[Boston—Friday, 19 February 1869]
Feb 19th Found a moment this morning to open Auerbach and read “Gunther was entschlossen, nun die nächsten Wochen seine Morgenstille zu opfern; er wollte sich ganz der Freundin widmen, und er sah jenseits dieser Wochen wieder seine ungestörte Ruhe.”
Sunday. Allan Gay (artist) passed the evening.
Monday. R.H. Dana Jr. whose talk I wish to set down here. It was uncommon.
Tuesday Lissie Greene.
Wednesday, by ourselves.
Thursday. Mrs Mary Lowell Putnam “the first lady of the land” as J. loves to call her.
Mr. Dana talked first of his church, the church of England & second of the politics of our land; two subjects in which his life and busy brain have been zealously absorbed. Strange things he had to tell of “Ben. Butler’s” unscrupulousness. By the way we heard another queer thing of Butler yesterday. There has been an unjust duty on “scrap iron” of late which Naylor & Co. wished much to have rescinded. The firm went to Judge Russell telling him they had opposed Butler always and presumed there was no hope of his aid. “I’ll try” said Russell. He wrote to Butler telling the exact state of the case. Butler exerted every nerve and the duty was abolished.
By the way, there was a strike yesterday in the Cambridge University Printing office of Welsh & Bigelow. Mr. Welsh came to Mr. Fields with the figures. Jamie looked at them dispassionately & decided that the printers were right and at the present rate they would be unable to live. It will probably make a difference of $15,000 a year to the firm’s receipts but Jamie prefers to have it so. Mr. Welsh must have felt much easier in his mind when they parted.
I have said nothing of Laura. She moves about quietly with her sweet sorrowful face, holding little Laura by the hand, and her face is a benediction. We have many many precious hours together.
I, however, am weak in some things beyond belief—nothing floors me so completely as these long sessions of talk. I feel like a rag rung out the next day. To be perfectly well, two hours a day of this excitement is all I can bear and when it comes for all day and half the night I find myself light-headed, speechless & good for nothing but the alms house. I can study 24 hours in solitude better than talk half that time. Miserable me! What a confession to be obliged to make.
We have just heard the detestable news of Mr. Bryant’s proposed marriage. He wrote to his old friend Mr. Dana but the latter would never confess having received such an epistle. His wife of some forty years has scarcely been two years dead—and he is a man of 75 with a daughter tenderly devoted to his interests. False—false!