In the opening days of 1864, the first handsome quartd edition of the ‘Life of Prescott’ appeared, and was seized with avidity by the public. Mr. Ticknor gave away an unusual number of copies, and, when some allusion to this by his daughter gave him a natural opportunity for saying it, he told her that he never meant to have any profit to himself from that book. It was evidently too near his heart for him to coin it into money. The merits of this Memoir have been fully recognized. Its genial style and the simple flow of the narrative are colored with a warm sense of the charms of Mr. Prescott's character, as well as a frank admission of those slight weaknesses which, by their peculiar flavor, only made him the more beloved by his friends. The lesson taught by that life of voluntary labor and of stern self-control, ingrafted on a facile, ease-loving nature, is kept steadily in view from first to last, while the picture of an heroic struggle against an ever-present infirmity, which might otherwise have been too sombre, is brightened by the happy use of almost trivial details. His heart went with his pen, and the narrative glows with the warmth of a strong personal affection, which gives it a charm that the best taste, the soundest judgment, and the most finished literary skill would not alone have secured. A few extracts from letters written by Mr. Ticknor to accompany presentation copies, and from letters which he received in relation to the Memoir, will close this subject.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 This letter is printed from a rough draft.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.