[Manchester—Friday, 5 August 1870]

August 5. A fresh yellow morning but poor J. could not get up, not feeling strong. We drove out, however, to Beverly quite early while the freshness of the morning was still upon everything and this was a renewing of body and spirit. Beverly changes in behalf of its growing company during the summer; roads are widened and gentlemen own larger estates every day. Met very few vehicles—only one handsome carriage, being the unfashionable hour. It was most beautiful however and I thought we had the advantage. The carriage contained Miss Howes & her sister Mrs Cabot, Salem ladies of wealth whom we have known a little for several years. The last time we saw them was in London. Mrs Cabot looked ill, as if the waves of mortality were retreating from her shores. She said she was “quite well” when we inquired but I saw an anxious look flit over her sister’s face. The daily bulletin of progressive illness is to be confided to no one. The sufferer carries it unread save by one or two who feel too keenly to be ready on their part to tell the secret easily. How often we read by an unexpected glimpse at one page, the whole sad story.

But we had a sunny sweet drive, through the old “Common” road which has been improved without being spoiled, past Mr. Dresel’s shut house with the silent piano room looking thoroughly deserted under sweet smelling pines homeward. A comfortable old fashioned loving quiet time such as we have not often enjoyed of late, behind a horse. We strolled about the village a little afterward and I thought it had seldom looked more habitable.

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