[Boston—Sunday, 26 December 1869]

Dec. 26. Sunday. Yesterday (Christmas) appears already far behind. Time moves so swiftly with us away from anniversaries. Sad to come and swift to go! yet so much can be done to make Christmas beautiful to others that it can never be wholly sad to any one who can command the smallest power of doing out of oneself.

Longfellow and his family dined here on Wednesday. It is like the good times back again to have his sweet presence which we missed bitterly the year he was in Europe. He talked more than usual, was really sprightly and full of graceful remark leading off the conversation in a simple fashion natural to him. He talked tenderly of Dickens, but with his peculiar insight discovered something wrong—that he was not at ease, never at peace and apt to relapse into a dreary abstraction. The truth is the two men are so unlike that they could not well get on together I fear even if all were well with C.D., as it is they seem to neutralize each other and are happier apart in spite of the attraction Longfellow always feels to dear C.D.

Fechter has left for America and of course by him we shall hear, I wish it might be before—so long to wait!

Richard Spofford and his wife were here this week; she like a bit of heaven, there was such wonderful sweetness behind her warm face. He speaks of himself as a well man now, entirely changed and healed. It was beautiful to see her look at him as he said that. Like one who had watched and prayed and saw light at last.

The rain drops drops tonight as it has done all day. Jamie has gone to L’s, I sit by the fire and read Dante first and then scratch these few lines.

Aldrich and his wife dined here last night. I tried to make up a little party of those who could not have a good dinner at home to keep the day with us; fortunately so many were well cared for that I got only two people out of six, invited.

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