[Boston—Friday, 13 January 1871]

Jany 13. Mrs H.B. Stowe came to lunch. She was more “distraite”, more undressed, and inclined to be more silent than ever. She had taken a severe cold I discovered and as she once described to me the anaconda propensities of their family for curling up and going off in spirit, so I recognized today in her the truth of the description. Fortunately we were alone and she soon began to talk. I think she is really much worn out with incessant writing and striving for daily bread, but she talked of suffrage, women’s work, my coffee shop which she gives too high a place in the good work of the period, say little of literature, she has done too much writing of late she said, poor woman to have much heart for reading afterward & Lowell, who is a standing subject with her (she thinks his present marriage so unlike the first one that she refuses to believe he can be happy and never having read his late poems declares he has written none fit to read since those old days) and much about the temptations and sorrows of this life. I regret to say that her thought turns too easily and always did to be agreeable to me, to subjects kindred to the Byron matter which disgusted us all so much.

And she talked of Mr. & Mrs Lewes, dear Dickens’s unhappy marriage & like topics too much to leave a pleasant savor. However I was pleased to hear what she had to say of Mr. & Mrs Lewes whom she exonerates of wrongs. Mrs Gaskell told her their history years ago.

Last night we dined with Mabel Lowell in her old house where we found her quite alone. It is a noble old place. Her father’s library is a wonderful room, like very few on this side of the pond—Papa has told her M. says which books to run for if the house should burn down. She seems to have no fear in being alone except for fire.

Lucy Larcom has been staying here & Tuesday morning we had a visit from Ole Bull and his young wife. He was like a fine strain of poetry. In rather worse English than usual, he described their beautiful house in Norway, and his violin “VQ” (meaning who) he says “is Geek.”

Young Henry James passed Wednesday Evening here when we rehearsed the tale of Mrs Morris and the wonderful English women we had seen. He rejoices in J.’s papers as who does not.


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