[Manchester—Thursday, 10 September 1868]

Thursday Sep 10th How the season marches! Shut in by the rain except for a short walk this morning there seems for once to be time enough. But time lies in the head I find. Every day is long enough for the work we were created to you [sic] when the head is in working order. Today in spite of having “all the time there is” I have done little.

As the autumn approaches, life begins to surge round us once more. Charlotte Cushman and Emma Stebbins came down here on Monday. Charlotte is a fine woman with true motive genius in her. Emma shares her life. The day was radiant—the leaves danced in gold fire. I never saw finer sunshine.

Yesterday came Dr. Bellows to say good bye to our friends the Bartols who are on the eve of departure for the Azores. He talked much and agreeably of his travels—civilized life he said could be found everywhere now, even in the deserts of Syria and Egypt they lived much as if they were at a French or English hotel. While in Florence, Powers made a bust of him and he in return made notes of Powers talk. He led him on to tell his story unconsciously and after seven sittings of two hours each he was able to carry Mr. Powers over one hundred closely written pages of his own talk to read. The sculptor blushed from “the roots of his hair to—his great toes—doubtless! but was evidently pleased.” I hope the result of this will be that the notes will be printed in the “Atlantic.” Dr. Bellows brings home the report of all intelligent travellers from London; having seen all the world London is the perfect flower—the top of wonders for men and women and perfected mind. He saw Sir Charles Lyell and was deeply impressed by him as a Christian gentleman. The new edition of his book remodelled on the Darwinian theory occasions much admiration on both sides of the water, not only because the whole superstructure works better from the new foundation but because of his bravery in adopting it.

Letter from Bayard Taylor. He has been at Gad’s Hill. Also from Whittier!! My plans for the benefit of the Freedpeople have failed.

There is a strange problem presented to my mind every day in this house. Mr. Bartol’s mind has lost its pose; he has lost the mental power of guiding himself hither and yon, or making the least decisions, and yet with a terrible sanity in which his thought appears to revolve without the power of expression. There is something subtle and horrible because so undefinable in the suffering he undergoes. He does not wish to go away, yet he is told he must and he goes protesting ‘he shall die.’ This is painful to his wife in the last degree for she cannot go with him. The sea is her mortal enemy and the physicians say it would not do for her to accompany. He is a sad wreck! Whether he will ever use his powers again is a doubtful question. How sad to see a strong man fallen in this way!! one’s faults become so apparent like the wrong side of a web.

In the meantime Jamie is our light and joy. He is a mine of sweet spirit coming to let sunshine in. He is full of wit and wisdom and each day is a loss when I omit to write down the good things he does as well as says. He has induced Mr. Emerson to give a course of lectures this month. One said E. “shall be on the Doctrine of Leasts and one the Doctrine of Mosts—one shall be about Brook farm, for, ever since Hawthorne’s ghastly and actual account of that community in his “Blithedale Romance” I have desired to give what I think the true account of it.”

The train comes tearing in to interrupt. There is hardly a half day in which we do not speak of Dickens but we have had no letter for a long time.


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