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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1300, p. 107.

February 4, 1865


...The Hon. Edward Everett is dead. He was one of the best of American classical scholars--the Hon. Charles Francis Adams is said to be the strongest in Greek. Mr. Everett's character, during a long and active life, was very pure and blameles; and he was in all respects the model of a courteous and polished American gentleman. He was at one period Minister Plenipotentiary from the great Republic to the Court of St. James's, and was nominated (on the "Bell and Everett ticket") for Vice-President of the United States. He was great at orations. His grand discourse on Washington was delivered no less than 129 times in different parts of the Union in aid of the funds for purchasing Mount Vernon; and a couple of years since he pronounced a harangue over the graves of the Federal soldiers killed at Gettysburg, which an enthusiastic old lady-listener declared to be "as smooth as sarce and as sweet as maple-candy." The sayings of American old ladies of the Mrs. Partington type are wonderful, and most of them are unrecorded. Did you ever hear of the remark of the ancient dame whose farm-homestead had been alternately ravaged by Federal and Confederate troops? "North and South," she observed; "it's four pecks o' one and a bushel o' t' other. I've had 'em both. Longstreet's 'walk' men, and Wolford's 'critter' men, they both kem around, and, 'twixt the two, they caved in my ash-hopper that I wouldn't ha' taken two dollars and a York shilling for." The ash-hopper was all the world to the old lady.

The amiable imperturbability of the Hon. Edward Everett was marvellous, and rivalled that of Sheridan, or Sheridan's friend, who, when he had sent the hot roast goose flying into the lap of the lady in pink satin, observed that "he would trouble her for that goose when she had done with it." Nothing ruffled, nothing disturbed Mr. Everett. He went on, smiling and beaming, beyond three score years and ten like a Beautiful Image. He was once president of Harvard University; and there is a story that at one of the "commencements" or commemorations of that institution a wicked undergraduate who had recently been expelled contrived to ensconce himself in the musicians' gallery, which was directly over the dais, and amused himself during the delivery of the inaugural oration by sprinkling flour on the presidential head. The Honourable Edward at last became aware of the farinaceous shower. He just gently inclined his head upwards; "spotted" the culprit; then, without a word of remonstrance, unfurled an umbrella; and uttered under that canopy such beautiful sentences about Moschus, Bion, and the Pilgrim Fathers, that the auditory, who had been on the broad grin, were hushed to reverential silence. It is to be hoped that the wicked undergraduate forthwith repented, became a hermit, and lived for the remainder of his blighted existence on Greek roots and Congress water....

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