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Andromeda (search for this): chapter 5
ark and Judge Foster's always helped me to justify to myself that early choice. With all this social and intellectual occupation, much of my Brookline life was lonely and meditative; my German romances made me a dreamer, and I spent much time in the woods, nominally botanizing but in reality trying to adjust myself, being still only nineteen or twenty, to the problems of life. One favorite place was Hammond's Pond, then celebrated among botanists as the only locality for the beautiful Andromeda polifolia, so named by Linnaeus because, like the fabled Andromeda, it dwelt in wild regions only. The pond was, and I believe still is, surrounded by deep woods and overhung by a hill covered with moss-grown fragments of rock, among which the pink Cypripedium or lady's slipper used to grow profusely. The Andromeda was on the other side of the lake, and some one had left a leaky boat there, which I used to borrow and paddle across the dark water, past a cedar forest which lined it on one
James Lowell (search for this): chapter 5
then a place of distinctly graded society,--more so, probably, than it is now. Lowell has admirably described the superb way in which old Royal Morse, the village cothan any later coterie of the same kind,--which seemed to group itself round James Lowell and Maria White, his betrothed, who were known among the members as their Kinow, I was able at least to look through the door of this paradise of youth. Lowell's first volume had just been published, and all its allusions were ground of rotrictly a part of the Transcendental Movement, it was yet born of the Newness. Lowell and Story, indeed, both wrote for The Dial, and Maria White had belonged to Marwhich made Story turn aside from his father's profession to sculpture, and made Lowell forsake law after his first client. It was the time when Emerson wrote to Carlket. I myself longed at times to cut free from prescribed bondage, and not, in Lowell's later phrase, to pay so much of life for a living as seemed to be expected.
Thomas Lee (search for this): chapter 5
ng to talk to you about Sarah Winnemucca. Now Sarah Winnemucca --and she went on discoursing as peacefully about a maligned Indian protege as if she were strolling in some sequestered moonlit lane, on a summer evening. I have said that the influence wrought upon me by Brookline life was largely due to one man and one or two writers. The writer who took possession of me, after Emerson, was the German author, Jean Paul Richter, whose memoirs had just been written by a Brookline lady, Mrs. Thomas Lee. This biography set before me, just at the right time, the attractions of purely literary life, carried on in a perfectly unworldly spirit; and his story of Siebenkas, just then opportunely translated, presented the same thing in a more graphic way. From that moment poverty, or at least extreme economy, had no terrors for me, and I could not bear the thought of devoting my life to the technicalities of Blackstone. Not that the law-book had failed to interest me,--for it was a book,--
Frank Parker (search for this): chapter 5
III. the period of the newness Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven. Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book XI. The above was the high-sounding name which was claimed for their own time by the youths and maidens who, under the guidance of Emerson, Parker, and others, took a share in the seething epoch sometimes called vaguely Transcendentalism. But as these chapters are to be mainly autobiographic, it is well to state with just what outfit I left college in 1841. I had a rather shallow reading knowledge of six languages, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, and Greek, and had been brought in contact with some of the best books in each of these tongues. I may here add that I picked up at a later period German, Portuguese, and Hebrew, with a little Swedish; and that I hope to live long enough to learn at least the alphabet in Russian. Then I had acquired enough of the higher mathematics to have a pupil or two in that branch; something of the
John Lewis Stackpole (search for this): chapter 5
ties in Cambridge and Boston, in the latter case under guidance of my brother Waldo, who had now graduated from the Harvard Washington Corps into the Boston Cadets, and was an excellent social pilot. I saw the really agreeable manners which then prevailed in the little city, and cannot easily be convinced that there are now in the field any youths at once so manly and so elegant as were the two especial leaders among the beaux of that day, John Lothrop Motley and his brother-in-law, John Lewis Stackpole. It did not surprise me to read in later days that the former was habitually addressed as Milord, to a degree that vexed him, by waiters in Continental hotels. Such leaders were doubtless good social models, as was also the case with my brother; but I had more continuous influences in the friendship of two fair girls, both of whom were frank, truthful, and attractive. One of them — Maria Fay of convent fame, already mentioned — was a little older than myself, while the other, just
Edward Everett (search for this): chapter 5
t, residing in a pretty cottage which he had designed for himself in Brookline. In him I encountered the most attractive man I had yet met and the one who was most to influence me. He was indeed a person of unique qualities and great gifts; he was in the prime of life, handsome and refined, a widower, whose modest household was superintended by a maiden sister; his training had been utterly unlike my regular academical career; he had been sent to Germany to school, under the guidance of Edward Everett, then to the East and West Indies as supercargo, then into business, but not very successfully as yet. This pursuit he hated and disapproved; all his tastes were for art, in which he was at that time perhaps the best connoisseur in Boston, and he had contrived by strict economy to own several good paintings which he bequeathed later to the Boston Art Museum,--a Reynolds, a Van der Velde, and a remarkable oil copy of the Sistine Madonna by Moritz Retzsch. These were the first fine painti
Benjamin Constant (search for this): chapter 5
et occasionally at Mrs. Harrington's confectionery shop in School Street, where they took economical refreshments; and still oftener at Miss Elizabeth Peabody's foreign bookstore in West Street, which was a part of the educational influences of the period. It was an atom of a shop, partly devoted to the homoeopathic medicines of her father, a physician; and she alone in Boston, I think, had French and German books for sale. There I made further acquaintance with Cousin and Jouffroy, with Constant's De la religion and Lerouxa De l'humanite, the relics of the French Eclecticism, then beginning to fade, but still taught in colleges. There, too, were Schubert's Geschichte der Seele and many of the German balladists who were beginning to enthrall me. There was also Miss Peabody herself, desultory, dreamy, but insatiable in her love for knowledge and for helping others to it. James Freeman Clarke said of her that she was always engaged in supplying some want that had first to be created;
Stephen Higginson Perkins (search for this): chapter 5
uples, the career of a practicing lawyer, and spent his life as a conveyancer. What turned me away from the study of the law was not this moral scruple, but what was doubtless an innate preference, strengthened by the influence of one man and one or two books. After leaving college I taught for six months as usher in the boarding-school at Jamaica Plain, kept by Mr. Stephen Minot Weld; and then, greatly to my satisfaction, became private tutor to the three young sons of my cousin, Stephen Higginson Perkins, a Boston merchant, residing in a pretty cottage which he had designed for himself in Brookline. In him I encountered the most attractive man I had yet met and the one who was most to influence me. He was indeed a person of unique qualities and great gifts; he was in the prime of life, handsome and refined, a widower, whose modest household was superintended by a maiden sister; his training had been utterly unlike my regular academical career; he had been sent to Germany to sc
Celia Thaxter (search for this): chapter 5
watched them with unselfish reverence. Their love-letters, about which they were extremely frank, were passed from hand to hand, and sometimes reached me through Thaxter. I have some of Maria White's ballads in her own handwriting; and I still know by heart a letter which she wrote to Thaxter, about the delay in her marriage,--ItThaxter, about the delay in her marriage,--It is easy enough to be married; the newspaper comers show us that, every day; but to live and to be happy as simple King and Queen, without the gifts of fortune, this is a triumph that suits my nature better. Probably all the atmosphere around this pair of lovers had a touch of exaggeration, a slight greenhouse aroma, but it broughs. The first of these influences was the renewal of my acquaintance with Lowell, which had been waived during my two years stay in Brookline. He recognized in Thaxter, who about this time went to New York to study for the dramatic profession, and in myself, two of his stoutest advocates. We met a little more on a level than be
Ludwig Von Beethoven (search for this): chapter 5
launched, and indeed was the best launched man of his time, as Willis said. I used to go to his room and to read books he suggested, such as Puttenham's Arte of Poesie, and Chapman's plays. He did most of the talking; it was a way he had; but he was always original and trenchant, though I sometimes rebelled inwardly at his very natural attitude of leadership. We occasionally walked out together, late in the evening, from Emerson's lectures or the concerts which were already introducing Beethoven. Sometimes there was a reception after the lecture, usually at the rooms of a youth who was an ardent Fourierite, and had upon his door a blazing sun, with gilded rays emanating in all directions, and bearing the motto Universal unity. Beneath this appeared a neat black-and-white inscription, thus worded: Please wipe your feet. Our evening walks from Boston were delightful; and Longfellow's poem of The bridge does little more than put into verse the thoughts they inspired. The walk
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