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Henry C. Wright (search for this): chapter 6
me in this garb, but implored me not to wear it to Newburyport. So unclerical, they said; it would ruin my prospects. Let him wear it, by all means, said my wiser mother. If they cannot stand that clothing, they can never stand its wearer. Her opinion properly prevailed; and I was perhaps helped as much as hindered by this bit of lingering worldly vanity. The younger people expected some pleasant admixture of heresy about me, and it might as well begin in this way as in any other. Henry C. Wright, afterward a prominent Abolitionist, had lost his parish, a few miles above Newburyport, for the alleged indecorum of swimming across the Merrimack River. My first actual proposal of innovation was in a less secular line, but was equally formidable. It was that I should be ordained as Theodore Parker had been, by the society itself: and this all the more because my ancestor, Francis Higginson, had been ordained in that way — the first of all New England ordinations — in 1629. To t
R. C. Winthrop (search for this): chapter 6
all these companionships were wholly secondary to one which was for me most memorable, and brought joy for a few years and sorrow for many. Going through the doors of Divinity Hall I met one day a young man so handsome in his dark beauty that he seemed like a picturesque Oriental; slender, keen-eyed, raven-haired, he arrested the eye and the heart like some fascinating girl. This was William Hurlbert (originally Hurlbut), afterward the hero of successive novels,--Kingsley's Two years ago, Winthrop's Cecil Dreeme, and my own Malbone, --as well as of actual events stranger than any novels. He was the breaker, so report said, of many hearts, the disappointer of many high hopes,--and this in two continents; he was the most variously gifted and accomplished man I have ever known, acquiring knowledge as by magic,passing easily for a Frenchman in France, an Italian in Italy, a Spaniard in Spanish countries; beginning his career as a radical young Unitarian divine, and ending it as a defend
Elizabeth Whittier (search for this): chapter 6
among the poets of Greece. It was thus with Hurlbert when he died, although his few poems in Putnam's magazine --Borodino, Sorrento, and the like — seemed to us the dawn of a wholly new genius; and I remember that when the cool and keen-sighted Whittier read his Gan Eden, he said to me that one who had written that could write anything he pleased. Yet the name of the youth was not mentioned among the poets; and the utter indifference with which the announcement of his death was received was a it; and moreover the whole younger community was on my side. It did not help the matter that I let myself be nominated for Congress by the new Free Soil party in 1848, and stumped the district, though in a hopeless minority. The nomination was Whittier's doing, partly to prevent that party from nominating him; and he agreed that, by way of reprieve, I should go to Lowell and induce Josiah G. Abbott, then a young lawyer, to stand in my place. Abbott's objection is worth recording: if elected,
William Whewell (search for this): chapter 6
is time stayed out of the school for another year of freedom, returning only for the necessary final terms. There had just been a large accession of books at the college library, and from that and the Francis collection I had a full supply. I read Comte and Fourier, Strauss's Life of Jesus (a French translation), and bought by economy a fine folio copy of Cudworth's Intellectual system, on which I used to browse at all odd hours — keeping it open on a standing desk. I read Mill's Logic, Whewell's Inductive sciences, Landor's Gebir and Imaginary conversations. Maria Lowell lent me also Landor's Pentameron, a book with exquisite passages; Alford's poems, then new, and, as she said, valuable for their simplicity; and the fiery German lays of Hoffmann von Fallersleben, some of which I translated, as was also the case with poems from Ruckert and Freiligrath, besides making a beginning at a version of the Swedish epic Frithiof's Saga, which Longfellow admired, and of Fredrika Bremer's
William H. Wells (search for this): chapter 6
of The seven little sisters, a book which has been translated into Chinese and Japanese); her sister Caroline, afterward Mrs. Rufus Leighton (author of Life at Puget sound, ) and others not their inferiors, though their names were not to be found in print. I have never encountered elsewhere so noteworthy a group of young women, and all that period of work is a delightful reminiscence. My youthful coadjutors had been trained in a remarkably good school, the Putnam Free School, kept by William H. Wells, a celebrated teacher; and I had his hearty cooperation, and also that of Professor Alpheus Crosby, one of the best scholars in New England, and then resident in Newburyport. With his aid I established a series of prizes for the best prose and poetry written by the young people of the town; and the first evidence given of the unusual talents of Harriet Prescott Spofford was in a very daring and original essay on Hamlet, written at sixteen, and gaining the first prize. I had also to d
John Weiss (search for this): chapter 6
d. She had fitted the rooms with pretty devices, and rocked her baby in a cradle fashioned from a barrel cut lengthways, placed on rockers, and upholstered by herself. At its foot she painted three spears as the Lowell crest and three lilies for her own, with the motto Puritas Potestas. This was for their first child, whose early death both Lowell and Longfellow mourned in song. The Lowells sometimes saw company in a modest way, and I remember spending an evening there with Ole Bull and John Weiss. Dr. Lowell, the father, was yet living, always beneficent and attractive; he still sometimes preached in the college chapel, and won all undergraduate hearts by providing only fifteen-minute sermons. If I belonged in the first two categories of Dr. Palfrey's classification of the Divinity School, I happily kept clear of the third, never having been a dyspeptic, though I lived literally on bread and milk during the greater part of a year, for purposes of necessary economy and the buyi
David Wasson (search for this): chapter 6
ted me as well, amid the storms of life, so far as I can see, as the more prescribed and conventional forms of faith might have done. We all, no doubt, had our inner conflicts, yet mine never related to opinions, but to those problems of heart and emotion which come to every young person, and upon which it is not needful to dwell. Many of my fellow students, however, had just broken away from a sterner faith, whose shattered eggshells still clung around them. My friend of later years, David Wasson, used to say that his health was ruined for life by two struggles: first by the way in which he got into the church during a revival, and then by the way he got out of it as a reformer. This I escaped, and came out in the end with the radical element so much stronger than the sacerdotal, that I took for the title of my address at the graduating exercises The clergy and reform. I remember that I had just been reading Horne's farthing epic of Orion, and had an ambitious sentence in my add
Francis A. Walker (search for this): chapter 6
invariable impulse to attract and charm. I am told — for I had utterly forgotten it — that I myself said of him in those days, He could not stop to buy an apple of an old woman on the sidewalk without leaving her with the impression that she alone had really touched his heart. I have known many gifted men on both sides of the Atlantic, but I still regard Hurlbert as unequaled among them all for natural brilliancy; even Lowell was not his peer. Nor can I be convinced that he was-as President Walker once said to me, when I urged Hurlbert's appointment, about 1850, as professor of history at Harvard--a worthless fellow. Among many things which were selfish and unscrupulous there must have been something deeper to have called out the warm affection created by him in both sexes. I strongly suspect that if, after twenty years of noninter-course, he had written to me to come and nurse him in illness, I should have left all and gone. Whatever may have been his want of moral principle,
Unitarian (search for this): chapter 6
ovels,--Kingsley's Two years ago, Winthrop's Cecil Dreeme, and my own Malbone, --as well as of actual events stranger than any novels. He was the breaker, so report said, of many hearts, the disappointer of many high hopes,--and this in two continents; he was the most variously gifted and accomplished man I have ever known, acquiring knowledge as by magic,passing easily for a Frenchman in France, an Italian in Italy, a Spaniard in Spanish countries; beginning his career as a radical young Unitarian divine, and ending it as a defender of despotism. He was also for a time a Roman Catholic, but died in the Church of England. The turning-point of Hurlbert's life occurred, for me at least, when I met him once, to my great delight, at Centre Harbor, I being on my way to the White Mountains and he returning thence. We had several hours together, and went out on the lake for a long chat. He told me that he had decided to go to New York and enter the office of A. Oakey Hall, a lawyer a
Edward Tuckerman (search for this): chapter 6
r in summer. There was then an attention paid to the art of swimming such as is not now observable; the college maintained large bath-houses where now are coalyards, and we used to jump or dive from the roofs, perhaps twenty feet high; we had a Danish student named Stallknecht, who could swim a third of the way across the river under water, and we vainly tried to emulate him. In winter there was skating on Fresh Pond. I must not forget to add that at all seasons I took long walks with Edward Tuckerman, then the most interesting man about Cambridge, leading a life which seemed to us like that of an Oxford don, and already at work on his Latin treatise on lichens. His room was a delightful place to visit,--a large chamber in a rambling old house, with three separate reading-tables, one for botany, one for the study of Coleridge, and one for the Greek drama. He was the simplest-hearted of men, shy, near-sighted, and lovable; the tragedy of whose life was that his cruel father had sent
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