to pick up old threads; and began immediately to accumulate new anecdotes about the old Cambridge
He delighted to tell how, on the day before the last Fourth of July, an early contemporary, in somewhat humbler life, had come to him to appeal for still another comrade who had habitually drifted into evil ways and was lodged in the East Cambridge jail.
“Now, Mr. Lowell
, I know you wouldn't want that boy, that Cambridge
boy, to spend Independence Day in jail!
I know you'll just bail him out.”
promptly did so, though knowing well that his beneficiary would devote the Fourth of July to qualifying himself for returning to jail again, which was precisely what happened.
So, in other forms more satisfying, he took up the dropped threads of his life, receiving the Dante Club
and the Modern Language Association
as if each were the Royal Society.
In looking back on London
, too, he was able to see its limitations as well as its delights; was ready to recognize the barren fig-tree side of it, in Lord Houghton's phrase; the limitation and disappointment resulting from the very excess and hurry.
It is the same side that we see in books of personal recollections, like Lady Eastlake
's Diaries or Sir Frederick Pollock