Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 43 pages of information about Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance).

I have hardly the right to dwell so long upon him here, for he was only a sojourner in Cambridge, but the memory of that early intimacy is too much for my sense of proportion.  As I have hinted, our intimacy was renewed afterwards, when I too came to live in New York, where as long as he was in this ‘dolce lome’, he hardly let a week go by without passing a long evening with me.  Our talk was still of literature and life, but more of life than of literature, and we seldom spoke of those old times.  I still found him true to the ideals which had clarified themselves to both of us as the duty of unswerving fealty to the real thing in whatever we did.  This we felt, as we had felt it long before, to be the sole source of beauty and of art, and we warmed ourselves at each other’s hearts in our devotion to it, amidst a misunderstanding environment which we did not characterize by so mild an epithet.  Boyesen, indeed, out-realisted me, in the polemics of our aesthetics, and sometimes when an unbeliever was by, I willingly left to my friend the affirmation of our faith, not without some quaking at his unsparing strenuousness in disciplining the heretic.  But now that ardent and active soul is Elsewhere, and I have ceased even to expect the ring, which, making itself heard at the late hour of his coming, I knew always to be his and not another’s.  That mechanical expectation of those who will come no more is something terrible, but when even that ceases, we know the irreparability of our loss, and begin to realize how much of ourselves they have taken with them.


It was some years before the Boyesen summer, which was the fourth or fifth of our life in Cambridge, that I made the acquaintance of a man, very much my senior, who remains one of the vividest personalities in my recollection.  I speak of him in this order perhaps because of an obscure association with Boyesen through their religious faith, which was also mine.  But Henry James was incommensurably more Swedenborgian than either of us:  he lived and thought and felt Swedenborg with an entirety and intensity far beyond the mere assent of other men.  He did not do this in any stupidly exclusive way, but in the most luminously inclusive way, with a constant reference of these vain mundane shadows to the spiritual realities from which they project.  His piety, which sometimes expressed itself in terms of alarming originality and freedom, was too large for any ecclesiastical limits, and one may learn from the books which record it, how absolutely individual his interpretations of Swedenborg were.  Clarifications they cannot be called, and in that other world whose substantial verity was the inspiration of his life here, the two sages may by this time have met and agreed to differ as to some points in the doctrine of the Seer.  In such a case, I cannot imagine the apostle giving way; and I do not say he would be wrong to insist,

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Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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