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Mary Thacher Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson: the story of his life, II: an old-fashioned home (search)
, and the only one of the flock who had a large family of his own. He was in South America during most of Wentworth's childhood, but wrote charming letters addressed to Bro. S.'s little man. Waldo, whom the irrepressible Thacher called a thunderina dandy, was the soul of honor and chivalry, although his brave life was partially crippled by paralysis. Neither of the two sisters was married. Louisa, brilliant, accomplished, and considered the genius of the family, became— for a time—a Roman Catholic. Learning, however, that according to the belief of the Church her Protestant mother could not be ultimately saved, she, to use her own words, saw the door open and walked out. Anna, the self-effacing, domestic sister, outlived most of the others. The pet of the Higginson family was—naturally —little Tommy as he was then called. Soon he was only known as Wentworth, and the Storrow was dropped. Our earliest glimpses of him are found in his mother's diary. They show how the child
Mary Thacher Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson: the story of his life, VII: the free church (search)
of course the newcomer interested himself in the schools, and was placed on the school committee. Reporting one of the meetings of this body he said triumphantly, We raised all the female teachers' salaries. But for defending the right of a Roman Catholic pupil to use the version of Scripture approved by his parents he was dismissed from the board. He wrote to his mother, I am half glad and half sorry that the Know-nothings have dropped me from the School Committee. Public opinion changed, however, and he was not only reinstated, but one of his companions on the later board was a Roman Catholic priest. Never in Mr. Higginson's long life did he abandon his custom of fearless protest by voice or pen against anything which seemed to him wrong or unjust. Anonymous letters of abuse were speedily consigned to the waste basket; words of criticism or rebuke he received calmly, and kept on his chosen course. His equanimity was seldom disturbed, but when confronted by what he considere