[Boston—Saturday, 28 November 1868]

Saturday Nov. 30 [sic]. Meeting of the Saturday Club. G.W. Curtis was J’s guest. Motley was there & Emerson. It was lively and interesting. About ½ past 6 I heard a sound of reading and going down stairs found Dr. Holmes, Curtis & Lowell with J. They were full of wit and jollity. We went in for a cup of tea and they stayed an hour or two. They challenged each other upon a line from Goldsmith “From Torno’s Cliff to Pambamarca’s Side” one said “Torneo” another chose for side. It proved the editions disagreed but they fell back on the old one which gives the above reading. Algers Prose was subject of unlimited merriment. He has just written a new article in the Examiner. It is inconceivable for badness. Lowell is feeling badly about an article by Tuckerman he is to print in the North American. It is wretched he says. I could not help giving him a little stab for printing it there but he says he feels badly enough without anything more. He told a capital story the best he thinks since Boccac[c]io which came to his knowledge while in Germany years ago. I think he will use it,—of a poor peasant whose wife brought him a baby every Christmas or as near that as possible, until finding themselves with nine or ten children he began to be alarmed for their support, so one day he put the last baby in a basket and carried it to the gate of a convent where were some hospitable sisters and was about leaving it when somebody pounced upon him saying so you’re the person who leaves babies here are you, and thereat packs him off again not only with his own child but with one which had been left there an hour before.

To cut the tale short which Lowell will like I hope to make the most of, the strange child proved “ben trovato” with an annual salary and all ended happily. It has taken his imagination & he will doubtless treat it well.

Mrs. Lowell is away at her home near Portland. She went to a country ball the other night which L. said he would have given much to have seen. The music “struck” early in the evening and passed round the hat saying they saw some of the gentlemen slipping off early and were afraid they should not get their pay. Mrs. L. overheard one of the girls say she had just got a beautiful new fashioned dress from Portland with the Grecian Band all round the bottom.

Curtis was sympathetic and interesting as usual. Dr. Holmes, always kindly, is preoccupied and leaves a feeling of regret instead of warmth and fullness behind him. I cannot understand it, how we touch and listen and really feel together on many topics and yet when we separate there is a chillness in the atmosphere instead of that rich human feeling which is the fundamental life of all intercourse. It really saddens me to feel this but I know it is not our fault, and then I thank heaven that we have known Dickens. May God keep him from temptations which are too great—and all of us. Nobody can know but himself and ourselves how much we regret him nor can anybody [k]now how loving are all our memories.



Askest thou whence this smile?

I smile upon my vanished one.

Askest what tears beguile?

They fall on sweet days done.


I walk where lovers tread

But overshadowed by another sky;

For some their love is dead

For me his face is nigh.


O glory of the morn

More glorious from the yellow past!

And tender, not forlorn

The few dark days that last!


Yet often I am alone

Gone is the hurrying of love-driven feet

And one dream is my own

Of the hour when we shall meet.


Mr. Emerson came in yesterday to say another course of parlor lectures had been proposed to him but he said “I told them I shall do nothing until Mrs. Fields has been consulted.”

So I suppose we are to have more. Good!

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