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[193]

In the autumn of 1854 his family returned home, while he remained in Paris. Here he was attacked by a severe disease of the intestines, which rendered a surgical operation necessary. From the effects of this disease he never recovered. It left him with a chronic weakness, and implanted in his system the seeds of the consumption which finally caused his death. But this severe experience, which so enfeebled his body, left him in all else ripened and strengthened. He had passed from boyhood into manhood.

Hooper came home in the spring of 1855, and employed the following eighteen months in a partially successful attempt to restore his health by hunting, yachting, and like recreations. In the autumn of 1856 he found himself well enough to go into business, and formed, with his cousin, John H. Reed, the firm of Reed and Hooper, for the management and agency of the Bay State Iron Company, a connection which lasted until his death. For mercantile life he was admirably adapted by character, by habit, and by inherited taste and ability. He soon became most favorably known among business men, and was on the high road to success. In October, 1857, he married Alice, the youngest daughter of Jonathan Mason, Esq. Their only child, Isabella Weyman, was born in January, 1859. A happier domestic life would be hard to find. Had it not been for the bodily disease which was constantly throwing its cloud over him, it would seem as if fortune had now left him nothing to desire.

From the very commencement of the Rebellion, he had been anxious to bear his part in the war, but his feeble health and urgent business were obstacles hard to surmount. The responsibilities of this business were rendered more pressing than ever before, by the fact that the time and thoughts of his senior partner were now much engrossed by the duties of the office of Quartermaster-General of Massachusetts, to which he had been appointed. The possibility of deserting his counting-room being thus for the time out of the question, Hooper accepted the situation as patiently as he could. In April, 1861, he writes: ‘Thus far I sit at my desk quietly, and have ’

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