[Plymouth—Saturday, 27 June 1868]

Saturday. Still in Plymouth, the weather still perfect. Jamie amuses himself variously. We have a little black boy, full of impishness here who was in the highest enjoyment yesterday at the arrival of a travelling band. He was set in motion immediately, showing a real talent for dancing just as soon as the harp and violin began. The music was really good and the barber joined in with his flute having invited the company into his room. The country people soon collect at the sound of music and enough soon came to fill the room. The boy just as heavy as a feather danced away with one eye on the keeper of the house (fearing his disapproval of such gayety) and one on J. to see if he appreciated, with lapses of obliviousness when the love of the dance filled his whole little being and he became forgetful of everything but the pleasure of rhythmic motion. By and by an old farmer of some eighty years joined the group. He stood and watched attentively for a short time. Suddenly he said, I can’t stand this and stripping off his coat he joined the dance doing the double shuffle with the vigor inspired by his memory of the flying blood of 20 years. It was a sight indeed and much more interesting to us than one which soon drew a far larger crowd.

A young man had bet upon the election for governor of N.H. (and lost) that a [sic, for he] would wheel a barrow with a bushel of corn in it forty miles, I think from Bethlehem to this place. He soon arrived with a band of excreable discords, called music by the country people, accompanied by a crowd of companions and friends.

We shall not soon forget the little black boy’s dance. I wish he might do it oftener.

Drove to Centre Harbor in the afternoon & back with a pair of fleet ponies. Such a scene! The time will come when these places will be famous. Even now, the thought of Hawthorne’s dying eyes looking out on the hills of Plymouth and the presence of Whittier from time to time here, not to speak of the immortality he has really given many a hill & lake hereabouts, make the places more beautiful. The view of Squam Lake from the Centre Harbor road and the environing mountains, is immortally beautiful. It suggests Lake Geneva in such an atmosphere as we have had today, where a silvery mist veils the hills, making them far higher than they often appear and so indistinct & white they might be touched with snow.


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