April, 1865, Hawthorne's son and the writer were coming forth together from the further door-way of Stoughton Hall at Harvard College, when, as the last reverberations of the prayer-bell were sounding, a classmate called to us across the yard: General Lee has surrendered!
There was a busy hum of voices where the three converging lines of students met in front of Appleton Chapel, and when we entered the building there was President Hill seated in the recess between the two pulpits, and old Doctto be hung?
Just at present, replied the latter, I am more in favor of suspending Jeff. Davis than of suspending the law, --an opinion that was greeted with laughter and applause.
The general sentiment of the crowd was in favor of permitting General Lee to retire in peace to private life; but in regard to the president of the Southern Confederacy the feeling was more vindictive.
We can now consider it fortunate that no such retaliatory measures were taken by the government.
Much better th
well, it is doubtful if he could have been excelled in his own specialty.
His ready fund of wit often served to revive the drooping spirits of his audience, and many of his jests have become a kind of legendary lore at the Medical-School.
Most of them, however, were of a too anatomical character to be reproduced in print.
So the years rolled over Doctor Holmes's head; living quietly, working steadily, and accumulating a store of proverbial wisdom by the way. In June, 1840, he married Amelia Lee Jackson, of Boston, an alliance which brought him into relationship with half the families on Beacon Street, and which may have exercised a determining influence on the future course of his life.
Doctor Holmes was always liberally inclined, and ready to welcome such social and political improvements as time might bring; but he never joined any of the liberal or reformatory movements of his time.
Certain old friends of Emerson affirmed, when Holmes published his biography of the Concord
Sumner Paine (named after Charles Sumner), the finest scholar in his class at Harvard, was suspended in June, 1863, for some trifling folly and went directly to the Governor for a commission as Lieutenant.
Having an idea that the colored regiments were a particular hobby with the Governor, he asked for a place in one of them; but Andrew replied that the list was full; he could, however, give him a Lieutenancy in the Twentieth Massachusetts, which was then in pursuit of General Lee.
Sumner Paine accepted this, and ten days later he was shot dead on the field of Gettysburg.
Governor Andrew felt very badly; for Paine was not only a fine scholar but very handsome, and, what is rare among hard students, full of energy and good spirits.
Governor Andrew tried a number of conclusions, as Shakespeare would call them, with the National Government during the war, but the most serious difficulty of this kind resulted from Secretary Stanton's arbitrary reduction of the pay