[Boston—Monday, 28 March 1864]

Monday March 28. Mr Hawthorne came down to take this as his first station on his journey for health. He shocked us by his invalid appearance. He has become quite deaf too. His limbs are shrunken but his great eyes still burn with their lambent fire. He said “Why does Nature treat us so like children. I think we could bear it if we knew our fate—at least I think it would not make much difference to me now what becomes of me.” He talked with something of his old wit at times; said, “Why has the good old custom of coming together to get drunk gone out—think of the delight of drinking in pleasant company and then lying down to sleep a deep strong sleep.” Poor man. He sleeps very little. We heard him walking in his room during a long portion of the night, heavily moving, moving as if indeed waiting watching for his fate.

At breakfast he gave us a most singular account of an interview with Mr Alcott. He said “Alcott was one of the most excellent of men—he could never quarrel with any one—but the other day he came to make Mr H. a call to ask him if there was any difficulty or misunderstanding between the two families. Mr Hawthorne said no that would be impossible “but I proceeded,” he continued “to tell him it was not possible to live upon amicable terms with Mrs Alcott. She is a person who prides her self much on her family, is busied in the desire to outshine her neighbors, is totally devoid of the power to tell the truth and occupies herself much with circulating unworthy reports; she seems to possess an oblique vision to which nothing presents itself as it is. The old man acknowledged the truth of all that I said, (indeed who should know it better) but I comforted him by saying in time of illness or necessity I did not doubt we should be the best of helpers to each other. I clothed all this in velvet phrases that it might not seem too hard for him to bear, but he took it all like a saint.”

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