[Boston—Friday, 4 December 1863]

Dec. 4. Mr Hawthorne and Mr & Mrs Alden passed the night with us. Mr Hawthorne came to town to attend the funeral of Mrs Franklin Pierce. He seemed ill and more nervous than usual. He brought the first part of a story which he says he never shall finish. J.T.F. says it is very fine yet sad. He says in it “pleasure is only pain greatly exaggerated” which is queer to say the least if not untrue. I think it must be differently stated from this. He was as courteous and as grand as ever—and as true. He does not lose that all saddening smile, either.

The Aldens could not speak this morning when they left for New York. They have enjoyed their visit here. It has done them good too.

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