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[88] 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 development of systematic memory, but his accumulation of odds and ends of knowledge was unsurpassed, and this is what a talker, or indeed a literary man as such, chiefly needs. His ready wit supplied the rest. It is to be noticed also that he had an arsenal of his own in a scientific direction from which he could draw weapons not accessible to others. He mercilessly talked down other talkers, yet not by a strategy, only through an irrepressible affluence which left them no room.

There was a legend that he once met in the street the late Tom Appleton, at that time the second best talker in Boston, who told him a capital story. It turned out that they were

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O. W. Holmes (1)
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