Chapter 2: the Worcester periodMr. Higginson lived and preached in Worcester for about ten years before the Civil War called him away. Extracts from journals and letters of this period are apt to be undated and fragmentary and are often arranged according to subject rather than date. They are not chronicles of Worcester life, but rather a record of absences.
These comments on American girls would hardly have been made in our changed days:
Just now we are staying a few days with my newly married niece. The gossip of her young lady acquaintances fills me with renewed dismay at the contemplation of young ladies' lives, especially those who have had what are called “advantages.” Girls talk folly enough to young men, but nothing to what they talk to each other. Joyfully I turn to Harriet Hosmer the sculptor.Mr. Higginson often got a good deal of entertainment as well as discomfort out of his lecture or preaching trips.
During the same visit, he wrote:
. . . H. W. B. is charming at home, a sort of great, happy child, and so his wife and Mr. S. treated him. They were as liberal and friendly as possible, and I talked all my heresies without fear. I wish you could have heard them roar with laughter when I quoted Mr. Emerson's remark that Evangelical doctrines were like the measles and the whooping-cough — important to those who have them and interesting to those who have had them; but not important or even very intelligible to those who have not H. W. B. also told me with infinite amusement of W. H. C.'s anxiously warning him not to underrate certain theological doctrines-a Channing warning a Beecher!Of a later trip to Brooklyn, Higginson wrote:
I stayed with Sam Longfellow from Thursday night to Monday night. The former night was stormy, and I was invited to repeat the lecture, which I did to quite a different audience, on Monday. Henry Ward  Beecher announced it from his pulpit on Sunday, very cordially, and told his people he wished it could be given in his church, which indeed he had previously proposed to me. Besides this, I spoke twice on Sunday to large audiences, though it was quite stormy. Sam dwells in clover with one of those elderly ladies who are born to coddle young bachelor divines, Mrs. Jackson. He has a large, charming study, a chaos of books and works of art, with a great magnificent chest of drawers, from the Palazzo d'oro in Venice which he happened upon with his usual luck; it is the handsomest piece of carved furniture I ever saw and had stood out of doors a whole winter when he captured it. Here dwells Sam, always nursing some little lumbago or dyspepsia of his own, and interchanging visits with Mrs. Jackson, similarly occupied in her parlor, while a pretty little grandchild and a pretty young lady protegee, who supervises him, vibrate between the apartments. The parishioners are also devoted and speak as earnestly of “the importance of retaining Mr. Longfellow in Brooklyn” as the Beecherites might of Beecher. The new church is a little box of choice art . . . stone-colored stucco ( “for surface” ) with a sort of basement of brick, painted red ( “for purposes of color” ). The brick is now very dirty, or, as Sam tenderly prefers to term it, “distained” ; there is also a distained little steeple or spire in the background. . . . This structure they enjoy to the utmost, and Sam now projects a little evening service, of music and reading Scripture, without a sermon, which he calls “vespers or even-song” ; the people meekly rebel a  little, especially at the even-song, and pant for a sermon, but I think he will carry it through. ... I took tea with the Millses, some leading people in Sam's parish. Then he invited Brownlee Brown, who wrote the fine article in the last “Atlantic,” “The ideal tendency,” to come down from Newburg and dine with me, but he did not appear. I spent part of a day with Octavius Frothingham at Jersey City. Then I moused about New York a good deal and saw various things I wished to see. I saw nothing so good, however, as a scene Frothingham reported to me, between two little street-sweeping boys, whom he passed at dusk the night before, it being terribly rainy and muddy. “Come, Bill,” said one, “ain't it about time to close up for the night?” Bill consented, and F. lingered to see in what the process of closing up consisted. It consisted in the two little wretches deliberately hoeing back over the crossing all the mud they had cleared off, so as to give a fair chance for next day's operations My lecture stirred them up a good deal in Brooklyn and brought special appeals and insults to Sam from his flock (he being unable, because of lumbago, to attend). Some of them came home with me afterwards and tormented him with proffers of gymnasiums and chest expanders. One enthusiastic youth implored him to become a fireman. ... Last Thursday I went to New Haven which is the most superb nursery of elms I know anywhere. . ... I got there early and had a charming walk to the top  of East Rock. I stayed with the Elliots. . .. They live in the old Roger Sherman house with painted tiles. My lecture took immensely with the college boys. Last week we had Rarey here . .. but the most interesting parts — his personal simplicity and earnestness, and the expression in the horses' faces, render it perfectly fascinating. I feared he might be conceited, might mystify and be grand, but he seemed like a perfectly single-minded reformer, like Wendell Phillips, and his one desire seemed to be to show at each step how utterly simple and intelligible the whole process was. Yesterday I was walking and crossed a pasture, where the cows all came around me attracted by some boughs I had and which I had to hold out of their reach; they were very gentle and timid, though trustful, and I had to keep very quiet, like Rarey. They seemed to wish to understand me — licked my arm to see if I were a branch and rubbed against me to see if I were a stump, and I did not know how to explain myself. I stood in a circle of six... they made a halo, or cow-low about me.
 Again, he wrote:
I had a nice time on Sunday at