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raw material of his manufactures, little as its cost might be. Once when he was suffering from this money difficulty, a chance offered, and in the expectation of a gratuity, he held a doctor's horse during his visit to a patient. The doctor, coming out, was going to be generous. But grandmother Somers, who had witnessed the proceeding, throwing up the window, prohibited Tom's taking the largess. She was even then full of hope of the boy, and could not refrain from hinting to the doctor “that he might live to hold Tom's horse yet.” The boy himself, whose pride as against his desire for the money was not uppermost, was grievously disappointed at the interference, and the flitting from his view of a whole fourpence—perhaps sixpence—worth of the longed-for materials.
He was mainly given to study, and found all the relaxation he desired in the exercise of his constructive tastes. Having sufficient companionship at home in his brothers and sister, he had few boy friends. He never was a saunterer, bird-nester, or wanderer over the country. For bird-nesting, indeed, he had an absolute abhorrence. It is said he once watched for days for an opportunity to thrash a boy, a skulking fellow, whom he had found drowning young sparrows in the river. He was full of tenderness, felt for all suffering, and was ever active to relieve it.
Unlike his brothers, says Miss Drummond, he never, during his boyhood, cost his mother an anxious thought. He was always busy, always calm and cheerful, always hopeful. And this temper followed him through life. He was never over-enthusiastic, and never desponding. The foundation of this equableness was undoubtedly his perfect self-reliance, which was early manifested, and rested on the early-developed consciousness of power.
His sister tells of the first occasion on which she noticed a marked exhibition of this internal energy. They were all proud of his college certificates, as of everything connected with him. When he got his appointment to Woolwich, and she was helping him to pack his trunk preparatory to his first great adventure in life, her chief care was that these certificates should be carefully
He came and asked her for them, and, to her horror, threw them into the fire. “If I can't eam a better character than that,” said he, “ I don't deserve it.” They were burned. Most boys treasure such things with pride, even when they have long ceased to be of value. To Drummond, confident of his future, they were unimportant from the first. It was no act of carelessness as to documents not immediately available for any purpose. No man preserved with more religious care papers for which he had respect—even when, apart from sentiment, they were valueless. After his death, all the letters his mother ever wrote to him were found in a packet, labelled “My dear mother's letters ;” while another contained those received from his sister—“My sister's little notes.”
Before he went to Woolwich, Drummond had never been at any distance from the home circle, excepting on one occasion, when he went by sea to Easdale, in Argyleshire. The vessel in which he sailed was a small sloop going for a cargo of slates. The Caledonian Canal was not then open, and the voyage was consequently a long one,—from the east to the west of the island, through the stormy Pentland Firth, and round Cape Wrath. The journey seems to have been undertaken for the health of his younger brother John.
brother John. An account of it is preserved in a graphic letter, written by Drummond from Easdale to Grandmother Somers, and dated
11th July 1812. If “throwing up bile” was good for John's complaint, the voyage must have been exceedingly to his advantage. This letter contains a passage which may be regarded as exhibiting some literary ambition, but which, more probably, is the mere natural expression of a boy's elevated feelings. “The weather to-day,” he writes, “is inexpressibly delightful, and the lofty mountains, deep valleys, mild and serene sky, and calm sea, combine to form scenes at once beautiful and sublime.”
In a very different style is written his letter to Mr Aitchison, of 3d October 1812, shortly before his appointment to Woolwich, and which was penned at Mr Aitchison's request, no doubt with a view to its being submitted to influential friends. “I feel a strong inclination for the profession of a military engineer. I have studied for these two years those branches preparatory for such a line, and have received a satisfactory certificate from Mr Leslie, professor of mathematics in Edinburgh. Could I only be so fortunate as to obtain a strong recommendation to Lord Mulgrave (then MasterGeneral of the Board of Ordnance], I would soon obtain the wished-for appointment." The “ strong inclination” no doubt existed.
His thoughts must have been for some time directed to the profession, as one into which his entrance could be secured, and for which, by excellence in mathematics, he had shown an aptitude. And he would like the general notion of it. That the inclination, however, belonged to that class of desires known as “yearnings after the indefinite," will presently appear. Mr Aitchison procured the necessary recommendation to Lord Mulgrave, and soon after, Drummond was appointed to a cadetship at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.
It was in February 1813 that Drummond was summoned to pass his entrance examination at Woolwich. He arrived on the 24th, and passed his examination the same day.
“ He often used to smile,” says his friend, General Sir T. A. Larcom,* “at the terrors of his solitary entrance to this portal of his future life. It happened that, at a distance from Edinburgh and his family, he had no relative or friend to accompany and support him in the ordeal of examination; and when, immediately on landing from the packet which had brought him from Scotland, alone, and with his letter of summons in his hand, he presented himself at the barracks, the porter rebuffed him with the chilling information, 'You are too late.' He was received, however, and passed with credit.”
The incident alluded to brings out so much of Drummond's character, that it must not be passed over without stating the details. Fortunately they are recorded in a letter written to his mother at the time. He had gone to Woolwich by sea in a packet from
“Memoir of the Professional Life of the late Captain Drummond,” in “ Papers on Subjects connected with the Duties of the Corps of Royal Engineers," vol. iv. p. 2. Lond. 1841.
Leith. The passage was rough, but not a very long one, as passages were then made. He left Leith on a Friday, and arrived at Gravesend at two o'clock of the morning of Wednesday, the thirteenth day. This was February 24th, and an examination day: so Drummond made up his mind to proceed at once to Woolwich, and undergo the examination. “I had desired the steward the night before,” he writes, * “ to awake me early, in order that I might set off for Woolwich. He forgot to call me, and I awoke at seven o'clock, dressed, put up my things, and got ashore at eight o'clock. The coach had set off about ten minutes before, and I ran about three miles trying to overtake it, but in vain. A return chaise came up, and I got within two miles of Woolwich when it wanted twenty minutes of eleven o'clock (the hour for the examination]. There the man stopped to rest his horses, so I got out, and ran as hard as I could, and arrived at the Academy five minutes before eleven. I rang a bell, and asked for Russel, the clerk. His wife came, and told me he would be there soon. He came in about half an hour, when he took me to Colonel Phipps, and—to make a long story short-I passed my examination, delivered my letters to Colonel Mudge, and joined that after
says in another place : “When I arrived at the Academy, I hesitated whether to go in or not, but after travelling sixteen miles, I thought it was a pity not to go in and get it over. ” He does not mention the fact that the examiner on the occasion was Professor Barlow, who from the moment of his arrival took an interest in him. It was before the appointed hour when the determined young runner reached the gate ; but after it, owing to the absence of the clerk, before his
* Letter to Mrs Drummond, dated March 3, 1813.