[Boston—Thursday, 6 October 1870]

Jamie and one of the alumni has gone to Cambridge to the laying of the corner stone of Memorial Hall. It will be a solemn service I doubt not.

Sunday night [2 October 1870] all Louisa’s family came to tea and Mr. Pratt passed the evening talking of his father-in-law Rufus Choate.

Mr Sumner, Charles, dropped in, in the afternoon and told us of his 50 fine paintings (originals, in his possession) by Gainsborough, Stothard, Weenix, I think Rembrandt and others. As usual he was far too deeply occupied with the greatness of Charles to see much else—nevertheless we found his talk interesting in its way as ever. He did not consider our house quite fine enough for us and wondered we did not follow our distinguished neighbour Dr. Holmes to Beacon Street!!!!

Mr. Pratt’s talk after all was better worth having, though he is no great man. He said it was Mr. Choate’s practice during his entire life, to take great books say Paradise Lost and the plays of Shakspeare and go over them line by line commenting upon each line, searching for synonyms and turning it over & over. He left mountain’s of MSS. containing such matter. It was almost indecipherable and was probably destroyed by his son Rufus who is now also dead.

His home pictures of Mr. Choate, his modesty and shyness, his religious opinions were all rehearsed and from the lips of one who saw him intimately were particularly interesting. Few people knew him intimately, however much they might be with him and on this topic Mr. Pratt had much to say. He, himself evidently felt very little intimacy, properly speaking with Mr. Choate although he was beloved by him.

Monday [3 October 1870] Helen & Alice Towne, Charlotte & Henrietta Dana came from Manchester, passed the night here & we all went to see Fechter in the evening. Amelia Holmes & Bessie Andrew went also. The floods descended and the girls spirits rose and everything went smoothly until just as we were entering the theatre when we heard that Fechter was ill and could not play. Such a disappointment! It was quite pathetic to see how well they bore it.

Dear Jamie is better, seeming like his old self and that makes it possible to go forward. Last night Isabella Glyn Dallas gave her first reading to a brilliant audience. Almost all the “great men” we have came. Emerson from Concord, Longfellow & Lowell, Henry James from Cambridge etc.


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