Lecturer's Invitation

One day late in life Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. received an invitation to deliver a lecture. Having been offered no compensation, he sent a note by way of reply:

"I have at hand your kind invitation. However, I am far from being in good physical health. I am satisfied that if I were offered a $50 bill after my lecture, I would not have strength enough to refuse it."

[Though Holmes's hearing declined with age, his fondness for flattery did not. "I am a trifle deaf, you know," he would say when complimented. "Do you mind repeating that a little louder?"]

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