Extracts from memoirs and diariesby Ian Irvine / October 17, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
1840: The writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, living in Boston, recalls The Reverend Doctor Harris:
“His especial haunt was the Athenaeum. There I used to see him daily, and almost always with a newspaper, the Boston Post. There he sat day after day, by the fireside; and, by degrees, seeing him so constantly, I began to look towards him as I entered the reading-room.
One day especially I am perfectly certain that I had seen him. But, that evening, a friend said: Did you hear that old Doctor Harris is dead? No, said I very quietly, and it cannot be true; for I saw him today. You must be mistaken, rejoined my friend. He is certainly dead! and confirmed the fact with such special circumstances that I could no longer doubt it. I believe that I was very little disturbed, if at all, but set down the apparition as a mistake of my own.
The next day I remember thinking: Well, I never shall see him again! With this thought in mind, as I entered the reading-room, I glanced towards his chair, and there, to my astonishment, sat the grey, infirm figure of the deceased Doctor, reading the newspaper as was his wont! His own death must have been recorded, that very morning, in that very newspaper! From that time, for a long time thereafter… I used to see the figure of Doctor Harris quite as frequently as before his death.”
1951: The novelist Anthony Powell recalls his close friendship with the composer Constant Lambert:
“After the war, Lambert took a flat in Albany Street, not far from where we lived in Chester Gate. He and I began to see each other again. In particular, he developed a habit…