’—he held a position of as unquestioned honor and reverence as that of Goethe
or Jean Paul
This was the more remarkable, as he rarely attended public meetings, seldom volunteered counsel or action, and was not seen very much in public.
But his weight was always thrown on the right side; he took an unfeigned interest in public matters, always faithful to the traditions of his friend Sumner
; and his purse was always easily opened for all good works.
On one occasion there was something like a collision of opinion between him and the city government, when it was thought necessary for the widening of Brattle Street to remove the ‘spreading chestnut-tree’ that once stood before the smithy of the village blacksmith, Dexter Pratt
The poet earnestly expostulated; the tree fell, nevertheless; but by one of those happy thoughts which sometimes break the monotony of municipal annals, it was proposed to the city fathers that the children of the public schools should be invited to build out of its wood, by their small subscriptions, a great armchair for the poet's study.
The unexpected gift, from such a source, salved the offence, but it brought with it a penalty to Mr. Longfellow
's household, for the kindly bard gave orders that no child who wished to see the chair should be excluded; and