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PART I.

CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH.

"How many are you, then," said I,

"If they two are in heaven?" Quick was the little maid's reply, "O Master, we are seven !"

"But they are dead; those two are dead! Their spirits are in heaven!"

'T was throwing words away; for still The little maid would have her will,

And said, "Nay, we are seven !

WORDSWORTH.

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HERE is a natural curiosity to trace a stream to its source to follow it back to the hills from whose bosom it first springs to life. The more noble the flow of its current, the more beneficent its waters, in opening paths to inland navigation or furnishing food for man, so much the keener is curiosity to trace it to the crystal fountain of its origin. The undiscovered source of the Nile was for centuries the theme of speculation. Inquirers, after the ancient method, propounded this practical question to the oracles of reason, and drew from them the enigmatical responses of theory; never apparently thinking of the solution, which modern empiricism has reached, by actually threading back the stream, and thus working out the safe result of observation.

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Human life, like the river, may attract little public notice in its playful early course, when prattling among the parent hills, or leaping in gay cascades on its downward way, to swell, eventually, into the graver, deeper current of manhood. But if, as its waters gather head, they furnish a spectacle of nat

ural beauty in their flow or fall, or bestow public blessings in banks made green and fruitful, or bountiful fisheries, or bear upon their back the burdens of navigation, or attract attention by the glory of their exit into the sea, symbolizing the issue of life for time into the ocean of eternity, then men turn their steps back to the early stream, and search out, in its source and surroundings, every presage of its destiny.

It is generally believed, that character, as a common rule, bears the impress of family origin. In the division of mankind into races, each race preserves in its history distinguishing traits, both physical and intellectual, so decidedly marked as to induce some ingenious naturalists to deny one common origin to all the human species. So in the subdivisions of race into families, we often observe the prominent characteristics repeated in successive generations. There is very much, it is true, to disturb this natural result. Marriage dilutes the family blood. Circumstances, which serve to evoke the fire of genius or talent, often allow it to slumber for subsequent generations. Especially is the success of parents wont to leave buried in the luxurious nurture or outward advantages of offspring those energies which the res angustæ domi first developed in their own childhood, early poverty nurtured, and a severe but kind adversity trained to wrestle in the arena of difficulty, till a surpassing strength was attained. From the influence of these disturbing causes, it is almost or quite impossible to calculate the share which family traits have in the problem of individual destiny. Yet a growing attention is paid, and, we think, reasonably, to this subject.

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