Mrs. Whitman was surrounded by geniuses. I didn't always believe in the rest of them, but I believed that somehow I must be a good one--not so great as she believed, but still something quite considerable in my own way.or
I have sometimes thought that the difference between French and German literature is that the Frenchman is always in a parlor; while the German, on the other hand, lives in the mining-camp of his profession. Of course there are German poets and novelists who deal with social life; but the hewers and diggers of the race are always encroaching; they occupy history, they invade journalism, they set up their barracks around philosophy. They have destroyed the German language; and all this because they work in silence.Both passages are from the essay "Mrs. Whitman", on a hostess whose fame must otherwise, I imagine, be forgotten even in Boston, and likely had faded when the book came out. Yet the Mrs. Whitmans and Mr. Brimmers afford Chapman a starting point for reflections as worth reading as do those on Charles Eliot Norton or President Eliot.