[Boston—Wednesday, 29 April 1868]

April 29th Last night Ole Bull played to us. His concert was a grand success. There is no man living who can bring from the violin such deep utterances, though many, many more profound musicians. I did not think any thing could interest us so much and yet I know Divine Love is forever near and while we love that music comes to us from many chords; just as we believe Heaven to be perfect unity in perfect Love. But these mysteries are too high for us, we can never know how this instinctive faith of ours is reconciled with our individual existence.

It already seems years since Dickens left but he has not yet reached land. Heaven help all who love him!

The Spring dawns slowly. There has been a blight in it for us—but the buds have come at last and renewing strength to all who suffer.

Wednesday April 29th in the evening we went to hear Ole Bull again. There was an enormous audience, deeply enthousiastic. He had arranged his music in order to have the glorious organ accompaniment—afterward we snatched him away from the crowd and brought him home. Longfellow came in town to meet him in spite of a rain-storm and it was a sight indeed to see the two at table together—one the poet—the other a poem. Except Lucy Larcom & Alexander Bull there was no one else here. Ole talked of his scheme for a new piano which is absorbing him just now. An idea “betrayed to you by your violin” said Longfellow to him! Yaaas said Ole with that enthousiastic assent peculiar to him. The talk tending to the subtle question of vibrations Longfellow said “Everything in the world has its Tonic. The question is to find that. If you strike a bar of iron in many places it will shiver throughout its length until you strike it on one point where it alone will not respond. So with a bridge for instance—strike the bridge at the right point with that violin it will disappear!” We laughed heartily then at Ole’s lovely fantastic descriptions of Norway and his tales of the sea-serpent (!!!) which he saw last summer and gave us a minute description of can scarcely be given here. By and by we came back to the violin again when he described to us the tender sadness of the “Amati” the universal vibrations of the “Stradivarius” etc. Jamie asked him about strings. “Oh there is a difference too in strings” he said “your muttons must not be too civilized.”


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