[Boston—Tuesday, 22 September 1863]

September. 1863. This autumn J.T.F. will publish one of the most attractive list of books it has ever been his good fortune to bring together. Browning, Tennyson, Richter, Hawthorne, Ticknor, these names alone fill the ear with pleasure and quicken the desire. Nor must Longfellow be forgotten whose new volume is now quite finished. “Tales of a Wayside Inn” it is called and very sweet the tales are.

Newport, where the early autumn sunlight lies like molten gold over the face of Nature, is especially beautiful now that the rushing season of fashion is ended and the quiet moon rests on the still walks and highways. We drove one morning during a short visit thither to see the wife of our friend Prof. G. W. Greene. We found her living with his aged mother and her children at Greensdale the residence also of his brother and family. Prof. Greene was still in Cambridge with Mr Longfellow but his study door flew open to us and there we chatted with his mother, wife, and children. The old lady is eighty years old, very active and fond of country life. Not a day passes without several hours of reading saved from it. “I think” she said “I average a small volume every week.” She told me this was the third library her son had collected and in it are many valuable works. Richardson’s dictionary, a fine edition of Milton, a full Æchylus (Greek) caught my eye as I sat there. On the wall hung an original bas-relief, very fine, of Kasiusko, also French miniatures of his father and brother. The place is quaint and peaceful with a beautiful sea view but alas! the railroad is to injure it very much.

From Mrs Greene’s we drove to see Mrs Julia Ward Howe, the Dr. was at home (Docetur as she calls him) and her oldest daughter. She spoke of Mr Bartol’s kindness to her last spring while she was in such affliction, of the flowers he sent her and the feeling he expressed. I told her he was fond of the woods. “Why yes,” was her reply, “he has a look as of never being out of the woods, has he not?” We walked through her valley (Lawton’s valley) together and recalled the pleasant times we had enjoyed there. The servants were ironing in the old mill over the cascade which had been converted into a laundry and very picturesque the whole place looked. She said G.W. Curtis had been receiving for his literary labors $10,000 per annum for several years all of which above the necessities of life went to pay debts which he inherited from a publishing firm, debts which were no fault of his either. This is noble.

Called at the house of Geo. H. Calvert author of that charming book, “The Gentleman.” His place is small, hardly above three acres but planted with beautiful trees and altogether English in its aspect. We have no higher praise for a rural mansion. Here was one of Stuart’s finest heads, William Hunt’s picture of his own wife, a master piece, a life size head of Goethe (lithograph) and a bust of Mr Calvert by Powers, all of great interest.

Called at the studio of Staigg. He has some excellent things. A picture of Mrs Minturn, the second daughter of Mrs Frank Shaw which is lifelike and elegant, also the head of a beautiful rebel with enchanting eyes. Some street bits, all good.


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