[Boston—Tuesday, 12 December 1871]

Dear J. was seized with terrible ague and suffered all night—application one part Chloroform & 2 parts camphor gave him ease, with a hot oat-meal poultice added, chloric ether added to that & Chloral—but with all these he had a terrible night. Early Tuesday morning went to the dentist and almost fainted away there from the severity of the operation in having the tooth out, although he felt no pain as he took gas. He slept several hours of the morning while I sat waiting. Longfellow came in about noon. He went to a private dinner given by the Duke the night before—he sat as usual at his right hand and said the young man’s face sparkled and he appeared to enjoy thoroughly sitting at the head of his own table without strangers. He talked of Russian literature, its modernness, the few persons who could speak Russian and then said he had sent us, to read, one of the novels of Tourganieff “Liza” in which we should find charming and vivid glimpses of landscape & life “like those seen from a carriage window”. The story of Tourganieff is a strange one he continued. Early in life he became enamored of Pauline Garcia (Madame Viardot) and had never been able from that time to live apart from her. He resides always in the same house with Madame Viardot and her husband finding his chief joy in this Platonic friendship.

Longfellow accepted my invitation to lunch and while I was out of the room he fell upon the Ingoldsby Legends and when I returned I found him reading the Irish Coronation of Victoria aloud and laughing heartily over Count—is it Frogonoff? who could not get prog enough and was found eating underneath the stairs. He came to get J. to dine with him Sat. to meet Bayard Taylor. His arrival in this neighborhood is the signal for a series of literary talks. Longfellow’s Divine Tragedy is just out and Taylor and everybody else is full of its simplicity and tender sacred beauty.

Longfellow said that Lowell only said with regard to its appearance—“Ah I see you’re to publish a new book tomorrow. Yes said L. and I began to say it was in a queue to the New England Tragedies when he replied Well, Longfellow you know I never liked those. I do not think he vents these opinions from ill-nature said L. but I think his mind is constituted to like few things and those of a peculiar class. He made this latter remark in reply to what I said with regard to Clough who seems to me to have been overpraised by Lowell and men of his School. The Bothie is a noble poem but Clough has left hardly enough of rare beauty behind him to take the preeminent place it seems to me Lowell assigns him.

Ran out for an hour in the afternoon. Mrs Stowe called in the meantime and left word she should pass the night here, so about nine she arrived and we had a good old fashioned time talking until midnight. She told me all about her housekeeping cares in Hartford, the relief after the house was really gone—her desire for a home here or somewhere. We laughed till we held our sides at her description of “a double base-burning furnace” which if anybody thinks to induce you to have one, don’t you do it.


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