Biography of Percival Lowell

By A. Lawrence Lowell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
FIRST VISIT TO JAPAN

IN the summer of 1877 he came home; and, having no impulse toward a profession, he went into the office of his grandfather, John Amory Lowell, where he was engaged in helping to manage trust funds. In this,--in learning the ways of business, for a time as acting treasurer, that is the executive head, of a large cotton mill, and withal as a young man of fashion,--he spent the next six years. With money enough for his wants, never extravagant, and with the increase that came from shrewd investment, he felt free in the spring of 1883 to go to Japan to study the language and the people. Both of these he did with his habitual energy, learning to speak with great rapidity, meeting socially Japanese and foreign residents in Tokyo, and observing everything to be seen. His own view of the value of travel and study is given in a letter to a sister seven years his junior, written apparently in the preceding summer when she was in Europe.1"I am very glad," he says, "that you are taking so much interest in studying what you come across in your journey and after all life itself is but one long journey which is not only misspent but an unhappy one if one does not interest one's-self in whatever one encounters--Besides, from

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1
It is dated Boston, August 24th, but the year does not appear. She was abroad and he at home in the summers of 1882 and 1887.

-8-

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