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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 6: Lowell's closing years in Cambridge (search)
Chapter 6: Lowell's closing years in Cambridge Mr. Smalley's recent paper in Harper's Weekly on Mr. Lowell in England is one so thoroughly delightful and instructive that it is, perhaps, to be ranked even above the volumes of English reminiscence by the same author-volumes which Lowell was always ready to praise, and his presentation copy of which he bequeathed expressly to the Cambridge Public Library. They show, as does this magazine paper, those especial qualities of trained style which have been familiar to Americans for so many years in the great English weeklies; the clearness, the terseness, the practised ease of execution, the level quality of excellence, as if one remarkably clever man wrote them all. This makes it the more worth while to take exception to one single point in the portrait — where Mr. Smalley is tempted to generalize just a little beyond his own knowledge, in pronouncing on the whole life of a man whom he had personally known for less than half that lif
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 22: more mingled races (search)
s less energetic than the Irish, but less turbulent; the Irish more original and aggressive, but less temperate. All our Civil War scarcely brought to light such a phenomenon as an Irish coward; but when it came to the statistics of the guard-house the report was less favorable. We err in assuming that any one race monopolizes all the virtues, or that the community only suffers with each new importation. The late Rev. Horatio Wood, who was for more than half a century city missionary at Lowell, and who watched the whole change from American to Irish factory girls, told me that in one respect it brought a distinct moral improvement: the ignorant Irish girls were more uniformly chaste than the Protestant farmers' daughters whom they superseded. Now the French Canadians have replaced the Irish; but a Protestant physician of great experience, whose practice included several large manufacturing villages, almost wholly French, told me that he had never known an illegitimate birth to oc
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 30: our criticism of foreign visitors (search)
weet Clover a young girl says, sadly, I wonder if I shall ever go East; to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, I should like them to be something beside names to me-but what an idea! This is essentially the feeling with which other Americans look towards Europe. It is when the ties of literary association begin to form that older and newer communities come to be more on an equality. We go to England to hear Shakespeare's lark sing at heaven's gate; and Thomas Hughes came to America to hear Lowell's bobolink. These ties again are formed very slowly, and the colonial spirit still lingers so much among us that a very little English reputation goes farther in the United States than a much higher American fame in England. Yet here we are sometimes startled with the discovery that we are also interesting to our elder cousins, as well as our elder cousins to us. Twenty-five years ago the present writer, visiting Europe for the first time, began with the city of Cork, and stood delighted b