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Newport (Rhode Island, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
nowledge of society was more varied, and perhaps I have never in my life been so heartily amused as once at a ttte-d-thte dinner with him in his bachelor house at Newport, when for two hours he mainly sustained the conversation and seemed at the end to have passed in review, in the most brilliant way, half the celebrities of Europeeing somewhat amateurish in him. He suffered greatly during his whole career from asthma, which many people outgrow with years, though he did not. When I lived in Newport he once came there to spend a week at the house of the late Mrs. John Jacob Astor--who was perhaps the last of the New York millionnaires to exhibit a positive terary men — and that he had to leave, after a single night's stay, because of a severe attack of his chronic complaint. It is a curious fact about the climate of Newport that some people come there expressly to be cured of asthma, while others have to leave the town in order to shake it off. Holmes's relation to science now app
Orleans, Ma. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
I have always felt that this was rather the vocation of woman than general medical, and especially surgical, practice. This was received with loud applause from the conservative side, then prevailing. He quietly went on, Yet I myself followed the course of lectures given by the young Madame Lachapelle in Paris; and if here and there an intrepid woman insists on taking by storm the fortress of medical education, I would have the gate flung open to her, as if it were that of the citadel of Orleans and she Joan of Arc returning from the field of victory. Professor Dwight, who was present, adds: The enthusiasm which this sentiment called forth was so overwhelming, that those of us who had led the first applause felt, perhaps looked, rather foolish. I have since suspected that Dr. Holmes, who always knew his audience, had kept back the real climax to lure us to our destruction. Holmes's Life and letters, I. p. 186. His theological heresies, as they were once considered, were re
United States (United States) (search for this): chapter 3
my song is done. These statistics of admiration were not thought altogether suitable to an academic poem, and the claim itself in regard to the young lady may have proved a little premature, inasmuch as she subsequently married Holmes's friend Motley, the historian. He had undoubtedly in his manners to young ladies of that period a tone of airy love-making, suitable to one lately returned from gay Paris; and his poem To a lady, boasting of the change in her manner since he first left America a pallid boy, may easily have had an actual foundation. It is to be remembered, however, that he had at this period a look of physical insignificance, which his middle years greatly amended by additional flesh; at Phi Beta Kappa dinners he used to stand up in a chair to sing his songs, and his juvenile look was even considered something of an obstacle to his early success in medical practice. Dr. Walter Channing of Boston, grandfather of the present physician of that name, was fond of te
Paris, Ky. (Kentucky, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
y have proved a little premature, inasmuch as she subsequently married Holmes's friend Motley, the historian. He had undoubtedly in his manners to young ladies of that period a tone of airy love-making, suitable to one lately returned from gay Paris; and his poem To a lady, boasting of the change in her manner since he first left America a pallid boy, may easily have had an actual foundation. It is to be remembered, however, that he had at this period a look of physical insignificance, whic than general medical, and especially surgical, practice. This was received with loud applause from the conservative side, then prevailing. He quietly went on, Yet I myself followed the course of lectures given by the young Madame Lachapelle in Paris; and if here and there an intrepid woman insists on taking by storm the fortress of medical education, I would have the gate flung open to her, as if it were that of the citadel of Orleans and she Joan of Arc returning from the field of victory.
Milton, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
ther end, that profane swearing really originated in the pulpit. Holmes's literary opinions belonged, as compared with Lowell's, to an earlier generation. Holmes was still influenced by the school of Pope, whom Lowell disliked, although his father had admired him. We notice this influence in Holmes's frequent recurrence to the tensyllable verse; in his unwillingness to substitute dactyls for spondees; and in his comments on Emerson's versification, which remind one of those of Johnson on Milton. He has a great aversion to what he calls the crowding of a redundant syllable into a line. He says, for instance, Can any ear reconcile itself to the last of these three lines of Emerson's: Oh, what is heaven but the fellowship Of minds that each can stand against the world By its own meek and incorruptible will? He goes on to denounce these lines that lift their back up in the middle, span-worm lines, we may call them, of which he says that they have invaded some of our recent p
Rhode Island (Rhode Island, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
rsisting in the same method which had originally produced it, namely, by the most fearless intimacy with his audience, never keeping back any jest or any expression of confidence. He frankly says in one place that good talkers are very apt to be bores,--thus meeting criticism halfway. The discursiveness of his articles only matches the same quality of his mind; and there probably never was a man whose conversation and whose writing were so little unlike. I knew one celebrated talker in Rhode Island who astonished a dinner party by reciting the birthdays of all the British queens. It seemed a deed impossible except for a Macaulay, until later in the day the butler brought to the host a little printed volume containing odds and ends of information, and including just this list of queen's birthdays. It had fallen from the pocket of this particular guest and was restored to him without comment. Such a misfortune would have been absolutely impossible to Dr. Holmes. He had no marked
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 3
lecturing before the popular lyceums then so much in vogue. He did not go to distant parts of the country, but was in New England one of the most unfailingly popular among lecturers. He met, however, this obstacle in lecturing, as sometimes in libreakfast table, as being a work of irreligious tendency; yet its author's criticisms on the then established faith of New England were from the point of view of human sympathy and not of technical theology. He did not wish, in his own words, to suls, all turned in different degrees. The first of these, Elsie Venner, achieved a permanent fame both as a picture of New England life and as a scientific study. How widely either has achieved that popular recognition which is so poor a test of literary work cannot now be told. It is known that in one country town of New England, the local bookseller, on being asked if he had any of Dr. Holmes's novels, replied that he had never heard of him or them, but that Mrs. Mary Jane Holmes had writt
Dartmouth, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
the study and my kind-hearted old father-not so old or so white-haired as I am now, at that time — so vividly as your story. ... Once more — twice more, if I have already written, I thank you. Faithfully yours, O. W. Holmes. Dr. Holmes was born, it will be remembered, August 29, 1809, graduated at Harvard in 1829, studied law for a year and a half, then studied medicine in Europe for two years and a half, took his degree at the Harvard Medical School in 1836, became Professor at Dartmouth in 1838, and Professor at the Harvard Medical School in 1847. He was thus away from Cambridge during most of my boyhood, and my memory first depicts him vividly when he came back to give his Phi Beta Kappa poem in 1836. He was at this time a young physician of great promise, which was thought to be rather impaired by his amusing himself with poetry. So at least, he always thought; and he cautioned in later years a younger physician, Dr. Weir Mitchell, to avoid the fault which he had com
Pittsfield (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
eyism. In his day Beacon Street was still precisely what he called it, The sunny street that holds the sifted few, and young men and maidens in good society carried on their courtships while walking round the Common or down the long path or on the mill-dam. Whom does Arabella walk with now? was a question occasionally heard in careful circles of maiden aunts. Holmes did not really desire any larger social arena, and moreover got all the rural life he wanted through his summer visits in Pittsfield. He was conservative on the slavery question until the Civil War, hated quacks and fanatics with honest and unflinching hostility, and it was only the revolt of his kindly nature against Calvinism which threw him finally on the side of progress. The Saturday Club with all its attractions did not lead him in that direction. It brought together an agreeable set of cultivated men, but none of the more strenuous reformers of its day, however brilliant, except Emerson and occasionally Sumne
Lowell (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
too spontaneous for that. On the other hand neither of these three eminent talkers could be relied upon for tact, as was shown at the famous dinner to Dr. and Mrs. Stowe which I have elsewhere described, and at which Lowell discoursed to Mrs. Stowe at one end of the table on the superiority of Tom Jones to all other novels, while Holmes demonstrated to Dr. Stowe, at the other end, that profane swearing really originated in the pulpit. Holmes's literary opinions belonged, as compared with Lowell's, to an earlier generation. Holmes was still influenced by the school of Pope, whom Lowell disliked, although his father had admired him. We notice this influence in Holmes's frequent recurrence to the tensyllable verse; in his unwillingness to substitute dactyls for spondees; and in his comments on Emerson's versification, which remind one of those of Johnson on Milton. He has a great aversion to what he calls the crowding of a redundant syllable into a line. He says, for instance, Can
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