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The Author's First Meeting with Righter-General Cha-
Parentage, Birth, and Early Education-Conversion and
Religious Exercises-Revival in School,
Choosing a Profession-Struggles and Decision-College-
Theological Seminary-Letter from Rev. George E. Hill
Hindrances-Failure of his Eyes-Goes Abroad-Crosses
the Ocean-First Impressions of England-The Conti-
Extracts from his Journals-Paris-Meetings with Chris-
Travels through Italy and Greece-Into Turkey-Syria and
Egypt-Returns Home and is sent back as Agent of the
CHESTER N. RIGHTER.
THE AUTHOR'S FIRST MEETING WITH RIGHTERGENERAL 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 of 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 of men. 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