[Manchester—Sunday, 6 August 1871]

Sunday August 6. Summer with luxury of warmth is at last here. We have been on the hillside where I have read The “Children of Lebanon” to J. this morning. I have been a little ill this week & J. has read aloud to me Hawthorne’s novel Septimius. It appears to me one of his greatest productions—indeed a vast weird analysis of his own character and motives under a slight veil of fiction.

The patience and microscopic power with which Hawthorne wrote his journal was a kind of perpetual preparation for his books. Never a day elapsed that he did not work after this fashion.

Miss Mary Bartol lives opposite—a woman who has lost the spur of existence. She lies down in her bonnet and gets up in it—she wears it to dinner and as frequently as possible wears a veil over her face even in the home. She has nothing to do—sees nothing before her—but to wait with what patience she can for the last change. It is pitiable to see how the sick fancy of a moment may become the keystone of distorted existence. There is matter here for a poem if I could fitly use it—but I must wait a few days for strength myself before attempting anything further.


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