Reflection on the slower tempo of a time that seems increasingly ancient every year was stimulated by this little book on Holmes. It was printed the year I was born, but more to the point it deals with Doctor Holmes himself and his determined but not self-conscious individual effort to unify and embody in himself the two cultures of science and literature. Nobody of my day could get into "high" school without having had large selections from his poems such as "Old Ironsides," "The Chambered Nautilus," "The Deacon's Masterpiece" (known to the vulgar as the "one-hoss shay"), and the "Height of the Ridiculous." They all come flooding back into memory as I pick up this old book.
Crother's little essay about "the Autocrat" and his fellow boarders is really a neatly arranged recapitulation of Holmes, as petty tyrant and enlightened teacher of the boarding house. As he speaks for