Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 185 [08-20-1858]

good fellow, now arrived at an over-estimate of him-
self.  It would demand a very strong head and cool
sense to have got to another conclusion, in his position.
The Howadji books were pretty ones, the Potiphar, clever,
but inherently snobbish. �Thackeray beaten on his own
ground!� cried the critic�s here, not seeing that the book was
at best but an echo of the master, with a Yankee taint
which none of his brave books ever had.     When the dainty
author is saying �My good Sir, an ormolu clock would have
thrown Pericles intoa fit!� he�s more of a snob than poor
Paul Potiphar ever was.   Satire at the expense of parvenus
is a cheap, overdone business anyway, and a rich man�s
desire to surround himself with handsome things may some-
times be ludicrous but it isn�t contemptible.  Again the
book has a fault of construction, in the tagging on of a sort
of retrospective love-story to Mrs Potiphar.       I�ve no doubt
the young ladies think Curtis a darling man and he
himself that is fervently persuaded that going to England
as U. S. ambassador would be a delightful thing. Well; he
had the pluck to choose the right side in the political contest,
at least, so give him credit for that, at least!        But to
write books isn�t the noblest thing in the world, especially
in America, at the present time.    And these men, Curtis,
�Ik. Marvel� &c are only feeble reflections of stronger
lights elsewhere.   Hawthorne is the only thoroughly Ame-
rican writer I know � a man who couldn�t by any
chance have been begotten out of New England.
  21.  Saturday.  Breakfast with Mr & Mrs Corbin,
after a walk with the latter.   Gun & Cahill came.               
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