[Manchester—Monday, 3 August 1868]

August 3d We have both been ill for a day or two & I feel —— No I won’t write what I feel while I am still “under the weather.” Saturday was a rare morning one of perfect liberty and perfect health. I seemed to live throughout. Mr. Bartol drags about, eating & sleeping pretty well, but fancying he is too ill to recover. He must be strangely uncomfortable, for he says when he awakes in the morning the light is not grateful to him. But season after season as we have lived with them I have observed how absurdly nervous they grew if any thing however slight was the matter with either member of their small family till I have learned that it is much better for people to live somewhat apart from too close participation in the physical condition of those they love best, otherwise they aggravated the natural nervousness which disease implys and unfit themselves to give the proper aid.

Saturday evening we drove to Mr. Dana’s. There was nobody in the lower part of the house except the servants and when we opened the front door the full view of the sea and sad perpetual music were all our greeting. We walked through the hall to the piazza behind the house. In the distance children were swinging in a hammock under the low pines on the edge of the cliff. We had been sitting here for a time when Mr. Dana Senior came to welcome us, with his long white hair and glistening eyes. I had gone to the edge of the cliff & was sitting on a rock from which I had arisen to greet him—“Ah” he said “there was once a better seat there but some rude people threw it over. That is the result of Republicanism. Why we can’t plant vines here or anything to make the place beautiful but they are carried off!”

J. had brought over the title page of a new edition of “Two Years Before the Mast” to show to R.H.D. Jr. He wishes to take it (after these many many years) out of the Harpers hands, the unlucky copyright having expired and have it published by Ticknor & Fields. Father & son looked over the sheet with equal and united interest.

The demon of Conservatism holds this family as strongly in bondage as it ever held the proudest English duke. I should like to trace their pedigree to find in what soil their strangely undemocratic minds were nourished. Charlotte (the old man’s daughter) is a Roman Catholic. The others being in the English high church. The old man would be a monarchist if such a thing were not absurd and inconsistent with possibility in America and Richard Jr. himself striving to be a true patriot and serve his country in political life can never sufficiently divest himself of these feudal elements to possess altogether the confidence of a people assured of his pre-eminent intellectual ability.

We never cease to be entertained with our village life—there is a deaf woman living over the way, who, when she has callers, is obliged to make us listeners to the conversation. The small organ at the ministers is never silent but when on week days they try to make it play gay tunes, it is like an elephant dancing, which we must always allow to be work very ill done.

I forgot to say that old Mr. Dana told me he & his daughter knew Mrs Thaxter long before she was married. She went to dine with them one day and he said after she left what a pleasure it is to find a perfectly fresh mind. Miss Dana remembered her as the only person to wait on the company of the large hotel. She arrived with a party and Celia ran up with a wreath of shells around her head and wrists to see if anything was wanted.

Monday afternoon. Two letters, one for each, from Longfellow!!


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