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To his brother Horace, aged fourteen.

London, Jan. 20, 1839.
dear Horace,,—I have now before me your letter of Oct. 15. It is quite short; but has pleased me, because it is correctly written; and I have read it over and over several times. It will be well to accustom yourself to habits of composition, as, in this way, you will learn to write with facility and correctness. I need not enlarge to a boy of your age and disposition on the vast importance of this accomplishment. One of my highest pleasures on my return to Boston will consist in finding you and Mary and Julia all lovers of knowledge and truth,—all anxious to employ every moment in storing the mind, and in doing something useful. Remember, that if you lose time now you can never regain it. You will, I fear, think me a dull preacher, and will dread my letters as much as the minister's sermon; but I cannot take my pen to write any of you without, forthwith, falling into this vein. It may be irksome to you now to confine yourself to study, and to read my exhortations; but I believe, if we both live, you will thank me hereafter.

The mountains which you see in the vignette on this sheet are the far-famed ‘Grampian Hills,’ where the father of young Norval ‘fed his flocks, —a frugal swain.’ I have walked at the foot of these very mountains, and have seen the shepherds tending their sheep. To one shepherd are sometimes committed eight hundred or a thousand sheep. For miles and miles there are no fences, and the shepherd permits his flock to roam about in search of food during the day; but at night, with the assistance of a dog, calls them all together and shuts them in a fold. He takes his position on a rock or some elevated place, raises his staff and makes a signal to his dog, who is trained to this duty, and who at once scampers to the most distant sheep and drives them to the shepherd. I once walked for a mile with one of these men, while he was driving his flock before him. You suppose, I dare say, that shepherds are very fine-looking men, because they always appear so in pictures; but I hardly know a dirtier set. They are dressed in old clothes, and perhaps are smoking dirty pipes. Instead of a crook, which you see represented in pictures, they have nothing but a rough stick or staff, and they look like the laziest of human beings; for they sit or stand in the open field, or on the side of the mountain, a whole day, simply watching the motions of their flock. I have seen shepherds on the plains of Normandy, on the beautiful downs of the south of England, where are the wondrous ruins of Stonehenge, and on the hills of Scotland,—and all have been alike mean looking. All our ideas of these people have been borrowed from books, and particularly from poetry and pictures. My account may serve to disenchant you of some of your notions with regard to them.

Jan. 27. I have only time to say good-by, my dear Horace, and to renew my exhortations to you to be good and studious. When you next write direct to the care of Draper & Co., Paris. Give my love to mother and all the family.

Ever your affectionate brother,

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