that he would like to speak better English.

"Shad kerrected us some, but I guess he had too many other things to learn us. I'd like to talk nice—the way you and him do..."

Later on, Milton lends Jethro a book he wrote himself about diction and "correct speech." Jethro is flushed with pleasure and gratefulness, but cannot find the right words to express his feelings to the editor. Later on, when he writes a letter to his sister, Jenny, he uses Milton's book as an aid for spelling correctly. Jenny is so touched that she saves the letter as a special memento for the rest of her life. Jethro's delight and enthusiasm for learning is evident. He feels deeply grateful for the opportunity to use proper English and justifiably proud of his ability to advance his skills.

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Across Five Aprils

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