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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 1: old Cambridge (search)
ensions offered by tradition, was complete happiness. Mr. Lowell viewed these exceptional beings with the eye of a humorist, rather than of the moralist. As a spectator, he appreciated the irregular light which they threw on the monotonous path of steady industry. There is abundant evidence in Lowell's letters and in his printed works of his humorous enjoyment of this under-side of human nature. It was after his final return from England that he had an appeal, on the day before one Fourth of July, from a broken-down companion of his boyhood who had led a somewhat questionable life, to go down to East Cambridge jail and release another similar worthy, also a playmate, that he might at least spend Independence Day in freedom. Lowell went promptly and paid the fine, which was very likely assessed over again, and for adequate cause, within forty-eight hours. The element of sailor vagrancy, too, was then far more prominent than now. The East India trade was still a lingering Boston e