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Robert Browning (search for this): chapter 4
ther companion, who did more for my literary tastes than all other friends, was the late Levi Lincoln Thaxter, who in after-life helped more than any one to make Browning and Fitzgerald known in this country,--they being more widely read here in each case, for a time, than in their own land. This was the more remarkable as Thaxter never saw either of them, although he corresponded with Browning, who also wrote the inscription for his grave. Thaxter was about my age, though he was, like Perkins, two years younger in college; he was not a high scholar, but he was an ardent student of literature, and came much under the influence of his cousin, Maria Whiteseemed to us, as was once said of Keats, to double the value of words; and we both became, a few years later, subscribers to the original yellow-covered issue of Browning's Bells and Pomegranates. Thaxter's personal modesty and reticence, and the later fame of his poet-wife, Celia, have obscured him to the world; but he was one o
John Lothrop Motley (search for this): chapter 4
, who was easily first; and to have a passage read to the class for praise, even anonymously, was beyond all other laurels, though the satisfaction might be marred occasionally by the knowledge that my elder sister had greatly helped in that particular sentence. When it is considered that Channing's method reared most of the well-known writers whom New England was then producing,that it was he who trained Emerson, C. F. Adams, Hedge, A. P. Peabody, Felton, Hillard, Winthrop, Holmes, Sumner, Motley, Phillips, Bowen, Lovering, Torrey, Dana, Lowell, Thoreau, Hale, Thomas Hill, Child, Fitzedward Hall, Lane, and Norton,--it will be seen that the classic portion of our literature came largely into existence under him. He fulfilled the aspiration attributed to Increase Mather when he wished to become president of Harvard College: to mould not merely the teaching, but the teachers,--non lapides dolare, sed architectos. The controlling influence of a college is determined, of course, by i
John Lowell (search for this): chapter 4
aracter in the greater world which was not represented more or less among my classmates, or dealt with any thought or principle which was not discussed in elementary form in our evening walks up Brattle Street. Harvard College was then a comparatively small affair, as was the village in which it existed; but both had their day of glory, which was Commencement Day, now a merely academic ceremonial, but then a public festival for eastern Massachusetts. It has been so well described by both Lowell and John Holmes that I will not dwell upon it in detail. The streets were filled with people, arriving from far and near; there were booths, fairs, horseraces, encampments of alleged gamblers in outlying groves. Perhaps the most striking single illustrations of the day's importance lay in the fact that the banks in Boston were closed on that day, and that Boston gentlemen, even if not graduates of the college, often came to Cambridge for a day or two, at that time, taking rooms and receiv
Richard Henry Dana (search for this): chapter 4
age read to the class for praise, even anonymously, was beyond all other laurels, though the satisfaction might be marred occasionally by the knowledge that my elder sister had greatly helped in that particular sentence. When it is considered that Channing's method reared most of the well-known writers whom New England was then producing,that it was he who trained Emerson, C. F. Adams, Hedge, A. P. Peabody, Felton, Hillard, Winthrop, Holmes, Sumner, Motley, Phillips, Bowen, Lovering, Torrey, Dana, Lowell, Thoreau, Hale, Thomas Hill, Child, Fitzedward Hall, Lane, and Norton,--it will be seen that the classic portion of our literature came largely into existence under him. He fulfilled the aspiration attributed to Increase Mather when he wished to become president of Harvard College: to mould not merely the teaching, but the teachers,--non lapides dolare, sed architectos. The controlling influence of a college is determined, of course, by its officers, and I have never felt that we
John Fiske (search for this): chapter 4
or of the less specializing period. I have had a professor of political economy stop me in the street to ask who Charles Brockden Brown was; and when I suggested to a senior student who was seeking a lecturer for some society that he might ask John Fiske, he replied that he had never heard his name. Now, I knew all about Charles Brockden Brown before I was twelve years old, from Sparks's American biography, and it was not easy to see how any one could read the newspapers, even three or four years ago, and not be familiar with the name of John Fiske. Yet this specialization extends, in truth, to all classes of the community. A Boston lawyer, the other day, told a friend of mine that, in his opinion, the Harvard professors were less eminent than formerly. My friend replied with truth that the only difference was that they were less likely to be all-round men, known to everybody; but that the teachers of to-day were more likely to be eminent in some particular department, in which t
John Pierce (search for this): chapter 4
mperance agitation was but beginning. When Allston, the painter, kept the records of the Hasty Pudding Club, in rhyme, he thus described the close of the annual dinner of that frugal body:--And each one to evince his spunk Vied with his neighbor to get drunk; Nor tedious was the mighty strife With these true-blooded blades of life, For less than hours two had gone When roaring mad was every one. Allston left college in 1800, forty years before my day; yet it was in my own time that the Rev. Dr. John Pierce recorded in his Diary that he had seen men intoxicated at · B K dinners — this society being composed only of the best scholars in each class — who were never seen in this condition at any other time. We boys used to watch the Harvard Washington Corps on its return from the dinner at Porter's, quite secure that some of our acquaintances would stagger out of the ranks and find lodgment in the gutter. The regular Class Day celebration was for the seniors to gather under Liberty Tre
Edward Fitzgerald (search for this): chapter 4
me, refined, manly, without brilliant gifts, but with the most cultivated tastes and-a convenience quite rare among us-a liberal income. He was one of the few instances I have known of a man's being really helped and enlarged in his career by the possession of wealth — or what then passed for wealth — in youth. The other companion, who did more for my literary tastes than all other friends, was the late Levi Lincoln Thaxter, who in after-life helped more than any one to make Browning and Fitzgerald known in this country,--they being more widely read here in each case, for a time, than in their own land. This was the more remarkable as Thaxter never saw either of them, although he corresponded with Browning, who also wrote the inscription for his grave. Thaxter was about my age, though he was, like Perkins, two years younger in college; he was not a high scholar, but he was an ardent student of literature, and came much under the influence of his cousin, Maria White, and of Lowell,
Henry Fowle Durant (search for this): chapter 4
at it is now the fashion to call heredity that when this same remark was made to the late Dr. A. P. Peabody, who had been Parker's pastor, he replied that it was perfectly true so far as it went, but that any one who had known Parker's father would have comprehended the whole affair. The latter, he said, although a clergyman, was the business adviser of half the men in his parish. In another instance, which was yet more remarkable, I know of no such explanation. Not a classmate of Henry Fowle Durant's would ever have dreamed of the two achievements which have probably secured for his name a longer remembrance than will be awarded to any other member of the class; no one would have deemed it possible that he would make a fortune by the practice of criminal law, and then devote it to founding a woman's college. He lived out of the college yard, was little known in the class, was to all appearances indolent or without concentration-one of the men whose favorite literature lies in o
Haskell Smith (search for this): chapter 4
is Minot would be physicians, and even eminent ones; that Rufus Woodward, of Worcester, would also be a physician, and a naturalist besides; that Thomas Church Haskell Smith, of Ohio, who was universally known among us as Captain Smith, and was the natural leader of the class, in case of civil war would become Major-General Smith, Captain Smith, and was the natural leader of the class, in case of civil war would become Major-General Smith, and chief of staff in the Army of the Potomac. Wickham Hoffman, of New York, showed in college the same steadfast and manly qualities which made him also prominent during the war as a staff officer at New Orleans, and afterwards as secretary of the American legation during the siege of Paris. Other instances might be cited; but, Major-General Smith, and chief of staff in the Army of the Potomac. Wickham Hoffman, of New York, showed in college the same steadfast and manly qualities which made him also prominent during the war as a staff officer at New Orleans, and afterwards as secretary of the American legation during the siege of Paris. Other instances might be cited; but, on the other hand, our class produced three men, all well known in later life, whose precise paths were such as no one of the class could ever by any possibility have guessed. Frank Parker, our first scholar, might naturally, we should all have said, reach the Supreme Bench in rapid strides; our ambition for him was unbounded; but
John Revere (search for this): chapter 4
olar, and Beck brought to Latin the thoroughness of his German drill. I need not say what it was to read French with Longfellow; and it is pleasant to remember that once — during one of those preposterous little rebellions which then occurred every two or three years, and which have wholly disappeared under a freer discipline — when the students were gathered in the college yard, and had refused to listen to several professors, there was a hush when Longfellow appeared, and my classmate, John Revere, cried out, We will hear Professor Longfellow, for he always treats us like gentlemen. Longfellow was the first, I think, to introduce the prefix Mr. in addressing students, a thing now almost universal. For our other modern-language teachers, we had Pietro Bachi, a picturesque Italian refugee; in German, Bernard Roelker, since well known as a lawyer in New York; and we had that delightful old Francis Sales, whom Lowell has commemorated, as our teacher of Spanish. In him we had a ma
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