This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 the face by the most athletic boy in the class, who had been taunted and provoked to the assault by others. He received the blow without flinching, though his face became crimson and his eyes nearly closed with passion and struggle of feelings; but though his voice quivered a little, yet with a few adroit words he saved his reputation from reproach, himself from a beating, and made the other ashamed of his assault. Though a city boy, he was very fond of pet animals and of country life; and a letter written during a vacation at Wareham, when he was but thirteen years old, is comical from the earnestness with which he remonstrates against returning ‘to the gloomy, dull, and pleasureless Boston, leaving the land of promise for the land of woe, a paradise for a desert, the country for the city, in short, Wareham for Boston.’ In truth the boy was full of spirit, life, and frolic, keenly enthusiastic in all his pleasures and plans, having already a warmth of expression, half fun and half earnest, that contrasted strongly with the staider style of ordinary New England boys;—there was nothing commonplace about him. His disposition was affectionate and yet obstinate, hard to be driven, but easily influenced by any show of kindness. At school he was a good scholar in a good class, was gifted with a remarkably retentive memory, took prizes for a translation from Ovid, for a Latin Essay, for Declamation,—a ‘third prize,’ followed the succeeding year by the highest,—and for the second time received on graduation a Franklin Medal. But that for which he was really famed at school was his talent for extemporaneous speaking. His instructor, Francis Gardner, Esq., whose experience of boys runs back over thirty-four or more successive classes, says, that not only for fluency, but for power as an impromptu speaker, for the ability to identify himself with his subject, and carry into it all the enthusiasm of his warm nature, Nathaniel excelled any one that he has ever known. It is the usual custom at the Latin School to have upon ‘Public Saturdays’ what are termed debates,— original discussions previously prepared by the boys, and spoken before the audience. Nathaniel created a sensation at
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.