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Plato and Aristotle became fast friends–comrades. With thinking men years do not count–only those grow old who think by proxy. Plato had no sons after the flesh, and the love of his heart went out to the Stagirite: in him he saw his own life projected.

When Aristotle had turned twenty he was acquainted with all the leading thinkers of his time; he read constantly, wrote, studied and conversed. The little property his father left had come to him; the King of Macedon sent him presents; and he taught various pupils from wealthy families–finances were easy. But success did not spoil him. The brightest scholars do not make the greatest success in life, because alma mater usually catches them for teachers. Sometimes this is well, but more often it is not. Plato would not hear of Aristotle’s leaving him, and so he remained, the chief ornament and practical leader of the school.

He became rich, owned the largest private library at Athens, and was universally regarded as the most learned man of his time.

In many ways he had surpassed Plato. He delved into natural history, collected plants, rocks, animals, and made studies of the practical workings of economic schemes. He sought to divest the Platonic teaching of its poetry, discarded rhetoric, and tried to get at the simple truth of all subjects.

Toward the last of Plato’s career this repudiation by Aristotle of poetry, rhetoric, elocution and the polite accomplishments caused a schism to break out in the Garden School. Plato’s head was in the clouds at times; Aristotle’s was, too, but his feet were always on the earth.

When Plato died, Aristotle was his natural successor as leader of the school, but there was opposition to him, both on account of his sturdy, independent ways and because he was a foreigner.

He left Athens to become a member of the Court of Hermias, a former pupil, now King of Atarneus.

He remained here long enough to marry the niece of his patron, and doubtless saw himself settled for life–a kingly crown within his reach should his student-sovereign pass away.

And the royal friend did pass away, by the dagger’s route. As life-insurance risks I am told that Kings have to pay double premium. Revolution broke out, and as Aristotle was debating in his mind what course to pursue, a messenger with soldiers arrived from King Philip of Macedon, offering safe convoy, enclosing transportation, and asking that Aristotle come and take charge of the education of his son, Alexander, aged thirteen.

Aristotle did not wait to parley: he accepted the invitation. Horses were saddled, camels packed and that night, before the moon arose, the cavalcade silently moved out into the desert.

* * * * *

The offer that had been made twenty-four years before, by Philip’s father, was now accepted. Aristotle was forty-two years old, in the prime of his power. Time had tempered his passions, but not subdued his zest in life. He had the curious, receptive, alert and eager mind of a child. His intellect was at its ripest and best. He was a lover of animals, and all outdoor life appealed to him as it does to a growing boy. He was a daring horseman, and we hear of his riding off into the desert and sleeping on the sands, his horse untethered watching over him. Aristotle was the first man to make a scientific study of the horse, and with the help of Alexander he set up a skeleton, fastening the bones in place, to the mighty astonishment of the natives, who mistook the feat for an attempt to make a living animal; and when the beast was not at last saddled and bridled there were subdued chuckles of satisfaction among the “hoi polloi” at the failure of the scheme, and murmurs of “I told you so!”