THE "OLYMPIANS": 1850-1860
THESE memories of my first ten years all melt together. I cannot pick them apart and date them, as other more fortunate writers of reminiscences seem able to do. I can only give them in mass as they arise before me out of the dead years. But some of the figures of that time stand forth very clearly before my mental vision, both those who made my little world and those whom I afterward knew to be of importance in the larger world of men and whom I still distinguish salient and defined despite the uncertain and fluctuating lights of one's earlier memories.
I have already spoken of my father, who was so much to me as companion and friend. In the little home world my mother filled the largest place, and for fifty years her devotion, affection, and sympathy never failed me. She was a clever, high-minded, high-spirited woman, very well educated according to the standards of Boston in the thirties, and had made a long tour with her family through Europe in 1837, something not so common at that time as it is now. She was a great reader, and from my earliest years is associated in my mind with reading and a love of books. It was from her that I first heard of Byron and Shelley. She was one of the early admirers of Browning in the days before his popularity, and it was to her that I owe my first acquaint