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[88] for the quiet hours spent with those whose relations with him were purely personal and domestic.

My first acquaintance with Colonel Porter was at the University of Heidelberg, where he appeared in my room,—a fair-haired, sunshiny youth, shadowed only by the loss of his aged and beloved father. An orphan, on the threshold of life, his career at Cambridge just terminated, with all that fortune could add to the most noble and generous natural endowments, he had left all behind him to enter on the labors of a student; and at an age when most men deem their culture achieved, he earnestly and humbly commenced anew the great task of self-education. ‘I want culture,’ he would say; ‘I want the equal development of all my faculties, the realization of the true, the good, and the beautiful; and for this I am willing to give my whole life if necessary, but I desire no results which are not based on solid and real knowledge.’ At a much later period, when time had chastened and tempered his qualities, he was still faithful to this ideal. When urged to choose a career among the many opportunities which presented themselves, he said: ‘My call has not come: I must bide my time; I can wait, but I cannot give myself, for the sake of occupation or success, to that which my heart does not tell me I am fitted for. I am conscious of the possession of all my faculties in their prime. Whatever I could have been I still could be; but I cannot choose, I must be chosen.’ The last time I saw him,— it was in command of his regiment at Fort McHenry, —I reminded him of this conversation. He smiled sweetly but sadly as he said: ‘I have done my duty as I have known it. For the two years I have been in command of my regiment, I have hardly been away from it a single day. We are thoroughly drilled for artillery and for infantry service. We are ready for duty: we are waiting for our turn.’

His mind seemed singularly old-fashioned, and even in his early youth he had all the graces and courtesies of age. ‘I am a generation before you all,’ he would say: ‘I am the son of an old man. I reach back to the war of 1812. I was born almost in the wilderness. My father rode on horseback through ’

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Peter Augustus Porter (1)
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