Tuesday, April 17, 2018

the last book I ever read (Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series by Charles W. Calhoun, excerpt two)

from Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series by Charles W. Calhoun:

In an essay comparing the life of savage and civilized men, Benjamin argued that a “good criterion” for judging the “true state of society” was how it treated women, for women “are appreciated in proportion as society is advanced.” In America, he wrote, a woman “is considered as a superior being, and in the eyes of many as an angel. This, however, is the case only when we behold them through the telescope of love.”

These truths occurred to him not merely as a result of abstract rumination; at Farmers’ College the teenaged Benjamin Harrison had fallen in love. The object of his affection was Caroline Lavinia Scott, the daughter of John W. Scott, another Presbyterian minister, who taught chemistry and physics at the college and who also ran a school for girls in Cincinnati. During the spring of 1848, the diminutive freshman—slight of build with pale skin and thin blond hair—began to call at the Scott house. He soon took notice of the petite, slightly plump Carrie with her kindly eyes and profusion of exquisite brown hair. Before long, the serious-minded, ambitious boy found that he much enjoyed the company of this warmhearted and sympathetic girl, ten months his senior, whose vivacity and playful sense of humor drew him out of his solemn introspection. Their friendship quickly ripened into romance.

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