[Boston—Monday, 14 December 1863]

Dec. 14. A heavy fog and part of the day raining. Virgil’s Eclogues are very beautiful— . . .

 

“O formose puer, nimium ne crede colori!

Alba ligustra cadunt, vaccinia nigra leguntur.”

Yesterday afternoon very rainy yet J.T.F. went to pass the afternoon with Longfellow. He found his son able to walk about a little. L. said, “how kind to come in the rain! this is indeed kind.” L. described his arrival at a station south of Washington in search of his son. He found no one there but a rough looking officer who was walking up and down the platform; at each turn he regarded the poet presently he came up and said taking his hand “is this Prof. L.? I was the translator of Hiawatha into Russian. I have come over to this country to fight for the union.” How strange and how agreeable such encounters must be. The New York surgeon also alas! that I should have forgotten his name, said when Prof. L. asked for his bill—“Mr Longfellow, I do not often yield to a sentiment in this way but I really can take nothing from you.” His son said—I wish my wound had been a sabre cut then I could have returned sooner to the army. “Charly, Charly,” his father said “be satisfied with what you have got!” Indeed he has narrowly escaped death.

Today dined at ½ past five with Mr and Mrs Otto Dresel. The inauguration of their dinner service. It was a witty table full. I asked Mr Lehmann if he did not think Dr Parsons a man of real talents and great eccentricity. “No he is simply a man of some talents who hates his business.” After dinner Mr Dresel played in his own remarkable manner till the electric current ran about the circle and I thought there should be a new poem written describing each listener going his ways with various avocations and feeling the control of these remembered sounds. Mrs Dresel carried me to their small sanctum in the top of the house and read to me a letter by Mrs L.M. Child to her mother overflowing with beauty, richness, and sweetness.

What a mixture of amusement and disgust possesses peoples minds because Browning has given his manuscript of Pippa passes to S. Schlesinger. They can’t recover.


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