With Life to His Fingertips
Update zu Hatte Herman Melville Kinder?:
Sophia Amelia Peabody Hawthorne, Frau von Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melvilles Freund seit 5. August 1850, gab 1850 die genaueste erhaltene Beschreibung von Herman Melville (also des 31-Jährigen) für William Aspinwall Tappan, ihren Vermieter, der Melville wegen religiöser Differenzen nicht in sein Haus lassen wollte:
I have no doubt he will be repaid by finding Mr Melville a very different man from what he imagines – & very agreeable & entertaining – We find him so – a man with a true warm heart & a soul & an intellect – with life to his fingertips – earnest, sincere & reverent, very tender & modest – And I am not sure that he is not a very great man – but I have not quite decided upon my own opinion – I should say, I am not quite sure that I do not think him a very great man – for my opinion is of course as far as possible from settling the matter. He has very keen perceptive power, but what astonishes me is that his eyes are not large & deep – He seems to see every thing very accurately & how he can do so with his small eyes, I cannot tell. They are not keen eyes, either, but quite undistinguished in any way. His nose is straight & rather handsome, his mouth expressive of sensibility & emotion – He is tall & erect with an air free, brave & manly. When conversing, he is full of gesture & force, & loses himself in his subject – There is no grace nor polish – once in a while his animation gives place to a singularly quiet expression out of these eyes, to which I have objected – an indrawn, dim look, but which at the same time makes you feel – that he is at that instant taking deepest note of what is before him – It is a strange, lazy glance, but with a power in it quite unique – It does not seem to penetrate through you, but to take you into himself. I saw him look at Una so yesterday several times.
Cit. Hershel Parker: A Biography, Vol. 1, 1819–1851, p. 773.