Read CHAPTER II - AMESBURY of Whittier-land A Handbook of North Essex , free online book, by Samuel T. Pickard, on

Following down the left bank of the river, we come, near the village of Amesbury, to a sheltered nook between the steep northern hill and the broad winding river, known as “Pleasant Valley.” At some points there is scant room for the river road between the high bluff and the water; at others a wedge of fertile intervale pushes back the steep bank. The comfortable houses of an ancient Quaker settlement are perched and scattered along this road in picturesque fashion. It was a favorite walk of Whittier and his sister, and it is commemorated in “The River Path,”

“Sudden our pathway turned from night;
The hills swung open to the light;

“Through their green gates the sunshine showed,
A long, slant splendor downward flowed.

“Down glade and glen and bank it rolled;
It bridged the shaded stream with gold;

“And, borne on piers of mist, allied
The shadowy with the sunlit side!”

When Mr. Whittier returned to Amesbury from the last visit to his birthplace, referred to in the preceding chapter, it was by the road passing the Old Garrison House, the Countess’ grave, Rocks Village, and Pleasant Valley. He pointed out each feature of the scene that reminded him of earlier days. When we came to Pleasant Valley, he stopped the carriage at a picturesque wooded knoll between the road and the river, and said that here he used to come with his sister to gather harebells. It was so late in the season that every other flower by the roadside had been killed by frost; even the goldenrod was more sere than yellow. But the harebells were fresh in their delicate beauty, and he gathered a handful of them which lighted up his “garden room” for several days. I remember that on this occasion an effect referred to in “The River Path” was reproduced most beautifully. The setting sun, hidden to us, illuminated the hills of Newbury:

“A tender glow, exceeding fair,
A dream of day without its glare.

“With us the damp, the chill, the gloom:
With them the sunset’s rosy bloom;

“While dark, through willowy vistas seen,
The river rolled in shade between.”

To a friend in Brooklyn who inquired in regard to the origin of this poem, Mr. Whittier wrote: “The little poem referred to was suggested by an evening on the Merrimac River, in company with my dear sister, who is no longer with me, having crossed the river (as I fervently hope) to the glorified hills of God.”

“The Last Walk in Autumn” is another poem inspired by the scenery of this locality. At the lower end of this valley, near the mouth of the Powow, on the edge of the bluff overlooking the Merrimac, Goody Martin lived more than two hundred years ago, and the cellar of her house was still to be seen when, in 1857, Whittier first told the story of “The Witch’s Daughter,” the poem now known as “Mabel Martin.” She was the only woman who suffered death on a charge of witchcraft on the north side of the Merrimac. One other aged woman in this village was imprisoned, and would have been put to death, but for the timely collapse of the persecution. She was the wife of Judge Bradbury, and lived on the Salisbury side of the Powow. In his ballad Whittier traces the path he used to take towards the Goody Martin place, as was his custom in many of his ballads. One who desires to take this path can enter upon it at the Union Cemetery, where the poet is buried. Follow the “level tableland” he describes towards the Merrimac, looking down at the left into the deep and picturesque valley of the Powow, a charming view of its placid, winding course after it has made its plunge of eighty feet over a shoulder of Po Hill, until you

... “see the dull plain fall
Sheer off, steep-slanted, ploughed by all
The seasons’ rainfalls,”

and you look down upon the broad Merrimac seeking “the wave-sung welcome of the sea.” Find a path winding down the bluff facing the river, half-way down to the hat factory which is close to the water, and you are upon the location of Goody Martin’s cottage. But no trace is now to be seen of “the cellar, vine overrun” which the poet describes.

I visited the spot with the poet on the October day before referred to, and noted the felicity of his descriptions of the locality. It is near the river, but high above it, and one looks down upon the tops of the willows on the bank:

“And through the willow-boughs below
She saw the rippled waters shine.”

Opposite Pleasant Valley, on the Newbury side of the river, are “The Laurels,” “Curson’s Mill,” and the mouth of the Artichoke, celebrated in several poems. In June, when the laurels are in bloom, this shore is well worth visiting for its natural beauties, as well as for the association of Whittier’s frequent allusion to it in prose as well as verse. It was for the “Laurel Party,” an annual excursion of his friends to this shore, that he wrote the poems, “Our River,” “Revisited,” and “The Laurels.” In “June on the Merrimac” he sings:

“And here are pictured Artichoke,
And Curson’s bowery mill;
And Pleasant Valley smiles between
The river and the hill.”

In the stanza preceding this he takes a view down the Merrimac, past Moulton’s Hill in Newbury, an eminence commanding one of the finest views on the river, formerly crowned with a castle-like structure occupied for several years as the summer residence of Sir Edward Thornton, to the great bend the river makes in passing its last rocky barrier at Deer Island. The Hawkswood oaks are a magnificent feature of the scene. This estate, on the Amesbury side of the river, was formerly occupied by Rev. J. C. Fletcher, of Brazilian fame.

“The Hawkswood oaks, the storm-torn plumes
Of old pine-forest kings,
Beneath whose century-woven shade
Deer Island’s mistress sings.”

The Merrimac, beautiful as are its banks along its entire course, nowhere presents more picturesque scenery than where it passes through the deep valley it has worn for itself between the hills of Amesbury and Newbury, and especially where its tidal current is parted by the perpendicular cliffs of Deer Island. At this point the quaint old chain bridge, built about a century ago, spans the stream. This island is the home of Harriet Prescott Spofford, who is referred to in the stanza just quoted. About forty years ago, it was proposed to build a summer hotel on this island, which is four or five miles from the mouth of the Merrimac. I have found among Mr. Whittier’s papers an unfinished poem, protesting against what he considered a desecration of this spot which always had a great charm for him. It is likely that the reason why this poem was never finished or published was because the project of building a hotel was abandoned. I have taken the liberty to give as a title for it “The Plaint of the Merrimac.” As it was written in almost undecipherable hieroglyphics, some of the words are conjectural:

“I heard, methought, a murmur faint,
Our River making its complaint;
Complaining in its liquid way,
Thus it said, or seemed to say:

“’What ’s all this pother on my banks
Squinting eyes and pacing shanks
Peeping, running, left and right,
With compass and theodolite?

“’Would they spoil this sacred place?
Blotch with paint its virgin face?
Do they is it possible
Do they dream of a hotel?

“’Match against my moonlight keen
Their tallow dip and kerosene?
Match their low walls, plaster-spread,
With my blue dome overhead?

“’Bring their hotel din and smell
Where my sweet winds blow so well,
And my birches dance and swing,
While my pines above them sing?

“’This puny mischief has its day,
But Nature’s patient tasks alway
Begin where Art and Fashion stopped,
O’ergrow, and conquer, and adopt.

“’Still far as now my tide shall flow,
While age on age shall come and go,
Nor lack, through all the coming days,
The grateful song of human praise.’”

Before the chain bridge was built, a ferry was maintained at the mouth of the Powow, and here Washington crossed the river at his last visit to New England. It is said that a French ship lay at the wharf near the ferry, and displayed the French flag over the American because of the French feeling against the policy of Washington’s administration. Washington refused to land until the obnoxious flag was lowered to its proper place.

It was a one-story cottage on Friend Street, Amesbury, to which the Whittiers came in July, 1836 a cottage with but four rooms on the ground floor, and a chamber in the attic. The sum paid for this cottage, with about an acre of land, was twelve hundred dollars. The Haverhill farm was sold for three thousand dollars. Accustomed to the comparatively large ancestral home at Haverhill, it is no wonder that there was at first a feeling of homesickness, as is evidenced in the diary kept by Elizabeth. This feeling was naturally intensified by the prolonged absences of her brother, who from 1836 to 1840 was away from home most of the time, engaged with his duties as secretary of the anti-slavery society in New York, and as editor of the “Pennsylvania Freeman” in Philadelphia. During these years, the only occupants of the cottage were Whittier’s mother, his sister Elizabeth, and his aunt Mercy, except when his frequent illnesses, and his interest in the political events of the North Essex congressional district, called him home. But in 1840, his residence in Amesbury became permanent. At about this time he made the tour of the country with the English philanthropist, Joseph Sturge, who noticed his straitened circumstances, and out of the largeness of his heart, in a most delicate way, not only gave him financial assistance at the time, but seven years later enabled him to build a two-story ell to the cottage, and add a story to the eastern half of the original structure. A small ell of one story, occupying part of the space of the present “garden room,” was built by Mr. Whittier when he bought the cottage in 1836, and this was aunt Mercy’s room. At the later enlargement of the house this small room was lengthened, and a chamber built over it. In the lower floor of this enlarged ell is the room which has ever since been known as the “garden room,” because it was built into the garden, and a much prized fruit tree was sacrificed to give it place. The chamber over this room was occupied by Elizabeth until her death in 1864, and after that by Mr. Whittier.

While repairs were making in this part of the house in the summer of 1903, a package of old letters was found in the wall, bearing the date of 1847, the year when the enlargement was made. One of them reveals the source of the money required for the improvement. It was from Lewis Tappan of New York, the financial backbone of the anti-slavery society, inclosing a check for arrears of salary due Whittier for editorial work. Mr. Tappan writes: “I will ask the executive committee to raise the compensation. I wish we could pay you according to the real value of your productions, rather than according to their length.... Inclosed is a check for one hundred dollars. Mr. Sturge authorizes me to draw on him for one thousand dollars at any time when you and I should think it could be judiciously invested in real estate for your family. I can procure the money in a week by drawing on him. When you have made up your mind as to the investment, please let me know.”

At this time the poet was feeling the pinch of real poverty and was living in a little one-story cottage that gave him no room for a study, and no suitable chamber for a guest. It was at this time that he received the letter which contained not only a check for overdue salary, but a promise of a gift of one thousand dollars from his generous English friend, Joseph Sturge. The result of this beneficence was the building of the “garden room,” to which thousands of visitors come from all parts of this and other countries, because in it were written “Snow-Bound,” “The Eternal Goodness,” and most of the poems of Whittier’s middle life and old age. Mr. Sturge had sent Whittier six years earlier a draft for one thousand dollars, intending it should be used by him in traveling for his health. But Whittier had given most of this toward the support of an anti-slavery paper in New York. Two years later the same generous friend offered to pay all his expenses if he would come to England as his guest, an offer he was obliged to decline. A portrait of Sturge is appropriately placed in this room. Tappan’s letter was written April 21, 1847, and the addition to the cottage was built in the summer of that year. The whole expense of the improvement was no doubt covered by Sturge’s gift. Other interesting letters of the same period were included in the package in the wall.

In a drawer of the desk is a most remarkable album of autographs of public men, presented to Mr. Whittier on his eightieth birthday, by the Essex Club. It is a tribute to the poet signed by every member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the Supreme Court of the United States, the Governor, ex-Governors, and Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and all the members of the Essex Club; also, many distinguished citizens, such as George Bancroft (who adds to his autograph “with special good wishes to the coming octogenarian"), Robert C. Winthrop, Frederick Douglass, and J. G. Blaine. An eloquent speech of Senator Hoar, who suggested this unique tribute, is engrossed in the exquisite penmanship of a colored man, to whom was intrusted the ornamental pen-work of the whole volume. The congressional signatures were obtained by Congressman Coggswell of the Essex district. It is noticeable that no Southern member declined to sign this tribute to one so identified with the anti-slavery movement.

The “garden room” remains almost precisely as when occupied by the poet the same chairs, open stove, books, pictures, and even wall-paper and carpet, remaining in it as he placed them. In the north window the flowers pressed between the plates of glass are those on receipt of which he wrote “The Pressed Gentian.” By the desk is the cane he carried for more than fifty years, made of wood from his office in Pennsylvania Hall, burned by a pro-slavery mob in 1838. This is the cane for which he wrote the poem “The Relic:”

“And even this relic from thy shrine,
O holy Freedom! hath to me
A potent power, a voice and sign
To testify of thee;
And, grasping it, methinks I feel
A deeper faith, a stronger zeal.”

He had many canes given him, some valuable, but this plain stick was the only one he ever carried. With this cane may be seen one made of oak from the cottage of Barbara Frietchie not, as was erroneously stated in the biography, a cane carried by the patriotic Barbara. The portraits he hung in this room are of Garrison, Thomas Starr King, Emerson, Longfellow, Sturge, “Chinese” Gordon, and Matthew Franklin Whittier. There is also a fine picture of his birthplace, a water-color sent him by Bayard Taylor from the most northern point in Norway, and a picture, also sent by Bayard Taylor, of the Rock in El Ghor, on receipt of which the poem of that title was written. The Norway picture was painted by Mrs. Taylor, and represents the surroundings of the northernmost church in the world. The mirror in this room is an heirloom of the Whittier family, dating at least a century before the birth of the poet. The little table under it is almost equally old.

The album containing the likeness of Dr. Weld has also a photograph under which Whittier has written “Mary E. S. Thomas,” and this has a special interest, as it is a portrait of his relative, schoolmate, and life-long friend, Mary Emerson Smith, who became the wife of Judge Thomas of Covington, Ky. She was a granddaughter of Captain Nehemiah Emerson, who fought at Bunker Hill, was an officer in the army of Washington, serving at Valley Forge and at the surrender of Burgoyne, and her grandmother was Mary Whittier a cousin of the poet’s father, whom Whittier used to call “aunt Mary.” For a time, when in his teens, he stayed at Captain Emerson’s, and went to school from there, making himself useful in doing chores. Mary Smith, then a young girl, passed much of her time at her grandfather’s, and later was a fellow-student of Whittier’s at the Academy. I think there is now no impropriety in stating that it is to her that the poem “Memories” refers. She was living at the time when the biography of Whittier was written, and for that reason her name was not given, but only a veiled reference in “Life and Letters,” as at page 276. During many years of her widowhood she spent the summer months in New England, and occasionally met Mr. Whittier at the mountains. They were in friendly correspondence to the close of his life. She survived him several years. It has been suggested with some show of probability that it is a memory of the days they spent together at her grandfather’s that is embodied in the poem “My Playmate.” At the time when this poem was written she was living in Kentucky.

“She lives where all the golden year
Her summer roses blow;
The dusky children of the sun
Before her come and go.”

But this poem, like others of Whittier’s, is probably a composite of memories and largely imaginative, as is shown in what is elsewhere said about the localities of Ramoth Hill and Folly Mill.

In the “garden room” also is a miniature on ivory of a beautiful girl of seventeen, crowned with roses. This is Evelina Bray of Marblehead, a classmate of Whittier’s at the Academy in the year 1827, when this portrait was painted. But for adverse circumstances, the school acquaintance which led to a warm attachment between them might have resulted in marriage. But the case was hopeless from the first. He was but nineteen years old, and she seventeen. On both sides the families opposed the match. Among the Quakers marriage “outside of society” was not to be thought of in those days; in his case it would mean the breaking up of a family circle dependent on him, and a severance from his loved mother and sister. This same reason prevented the ripening of other attachments in later life; for in each case his choice would have been “out of society.” Two or three years after they parted at the close of an Academy term, he walked from Salem to Marblehead before breakfast on a June morning, to see his schoolmate. He was then editing the “American Manufacturer,” in Boston. She could not invite him in, and they walked to the old ruined fort, and sat on the rocks overlooking the beautiful harbor. This meeting is commemorated in three stanzas of one of the loveliest of his poems, “A Sea Dream” a poem, by the way, not as a whole referring to Marblehead or to the friend of his youth. But I have good authority for the statement that these three stanzas refer directly to the Marblehead incident. All who are familiar with the locality will recognize it in these verses:

“The waves are glad in breeze and sun,
The rocks are fringed with foam;
I walk once more a haunted shore,
A stranger, yet at home,
A land of dreams I roam.

“Is this the wind, the soft sea-wind
That stirred thy locks of brown?
Are these the rocks whose mosses knew
The trail of thy light gown,
Where boy and girl sat down?

“I see the gray fort’s broken wall,
The boats that rock below;
And, out at sea, the passing sails
We saw so long ago
Rose-red in morning’s glow.”

With a single exception, these schoolmates did not meet again for more than fifty years, and Whittier was never aware of this exception. In middle life, when the poet was editing the “Pennsylvania Freeman,” and Miss Bray was engaged with Catherine Beecher in educational work, they once happened to sit side by side in the pew of a Philadelphia church, but he left without recognizing her, and she was too shy to speak to him. I had the story from a lady who as a little girl sat in the pew with them, and knew them both. Miss Bray married an Englishman named Downey, and in a romantic way Mr. Whittier discovered her address. Mr. Downey was an evangelist making a crusade in the great cities against Romanism, and met his death from wounds received in facing a New York mob. Whittier, supposing he was poor, and that his schoolmate was having a hard time, sent Downey money without her knowledge. She accidentally discovered this and returned the money. In her widowhood she occasionally corresponded with Mr. Whittier, who induced her to come to the reunion of his schoolmates in 1885, more than fifty years after their parting at Marblehead, and more than forty years after the chance meeting in Philadelphia. At this reunion she gave him the miniature reproduced in our engraving, which was returned to her after Whittier’s death. When she died it went to another schoolmate, the wife of Rev. Dr. S. F. Smith, author of our national hymn. From her it came to Whittier’s niece, and is now kept in the drawer where the poet originally placed it. With it is the first portrait ever taken of Whittier it being painted by the same artist (J. S. Porter) two or three years after the girl’s miniature, while he was editing the “Manufacturer.”

Here is an extract from a note Whittier sent Mrs. Downey soon after the reunion: “Let me thank thee for the picture thee so kindly left with me. The sweet, lovely girl face takes me back to the dear old days, as I look at it. I wish I could give thee something half as valuable in return.” The portrait of Mrs. Downey at the age of eighty, here given, is from a photograph she contributed to an album presented to Whittier by his schoolmates of 1827, after the reunion of 1885. Rev. Dr. S. F. Smith attended this reunion in place of his wife, who was then an invalid, and he wrote to his wife this account of the appearance of her old schoolmate at that meeting: “She looked, O so distingue, in black silk, with a white muslin veil, reaching over the silver head and down below the shoulders. Just as if she were a Romish Madonna, who had stepped out from an old church painting to hold an hour’s communion with earth.”

I was in correspondence with Mrs. Downey during the last years of her life, but she would not give me permission to call upon her, and the reason given was that I had seen the miniature, and she preferred to be remembered by that. She was very shy about telling of her early acquaintance with Whittier, and whatever I could learn was by indirection. For instance, I obtained the Marblehead story by her sending me a copy of Whittier’s poems which he had given her, and she had drawn a line around the stanzas quoted above. No word accompanied the book. Of course I guessed what she meant, and asked if my guess was correct. She replied “Yes,” and no more. Whittier said he had the Captain Ireson story from a schoolmate who came from Marblehead. I asked her if she, as the only Marblehead schoolmate, was the person referred to, and received an emphatic “No.” To an intimate friend she once said that during her early acquaintance with Whittier it seemed as if the devil kept whispering to her, “He is only a shoemaker!”

The apartment now used as a reception room was the kitchen of the original cottage, and has the large fireplace and brick oven that were universal in houses built a century ago. A small kitchen was later built as an ell, and this central room became the dining room, remaining so as long as Mr. Whittier lived. In the reception room is a large bookcase filled with a part of the poet’s library, exactly as when he was living here. His books overrun all the rooms in the house, and many are packed in closets. The large engraving of Lincoln over the mantel is an artist’s proof, and was placed there by Whittier forty years ago. An ancient mirror in this room, surmounted by a gilt eagle, was broken by a lightning stroke in September, 1872. The track of the electrical current may still be seen in the blackening of a gilt moulding in the upper left corner. The broken glass fell over a member of the family sitting under it, and Whittier himself, who was standing near the door of the “garden room,” was thrown to the floor. All in the house were stunned and remained deafened for several minutes, but no one was seriously injured. Up to that time the house had been protected by lightning rods; but Mr. Whittier now had them removed, and refused to have them replaced, though much solicited by agents. In revenge, one of the persistent brotherhood issued a circular having a picture of this house with a thunderbolt descending upon it, as an awful warning against neglect! He had the impudence to emphasize his fulmination by printing a portrait of the poet, who, it was intimated, would yet be punished for defying the elements.

The old parlor, the principal room of the original cottage, has suffered no change in the several remodelings of the house. The beams in the corners show a frame of the olden style for the cottage had been built many years when the Whittiers came here. The clear pine boards in the dado are two feet in width. In this room are placed many memorials of the poet of interest to visitors. What to him was the most precious thing in the house is the portrait of his mother over the mantel a work of art that holds the attention of the most casual visitor. The likeness to her distinguished son is remarked by all. One sees strength of character in the beautiful face, and a dignity that is softened by sweetness and serenity of spirit. The plain lace cap, white kerchief, drab shawl, and folded hands typify all the Quaker virtues that were preeminently hers.

On the opposite wall is the crayon likeness of Elizabeth, the dearly loved sister, so tenderly apostrophized in “Snow-Bound:”

“I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand?”

When she died, in 1864, her friend, Lucy Larcom, had this excellent portrait made and presented it to the bereaved brother, and it has hung on this wall nearly forty years. All the other members of the “Snow-Bound” family are here represented by portraits, except the father and uncle Moses, of whom no likenesses exist, save as found in the poet’s lines. The Hoit portrait of Whittier, painted when he was about forty years of age, was kept out of sight in a seldom-used chamber, while the poet was living, for he allowed no picture of himself to be prominently displayed. The portrait of his brother was painted when he was about forty years of age. A small photograph of his older sister, Mary Caldwell, is shown, and a silhouette of aunt Mercy; also a portrait of his brother’s daughter, Elizabeth (Mrs. Pickard), who was a member of his household for twenty years, and to whom he left this house and its contents by his will. Her son Greenleaf, to whom when four years of age his granduncle inscribed the poem “A Name,” now resides here.

In this parlor is the desk on which “Snow-Bound” was written, also “The Tent on the Beach” and other poems of this period. The success of these poems enabled him to buy a somewhat better desk, now to be seen in the “garden room,” where this desk formerly stood. In this desk are presentation copies of many books, with the autographs of their authors Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lydia Maria Child, Miss Mitford, Julia Ward Howe, John Hay, T. B. Aldrich, and others. Here also is the diary kept by Elizabeth Whittier, in the years 1835-37, covering the period of the removal from Haverhill to Amesbury. Of antiquarian interest is an account-book of the Whittier family, from 1786 to 1800, going into minute details of household expenses, and containing many times repeated the autographs of Whittier’s grandfather, his father, and his uncles Moses and Obadiah, who recorded their annual settlements of accounts in this book. Near the desk are bound volumes of papers edited by Whittier the “New England Review” of 1830, the “Pennsylvania Freeman” of 1840, and the “National Era” of 1847-50. These contain much of his prose and verse never collected. The Rogers group of statuary representing Whittier, Beecher, and Garrison listening to the story of a fugitive slave girl, who holds an infant in her arms, is in the corner of the room, where it has been for about thirty years. The garden, in the care of which Mr. Whittier took much pleasure, comprises about one half acre of land. He had peach, apple, and pear trees but the peaches gave out and were not renewed. He also raised grapes, quinces, and small fruit in abundance. The rosebush he prized as his mother’s favorite is still flourishing, as are also the fine magnolia, laburnum, and cut-leaved birch of his planting. The ash tree in front of the house was planted by his mother.

While gathering grapes in an arbor in this garden, in 1847, Mr. Whittier received a bullet wound in the cheek. Two boys were firing at a mark on the grounds of a neighbor, and this mark was near where Whittier stood, but on account of a high fence they did not see him. When the bullet struck him, he was so concerned lest his mother should be alarmed by the accident that he said nothing, not even notifying the boys. He bound up his bleeding face in a handkerchief and called on Dr. Sparhawk, who lived near. As soon as the wound was dressed, he came home and gave his family their first notice of the accident. The boys had not then learned the result of their carelessness. The lad who fired the gun was named Philip Butler, and he has since acquired a high reputation as an artist. The painting representing the Haverhill homestead which is to be seen at the birthplace was executed by this artist. He tells of the kindness with which Whittier received his tearful confession. It was during the first days of the Mexican war, and some of the papers humorously commented upon it as a singular fact that the first blood drawn was from the veins of a Quaker who had so actively opposed entering upon that war.

Once while his guest at Amesbury, I went with him to town meeting. He was one of the first men in the town to vote that morning, and after voting spent an hour talking politics with his townsmen. General C., his candidate for Congress, had been intemperate, and the temperance men were making that excuse for voting in favor of Colonel F., who, Whittier said, always drank twice as much as C., but was harder headed and stood it better. Other candidates were being scratched for reasons as flimsy, and our Grand Old Man was getting disgusted with the Grand Old Party, as represented at that meeting. He said to a friend he met, “The Republicans are scratching like wild cats.” In the evening an old friend and neighbor called on him, and was complaining of Blaine and other party leaders. At last Mr. Whittier said, “Friend Turner, has thee met many angels and saints in thy dealings with either of the parties? Thy experience should teach thee not to expect too much of human nature.” On the same evening he told of a call Mr. Blaine made upon him some time previously. The charm of his manner, he said, recalled that of Henry Clay, as he remembered him. On that occasion Blaine made a suggestion for the improvement of a verse in the poem “Among the Hills,” which Whittier adopted. The verse is descriptive of a country maiden, who was said to be

“Not beautiful in curve and line.”

Blaine suggested as an amendment,

“Not fair alone in curve and line;”

and this is the reading in the latest editions.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, during his residence in Newburyport, was often a guest at the Amesbury home, and he has this to say of each member of the family: “The three members of the family formed a perfect combination of wholly varying temperaments. Mrs. Whittier was placid, strong, sensible, an exquisite housekeeper and ‘provider;’ it seems to me that I have since seen no whiteness to be compared to the snow of her table-cloths and napkins. But her soul was of the same hue; and all worldly conditions and all the fame of her children for Elizabeth Whittier then shared the fame were to her wholly subordinate things, to be taken as the Lord gave. On one point only this blameless soul seemed to have a shadow of solicitude, this being the new wonder of Spiritualism, just dawning on the world. I never went to the house that there did not come from the gentle lady, very soon, a placid inquiry from behind her knitting-needles, ’Has thee any farther information to give in regard to the spiritual communications, as they call them?’ But if I attempted to treat seriously a matter which then, as now, puzzled most inquirers by its perplexing details, there would come some keen thrust from Elizabeth Whittier which would throw all serious solution further off than ever. She was indeed a brilliant person, unsurpassed in my memory for the light cavalry charges of wit; as unlike her mother and brother as if she had been born into a different race. Instead of his regular features she had a wild, bird-like look, with prominent nose and large liquid dark eyes, whose expression vibrated every instant between melting softness and impetuous wit; there was nothing about her that was not sweet and kindly, but you were constantly taxed to keep up with her sallies and hold your own; while her graver brother listened with delighted admiration, and rubbed his hands over bits of merry sarcasm which were utterly alien to his own vein.”

The village of Amesbury enjoyed a sense of proprietorship in Whittier which it never lost, even when Danvers claimed him for a part of each year. He did not give up the old house, consecrated by memories of his mother and sister, but returned to it oftener and oftener in his last years, and he hoped that he might spend his last days on earth where his mother and sister died. The feeling of the people of Amesbury was expressed in a poem written by a neighbor, and published in the village paper, under the title of “Ours,” some stanzas of which are here given:

“I say it softly to myself,
I whisper to the swaying flowers.
When he goes by, ring all your bells
Of perfume, ring, for he is ours.

“Ours is the resolute, firm step,
Ours the dark lightning of the eye,
The rare sweet smile, and all the joy
Of ownership, when he goes by.

. . . . .

“I know above our simple spheres
His fame has flown, his genius towers;
These are for glory and the world.
But he himself is only ours.”

The Friends’ meeting-house, in 1836, was nearly opposite the Whittier cottage, on the site of the present French Catholic church. Two centuries ago there had been an earlier meeting-house of the Society, also on Friend Street, and the name of the street was given on this account. The present meeting-house, on the same street, was built in 1851, upon plans made by Mr. Whittier, who was chairman of the committee having it in charge. He once told me that some conservative Friends were worried lest he make the house too ornate. To satisfy them, he employed three venerable carpenters, one of them a Quaker minister and the other two elders of the Society, and the result was this perfectly plain, neat structure, comfortable in all its appointments. Visitors like to find the seat usually occupied by Whittier. It is now marked by a silver plate. I have accompanied him to a First Day service here, in which for a half hour no one was moved to say a word. And this was the kind of service he much preferred to one in which the time was “fully occupied.” The meeting was dismissed without a spoken word, the signal being the shaking of hands by two of the elders on the “facing seats.” Then each worshiper shook the hand of the person next him. There was no sudden separation. The company formed itself into groups for a pleasant social reunion. In the group that surrounded Whittier were ten or twelve octogenarians, whom he told me he had met in this way almost every week since his boyhood; for even when living in Haverhill, this was the meeting his family attended. It was delightful to see the warmth and tenderness of the greetings of these venerable life-long friends. I once accompanied him to a devotional meeting, where many of the leading Friends of the Society were present, and as the papers had announced the names of several speakers from distant States, he expressed the fear that there would be no opportunity to get “into the quiet.” As the speakers followed each other in rapid succession, he asked me if I had a bit of paper and a pencil with me. Then he appeared to be taking notes of the proceedings. I fancied some of the speakers noticed his pencil, and were spurred by it to an enlargement of utterance. When we were at home, I asked what he had written. He smiled and handed me his “notes,” which are before me as I write. “Man spoke,” “Woman sang,” “Man prayed,” and so on for no less than fourteen items. Being slightly deaf, he had heard scarcely anything, and had been noting the number and variety of the performances. It was his protest against much speaking. At dinner the same day, his cousin, Joseph Cartland, commented upon the inarticulate sounds that accompanied the remarks of one or two of the speakers. “Let us shame them out of it,” he said, “let’s call it grunting.” “Oh, no, Joseph,” said Whittier, “don’t thee do that take away the grunt, and nothing is left!”

Mr. Whittier had many wonderful stories illustrating the guidance of the spirit to which members of the Society of Friends submitted in the daily intercourse of life. One was of an aged Friend, who never failed to attend meeting on First Day. But one morning he told his wife that he was impelled to take a walk instead of going to meeting, and he knew not whither he should go. He went into the country some distance and came to a lane which led to a house. He was impressed to take this lane, and soon reached a house where a funeral service was in progress. At the close of the service he arose, and said that he knew nothing of the circumstances connected with the death of the young woman lying in the casket, but he was impelled to say that she had been accused of something of which she was not guilty, and the false accusation had hastened her death. Then he added that there was a person in the room who knew she was not guilty, and called upon this person, whoever it might be, to vindicate the character of the deceased. After a solemn pause, a woman arose and confessed she had slandered the dead girl. In telling such stories as this, Mr. Whittier did not usually express full and unreserved belief in their truth, but he maintained the attitude of readiness to believe anything of this kind which was well authenticated, and he approved of the methods of work adopted by the Society for Psychical Research in England and in this country.

The hills encircling the lovely valley of the short and busy Powow River, beginning with the southwestern extremity of the amphitheatre, are: Bailey’s, on the declivity of which, overlooking the Merrimac, is the site of Goody Martin’s cottage, the scene of the poem of “Mabel Martin;” next is the ridge on which is the Union Cemetery where Whittier is buried; then Whittier Hill, named not for the poet but for his first American ancestor who settled here, and locally called “Whitcher Hill” showing the ancient pronunciation of the name; then, across the Powow, are Po, Mundy, Brown’s, and Rocky hills. On a lower terrace of the Union Cemetery ridge, and near the cemetery, is the Macy house, built before 1654 by Thomas Macy, first town clerk of Amesbury (and ancestor of Edwin M. Stanton, the great war secretary), who was driven from the town for harboring a proscribed Quaker in 1659, as told in the poem “The Exiles;" also, the birthplace of Josiah Bartlett, first signer of the Declaration of Independence after Hancock, whose statue, given by Jacob R. Huntington, a public-spirited citizen of Amesbury, stands in Huntington Square; and near by is “The Captain’s Well,” dug by Valentine Bagley in pursuance of a vow, as told in Whittier’s poem; also the Home for Aged Women, for which Whittier left by his will nearly $10,000. It is to a view of Newburyport as seen from Whittier Hill, a distance of five miles, that the opening lines of “The Preacher” refer:

“Far down the vale, my friend and I
Beheld the old and quiet town;
The ghostly sails that out at sea
Flapped their white wings of mystery;
The beaches glimmering in the sun,
And the low wooded capes that run
Into the sea-mist north and south;
The sand-bluffs at the river’s mouth;
The swinging chain-bridge, and, afar,
The foam line of the harbor-bar.”

The cemetery in which Whittier is buried can be reached by either the electric line from Merrimac, or the one from Newburyport the latter approaching nearest the part in which is the Whittier lot. This lot is in the section reserved for the Society of Friends, and is surrounded by a well-kept hedge of arbor vitae. Here is buried each member of the family commemorated in the poem “Snow-Bound,” and also the niece of the poet, who was for twenty years a member of his household. There is a row of nine plain marble tablets, much alike, with Whittier’s slightly the largest. At the corner where his brother is buried is a tall cedar, and at the foot of his own grave is another symmetrical tree of the same kind. Between him and his brother lie their father and mother, their two sisters, their uncle Moses and aunt Mercy. His niece, daughter of his brother, has a place by his side. Inclosed by the same hedge is the burial lot of his dearly-loved cousin, Joseph Cartland. For those who take note of dates it may be said that his father died in 1830, and not, as stated on his headstone, one year later.

Po Hill, originally called Powow, because of the tradition that the Indians used to hold their powwows upon its summit, is three hundred and thirty-two feet high, and commands a view so extended that many visitors make the ascent. One of Whittier’s early prose legends is of a bewitched Yankee whose runaway horse took him to the top of this hill into a midnight powwow of Indian ghosts. In describing the hill he says: “It is a landmark to the skippers of the coasting craft that sail up Newburyport harbor, and strikes the eye by its abrupt elevation and orbicular shape, the outlines being as regular as if struck off by the sweep of a compass.” From it in a clear day may be seen Mount Washington, ninety-eight miles away; the Ossipee range; Passaconaway; Whiteface; Kearsarge in Warner; Monadnock; Wachusett; Agamenticus and Bonny Beag in Maine; the Isles of Shoals with White Island light; Boon Island in Maine; and nearer at hand Newburyport with its harbor and bay; Plum Island; Cape Ann; Salisbury and Hampton beaches; Boar’s Head and Little Boar’s Head; Crane Neck and many other of the beautiful hills of Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, and Danvers. The view of Cape Ann as seen from Po Hill is referred to by Whittier at the opening of the poem “The Garrison of Cape Ann:”

“From the hills of home forth looking, far beneath the tent-like span
Of the sky, I see the white gleam of the headland of Cape Ann.”

Down the south side of the Po flows the Powow River in a series of cascades, the finest of which are now hidden by the mills, or arched over by the main street of the village of Amesbury. The hill is celebrated in several of Whittier’s poems, including “Abram Morrison,” “Miriam,” and “Cobbler Keezar’s Vision.” The Powow, a little way above its plunge over the rocks where it gives power for the mills, flows in front of the Whittier home, and but the width of a block distant. The surface of its swift current is but a few feet below the level of Friend Street. Po Hill rises steeply from its left bank. The Powow is mentioned in the poem “The Fountain:”

“Where the birch canoe had glided
Down the swift Powow,
Dark and gloomy bridges strided
Those clear waters now;
And where once the beaver swam,
Jarred the wheel and frowned the dam.”

“The Fountain” is a spring that may be found on the western side of Mundy Hill. The oak mentioned in this poem is gone, and a willow takes its place. The Rocky Hill meeting-house is well worth the attention of visitors, as a well-preserved specimen of the meeting-houses of the olden time. Its pulpit, pews, and galleries retain their original form as when built in 1785. It is situated on the easternmost of the fine circlet of hills that incloses the valley of the Powow. This hill is well named, for here the melting glaciers left their most abundant deposit of boulders. A trolley line from Amesbury to Salisbury Beach passes this venerable edifice.

Salisbury Beach, now covered with summer cottages, will hardly be recognized as the place described by Whittier in his “Tent on the Beach.” When that poem was written, not one of these hundreds of cottages was built, and those who encamped here brought tents. Hampton Beach is a continuation of Salisbury Beach beyond the state line into New Hampshire. It has given its name to one of the most notable of Whittier’s poems, and several ballads refer to it. “The Wreck of Rivermouth” has for its scene the mouth of the Hampton River, which, winding down from the uplands across salt meadows, and dividing this beach, finds its outlet to the sea. At the northern end of the beach is the picturesque promontory of Boar’s Head, and eastward are seen the Isles of Shoals, and in the further distance the blue disk of Agamenticus. Whittier describes the place with his usual exactness:

“And fair are the sunny isles in view
East of the grisly Head of the Boar,
And Agamenticus lifts its blue
Disk of a cloud the woodlands o’er;
And southerly, when the tide is down,
’Twixt white sea-waves and sand-hills brown,
The beach-birds dance and the gray gulls wheel
Over a floor of burnished steel.”

Rev. J. C. Fletcher, in an article published in 1879, says that he was with Whittier at Salisbury Beach, in the summer of 1861, when he saw the remarkable mirage commemorated in these lines in “The Tent on the Beach:”

“Sometimes, in calms of closing day,
They watched the spectral mirage play;
Saw low, far islands looming tall and nigh,
And ships, with upturned keels, sail like a sea the sky.”

Mr. Fletcher was spending several weeks that summer with his family in a tent on the beach. He says: “Here we were visited by friends from Newburyport and Amesbury. None were more welcome than Whittier and his sister, and two nieces, one of whom, Lizzie, as we called her, had the beautiful eyes the grand features in both the poet and his sister. Those eyes of his sister Elizabeth are most touchingly alluded to by Whittier when he refers to his sister’s childhood in the old Snow-bound homestead:

“’Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed in the unfading green
And holy peace of Paradise.’

“One day, late in the afternoon, I recall how Elizabeth was enjoying a cup of tea in the family tent, while Whittier and myself were seated upon a hillock of sand outside. It had been a peculiarly beautiful day, and as the sun began to decline, the calm sea was lit up with a dreamy grandeur wherein there seemed a mingling of rose-tint and color of pearls. All at once we noticed that the far-off Isles of Shoals, of which in clear days only the lighthouse could be seen, were lifted into the air, and the vessels out at sea were seen floating in the heavens. Whittier told me that he never before witnessed such a sight. We called to the friends in the tent to come and enjoy the scene with us. Elizabeth Whittier was then seeing from the shore the very island, reduplicated in the sky, where two years afterwards she met that fatal accident which, after months of suffering, terminated her existence.”

Elizabeth fell upon the rocks at Appledore in August, 1863. It was not thought at the time that she was seriously injured, and perhaps Mr. Fletcher is wrong in attributing her death solely to this cause. For many years before and after the death of his sister, Mr. Whittier spent some days each summer at Appledore. It was at his insistence that Celia Thaxter undertook her charming book, “Among the Isles of Shoals.”

Other ballads of this region are “The Changeling,” and “The New Wife and the Old.” The ancient house which is the scene of the last named poem is still standing, and may be seen by passengers on the Boston and Maine road, near the Hampton station. It has a gambrel roof, and is on the left when the train is going westward. On the right as the train passes Hampton Falls station may be seen in the distance, shaded by magnificent elms, the house of Miss Gove, in which Whittier died. It was upon these broad meadows and the distant line of the beach that his eyes rested, when he took his last look upon the scenery he loved and has so faithfully pictured in his verse. The photographs here reproduced were taken by his grandnephew a few days before his death, and the last time he stood on the balcony where his form appears. The room in which he died opens upon this balcony. It was his cousin, Joseph Cartland, who happened to stand by his left side when the picture was taken. This house is worthy of notice aside from its connection with Whittier, as one of the finest specimens of colonial architecture, its rooms filled with the furniture and heirlooms of the ancestors of the present proprietor. A trolley line from Amesbury now passes the house.

As a coincidence that was at the time considered singular, the superstition in regard to the matter of thirteen at table was recalled when Whittier dined for the last time with his friends. During the summer he had lodged at the house of Miss Gove, taking his meals with others of his party in a house adjoining. One evening all had taken their places at the table except Mr. Whittier. His niece noticed there were twelve seated, and without comment took her plate to a small table in a corner of the room. When her uncle came in, he said in a cheery way, “Why, Lizzie, what has thee been doing, that they put thee in the corner?” Some evasive reply was made, but probably Mr. Whittier guessed the reason, for he was well versed in such superstitions, and sometimes laughingly heeded them. In a few minutes, Mr. Wakeman, the Baptist clergyman of the village, just returned from his summer vacation, came in unexpectedly, and took the thirteenth seat that had just been vacated. Whittier’s grandnephew, to again break the omen, took his plate over to the table in the corner with his mother. It was all done in a playful way, but the matter was recalled while we were at breakfast next morning. The news then came of the paralysis which had affected Mr. Whittier while dressing to join us. He never again came to the dining room. Another incident of the same evening was more impressive, and remains to this day inexplicable. After sitting for a while in the parlor conversing with friends, he took his candle to retire, and as he said “Goodnight” to his friends, and passed out of the door, an old clock (the clock over the desk) struck once! It had not been wound up for years, and as no one present had ever before heard it strike, it excited surprise the more so as the hands were not in position for striking. It was an incident that had a marked effect upon a party little inclined to heed omens; and in many ways, without success, we tried to get the clock to strike once more.

A beautiful little lake in the northern part of Amesbury, formerly known as Kimball’s Pond, is the scene of “The Maids of Attitash.” Its present name was conferred by Whittier because huckleberries abound in this region, and Attitash is the Indian name for this berry. His poem pictures the maidens with “baskets berry-filled,” watching

... “in idle mood
The gleam and shade of lake and wood.”

In a letter to the editor of “The Atlantic” inclosing this ballad, he says of Attitash: “It is as pretty as St. Mary’s Lake which Wordsworth sings, in fact a great deal prettier. The glimpse of the Pawtuckaway range of mountains in Nottingham seen across it is very fine, and it has noble groves of pines and maples and ash trees.” A trolley line from Amesbury to Haverhill passes this lake; but this is not the line which passes the Whittier birthplace.

Annually, in the month of May, the Quarterly Meeting of the Society of Friends is held at Amesbury, and during the fifty-six years of Mr. Whittier’s residence in the village, this was an occasion on which he kept open house, and wherever he happened to be, he came home to enjoy the company of friends, giving up all other engagements. He could not be detained in Boston or Danvers, or wherever else he might be, when the time for this meeting approached. It was an annual event in which his mother and sister took much interest, and after they passed away, the custom was maintained with the same spirit of hospitality with which they had invested it, to the last year of his life.

Among Mr. Whittier’s neighbors was an aged pair, a brother and sister, whose simple, old-fashioned ways and quaint conversation he much enjoyed. He thought they worked harder than they had need to do, as the infirmities of age fell upon them, for they had accumulated a competency, and on one occasion he suggested that they leave for younger hands some of the labor to which they had been accustomed. But the sister said, “We must lay by something for our last sickness, and have enough left to bury us.” Whittier replied, “Mary, did thee ever know any one in his last sickness to stick by the way for want of funds?” The beautiful public library of Amesbury was built with the money of this aged pair, whose will was made at the suggestion of Whittier. Part of the money Whittier left to hospitals and schools would have been given to this library, had he not known that it was provided for by his generous neighbors.

In his poem “The Common Question,” Whittier refers to a saying of his pet parrot, “Charlie,” a bird that afforded him much amusement, and sometimes annoyance, by his tricks and manners. His long residence in this Quaker household had the effect to temper his vocabulary, and he almost forgot some phrases his ungodly captors had taught him. But there would be occasional relapses. He had the freedom of the house, for Whittier objected to having him caged. One Sunday morning, when people were passing on the way to meeting, Charlie had gained access to the roof, and mounted one of the chimneys. There he stood, dancing and using language he unfortunately had not quite forgotten, to the amazement of the church-goers! Whatever Quaker discipline he received on this occasion did not cure him of the chimney habit, but some time later he was effectually cured; for while dancing on this high perch he fell down one of the flues and was lost for some days. At last his stifled voice was heard in the parlor, in the wall over the mantel. A pole was let down the flue and he was rescued, but so sadly demoralized that he could only faintly whisper, “What does Charlie want?” He died from the effect of this accident, but we will not dismiss him without another story in which he figures: He had the bad habit of nipping at the leg of a person whose trousers happened to be hitched above the top of the boot. One day Mr. Whittier was being worn out by a prosy harangue from a visitor who sat in a rocking-chair, and swayed back and forth as he talked. As he rocked, Whittier noticed that his trousers were reaching the point of danger, and now at length he had something that interested him. Charlie was sidling up unseen by the orator. There was a little nip followed by a sharp exclamation, and the thread of the discourse was broken! The relieved poet now had the floor as an apologist for his discourteous parrot.

At a time when Salmon P. Chase was in Lincoln’s Cabinet, but was beginning to think of the possibility of supplanting him at the next presidential election, he visited Massachusetts, and called upon his old anti-slavery friend, Mr. Whittier. Chase told him among other things that he did not like Abraham Lincoln’s stories. Whittier said, “But do they not always have an application, like the parables?” “Oh, yes,” said Chase, “but they are not decent like the parables!”

Henry Taylor was a village philosopher of Amesbury given to the discussion of high themes in a somewhat eccentric manner, and Whittier had a warm side for such odd characters. Once when Emerson was his guest, he invited Taylor to meet him, knowing that the Concord philosopher would be amused if not otherwise interested in his Amesbury brother. Taylor found him a good listener, and gave him the full benefit of his theories and imaginings. Next morning Whittier called on him to inquire what he thought of Emerson. “Oh,” said he, “I find your friend a very intelligent man. He has adopted some of my ideas.”

The likeness of Whittier on page 97 is from a daguerreotype taken in October, 1856, and has never before been published in any volume written by or about the poet. Mr. Thomas E. Boutelle, the artist who took this daguerreotype, is now living in Amesbury at the age of eighty-five. He tells me how he happened to get this picture, a rather difficult feat, as it was hard to induce the poet to sit for his portrait. He had set up a daguerrean saloon in the little square near Whittier’s house, and Whittier often came in for a social chat, but persistently refused to give a sitting. One day he came in with his younger brother Franklin, whose picture he wanted. When it was finished, Franklin said, “Now, Greenleaf, I want your picture.” After much persuasion Greenleaf consented, and Mr. Boutelle showed him the plate before it was fully developed, with the remark that he thought he could do better if he might try again. By this bit of strategy he secured the extra daguerreotype here reproduced, but he took care not to show it in Amesbury, for fear Whittier would call it in. He took it to Exeter, N. H., and put it in a show-case at his door. His saloon was burned, and all he saved was this show-case and the daguerreotype, which many of the poet’s old friends think to be his best likeness of that period.

Several of Whittier’s poems referring to New Hampshire scenery celebrate particular trees remarkable for age and size. For these giants of the primeval forest he ever had a loving admiration. The great elms that shade the house in which he died would no doubt have had tribute in verse if his life had been spared. He invited the attention of every visitor to them. The immense pine on the Sturtevant farm, near Centre Harbor, called out a magnificent tribute in his poem “The Wood Giant.” Our engraving on page 99 gives some idea of “the Anakim of pines.” There is a grove at Lee, N. H., on the estate of his dearly-loved cousins, the Cartlands, to which he refers in his poem “A Memorial:”

“Green be those hillside pines forever,
And green the meadowy lowlands be,
And green the old memorial beeches,
Name-carven in the woods of Lee!”

There is a “Whittier Elm” at West Ossipee, and indeed wherever he chose a summer resort, some wood giant still bears his name.

Visitors to Whittier-Land will find an excursion to Oak Knoll, in Danvers, to be full of interest. Here the poet, after the marriage of his niece, spent a large part of each of the last fifteen years of his life in the family of his cousins, the Misses Johnson and Mrs. Woodman. Without giving up his residence in Amesbury, where his house was always kept open for him during these years by Hon. George W. Cate, he found in the beautiful seclusion of the fine estate at Oak Knoll a restful and congenial home. Many souvenirs of the poet are here treasured, and the historical associations of the place are worthy of note. Here lived the Rev. George Burroughs, who suffered death as a wizard more than two centuries ago. He was a man of immense strength of muscle, and his astonishing athletic feats were cited at his trial as evidence of his dealings with the Evil One. The well of his homestead is shown under the boughs of an immense elm, and the canopy now over it was the sounding-board of the pulpit of an ancient church of the parish so unenviably identified with the witchcraft delusion.

Inquiries are sometimes made in regard to the places in Boston associated with the memory of Whittier. His first visit to the city was in his boyhood, when he came as the guest of Nathaniel Greene, a distant kinsman of his, who was editor of the “Statesman” and postmaster of Boston. Many of his earliest poems were published in the “Statesman” under assumed names, and until lately never recognized as his. Not one of these juvenile productions, of which I have happened upon many specimens, was ever collected. When he was editing the “Manufacturer,” he boarded with the publisher of that paper, Rev. Mr. Collier, at N Federal Street. When visiting Boston in middle life, he felt most at home in the old Marlboro Hotel on Washington Street. He would often leave the hotel for a morning walk, and find a hearty welcome at the breakfast hour from his dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. James T. Fields, at N Charles Street. In later life, at the home of Governor Claflin, at N Mount Vernon Street, he was frequently an honored guest. It was here he first met Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, who gives this account of their meeting: “On this morning he came in across the thick carpet with that nervous but soft step which every one who ever saw him remembers. Straight as his own pine tree, high of stature, and lofty of mien, he moved like a flash of light or thought. The first impression which one received was of such eagerness to see his friends that his heart outran his feet. He seemed to suppose that he was receiving, not extending the benediction; and he offered the delicate tribute to his friend of allowing him to perceive the sense of debt. It would have been the subtlest flattery, had he not been the most honest and straightforward of men. We talked how can I say of what? Or of what not? We talked till our heads ached and our throats were sore; and when we had finished we began again. I remember being surprised at his quick, almost boyish, sense of fun, and at the ease with which he rose from it into the atmosphere of the gravest, even the most solemn, discussion. He was a delightful converser, amusing, restful, stimulating, and inspiring at once.” The winter of 1882-83 he spent at the Winthrop Hotel, on Bowdoin Street, where the Commonwealth Hotel now stands.

A visit to Whittier-Land is incomplete if Old Newbury and Newburyport (originally one town) are left out of the itinerary. At the celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of Newbury, in 1885, a letter from Whittier was read in which he recites some of the reasons for his interest in the town. He says: “Although I can hardly call myself a son of the ancient town, my grandmother, Sarah Greenleaf of blessed memory, was its daughter, and I may therefore claim to be its grandson. Its genial and learned historian, Joshua Coffin, was my first school-teacher, and all my life I have lived in sight of its green hills, and in hearing of its Sabbath bells. Its history and legends are familiar to me.... The town took no part in the witchcraft horror, and got none of its old women and town charges hanged for witches. ‘Goody’ Morse had the spirit rappings in her house two hundred years earlier than the Fox girls did, and somewhat later a Newbury minister in wig and knee-buckles rode, Bible in hand, over to Hampton to lay a ghost who had materialized himself and was stamping up and down stairs in his military boots.... Whitefield set the example since followed by the Salvation Army, of preaching in its streets, and now lies buried under one of the churches with almost the honor of sainthood. William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newbury. The town must be regarded as the Alpha and Omega of the anti-slavery agitation.”

The grandmother to whom he refers was born in that part of the town nearest to his own birthplace. The outlet to Country Brook is nearly opposite the Greenleaf place, and Whittier’s poem “The Home-Coming of the Bride” describes the crossing of the river and the bridal procession up the valley of the lesser stream, a part of which is known as Millvale because of the mills alluded to in the poem.

The house in which Garrison was born is on School Street next to the Old South meeting-house, in which Whitefield preached, and under the pulpit of which his bones are deposited. Whitefield died in the house next to Garrison’s birthplace. The ancient Coffin house, built in 1645, the home of Joshua Coffin, to whom Whittier addressed his poem “To My Old Schoolmaster,” is on High Street, about half a mile below State Street. Whittier’s cousins, Joseph and Gertrude Cartland, with whom he spent a large part of the last year of his life, lived at N High Street, at the corner of Broad.