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[288] It went so far with him that, when recovering from this sickness, which physicians and nearly all his friends thought would prove fatal, he was willing to confess that he had no gratitude for his deliverance. This morbid feeling however passed away, when within a twelvemonth he was contending, not on the written page only but before mankind, as the champion of great causes with which his name will be for ever associated.

Signs of convalescence soon gladdened the anxious circle which had watched the alternations of his disease; and he was touched by the affectionate interest which had been shown in him. Many called at his mother's door whom he was too ill to see. Hillard, Felton, Longfellow, and Prescott were admitted when others were denied. Theophilus Parsons and the brothers Chandler were constant in their inquiries. Bancroft enlivened the sick-chamber with his conversation, always cheery and sparkling. Macready, who knew him as a steadfast friend, sought his bedside. William Whiting offered his services as watcher. J. J. Dixwell sent daily his carriage as soon as he was able to ride. Richard Fletcher sent a basket of grapes; William Story a brace of woodcock; and the family of George B. Emerson remembered him with similar tokens of regard. The Waterstons sent books, and invited him to the Quincy mansion, where the bracing airs of land and sea might hasten recovery. Similar invitations came from John Jay, at Bedford, N. Y.; Theodore Sedgwick, in New York; Samuel Ward, on Staten Island; and Mr. Daveis, at Portland. From England came the tender messages of Ingham and Morpeth, and from Berlin the sympathy of Fay. Crawford, arriving from Europe, sped a letter of gratitude and affection. Let it not be thought unbecoming, that, in the biography of a statesman, what these loving friends did should be told as a memorial of them.

Thus wrote Prescott in his diary, July 21, 1844:—

Been to town twice last week,—most uncommon for me; once to see my friend Calderon, returned as Minister from Spain, and once to see my poor friend Sumner, who has had a sentence of death passed on him by the physicians. His sister sat by his side, struck with the same disease. It was an affecting sight to see brother and sister, thus hand in hand, preparing to walk through the dark valley. I shall lose a good friend in Sumner, and one who, though I have known him but a few years, has done me many kind offices.

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