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Mary Lowell Putnam (search for this): chapter 8
ing boy who made it died a few years after in the Civil War, a brevet brigadier-general, at the age of twenty. I had previously written an article for the North American review, another for the Christian Examiner, and three papers in prose for Putnam's magazine, one of these latter being a description of a trip to Mount Katahdin, written as a jeu d'esprit in the assumed character of a lady of the party. A few poems of mine had also been accepted by the last-named periodical; but these had atestion, indeed, the enterprise very nearly went to pieces; and Mr. Sanborn has printed in his Life of Alcott a characteristic letter from Emerson to myself, after I had, in order to test the matter, placed the names of Elizabeth Peabody and Mary Lowell Putnam — Lowell's sister, and also well known as a writer — on the nomination book. Emerson himself, with one of those serene and lofty coups d'etat of which only the saints are capable, took a pen and erased these names, although the question ha
s group of writers was doubtless a local product; but so is every new variety of plum or pear which the gardener finds in his garden. He does not quarrel with it for having made its appearance in some inconvenient corner instead of in the centre, nor does he think it unpardonable that it did not show itself everywhere at once; the thing of importance is that it has arrived. The new literary impulse was indigenous, and, as far as it felt an exotic influence, that force was at any rate not English; it was French, Italian, and above all German, so far as its external factors went. Nothing could be much further from the truth than the late remark of an essayist that Boston is almost the sole survival upon our soil of a purely English influence. As a matter of fact, the current of thought which between 18 16 and 18 8 took our whole American educational system away from the English tradition, and substituted the German methods, had been transmitted through four young men from New Engla
t novel ever written. This line of discussion may have been lively, but was not marked by eminent tact; and Whittier, indeed, told me afterwards that Dr. and Mrs. Stowe agreed in saying to him that while the company at the club was no doubt distinguished, the conversation was not quite what they had been led to expect. Yet Dr. Stowe was of a kindly nature and perhaps was not seriously disturbed even when Holmes assured him that there were in Boston whole families not perceptibly affected by Adam's fall; as for instance, the family of Ware. In the minor gatherings of the Atlantic Club I became gradually conscious of a certain monotony. Neither Emerson nor Longfellow nor Whittier was a great talker, and though the conversation was always lively enough, it had too much the character of a dialogue between Holmes and Lowel. Neither of these had received the beneficent discipline of English dining-rooms, where, as I learned long after, one is schooled into self-restraint; and even if
English Baptist (search for this): chapter 8
re Parker, Henry James the elder, Henry Giles (then eminent as a Shakespeare lecturer), and the Rev. William B. Greene, afterwards colonel of the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Among the hundred or more members, there were well-known lawyers, as Sumner, E. R. Hoar, Hillard, Burlingame, Bemis, and Sewall; and there were clergymen, as Parker, Hedge, W. H. Channing, Hill, Bartol, Frothingham, and Hale; the only non-Unitarian clergyman being the Rev. John 0. Choules, a cheery little English Baptist, who had been round the world with Commodore Vanderbilt in his yacht, and might well feel himself equal to any worldly companionship. The medical profession was represented by Drs. Channing, Bowditch, Howe, and Loring; and the mercantile world by the two brothers Ward, Franklin Haven, William D. Ticknor, and James T. Fields. Art appeared only in John Cheney, the engraver, and literature in the persons of Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, and Whipple. These five authors were co
Theophilus Brown (search for this): chapter 8
the little clutching hands, saying joyously, This boy is a little philosopher; he philosophizes about everything. To Worcester came also Alcott and Thoreau, from time to time; the former to give those mystic monologues which he called conversations, and which were liable to be disturbed and even checked when any other participant offered anything but meek interrogatories. Thoreau came to take walks in the woods, or perhaps to Wachusett, with Harrison Blake, his later editor, and with Theophilus Brown, the freshest and most original mind in Worcester, by vocation a tailor, and sending out more sparkles of wit and humor over his measuring-tape and scissors than any one else could extract from Rabelais or Montaigne. Sometimes I joined the party, and found Thoreau a dry humorist, and also a good walker; while Alcott, although he too walked, usually steered for a convenient log in the edge of the first grove, and, seating himself there, conversed once more. It may be that there are me
raver, and literature in the persons of Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, and Whipple. These five authors were contributors to the Atlantic monthly, and took part also in the early dinners of the Atlantic Club. Holmes, as it appears from his biography, confounded the Atlantic Club, in his later recollections, with its larger coeval, the Saturday Club; but they will be found very clearly discriminated in Longfellow's journals. During the first year of the magazine under Phillips & Sampson's management, there were monthly dinners, in or near Boston, under the generalship of Francis H. Underwood, the office editor, and John C. Wyman, then his assistant. The most notable of these gatherings was undoubtedly that held at the Revere House, on occasion of Mrs. Stowe's projected departure for Europe. It was the only one to which ladies were invited, and the invitation was accepted with a good deal of hesitation by Mrs. Stowe, and with a distinct guarantee that no wine should be fu
Theodore Parker (search for this): chapter 8
essor of that magazine, the Massachusetts Quarterly review, --announced by Theodore Parker as being the Dial with a beard, --ever achieved a wide circulation. Fortu I had to abandon the argument as clearly hopeless. It is also plain from Theodore Parker's correspondence that his estimate of Thoreau was but little higher than Jell chosen and varied. At its four monthly gatherings, the lecturers were Theodore Parker, Henry James the elder, Henry Giles (then eminent as a Shakespeare lecture. R. Hoar, Hillard, Burlingame, Bemis, and Sewall; and there were clergymen, as Parker, Hedge, W. H. Channing, Hill, Bartol, Frothingham, and Hale; the only non-Unitaeditor, yet sometimes dilatory and exasperating. Thus, a paper of mine on Theodore Parker, which should have appeared directly after the death of its subject, was dsold, it proved to be by far the best German library in New England except Theodore Parker's. There was at that time an eager clamoring not only for German, but for
Wendell Phillips (search for this): chapter 8
ey, the engraver, and literature in the persons of Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, and Whipple. These five authors were contributors to the Atlantic monthly, and took part also in the early dinners of the Atlantic Club. Holmes, as it appears from his biography, confounded the Atlantic Club, in his later recollections, with its larger coeval, the Saturday Club; but they will be found very clearly discriminated in Longfellow's journals. During the first year of the magazine under Phillips & Sampson's management, there were monthly dinners, in or near Boston, under the generalship of Francis H. Underwood, the office editor, and John C. Wyman, then his assistant. The most notable of these gatherings was undoubtedly that held at the Revere House, on occasion of Mrs. Stowe's projected departure for Europe. It was the only one to which ladies were invited, and the invitation was accepted with a good deal of hesitation by Mrs. Stowe, and with a distinct guarantee that no wine sh
Miss Thoreau (search for this): chapter 8
true of others just outside the circle,--Motley, Parkman, Thoreau,--and in this way the essential variety in unity was securlmost vanished force, while the eccentric and unsuccessful Thoreau — whom Lowell and even his own neighbors set aside as a mehe leading citizen of Concord, in an effort to persuade Miss Thoreau to allow her brother's journals to be printed, he heard the preliminary question, Why should any one care to have Thoreau's journals put in print? I had to abandon the argument asfrom Theodore Parker's correspondence that his estimate of Thoreau was but little higher than Judge Hoar's. My own relatiohizes about everything. To Worcester came also Alcott and Thoreau, from time to time; the former to give those mystic monoloer participant offered anything but meek interrogatories. Thoreau came to take walks in the woods, or perhaps to Wachusett, ais or Montaigne. Sometimes I joined the party, and found Thoreau a dry humorist, and also a good walker; while Alcott, alth
Elizabeth Peabody (search for this): chapter 8
suitable designation. Lowell marred the dignity of the former proposal by suggesting the name Club of Hercules as a substitute for Olympian; and since the admission of women was a vexed question at the outset, Lowell thought the Patty pan quite appropriate. Upon this question, indeed, the enterprise very nearly went to pieces; and Mr. Sanborn has printed in his Life of Alcott a characteristic letter from Emerson to myself, after I had, in order to test the matter, placed the names of Elizabeth Peabody and Mary Lowell Putnam — Lowell's sister, and also well known as a writer — on the nomination book. Emerson himself, with one of those serene and lofty coups d'etat of which only the saints are capable, took a pen and erased these names, although the question had not yet come up for decision, but was still pending when the erasure was made. Another vexed subject was the admission of colored members, the names of Frederick Douglass and Charles Lenox Remond being proposed. This Lowel
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