This next winter I shall pass at the South, to see the men the cities contain, and get some notion of the state of my own country; and, in the spring, I shall go to the land of strangers. The prospect of the pleasures and profits of a voyage to Europe and of travelling there, grows dim and sad as I approach it. One who, like myself, has always been accustomed to live, in the strictest sense of the phrase, at home, and never to desire any pleasures which could not be found there,—one who has never had enough of curiosity to journey through his own country,—can hardly feel much exultation at the prospect of being absent two or three years from that country in which all his wishes and hopes rest, as in their natural centre and final home. I began, long ago, a course of studies which I well knew I could not finish on this side the Atlantic; and if I do not mean to relinquish my favorite pursuits, and acknowledge that I have trifled away some of the best years of my life, I must spend some time in Italy, France, and Germany, and in Greece, if I can. . . . The truth is, dear Charles, that I have always considered this going to Europe a mere means of preparing myself for greater usefulness and happiness after I return,—as a great sacrifice of the present to the future; and the nearer I come to the time I am to make this sacrifice, the more heavy and extravagant it appears. But the resolution is taken and the preparation begun.From these letters we learn the motives which led Mr. Ticknor to give up the law. Such a change is no very uncommon experience. Our paths in life are usually marked out by the force of circumstances over which we can exert but little control, and especially by that necessity of earning one's bread which is laid upon nine men out of ten. A young man of literary tastes may not like the profession to which he has been trained; but if he have good sense and strength of purpose, he will persevere in it, feeling assured that in this way he is certain of a sufficient support; while literature, which, as Scott well said, is a good staff but a poor crutch, gives no such pledge. But to this general rule there are exceptions. Some men, sooner or later, come to the dividing of the ways, and must decide for themselves
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