“Ah! who shall lift
that wand of magic power,
And the lost clew regain?
The unfinished window in Aladdin’s tower
Unfinished must remain.”
Longfellow’s beautiful poem will always be associated with the memory of Hawthorne, and most fitting was it that his fellow-student, whom he so loved and honored, should sing his requiem.
* * * * *
“O friend with heart
as gentle for distress,
As resolute with wise true thoughts to bind
The happiest with the unhappiest of our kind”
"All men are to an unspeakable degree brothers, each man’s life a strange emblem of every man’s; and Human Portraits, faithfully drawn, are of all pictures the welcomest on human walls."—Carlyle.
I observe my favorite chair is placed to-day where the portraits of Charles Dickens are easiest seen, and I take the hint accordingly. Those are likenesses of him from the age of twenty-eight down to the year when he passed through “the golden gate,” as that wise mystic William Blake calls death. One would hardly believe these pictures represented the same man! See what a beautiful young person Maclise represents in this early likeness of the great author, and then contrast the face with that worn one in the photograph of 1869. The same man, but how different in aspect! I sometimes think, while looking at those two portraits, I must have known two individuals bearing the same name, at various periods of my own life. Let me speak to-day of the younger Dickens. How well I recall the bleak winter evening in 1842 when I first saw the handsome, glowing face of the young man who was even then famous over half the globe! He came bounding into the Tremont House, fresh from the steamer that had brought him to our shores, and his cheery voice rang through the hall, as he gave a quick glance at the new scenes opening upon him in a strange land on first arriving at a Transatlantic hotel. “Here we are!” he shouted, as the lights burst upon the merry party just entering the house, and several gentlemen came forward to greet him. Ah, how happy and buoyant he was then! Young, handsome, almost worshipped for his genius, belted round by such troops of friends as rarely ever man had, coming to a new country to make new conquests of fame and honor,—surely it was a sight long to be remembered and never wholly to be forgotten. The splendor of his endowments and the personal interest he had won to himself called forth all the enthusiasm of old and young America, and I am glad to have been among the first to witness his arrival. You ask me what was his appearance as he ran, or rather flew, up the steps of the hotel, and sprang into the hall. He seemed all on fire with curiosity, and alive as I never saw mortal before.