[Boston—Saturday, 30 September 1871]

We remained in Manchester until Saturday Sepr 30th the weather fine all the time and the foliage ripening into a strange beauty, finer than anything I had ever known before. Never had I seen in my life such a changing glory as had fallen upon the world as Wednesday afternoon when after a day passed in town Jamie took me through the Essex woods in the sunset light. We seemed like two travellers who passing along this grey and darkened earth had suddenly come upon a gleam of unknown loveliness which was to hold them spell-bound. I felt there was another Lotus-Eater still to be written, another tale of the charm which existence unfolds for us.

Thursday Mrs Towne made a beautiful dinner for us and asked the John Kings (alas! that I must moderate the title by the prefix) of Beverly— Friday—another drive with the Caleb Curtis’s through the glowing woodlands and a visit to a wooded point which we should much like to own. Saturday we came away to our beloved home, which was standing ready to receive us. Jamie went to the Club dinner wh. was unusually brilliant—Longfellow, Agassiz, Emerson, Hoar, Athanase Coquerel (France), Holmes, Sumner, etc. There were 20 present—unusually brilliant and interesting. I have forgotten to mention Lowell last not least—who looks upon Joaquin Miller as a flash-in-the-pan poet. Ben: Pierce was also there, the large eyed noble professor. There were great political rejoicings of course of the defeat of Butler and Hoar was congratulated upon his noble efforts. Longfellow gave J. to bring home to read to me the beginning “In traitors” of a grand sacred drama which he is now working upon—“Habakak is borne aloft by an angel.” The music is contained and perfect. It marches on like an organ from height to height of its grand melody.

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