The truth is, Stanton's imagination was through life the larger and most potent quality of his mind, and from first to last he lived in a world so tinctured by it, that his thoughts and acts were mysteries to the commonplace, matter of fact minds about him. [...] With all his poetic temperament and high imaginative quality he was a man of action more than of thought [...] The strangest part ... is to look back and contrast the Stanton of my earlier knowledge with the Stanton of later days. I cannot divest myself of the feeling that I am considering two widely dissimilar men. I can see, as if an hour since, the youthful advocate ... his profusion of dark hair, ever disheveled, as he stood Bible in hand ... telling us of the "Poetry of God," and the road to heaven through culture and goodness.Piatt recounts touchingly a reunion in adulthood. It culminates in another classic Stanton breakdown:
It was at Washington we met, upon the streets, and I seized the old Stanton by the hand with a cry of delight. For a second the old, well loved gleam of pleasure lit his face, and then it faded out, and a gloomy sad expression took its place, and the Stanton I once knew was gone forever. His manner, so cold, reserved and formal, embarassed me. It was not precisely hostile, it was more an indifference, that annoyed. [...] I accompanied Stanton to his room at the National Hotel, and all the while I saw he was striving to be pleasant and familiar, and that the effort was in vain. Terminating the interview as soon as I conveniently could, I left him. At the entrance of the hotel, on the avenue below, I remembered a message I wished to give him, and had forgotten. Hastily ascending I knocked at his door, and getting no answer, entered. He was seated at the table, with his face hid in his arm, and as I touched his shoulder he looked up. To my amazement, his face was distorted with extreme grief, while tears seemed to blind him. Shocked and astonished, I stammered out my message. "Yes, yes," he said, wiping his eyes. "it is very kind of you Donn, but not now, please not now."