[Boston—Monday, 13 January 1868]

Jany 13th The days go on bright and cold. We have fallen into our old ways very much, reading & writing o’ mornings, out for a walk, home for an hour or two and a chance guest before dinner. Sometimes “Delay” that treacherous “half sister” of “Raw Haste” interferes with quite so much being accomplished during the last half of the time but we have had some quiet evenings lately which have made up for hurry in the afternoon.

Reading Lessing’s life.

I never met James E. Murdock the actor, to have any talk until Sunday night. The knowledge of his patriotism, of his son who died in the war & of the weary miles the father had travelled to comfort the soldiers by reading to them, & afterwards the large sums of money he had given to the Country’s Cause gathered up laboriously night by night by public “readings”—all this I had known. Of course no introduction could have been better, yet I liked the man even more than I had fancied was possible. He was so modest and talked in such a free generous way, purely for the entertainment of others I fancied, because we saw he had a severe cold on his chest. The way too in which he recited “Sheridan’s Ride” and anything else for the children which he thought they would like was quite beautiful to see in a man of his years who must have had quite enough of that kind of thing to do. His hobby is elocution—he is about to establish a school or college or something of that description; whatever its honorable title will be, at the West (the money having been granted in part by legislature, the other half to be made by his own public efforts) for the purpose of educating speakers and teaching men & women how to read. He has known Grant & Sheridan well, lived in camp with them at the same mess-table & has the highest opinion of the patriotism & probity of both of them. There is no mistake about one thing, Mr. Murdock made himself a power during the war and now that is over does not cease to work nor does he allow himself to presume upon the laurels he has won nor to brag of his own work.

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