[Boston—Monday, 14 November 1870]

Monday night went to see Fechter in Claude Melnotte. Longfellow & his daughter Edith sat in the box adjoining ours. It was the stage box where they were sheltered from observation; ours was the box next it, to be sure, but accessible to all eyes. During the evening Longfellow came into our box, Mrs Holmes & Mrs Andrew were with me, both plain ladies dressed in mourning. His advent caused a little rustle of curiosity to ripple over the house. Longfellow was never looking finer than he is today. His white hair & deep blue eyes, and kind face make his presence a benediction wherever he goes. Of such men one cannot help feeling what Dr. Putnam so well expressed last Sunday in speaking of the presence of our Lord at a feast “He rewarded the hospitality of his friends by his presence.”

Longfellow brought an illegible scrawl in his hand which Parsons had written from London to Lunt—a most drunken looking epistle. He told me also of having lately received a photograph from Virginia of a young woman and written under it were the words “What fault can be found with this”? He said he thought of replying—The fault of too great Youth. It certainly could not be agreeable to him to sit in the eye of the audience as he did, but he was very talkative and pleasant, rehearsed his disappointment at not having us at his Nilsson dinner, but his family were too many for him, said how much he liked her for her frankness, told me of the old Impresario Jarrett the Jew coming without invitation & certainly without being wanted, (as it sent “his children up stairs to dine”) and then as the play was about to begin he withdrew. He was much amused and disgusted by the platitudes of the play.

Returned to his own box Jamie said he laughed immoderately over the absurdities of it as it continued. He tooted as the instruments tooted and spouted as the second rate actors spouted, all of which was highly distasteful to Edith who was weeping over the unhappy lovers and utterly absorbed in the play—Mrs Holmes & Mrs Andrew too, were full of tears and I found it no use attempting to say anything more during the evening. Fechter was indeed marvellous. He raised the play into something human, something exquisite whenever he was upon the stage. His terrible earnestness sweeps the audience utterly away. But he is not the player for the millions.


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