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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 9: Whittier at home (search)
d stay mine, and he would say, Thee must not touch that, it is just right, and perhaps the next minute he would have the tongs and do just what I had attempted. I have frequently gone in at twilight and found him lying on the lounge, watching the flitting shadows, and repeating aloud from some favourite author, generally Scott or Burns. His mood and conversation at such times were particularly delightful. The beautiful poem, Burning Driftwood was doubtless inspired by such experiences. Pickard, II. 745. One of the very best delineations of Whittier by one of those who approached him on the public or semi-public side is that written by the Hon. Robert S. Rantoul of Salem, Mass.:-- Mr. Whittier was self-contained. In the company of persons whom he did not care for — who could not draw him out — his mind seemed to furnish him with almost nothing to say. He had no small talk. Where there was nothing in common he could be as remote and silent as a mountain peak .... For hi
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 10: the religious side (search)
ined a faithful member. In trying to solve the problem, how far he felt himself strictly bound by the usages of his Society, the following anecdote, as told by Mr. Pickard, is suggestive. On the night before the burning of Pennsylvania Hall in 1838, in Philadelphia, as an antislavery headquarters, there occurred the marriage of Ay. He nevertheless reconciled it with his conscience to escort a young lady to the door, and to call on the wedded pair, next day, with a congratulatory poem. Pickard's Whittier, I. 235. This fairly indicates the hold his early religious training had upon him, when the question was one of outward observances alone. In readinHim is not strong enough to overcome the natural shrinking from the law of death. Even our Master prayed that that cup might pass from Him, if it were possible. Pickard's Whittier, II. 651-53. He said once to Mrs. Claflin:-- The little circumstance of death will make no difference with me: I shall have the same friends i
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 11: early loves and love poetry (search)
ery well; but hang me if I like the people here. I am acquainted with a few girls, and have no wish to be so with many. Pickard's Whittier, I. 93-4. Mr. Pickard however assures us that there are many similar passages in Whittier's early lettersMr. Pickard however assures us that there are many similar passages in Whittier's early letters; and this boyish semi-sentimentalism, even if it reaches the confines of romance, has really no more perilous quality of passion than has Whittier's equally unexpected Hang me! of profanity. What we know about the maturer Whittier is that no man his leaving that city on Dec. 31, 1831. It contains a proposal of an interview, apparently with a view to marriage. Mr. Pickard, his literary editor, frankly doubts the genuineness of this letter, and partly from its signature, Yours most truly, ich came nearest to a love-song, Memories. He asserts positively that the real object of this poem was a lady of whom Mr. Pickard thus writes in a newspaper communication since the publication of his volume. She died several years ago, the wid
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 12: Whittier the poet (search)
purposes with friends, accepting suggestion and correction, while Whittier's poems come always with surprise, and even Mr. Pickard's careful labours add little to our knowledge. Mrs. Claflin and Mrs. Fields give us little as to the actual origins oel Martin first published under the name of The witch's daughter in the National Era for 1857-erroneously described by Mr. Pickard as first published in 1866--was his greatest immediate financial success. It was somewhat enlarged as Mabel Martin in 1877, and he received for it $1000 at the first annual payment. Mr. Pickard pronounces it charming, but I suspect that it is rarely copied, and hardly ever quoted — perhaps because the threeline measure is unfavourable to Whittier's style or to thss, and give me a place in their prayers. May the dear Lord and Father of us all keep you always under His protection. Pickard's Whittier, II. 607-09. In summing up the results of Whittier's twin career as poet and as file-leader, it may be sa
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 13: closing years (search)
National Era he wrote to Miss Wendell that he should have spent the winter in Washington but for the state of his health and the difficulty of leaving home on his mother's account. In the same letter (2d. mo. 21, 1847) he wrote:-- I have of late been able to write but little, and that mostly for the papers, and I have scarcely answered a letter for a month past. I dread to touch a pen. Whenever I do it increases the dull wearing pain in my head, which I am scarcely ever free from. Pickard's Whittier, I. 319. Yet at this time he was occasionally publishing eight or nine columns a week in the National Era, besides a large political correspondence. Sleep, says Mrs. Claflin, was the one blessing that seemed to be denied him, and which he constantly longed for. He resorted to every simple remedy for insomnia — but it was all in vain — his was the sore disquiet of a restless brain, and he would often come down in the morning looking tired and worn from his long night of wak
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Index. (search)
eph, 5. Pedro II., Dom, his acquaintance with Whittier, 100, 101. Penn, William, 3, 119. Pennsylvania, 51, 52, 77. Pennsylvania Antislavery Society, 63. Pennsylvania Freeman, the, mentioned, 62, 65. Pennsylvania Hall, 115; burning of, 63, 64. Phelps, Amos A., 81. Phelps, William L., 137. Philadelphia, Penn., 6, 49-52, 62, 74, 77, 115, 121, 122, 139, 172, 181; burning of hall and church in, 63-65. Philadelphia Society, 76. Philanthropist, the, mentioned, 32, 33. Pickard, Samuel T., 4, 39, 40, 159, 165; his Whittier, quoted, 32, 33, 37, 38, 41, 42, 45-47, 70, 71, 81, 90, 91, 109, 128-130, 135, 172; cited, 5 n., 39 n., 76 n., 77 n., 115 n. Pierpont, Rev., John, 81. Pike, Robert, 5. Pitman, Mrs., Harriet Minot, 57; her description of Whittier, 29-32. Pius IX., 88. Plato, 38, 111. Plymouth, N. H., 58. Poe, Edgar A., 37. Porlock, 162. Porter, Mrs. Maria S., 141. Portland, Me., 65. Portsmouth, N. H., 3. Powow River, 4. Prentice, George D., his
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