[Boston—Friday, 27 November 1863]

Friday morning. An intelligent eccentric Mr Dodge bringing letters from W. C. Bryant to us, came to breakfast. He is a bachelor, has lately lost his mother and has fallen desperately in love with Gail Hamilton through her writings. He has obtained an opportunity for going to see her and can hardly talk of anything else, nevertheless he manages to tell many agreeable things about New York and the wonderful places on the North River. One called Allesley I believe belongs to a Mr and Mrs Kelley. It has glass houses larger than those at Chatsworth and is every way a remarkably exquisite and accessible place.

He asked for a note asking M.A.D to come to town tonight, which I gave then repented and sent another by express. If she does not wish to marry him, she must not encourage him at first—at least we will not help the matter forward. It might be a good thing for her—at least money and leisure would be hers.

Henry Alden came to pass the night after his lecture upon the “Titanides of Art.” His brilliant eyes and gentle pensive face and true heart are always welcome at our fireside. He talks here. His wife says he does that no where else. All literature is unfolding or unfolded to his mind. He began rightly with the old Greek and feels more at home with Homer or Plato in the originals than with many modern books.

He talked long in the morning after breakfast while he was alone with me upon the doctrine of transmigration with which his mind is entirely imbued—so far that he says he never connects the idea of being distant from this world with himself. He has accustomed himself to write in spite of grief or pain or rather to distance both before the necessary absorption of thought for the time. He told me when he was told his child must die he was entirely engrossed in his lectures which must be finished. He stopped for five minutes and then continued his labor as if nothing had occurred. He said, “I was reminded to compare small things with great, of Dr Johnson who wrote Rasselas while his mother lay dead in order to obtain money for the burial.”


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