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