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[84] orator, who embalmed the virtues of Washington in words as deathless, was led by paternal influences—none the less strong because speaking from the grave—to consciously mould himself upon the almost faultless pattern so faultlessly portrayed.

At all events, there were striking points of resemblance, not alone in character and endowments, but also in temperament between Lee and that predecessor who is only rival in the hearts of this people. Nor up to a certain point were the currents of their lives divergent.

Both were left fatherless while of plastic minds, and both were trained to scarcely realize that partial orphanage by mothers to whom widowhood was but a trusteeship of love and care for the offspring of a departed consort.

Of Anne Carter, the mother of Robert Lee, no less than of Mary, the mother of Washington, it may be said that from her prayers and precepts came that white flower of a blameless life which sweetened our day and generation with its fair example. 'Twas she who guided the young Aeneas to filial piety, and taught him veneration of all that was best and noblest in the father's creed. 'Twas she that developed natural excellences of disposition and worthiness of aspiration into the fixedness of habit and the substance of resolve. 'Twas she who trained the sprouting tendrils to twine around the sturdy oaks of honor and of truth. Aye, but for these pious Virginia women, consecrated to widowhood and maternal duty, it may well be doubted whether even the nobility of nature which came from God, would have ever grown into that roundest symmetry of mind and soul which stamped their sons as kings among men.

By both of these Virginia boys there was the same earnest use of the seed-time in preparation for the harvest season; they both evinced on the threshold of life a calm superiority to those frivolities which distract the mind and sap the energies. The same gracious gravity of demeanor and dignity of deportment gave early presage in both of powers beyond the common heritage and of destinies beyond the common lot. Each entered young upon stern and exigent responsibilities, and both were thus unwittingly equipped to lead embattled hosts against the government to which their first allegiance had been given. Both debated long and earnestly with conscience before arriving at a decision which changed the whole current of their lives. Both were entrusted with the highest command without having sought or desired it; both entered upon exalted duties with the fullest sense of the dangers and uncertainties involved;

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L. Q. Washington (2)
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