Poverty possessed no terrors for this independent youth, and only when he thought of marriage did he sigh for the traditional rich uncle.
He wrote: ‘I think I could bear and even enjoy poverty were I alone.
I mean real, pinching poverty.’
And again, triumphantly, ‘I am an independent individual with a clear income of $60 to be doubled after this year.’
But he soon found ways to increase this incredible income by copying, making profiles (perhaps the black paper silhouettes then in vogue), doing work connected with surveying for his brother Waldo, and teaching a private pupil in town for half an hour daily.
He wrote to his mother:—
I purpose giving the morning to study (par excellence), i.e., at present, languages—German, Greek & Italian, and the afternoon to other reading of various kinds—the evening when at home to reading, writing and so on. I am in my room all day pretty much, and find no difficulty in applying my mind—and no irksomeness, but rather a pleasure in reading and studying. . . . Although I need daily excitements, I can get along with very small ones— the post office, the reading room, the library at their regular hours each day are an all sufficient variety to me.
But soon Higginson
mentions a more momentous interest:—
I had the excitement of the great Abolition convention which I several times attended.