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[71]

Chapter 5: year after College.—September, 1830, to September, 1831.—Age, 19-20.

Sumner left Cambridge with grateful recollections of college life. Revisiting, as the new academic year opened, the familiar scenes, he saw the Seniors taking possession of the rooms which his class had vacated, and described, in a letter to Browne, the desolation of 23 Holworthy. He kept up his interest in the exhibitions, parts, prizes, clubs, and personal incidents of the college, and reported them to the distant classmates with whom he corresponded. Harvard never sent forth a son whose affection was warmer at the parting, or endured more faithfully to the end.

He passed the next year at home,1 without daily cares and with his time fully at his command. He was uncertain what path of life to pursue, his associations drawing him to the law, but as yet no strong current of his nature carrying him to a decisive choice. If he were to study law, he would be content only with the best advantages,—those offered by the Law School at Cambridge; and he was anxious—almost morbidly so—not to subject his father to any further expense in his education. But while postponing the choice of a profession, he was not idle. He rose at quarter-past five in the morning, and retired at midnight, often later. Having no private room for the purpose, he used as a study one of the parlors, where he was much interrupted by the children. He took but little exercise, and did not go into society. His readings were, in the classics, Tacitus, Juvenal, Persius; in poetry and general literature, Shakspeare and Milton,2 Burton's ‘Anatomy of Melancholy,’ ‘The Correspondence of Gilbert Wakefield with Charles James Fox, Chiefly on ’

1 The family moved, in November, from No. 53 (now 63) Hancock Street to 20 Hancock Street.

2 Finished, Oct. 12.

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