for the period of his preparatory For a moment I thought he was angry. He rocked his chair slightly; a flash went over an eye softened by age, but still as black as jet; but it was gone, and I thought I saw that parental partiality was, after all, a little gratified at this apparent devotion to an honorable profession, and this seeming confidence of success in it. He looked at me for as much as a minute, and then said slowly, ‘Well , my son, your mother has always said you would come to something or nothing, she was not sure which; I think you are now about settling that doubt for her.’ This he said, and never a word spoke more to me on the subject.”

Daniel explained to his father the reasons which had induced him to arrive at the decision he had just expressed, and as an earnest of the good fortune which he anticipated in the career he had chosen he produced the money he had borrowed, and placed it in his father’s hands. Probably this satisfied Judge Webster that there were others who had faith in his son’s promise, since he could offer no other security for borrowed money. At any rate it softened his disappointment, since it brought him help which he sorely needed.

Daniel stayed at home a week, contributing as such a son might to the happiness of his parents, who, now in the sunset of life water sports , had little to hope for themselves, but lived wholly for their children.

Now he must go back to Boston, for the period of his preparatory studies was drawing to a close, and he was almost to seek immediately admission to the bar.

In March, 1805, he was admitted to practice in the Court of Common Pleas in Boston, the usual motion being made by his friend and teacher, Mr. Gore. This eminent lawyer, according to the custom of that time, accompanied his motion by a brief speech, which was of so complimentary a character that it must have been exceedingly gratifying to the legal neophyte, who stood waiting for the doors to open through which he was to enter into the precincts of a dignified and honorable profession. “It is a well-known tradition,” says Mr. George Ticknor Curtis, “that on this occasion Mr. Gore predicted the future eminence of his young friend. What he said has not been preserved; but that he said what Mr. Webster never forgot, that it was distinctly a prediction, and that it excited in him a resolve that it should not go unfulfilled, we have upon his own authority, though he appears to have been unwilling to repeat the words of Mr. Gore’s address.”

Young Webster, whose career we have thus far followed in detail through the successive stages of his struggle with penury, was now no longer a farmer’s boy, but a full-fledged lawyer, of whom eminent men expected much stainless protank 4 .

Another important question was to be decided, Where should Daniel put up his shingle, and commence the practice of his profession? In Boston the field was larger, and the chances of attaining professional eminence were greater. Many of his friends counseled his remaining in the city. But up in New Hampshire was an old man whose life was nearly over, to whose last days his company would bring solace and comfort. What prospects, however brilliant, could overbalance this consideration? With filial devotion Daniel decided to settle in New Hampshire, in Boscawan, but a few miles from Salisbury, where he could see his father almost daily. Boston could wait, professional opportunities could wait. His father’s happiness must not be disregarded. So in the spring of 1805 he became a country lawyer in the same town where he had prepared for college.