previous next
[577] in his house. At his request Martins tested them in German, which he had known well from his youth, and Sumner in English. With such examiners it was a rare day in the pastor's school. Sumner, selecting a volume of Brougham which he took from the library, read quite rapidly and without repetition a passage which his eye happened to fall upon, from a speech made May 15, 1823, in which slavery in Rome and in the West Indies was compared;1 and the pupils, to his surprise and the teacher's gratification, copied it perfectly. Sumner spoke briefly to the girls, telling them how they could become familiar with English, so as ‘to speak and live in it;’ and the pastor remarked that ‘it would have been impossible to give this advice more gracefully, with more kindness or acceptable authority.’ Sumner's eye—or rather, as Abauzit says, ‘sa sagacite et sa sympathie’—detected the peculiar interest of the pastor in one of the most intelligent and attractive of the girls, and mentioned it on his return to Martins, who had not observed it. Teacher and pupil were quite unconscious of what was to come: but Sumner's prediction that the interest would yet be mutual and end in a marriage proved true. Madame Abauzit followed the advice of that day, and came to write and speak English as easily as French. Her married life was not to be a long one, and she died in 1884.2

Sumner made a lasting impression on all whom he met at Montpellier. They were charmed alike with his scholarly enthusiasm, the elevation of his sentiments, and his personal qualities. Renouvier, who as it proved had not long to live, sent him in the autumn a work of his own which had received

1 The two Frenchmen were surprised that Sumner had happened on the passage, and said, ‘There is a man consecrated to one leading idea.’

2 Professor Martins cave the writer an account of the visit to Calvisson. M. Abauzit also wrote a full account for him, dated March 4, 1887, of what he calls ‘the most precious recollections’ of Sumner's visit. Writing of an interview with him at Montpellier, the pastor says: ‘Mr. Sumner had me read the letter which he had just received from the poet Longfellow, telling him of the death of the historian Prescott, and saying, “We shall never see that sunny face again!” He then talked a great deal of Theodore Parker, and said to me, “He is our first man; but he is wanting in veneration.” He took pleasure in repeating what Tocqueville had said to him: “Take care lest they take you for a French senator.” We were then under the empire.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Montpellier (France) (2)
West Indies (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George Sumner (9)
Charles Martins (3)
M. Abauzit (3)
English (2)
M. Tocqueville (1)
Jules Renouvier (1)
Theodore Parker (1)
German (1)
Norman French (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 4th, 1887 AD (1)
1884 AD (1)
May 15th, 1823 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: