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Charles Follen (search for this): chapter 3
ld thus reared, of excess than of scarcity. Yet as a matter of fact I never had books enough, nor have I ever had to this day. Seeing the uniform respect with which my mother and aunt and elder sisters were treated by the most cultivated men around us, I cannot remember to have grown up with the slightest feeling that there was any distinction of sex in intellect. Why women did not go to college was a point which did not suggest itself; but one of my sisters studied German with Professor Charles Follen, while another took lessons in Latin and Italian from Professor Bachi and in geometry from Professor Benjamin Peirce. I forget where this especial sister studied English, but she wrote for me all the passages that were found worth applauding in my commencement oration. Yet it is a curious fact that I owe indirectly to a single remark made by my mother all the opening of my eyes to the intellectual disadvantages of her sex. There came to Cambridge a very accomplished stranger, Mrs
that day. Many of them were sold in his adversity, yet nearly a thousand volumes remained, chiefly of English literature and history of the eighteenth century; and most of these I read. There was a fine set of Dr. Johnson's works in a dozen volumes, with an early edition of Boswell; all of Hoole's Tasso and Ariosto; a charming little edition of the British essayists, with pretty woodcuts; Bewick's Birds and Quadrupeds; Raynal's Indies; the Anti-Jacobin; Plutarch's Lives; Dobson's Life of Petrarch; Marshall's and Bancroft's Lives of Washington; Miss Burney's and Miss Edgeworth's works; and Sir Charles Grandison. There were many volumes of sermons, which my mother was fond of reading,--she was, I think, the last person who habitually read them,--but which I naturally avoided. There were a good many pretty little Italian books, belonging to one of my elder sisters, and a stray volume of Goethe which had been used by another. In out-of-the-way closets I collected the disused classica
Miss Thoreau (search for this): chapter 3
ted cedar-bird which was feeding on the mulberries. By some extraordinary chance he hit it, and down came the pretty creature, fluttering and struggling in the air, with the cruel arrow through its breast. I do not know whether the actual sportsman suffered pangs of remorse, but I know that I did, and feel them yet. Afterwards I read with full sympathy Bettine Brentano's thoughts about the dead bird: God gives him wings, and I shoot him down; that chimes not in tune. I later learned from Thoreau to study birds through an opera-glass. It may appear strange that with this feeling about birds I seemed to have no such vivid feeling about fishes or insects. Perhaps it was because they are so much farther from the human, and touch the imagination less. I could then fish all day by the seashore and could collect insects without hesitation,--always being self-limited in the latter case to two specimens of each species. Since the Civil War, however, I find that I can do neither of th
Stephen Higginson (search for this): chapter 3
Separatists said, Farewell, Rome! Farewell, Babylon! But we will say, Farewell, dear England! Farewell, the Christian church in England, and all the Christian friends there! My father had been, like his father before him,--also named Stephen Higginson, and a member of the Continental Congress in 1783, --among the leading merchants of Boston, until Jefferson's embargo brought a great change in his fortunes. He had been unsurpassed in those generous philanthropies which have given Bostonesiding at large dinner-parties and at the sumptuous evening entertainments, then more in vogue than now. It was the recorded verdict of the Hon. George Cabot, the social monarch of that day in Boston, that no one received company better than Mrs. Higginson, and those who knew the unfailing grace and sweetness of her later manner can well believe it. She had at this time in their freshness certain points of physical beauty which she retained unusually unimpaired until her latest years — a noble
Miss Anne G. Storrow (search for this): chapter 3
ess printer had put all the title-pages at the wrong end. In his adversity as in his wealth, he was a man of boundless and somewhat impetuous kindness, and espoused with such ardor the cause of Miss Hannah Adams, the historian, against her rival in that profession, the Rev. Dr. Morse, that he was betrayed into a share in one or two vehement pamphlets, and very nearly into a law-suit. He died when I was nine years old, and my chief training came consequently from my mother and my aunt Miss Anne G. Storrow, then known to all the Cambridge world as Aunt Nancy, who was to my mother like a second self in the rearing of her children. My mother's early life was like a chapter in a romance. Captain Thomas Storrow, an English officer, being detained a prisoner in Portsmouth during that war, fell in love with a Portsmouth maiden, who adventurously married him at the age of seventeen, in 1777, and sailed with him to England. These were my mother's parents. The marriage had all the requisi
Andrews Norton (search for this): chapter 3
Boston as well as Cambridge. My earliest documentary evidence of existence on this planet is a note to my father, in Edward Everett's exquisite handwriting, inquiring after the health of the babe, and saying that Mrs. Everett was putting up some tamarinds to accompany the note. The precise object of the tamarinds I have never clearly understood, but it is pleasant to think that I was, at the age of seven months, assisted toward maturity by this benefaction from a man so eminent. Professor Andrews Norton and George Ticknor habitually gave their own writings; and I remember Dr. J. G. Palfrey's bringing to the house a new book, Hawthorne's Twice-told tales, and reading aloud A Rill from the town Pump. Once, and once only, Washington Irving came there, while visiting a nephew who had married my cousin. Margaret Fuller, a plain, precocious, overgrown girl, but already credited with unusual talents, used to visit my elder sister, and would sometimes sit on a footstool at my mother's fe
F. L. Batchelder (search for this): chapter 3
espises me, said Ben Jonson, because I live in an alley. Tell him his soul lives in an alley. I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 22,--1823, in a house built by my father at the head of what was then called Professors' Row, and is now Kirkland Street, --the street down which the provincial troops marched to the battle of Bunker Hill, after halting for prayer at the gambrel-roofed house where Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes was born. My father's house — now occupied by Mrs. F. L. Batchelder--was begun in 1818, when the land was bought from Harvard College, whose official he had just become. Already the Scientific School and the Hemenway Gymnasium crowd upon it, and the university will doubtless, one of these days, engulf it once more. My father came of a line of Puritan clergymen, officials, militia officers, and latterly East India merchants, all dating back to the Rev. Francis Higginson, who landed at Salem in 1629, in charge of the first large party for the Massach
Rinaldo Rinaldini (search for this): chapter 3
rebellion, by the pupils of a previous generation; and the initials of older students still remained carved in vast confusion on the end of the woodshed, like the wall which commemorates Canning and Byron at Harrow. Above all, a literature circulated under the desks, to be read surreptitiously,--such books as those to which Emerson records his gratitude at the Latin School; fortunately nothing pernicious, yet much that was exciting, including little dingy volumes of Baron Trenck, and Rinaldo Rinaldini, and The three Spaniards, and The Devil on two sticks. Can these be now found at any bookstore, I wonder, or have the boys of the present generation ever heard of them? But the most important portion of a boy's life is perhaps his outdoor training, since to live out of doors is to be forever in some respects a boy. Who could be before me, though the palace of the Caesars crackt and split with emperors, while I, sitting in silence on a cliff of Rhodes, watcht the sun as he swang his
hese days, engulf it once more. My father came of a line of Puritan clergymen, officials, militia officers, and latterly East India merchants, all dating back to the Rev. Francis Higginson, who landed at Salem in 1629, in charge of the first large party for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and who made that historic farewell recorded by Cotton Mather, as his native shores faded away: We will not say, as the Separatists said, Farewell, Rome! Farewell, Babylon! But we will say, Farewell, dear England! Farewell, the Christian church in England, and all the Christian friends there! My father had been, like his father before him,--also named Stephen Higginson, and a member of the Continental Congress in 1783, --among the leading merchants of Boston, until Jefferson's embargo brought a great change in his fortunes. He had been unsurpassed in those generous philanthropies which have given Boston merchants a permanent reputation; he was, indeed, frequently mentioned --as his cousin, Joh
Henry Barnard (search for this): chapter 3
my mother's most vivid childish recollections was that of being led, a weeping child of nine, at the stately funeral of her father, who was buried in Boston with military and Masonic honors. After his death his young widow opened a private school in Hingham, Massachusetts, and through the influence of kind friends in Boston, had boarding pupils from that city, only twenty miles away, thus laying for my mother the foundation of some life-long friendships. This school has been praised by Mr. Barnard, the historian of early American education, as one of the best of the dawning experiments toward the education of girls. Mrs. Storrow, however, died within a year and a half, and her little family were left orphans among strangers or very recent friends. Their chief benefactor was my father, into whose family my mother was adopted, assisting in the care of his invalid wife and two little girls. Nothing could at the time have been less foreseen than the ultimate outcome of this arrangem
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