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[90] but one never felt quite sure that he was not studiously working up a point, which Holmes never did; the flow being 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.Stowe 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 β€œTom 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 β€œthe crowding of a redundant syllable into a line.” He says, for

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