[Boston—Friday, 20 January 1871]

Friday Jany 13 [sic for 20]. Passed the evening at Ernest Longfellows new house just completed opposite his father’s. They had tableaux arranged by the young artist himself. It was all very simple, “but as pretty a little party” as J. said on our return, “as he had seen for many a day.” We left early because Longfellow himself was ill and we sat with him for a half hour before returning. I asked him to repeat to J. the circumstances which he related to me of Dr. Wesselhoeft’s interview with Goethe, narrated to Longfellow by the Dr. himself. It appears that the father of the young Wesselhoeft was a printer and the early poems of Goethe were printed in his office & carried home to Goethe for correction by the son. In consequence of this youthful acquaintance with the great man, young Wesselhoeft made bold, one day after the yearly meeting of students on the Wartburg had taken place where many original poems were sung, to gather these poems together & present them as a tribute to the old poet. The students found him standing in his long white dressing-gown made much after the fashion of the long coat in which Rauch’s statue represents him, standing with his back to the fire. “Your excellency” began the young man timidly “the students have just ended their yearly celebration on the Wartburg and I have the honor to present you with a collection of the poems written for that occasion”—“Umph” responded his excellency. “You young men think you can have it all your own way now”. But remonstrated the young man somewhat disturbed “Your excellency did not think so when you wrote Götz von Berlichengren [sic].” Upon that his excellency smiled and grew more gracious. There was Rhemish wine standing on the table. He begged the youth to join him in drinking some glasses of it and they parted excellent friends.

Longfellow heard this some years ago & had always intended to write it down but had never done so.

The weather has become excessively mild & the dearly beloved poet had taken cold in consequence. The stars shone as we came out and the pretty picture of the whole evening will not soon be wiped away.

Today Jamie lunched with Appleton, we pass the evening at Mrs Quincy’s. It is the great benefit to Fechter but in consequence of the tickets being sold unjustly at auction we shall not go. Unhappily there are rumors about town that Fechter is to be insulted in the theatre. I wish I could get word to him. I shall wait until J. gets home & then ask him to drive up & put F. on his guard.


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