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tall lilac bushes, and other shrubs. At the side of the house toward the University is a cool porch, roofed, supplied with benches and chairs, and looking out upon a graceful clump of elms. This porch is one of the favourite haunts of the post; very often he is to be seen there towards evening, bare-headed, walking or conversing with his children. The house itself is of wood, high, with slightly slanting roof, old-fashioned windows fancifully decorated at the top with an old look which is charming to the lover of antiquities, and by its homeliness without, seems to invite to cozy cheerfulness, to roaring fires, to genial welcome within. It has long ago been painted yellow; the paint, at frequent intervals, has disappeared; still the house looks venerable, not at all slovenly. If it did not possess, in its present occupant, a living and most interesting attraction, it would still have a charm to all, as a specimen of the mansions of the provincial aristocracy, when Massachusetts was still a province; and to Americans, because it has a history connected with the events of the Revolution. The spacious old rooms now occupied by the poet, were once, at a memorable time, the abode of America's most illustrious son: the writer of lyrics has taken the place of the actor of epics. When, in the early days of the War of Independence, Washington was elected by Congress to the command of the colonial army, English troops had possession of Boston. The siege was formed by concentrating the patriot troops in the neighbouring towns. Washington went to New England to direct their movements in person, and fixed his head-quarters in convenient Cambridge-in this same venerable mansion where Longfellow now lives. Thence he sent out his orders, general and special; here convened, in anxious deliberation, the little knot of patriot officers, unskilled in war, collected from farmhouses and laboratories, to drill by manual and learn the art of sieges. Within this door passed the wealthy merchant, Hancock, who had turned his thoughts to "rules" and "orders of the day"; gruff Samuel Adams, a Puritan Mirabeau, putting his finger exactly on the pith of the trouble; rewards for the capture of these two had just been proclaimed over in Boston. In these quiet rooms, given up now these many years to the Muse, whence come out ever and anon gracefullest gems of the rhythmic art, a plan of campaign was drawn up, experienced ex-royal Lieutenant Washington supervising, ex-merchants, doctors, farmers advising—all agreeing, too, and at last succeeding; unity, a rare thing in revolutionary councils, ever prevailing. Washington did not stir from this Longfellow's house till he could go in triumph. It is no wonder, then, that Americans visit this old place with mingled feelings
-that they find here a reminiscence as well as an attractive presence; and while gazing at the home of the first of native poets, revert to that troublous time when there was for America but the grim poetry of war. In seasonable hours, visitors are admitted to see the interior; anyone whom you may meet on the way will tell you that the poet's hospitality is proverbial. In taking advantage of the privilege, you need not despair of catching a glimpse of the poet himself. You may see him through a half-open door, busy at his desk; you may find him frolicking with his children in the hall; it is not even unlikely he may come out, and welcome you, though a stranger, and with winning courtesy offer to guide you through the rooms which have a peculiar interest. On the left, as you enter, is the poet's study; on the right, the parlours; at the back of the study, the dining-room. There is "little to describe; suffice it to say that the interior is what the exterior has promised-home-like simplicity and comfort.
Low studded rooms; a wide, cheerful-looking hall; parlours substantial and cozy, with certain little indications here and there of the presence of a scholar, and of a home-like womankind. The study of the poet is simple and elegantly furnished; a high desk, near the window, where Mr. Longfellow sometimes writes, standing, is, it may be conjectured, that piece of furniture which will be most valuable as a relic-if, as may be the case, it is thereon that his poems are written.
The family of the poet consists of two sons, who have arrived at manhood, and three bright, merry, charming little daughters. The reader has not forgotten the terrible accident by which, some years ago, Mr. Longfellow lost a beautiful and universally-beloved wife—a lady of family, of most graceful culture, and a kindness of heart which will long be remembered by the neighbourhood in which she was the most shining, though most modest ornament. Since that frightful event, the husband has been a changed man. Those who remember him in his happy married life—who recollect the genial exuberance of his spirits, the cheerfulness of his disposition, the warmth of his welcome, the bright wit which flowed constantly, the buoyancy of a soul upon which shone the sunshine of life, and athwart which a cloud never seemed to pass-note with grief the expression of settled melancholy, the love of solitude, and the quickly grown white locks which one sees to-day. Still Longfellow is not so far changed but that the kindness of heart, the old warmth of friendship, the old love of the bright and beautiful things of the world, and of letters, still exist. At times, and not seldom, that noble and now venerable face lights up with genial cheerfulness, the sparkling brilliancy of
speech comes out, and it is evident that sorrow has caused no decline of intellectual vigour, no bitterness of temper, no diminution in the old love of mankind. Let us, without impertinence, take a few notes of the poet's personal appearance, as he passes us of a morning on the way to the "Square." A man above the middle height, and although not stout, solid and well-proportioned; head now a little bent, a noble, poetic head, with long, waving hair, nearly white, reaching almost to the shoulder; forehead high and square, the hair brushed well back; blue, brilliant, genial eyes-true eyes of a poet, which observe everything; a long nose, a long moustache, which creeps down and joins a flowing white beard that rests upon the breast; the hair and beard not too sprucely arranged, carelessly and naturally disposed; the whole countenance strikingly handsome, active, wide awake, beaming with unusual intelligence; of late patriarchal, the face of a poet philosopher, a fine and hitherto impossible study for the artist, for no artist has yet fixed a just portrait of Longfellow on canvas. His face needs the touch of an old Master; Titian would have done it worthily. The broad forehead is wrinkled rather with sorrow than great age, for the poet is not yet beyond the prime of life; he is much younger than he looks to be. But it is a very different, and if a more patriarchal, certainly a far nobler face than that which one sees in frontispieces, representing him in early manhood. The dress is neat and plain; tasteful, far from ostentatious, by no means careless, or of the silly-romantic, Byronic order. It is of that character which is not noticeable in any way; the highest art, as we conceive, of dressing.
The gait of the poet, as he walks observant of all things, is brisk, straightforward, with a slight swaying to and fro, like the gait of one who is used to walking much. When he meets an acquaintance he stops, shakes hands cordially, and has a pleasant word for all. His manner is so simple and frank, so entirely modest and unconscious, so like that of the unfamous well-bred American gentleman, that every one is at ease with him in a moment. It is easy to see that Longfellow is quite free from all affectation-not only from that stupidest of all, affectation of eccentricity in dress, but also from other subtler affectations, which by some innocent minds are taken for greatness: for it is not to be concealed that some of our most genuine literary geniuses are the veriest snobs in the world, and really, among their greatnesses, seem to have this weakness, that they think eccentricity an emblem of genius. Thoreau was a snob, and it would be hard to persuade the world of sense that in hermitizing himself he did not (possibly half-unconsciously) bow in part to the never-spoken rule for
geniuses "to be odd." Dr. Johnson was an arrant snob, with his post-tapping, and mumbling, and rudeness to ladies; the hooting of street boys was but light punishment, and failed to correct the inborn snobbishness of his nature. Was not Burke's dagger scene in the House of Commons snobbish? There is yet a lingering suspicion that Goldsmith's stupidity as a talker was feigned, and some of the finest of the poets in our present century were deplorably weak after this manner. Byron was not a genius in his own conceit, without that silly collar and the uncovered neck!
We have spoken only of the dead; but those who have seen or heard described some of the great living stars of letters, both in England and in America, know that the failing is not obsolete. It is refreshing, then, to say of Longfellow, that here is a genuine great poet, unrivalled in the literary annals of his own country, famous to the ends of the earth, and conscious of it; a man, too, who enjoys rightly the world's praise, and is happy to be held in grateful honour; yet who is a simple-hearted, modest, genial, unaffected gentleman, neither unduly proud nor eccentric, but truthful throughout, in externals and internals, in manner, deed, and word. He seldom in conversation alludes to his own works; when others speak of them, is neither garrulous about them nor unduly constrained; refers to them pleasantly and naturally. He contemns pedantry, and is remarkable in adapting his conversation to the persons with whom he converses. He will not "talk about Homer to his gardener," nor politics (though he takes a keen interest in them) to the ladies. Since his sore bereavement, he has mingled but little in society, receiving socially only the more intimate of his friends and visiting them, but never appearing at receptions or in public. His associations with literary men is as close, however, as of old. Mr. James T. Fields, Senator Sumner, Mr. Agassiz, or Professor Lowell, may often be seen walking with him through the quiet streets of Cambridge, or seated by his side in the cozy old-fashioned porch. The poet lives in the midst of a community which can appreciate both his literary genius and the amiable traits of his personal character; the neighbours are mostly scholars, too thoroughly so to be pedants; the vicinity of the University renders access easy to one of the finest libraries in America; and the wealth of Harvard has enabled its government to secure the services of the ablest scholars, so there is congenial companionship enough for a man of Longfellow' scholastic tastes. Perhaps there is no society in the United States so thoroughly cultivated as that of Cambridge, and there is an easy simplicity of manners, and an unostentatious and
liberal hospitality among the people, only found where cultivation is general. Here are congregated many of the great lights of Unitarianism; many, too, of the lesser lights-parishless clergymen deep in books; and in Cambridge the learned body mingle with and are a part of the community, democratically averse to cliques, and quickly appreciative of merit, exist where it may. It may, therefore, be imagined how congenial is a residence in the midst of such a society to a man of Longfellow's social and refined temperament; and no one can wonder that he is so much attached to the stately old-fashioned "Washington's Head-quarters," as to have often declared his wish to spend there the length of his days; neither will there be found any who will grudge one so justly esteemed by all the world the fulfilment of it. In politics, Mr. Longfellow is understood to be of the Radical, New England school; but he seldom mingles in political affairs. He is Unitarian in sect, and attends the service at the University (Appleton) chapel, where he is usually to be seen on Sunday mornings, his three beautiful children beside him. Has the reader ever perchance hit upon that exquisite little gem, "The Children's Hour"? one of the most simple, natural, and joyous of home pictures extant; from which one gathers how great a delight to the poet are his children, whom, one by one, he describes therein. Three beautiful bright-eyed, merry little girls cluster around the wifeless father's knees, climb up about him merrily, as he sits in his easy-chair, and so besieged him that he says—
"I thought of the Bishop of Burgen,
In his Mouse Tower on the Rhine."
All Bostonians are familiar with a little group in photograph, which peeps out from almost all the picture windows. It has some fanciful name, but the faces are the faces which cheer Longfellow's hearth-stone. This little group are the poet's chief joy and consolation. He spends much of his time with them, making himself rather a companion to them than a governor, and joins them alike in their studies and their sports. Almost daily he walks with them in the pleasant, quiet promenades, which are accessible in all directions from his house. He is often seen with the two younger tripping along on either side of him, their hands in his, the elder in front, and all conversing eagerly, and laughing with him-his own face beaming with the joy-pride of a happy father; a more beautiful and poetic picture than one often sees-a truthful one, with no sham of affectation. Thus are these later days of the poet being