[Boston—Monday, 13 November 1871]

Nov. 13. Mr. Tom Appleton burst in, in the morning to return a paper I had asked him to sign for the co-operative building committee,—he said he understood my lively note well enough but I did not undertake to tell him anything—however he had signed it, he said and taken a few shares. (after he had passed an hour here and was gone I opened the paper & found his name was not down. I could not let the matter rest so, therefore I sent it back with a few words of inquiry pencilled and he put his name! I presume he really thought he had done so before.) He talked of many things, after being fairly started but he found Miss Guild here about a Coffee Room, & Mr. Heard after a maid, I have one for a few days in Katy’s place to give her a chance to see her sister, and Patrick for errands, until he began to think he was to have no chance. At length he began in good earnest, talked of the radicals with their bigotry or their cloudiness. “Now there is Sam. Longfellow a lovely amiable being as ever was a first-rate ghost, but you can’t bring him to talk deep upon any subject. I travelled with him for a whole year, and I assure you he is a charming, conversational, ghost!!

Appleton talked of going to Europe, why we get to be nothing but creatures of thought and feeling in this atmosphere he said. I become ashamed of the fact of being an animal at all, I have to go away to remind myself of it, and cry out “Waiter! bring me a mug of beah!” He had a sensitive little white dog with him, a new pet.

At four o’clock came Harriet Prescott Spofford & her husband. It is many years since I have seen her here. They are people to enjoy our collected rag-tags hugely. We put them in Hawthorne’s room & a thought of his restless ghost kept sleep away. At six came Mrs William Hunt & a young niece. Mrs Hunt was as usual fresh as country life combined with an incarnate spirit of freedom could make her. We laughed without measure over her witty, girlish, unstudied talk and ways. Like Charles Lamb’s fat woman with regard to the breezes, so with her as regards knowledge “tis a shrewd zephyr that escapes her”.

We all went together to Charlotte Cushman’s début in Queen Katherine at the Globe Theatre. A house filled with her friends and a noble piece of acting. She spoke to every woman’s heart there; by this I felt the high art and the noble sympathetic nature far above art which was in the woman and radiated from her. Much of the play beside was poor but Mrs Hunt was very amusing and we laughed and laughed at her sallies until I was quite ashamed. J. went behind the scenes and talked with C.C. She was in first rate condition.

It is far too bad to omit all the bright daring talk of Mrs Hunt—I remember her saying that a friend of hers remarked with regard to the fantastic service of some Episcopal churches that the text upon which they pinned was “By (taste) ye are saved”.

As we went up stairs to put our bonnets on for the play (Shakespeare’s Henry the VIII be it remembered) she said “There! I never read the play tonight and I thought I would get you to let me turn it over before we went! But there’s hardly time now, I will do it afterward!!”

She was moved to tears by the acting of C.C.

Spofford talked politics this evening out of his strange Washington experience. He drew Mr. Fields aside and asked him if he would go to Spain as minister, said he would send him there if he (J.) would only express a desire to go! Strange fellow. S. talked also of his cousins the Turnauds, but he evidently knows nothing.


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