[Boston—Monday, 8 February 1869]

Monday Feby 8th Auerbach speaks of people who read books away, as men smoke cigars! How good this is! How applicable to many who throng the circulating libraries for the last novel.

We went yesterday to see Mrs Lowell Putnam. She was just driving away from the door to carry some photographs of her son to Mr. Webb the Irish anti-slavery friend of Garrison. She insisted however upon turning back and we had another glimpse of that home which has a flavor of something immortal in its loveliness. The room in which she received us, so like Tennyson’s drawing-room, her dining room is hung with portraits of the departed. Maria Lowell with pure eyes, clear and deep as heaven, William Putnam, her young dead hero, Alfred her eldest son, and General Charles Lowell.

There is an exquisitely carved clock there also with a story. A Dr. Guépin of Dijon [sic, for Nantes], a friend had an old clock in his family from the property of Louis fifteenth which he wished to present to Mrs. Putnam (she lived long in France and perhaps he was their family physician) and falling in with a poor wood-carver who was ill he tended him without payment until his recovery saying he might pay for his services when he could. At the end of six months the man returned saying he brought 2 francs in his pocket which was all he had been able to save from his small earnings that he should however be glad to do some carving for him for though he could do good work in his present situation his payment was fearfully small. The Dr. told him he might make a case for this clock as beautifully as he knew how and he should have all the time he wished to do it in. At the end of six months he returned with the clock as she showed it to us, so fine a specimen of work that he had found sufficient employment and good pay ever since.

As we walked away from Mrs Putnam’s Jamie agreed with me that she was the first lady of our time, in America, at least.

He said he always felt now that “nothing could touch her further” and indescribable sweetness and lofty unworldliness seems to possess her.

The sunset was of marvellous beauty as we walked away over the white snow and we could not help feeling how close our heaven hedges us about.


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