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‘ [437] perhaps the few months only, for I seem to have grown old fast of late, and can see only a very little distance before me.’ The account he afterwards gave—in the Memoir—of his friend's death, and of its effect, contains no direct allusion to his own feeling, but every word bears the impress of a pathetic undercurrent of emotion, which makes that chapter wholly different from anything that would have been written by one who stood in any other relation to the subject of it.

The public recognition of its loss, ‘such a sensation as was never produced in this country by the death of a man of letters’;1 the recollection that not the slightest neglect or imprudence had hastened the end; and that at the last moment of consciousness Prescott was his natural, cheerful self,—these were all admitted sources of comfort. Mr. Ticknor's faithful devotion and most delightful relations to the family of his friend, under whose will he was a trustee of his ample property, and whose children always looked on him as if he were one of their nearest relatives, was a further source of comfort.

Very soon Mrs. Prescott and her children asked him to prepare a Memoir of his friend, and he consented, with no hesitation, except a little consideration whether, at his age, he might venture on so absorbing a task.

On the 19th of April he wrote as follows to Lady Lyell:—

Boston, April 19, 1859.
my dear Lady Lyell,—I come to you for help, which you will readily give me. I think I shall write a Life of Prescott, and, if I do, I shall set about it at once. But, first of all, I want to see the materials for it collected and arranged. Those in possession of the family are ample and interesting; especially a large number of memoranda concerning the course and modes of his studies, from the very beginning, with some of which I have been long acquainted, but did not know their extent or importance until I ran them over. Besides these, however, I want, of course, all his letters to his friends, and all the details I can get from them. Nobody in England can furnish a contribution of this sort such as you can, for nobody knew so much of him as you and Sir Charles did.

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William H. Prescott (3)
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