[Boston—Monday, 2 January 1871]

Monday Ja’y 2d Dined at William Hunt’s with Mrs & Miss Putnam and Miss LeClerc, all representative women but so different—Miss LeClerc, French Huguenot, has lived long in America as a teacher and is now the head and front after Miss Haines of Miss H.’s great school in N.Y. She is working hea[r]t and soul and body for a French Fair for the amelioration of the sufferings of France, for (and this is the motive wh. appears chiefly to stimulate her pious energy I was rather disappointed to find) to distribute the protestant bible in France. The war has made a new opening for her proselyting endeavors. However, in spite of what appeared to me a little tendency to bigotry, she is a resolute noble woman evidently of the kind to go to the stake for her principles. Her youth has passed, her flowers of joy seem to have faded but the fires of religion burn strong within her. Georgie Putnam young and resolute, still, with full enjoyment of life tempered by early sorrows which nothing can ever put out of her sight, devoted to great work through humble work, brave and sweet and living, stood out in fine sympathetic contrast by her side. Mrs Putnam studious, laden with grief, bowed down but triumphant, sad and sympathetic, longing to talk of France—these were the women about the table beside Mrs Hunt & myself. All of us had lived more or less in France and our sympathies were keenly alive. A fair has been projected & this was our topic of conversation after dinner. During that meal Hunt & J. laughed and talked until the tears ran down our cheeks. We positively ached. Hunt with his fine excitable genius was all a genius should be. Sweet & eager and kind. Up and down from the table throwing kisses to his angelic child who sat at a small table in the corner, a wonderful creature who seemed just alit upon our planet from some star, flying into the pantry, pulling bottles out of unsuspected cupboards, uproari[o]us with energy and fun. The ladies I think had seldom seen just such laughter. Mrs Hunt excepted & myself, but I think it did them all good though dear angelic Mrs Putnam did look a little wistful as if she did not quite understand it. The house itself is a study of art—pictures, sketches, bas-relief, everywhere. Hunt says “Everything is beautiful, what a world it is!” with a kind of despairing glance as if he recognized the fact that what was needed was the power to embrace what already exists. He spoke with real appreciation of Mrs Darrah’s work. Her feeling for nature is apparent he says through almost everything she does. He is already to paint Holmes, but will not do him on the large canvas Mr. C. has asked to have it done upon. He thinks the lower part of his face very strange. His positive beauty lies much about the eyes.

I was glad to find Mrs Putnam was only a little absent & wearied but she enjoyed her visit thoroughly. “One of the very few places where I go now” she said affectionately in speaking to me of the visit.


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