[Boston—Saturday, 24 October 1868]

Saturday. We have had dark cold weather but today is bright and wintry. Reading Burns. J. says I shall never do a better thing than the Ode on the Organ. It will certainly depend upon circumstances what I may do but I feel I can do something far more sustained and as truly lyrical—but not under the ordinary conditions of my city life—Burns was always a poet—surely we ought always to be ourselves, and yet I am too much a woman to be always a poet, I cannot live for that. I cannot have a woodland walk when I feel like it because somebody will lose their dinner. Annie Thackeray was right—our American life is a strange mixture of magnificence and service just now, and that goes to the wall. Yet I know there is a heart of a singer hidden in me and I long sometimes to break loose—but on the whole I sincerely prefer to make others comfortable and happy as I can now do and say fie! to my genius if he does not sing to me from the sauce-pan all the same.

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