occupations,—as when we are reading a newspaper, or lighting a bed-candle, or waiting for our horses to drive round,—the lovely face appears, and thoughts more precious than gold are whispered in our ear.’
The test of popularity in a poet is nowhere more visible than in the demand for autographs.
writes in his own diary that on November 25, 1856, he has more than sixty such requests lying on his table; and again on January 9, ‘Yesterday I wrote, sealed, and directed seventy autographs.
To-day I added five or six more and mailed them.’
It does not appear whether the later seventy applications included the earlier sixty, but it is, in view of the weakness of human nature, very probable.
This number must have gone on increasing.
I remember that in 1875 r saw in his study a pile which must have numbered more than seventy, and which had come in a single day from a single high school in a Western city, to congratulate him on his birthday, and each hinting at an autograph, which I think he was about to supply.
At the time of his seventy-fourth birthday, 1881, a lady in Ohio
sent him a hundred blank cards, with the request that he would write his name on each, that she might distribute them among her guests at a party she was to give on that day. The same day was celebrated by some