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Wendell Phillips
by [?]

They didn’t tell Phillips, because a planned excursion on the part of these young folks wouldn’t have been just right–Beacon Hill would not have approved. But when they had bought their seats and met at the stage-yard–why, that was a different matter.

Besides, Mr. Alvord and Miss Grew were engaged, and Miss Greene was a cousin of Miss Grew–there!

Let me here say that I am quite aware that long after Miss Grew became Mrs. Alvord, she wrote a most charming little book about Ann Terry Greene, in which she defends the woman against any suspicion that she plotted and planned to snare the heart of Wendell Phillips, on the road to Greenfield. The defense was done in love, but was unnecessary. Ann Terry Greene needs no vindication. As for her snaring the heart of Wendell Phillips, I rest solidly on this: She did.

Whether Miss Greene coolly planned that trip to Greenfield, I can not say, but I hope so.

And, anyway, it was destiny–it had to be.

This man and this woman were made for each other–they were “elected” before the foundations of Earth were laid.

The first few hours out, they were very gay. Later, they fell into serious conversation. The subject was Abolition. Miss Greene knew the theme in all of its ramifications and parts–its history, its difficulties, its dangers, its ultimate hopes. Phillips soon saw that all of his tame objections had been made before and answered. Gradually the horror of human bondage swept over him, and against this came the magnificence of freedom and of giving freedom. By evening, it came to him that all of the immortal names in history were those of men who had fought liberty’s battle. That evening, as they sat around the crackling fire at the Fitchburg Tavern, they did not talk–a point had been reached where words were superfluous–the silence sufficed. At daybreak the next morning the journey was continued. There was conversation, but voices were keyed lower. When the stage mounted a steep hill they got out and walked. Melancholy had taken the place of mirth. Both felt that a great and mysterious change had come over their spirits–their thought was fused. Miss Greene had suffered social obloquy on account of her attitude on the question of slavery–to share this obloquy seemed now the one thing desirable to Phillips. It is a great joy to share disgrace with the right person. The woman had intellect, education, self-reliance–and passion. There was an understanding between them. And yet no word of tenderness had been spoken. An avowal formulated in words is a cheap thing, and a spoken proposal goes with a cheap passion. The love that makes the silence eloquent and fills the heart with a melody too sacred to voice is the true token. O God! we thank thee for the thoughts and feelings that are beyond speech!

* * * * *

When it became known that Wendell Phillips, the most promising of Boston’s young sons, had turned Abolitionist, Beacon Hill rent its clothes and put ashes on its head.

On the question of slavery, the first families of the North stood with the first families of the South–the rights of property were involved, as well as the question of caste.

Let one of the scions of Wall Street avow himself an anarchist and the outcry of horror would not be greater than it was when young Phillips openly declared himself an Abolitionist. His immediate family were in tears; the relatives said they were disgraced; cousins cut him dead on the street, and his name was stricken from the list of “invited guests.” The social-column editors ignored him, and worst of all, his clients fled.

The biographers are too intensely partisan to believe, literally; and when one says, “He left a large and lucrative practise that he might devote himself,” etc., we’d better reach for the Syracuse product.