[Boston—Friday, 16 June 1871]

Friday 16. Longfellow came in to lunch at one. He was looking very well. I had been in town all the morning buying good things for his Nahant house. He was full of cheery talk. His bright beautiful eyes shone. Maggie was then very low. He had been to Manchester (Mr & Mrs Curtis’s) to dine the day before. The beautiful place had left a pleasant picture in his mind. Coming away by the train he passed in Chelsea a soldiers’ monument which suggested an epigram to him suitable to any of the thousand of such erections to be seen about the country. It begins somewhat in this style

The soldier asked for bread

But they waited til he was dead

And gave him a stone instead

Sixty and one feet high &c &c

We were going to the funeral of Mrs J.M. Field in Mt. Auburn Chapel, poor Kate Field’s mother—so the poet went out in the carriage with us, and we being a little early were persuaded by him to go in. We asked him to read a poem to us which he kindly consented to do and read The Marriage of Lady Wentworth from his coming volume of Wayside Inn Tales. Edith with eyes like his, and pretty girlish ways let us in to the old mansion by the side door and we went at once to the library. She asked to join us and the poet having consented, he took one whiff of a cigar and began the reading. His voice sounded sweet and melodious and was hardly touched by tremulousness as he read—but this must have been an easier poem to read than many others being strictly a narrative. It is full of New England and is a beautiful addition to his works.

Went to the Mission School before returning home for the night. Found Mrs Caswell still at work giving light and life and strength to others. Maggie died in the night. She passed away quietly at last.


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