The Last Leaf eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 289 pages of information about The Last Leaf.
me of a reunion of the class at a time much later.  The men were discussing the stained-glass window which it had been decided should be put in Memorial Hall.  Since the class had a distinguished military record it was felt that there should be martial suggestion in the window and the question was what classic warrior should be portrayed.  The face, it was thought, should have the lineaments of our most famous soldier.  Barlow, who was present, pooh-poohed the whole idea, especially the suggestion that his face should appear, but someone present having suggested Alcibiades, probably not seriously as a proper type, that seemed to strike Barlow’s sense of humour.  That reckless classic scapegrace to his cynical fancy perhaps might pass, he might be Alcibiades, but who should be the dog?  Alcibiades had a dog whose misfortune in losing his tail has been transmitted through centuries by the pen of Plutarch.  “Who will be the dog?” said Barlow and called upon someone to furnish a face for the hero’s canine companion.  The scheme for the window came near to going to wreck amid the outbursts of laughter.  It was carried through later, however, but Alcibiades and the dog do not appear, although Barlow does.  No other Harvard soldier reached Barlow’s eminence, and probably in the whole Army of the Potomac there were few abler champions.  He was a strange, gifted, most picturesque personality, no doubt a better man under his cynical exterior than he would ever suffer it to be thought.  His service was great, and the memory of him is an interesting and precious possession to those who knew him in boyhood and were in touch with him to the end.



The cataclysm of the Civil War, in which as the preceding pages show I had been involved, had shaken me in my old moorings.  I found myself not content in a quiet parish in the Connecticut Valley, and as I fared forth was fortunate enough to meet a leader in a remarkable personage.  Horace Mann was indeed dead, but remained, as he still remains, a power.  His brilliant gifts and self-consecration made him, first, a great educational path-breaker.  From that he passed into politics, exhibiting in Congress abilities of the highest.  Like an inconstant lover, however, he harked back to his old attachment, and putting aside a fine preferment, the governorship of Massachusetts, it was said, forsook his old home for the headship of Antioch College in south-western Ohio.  I shall not dispute here whether or not he chose wisely; much less, how far a lame outcome at Antioch was due to his human limitations, and how far to the inevitable conditions.  He was a potent and unselfish striver for the betterment of men, and his words and example still remain an inspiration.

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The Last Leaf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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