simplicity and directness.’
He wrote, March 6, ‘Either send me a Lempriere, or be less lavish of your classical allusions; for so thickly was your epistle, especially the first page, bedizened with gems, that my mineralogy was all at fault.
I could neither measure nor sort them.’
Three weeks later, he wrote, ‘Your last letter was full of bone and muscle and figures,—of the last an excess, though invariably bold and strong, remarkably and unusually so. I am right glad to see this improvement in your style.
It was a desideratum; almost the only one. Macte nova virtute
's letters to Tower
, which are preserved, are playful, abound in Latin phrases and other quotations, and are rather carelessly written.
Neither in thought nor in style are they superior to the similar compositions of most young men of his age and education.
As the summer of 1831 waned, Sumner
felt seriously that he must, without delay, begin in earnest the study of a profession, or take up some occupation which would be at once remunerative.
He was very reluctant to draw any further on his father, who had now to provide for the education of younger sons and daughters.
He questioned, too, his chances of success in the legal profession, or at least of attaining his ideal in it. His thoughts turned to school-keeping for a time, as assuring immediate revenues; but a teacher's duties did not attract him. He was troubled in spirit, even unhappy; and he opened his heart frankly to Hopkinson
, —a young man of mature reflection and six years his senior.
The classmate replied at length, reviewing Sumner
's difficulties, which he thought exaggerated, and mingling gentle reproof with good counsel.
The father, he thought, with his improved fortunes, could not spend money better than in educating a son of promise; and he added, ‘If, then, you really wish to go on immediately with the profession, there is no lion in the way. You may do it with strong grounds to hope for success, and with a clear conscience and cheerful heart.’
feared that an engagement as teacher for a few years would consume time which ought to be appropriated to preparation for his life-work, whatever that was to be; but his classmate thought well of such a temporary experience, as it would occupy his mind, promote cheerfulness, and give him a knowledge of the world, which, with his too great seclusion, he much needed; and besides it would not conflict with his admission to the bar