[Boston—Tuesday, 6 June 1876]

Tuesday June 6. My birthday. Lizzy gave us a beautiful present of her Venice picture and mother also sent me a little gift. Jamie brought flowers. We passed the day at Manchester. Mary Lodge dined with us. Mr. Dresel came in and played and talked. He was much excited about Wagner and the modern schools and the decadence of music in Boston. He sees very little in modern composers save Franz, although the latter’s name was not mentioned in our society that night. He said some witty Frenchman had lately given Wagner his place “Musicien manqué", poete pour l’occasion comédien--I have forgotten what rather I never did catch the word so as to understand it enough to guess the full meaning, but it is not difficult to find the significance, given the other. Dresel was very witty, very keen, very despairing, as it is his nature to be. He is one of the natural but sole outgrowths of German culture and refinement of metaphysics. Generations of hair-splitting have prevented the growth of hair altogether in the end. His life is in his art, it is the only thing he believes in, and he finds almost no one to comprehend this religion and live up to it. Our people doubtless have more musical genius than the English, but we have so much less culture that he is far more lonely and unhappy among us than he would be in London.


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