‘under an outside of apparent frivolity, he cherished a sincere respect for whatever was manly and true, and had many generous impulses.’ He did not complete his undergraduate course with the Class of 1848, but received his degree eleven years later, after establishing an honorable reputation as a physician. During the intermediate period he had interested himself in a variety of pursuits, into each of which he threw himself for a time with his accustomed energy. Music, painting, astronomy, and practical seamanship occupied him in turn, he having in the last-named vocation made a voyage to Liverpool before the mast. He was married, when barely twenty-one, to Miss Letitia Sullivan, daughter of Jonathan Amory, Esq., of Jamaica Plain. After his marriage he fitted up a studio at his house, and passed much of his time in the study and practice of art. This led him into the medical profession, in a manner best stated by Dr. B. E. Cotting, afterwards his professional instructor.
Art anatomy naturally led him to practical anatomy, and thence to medical science in general. Having decided to enter the profession, he made the business of preparation no half-way matter. His zeal was unbounded and his application unremitted. Nothing was too trivial to escape his rapid observation, nor too difficult to discourage his ardent enthusiasm. His progress was remarkable, and the position he attained unprecedented,—so that when he graduated he was already a man of mark, to whom the profession looked in full expectation of greater things in after days. The hospital created the office of Artist, to secure his services; and the Boston Society for Medical Improvement, at the earliest moment allowed by their constitution, elected him a member. He soon became one of the most prominent physicians of the section of the city where he was located; and a brilliant future seemed opening before him. . . . . To great physical strength he added the most delicate touch with the pencil, and the tenderest manipulation of the sick. . . . . But the chief obstacle to his medical career came from a source the last to be suspected by any one not intimately acquainted with his character,—extreme tender-heartedness. Fearless of gods and men, the plaintive weakness of a sick child appalled, and its death while under his care completely unnerved him.