Page:Confederate Portraits.djvu/197

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

all the way from Georgia is a wonder. If he were laid out in his cof^n, he need n't look any different, only that the fire would have gone out in the burning eyes. Set as they are in the wax-white face, they seem to burn and blaze. That he is here at all to ofifer the counsels of mod- eration and patriotism proves how invincible is the soul that dwells in this sunken frame. He took the modified oath in his chair, and his friends picked him up and carried him ofi in it as if he were a feather." ^

How far this fiery energy of the soul was responsible for the weary failure of the body, who shall say ? But never was there man in mind and spirit more heartily and vividly and incessantly and at every point alive than Alexander H. Stephens. From childhood he fought his way in the world, fought for education, fought for suc- cess as a lawyer, fought for political distinction. He liked fighting. " I was made to figure in a storm, excited by continual collisions. Discussion and argument are my delight ; and a place of life and business therefore is my proper element. ... I long to be where I shall have an argument daily." ^

In age and in prison the fire, indeed, might burn a littie low. "Personal ambition had no part in anything I have done." ^ But in the early days the man panted to get upward, to do something, to be something. ** I be- lieve I shall never be worth anything, and the thought is death to my soul. I am too boyish, childish, unman- ful, trifling, simple in my manners and address." ^^ When

�� �