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CHESTER N. RIGHTER.
THE AUTHOR'S FIRST MEETING WITH RIGHTER
GENERAL CHARACTER-STRIKING FEATURESA SEA VOYAGE WITH HIM.
Six years ago, in the spring of 1853, the writer
, of these pages, a poor invalid, was lying on a pile of trunks at the end of a pier in the East River, waiting, with many others, for the steam tug that was to take him and them to a ship in the stream. Worn out with long protracted sickness, embarking without a single companion for a year foreign travel, he was sadly despondent and half inclined to abandon the voyage. At this moment two young men were introduced to him; both of them ministers of the gospel, both of them just about to embark for foreign travel, both of them intending to make the tour of Europe, and to journey into the East. One of these gentlemen
TRAITS OF CHARACTER.
was the Rev. George E. Hill, of Boston, the other was Chester Newell Righter, the subject of this sketch. A mutual sympathy seemed instantaneously to unite us. In a few moments the plans of the year were compared, and without any further concert or agreement, it fell out that we joined our fortunes, and together made the journey, with scarcely any separations till we returned home, in the same vessel, in the spring of 1854.
Righter was a genial, warm-hearted, noble young man. A good scholar, a fluent speaker, ready in conversation, full of ardor, enthusiasm and energy, buoyant and hopeful, never doubting or afraid, never sick or weary, with exuberant spirits and inexhaustible powers of enjoying or suffering, he was just the companion one wants on land or sea, in desert or city, by night or day.
His eyes had failed while he was pursuing his studies for the sacred ministry, and he had been wisely counselled to spend a year in relaxation and travel. On shipboard the fine points of his character were soon developed. A week at sea brings out the weaknesses as well as the strength
He was with me in all weathers, and in various lands and seas, in times to try the patience, and the faith, and every virtue of the soul; and during all the time he was with me, I never knew him to be other than a high-minded, honorable, faithful, Christian gentleman and friend.
When others were sea-sick, when every passenger on the steamer was stretched out in helpless distress, victims of that malady which everybody, except the victim, laughs at, but to which almost every one succumbs, Righter would stride the deck, swinging his arms and rejoicing in the storm-fearless of danger, and strong in his exemption from the falling sickness to which all around him were a prey. This was a fair type and exhibition of his character. What was to be done, he was ready to do; what was to be borne, he was ready to suffer. Prompt in his decisions, tenacious of his purposes, self-sacrificing and obliging, when the feelings of others were involved, he was the first in every movement to promote the general comfort of the company, the last to yield when difficulties were to be over
His principles of right and wrong were intelligently settled, and he had no occasion to be
making up his mind” as to the path of duty. The way was always plain, and he pressed straight forward in the fear of God, and without any
fear of man. Religion was a well-spring of life and joy in his soul. In all places and times he was the same earnest, outspoken, uniform Christian; never obtruding his opinions on those to whom they were not due, but never ashamed, afraid, or unable to give a reason for the hope that was in
him. Yet he was modest with all his self-reli. ance, gentle with iron firmness, easily to be entreated, while he was bold as a lion.
With such a rare and beautiful mingling of elements in his character, I marked him out as a man who had a work to do for his
age and the world. Often we lay on deck as we were traversing from land to land the Mediterranean Sea, and when the stars were looking down on us we would while away the hours with long and wandering talks of the future, and then I found that the aspirations of his soul were in harmony with my hopes and prophecies of his career. burning to be what I was sure he would be, if God had work for him on this earth. No matter what it
was, if the mountains were to be brought down, or the wilderness to be reclaimed by human agency, he was ready to do what the Lord would have him do. And more; he was anxious to be at work. I do not know that the fires of an earth-born, selfish ambition, a paltry spirit of selfglory, ever burned for a moment in his manly breast. He must have been ambitious—it was part of his nature. But it was a noble, baptized, holy ambition, to do something for God and mankind. He longed to see the world, to know it, to take the measure of it, to compass its wants, to study the ways and means to meet them, and, with a full consciousness of his own inherent