Muscular Christianity

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Muscular Christianity
The day was cold and drear, in December 1844, when I bid good by to my friends at the Worcester Depot in the good City of Boston, embarked on the train for Norwich en-route for the great West. I was in my sixteenth year, full of life, yet felt sad and downhearted enough at leaving home, friends and one dearer one, for years if not for ever. What a change the last few months had made in my prospect in life! From a promising member of the Baptist Church in Bowdoin Square, and a prospective Theological Student at the Northampton Institute, I was now, to quote the language of the Rev. R. W. Cushman, of the above Church, "worse than the Devil!"

What had produced this change? Who was to blame? Well I confess I was to blame, I was the cause.

One night at Singing School the Singing master, David Paine, who [was] also Organist for the Church, was ungentlemanly enough to call out the name of my adored one, for whispering!! the monster. The sensitive, high toned beauty, overcome at the painful insult, burst into tears. I first rushed to her assistance, but finding the Sisters were assisting her, I turned on the inhuman author of all this woe, and declared, "that no gentleman would thus insult a lady." ...He clinched me, and then all the long pent-up Knight errantry, and the Seven Champions of Christendom, consolidated in me, burst! and Paine, lay prostrate, bleeding, almost annihilated. The tears of my loved one was revenged in blood.

I was expelled, and then my good Sheapard, Rev. R.W.Cushman, pronounced me "as worse than the Devil."

Harper's Ferry Va in Dec 1844
I had at this time formed the acquaintance of Bob Jones, Scenic artist at the National Theatre, and his lovely daughter Fanny, Danseues, and all the rage of the City Bloods. I was soon good friends with the charming Fanny and was her regular escort home from the Theatre; she was as charming in mind as in person, in character above suspicion. The "Old National" was now seeing its palmy days. I found myself a general favorite with all outside the church. With the "Pugs" I was look'd upon as a promising future member of the P.R. The Thespians found in me a useful friend, the Bohemians of the Press was beholden to me for many a sensational item, and the Laides, well I was a boy of a man's proportion, muscles like steel, not bad looking, and very modest.

I felt unhappy, reckless and tried in the pleasures of my new life to forget the Old. In December 1844 I made up my mind to go West...

The train left the Worcester Depot, at 4'k P.M. and it seemd to me as if I had left behind all that was worth living for. All the world was before me, but it had no allurements for me. Oh! how I long'd to be back as I was a year before, if I could only live my life over again, I thought, and I not yet sixteen!

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