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19 CHAPTER IV. A hint for unsuccessful schoolmasters and parents; the first woman with whom I fell in love; my teens, and how they went; I make a beginning at the big cheese; which leads to a dinner for three. whatever seeds of evil and degradation my life in the streets had infused in my character, before I took up my abode with Ephraim Foster, had no chance to grow afterward. Both his wife and himself treated me like a son; and better than many people treat their sons. Kindness choked out all lingering tendencies to mischief within me; and the sentiment which just flickered a moment in my mind, when we were in the basement of the Quaker lady’s house, here grew into form and permanence; and I loved that rough husk of a fellow with a love which was only overtopped by my affection for my dear mother, (as I always call her) his wife Violet. Violet! That was the name of one for whom I bear a sentiment imperishable until my heart perishes! Let me describe her. 20 This woman with the name of a frail and humble flower, had the bodily height and breadth, of a good-sized man. She was a country girl, when Ephraim married her, and loved to work out-doors. Her features were coarse; only her complexion was clean and healthy; and her eyes beamed with perpetual cheerfulness, and willingness to oblige. She had little education and what is called in the hot-house taste of the present day, intellect. She had no more idea of what are now called Woman’s Rights, than of the sublimest wonders of geology. But she had a beautiful soul; and her coarse big features were lighted up with more sweetness, to me, than any Madonna of Italian masters. With the strength of a horse, Violet possessed the gen­ tleness of a dove. How sweetly tasted the first food she prepared for me; how fresh and fragrant the homely clothes, I was given to put on that morning, after a bath in a big tub in the woodhouse; and how kindly the tone in which I was reminded of observances about the place, that day. For Violet was a critical housekeeper, and dirt was an abomination in her eyes. Patient, considerate, self-denying, Mother! Blessed is the home, blessed are the children, where such as you are found. Nearly ten years of my life were here passed, smoothly and happily. A great portion of the last six, was spent at school; although I often wished to stop that, and undertake some trade, or employment; but my parents would not have it so. They prospered fairly: and said that they made 21 a decent living enough now, and it would perhaps be my turn by and by, when they grew old. Ephraim had his mind set on my following the profession of the law. I did not steadily oppose him in this, after I found out it was a darling notion; but the truth was, it by no means agreed with my own fancy. The brightest jewel, saith the Persian poet, that glitters on the neck of the young man is the spirit of adventure. I felt this spirit within me; but I repressed it, and made it dumb, for I regarded their feeling who had lifted me into life, worthy to be so called. You already know of my introduction to the lawyer Covert . I went the next day according to appointment, and made a beginning. This consisted simply in my master’s giving me an outline of the course of primary reading for a law student; and in my getting familiar with the office, just to take the rawness off. I was much amused with Nathaniel, the office-boy, and felt a sincere pity for old Wigglesworth; and before the morning passed away we three were on very good terms together. Nat was pert enough, but he had a fund of real wit of which he was sufficiently lavish, in season, and out of season. He saluted me with gravity as “Don Cesar de Bazan;” from a resemblance he assumed to discover between myself and the player of that part at the theatre which Nathaniel was in the habit of honoring with an occasional shilling, and his presence. And Don Cesar he persisted in calling me from that time. 22 “Let not my lord forget that the banquet waits,” said this precious youth with...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781609385118
Related ISBN
9781609385125
MARC Record
OCLC
970693688
Pages
180
Launched on MUSE
2017-03-14
Language
English
Open Access
No
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