mass of pedantry, yet the genius of the author shines like a bright star through the night which would have obscured a luminary of less magnitude.On Jan. 15, 1830, he copied several extracts from Carlyle's article on Burns, in the ‘Edinburgh Review.’1 Not knowing its author, he prefaced his extracts with a note, that in the number ‘is a most elegant article on the life and character of Robert Burns, the Scotch poet. It is written with a great deal of force and beauty of imagery, and shows a masterly knowledge of the character it is describing.’ Sumner allowed himself but little recreation, much preferring his room and his books. He took no part in the sports of the Delta. Cards and chess he played, but not often. Unlike most students with his opportunities, he did not go into society. He seldom took walks during term-time, except, on Saturday, to visit the family in Boston. A classmate (Dr. Jonathan W. Bemis) recalls an excursion made with him in the Freshman year, contrary to the regulations, to the Brighton cattle-fair. The fathers of the two, who also had been classmates, happened to be there together, and met their sons. This colloquy occurred:— ‘Why, Charles,’ said Sumner's father, ‘how came you here?’ ‘I thought,’ Charles replied, ‘that we could leave without detriment to our studies, and could see how things were going on.’ The fathers advised the sons to return speedily. Sumner's father took young Bemis aside for the moment, and inquired, ‘How is Charles in mathematics?’ ‘Very good indeed, sir,’ said young Bemis, unwilling to compromise his classmate. ‘I'm glad of it,’ said Mr. Sumner. ‘He then is doing better than I did; for I let drop the links and lost the chain, and have never been able to take it up again.’ Sumner escaped the moral dangers which beset a student's life. He was never profane, and rarely indulged in expletives of any kind. He was kindly to all, and took the best view of the conduct and purposes of others. He was very social, enjoyed pleasantry and good cheer, and was a favorite in his class.2
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1 Vol. XLVIII. (December, 1828), pp. 267-312.
2 His classmate, Frost (afterwards a Unitarian clergyman), wrote to him, July 29, 1833, regretting that he had missed him on a recent visit to Cambridge, and lost the opportunity of ‘drinking in some of the invigorating influences of your buoyant spirits and refreshing sociality.’ Tower wrote to him, Feb. 3, 1833, ‘It is an unusual pleasure that one of your letters always calls up in the remembrance of our intercourse. It was always harmonious and rich with innocent enjoyment. And our stolen chats in Farrar's recitation-room. I believe, were about as keen of relish as any in the whole history of classmate pleasures.’
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