realize the gospel of Transcendentalism in his own inner life.
Lovers of racial traits like to remember that Thoreau
's grandfather was an immigrant Frenchman from the island of Jersey
, and that his grandmother was Scotch and Quaker
His father made lead pencils and ground plumbago in his own house in Concord
The mother was from New Hampshire
It was a high-minded family.
All the four children taught school and were good talkers.
, born in 1817, was duly baptized by good Dr. Ripley
of the Old Manse, studied Greek
and Latin, and was graduated at Harvard in 1837, the year of Emerson
's Phi Beta Kappa address.
Even in college the young man was a trifle difficult.
“Cold and unimpressible,” wrote a classmate.
“The touch of his hand was moist and indifferent.
He did not care for people.”
“An unfavorable opinion has been entertained of his disposition to exert himself,” wrote President Quincy
confidentially to Emerson
in 1837, although the kindly President
, a year later, in recommending Thoreau
as a school-teacher, certified that “his rank was high as a scholar in all the branches and his morals and general conduct unexceptionable and exemplary.”
Ten years passed.
The young man gave up