Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 43 pages of information about Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance).
potent tenderness which all who knew him must have known in him.  But in bearing my witness I feel accused, almost as if he were present; by his fastidious reluctance from any recognition of his helpfulness.  When this came in the form of gratitude taking credit to itself in a pose which reflected honor upon him as the architect of greatness, he was delightfully impatient of it, and he was most amusingly dramatic in reproducing the consciousness of certain ineffectual alumni who used to overwhelm him at Commencement solemnities with some such pompous acknowledgment as, “Professor Child, all that I have become, sir, I owe to your influence in my college career.”  He did, with delicious mockery, the old-fashioned intellectual poseurs among the students, who used to walk the groves of Harvard with bent head, and the left arm crossing the back, while the other lodged its hand in the breast of the high buttoned frock-coat; and I could fancy that his classes in college did not form the sunniest exposure for young folly and vanity.  I know that he was intolerant of any manner of insincerity, and no flattery could take him off his guard.  I have seen him meet this with a cutting phrase of rejection, and no man was more apt at snubbing the patronage that offers itself at times to all men.  But mostly he wished to do people pleasure, and he seemed always to be studying how to do it; as for need, I am sure that worthy and unworthy want had alike the way to his heart.

Children were always his friends, and they repaid with adoration the affection which he divided with them and with his flowers.  I recall him in no moments so characteristic as those he spent in making the little ones laugh out of their hearts at his drolling, some festive evening in his house, and those he gave to sharing with you his joy in his gardening.  This, I believe, began with violets, and it went on to roses, which he grew in a splendor and profusion impossible to any but a true lover with a genuine gift for them.  Like Lowell, he spent his summers in Cambridge, and in the afternoon, you could find him digging or pruning among his roses with an ardor which few caprices of the weather could interrupt.  He would lift himself from their ranks, which he scarcely overtopped, as you came up the footway to his door, and peer purblindly across at you.  If he knew you at once, he traversed the nodding and swaying bushes, to give you the hand free of the trowel or knife; or if you got indoors unseen by him he would come in holding towards you some exquisite blossom that weighed down the tip of its long stem with a succession of hospitable obeisances.

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Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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