have carried Horace on my back through the drifts to school, and put my own mittens over his, to keep his little hands from freezing.’
He adds, ‘I lived at the next house, and I and my brothers often went down in the evening to play with him; but he never would play with us till he had got his lessons.
We could neither coax nor force him to.’
He remembers Horace as a boy of a bright and active nature, but neither playful nor merry; one who would utter acute and ‘old-fashioned’ remarks, and make more fun for others than he seemed to enjoy himself.
His fondness for reading grew with the growth of his mind, till it amounted to a passion.
His father's stock of books was small indeed.
It consisted of a Bible, a ‘Confession of Faith,’ and perhaps, all told, twenty volumes beside; and they by no means of a kind calculated to foster a love of reading in the mind of a little boy. But a weekly newspaper
came to the house from the village of Amherst
; and, except his mother's tales, that newspaper probably bad more to do with the opening of the boy's mind and the tendency of his opinions, than anything else.
The family well remember the eagerness with which he anticipated its coming.<*> per-day was the brightest of the week.
An hour before the post-rider was expected, Horace would walk down the road to meet him, bent on having the first read
; and when he had got possession of the precious sheet, he would hurry with it to some secluded place, lie down on the grass, and greedily devour its contents.
The paper was called (and is still) the Farmer's Cabinet
. It was mildly Whig in politics.
The selections were religious, agricultural, and miscellaneous; the editorials few, brief, and amiable; its summary of news scanty in the extreme.
But it was the only
bearer of tidings from the Great World.
It connected the little brown house on the rocky hill of Amherst
with the general life of mankind.
The boy, before he could read himself, and before he could understand the meaning of war and, doubtless heard his father read in it of the triumphs and disasters of the Second War with Great Britain
, and of the rejoicings at the conclusion of peace.
He himself may have read of Decatur
's gallantry in the war with Algiers
, of Wellington
's victory at Waterloo
, of Napoleon
's fretting away his life on the rock of St. Helena, of Monroe
's inauguration, of the dismantling of the flees on the great lakes, of the progress of the