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secure a great career, he cannot help listening at death's door, and his fingers tremble in lifting the latch, with eagerness more than with age. Every man who dies enters instantly into the satisfaction of our own hopes. There is a moment when he is naked; the next moment he is clothed upon with our house that is from heaven. But if all these were illusions which the friend dissipated by dying, he invests by that act us who remain with real and permanent advantages. What dull periods, sometimes of years, we pass close to those whom we will admire and love if we can only get a chance to think of it ! If rainy days keep friends at home, they do not always chafe for each other's society. Death often gives us the first chance we have to deeply appreciate and admire. A friend's soul suddenly bursts his sheath; we knew there was purple there, for it dawned on the edges; there was wealth in the bud, but reserve also, the limits of the individual; our friendship was continual expectation of enjoyment. But some morning the blossom spreads wide open, and its perfume cannot stay. We crowd, like bees, we ravage every leaf, we load ourselves with the wealth, and ory rifles nothing so completely as a character laid open by death ; and when friendship grieves, it often comes into possession of more than it ever enjoyed. How the memory clings and buries itself! it is growing heavy with a friend; at length it moves away faint and embarrassed, for there is nothing left to delay it. This is a faithful and a useful office. We always do well to gather in this way around worth and goodness when they give us by dying their best surprise, which they had kept back so long. At such times we do not extol nor flatter; we assimilate. Flattery is content with hovering over scentless flowers. But we want to be friends with whatever is excellent, and to possess neither more nor less than these simple facts of a good life. So I thought to inhale, as I stood by the coffin of your old pastor, where a blossom seemed to spread as in a vase, some of the sweetness of a character, not so great and famous, not so electric and penetrating, but healthy, hearty, young and simple, truthful and obedient, highminded and sincere. I thought that my sense was saluted by the rarity of some moral gifts, and a kind of great
it becomes sweetness transferred to our own cells. Mem
ness which many a well-known name can never represent for us. Perhaps they will draw us as they are lifted up.
The history of a man's childhood is an intelligible preface to the substance of his maturity. Nothing is trivial or beneath our notice if it betrays the nature of the soil and what crops it may be expected to produce.
Richard Francis, the first of that name who came to America, settled in Cambridge about the year 1636. He was made Freeman in 1640. His gravestone, which announces that he lived eighty-one years, “ or thereabout,” and died on the 24th of March, 168%, is still standing in the Old Cambridge burying-ground, where it was reset and its inscription deepened by the pious care of his descendant.
No further traces of the family exist, till we reach the grandfather of Dr. Francis, who was a weaver by trade.
an excellent marksman,
He was an ardent “liberty man,’ and is reported to have killed five of the enemy in Concord fight. He served in the war four years, passed through various battles and skirmishes, and shared all the sufferings of the field. Upon procuring his discharge he returned to
find his family destitute, but he immediately resumed his
trade, which was then a good one, because no cloth was imported. His wife was Lydia Convers, an orphan, who was adopted and brought up by her uncle, Dr. Convers of Woburn. They had ten children, of whom the fourth, named Convers, was the father of Dr. Francis. The father's education was of the scantiest description, for two months was the longest period ever devoted to his annual schooling. His teacher begged hard for more time in his behalf, but in vain, for the old weaver was obliged to keep him at home for the sake of his labor. But he was fond of reading, and did a good deal for himself in after life. In his fifteenth year he was apprenticed to a baker in Medford, where he remained till he was twenty-one. The baker's sons used to help him at his reading, writing, and ciphering, in the intervals of leisure; but he had to work very hard, and was not gently treated. After he became of age he was a journeyman baker for six years; he then set up for himself in West Cambridge, which was then called Menotomy. He married Susannah Rand before he was quite twenty-two years old, and she was of the same age. “She had a simple, loving heart, and a spirit busy in doing good.”
Dr. Francis was born in West Cambridge, November 9, 1795, the fifth child of six. The family soon removed to Medford, where his childhood and youth were passed. The father built a new house and bakery, and moved into it during the year 1800, and Convers could just recollect the stir and excitement of that occasion. Long afterward he visited the house. “I stood in the chamber where my mother died, and my eyes were dim with tears. I went to the little chamber where I slept and studied, and a dreamy sadness came over me, sweeter than any present enjoyment, — to the bake-house, and how the hours of work there came back as fresh as yesterday !—to the garden, and how the tears again started when I remembered how my dear mother used to take me out there to help her dig and weed in the flower-beds ! Mysterious and affecting ties, which link the soul fast to the spots where it has once loved, wrought, or grieved ' " He derived from the schoolmistress his next early impression. Her name was Elizabeth Francis, but she was not connected with the family. Among the children and townspeople she was known as “Ma’am Betty,” — a spinster of supernatural shyness, the never-forgotten calamity of whose life was that Dr. Brooks once saw her drinking water from the nose of her tea-kettle. Her school