[Boston—Thursday, 10 December 1863]

Dec. 10. Visit from H.W. Beecher. He said of Mr Conway (Moncure) that he never knew a man before who could tell an absolute falsehood and be entirely unconsciousness that it was not the truth. He said (he C.) sat down holding his head in his hands after he had that extraordinary communication with Mason and said, what spirit possessed me to say I was authorized by government to say these things, by what Providence was I suffered to do this strange thing. Conway was looking very seedy in London with a torn and patched overcoat and as if he lived in an attic for a shilling a day.

Mr Beecher did not like Mr Browning. He found him flippant and worldly. To be sure he had but one interview and could scarcely judge but had he met the man by chance in a company he should never have sought him a second time. He said of Charles Lamb that he always reminded him of a honey-suckle growing between and over a rough trellis; it would cover the stakes it would throw out blossoms and tendrils it would attract humming-bird and make corners for their nests and fill the wide air with its fragrance. Such was C. Lamb to him.

He was sure he could have liked Mrs Browning. So credulous, generous, outspoken. He liked strong outspoken people yet he liked serene people too but then he loved the world in its wide variety.

He said his boy wished to be either a stage-driver or a missionary. His fancy was for stage-driving; he thought perhaps his duty might make him a missionary.

He says his oldest son is to be married to a girl who is too good for him. Hattie is perfectly absorbed in her child.

It was such a privilege to see him back and such a privilege to grasp his hand. I could say nothing but be happy and thankful.


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