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[244] or more increasingly satisfied and interested him. Instead of growing eager to complete this, and take up some other work; instead of becoming impatient to bring his favorite matter, or himself, before the public,—having the brilliant success of his friend Prescott to stimulate him in that direction,—he lingered over his preparations with affection, acknowledging that he disliked to part with the work after ten years devotion. From time to time, his nephew, Mr. George T. Curtis, asked him how soon he intended to stop collecting, and to begin printing, and he would only answer, ‘When I have done.’ In April, 1848, he calls it ‘a task I cannot find it in my heart to hurry, so agreeable is it to me.’1

His love of exactness, of thoroughness, of finding the nearest possible approach to absolute truth, was a very prevailing element in his character, cultivated into a habit, which affected all his thoughts and utterances; and this had its influence in the prolongation of his labors on the book. It also had much to do with the success of the History; for the thoroughness of his investigations, and the exceeding care shown, in all particulars, to arrive at facts, and to express them accurately, has always been generally acknowledged.

Meanwhile, this absorbing occupation did not separate him, or induce him to seclude himself, from the current of social and domestic life. His library door always stood open,—not figuratively only, but literally,—and no orders excluded visitors of any degree. He had, also, after his return home, in 1838, resumed his hospitable habits, as well as his connection with the more important societies and charities to which he had been attached; but his powers of concentration and methodical regulation of mind made him master of his time. When he left town for the summer he always carried a mass of books with him, selected with reference to some division of his work, to which he intended devoting himself during his absence; and his

1 Mr. Samuel Rogers, the English poet, when Mr. Ticknor's book was published and a copy of it lay on his table, said to Sir Charles Lyell, in allusion to it, ‘I am told it has been the work of his life. How these Bostonians do work!’

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