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[162] He often called at our house, and it was there that I came to know him in the autumn of 1859. I shall never forget the first time I met him. As a boy I had heard of his struggles as a cadet at West Point and his services with General Scott in Mexico. In imagination I had created an ideal which made my first meeting with him a keen disappointment. Instead of the handsome polished gentleman I had pictured, I found him awkward in appearance, severely plain in dress, and stiff and constrained in bearing, but when he began to talk my disappointment passed away. His voice was soft, musical and singularly expressive, while in conversation his eyes of gray would light up in a way that showed that through the man's nature ran a vein of sentiment tender as that of a woman's. Listening to his terse, well rounded sentences, always instructive and full of meaning, boy that I was, I felt that he possessed power, which, in stirring times, would make him a leader among his fellows. When in later years I saw his appearance on a battle-field give renewed courage to veterans who had faced death in a dozen forms, I knew that my conviction was not a mistaken one.

General Jackson was a profoundly devout man, and labored constantly to bring himself and those to whom he held the relation of teacher to the highest idea of manhood. He was superintendent of a Sunday-school in Lexington, made up of colored children. My chum was a teacher in the school, and once during his absence I took charge of his class. It was a Sunday in summer, and the room was filled with children, ranging from six to fifteen years of age. Scattered among them were several white ladies and gentlemen, who acted as teachers. Just as the clock was striking three the superintendent called the school to order with prayer, earnest and full of feeling. The manner in which he handled the lesson of the day, touching upon all the points that would interest his youthful hearers, was admirable; his way of stating old truths, charming in its freshness and simplicity. Some of the aristocratic people of Lexington looked with disfavor upon this undertaking of Jackson's, but his heart was in the work, and then, as ever, he did what he believed to be his duty. The success of the school was always dear to him. Even after the war had broken out, and he had left Lexington, his letters constantly expressed the desire that it should be kept up as of old.


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