of my acquaintance, the daughter of a professor, a letter written by her own hand, congratulating me on being six years old and boasting that she should be four in three months. When we read in Lowell
's letters of his poring over French stories at seven and of his mother's giving him the three volumes of Scott
's “Tales of a grandfather” at nine, we must bear in mind this habitual precocity of the period.
That it was physically disastrous to Margaret Fuller
we know from her own statements; but that it did any visible injury to the Cambridge
men of her generation I am unable to say. Certain it is that Holmes
, Story, and Hedge
retained into age — except for the last few years of the latter's life a wonderful share of the vivacity and freshness of youth — the very qualities which precocious training is thought by many to impair.
The people among whom the Cambridge
authors were born or lived were thus a race of simple, well-meaning, studious, and even cultivated persons, having the advantages and limitations of a college town, not yet a university city.
When we judge the Cambridge