[Boston—Thursday, 15 October 1868]

Thursday Oct 15. Leslie Stephen and his darling wife have finished their journey and departed. Today we fulfilled a long standing promise to dine with Mrs Silsbee in Milton.

Monday was the first of Mr. Emerson’s lectures, when he and his family passed the night here.

The week has gone in a whirl of business and pleasure. I have scarcely read a word and last night was forced out of sheer fatigue to go to sleep immediately after dinner and not wake up again till this morning.

Harriet Stephen read me scraps from her sister’s letters. They were like a kaleidoscope—people dashed in distinctly enough with a few touches—the scene suddenly changes and an entirely new phase comes in. She remarks in one place that “stupid little Mrs So & So came in,” her hair very limp, how is it that stupid people generally wear their hair limp? Again, “Lady Vick came in with a compress of cold water for my throat. I resisted and choked, was no better next morning & scolded about the compress.” “My dear Annie” said Lady Vick, “how can you blame my poor compress when you probably sat talking with Mrs. Cameron till one o’clock.” “But the fact is I’m no better & I sometimes think I shall not be till I hear you are quite well again, my darling!”

We have had company or been out every day lately. But now we mean to settle down for a little time and shake into place. Dickens is about to begin his course of farewell readings in England and we think of him continually. “Minnie” Stephen talked much of him. She knows and loves Katie Collins well. Katie has told her, her mother did not drink but she is heavy and unregardful of her children and jealous of her husband. Charles Collins is a good refined man & a loving husband to Katie but he is dying.

Lissie Bartol’s friend, sweet Maria Oakey has been here this week. She is like Elaine—a fine poetic creature with a beautifully modelled form.

Mr. Emerson was like a benediction in the house as usual. He was up early in the morning looking over books & pictures in the library. He left with Ellen in the eleven o clock train for Concord.

Mrs Stephen & I had a perfect visit at Mrs Putnam’s. The afternoon was lovely & the house more like Farringford than usual if possible—Mrs Stephen saw the resemblance at once & spoke of it. It was only about 4 o’clock but Mrs Putnam had prepared a little feast of fruit and ice for us and we all sat round the table and had a delightful talk.

Miss Putnam told us one anecdote of Fanny Alexander which is too like the child not to repeat. Mrs Cleaveland was speaking of some one who had “a passion.” “What is that” said this child of mature years. Mrs C. endeavored to explain. “Oh”, said Fanny, “I know now. I had a passion for St. Francis once”.


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