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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VIII (search)
of that nation, therefore, is distinctly outside of the court circle; and, if so, individuality would gain and not lose by dropping those circles altogether. The difficulty is that the court circle substitutes for this quality a mere variation of costume—a robe, a decoration. But in reality these things subdue individuality, instead of developing it; as every recruiting officer found, during our Civil War, that recruits became more docile the moment they put on the uniform; and a lady at Newport once vindicated to me the desirableness of liveries on the ground that they were very repressive. In persons of higher grade in England there is developed the official—the Lord Chamberlain, the Lord of the Hounds; or the typical hereditary lord, in perhaps two different types, the wicked lord, and the good lord; but there is no added development of the individual. It all comes to this, then, that for the development of individuality you must have a free career; and the guarantee of free
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXVI (search)
Sly, whose dukedom is in dreams; and he is fortunate if he does not say of his own career with Christopher: A very excellent piece of work, good madam lady. Would 'twere done! In our college days we are told that men change, while books remain unchanged. But in a very few years we find that the circle of books alters as swiftly and strangely as that of the men who write or the boys who read them. When the late Dr. Walter Channing of Boston was revisiting in old age his birthplace, Newport, R. I., he requested me to take him to the Redwood Library, of which he had been librarian some sixty years before. He presently asked the librarian, with an eagerness at first inexplicable, for a certain book, whose name I had never before heard. With some difficulty the custodian hunted it up, entombed beneath other dingy folios in a dusty cupboard. Nobody, he said, had ever before asked for it during his administration. Strange!said Dr. Channing, turning over the leaves. This was in my