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My girls are out under the trees, reading the ‘Paradiso,’ the eldest using the copy you gave her, and helping her sister, who uses the Florence edition, as she is not yet so familiar with the grand old Tuscan as to read him without notes that are very ample.

To John Kenyon, London.

Boston, January 8, 1855.
dear Kenyon,—I do not choose to have another year get fairly on its course, without carrying to you assurances of our continued good wishes and affection. The last we heard from you was through Mrs. Ticknor's correspondent, ever-faithful Lady Lyell, who said she had seen you in the Zoological Gardens, well, comfortable, and full of that happiness that goodness bosoms ever. But this second-hand news is not enough. We are growing old apace. My girls laugh at me, and say that they will not allow me the privileges of age, while I continue to run up two steps of the house stairs at a time, without knowing that I do it. I am wiser, however, in such matters than they are, and, although I am thankful for my excellent health and for an abundant reserve of good spirits, I know that, nevertheless, I passed my grand climacteric some months ago.

But enough of myself. We are all well, wife and daughters, and all send you our love, and ask for yours in return, despatched under your own hand. If anybody like Hillard were going to London, I should charge him with an especial commission to see you, and bring it back to us. But such ambassadors are rare, and I do not send less than the best to old friends like you; for I do not choose to lower the standard by which you measure my countrymen. I would rather raise it; and as I have no ready means to do this, you must write me a letter as soon as you can, telling us all about your brother and his wife, both most lovable people; Mr. Crabbe Robinson, not precisely in the same category, but excellent in his way; that promising, bright son of Henry N. Coleridge, etc., etc. You know who are the persons I need to hear about. It is those you like; but chiefly yourself.

Your friends here are generally as you would have them. Hillard is crowded with law business, but only the happier for work. His book on Italy is more successful than anything of the sort ever printed among us. Above five thousand copies have been sold. I trust you have read it . . . . . Prescott is well, and has in press the first two volumes of his ‘Philip II.’ We see him almost daily, and he is as fresh as ever, with twenty good years of work in him, at fifty-nine.

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George Stillman Hillard (2)
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