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deep, passionate, unremitting. He speaks somewhere of an old man so versed in Nature's ways that apparently there were no secrets between them. This might have been said of Thoreau himself. He could pay lofty tributes to the ‘mys“tical' quality in Nature; but he was not a mere rhapsodist, a petty village Chateaubriand; he could come straight down to tangible facts and recount every detail of the advent of spring at Walden. His power to see and his skill in describing the thing seen unite to give the very atmosphere of life in the woods.
He was himself so complete an original and his literary attractiveness is such that Thoreau numbers among his best friends not only those who are nature-blind but the confirmed city-men as well, the frequenters of clubs, the lovers of pavements and crowds. That some of the most appreciative tributes to his genius should have come from these is but one paradox the more in the history of him who (at times) delighted above all else in the paradoxical.
olmes invented a phrase which became cele
brated — 'the Brahmin caste of New England,' that is to say, an aristocracy of culture. The inventor of the phrase belonged to the class. He was a son of the Reverend Abiel Holmes, minister of the First Church of Cambridge and author of that “painstaking and careful work,' the American Annals.
Abiel Holmes (a great-grandson of John Holmes, one of the settlers of Woodstock, Connecticut) was twice married. His first wife was Mary Stiles, daughter of President Ezra Stiles of Yale College. Five years after her death he married Sarah Wendell of Boston, who became the mother of Oliver Wendell Holmes. Through the Wendells, Holmes was related by one line of descent to Anne Bradstreet; by another to Evert Jansen Wendell of Albany.
W. Sloane Kennedy: Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1883.
J. T. Morse, Jr.; Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1896.