[Manchester—Sunday, 6 September 1868]

Sunday Seper 6th Night before last after a dark sky and strong east wind all day the rain began to pour with such musical force as well as flow that all light sleepers were awakened. Jamie dreamed of Tennyson delightfully. He was no younger than he appears in the early pictures and was established in a room at the Parker House fitted up with ancient carved furniture and everything in keeping with his taste. He has two new volumes of poems with him and the leaves lay heaped about the room in Sybilline disorder. He read “Boadicea” and afterward many of the new ones especially one of two verses upon the “Pea Nut” which “lay like a perfume upon the page” and exceeded in brilliancy and beauty all the other poems. He had two new words which came constantly into service which excited J.’s profoundest admiration—one was “consandescent” the other “illegrew.” These words conveyed everything that was unique, various and splendid to the mind of the listener.

We watch with deep sadness the decadence which appears at times to have attacked the mind of our good C.A.B. Can any earthly trouble be so terrible as this especially for a man who has habitually used his mind as a writer and thinker for others! The indecision which is one phase is terrible to contemplate and entire loss of instinct (apparently) as to what to eat and do in simple matters. We have a good motherly woman in the house a Mrs Washburn who has always known my father and mother and our old garden and my old aunt; altogether it has been a social, delightful circumstance to have her here. She is quite an ideal grandmother.

After the storm cleared yesterday afternoon we went to the Danas. The waves were high, the colors of earth and sky glorious. The old man had been ill. It seems his daughter went to town and his aged sister was seized in her absence by one of her ill turns which made him very uneasy. “Aunt Betsy” went to sleep but when she awakened there was her brother sitting by her side watching her painfully. “I thought as Charlotte was away I would come” he said.

I broke to him as we walked together the question of reading one of his poems for the benefit of the Freedpeople. He could give me no answer but I thought the idea rather pleasant than troublesome to him which was a surprise to me for I had dreaded failure too much to dare to ask.

Today I suppose Mr. Whittier is revolving the same question. I can only say I have left the question in the hands of God. I pray for its success and thus far my prayers have been answered in the face of difficulties. This proves to me the efficacy and necessity of prayer as I think I have never felt it before. God always gives us what is best but not always what we pray for, for we do not know our needs. Here, I believe, the eye is single,—we are trying to work for others. May God hear us!


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