Зображення сторінки
[blocks in formation]

ology, a few years of his practical life and a few friends in some College Board, will make him a D. D. And all this while he may be nothing more than Walter Scott's factotum-a very clever fellow.

We have a profound respect for old Diogenes, heathen as he was. His incorruptible manliness of soul, which spurned with indignant scorn the proffered shadow of borrowed glory, still points him out as a man intrinsically great. Though the ragged tenant of a tub, he was richer than the proud conqueror of a world. Alexander, finding him lying down in the sun, a seeming object of pity, asked him whether he wanted any thing. Diogenes replied, “Yes, that you would stand a little out of my sunshine.”

Honor is like our shadow. It follows us when we flee from it; but flees from us when we follow it. When we see the dashing business our College Boards are doing in this dubbing mania, we can not help but think of locomotives, freighted with candidates for honors; having their backs turned to the sun, they dash and puff them along at a fearful speed, to aid them in catching their shadows. They have a hopeless task before them, these title manufactories. They are running in the wrong direction. To get young men and old right and honorable in their minds and hearts, they must let them face the sun, put their shadows behind them, and they will have a better prospect of success.

This whole business is exceedingly deleterious to the cultivation of a noble, manly spirit of independence, which makes a man glow with the conscious elements of inherent worth. It fosters a slavish dependence upon borrowed honor. It chills the ardent flame of a man's native strength. It stifles the impulses of noble, dignified sentiment. And many a young man, whose bosom once swelled with the throbbings of generous emotions, is lured into a base servility, by the baits of sham titles. They teach him to lean upon a broken reed, to walk with crutches, when he has legs of his own to stand upon. It makes doughfaces in literature, politics and religion; Bervile men of cringing lukewarm principles; Judases who would betray the Lord of Glory for the empty puff of a diploma.

The true end of education is not to make a man great and good by painting him over with the ornamental insignia of honor, but to mature and train his inherent undeveloped strength into a vigorous fruit-bearing activity. The plume of honor that graces his charscter must be his own offspring and not the product of artificial skill.

Young man, see to it that you consecrate yourself to God in Jesus Christ. For without this you must spend an aimless life, and die a hopeless death.

"A Christian is the highest style of man.” Cultivate and develope the elements of strength in you, sanctified by religion. Lean not upon others to do the business of life for you. Act the part of a true man; act it well, “there all the honor lieg." In

whatever station you are, do your duty. You have hands to relieve the suffering, and aid the cause of right and religion. Whatsoever thy hand findest to do, do it with thy might.A cup of cold water to a poor disciple, will receive a reward of much merit. You have a heart to sympathize with the distressed. O! how refreshing is Christian sympathy to the weary worn-out spirit. You have a mind and speech; use them for God, for Christ, for humanity. Fear not. Let the world applaud or denounce. Speak out, if not from the rostrum or pulpit, speak in the retirement of your family and among your associates. O! stifle not the utterance of your generous nature. Speak out, if not in the finished style of the schools, speak in the stammering eloquence of the Galilean fishermen. Speak out in the language and energy of Christian faith. Your deeds are your diplomas, known and read of all men." These will speak of your worth, when your voice is hushed in death. Go forth, though weeping, and scatter the seed of right actions into the large beating heart of the world; you will come again with rejoicing, bringing your sheaves with you. Then you will receive the degree of “ well done,' the highest title in the gift of the Judge of all the earth.

There is an imposing majesty in a man, who can make his mark in the world, in the face of untoward circumstances—who becomes a blessing to his race in spite of temptations to become a curse. And this every young man has it in his power to do.'

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us,

Footprints in the sands of time ;
Footprints that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing shall take heart again.

[ocr errors]


THERE are gains for all our losses,

There are balms for all our pains;
But when youth, the dream, departs,
It takes something from our hearts,

And it never comes again!
We are stronger, and are better

Under manhood's sterner reign ;
Still we feel that something sweet
Followed youth with flying feet,

And will never come again!
Something beautiful is vanished,

And we sigh for it in vain ;
We behold it everywhere,
On the earth and in the air--

But it never comes again!




BY WASHINGTON IRVING. In one of these manuscript memorials of his practical studies and exercises, we have come upon some documents singularly in contrast with his apparently unromantic character. In a word, there are evidences in his own handwriting that, before he was fifteen years of age, he had conceived a passion for some unknown beauty, so serious as to disturb his otherwise well-regulated mind, and to make him really unhappy. Why this juvenile attachment was a source of unhappiness, we have no positive means of ascertaining. Perhaps the object of it may have considered him a mere school boy and treated him as such; or his own shyness may have been in his way, and his "rules for behavior and conversation” may as yet have sat awkwardly on him, and rendered him formal and ungainly when he most sought to please. Even in later years he was apt to be silent and embarrassed in female society. “He was a very bashful young man," said an old lady whom he used to visit when they were both in their nonage, “I used often to wish he would talk more.”

Whatever may have been the reason, this attachment seems to have been a source of poignant discomfort to him. It clung to him after he took final leave of school in the autumn of 1747, and went to reside with his brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. Here he continued his mathematical studies and practice in surveying, disturbed at times by recurrences of his unlucky passion. Though by no means of a poetical temperament, the waste pages of his journal betrayed several attempts to pour forth his amorous sorrows in verse. They are mere common place rhymes, such as lovers at his age are apt to write, in which he bewails his “ poor restless heart, wounded by Cupid's dart,” and bleeding for one who remains pitiless of his Woes.

The tenor of some of his verses induce us to believe that he never told his love; but, as we have already surmised, was prevented by his bashfulness.

“Ah, woe is me that I should love and conceal;

Long hare I wished and never dared reveal.” It is difficult to reconcile one's self to the idea of the cool and sedate Washington, the great champion of American liberty, a woeworn lover in his youthful days, “sighing like a furnace," and inditing plaintive verses about the groves of Mount Vernon. We are glad of an opportunity, however, of penetrating to his native feelings, and finding that under his studied decorum and reserve he had a heart of flesh, throbbing with the warm impulse of human nature,

The merits of Washington were known and appreciated by the Fairfax family. Though not quite sixteen years of age, he no longer seemed a boy, nor was he treated as such. Tall, athletic, and manly for his years, his early self-training and the code of conduct he had devised, gave a gravity and decision to his conduct; his frankness and modesty inspired cordial regard, and the melancholy of which he speaks may have produced a softness in his manner calculated to win favor in ladies' eyes. According to his own account, the female society by which he was surrounded had a soothing effect on that melancholy. The charms of Miss Carey, the sister of the bride, seems even to have caused a slight fluttering in his bosom; which, however, was constantly rebuked by the remembrance of his former passion—80 at least we judge from letters to his youthful confidarts, rough drafts of which are still to be found in his telltale journal.

To one whom he addressed as his dear friend Robin, he writes: “My residence is at present at his lordship’s, where I might, was my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleasantly, as there's a very agreeable young lady living in the same house, (Col. George Fairfax's wife's sister;) but as that's only adding fuel to fire, it makes me more uneasy, for by often and unavoidably being in company with her, revives my former passion for your Lowland Beauty; whereas, was I to live more retired from young women, I might in some measure alleviate my sorrows by burying that chaste and troublesome passion in the grave of oblivion.

Similar avowals he makes to another of his young correspondents, whom he styles “Dear friend John;" as also to a female confidant styled “Dear Sally,” to whom he acknowledges that the company of the “ very agreeable young lady, sister-in-law of Col. George Fairfax," in a great measure cheers his sorrows and dejectedness. The object of this early passion is not positively known. Tradition states that the “Lowland Beauty” was a Miss Grimes, of Westmoreland, afterwards Mrs. Lee, and mother of Gen. Henry Lee, who figured in revolutionary history as “light horse Harry," and was always a favorite with Washington, probably from the recollections of his early tenderness for the mother.

Whatever may have been the soothing effect of the female society by which he was surrounded at Belvoir, the youth found a more effectual remedy for his love-melancholy in the company of Lord Fairfax. His lordship was a staunch fox-hunter, and kept horses and hounds in the English style. The hunting season had arrived. The neighborhood abounded with sporte, but fox-hunting in Virginia required bold and skilful horsemanship. He found Washington as bold as himself in the saddle and as eager to follow the bounds. He forthwith took him into his peculiar favor; made him his hunting companion; and it was probably under the tuition of this hard

starters that the this early pasure che



riding old nobleman, that the youth imbibed that fondness for the chase for which he was afterwards remarkable.

Tradition gives very different motives from those of business for his two adjourns in the latter city. He found there an early friend and school-mate, Beverly Robinson, son of John Robinson, Speaker of the Virginia House of the Burgesses. He was living happily and prosperously with a young and wealthy bride, having married one of the nieces and heiresses of Mr. Adolphus Phillipse, a rich landholder, whose manor house is still to be seen on the banks of the Hudson. At the house of Mr. Beverly Robinson, where Washington was an honored guest, he met Miss Mary Phillipse, sister and co-heiress of Mr. Robinson, a young lady whose personal attractions are said to have rivaled her reputed wealth.

We have already given an instance of Washington's early sensibility to female charms. A life, however, of constant activity and care-passed for the most part in the wilderness and on the frontier, far from female society-had left little mood for the indulgence of the tender sentiment: but made him more sensible, in the present brief interval of gay and social life, to the attractions of an elegant woman, brought up in the polite circle of New York.

That he was an open admirer of Miss Phillipse is a historical fact; that he sought her hand but was refused, is traditional and not very probable. His military rank, his early laurels and distinguished presence were all calculated to find favor in female eyes; but his sojourn in New York was brief; he may have been diffident in urging his suit with a lady accustomed to the homage of society and surrounded by admirers. The most probable version of the story is, that he was called away by his public duties before he had made sufficient approaches in his siege of the lady's heart to warrant a summons to surrender.

Washington was now ordered by Sir John St. Clair, the Quartermaster-General of the forces under Gen. Forbes, to repair to Williamsburgh, and lay the state of the case before the Council. He set off promptly on horseback, attended by Bishop, the welltrained military servant who had served the late Gen. Braddock. It proved an eventful journey, though not in a military view. In crossing a ferry of the Pamunkey, a branch of York river, he fell in company with a Mr. Chamberlayne who lived in the neighborhood, and who in the spirit of Virginian hospitality, claimed him as a guest. It was with difficulty Washington could be prevailed on to balt for dinner, so impatient was he to arrive at Williamsburgh, and accomplish his mission.

Among the guests at Mr. Chamberlayne's was a young and blooming widow, Mrs. Martha Custis, daughter of Mr. John Danbridge, both patrician names in the province. Her husband, Jobn Parke Custis, had been dead about three years, leaving her with two small children and a large fortune. She is represented as rather below

« НазадПродовжити »