Ramsey Milholland

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It all started when he was young -- all the rules and expectations that made him look stupid, and worse than stupid. Like the time Miss Ridgely ordered him to the blackboard, and tried to stimulate him with hints and suggestion -- Miss Ridgely, Ramsey knew, found him mere protoplasm, so far as knowing decimals went -- and so she summoned to the board little Dora Yocum, star of the class, and said, "You stand still, Ramsey. Stay right where you are, and try to learn something from the way Dora does it." The class giggled, and Ramsey stood, but learned nothing. His conspicuousness was unendurable, because all of his schoolmates naturally found more entertainment in watching him than in following the performance of the capable Dora. And it was like that, month after month . . . and then year after year. But he would make himself good in the eyes of the world. Ramsey knew he would. He swore he would. Booth Tarkington (1869-1946), two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, wrote such keenly observed novels of American life as Gentle Julia and In the Arena.
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