[Manchester—Monday, 25 September 1871]

Monday Evening. The moon is in the sky almost full and the sound of the sea comes through my open window as I sit here silently this evening. Jamie is very tired after a glorious day in the open air which is rather an intoxication to me and holds my eyes wide open and he has gone fast asleep for the night. He walked to the beach before breakfast this morning and after breakfast lured by the glory of the day which was one of those easy days of late summer more beautiful, more tender from the fact of being one of the very last, he went off with me for a ramble to the village. There, filled to the brim by the golden lustre of the morning we took our pony-carriage and loitered about until nearly noon. First we went to Dr. Bartol’s place (Glass head) hoping to catch our friend and have a walk with him among the shining leaves while we looked off upon the wide sea-scape which tempts the vision from his place on every hand. But he was already gone. He had come from town by the early train, had talked with his workmen, had seen them all apparently occupied, and now he had taken to his boat where we presently descryed him a mile or two out like a speck near Howe Island. I omitted to say that on our way thither we stopped at the Post Office to get our papers and letters—better it was today with a goodly quantity of newspapers, where we chatted with the French post-master, a shrewd, bright-eyed little fellow who has married a wife whose Ca[l]vinistic tendencies are somewhat shocked by his proclivities towards a “good time” on the Seventh day in the modest line of a country walk or excursions; and the talk ended we carried our newspapers to the Dr’s summer home and read them in leisurely content. From our height we could bid two friends farewell, in spirit, who were just leaving their summer dwelling, we could see the luggage borne away, the maid and man accompanying and presently Miss North and Mrs Skinner accompanied by two friends go on foot to the station. What a strange experience this is, what a great height may give one—that of observing & understanding the movements of others while they must remain utterly ignorant of our sympathy and participation.

Leaving our height we presently returned to the village in vain search, or what long appeared so, for a little fresh butter. Just at the point of despair we accosted a man on the road who allowed us to have his last morsel and then we went gaily on to buy some hot house grapes from a deaf woman down in a small country lane christened ostentatiously enough Vine Court. The grapes were riper though the woman was not less deaf than at our last visit and we gladly took them with us in order to feast our kind Beverly ladies who were coming to pass the day with us. We sat under an oak tree after our return, Jamie reading Miss Mitford aloud while I folded the plaits in a neckerchief, until their carriage appeared. Only one of the ladies came, the other being ill, but otherwise our excursion was an entire success. We examined the umbrella tree and its surroundings under their new outward adornment and the world especially this beautiful portion of it never appeared more lovely. We ended our day of genial dissipation by calling at Eagle Head where we did not at first find the good Townes but after a little loitering by the way we met them returning from drive. A few words together, a little laughter and we finally drove home just as the sun sank like a ball of fire in the horizon and the misty veil was torn from the face of the moon on the opposite side of the heavens.

National Endowment for the Humanities - Logo

Editorial work on The Brownings’ Correspondence is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This website was last updated on 5-18-2024.

Copyright © 2024 Wedgestone Press. All rights reserved.

Back To Top