most unfailingly popular among lecturers.
He met, however, this obstacle in lecturing, as sometimes in literature, that he made very abrupt transitions from humor to pathos, so that his hearers did not always follow him; and sometimes, when the joke was over and he had suddenly passed into deep emotion, they would not recognize the change of key and would laugh harder than ever.
He was at this time, as always, a perpetual fountain of original thought and illustration, but did not seem a man of strong convictions, and was essentially conservative in attitude.
The accounts of slave insurrections and of the imaginary New York negro plot had left upon his mind, as he himself said, “impressions which it took Garrison
years to root out” ; he was easily moved to wrath at phrenology, homoeopathy, and all the pseudosciences as he called them; but almost equally disapproved the prevailing taste for German literature, calling Jean Paul
, in one poem, “a German-Silver Spoon.”
The later influence of Emerson
, and in some degree of Lowell
, tended to diminish some of these antagonisms, and certainly nothing could