some of the very best of American thought and criticism.
It manifests even more than his “Life of Lowell
” that faculty of keen summing up and epigrammatic condensation which became so marked in him that it was very visible, I am assured, even in the literary councils of his publishers, two members of which have told me that he often, after a long discussion, so summed up the whole situation in a sentence or two that he left them free to pass to something else.
We see the same quality, for instance, in his “Men and letters,” in his papers on Dr. Mulford
The first is an analysis of the life and literary service of a man too little known because of early death, but of the rarest and most exquisite intellectual qualities, Dr. Elisha Mulford
, author of “The nation” and then of “The Republic of God.”
In this, as everywhere in the book, Mr. Scudder
shows that epigrammatic quality which amounted, whether applied to books or men, to what may be best described as a quiet brilliancy.
This is seen, for instance, when, in defending Mulford
from the imputation of narrowness, his friend sums up the whole character of the man and saves a page of more detailed discussion by saying, “He was narrow as a cafion is narrow, when the depth apparently contracts the sides” (page 17). So in