The end of the story is, that the stranger looked as if he thought Horace
's defender half mad himself; and, ‘to tell the truth,’ said the lady who told me the story, ‘we all thought Mr.——had made a crazy speech.’
Horace does not appear to have made a favorable impression at the “mansion-house.”
But he read the books in it, for all that.
Perhaps it was there, that he fell in with a copy of Mrs. Hemans
' poems, which, where ever he found them, were the first poems that awakened his enthusiasm, the first writings that made him aware of the better impulses of his nature.
‘I remember,’ he wrote in the Rose
for 1841, ‘as of yesterday, the gradual unfolding of the exceeding truthfulness and beauty, the profound heart-knowledge (to coin a Germanism) which characterizes Mrs. Hemans
' poems, upon my own immature, unfolding mind.— “Cassabianca,” “Things that change,” “The voice of spring,” “The Traveller at the source of the Nile
,” “The Wreck,” and many other poems of kindred nature are enshrined in countless hearts—especially of those whose intellectual existence dates its commencement between 1820 and 1830— as gems of priceless value; as spirit-wands, by whose electric touch they were first made conscious of the diviner aspirations, the loftier, holier energies within them.’
Such a testimony as this may teach the reader, if he needs the lesson, not to undervalue the authors whom his fastidious taste may place among the Lesser Lights
To you, fastidious reader, those authors may have little to impart.
But among the hills in the country, where the feelings are fresher, and minds are unsated by literary sweets, there may be many a thoughtful boy and earnest man, to whom your Lesser Lights are Suns that warm, illumine, and quicken!
The incidents in Horace
's life at Westhaven
were few, and of the few that did occur, several have doubtless been forgotten.
The people there remember him vividly enough, and are profuse in imparting their general impressions of his character; but the facts which gave rise to those impressions have mostly escaped their memories.
They speak of him as an absorbed
boy, who rarely saluted or saw a passer-by—who would walk miles at the road-side, following the zig-zag of the fences, without once looking up—who was often taken by strangers for a natural fool, but was known by