[Boston—Wednesday, 1 December 1869]

Wednesday, a lunch party for English friends of Sam. Ward & Dana. Went to Mr. Longfellows. Thursday and Friday he came here, a quiet sit-down with him by the fire. He looked like a god, but he is very absent much of the time and talk doesn’t flow with him. I am frequently reminded of what dear C.D. said to Forster who was lamenting that he did not see him upon his return to England. “It was just as well Forster I assure you, better so, he was certainly the most embarrassing man in all England—he had not a word to say for himself.” How different from Wordsworth and indeed from most great men in this particular—but I think he is pre-occupied with sorrows and anxieties and being separated forcibly from his natural world of meditation and brought out into the world of observation and affairs he is in a manner paralyzed. I know he can talk delightfully and this makes it all the worse. He loves talk too as every healthy man must but the fountains are sometimes frozen.

The old method of life comes back but with a new life in it I hope. I feel less inclined to write and visits from Henry James, Mr. Emerson, R.H. Dana have gone unrecorded. But a sea of gratitude surges up in me for all we have and all we enjoy.

Jamie has been ill and I “enormously” busy of all weak naughty words the worst.


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