[Boston—Monday, 23 November 1863]

Monday Nov. 23. The day exquisite as early spring and yet with the ripe haze and richness of the autumn. J.T.F. overwhelmed with people during the morning among others Longfellow who told him he had been reading Heine the night before and was betrayed into exquisite laughter. Heine says “I truly believe a blaspheming Frenchman to be more acceptable to the Almighty than a praying Englishman.”

Julia Bryant also came and in the course of conversation described a soirée given to her father in New York which he was unable to attend. Miss B. went however and had been in the room but a few moments when a lady sailed up to her saying “Do you touch the lute yourself Miss Bryant?”

At 12 J.T.F. went to see Rowse’s portrait of his wife. He pronounced it “superb” to the profound satisfaction of all parties. Mr R. who is an original only says “I should like to do one good portrait before I die.”

He has done many. There is one of a Portland lady; we have named it Cornelia, very beautiful. It is translucent reminding me of one of Francine's paintings. He says, he knows what virtue is therefore as the Orientals have said “he expects to sail over the waves of sin in the basket of wisdom.” I shook my head and told him it was perilous.

Sophia May Eckley has become our neighbor. She seems one mass of pretention and affectation yet Mrs Browning wrote to her she says two hundred letters and received her as a friend during four years. She wears a dog upon her arm, dresses à l’anglaise and rails at her native city as though she had never seen so outlandish a district before. She says she has a “literary niche” in England. I can’t help wishing she would then step up into it and stand there.

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