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[51] He had none of the coarseness and indifference to the feelings of others which boys are apt to have, and was quick to beg pardon when he found that he had unconsciously wounded them. He always relished a happy quotation from an author, suggested by some incident or remark. When the conversation turned one day on Zerah Colburn's precocious powers as a mathematician. he repeated with zest the couplet,—

As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
He lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.

As muscular youths delight in a wrestle, he enjoyed the intellectual exercise of a debate with his friends upon vexed questions in literature and history, and sometimes pressed his view aggressively.

Three of his letters while in college are preserved. They were written in the winter of 1829-30, to his classmate, Stearns, then teaching a school at Weymouth.1 Two of them relate in a light mood the incidents and gossip of college life; the affairs of the Hasty-Pudding Club; its annual meeting, with the oration and poem; its new catalogue, prepared by a committee of which he was a member; the election of Wendell Phillips as its presi dent; the meetings of ‘The Nine;’ the issue of the new magazine, ‘The Collegian;’ the examination in mathematics; the love-affairs of students; and a trial in which he had heard Samuel Hoar make ‘a most excellent and ingenious plea.’ The letter of Dec. 12, 1829, begins with a sentence filling nearly a page,—a parody on the style of Dr. Thomas Brown's ‘Philosophy of the Human Mind,’ an abridgment of which, by Professor Hedge, was a text-book for the Senior Class,—and it closes thus:—

Have told you every thing new in college now. Every thing here is always the same,—the same invariable round of bells and recitations, of diggings and of deads! Mathematics piled on mathematics! Metaphysics murdered and mangled! Prayer-bells after prayer-bells; but, worse than all, commons upon commons! Clean, handsome plates, and poor food! By the way, the commons bell rung fifteen minutes ago. If I don't stop, I shall lose the invaluable meal. Accordingly, adieu.

1 The letter of Dec. 27, 1829, speaks of his purpose, in company with his classmate. Frost, to make a pedestrian trip to Weymouth. Tower remembers him as wearing in college a ‘cloak of blue camlet lined with red,’ and, in a letter written soon after they left college, recalled him as ‘muffled in his ample camlet.’

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