one of his early admirers.
‘Whenever he was appointed to speak or to read an essay, he never wanted to be excused; he was always ready.
He was exceedingly interested
in the questions which he discussed, and stuck to his opinion against all opposition—not discourteously, but still he stuck to it
, replying with the most perfect assurance to men of high station and of low. He had one advantage over all his fellow members; it was his memory.
He had read everything, and remembered the minutest details of important events; dates, names, places, figures, statistics—nothing had escaped him. He was never treated as a boy
in the society, but as a man and an equal; and his opinions were considered with as much deference as those of the judge or the sheriff—more, I think.
To the graces of oratory he made no pretence, but he was a fluent and interesting speaker, and had a way of giving an unexpected turn to the debate by reminding members of a fact, well known but overlooked; or by correcting a misquotation, or by appealing to what are called first principles.
He was an opponent to be afraid of; yet his sincerity and his earnestness were so evident, that those whom he most signally floored liked him none the less for it. He never lost his temper.
In short, he spoke in his sixteenth year just as he speaks now; and when he came a year ago to lecture in a neighboring village, I saw before me the Horace Greeley
of the old Poultney
,” as we called it, and no other.’
It is hardly necessary to record, that Horace never made the slightest preparation for the meetings of the Debating Society
in the way of dress—except
so far as to put on his jacket.
In the summer, he was accustomed to wear, while at work, two garments, a shirt and trowsers; and when the reader considers that his trowsers were very short, his sleeves tucked up above his elbows, his shirt open in front, he will have before his mind's eye the picture of a youth attired with extreme simplicity.
In his walks about the village, he added to his dress a straw hat, valued originally at one shilling. In the winter, his clothing was really insufficient.
So, at least, thought a kind-hearted lady who used to see him pass her window on his way to dinner.
‘He never,’ she says, ‘had an overcoat while he lived here; and I used to pity him so
much in cold weather.
I remember him as a slender, pale little fellow, younger looking than he really was, in a brown jacket much too ’