THE WAR: 1860-1865
I COULD not in the last chapter say anything of the terrible ordeal through which the country was passing during my first four years at Mr. Dixwell's school. It was too great and too solemn to be mixed up with random memories of boyish sports and school experiences. It was overshadowing then, even to a boy. I do not mean to say that people did not go about their business and that boys did not learn their lessons and play their games through all those weary years just as the people of Paris went about their own little round of labor and filled the theatres nightly during the Reign of Terror. The daily life of men, the common cares and toils of existence, are the hardest things in the world to stop. Nothing less than absolute destruction by nature or by man can arrest them for more than a few hours. But while the Civil War was raging it was certain that no one forgot it and that its shadow hung dark over the land. I was only ten years old when the war began, only fourteen when it ended, and yet in the history of that great period of conflict, it has seemed to me that the impressions of a boy, living safe-sheltered in a city and a State where no enemy ever set his foot, are not without importance, because everything which may serve to explain or characterize or illustrate a struggle so momentous ought to have some value to those of the future who would seek the truth about the past.
My people had been from the foundation of the govern-