This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 Yet he was very slow to form friendships or impart confidences, and with all his self-reliance came a certain self-distrust, from his inability to give and receive that ready show of outside friendliness which is the every-day coin of social intercourse; and this produced a certain coldness of manner, as of one not open to every comer. He rarely asked for sympathy or aid in the accomplishment of a task, even though intruding doubts of his powers made the effort of achievement almost heroic. Still less did he seek applause for his performance. In all his self-culture, his labor of preparation was quiet and unnoticed, and the effort was never suspected until it became achievement. His culture and accomplishments were as sure and reliable as if hewn out of rock. He acquired considerable skill—for he had excellent taste—as a musician; and his nice touch as a draughtsman still has enduring shape in many a graceful figure or vigorous sketch in the portfolios or on the walls of his friends. In 1848, at the age of seventeen, he entered Harvard College. He brought to the training of the college a vigorous physical frame, exact and methodical habits of study, and a keen sense of duty; but with these a certain solitariness of nature that held him much aloof from his Class, and tastes that the college course did not satisfy. He was no negligent loiterer; he was neither unable to acquire, nor unaware of the golden time for progress which he was enjoying. Life meant duty to him, and duty and its performance were the law of his existence; but he must needs make his progress mainly in his own way. Perhaps it is not too much to say, that, at the time of his graduation, he was the equal in general culture of any one in his Class, and had laid the foundations of his knowledge deep and broad. Of that subtle discipline which the democracy of a college enforces on its members, he felt much. A perfect Nazarite in the law of the body, hardly knowing vice even in thought, he was far removed in ordinary companionship from the idle or the luxurious; yet his character won the respect and confidence even of those with whom he could not readily associate;
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.