[Boston—Friday, 10 March 1871]

Friday March 10—Too many days full of interest have passed unrecorded. Chiefly I should record what I can recall of Francis Bret Harte who has made his first visit to the East just now, since he went to San Francisco in his early youth. He is now apparently about 35 years old. His mind is full of the grand landscape of the West, and filled also with sympathetic interest in the half developed natives which are to be seen there, nearer to the surface than in our Eastern cities. He told me of a gambler who had a friend lying dead in the upper room of a gambling house. The man went out to see about having service performed—“Better have it at the grave” said the person to whom he applied “Jim shook his head as if he feared the proper honors would not be paid to his friend. The other then suggested they should find the minister and leave it to him. “Well,” said Jim “Yes, I wish you’d first do that, for I ain’t much of a funeral “sharp” myself. He told me also as a sign of the wonderful recklessness which had pervaded San Francisco, that at one time there was a glut of tobacco in the market and a block of houses going up at same period the foundations of those houses were laid of boxes of tobacco.”

Bret Harte as the world calls him is natural, warm-hearted, with a keen relish for fun, disposed to give a just value to the strong language of the West, which he is by no means inclined to dispense with, at ease in every society, quick of sense and sight. Jamie who saw him more than I, finds him loveable above all.

We liked his wife too—not handsome but with good honest sense, appreciative of him, and two children. She is said to sing well, but poor woman! the fatigues of that most distressing journey across the continent, the fêtes, the heat (for the weather is unusually warm) have been almost too much for her and she is not certainly at her best.

They dined and took tea here last Friday. The Hunts came & sang. Jo. Bradlee & his wife & Lucy. J.B. played beautifully on the piano. Mr Boott came & sang etc. — —


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