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[148]

Chapter 23: return to his profession.—1840-41.—Age, 29-30.

Cordial greetings awaited Sumner on his arrival in Boston, from his old friends, and from many others who had become interested in his social career abroad. His first weeks at home were filled with conversations concerning his foreign journey. With what zest he related the things he had seen and heard, is still well remembered. He often passed the night with Cleveland at Pine Bank, and with Longfellow at the Craigie House. He spent many evenings with Mr. Ticknor, comparing their European experiences.1 In June, he visited Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lawrence at Lowell, and in August sought, for a few days, the refreshment of sea-breezes at Nahant. He made an excursion to Lancaster with Felton, whose family was passing some weeks in that interior town, and dined with Emerson at Concord, on his way home. With Dr. Lieber, who made a visit to Boston, he had long talks about his journey. In the summer, he met for the first time Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mrs. Frances Kemble,—the former at Hillard's, and the latter at Pine Bank.

He took his father's place in the Society of the Cincinnati, and attended its customary dinner, July 4, at Concert Hall. Slowly he returned to professional and literary work. Soon after reaching home, he filled reluctantly, for a few weeks, a vacancy as instructor in the Law School. He declined an invitation, received through Mr. Daveis, to deliver the Phi Beta Kappa Oration at Bowdoin College,—excusing himself by saying that he could not pledge any time which might be required by his profession.2 Later, he declined an invitation to lecture before

1 Mr. Daveis wrote from Portland, May 21: ‘Ticknor tells me of your sitting up with him night after night, till twelve o'clock. That is tormenting to those who cannot have the same privilege.’

2 In 1842, he declined a similar invitation from Dartmouth College.

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