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Oliver Wendell Holmes

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I always say you can get your tragedy of any desired length in England, from thirty seconds to a lifetime. I had one adorable one of twenty-nine minutes by the watch. At the end of that time I started for my train. Woman I'd had a glimpse of in London walk. She sat on a style, I below her, gazing into her eyes then, "remember this lane," "while memory holds its seat, etc." "Adieu." And I still do and ever shall remember her, and I rather think she does me a little bit. What imbecilities for an old fellow to be talking. But if one knows his place and makes way for younger men when he isn't sure, it is better perhaps not quite to abandon interest in the sports of life.
Letter to Sir Frederick Pollock (August 23, 1895); reported in Mark De Wolfe Howe, ed., Holmes-Pollock letters: The correspondence of Mr. Justice Holmes and Sir Frederick Pollock (1961), Volume 1, page 60; also reported in The mind and faith of Justice Holmes: his speeches, essays, letters, and judicial opinions (1954), p. 437.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

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