I perfectly remember Sumner's deciding to go to Europe, and that my father opposed it. He feared “ Sumner would be spoiled.” I do not recall what Judge Story's opinion was; but Sumner went, and was not “ spoiled.” I remember his last visit to us previous to his departure, and his face as he took leave of my mother and the President (as he always called him),—his earnest face, partly bright with expectation, partly grave with regret, especially regret at going against the President's approval.Sumner's professional savings—and he had no other resource except borrowing—were quite inadequate to meet the expense of his journey. He was to spend during his absence five thousand dollars, or nearly that sum, of which he had laid aside from his earnings hardly more than a third. Three friends—Judge Story, Richard Fletcher, and Samuel Lawrence2— generously proffered loans of one thousand dollars each, which he accepted. They were repaid, some time after his return, chiefly, as is supposed, by his mother from the family estate. The journey to Europe was not then as now a rapid and even cheap excursion, which every year is taken by a horde of tourists. It was confined chiefly to merchants who had foreign connections in their business, scholars bound for a German university to complete their studies before entering on a professorship, and to sons of wealthy parents, who, having finished an academic course, began a life of elegant leisure with a foreign tour. No steamer, carrying passengers, had as yet crossed the Atlantic. A young man who went abroad at such a period, with narrow means, with a profession which he had served too briefly to retain a hold on clients during his absence, and against the counsels of friends, was indeed stirred by no common aspiration. Early in November he made a farewell visit of a day to his valued friend, Mr. Daveis, at Portland; taking the boat on the evening of Tuesday, the seventh, and leaving that city on his return the next evening. He dined, while in Portland, with Mr.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.