And in order to make clear the truth of the statement just made, namely, that Fate had achieved something when it brought Galusha Bangs to the door of Martha Phipps’ home that rainy night in October—in order to emphasize the truth of that statement it may be well, without waiting further, to explain just who Galusha Cabot Bangs was, and who and what his family was, and how, although the Bangses were all very well in their way, the Cabots—his mother’s family—were “the banking Cabots of Boston,” and were, therefore, very great people indeed.
“The banking Cabots” must not be confused with any other branch of the Cabots, of which there are many in Boston. All Boston Cabots are “nice people,” many are distinguished in some way or other, and all are distinctly worth while. But “the banking Cabots” have been deep in finance from the very beginning, from the earliest of colonial times. The salary of the Reverend Cotton Mather was paid to him by a Cabot, and another Cabot banked whatever portion of it he saved for a rainy day. In the Revolution a certain Galusha Cabot, progenitor of the line of Galusha Cabots, assisted the struggling patriots of Beacon Hill to pay their troops in the Continental army. During the Civil War his grandson, the Honorable Galusha Hancock Cabot, one of Boston’s most famous bankers and financiers, was of great assistance to his state and nation in the sale of bonds and the floating of loans. His youngest daughter, Dorothy Hancock Cabot, married—well, she should, of course, have married a financier or a banker or, at the very least, a millionaire stockbroker. But she did not, she married John Capen Bangs, a thoroughly estimable man, a scholar, author of two or three scholarly books which few read and almost nobody bought, and librarian of the Acropolis, a library that Bostonians and the book world know and revere.
The engagement came as a shock to the majority of “banking Cabots.” John Bangs was all right, but he was not in the least “financial.” He was respected and admired, but he was not the husband for Galusha Hancock Cabot’s daughter. She should have married a Kidder or a Higginson or some one high in the world of gold and securities. But she did not, she fell in love with John Bangs and she married him, and they were happy together for a time—a time all too brief.
In the second year of their marriage a baby boy was born. His mother named him, her admiring husband being quite convinced that whatever she did was sure to be exactly the right thing. So, in order to keep up the family tradition and honors—“He has a perfect Cabot head. You see it, don’t you, John dear”—she named him Galusha Cabot Bangs. And then, but three years afterward, she died.