[Boston—Friday, 19 February 1864]

January [sic] 19. Last evening received a visit from Henry James and his son. He places Dr Holmes very high, above almost all other men of our time perhaps at the head. Lafarge an exquisite artist is young James’ friend—he has illustrated Browning’s “Men and Women.” They praised his wife too.

This morning early called upon Mrs Mott of Pa. found Mr James with her. He observed that circumstances had placed him above want and inheritance had given him a position in the world which precluded his having any knowledge of the temptations which beset many men. His virtues were the result of his position rather than of character, an affair of temperment. He said society was to blame for much of the crime in it and as for that poor young man who committed the murder at Malden it was a mere fact of temperament or inheritance.

He soon broke off his talk saying it was “pretty well to be caught in the middle of such weighty topics in the presence of two ladies at 10 o’clk in the morning,” then we talked of houses—he wishes a furnished house for a year in Boston until his departure.

Saw Mr Longfellow he said “he was as cross as he could be” because he was obliged to come to town to be photographed, a man came from N.Y. for the purpose. He is quite ill with cold. I gave him tinct. Nux Vomica one drop in half a glass of water.

Dear Mrs Hawthorne came to see me. She brought Julian’s painting to show. What sunlight and joy it was to see her. How the day grew warm and beautiful!

She has illustrated “Gaffer Grey” for the Concord fair, painted two exquisite vases (we shall have these), and Julian painted like the old missals “Ring out the bells to the wild sky.” The vases are painted from the Parthenon marbles.

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