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Chapter 15: Academic life in Cambridge

There exists abundant evidence, to which the present writer can add personal testimony, in regard to Longfellow's success as an organizer of his immediate department of Harvard University and in dealing with his especial classes. He was assigned, for some reason, a room in University Hall which was also employed for faculty meetings, and was therefore a little less dreary than the ordinary class-room of those days. It seemed most appropriate that an instructor of Longfellow's well-bred aspect and ever-courteous manners should simply sit at the head of the table with his scholars, as if they were guests, instead of putting between him and them the restrictive demarcation of a teacher's desk. We read with him, I remember, first the little book he edited, ‘Proverbes Dramatiques,’ and afterwards something of Racine and Moliere, in which his faculty of finding equivalent phrases was an admirable example for us. When afterwards, during an abortive rebellion in the college yard, the students who had refused to

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