it seems to be your fixed desire that I should choose the profession of the law for the business of my life. I am very much rejoiced that you accede so readily to my proposition of studying general literature for one year at Cambridge. My grand object in doing this will be to gain as perfect a knowledge of the French and Italian languages as can be gained without travelling in France and Italy,—though, to tell the truth, I intend to visit both before I die. . . . I am afraid you begin to think me rather chimerical in many of my ideas, and that I am ambitious of becoming a ‘rara avis in terris.’ But you must acknowledge the usefulness of aiming high,—at something which it is impossible to overshoot —perhaps to reach. The fact is, I have a most voracious appetite for knowledge. To its acquisition I will sacrifice everything. . . . Nothing delights me more than reading and writing. And nothing could induce me to relinquish the pleasures of literature, little as I have yet tasted them. Of the three professions I should prefer the law. I am far from being a fluent speaker, but practice must serve as a talisman where talent is wanting. I can be a lawyer. This will support my real existence, literature an ideal one.I purchased last evening a beautiful pocket edition of Sir William Jones's Letters, and have
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