[Boston—Tuesday, 31 March 1874]

March 31. 1874. Went yesterday to see Mrs Agassiz. The three motherless children of A’s son were playing in the grounds as I approached. They are now her care. Later in the visit, they all came in to see “grandmamma” and the little one hardly more than two years old scrambled up in her lap and clung to her as the only mother he can know. She in her turn clings to the children. They are her hold on life, her anchorage. Of late she has been looking over Agassiz’s papers and letters. She finds many things of wh. he was probably ignorant as being in his possession. Old family letters returned to him which give the complete story of his life from the age of 20 to 24. “Everything is in Alex’s hands and mine” she said “and I have a great objection to a personal biography. I think this of Dickens is much too personal. Alex is in no hurry; he thinks it better to wait. This life of Dickens by Forster interests me strangely, considering how little I knew of Dickens personally, for his friendship with Felton was before my time”—The shadow of a great grief has fallen on this woman. She hardly knows how to bear up under it. Her love for Agassiz was so absorbing, that the light seems to have faded out of the days. All night I saw her in her widow’s cap, all night I followed her spirit through its sad ways. Yet so lovely she is, so uplifting, that I came away bearing a deeper softer light for everything around. She talked much of Mrs Dickens and Mrs Sumner which made me say to her as I was leaving and saw her standing with such light in her face—“Ah how happy you are”! “Yes! we can live long on the happiness we have had”—but when I said “You surely have it still; and you have your love to go to” I feared I had said too much for tears sprang to her eyes.

Today Aldrich & his family dine here. I am studying German with a poor Heidelberg student Zoellig by name. We are reading Nathan der Weise. I wish I could get him pupils.


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