And Gladly Teach: Reminiscences

And Gladly Teach: Reminiscences

And Gladly Teach: Reminiscences

And Gladly Teach: Reminiscences

Excerpt

I have had a long and exceptionally happy career as a teacher at Williams, Princeton, and Harvard. It began before I was twenty-one, and ended at seventy, for I did not wish to have it said of me, as was once remarked of a venerable Oxford don who refused to retire, that he had all the Christian virtues except resignation.

This term of service was occasionally broken: by two years of graduate study in Germany, one year of lecturing in various universities of France, and ten years devoted to editing the Atlantic Monthly -- although in the first of these ten years, and the last two, I was carrying college work at the same time. I have never travelled very far from the beaten paths in America and Europe -- except on an occasional fishing trip -- but I have had the good fortune to know many interesting persons, in and out of my own profession. I have written many books. They might be better, but they were as good as I knew how to make them.

All this is pleasant enough in recollection in one's seventy-fifth year, and yet why write about it? Was not Sir Leslie Stephen mistaken in thinking that there never was a dull autobiography? It seems to me that I have read many such. Nevertheless I feel now like recording some memories, with or without excuse. One can always claim, of course, that he is writing reminiscences for the benefit of his grandchildren, but I fear that my grandchildren will be too busy earning a living to care whether Grandfather did or did not know Mark Hopkins and . . .

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