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[310]

This religious consciousness showed itself in the atmosphere of moral purity which encircled him. He was so pure-minded and fervent, that impurity shrank from contact with him, and the conversation in which he participated, however careless and free, had no tinge of coarseness. For vulgar men and things he had an instinctive repugnance. A classmate says: ‘No man, however coarse, indulged in vulgar or sensual talk before him; somehow it did not seem to agree with the atmosphere in which he lived.’

It could not be expected that a young man of his temperament should attain to college honors. Though eager in the acquisition of knowledge, he was by nature devoid of the ambition of distinction which is an incentive to study; and even had this motive been added, it could not have overcome the diffidence which also stood in the way of his success. A classmate who sat next him for four years says: ‘It was impossible for him to recite. He would go into the class as well prepared as any one, and on being called upon, stand up, and sometimes be unable to say a word. A mist seemed to rise before him, and he could not recall anything that he was expected to answer.’ But his college life was by no means unprofitable in book learning. He studied botany and the natural sciences with eagerness, and read all books within his reach which treated of theoretical and practical agriculture and landscape gardening. Long before graduating he had determined to pursue agriculture in some form as a profession.

The pleasure of his last college days and anticipated travels was clouded by the loss of another dearly loved sister in the summer of 1854; but James's tone of mind and body had become more elastic during the last few months of a happier life, and though he suffered, he yielded less to sorrow than before. In all his trials he turned for solace to nature and music. Seldom giving expression to his feelings, his silence showed that those suffer most whose wounds bleed inwardly. The open manifestation of sorrow, however real, is the healing process by which nature throws off anguish and opens the mind to healthy action. Yet it would be wrong to convey the

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Katharine James (1)
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