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For you are aware that there is no money to be wasted on any of us; though if I live and thrive, and you deserve my sympathy, you shall not want means and teaching to follow out any honorable path. With your sister Ellen's improvement and desire to do right, and perseverance in overcoming obstacles, I am well satisfied. May God bless you, and make this coming year a prelude to many honorable years!
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"Next time I write, I will not fill my whole sheet with advice. Advice too often does little good; but I will not believe I shall speak in vain to my dear Arthur."
Early in the year 1839 a purchaser was obtained for the Groton place; and the family willingly bade adieu to the scene of their first great calamity, and many consequent hardships and trials. The step was the more advisable, because Arthur and Richard had arrived at years which called for a more exclusive application to study than the cares of the farm admitted of.
Margaret, in a letter to her brother, thus dwells upon the Groton trials:
"You were too young to feel how trying are the disorders of a house which has lost its head; the miserable perplexities of our affairs; and what your mother suffered from her loneliness and sense of unfitness for her new and heavy burden of care. It will be many years yet before you can appreciate the conflicts of my mind, as I doubted whether to give up all which my heart desired, to enter a path for which I had no skill and no call, except that some one must
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tread it, and none else was ready. The Peterborough hills and the Wachusett are associated in my mind with many hours of anguish, as great, I think, as I am capable of feeling. I used to look at them, towering to the sky, conscious that I, too, from my birth had longed to rise; but I felt crushed to earth. Yet again, a noble spirit said that could never be. good knight may come forth scarred and maimed from the unequal contest, shorn of his strength and unsightly to the careless eye; but the same fire burns within, and deeper than ever. He may be conquered, but never subdued.
"Yet if these beautiful hills and wide, rich fields saw this sad lore well learned, they also witnessed some precious lessons given, too,—of faith, of fortitude, of self-command, and of less selfish love. There, too, in solitude, heart and mind acquired more power of concentration, and discerned the beauty of a stricter method. There the heart was awakened to sympathize with the ignorant, to pity the vulgar, and to hope for the seemingly worthless; for a need was felt to attain the only reality, the divine soul of this visible creation, — which cannot err and will not sleep, which cannot permit evil to be permanent, or the aim of beauty to be eventually frustrated, in the smallest particular. Ought I not to add, that my younger brothers, too, laid there the foundations of more robust, enterprising, and at the same time self-denying character?"
After some months' study at a private school, taught by Mrs. Sarah Ripley, in Waltham, Massachusetts, Arthur entered Harvard University. He passed the
four years of college life happily and profitably, and graduated with an honorable part in 1843. Among his classmates were Rev. Dr. Hill, now President of the University, Judge Richardson, before mentioned, Rev. Frederick N. Knapp, of Washington, now engaged in the labors of the Sanitary Commission, and others who have become well known. During the first year he maintained a position at or near the head of the class, but his health giving way, he was obliged to relax his efforts.
While in college the concerns of religion were not forgotten in the pleasures of the Castalian spring. His serious impressions ripened into church-membership, and he united with the church of the University. In attendance upon the round of college duties he was regular. In associating with his fellows he guarded against exciting the ill-will of that portion who did not propose to themselves a serious aim in college pursuits, yet he was careful not to suffer his time to be frittered away. He lays down, for one about to enter college, the following rules to regulate his conduct, before he has learned the character of his companions: "I advise you on no account to miss a single prayer or recitation; but do not boast of it, or those who have missed a great many will dislike you. Be sociable and agreeable when any one calls on you; but do not yourself call much on others."
During his college course, to eke out his finances, he taught a district school in Westford and in Dux
ry, Massachusetts. His love for children rendered teaching for him a pleasant and successful task. He engaged in the work animated by the same enthusiasm
which characterized him in every pursuit of his life. Imagination, hope, and a buoyant temper cast a roseate coloring over all. In a letter from Westford, he declares that the children in his school are "very intelligent and pretty, every one." He did not fail to please, in his turn, those who were so agreeable to him, and to obtain access also to the regard of the parents through the sure way of the children's hearts.
He was no less successful in Duxbury, where, we are happy to learn, his labors have not been forgotten. From Duxbury he writes, "I have thirty-nine scholars, all good ones, all love me. I am so fortunate, also, as to please the parents, and, in fact, was never happier in my life. I have a great deal to do, however, besides the regular school labors, in teaching evening schools, visiting the parents, and studying myself in order to instruct them well." And again he writes: "I have been invited to several balls and parties. The former I never go to, and the latter always." Shortly before he closed his school, a meeting of the district was holden, which passed the following preamble and resolutions.
Whereas, Mr. A. B. Fuller, our accomplished and much-esteemed instructor, is about to close his school in this place, and we feel desirous of expressing our warm approbation of his course while with us, and our sincere gratitude for his earnest and faithful labors; therefore,
"Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to Mr. Fuller, for his able and successful exertions in imparting that knowledge to our children which the world can never take away.
"Resolved, That we approve of the methods which Mr. Fuller has taken to instruct the pupils consigned to his charge; that we believe his influence has been of the most beneficial tendency, in preserving uncorrupted the characters and hearts of our children; that both his precept and example, while with us, have tended to inculcate and sustain a sound, elevated morality."
From reminiscences of our district-school teacher, kindly furnished us by one of his former pupils, we make the following extract.
"We boys were sometimes invited to spend the evening at his rooms, and then we enjoyed ourselves heartily. He entertained us with stories, anecdotes of history and philosophy, and a sight at the 'Master's' literary treasures, such as seals, colored wax, transparent wafers, and other knick-knacks, which seemed to our admiring eyes like Oriental treasures. The literary entertainment was followed up by a feast of nuts, apples, and oranges, very congenial to our boyish appetites. These favors made us look up to and love the teacher, endearing to us, too, the master's room in the old red cottage on the hill; and many a well-recited lesson, I ween, has been the result of those happily spent evenings.
"He introduced evening schools into our district, made interesting by spelling-matches, debates, and lessons he gave us in reading. At one of these evening schools we were much annoyed by a crowd of vandal boys, with adult forms, but undeveloped brains, from a neighboring district, who boasted that they had put down the evening spelling-school in their own dis