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nspicuously in the retrospect, which have been not only a delight to memory, but which I am incapable of forgetting. During nearly two years, we travelled several times between New Orleans, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Louisville; but most of our time was spent on the lower Mississippi tributaries, and on the shores of the Washita, Saline, and Arkansas Rivers, as the more profitable commissions were gained in dealings with country merchants between Harrisonburg and Arkadelphia, and between Napoleon and Little Rock. From these business tours I acquired a better geographical knowledge than any amount of school-teaching would have given me; and at one time I was profound in the statistics relating to population, commerce, and navigation of the Southern and South-Western States. Just as Macaulay was said to be remarkable for being able to know a book from beginning to end by merely turning over its pages, I was considered a prodigy by my father and his intimate friends for the way names
God? If not, what was the Bible? According to him, the Bible was the standard of the Christian faith, a fountain whence we derived our inspiration of piety and goodness, a proof that God interfered in human affairs, and a guide to salvation. He read from Timothy, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works; and from Paul he quoted that it was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort might have hope. You are not, said he, to pay too much attention to the set phrases, but to the matter and spirit of what is written, which are for the promotion of virtue and happiness. Many of the books have been written by men like ourselves, who lived between two thousand and four thousand years ago, and they used words peculiar to their own time. The mere texts or form of the words they used are no
, from over-fastidiousness. It much surprised him that none of my relations had discovered in me what had struck him and Speake. Had he searched New Orleans all through, he said, he could not have found one who would have shared his views respecting me with more sympathy than his friend; and, had Mr. Speake lived, he added, I should have been as good as established for life. Mr. Speake had written his estimates of my character often, and, in one letter, had predicted that I was cut out for a Mr. Speake had written his estimates of my character often, and, in one letter, had predicted that I was cut out for a great merchant, who would eventually be an honour to the city. Mr. Kitchen, the book-keeper, had also professed to be impressed with my qualities; while young Richardson had said I was a prodigy of activity and quick grasp of business. Then, at s, of the long-desired child, he determined to do the best he could for me, and had obtained my engagement with his friend Speake. When he had gone home, his wife had been much interested in the adventure with me, and had often asked how his protege
ations had discovered in me what had struck him and Speake. Had he searched New Orleans all through, he said, he could not have found one who would have shared his views respecting me with more sympathy than his friend; and, had Mr. Speake lived, he added, I should have been as good as established for life. Mr. Speake had written his estimates of my character often, and, in one letter, had predicted that I was cut out for a great merchant, who would eventually be an honour to the city. Mr. Kitchen, the book-keeper, had also professed to be impressed with my qualities; while young Richardson had said I was a prodigy of activity and quick grasp of business. Then, at some length, he related the circumstances which had induced him to take a warmer interest in me. He had often thought of the start I had given him by the question, Do you want a boy, sir? It seemed to voice his own life-long wish. But he thought I was too big for his purpose. For the sake, however, of the long-desir
and on the shores of the Washita, Saline, and Arkansas Rivers, as the more profitable commissions were gained in dealings with country merchants between Harrisonburg and Arkadelphia, and between Napoleon and Little Rock. From these business tours I acquired a better geographical knowledge than any amount of school-teaching would have given me; and at one time I was profound in the statistics relating to population, commerce, and navigation of the Southern and South-Western States. Just as Macaulay was said to be remarkable for being able to know a book from beginning to end by merely turning over its pages, I was considered a prodigy by my father and his intimate friends for the way names and faces clung to my memory. I could tell the name of every steamer we had passed, the characteristics of her structure, and every type of man we met. A thing viewed, or a subject discussed likely to be useful, became impressed indelibly on the mind. Probably this mental acquisitiveness was stimu
rough, he said, he could not have found one who would have shared his views respecting me with more sympathy than his friend; and, had Mr. Speake lived, he added, I should have been as good as established for life. Mr. Speake had written his estimates of my character often, and, in one letter, had predicted that I was cut out for a great merchant, who would eventually be an honour to the city. Mr. Kitchen, the book-keeper, had also professed to be impressed with my qualities; while young Richardson had said I was a prodigy of activity and quick grasp of business. Then, at some length, he related the circumstances which had induced him to take a warmer interest in me. He had often thought of the start I had given him by the question, Do you want a boy, sir? It seemed to voice his own life-long wish. But he thought I was too big for his purpose. For the sake, however, of the long-desired child, he determined to do the best he could for me, and had obtained my engagement with his
pire me with a desire to penetrate beneath, and to school myself in comparing different people. I had abundance of opportunities, in the multitudes we met in the crowded steamers, and the many towns we visited; but that which would have given the key to the mystery was wanting, viz., personal intercourse. In the absence of direct conversation and dealings with people, it was difficult to discover the nature of a spirit lurking under a fair outside. When we left New Orleans, at the end of 1859, we had brought with us a portmanteau packed with choice literature, and I was given to understand that the histories of Rome, Greece, and America, poetry and drama, were especially for my use, and that I was to pursue my studies as diligently as at a school. The practice of travel enabled my father to dispose himself comfortably for the indulgence of reading, within a very short time after reaching his cabin. He acted as one who had only changed his room, and was only concerned with his ow
January 1st, 1860 AD (search for this): part 1.4, chapter 1.9
my foggy beliefs, and vague notions, in regard to such high matters, could be laid open with all trust and confidence before one so qualified and tender, before they became too established in my mind, otherwise, as my own intelligence ripened, I might have drifted into atheistical indifference. The substance of my father's sayings, which I have always remembered, illustrate the bent of his mind. I carefully copied them into a beautiful memorandum-book of which he made me a present, New Year's Day, 1860, and which I was so proud of that, during the first few days, I had filled more than half of it with the best words of my father. It must not be supposed that I was at all times deserving of his solicitude, or equal to his expectations. I was one who could not always do the right and proper thing, for I was often erring and perverse, and at various times must have tried him sorely. My temper was quick, which, with an excess of false pride, inspired me to the verge of rebellion.
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