My life at Quirk's was a great improvement over the life I had led at home in Lynn. In the first place I was in the real country, and in the second I had the companionship of good-natured, light- hearted people. The master himself was of the happy-go-lucky sort who, with a real taste for the finer things of literature and life, take no thought for the morrow or indeed even for the day. He was entirely incapable of earning a living and had been successively an actor, a lecturer, a preacher, and a pedagogue. He was a fine scholar of Latin and could quote Terence, Horace, and Plautus in a way that could stir the somnolent soul even of a school-boy. His chief enemy, next to laziness, was drink. He would disappear for days at a time into his study, and afterward explain that he had been engaged in the preparation of his magnum opus, which periodically was just on the point of going to press.