[Boston—Friday, 5 March 1869]
Friday. March 5. Finished H. Greeley’s autobiography last night, a most interesting book because so full of what is to be American history, if we may not call it so now. His sketches of men are admirable. He says of Fenimore Cooper “a man of unquestioned talent,—almost genius,—he was aristocratic in feeling and arrogant in bearing, altogether combining in his manners” what a Yankee once characterized as “evincing ways to make people hate him.”
Curiously enough, he says, he never heard Lincoln “tell a story” but he quotes at secondhand that admirable one about Fox River he was so fond of.
We are having winter now—the weather clear, cold and bracing as we have not had it before, yet with gay spring sunshine. The days drop off before our departure and the time usually looks very short. But I cannot help feeling what a fearful thing it is to calculate so long before on anything. Unhappily Dickens is attacked with that terrible swelling and agony in his foot again and must postpone some of his readings. Monday came a letter from him.
Yesterday was a day of great rejoicing throughout the land. Grant is inaugurated. Such a sight was never seen before in Washington where the surging crowd swayed back and forth all day through streets and halls. The sun burst out gloriously just as the President took the oath. I am sure there could have been few dry eyes if I may judge from my own while reading the newspaper report.
Besides, our nearness to the king in love,
So near the hate of those love not the king.
Shakspeare as usual hits the nail with one blow. The loyalty of true friendship for king or commoner was never all honey or loyalty would not be esteemed a virtue. But where the reward is so immeasurably great as in the possession of a true friend how can we be so narrow as to measure the paltry price the world extorts. Away with such parsimony. Tis the meanest meanness that debases this proud earth!