[Manchester—Tuesday, 8 August 1871]

Tuesday. It rains—and now nearly a week has passed and I have paused all that time in my work, doing nothing. I have been ill and unfit for work—so all things have wrought together for good.

J.B. Booth, manager of the Boston Theatre, and a company of players live here on the shore. Mrs Booth gave a fête yesterday for her step daughter and we—The Bartols & ourselves—were asked, the only outsiders, I believe on the shore. It was interesting to see the freedom, good humor, hospitality and cleverness (this of course) of this society we so seldom get a peep into, of people who live by their wits and whose occupation is the amusement of others. Everything wore something of the aspect of needing to be seen through an opera glass compared with what we ordinarily see in the way of dress and adornment, but the effect was always striking and the feeling unmistakeable. Mrs Junius Brutus Booth Senior was there and Mr. Fields gave a toast in her honor.

Afterward we drove to Beverly to see Miss C. Hooper, a young lady of fortune, who was cradled in luxury and has her life long enjoyed all that money can give of petting and refinement. She has just built the pretty country house overlooking the sea in which we found her all alone. Her delicate dress of the finest muslin, her embroidered shoes, her dainty furniture, her half pampered, half insolent servants, her pictures, vases, flowers and pretty tangle of dainties, all contrasted with what we had before seen. It was a contrast not without a moral. How strange to make the cordon which has always separated the players from the rest of humanity—more than strange when we remember that Shakespeare, Dickens, Fanny Kemble, and a world full of the most active intellects which have ever visited our planet belonged to this tabooed race. Conway, one of yesterdays company, and manager of the Brooklyn theatre N.Y. is the only son of the man whom Mrs Piozzi loved in her old age & to whom she wrote a published volume of letters.

Laura Towne was here at dinner yesterday. She has served the cause of the Republic at St. Helena Island Beaufort ever since the war broke out. She has grown to look almost like a mulatto. She teaches daily in the schools. She told us the best of stories about her children there (she has 200 in her school) of their strange dialect and native wit. Rinah, her cook, an old woman was called to account the other day by Miss T. for the cutting of a new ham just prepared for table and placed in the safe.

“Well now Miss Towne, she replied I’se on’y a poor col’d woman, and you a white woman. White woman ain’t bound to believe what poor col’d woman say. Yer ain’t bound to believe nuffing they say at all. But dis I will say Miss Towne that the pusson dat took your ham did very wrong indeed.”!

The drops as I write rest on the leaves of the tulip tree in their beautiful whiteness, but a breeze begins to stir and the rain will soon be ended. I begin to sigh for my morning tramp again—but patience they will come in good time.

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