[Manchester—Monday, 7 August 1871]

Monday. August 7th We passed yesterday P.M. in the Dana woods and by the shore. Towards night, while the red sun hung like a fire-ball in the dusky sky we stopped at the old house which has now been standing here 26 years to see the family. There was nobody down stairs as we entered from the cliff side except a young girl and young man whose low voices could be heard on the front doorstep. I crossed the hall at once to let them know of our vicinage when I found it was Lily, the granddaughter and housekeeper and her cousin. They came at once to the back piazza and after a little talk said they would like us to stay because grandpapa and Aunt Betsy would be sorry to miss us—so we lingered and the old man, now 80 soon came from his daughter’s sick room, and Aunt Betsy from her own retirement to join the party. Presently R.H Dana Jr. & his son joined & completed the group. As we sat there after dark in the gathering gloom, although our talk was merry, I could not but feel what a weird group it was. Those strange old people, so ancient & so homey, fit companions for these whitening rocks, yet clear and even brilliant in their mental vision—the sea solemnly roaring up on the beach just at our feet, the occasional sound of a wild creature, and our little ripple of talk flowing over the surface of this ceaseless undertone of Nature, like the voice of conscience made visible and never to be hushed.

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