[Boston—Wednesday, 18 November 1868]

Wednesday Jamie went to a great dinner at Mr. Gardner Brewer’s on Beacon St. in honor of Mr. Motley. There were about 24 guests and such splendor of glass & knives and forks, pictures and things to eat could not probably be seen in any country except it might be in some royal or ducal circles. Jamie sat next Mr. Motley & ex-Judge Bigelow on the other side. Lowell, Holmes, Charles Sumner, Gov. Claflin were all there beside some of our richest merchants and highly esteemed men, Charles F. Adams should not be omitted. It was a sight to see in Yankee land and not one to be exactly imitated or coveted. The best thing fortune has taught G.B. is, to try to do something for his own country people & citizens. The importation of a palace-full of works of art is no slight advantage which he has bestowed upon his native town and all this exclusive of his gifts of busts to the Music Hall fountain to the Common, etc.

Jamie watched the meeting between Mr Sumner & Mr. Adams who were formerly great friends but differed and separated after Mr. Adams was chosen to go to England, on some question connected with our political relations with that country. He saw the blood flush over Mr. Adams’s face as Sumner addressed him. The interview was evidently becoming very painful when J. went forward and broke it up by addressing Mr. Adams. The latter showed his gratitude by turning to J. and extending both hands in a cordial manner most rare with him at any time.

Jamie advanced the subject of copyright at the table, telling Mr. Sumner he hoped that question would still be foremost in his mind as he advanced to take his place in the new government. “But do you know” responded S. in his most serious way “what a pecuniary loss it will be to your house to have this measure carried.”

“Yes,” said J. “but fiat justitia, ruat Fields, Osgood & Co.” Of course a hearty laugh was the immediate response.

It is curious into what follies fashion will lead people who are only trying to be wise—there were no flowers at all on the table at this superb banquet, one of the finest private dinners ever given in this city, and the report is, because flowers are out of fashion just now, the matter of floral decorations having been completely overdone. The delight of seeing beautiful flowers is so great that one would think, beauty being its own excuse, people giving so fine an entertainment might have dared to transgress the barriers of the tyrant Fashion. But now, flowers the fairest part of any feast were lacking; nor did the display of diamonds in which Mrs Brewer indulged, compensate. They were estimated by keen eyes at $100,000 in value. Jamie was much struck by one picture; Venetian evidently of a lady. All agreed it was a work of surpassing richness and loveliness. (I don’t think it could compare with the living picture of the lovely Scott-Siddons here, the other night!)


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