William Hickling Prescott

By C. Harvey Gardiner | Go to book overview

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I have lost the greatest stimulus, and ...

MIXED EMOTIONS ATTENDED the mid-June departure for Niagara Falls. Thirteen years after a trip there with brother-in-law William Amory and a host of others, the historian was returning with two of his children. William Gardiner Prescott, occupied with academic matters at Harvard prior to graduation in August, was the only child who did not make the trip. For Elizabeth, as she approached her sixteenth birthday, and William Amory, a bit beyond fourteen and possessed of so many characteristics of his grandfather that he was fondly called the Little Judge, the occasion was a memorable one. Until then they had lived almost completely in the Boston-Nahant-Pepperell triangle of family activity. Accompanying the three Prescotts were two of the Salem Peabodys, Francis—five years the historian's junior, and daughter Martha Endicott Peabody, two years Elizabeth's senior.

Everywhere sights called Pepperell to mind. Constant in his admiration of trees, the historian remarked the beauties of the ash, butternut, maple, white oak, elm, and beech. With the same facility with which he allotted duties to reader-secretaries, copyists, printers, and the like, Prescott had appointed fourteen-year-old Amory general superintendent of baggage. The youngster doggedly watched the bags

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