Where he was so familiar as he was at our house, he had an affectionate confidence which knew no shadow or distrust, and which stamped him as an unchanging and faithful friend.
A lady who saw him during the evenings which he passed at Mr. Alvord
's rooms, writes:—
Mr. Sumner was an intimate acquaintance and frequent visitor.
The talk varied; sometimes it was light and sparkling, at others upon the topics of the day, upon politics or law. How well I remember Mr. Sumner at that time, tall and erect, so genial and so joyous, his whole face lighting up with interest and enthusiasm!
He was not then a reformer, but a student.
Unlike most New England scholars he was not satisfied with the prescribed years for preparation, but longed to go abroad to perfect himself in his law studies; and when rallied about settling down in life, he used to say, “I am married to Europa.”
was at this time much attracted to law students and undergraduates with whom he was brought into association while performing his duties as instructor in the Law School.
At Mrs. Howe
's table, where he was accustomed to meet them, he talked with them of their studies; and with some he kept up a correspondence after they left Cambridge
One of these, with whom he became quite intimate, was William F. Frick
, then an undergraduate, now a lawyer of Baltimore
, of the same city, writes: ‘My acquaintance with him was while I was an undergraduate at Harvard
I remember that he was exceedingly kind and genial in his manners, and that he took pleasure in conversing with young students who could give nothing in return for his copious stores of learning, except an admiring attention.’
Judge Charles P. James
, formerly of Cincinnati
, now of Washington City
My acquaintance (if it can be called by that name) with Mr. Sumner was made when I was a Sophomore, messing at the same table with him at Mrs. Howe's. Rufus King, of Cincinnati, his cousin James Gore King, J. Frank Tuckerman, and one or two others, were of the mess.
I cannot recall the particulars of our table intercourse, but remember very well the general fact that Sumner talked freely, and that we listened eagerly.
As I remember, a good deal of his conversation was really addressed to us, although it was carried on chiefly with Mrs. Howe. One morning, Sumner was very silent at the breakfast table, and King complained afterwards of his being so stupid.
You will perceive that his failure to tell us something was a grievance.
I recall one little incident which let us into his habits of reading.