In earlier generations, when refrigeration was pretty much nonexistent (not counting ice houses), cooks would surely have had to deal with lemons stored at room temperature. Assuming that the lemons would in fact desiccate (oooh, S.A.T. word), this little piece of advice from an 1877 cookbook called Buckeye Cookery makes sense:
TO KEEP LEMONS.--Cover with cold water, changing it every week. This makes them more juicy.