whether they will take the right hand or the left.
Some choose the wrong turn, and then the whole life becomes a failure, embittered by the feeling that the true vocation has been missed.
He gave up the law, not from a fickle temper, not from a restless and dissatisfied spirit, not because he preferred a life of indolence and ease to a life of toil, but because, upon reflection and experiment, he was satisfied that he should be more useful and happy as a man of letters than as a lawyer.
He saw that the country would never be without good lawyers, because the bar presented such powerful attractions to able and ambitious young men; and that it was in urgent need of scholars, teachers, and men of letters, and that this want was much less likely to be supplied.
Feeling in himself a strong love of literature, and, from the circumstances of his life, being able to indulge in it, he came to the conclusion that he should be of more service to his generation as a scholar than as a lawyer.
A mere preference of taste would not alone have determined his choice; and it should always be borne in mind that, in turning from law to literature, he was merely exchanging one form of hard work for another.
It was his purpose to labor in his new vocation as manfully as his contemporaries in the laborious profession he had left, and we shall see how nobly in the future he redeemed his self-imposed pledge.
This change in the plan of life involved a change in the course of study.
If he were to be a scholar, and not a mere literary trifler, he must prepare himself for his new calling by diligent study, and must go where the best instruction was to be had,— to Europe
, and first of all to Germany
Even at this day the earnest American scholar seeks to complete his education in Europe
, for there he finds larger libraries, more accomplished teachers, and better appointed universities; but in all these respects the difference between the two countries was much greater forty or fifty years ago than it is now. The literary poverty of this country at that time cannot be better illustrated than by the fact which Mr. Ticknor
gives, that when he wanted to study German he was obliged to seek a text-book