The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview
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Le., to practice law.
Caleb Strong had just been re-elected governor of Massachusetts.
Sarah Bryant customarily made her sons' clothes as well as her husband's. Peter Bryant wore to the legislature in Boston a broadcloth suit she had cut and stitched; her diary records her making an overcoat for Cullen just before he left home in December 1811 to study law. "Youth," pp. 34, 137.

29. To George Downes

[Bridgewater, c May 1, 1815] 1

[Dear Si]r

I am a little at a loss to comprehend why in the course of nearly six months I have not received a single line from you--when certainly it was your turn to write-- But perhaps your time is so totally engrossed by law-affairs and love-affairs--by the constant devotions which you pay to Themis and Venus--that you have no leisure for any thing else-- If so I believe I must try to muster good nature enough to pass over the offence --upon promise of better behaviour in future-- Bridgewater--my friend --grows rather dull to me--but [the next 3?] months will carry me away from it--I got sick of an eternal obsequiousness to the petticoated gentry. I neglected them--and now I am at sword's-points with above half of them-- Once in a while, however, we contrive to get up a bobbery of some sort--a ball or so--and election day we are to have what we call a tea party-- 2 I wish you had been at Bridgewater when the news of peace arrived-- We had fine sport--and celebrated the event in repeated festivities-- But I soon grew weary of them and now there is not a greater drone in Massachusetts than I am-- The nearer I approach to the conclusion of my studies the more I am convinced of the necessity of industry.

You, my friend were born under [a more fortunate?] 3 star than I-- You have every [advantage in?]3 entering upon the practice of law of accommodating your conversation to ev[ery sort of?]3 people and rendering yourself agreeable to all-- The maturity of your manners will add much to the respect you will receive upon entering into life and the natural placidity of your temper will enable you to contemn the little rubs which will of course attend the young practitioner--

But I lay claim to nothing of all these--and the day when I shall set up my gingerbread board 4 is to me a day of fearful expectation-- The nearer I approach to it the more I dread it-- I feel much anxiety about our friend Hubbard-- I am afraid he will never practice in his profession at all-- I should lament that his talents should lie unemployed and his acquisitions become useless to him-- From his unbending independence and integrity I had conceived a hope that he would have increased the respectability of the profession by adding one more to the list of honest lawyers. 5


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The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1
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