[Boston—Sunday, 6 November 1870]

Sunday afternoon. Mrs Putnam with eyes aglow read me letters from England touching the conditions of France. I have seldom seen, even Mrs Putnam so deeply stirred.

Appleton (Tom, as the world calls him) came in soon after breakfast Sunday morning. He talked very wisely and brilliantly upon Art, its value and purpose to the state, the necessity for the museum. He said our people were far more literary than artistic. The sensuous side of their nature was undeveloped. The richness of color, the glory of form was less to them than something which could set the sharp edge of their intellect in motion. Beside what is Boston going to do, he said when these fellows die who give it it’s honor now, Longfellow, Holmes and the rest. They can’t live forever and with them its glory will depart without it is sustained by a foundation for art in other directions. Harvard University will do something to keep it up but not much and without a distinct effort be made now Boston will lose its place and go behind. He became much excited by the lack of appreciation for William Story in Boston, and the abuse of the Everett Statue which he considers good in its way and as marking the highest point in Everett’s oratorical fame, that is when he lifted his hand to indicate the stars in his address at Albany and set his fame some points nearer the luminaries which inspired him, by his fine eloquence. He said a merchant told him one day that he didn’t like Story’s portrait statues, but his ideal work he was delighted with. “You lie!” I said to him. “The beautiful shepherd-boy which I helped to buy and bring to Boston you know nothing of—you can’t tell me now in which corner of the Public Library it is hidden away, I tell you, you lie!”

He spoke of the Saturday Club and said that although he sometimes smiled at Holmes’s enthousiasm over it, he believed in the main he was quite right, and it would be remembered in future as Johnson’s Club has been and recorded and talked of in the same way.

Unfortunately I don’t see their Boswell. I wish I could believe there was a single chiel among them takin notes.

Jamie went out with Appleton and they walked the entire morning around the wharves and harbor edge, talking all the time. They both enjoyed it intensely although so much talk in the open air gave J. a cold in a tooth lately filled and an ague which troubled him for a day or two.

We are so grateful and happy that J. is out of the responsibility of business that he already seems like his old self once more. We are going to dispose of some of our pictures if we can & get our ship ready to stand close and trim, for we shall not be able to spend quite as much in future, we think—but I could be much poorer than we are likely to be and be happy I think in the simple knowledge that he is free of crushing and never ending responsibility.


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