short for him. I used to think the winds would blow him away sometimes, as he crept along the fence lost in thought, with his head down, and his hands in his pockets.
He was often laughed at for his homely dress, by the boys.
Once, when a very interesting question was to be debated at the school-house, a young man who was noted among us for the elegance of his dress and the length of his account at the store, advised Horace to get a new “rig out” for the occasion, particularly as he was to lead one of the sides, and an unusually large audience was expected to be present.
“No,” said Horace, “I guess I'd better wear my old clothes than run in debt for new ones.”
Now, forty dollars a year is sufficient to provide a boy in the country with good and substantial clothing; half the sum will keep him warm and decent.
The reader, therefore, may be inclined to censure the young debater for his apparent parsimony; or worse, for an insolent disregard of the feelings of others; or, worst
, for a pride that aped humility.
The reader, if that be the present inclination of his mind, will perhaps experience a revulsion of feeling when he is informed—as I now do inform him, and on the best authority— that every dollar of the apprentice's little stipend which he could save by the most rigid economy, was piously sent to his father, who was struggling in the wilderness on the other side of the Alleghanies
, with the difficulties of a new farm, and an insufficient capital.
And this was the practice of Horace Greeley
during all the years of his apprenticeship, and for years afterwards; as long, in fact, as his father's land was unpaid for and inadequately provided with implements, buildings, and stock.
At a time when filial piety may be reckoned among the extinct virtues, it is a pleasure to record a fact like this.
Twice, during his residence at Poultney
, Horace visited his parents in Pennsylvania
, six hundred miles distant, walking a great part of the way, and accomplishing the rest on a slow canal boat.
On one of these tedious journeys he first saw Saratoga
, a circumstance to which he alluded seven years after, in a fanciful epistle, written from that famous watering-place, and published in the New Yorker:
Saratoga! bright city of the present I thou ever-during one-and-twenty