Copyright by the editor, Hal Morris, Secaucus, NJ 1997. Permission is granted to copy, but not for sale, nor in multiple copies, except by permission.
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The Life of Horace Greeley was the beginning of James Parton's great career as an American biographer. Following the title page is a dedication
THE YOUNG MEN OF THE FREE STATES
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
BY ONE OF THEIR NUMBER
The book is Copyright 1854. Parton was 32 years old, and Greeley was 44; nowhere near the end of his career. The excerpt given here is of Greeley, as a 15 or 16 year old boy, who looked younger, appearing at the home of a newspaper editor in a tiny Vermont hamlet, and getting accepted as an apprentice - one of several.
It describes some of the peculiarities of Vermont towns, and this one in particular, in this era, describes life among printing apprentices, living in a boarding house, and gives a vivid picture of Greeley at this age; an incredible looking, ill clad greenhorn, who soon acquires a reputation as the dispute as to who said what during such-and-such a congressional debate of the 1790s.
East Poultney is not, decidedly not, a place which a traveler -- if, by any extraordinary chance, a traveler should ever visit it -- would naturally expect of a newspaper. But, in one of the most densely-populated parts of the city of New York, there is a field! --a veritable, indubitable field, with a cow in it, a rough wooden fence around it, and a small, low, wooden house in the middle of it, where an old gentleman lives, who lived there when all was rural around him, and who means to live there all his days, pasturing his cow and raising his potatoes on ground which he could sell--but won't--at a considerable number of dollars per foot. The field in the metropolis we can account for. But that a newspaper should ever have been published at East Poultney, Rutland county, Vermont, seems, at the first view of it, inexplicable
Vermont, however, is a land of villages; and the business which is elsewhere done only in large towns is, in that State, divided among the villages in the country. Thus, the stranger is astonished at seeing among the few signboards of mere hamlets, one or two containing most unexpected and metropolitan announcements, such as "Silversmith," "Organ Factory," "Piano Fortes," "Printing Office," or "Patent Melodeons." East Poultney, for example, is little more than a hamlet, yet it once had a newspaper, and boasts a small factory of melodeons at this moment. A foreigner would as soon expect to see there an Italian opera house or a French cafe.
The Poultney river is a small stream that flows through a valley, which widens and narrows, narrows and widens, all along its course; here, a rocky gorge; a grassy plain, beyond. At one of its narrow places, where the two ranges of hills approach and not to one another, and where the river pours through a rocky channel-- a torrent on a very small scale-- the little village nestles, a cluster of houses at the base of an enormous hill. It is built round a small triangular green, in the middle of which is a church, with a handsome clock in its steeple, all complete except the works, and bearing on its ample face the date, 1805. No village, however minute, can get on without three churches, representing the Conservative, the Enthusiastic, and Eccentric tendencies of human nature; and, of course East Poultney has three. It has likewise the most remarkably shabby and dilapidated school-house in all the country round. There is a store or two; but business is not brisk, and when a customer arrives in town, perhaps his first difficulty will be to find the storekeeper, who has locked up his store and gone to hoe in his garden or talk to the blacksmith. A tavern, a furnace, a saw-mill, and forty dwelling houses, nearly complete the inventory of the village. The place has a neglected and 'seedy' aspect which is rare in New England. In that remote and sequestered spot, it seems to have forgotten, and left behind in the march of progress; and the people, giving up the hope and the endeavor to catch up, have settled down to the tranquil enjoyment of Things as they Are. The village cemetary, near by, -- more populous far than the village, for the village is an old one -- is upon the side of a steep ascent, and the whole ranks of gravestones bow, submissive to the law of gravitation, and no man sets them aright. A quiet, slow little place is East Poultney. Thirty years ago, the people were a little more wide awake, and there were a few more of them.
It was a fine spring morning in the year 1826, about ten o'clock, when
Mr. Amos Bliss, the manager, and one of the proprieters, of the Northern
Spectator, 'might have been seen' in the garden behind his house planting
potatoes. He heard the gate open behind him, and, without turning or looking
round, became dimly conscious of the presence of a boy. But the boys of
country villages go into whosesoever garden their wandering fancy them,
and supposing this boy to be one of his own neighbors, Mr. Bliss continued
his work and quickly forgot that he was not alone. In a few minutes, ho
heard a voice close behind him' a strange voice, high pitched and whining.
It said, "Are you the man that carries on the printing office?"
Mr. Bliss then turned, and resting upon his hoe, surveyed the person
who had thus addressed him. He saw standing before him a boy apparently
about fifteen years of age, of a light, tall, and slender form, dressed
in the plain, farmer's cloth of the time, his garments cut with an utter
disregard of elegance and fit. His troupers were exceedingly short and
voluminous; he wore no stockings; his shoes were of the kind denominated
'highlows,' and much worn down; his hat was of felt, 'one of the old
stamp, with so small a brim, that it looked more like a twoquart measure
inverted than anything else;' and it was worn far back on his head; his
hair was white, with a tinge of orange at its extremities, and it lay thinly
upon a broad forehead and over a head 'rocking on shoulders which seemed
too slender to support the weight of a member so disproportioned to the
general outline.' The general effect of the figure and its costume was
so outre, they presented such a combination of the rustic and ludicrous,
and the apparition had come upon him so suddenly, that the amiable gardener
could scarcely keep from laughing.
He restrained himself, however, and replied, "Yes, I'm the man."
Whereupon the stranger asked, "Don't you want a boy to learn the
"Well," said Mr. Bliss, "we have been thinking of it.
Do you want to learn to print?"
"I've had some notion of it!" said the boy in true Yankee
fashion, as though he had not been dreaming about it, and longing for it
Mr. Bliss was both astonished and puzzled-astonished that such a fellow
as the boy looked to be, should have ever thought of learning to
print, and puzzled how to convey to him an idea of the absurdity of the
notion. So, with an expression in his countenance, such as that of a tenderhearted
drygoods merchant might be supposed to assume if a hodcarrier
should apply for a place in the lace department, be said, "Well, my
boy-but, you know, it takes considerable learning to be a printer. Have
you been to school much?"
"No," said the boy, "I hav'nt had much chance at school.
I've read some."
"What have you read?" asked Mr. Bliss.
, "Well, I've read some history, and some travels, and a little
of most everything."
"Where do you live?"
" At Westhaven."
" How did you come over?"
"I came on foot."
"What's your name?"
Now it happened that Mr. Amos Bliss had been for the last three years
an inspector of Common Schools, and in fulfilling the duties of his office-examining
and licensing teachers-he had acquired an uncommon facility in asking questions,
and a fondness for that exercise which men generally entertain for any
employment in which they suppose themselves to excel. The youth before
him was-in the language of medical students-a 'fresh subject,' and the
Inspector proceeded to try all his skill upon him, advancing from easy
questions to hard ones, up to those knotty problems with which he had been
wont to 'stump' candidates for the office of teacher. The boy was a match
for him. He answered every question promptly, clearly and modestly. He
could not be 'stumped' in the ordinary school studies, and of the books
he had read he could give a correct and complete analysis. In Mr. Bliss's
own account of the interview, he says, "On entering into conversation,
and a partial examination of the qualifications of my new applicant, it
required but little time to discover that he possessed a mind of no common
order, and an acquired intelligence far beyond his years. He had had but
little opportunity at the common school, but he said 'he had read some,'
and what he had read he well understood and remembered. In addition to
the ripe intelligence manifested in one so young, and whose instruction
had been so limited, there was a singlemindedness a truthfulness and
common sense in what he said, that at once commanded my regard."
After half an hour's conversation with the boy, Mr. Bliss intimated
that be thought be would do, and told him to go into the printingoffice
and talk to the foreman. Horace went to the printing office, and there
his appearance produced an effect on the tender minds of the three apprentices
who were at work therein which can be much better imagined than described,
and which is most vividly remembered by the two who survive. To the foreman
Horace addressed himself, regardless certainly oblivious probably, of the
stare and the remarks of the boys. The foreman, at first, was inclined
to wonder that Mr. Bliss should, for one moment think it possible that
a boy got up in that style could perform the most ordinary duties of a
printer's apprentice. Ten minute's talk with him, however, effected a partial
revolution in his mind in the boy's favor, and as he was greatly in want
of another apprentice, he was not inclined to be over particular.
He tore off a slip of proofpaper, wrote a few words upon it hastily
with a pencil, and told the boy to take it to Mr. Bliss. That piece of
paper was his fate. The words were: 'Guess we'd better try him.'
Away went Horace to the garden, and presented his paper. Mr. Bliss,
whose curiosity had been excited to a high pitch by the extraordinary contrast
between the appearance of the boy and his real quality, now entered into
a long conversation with him, questioned him, respecting his history, his
past employments, his parents, their circumstances, his own intentions
and wishes; and the longer he talked, the more his admiration grew. The
result was, that he agreed to accept Horace as an apprentice, provided
his father would agree to the usual terms; and then, with eager steps,
and a light heart, the happy boy took the dusty road that led to his home
"You're not going to hire that towhead, Mr. Bliss, are you?"
asked one of the apprentices at the close of the day. "I am,"
was as the reply, "and if you boys are expecting to get any fun out
of him, you'd 'd better get it quick, or you'll be too late. There's something
in that towhead as you'll find out before you're a week older."
A day or two after Horace packed up his wardrobe in a small cotton handkerchief.
Small as it was, it would have held more; for its proprietor never had
more than two shirts, and one change of outerclothing, at the same
time, till he was of age. Father and son walked, side by side, to Poultney,
the boy carrying his possessions upon a stick over his shoulder.
At Poultney, an unexpected difficulty arose, which for a time made Horace
tremble in his highlow shoes. The terms proposed by Mr. Bliss were,
that the boy should be bound for five years, and receive his board and
twenty dollars a year. Now, Mr. Greeley had ideas of his own on the subject
of apprenticeship, and he objected to this proposal, and to every particular
of it. In the first place, he had determined that no child of his should
ever be bound at all. In the second place, he thought five years an unreasonable
term, thirdly he considered that twenty dollars a year and board was a
compensation ridiculously disproportionate to the services which Horace
would be required to render; and finally, on each and all of these points,
he clung to his opinion with the tenacity of a Greeley. Mr. Bliss appealed
to the established custom of the country; five years was the usual period;
the compensation offered was the regular thing; the binding was a point
essential to the employer's interest. And at every pause in the conversation,
the appealing voice of Horace was heard: "Father, I guess you'd better
make a bargain with Mr. Bliss;" or, "Father, I guess it won't
make much difference ;" or, "Don't you think you'd better do
it, father?" At one moment the boy was reduced to despair. Mr. Bliss
had given it as his ultimatum that the proposed binding was absolutely
indispensable; he "could do business in no other way." "Well,
then, Horace," said the father, "let us go home.'' The father
turned to go; but Horace lingered; he could not give it up; and so the
father turned again; the negotiation was reopened, and after a prolonged
discussion, a compromise was effected. What the terms were, that were finally
agreed to, I cannot positively state, for the three memoirs which I have
consulted upon the subject give three different replies. Probably, however,
they were-no binding and no money for six months; then the boy could,,
if be chose, bind himself for the remainder of the five years, at forty
dollars a year, the apprentice to be boarded from the beginning And so
the father went home, and the son went straight to the printing office
and took his first lesson in the art of setting type.
A few months after, it may be as well to mention here, Mr. Greeley removed
to Erie county, Pennsylvania, and bought some wild land there, from which
he gradually created a farm, leaving Horace alone in Vermont. Grass now
grows where the little house stood in Westhaven, in which the family lived
longest, and the barn in which they stored their hay and kept their cattle,
leans forward like a kneeling elephant, and lets in the daylight through
ten thousand apertures. But the neighbors point out the tree that stood
before their front door, and the tree that shaded the kitchen window, and
the tree that stood behind the house, and the tree whose apples Horace
liked, and the bed of mint with which he regaled his nose. And both the
people of Westhaven and those of Amherst assert that whenever the Editor
of the Tribune revisits the scenes of his early life, at the season
when apples are ripe, one of the things that he is surest to do, is to
visit the apple trees that produce the fruit which he liked best when he
was a boy, and which he still prefers before all the apples of the world.
The new apprentice took his place at the font, and received from the
foreman his 'copy,' composing stick, and a few words of instruction, and
then he addressed himself to his task. He needed no further assistance.
The mysteries of the craft he seemed to comprehend intuitively. He had
thought of his chosen vocation for many years; he had formed a notion how
the types must be arranged in order to produce the desired impression,
and, therefore. all he had to acquire was manual dexterity. In perfect
silence, without looking to the right hand or to the left, heedless of
the sayings and doings of the other apprentices, though they were bent
on mischief, and tried to attract and distract his attention, Horace worked
on, hour after hour, all that day; and when he left the office at night
could set type better and faster than many an apprentice who had had a
month's practice. The next day, he worked with the same silence and intensity.
The boys were puzzled. They thought it absolutely incumnbent on them to
perform an initiating rite of some kind; but the new boy gave them no handle,
no excuse, no opening. He committed no greenness, he spoke to no one, looked
at no one, seemed utterly oblivious of everything save only his copy and
his type. They threw type at him but he never looked around. They talked
saucily at him, but he threw back no retort. This would never do.
Towards the close of the third day, the oldest apprentices took one of
the large black balls with which printers used to dab the ink upon
the type, and remarking that in his opinion Horace's hair was of too light
a hue for so black an art as that which he had undertaken to learn, applied
the ball, well inked, to Horace's head, making four distinct dabs. The
boys, the journeymen, the pressman and the editor, all paused in their
work to observe the result of this experiment. Horace neither spoke nor
moved. He went on with his work as though nothing had happened, and soon
after went to the tavern where he boarded, and spent an hour in purifying
his dishonored locks. And that was all the fun the boys 'got out' of their
new companion on that occasion. They were conquered. In a few days
the victor and the vanquished were excellent friends.
Horace was now fortunately situated. Ampler means of acquiring knowledge
were within his reach than he had ever before enjoyed, nor were there wanting
opportunities for the display of his acquisitions and the exercise of his
"About this time," writes Mr. Bliss, "a sound, well read
theologian and a practical printer was employed to edit and conduct the
paper. This opened a desirable school for intellectual culture to our young
debutant. Debates ensued; historical, political, and religious questions
were discussed; and often while all hands were engaged at the font of types;
and here the purpose for which our young aspirant 'had read some' was made
manifest. Such was the correctness of memory in what he had read, in both
biblical and profane history, that the reverend gentleman was often put
at fault by his corrections. He always quoted chapter and verse to prove
the point in dispute. On one occasion the editor said that money was the
root of all evil, when he was corrected by the 'devil,' who said he believed
it read in the Bible that the love of money was the root of all evil.
"A small town library gave him access to books, by which, together
with the reading of the exchange papers of the office, he improved all
his leisure hours. He became a frequent talker in our village Lyceum, and
often wrote dissertations.
"In the first organization of our village temperance society, the
question arose as to the age when the young might become members. Fearing
lest his own age might bar him he moved that they be received when they
were old enough to drink-which was adopted nem. con.
"Though modest and retiring, he was often led into political discussions
with our ablest politicians, and few would leave the field without feeling
instructed by the soundness of his views and the unerring correctness of
his statements of political events.
"Having a thirst for knowledge, he bent his mind and all his energies
to its acquisition with unceasing application and untiring devotion; and
I doubt if, in the whole term of his apprenticeship, he ever spent an hour
in the common recreations of young men. He used to pass my door as be went
to his daily meals, and though I often sat near, or stood in the way, so
much absorbed did he appear in his own thoughts-his head bent forward and
his eyes fixed upon the ground that I have the charity to believe the reason
why he never turned his head or gave me a look, was because he had no idea
I was there."
On one point the reminiscences of Mr. Bliss require correction. He thinks
that his apprentice never spent an hour in the common recreations of young
men during his residence in Poultney. Mr. Bliss, however, was his senior
and his employer; and therefore observed him at a distance and from above.
But I, who have conversed with those who were the friends and acquaintances
of the youth, can tell a better story. He had a remarkable fondness for
games of mingled skill and chance, such as whist, draughts, chess, and
others; and the office was never without its dingy pack of cards, carefully
concealed from the reverend editor and the serious customers, but brought
out from its hidingplace whenever the coast was clear and the boys
had a leisure hour. Horace never gambled, nor would he touch the cards
on Sunday; but the delight of playing a game occasionally was heightened,
perhaps, by the fact that in East Poultney a pack of cards was regarded
as a thing accursed, not fit for saintly hands to touch. Beehunting,
too, continued to be a favorite amusement with Horace. "He was always
ready for a beehunt," says one who knew him well in Poultney,
and beehunted with him often in the woods above the village. To finish
with this matter of amusement, I may mention that a dancingschool
was held occasionally at the village tavern, and Horace was earnestly (ironically,
perhaps,) urged to join it; but he refused. Not that he disapproved of
the dance-that best of all home recreations-but he fancied he was not exactly
the figure for a quadrille. He occasionally looked in at the door of the
dancingroom, but never could be prevailed upon to enter it.
Until he came to live at Poultney, Horace had never tried his hand at
original composition. The injurious practice of writing compositions was
as not among the exercises of any of the schools which he had attended.
At Poultney. very early in his apprenticeship, he began, not indeed to
write, but to compose paragraphs for the paper as he stood at the desk,
and to set them in type as he composed them. They were generally items
of news condensed from large articles in the exchange papers; but occasionally
he composed an original paragraph of some length; and he continued to render
editorial assistance of this kind all the while he remained in the office.
The 'Northern Spectator' was an 'Adams paper,' and Horace was an Adams
The Debating Society, to which Mr. Bliss alludes, was an important feature
in the life of East Poultney. There happened to be among the residents
of the place, during the apprenticeship of Horace Greeley, a considerable
number of intelligent men, men of some knowledge and talent-the editor
of the paper, the village doctor, a county judge, a clergyman or two, two
or three persons of some political eminence, a few wellinformed mechanics,
farmers, and others. These gentlemen had formed themselves into a 'Lyceum,'
before the arrival of Horace, and the Lyceum had become so famous in the
neighborhood that people frequently came a distance of ten miles to attend
its meetings It assembled weekly, in the winter, at the little brick schoolhouse.
An original essay was read by the member whose 'turn ' it was to do so,
and then the question of the evening was debated; first, by four members
who had been designated at the previous meeting, and after they had each
spoken once, the question was open to the whole society. The questions
were mostly of a very innocent and rudimental character, as, 'Is novelreading
injurious to society?' ; Has a person a right to take life in selfdefence?'
'Is marriage conducive to happiness?' 'Do we, as a nation, exert a good
moral influence in the world?' 'Do either of the great parties of the day
carry out the principles of the Declaration of Independence?' 'Is the Union
likely to be perpetuated?' 'Was Napoleon Bonaparte a great man?' 'Is it
a person's duty to take the temperance pledge?' et cetera.
Horace joined the society, the first winter of his residence in Poultney,
and, young as he was, soon became one of its leading members. "He
was as a real giant at the Debating Society," says one of his early
admirers. "Whenever he was appointed to speak or to read an essay,
he never wanted to be excused; he was always ready He was exceedingly interested
in the questions which he discussed, and stuck to his opinion against
all opposition-not discourteously, but still he stuck to it, replying
with the most perfect assurance to men of high station and of low. He had
one advantage over all his fellow members; it was his memory. He had read
everything, and remembered the minutest details of important events; dates,
names, places, figures, statistics-nothing had escaped him. He was never
treated as a boy in the society, but as a man and an equal; and his opinions
were considered with as much deference as thoseof the judge or the
sheriff-more, I think. To the graces of oratory he made no presence, but
he was a fluent and interesting speaker, and had a way of giving an unexpected
turn to the debate by reminding members of a fact, well known but overlooked;
or by correcting a misquotation, or by appealing to what are called first
principles. He was an opponent to be afraid of; yet his sincerity and his
earnestness were so evident, that those whom he most signally floored liked
him none the less for it. He never lost his temper. 'In short, he spoke
in his sixteenth year just as he speaks now; and when he came a year ago
to lecture in a neighboring village, I saw before me the Horace Greeley
of the old Poultney 'Forum,' as we called it, and no other."
It is hardly necessary to record, that Horace never made the slightest
preparation for the meetings of the Debating Society in the way of dress-except
so far as to put on his jacket. In the summer, he was accustomed to wear,
while at work, two garments, a shirt and trowsers; and when the reader
considers that his trowsers were very short, his sleeves tucked up above
his elbows, his shirt open in front, he will have before his mind's eye
the picture of a youth attired with extreme simplicity. In his walks about
the village, he added to his dress a straw hat, valued originally at one
shilling. In the winter, his clothing was really insufficient. So, at least,
thought a kindhearted lady who used to see him pass her window on
his way to dinner. "He never," she says, "had an overcoat
while he lived here; and I used to pity him so much in cold weather I remember
him as a slender, pale little fellow, younger looking than he really was,
in a brown jacket much too short for him. I used to think the winds would
blow him away sometimes, as he crept along the fence lost in thought, with
his head down, and his hands in his pockets. He was often laughed at for
his homely dress, by the boys. Once, when a very interesting question was
to be debated at the schoolhouse, a young man who was noted among
us for the elegance of his dress and the length of his account at the store,
advised Horace to get a new 'rig out' for the occasion, particularly as
he was to lead one of the sides, and an unusually large audience was expected
to be present. 'No,' said Horace, 'I guess I'd better wear my old clothes
than run in debt for new ones.'"
Now, forty dollars a year is sufficient to provide a boy in the country
with good and substantial clothing; half the sum will keep him warm and
decent. The reader, therefore, may be inclined to censure the young debater
for his apparent parsimony; or worse, for an insolent disregard of the
feelings of others; or, worst, for a pride that aped humility. The reader,
if that be the present inclination of his mind, will perhaps experience
a revulsion of feeling when he is informed-as I now do inform him, and
on the best authority-that every dollar of the apprentice's little stipend
which he could save by the most rigid economy, was piously sent to his
father, who was struggling in the wilderness on the other side of the Alleghanies,
with the difficulties of a new farm, and an insufficient capital. And this
was the practice of Horace Greeley during all the years of his apprenticeship,
and for years afterwards; as long, in fact, as his father's land was unpaid
for and inadequately provided with implements, buildings, and stock. At
a time when filial piety may be reckoned among the extinct virtues, it
is a pleasure to record a fact like this.
Twice, during his residence at Poultney, Horace visited his parents
in Pennsylvania, six hundred miles distant, walking a great part of the
way, and accomplishing the rest on a slow canal boat. On one of these tedious
journeys he first saw Saratoga, a circumstance to which he alluded seven
years after, in a fanciful epistle, written from that famous wateringplace,
and published in the "New Yorker":
"Saratoga! bright city of the present! thou everduring oneandtwenty
of existence! a wanderer by thy stately palaces and gushing fountains salutes
thee,! Years, yet not many, have elapsed since, a weary roamer from a distant
land, he first sought thy healthgiving waters. November's sky was
over earth and him, and more than all, over thee; and its chilling blasts
made mournful melody amid the waving branches of thy ever verdant pines.
Then, as now thou wert a City of Tombs, deserted by the gay throng whose
light laughter reechoes so joyously through thy summerrobed arbors.
But to him thou wert ever a fairy land, and he wished to quaff of thy Hygeian
treasures as of the nectar of the poet's fables. One long and earnest draught,
ere its sickening disrelish came over him, and be flung down the cup in
the bitterness of disappointment and disgust, And sadly addressed him again
to his pedestrian journey. Is it ever thus with thy castles, Imagination?
thy pictures, Fancy? thy dreams, O Hope? Perish the unbidden thought! A
health, in sparkling Congress, to the rainbow of life! even though its
promise prove as shadowy as the baseless fabric of a vision. Better even
the dear delusion of Hope if delusion it must be-than the
rugged reality of listless despair. (I think I could do this better in
rhyme, if I had not trespassed in that line already. However, the cabinconversation
of a canal packet is not remarkably favorable to poetry.) In plain prose,
there is great deal of mismanagement about this same village of Saratoga.
The season gives up the ghost too easily," &c., &c.,
During the four years that Horace lived at East Poultney, he boarded
for some time at the tavern, which still affords entertainment for man
and beast-i.e. pedler and horse-in that village. It was kept by an estimable
couple, who became exceedingly attached to their singular guest, and he
to them. Their recollections of him are to the following effect:-Horace
at that time ate and drank whatever was placed before him; he was rather
fond of good living, ate furiously, and fast, and much. He was very fond
of coffee, but cared little for tea. Every one drank in those days, and
there was a great deal of drinking, at the tavern, but Horace never could
be tempted to taste a drop of anything intoxicating. "I always,"
said the kind landlady, "took a great interest in young people, and
when I saw they were going wrong, it used to distress me, no matter whom
they belonged to; but I never feared for Horace. Whatever might be going
on about the village or in the barroom, I always knew he would do
right." He stood on no ceremony at the table; he fell to without
waiting to be asked or helped, devoured everything right and left, stopped
as suddenly as he had begun, and vanished instantly. One day as Horace
was stretching his long arm over to the other side of the table in quest
of a distant dish, the servant, wishing to hint to him in a jocular manner
that that was not exactly the most proper way of proceeding, said, "Don't
trouble yourself, Horace, I want to help you to that dish, for, you know
I have a particular regard for you." He blushed, as only a
boy with a very white face can blush, and, thenceforth, was less adventurous
in exploring the remoter portions of the tablecloth. When any topic
of interest was started at the table, he joined in it with the utmost confidence,
and maintained his opinion against anybody, talking with great vivacity,
and never angrily. He came, at length, to be regarded as a sort of Town
Encyclopedia, and it any one wanted to know anything, he went as a matter
of course, to Horace Greeley; and, if a dispute arose between two individuals,
respecting a point of history, or politics, or science, they referred it
to Horace Greeley, and whomsoever he declared to be right, was confessed
to be the victor in the controversy. Horace never went to a teadrinking
or a party of any kind, never went on an excursion, never slept away from
home or was absent from one meal during the period of his residence at
the tavern, except when he went to visit his parents. He seldom went to
church, but spent the Sunday, usually, in reading. He was a stanch Universalist,
a stanch Whig, and a preeminently stanch antiMason. Thus, the
landlord and landlady.