[Boston—Sunday, 27 September 1863]

Sep. 27. Called to see Mrs Lowell Putnam. She was away but the sweet old place looked a welcome and wore the air of a home suited to such a life. We found Col. Greene and his wife one half hour later in their cottage under the pines. The drawing-room was like a bit of Paris to us. We found them first in a room similarly arranged there—how cosy it did look to us to be sure. Mrs Greene’s life is expended in attempting to lift and cheer him. Premature age has taken hold of him and “desire has failed” as Solomon says it shall with age. He passed many hours of every day entirely absorbed in mathematical calculations. The results, alas! appear to be beyond the use of any body and thus it has been with all he has undertaken in the world. He lacks practical ability or rather the ability to make his power practical which was what I intended to say. Life seems a deep mystery to him because of this and his soul seems weighed down with the burden. I think he believed when the war broke out he could at last serve the world. He made great sacrifices but the world could not understand him and he was actually forced by the pressure of circumstances to give up his Colonelcy.

Mary Dewey came to pass a week with us. Mr Longfellow and Mr Greene came in in the evening to see the moonlight in the streets and after to take a light supper. Longfellow was very sad. I observed he had lost two front teeth which made him appear old and that too since last week. I don't understand it. He seemed neither to have read “Sidney's Acadia” or Christina Rossetti's volume of poems both of which we had lent him.

He was “all abroad” as I said and seemed to me over whelmed with his grief; as if it were some times more than he could endure. He admired William Blake’s poems and the new volume by “Jean Ingelow,” he thinks this a fancy name for Jean “Fireside” being this is Scotch.


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