CHAPTER VI
A TURNING-POINT IN MY LIFE

I NOW approach two events which exerted a greater influence on both my character and my career than any other events in my life -- my marriage and the change in my profession.

My letters to my cousin, written between my engagement in 1854 and my marriage in 1857, give a more frank and a less self-conscious account of myself, my habits, and my character than would have been contained in any journal -- if I had kept one, which I did not do. I wished my cousin to have no false ideals of me; and I endeavored to describe myself as I was, that when she took me for better and for worse, she might not be too much surprised at the worse. With these letters before me, I attempt to give to my readers something of the self-painted portraits which I gave to her. The quotations are from these letters.1The first one, looking back to my boyhood, confirms the dim reminiscence which I have given to the reader in the first chapter of this volume.

BROOKLN, NEW YORK December 20, 1855.

I am twenty years of age. To say that I do not realize it, would not begin to express my want of conception of who I now am and who I used to be. Even now as I walk the room I cannot conceive who I am that am twenty years old. I think

____________________
1
I make no attempt to correct the infelicities of expression or even the inaccuracies of grammar in these letters, but print them as they were written, often in hate, and generally without revision.

-113-

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