[Boston—Friday, 16 October 1863]

Oct. 16. Mr Alcott breakfasted with us. He said all vivid new life was well described by his daughter Louisa. She was happier now that she had made a success. “She was formerly not content to wait but so soon as she became content then good fortune came as she always does.” I told him we enjoyed deeply reading his mss. of “The Rhapsodist” (Emerson) last night. He said he thought it was finally brought into presentable shape! “When in a more imperfect condition I read it to Mr Emerson.” The modest man could only keep silent at such a time—but he conveyed to me the idea that he should prefer the paper should not be printed in the “Commonwealth.” Later I again read it, when he said—“If I were dead!” I have reason to believe that in its present shape he would not object to its presentation. He talked of his own valuable library and asked what he should do with it by and by. J.T.F. suggested it should go to the Union Club which pleased him much. “That is the place” said he. “If it were known this was my intention might I not also be entitled to consideration at the Club?”

Among his books is a copy of Milton’s “World of Words” owned by Sir Ferdinando Gorges who early colonized the state of Maine. He talked of Thoreau. “There will be seven or eight volumes of his works. Next should come the letters with the commendatory poems prefixed. Come up to Concord and we will talk it over. If you go to see Miss Thoreau arrange to talk with her in the absence of the mother who would interrupt and speak again of the whole matter. Make Helen [sic, for Sophia] feel that Henry will receive as much for his books as if he had made his own bargain—for he was good at a bargain and they are a little hard—that is they do not understand all the bearings of many subjects.”

The good old man has come to Boston being asked to perform funeral ceremonies over the bodies of two children. He asked for my “Vaughan.” “A beautiful poem which is not known is much at such a time”—he observed inquiringly. To which I heartily responded.

Mr Emerson came in to see Mr Fields today. “I shall reconsider my reluctance to have Mr Alcott’s article published provided he will obtain consideration by it” was his generous speech. He said he had begun to prepare a new volume of poems “but I must go down the harbor before I can finish a little poem about the islands. I took steamboat yesterday and went down but a mist came up and my visit was to no purpose.”

We went to see the fine Club House. Already Mr F. has arranged to have two works of art placed upon the walls. He is determined also to have Tilton’s Bay of Baiae hung there. It will cost 1000 dollars but he intends 10 gentlemen shall unite to put it in possession of the Club. It is a noble idea and I believe will be immediately accomplished. He intends also that Holmes’ portrait shall be given to the Club instead of the Athenæum.

Mr Josiah Quincy dropped in to see J.T.F. He had lately been travelling in the west he said. People complimented him upon his youthful appearance and his last letter to the President.

“I am glad you liked the letter he said but my father wrote it.” At the next town people pressed his hand and thanked him for his staunch adherence to the Antislavery cause as expressed in the Liberator. “Oh,” his reply was “that was my brother Edmund Quincy”; a little farther on a friend complimented his brilliant story in the last Atlantic magazine. That was by my son J.P. Quincy he was obliged to answer. Finally when his exploits in the late wars at the head of the 20th Reg. were re-counted he grew impatient said it was his son Col. Quincy but he thought it high time he came home instead of travelling about to receive the compliments of others.

Mr F. went in two evenings since to find Prof. Holmes. His wife said he was out. “I don’t know where he is gone I am sure Mr Fields,” she said in her eager way “but he said he had finished his work and asked if he might go and I told him he might though he would not tell where he was going.”

Yesterday the “where” transpired. “By the way,” said the Prof. “have you seen that little poem by Mrs. Waterston upon the death of Col. Shaw, “Together”. It made me cry. However, I don’t know how much that means for I went to see the “beautiful Cubas” in a pantomime the other night and the first thing I knew down came a great round fat tear and went splosh on the ground. Wasn’t I provoked.”


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