The Letters of John Fiske

By Ethel F. Fisk ; John Fiske | Go to book overview

II

Cambridge, Mass., May 24, 1860.

Dear Lizzie:

I arrived in Boston on the 18th. In the evening I called at Judge Curtis's, 32 Hancock St., feeling on the whole rather blue. But the moment I saw that enchanting man and heard his rich voice, all my unpleasant feelings fled. He is of medium height, quite stately, but has such fascinating manners that you are drawn to him at once: he is a human magnet. I don't know when I have ever been so charmed by anyone.

He invited me to stay at his house until I should be settled, and his grave but charming way compelled me to accept his invitation, unexpected as it was. He told me to throw aside all thoughts of business until Monday, and go up and meet his daughters. His nephew Charley Greenough, a freshman, conducted me up to the parlour and introduced me to Misses Bessie and Minnie Curtis. They were surrounded by very pretty children three of whom appertained to the Judge. The Judge's wife, whom he dearly loved, has been dead only a few weeks, leaving him quite stricken with grief. Miss Bessie is a lovely girl; she is now the housekeeper and mistress of the family, and a very little mistress she is—so petite that she could almost go into my vest pocket.

Sunday morning I went to church with them at King's Chapel, a Unitarian church, formerly Episcopal, and retaining a part of the Episcopal service. The church was built before the Revolution, in the old English style, with pews large enough to hold a whole family, pulpit by itself, very high like a tower, a domelike curtain stretched above it. The music was very grand, consisting mostly of the old anthems of Crotch, Purcell, and others, composed before Handel had founded the modern school. About half the time was spent in music, the service was very short, and as uninteresting as could be, by the ex-President of Harvard College, Dr. Walker, a man very far inferior to President Felton in every way. Dr. Walker is a Unitarian minister but no one could tell the difference; I supposed he was an

-35-

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The Letters of John Fiske
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Letters of John Fiske *
  • Illustrations *
  • I 1
  • II 35
  • III 67
  • IV 132
  • V 143
  • VI 194
  • VII 224
  • VIII 333
  • IX 380
  • X 416
  • XI 435
  • XII 449
  • XIII 482
  • XIV 501
  • XV 536
  • XVI 549
  • XVII 592
  • XVIII 610
  • XIX 627
  • XX 646
  • XXI 666
  • XXII 696
  • XXIII 704
  • Addenda 706
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