more curious than the impression held by some of Lowell
's English friends — even, it is said, that most intimate friend to whom his letters are dedicated by Mr. Norton
--that the “Hosea Biglow
” dialect was that of Lowell
's father, family, and personal circle.
All who know anything of the period know that the speech of educated families in New England
at that time resembled essentially — perhaps more closely than now --the dialect of corresponding families in England
There had been less time than now for differences of climate and social habit to develop different intonations and pronunciations.
The speech of Hosea Biglow
was the speech, on the other hand, not of peasants,--for there was no such class,--but of New England
farmers, and consequently of their sons who came to the neighborhood of cities to do farmwork and get on in life.
The Irish invasion had then scarcely begun, and the “hired man” of the Cambridge
household was usually a country boy — half servant and half equal — who took care of the horse and did the chores.
As a rule, he was little educated,--for the modern public school system was hardly inaugurated,--but he had plenty