[Manchester—Saturday, 29 August 1868]

Saturday. For the past two days we have had cool clear weather and Friday morning we all went off to Rafe’s Crack. Nothing could have been bluer than the skies, blacker than the chasm, greener than the trees, more brilliant than the Golden Rod. We lay down and leaned over the brink of the chasm while Charlotte Dana went down with some others and sang, her pretty voice rippling up to us from below. Nothing could have been more beautiful. Today there was a cold mist in the morning which did not fairly dissipate until noon when the heat became excessive and the afternoon a marvel of earthly loveliness.

J.T.F. was at the Saturday Club, a small company of ten, but brilliant & social. Emerson, Sumner, Holmes, Hoar, Dana, S.G. Howe, Estes Howe, J.T.F. &c. Sumner talked more than the rest—more the “Capitolian Jove than ever” said J. But the matter of his talk was interesting. It was amusing to see Holmes fly up briskly with his light weapons to attack the conversation only to find himself repelled by Sumner in his citadel. They talked much of the Chinese. This people has 5000 miles of canal on which it sails—railroads will probably be the result of this new communication with the outside world. Sumner said Sir Frederick Bruce who was a wise man, placed Burlingame very high and was in the habit of consulting him twice every day upon affairs of moment while they were together in China. Sir Frederick always spoke of Mr. B. with the highest consideration and thought him quite worthy to occupy the place he has attained of chief ambassador of the world. Sir Frederick Bruce was a totally different man from Thornton who now takes his place. The latter is honorable but not able like the first. Sir Frederick told Sumner there was one dignitary and minister in China whom he placed for wisdom and ability above Palmerston and above Bismarck. His name is Win-son-lee. Sumner did not hesitate to speak of Mrs Tennyson before the Club. He considers her an exceptional woman and gives her the sweet crown of womanliness. I suppose since his own misfortune he gives her even a higher place as he has leaned to estimate that kind of unassuming worth at a still greater value.

William Hunt the painter came to call here. Thin, nervous, wiry—but most kindly.


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