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that have stood the test of time, and become matters of historic interest. Though differing in many respects, their differences only serve to induce them to meet on a ground of common agreement. And while Cicero will gently banter Atticus for his Epicurean tenets, at the next moment he will acknowledge that the life of his friend has been more in consonance than his own with the principles of a true philosophy. We must refer our readers to the correspondence itself, if they wish to get an adequate idea of the unlimited confidence, the warmth and generosity of affection that have given so just a celebrity to the friendship of these two men.
The letters of Cicero written during his banishment, are perhaps more familiar to our readers than the rest of his correspondence; and needless would it be to recall to mind those emotions of astonishment and sorrow with which we first perused such confessions of a littleness of spirit as are given by the great Roman orator himself. When his broken and almost unintelligible lamentations burst upon our ears in quick succession, when we behold him deliberately refusing to be comforted from such sources of consolation as the philosopher and the scholar can abundantly command, when every page of his correspondence displays a childish yet frantic longing after the objects that prosperity had endeared, how are we tempted to exclaim,
“O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!"
How little are we disposed to sympathize with a man who utters as the key-note of his lamentations, “Neminem umquam tanta calamitate esse affectum, nemini mortem magis optandum fuisse.” And touching as are his expressions of solicitude, especially for the welfare of his wife, what a doubt does it cast upon the sincerity of his emotions, to know that the same man when afterwards recalled to power, speaks of the wife that was once so dear to him, in terms of the utmost indifference. Far higher would Cicero have stood in the estimation of posterity had he preferred even like Cato to die, when liberty was no more! Says Dr. Middleton, “ no compositions afford more pleasure than the epistles of great men; they touch the heart of the reader, by laying open that of the writer.” And we may add in confirmation of the above, that what little we have written on the general character of Cicero's letters, has been done by us as a labor of love. Admiring as we must, the brilliant talents and services of Cicero wherever he labored, we were led to a perusal of his letters in hopes of becoming acquainted with the heart as well as the intellect of so great a man. Nor were we disappointed. As has been already remarked, no compo
sitions of their kind exhibit their author in more varied relations than these. Here Cicero is shown to be always the fond father and affectionate friend; on innumerable occasions, the stern and inflexible patriot; invariably the accomplished scholar; not unfrequently the calm and dignified philosopher; but alas ! too often the man who was tried by misfortune and found wanting. Little did Cicero think, as he made his familiar letters to his friends the occasion of opening his heart to those he could confide in, that these letters rather than his more studied efforts would settle his character with posterity.
A Trip to Lake Saltonstall.
One starry evening, when the winds came from Greenland's icy mountains, came also to the appointed rendezvous a ponderous vehicle from the Fair Haven 'Buss Company, in which a chosen body of adventurers were to emigrate for the purpose of skating in those slippery paths of youth, which are located in the lower end of Lake Saltonstall. Our number, which at first was to be twenty, had gradually become as indefinitely large as the summers of a marriage-maneuvering mantrap; and finally nearly forty gallant Sophomores, muffled up as if going in quest of Sir John Franklin, and carrying a few Juniors along to strap skates, build fires, &c., stood awaiting the decision of an incensed Jehu. The driver was deeply read in the nature and obligation of contracts. He would do as he agreed. He didn't agree to take only twenty, and he wasn't agoing to take only twenty, and furthermore the 'Buss wouldn't hold only twenty. It was urged by one malcontent that ninety-four Freshmen had once gone in that very vehicle on a fishing excursion to Judges' Cave. On the other hand, it was proven that the gravity of two Seniors had been too much for the springs : that they had broken in a very summary way, and yet had not broken their Fall. The last remark was justly considered to be of more weight. Some, like live R. R. stock, were to be transferred to a contingent and prospective ’Buss, in anticipation of which we were exhorted to let patience have its perfect work. Meanwhile Jehu feebly
cries, “ All aboard,” and in the midst of a general rush, off went the 'Buss and the Bucephali.
The contingent and prospective 'Buss was at length obtained, although we had expected it would turn out a blunder-Buss, and go off without us. Our detachment had a magnific season. There were several sisters of the lady whom Willis saw in the omnibus, or at least they were as pretty and tastefully dressed as she. Some of our party began an animated flirtation. One susceptible youth made all sorts of tender demonstrations in a manner far superior to his ordinary demonstrations at the black-board. His fingers were disconcerted. His heart went pit-a-pat and the corners of his lips ascended and descended with delicious smiles, like a dumb waiter going down and coming up with warm oyster stews. His fair neighbor of course could not withstand such a battery as this. She replied in accents tender as the kiss that summer evening leaves upon the blushing lips of the Hesperides. She seemed conscious that others were listening. Her manner was constrained, and I could only catch the words “sixpence" -"please"_" hand"_" the driver.” Unfortunately she 'left soon afterwards and all the other ladies soon followed her example. had time to examine our vehicle.
I almost despair of describing it, for when we went out we had most of the time to keep our eyes shut to keep them from freezing ; and on coming back there was so much cigar smoke that the most lynx-eyed of the party could scarcely see their hands before them.
As near as I can judge, it was a long, low, narrow concern, like those mysterious and piratical schooners seen at sea. At one end was a bright spot of red, something like a fat toper's nose, this, I believe, was a lantern. At the other end was the door which, like a fool's mouth, was always open. Although little could be seen, much could be heard. A member of our party who has obtained considerable experience in musical maters, solemnly avows that he never heard a more hideous concatenation and continuation of tortured melody, than that evening pierced the sky, like the shrieks of stabbed hyenas with Beethoven singing base. One daring individual, after holding his breath for ten minutes, hopelessly stretched several joints of his neck in attempting to reach the high passages; while the gutteral grumness of some neighbors of his, appeared compounded of half donkey, half bullfrog, and the other half distant thunder. Quite a variety of pieces were tried, and I may say for the honor of our expedition, that everything that was tried was exe
cuted in capital style, without any of those new fangled notions of mercy which are getting to be by far too common.
Oh, my country, my country, what shall be thy fearful destiny when the stern virtues of our ancestors shall cease to smile upon the eagle of Columbia, when hanging shall be abolished, and the broad winged bird of Jove shall no longer flap its feathers in the sunlight of universal annexation and sempiternal glory?
But we must return to Lake Saltonstall. With only a moderate degree of mental exertion, we shall get there as soon as on the memorable occasion referred to above. Our jolly driver seemed not at all anxious for the annihilation of distance, and the horses had but little enthusiasm, although taking a casual glance at their singular leanness, one might perhaps have thought that they had more spirit than body. But you remember that the ten thousand Greeks at last got a glad glimpse of the Euxine, and many Sophomoric pericardia were thrilled by the remarkable coincidence, to say nothing of some still more striking coincidences with divers posts and bridges, as we slowly hove in sight of the glassy Lake.
In less time than it takes shivering Freshmen to vacate the middle aisle at evening Chapel service, we bounded from the 'Buss. In less than the brief space of a minute many were upon the ice, and not a few were upon their backs also. Others were upon their knees wooing unworthy skate straps, and soon the whole surface of the Lake seemed alive and kicking with hilarity.
Now began a race-course of practical mathematics, not indeed complete, but carried as far as the students' understanding would admit. We skated out tangents and cotangents of majestic circles, together with signs and wonders, versed, inversed, and reversed, which it would be perissological to enumerate.
One sad Senior, after several awful accidents, in finding his centre of gravity, at last indignantly exclaimed, that the whole Pond was a "pons asinorum." The old skaters were rushing away as if deeply impressed with the idea that their stand depended upon their exertions. For the novices it was of course very hard to remain “in statu quo," and they were soon lying prostrate on the thick ribbed ice, lamenting that their own ribs were endowed with far more tenuity and susceptibility; or, in braver mood, were supinely kicking at the North Star as if defying the vaulted heavens to fall and crush them. I afterwards found, however, that these last were merely kicking the cold for refusing to warm the pedal extremities of the bifurcated continuations, which had been so
vainly attempting to form an isosceles triangle, of which Lake Saltonstall was the base. The stinging cold had by this time reached the extremities even of the most sanguine, and there began to be a cry of Fire. Men in general quail at that awful announcement. But we were not men in general. We quailed not. There were we, far from land and College, and the kiss of love, with nothing but the treacherous ice between us and Davy Jones' locker, but still we quailed notwe forty in. mortal instances of modern chivalry. We were even afraid that the alarm was false. For whence could fire be obtained ? What Prometheus had thought of matches ? What Caliban could fetch us fuel ? There were some individuals endowed with a strong imagination who professed that they had sometimes burned fluid from Pond's, but we scouted at the foolish hypothesis, and sent the “jolly Junes” to a rail fence, which lay in most tempting vicinage. Matches were remembered, and we had a fire. Phoebus, what a fire! It would have barbecued Soyer's ox, and made a magnificent cuisine for getting up baby-stake and fricassed missionary for the King of the Cannibal Islands. We, however, being thankful for small favors, roasted nothing of this sort save our own toes, at which of course no body could complain. Congregated upon planks and poles, we thus cheerfully endured all the sharpness of a Polar winter; as our fire, like the city of Horribazobaugh, was situated upon a hillside, the lower half of our happy circle was gracefully reclining against vacancy, with their feet at an angle of 45° 59', and the man who sat lowest overcame the earth's attractive forces only by the extraordinary weight of his boots. There was a lachrymose legend concerning these boots which we cannot now relate.
One unfortunate wight, in attempting to carry out the Napoleonic maxim of piercing the centre, was rushed down to the ice with such accelerating velocity, that he found a watery grave almost above his knees, and some others are supposed to have perished, as they were missing when called upon to pay the omnibus fare.
However, there were two good omnibus loads when about half past en o'clock we started for those blessed isles of Morpheus in the heart of Blanket Bay, so called in honor of Thomas Blanket, the discoverer. But three considerable obstacles seemed to stare us in the face. The horses were skittish, the driver “ tight,” and the carriage crazy. The first fact became manifest when our steeds delapsed down a steep hill instead of ascending in the orthodox manner. The second became palpable when the driver, “ by the direction of the spirits,” undertook, Camilla like, “ to dy o'er the unbending stumps and skim along the rails." And the third obstacle became alarmingly evident, when the tire of our hind wheel