[Boston—Friday, 24 March 1871]

Friday. March 24th—Mr. Emerson came to dine alone with us. “The Club” as our small evening party has named itself again taking place. He brought his journal in his bag, kindly, most kindly to read from to the company. Mr. & Mrs Hunt were here, Mrs. H. James & her son Harry, the novelist, Mr. & Mrs G.S. Hale, Miss Susie Hale, Dr. Jackson & his daughters, the Anthonys (man & wife, engraver and singer), Bessie Greene & her brother, Miss Lilian Clarke.

The journal described, in the portions read to us last night, De Quincy, the small delicate looking man whom he first met through the kindness of Mrs Crowe, then one of the ladies of Edi[n]burgh who could say as she did to me, “Who would you like to meet?” Of course I said Lord Jeffrey, DeQuincy, Saml Brown called the alchemist by chemists and a few others. She was able with her large hospitality to give me what I most desired. She drove with me & Saml Brown to call on De Quincy who was then living most uncomfortably in lodgings with a landlady who persecuted him continually, once while Mr. E. was staying at Mrs Cs house when De Quincy arrived there after being exposed to various vicissitudes of weather and latterly a heavy rain. Unhappily however Mrs Crowe’s apparently unlimited hospitality was limited at pantaloons (sic) and poor De Quincy was obliged to dry his soaked garments at the fireside.

Tennyson was also one of the men Mr. E. was especially anxious to see. He was impressed by seeing him in a company of persons as nearly his peers as it was possible to collect, but Tennyson soon became restive and getting up said he must go to Cheltenham he had “had a glut of men.”

His brothers also were interesting men, one or two of them writers of poems which at one time bade fair to compete with the laureate himself. An acquaintance of Alfred’s coming once into the room where one of his brothers was seated in the dark said is this Alfred “No,” he replied “I am Septimus the most morbid of all the Tennysons”.

There was much also about Carlyle, loving, but filled with truth, repeating word for word his “blood and thunder” adjectives which he likes to fling right and left. The second time I went to England I drove directly to his house. “Jane Carlyle opened the door for me, the man himself stood behind and bore the candle.” “Well, here we are, shovelled together again”, was his greeting. His talk is like a river, full, and never ceasing; we talked until after midnight, and again the next morning at breakfast we went on. Then we started to walk to London and London Bridge, the tower and Westminster were all melted down into the fine river of his speech.”

The journal poured on in this easy way while we, all eyes and ears sat to listen. He did not continue more than half an hour altogether, but it was like a strain of music. Afterward Mr. & Mrs Hunt sang some of their touching songs “I should like to know what the words mean!” said Emerson. Even simple melodies mean little to him—and yet he did once feel delighted with Perabo’s music. He sat down & talked half an hour before midnight about Tennyson. He loves to gather and rehearse all we know about that wonderful man. I told him how Allingham was staying at Farringford while we were there and how he recounted to me Tennyson’s coming in to his attic room by night in his shirt and sitting on the end of his bed in the moonlight to talk of poetry.

Then Emerson went to bed. Early this morning however I found him in the library and oddly enough he had discovered a volume of English Traits which formerly belonged to Leigh Hunt and was annotated by him.


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