[Manchester—Tuesday, 19 July 1870]

July 19. We have an addition to our family here. Miss Maria Oakey, cousin to Lissie Bartol, a graceful, artistic little spirit, full of abandon of action, full of taste in dress, full of readiness in speech. I was most entertained by seeing her go to the top of the stairs today to call to a boy knocking outside, the pretty decision and gentleness with which she spoke was well worthy of remark. She is a perfectly formed little creature and is more beautiful the nearer she gets to nudity. Her style of dress is singularly pure and simple, the most becoming possible to her. She has lucent grey eyes, full of light and depth. They are the only real beauty of her face. Eminently pure and sweet, she does not give you a sense of fresh air exactly and I am not sure there would not come a feeling of closeness in the atmosphere after a time. But like many flowers you would thank God to keep her as she is forever, to let her feel no strain upon her tenderness, no roughness in her path; so soft and sweet—fed on the roses and lilies of life—what will she do in its wild waters!

She has passed this morning drawing poppies (one of which she has fastened in my hair) her pretty white morning dress is all smirched with charcoal, and her white fingers look as if she had been playing in dainty imitation of the coal-bearer, but her drawing is really very pretty and is pinned up on the wall to await Lissie’s inspection when she returns from Boston.

The fearful heat is passed—today a cool air once more blows and for J’s dear sake I am glad. For myself, I love heat and summer.


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