[Boston—Saturday, 6 June 1874]

June 6th My birthday—A lovely mist covers the earth and it is very warm. Everything is quite still about the house for “J.” is away in Hanover. Last night was his last lecture. He will come home glad and tired about noon if all is well.

Yesterday afternoon went to see Miss Philbrook at The Working Women’s home 31 Edinboro St. whither it has been transported since the fire. A clean good house in admirable condition, rapidly filling up with a good class of young women—after all, the seed once well-planted will not readily die and Colonel Greene seems to have been right in regard to Miss Philbrook’s ability, whether this ability is all directed for the good of the class for whom we established the home still remains to be proved. I am inclined to think Miss Philbrook is a right-minded woman and does as well as she knows. She is “nigh” alas! but circumstances have taught her that. As I sat by her window peeping out between the lattice of the grape-vine, I saw a workman just home after a warm day’s labor, his face clean and glowing, come to the kitchen door of the house opposite which opened upon a small yard, with a little child in his arms. The look of tenderness and joy in that father’s face I shall not soon forget. I seemed to be a witness and partaker of one of the innermost secrets of the man’s soul. As he played with the little boy the whole world of the father’s life seemed gathered in the smiles of love with which he gazed upon the child. Instead of “I care for nobody and nobody cares for me” it was “Our Father cares for all and has given Love to me.” It is so unusual for us to see a working-man with his children—we so often associate him with the rough work he has to do—as if that were all his life, that the picture surprised me with its tenderness.

I called also upon Aunt Willard, and Nelly performed a few errands and returned to a solitary tea, then wrote letters during the evening.

Last week Mr. Emerson lunched with us. He is thinking of giving lectures in the autumn. He said “Mr. Redpath wishes me to go to Philadelphia but I have said I would never speak there again. When I spoke there formerly under Mr. Pugh I said, Mr Pugh if I speak in Philadelphia I must receive $200. “Yes” he replied, that is about what I thought it would be worth.” When I was to leave he asked me to say to Dr. Holmes that he wished him also to lecture in Pa. I replied I will tell Dr. Holmes but you should offer him if he comes to Pa. “250”—(perhaps the sum was 300). “Yes, he replied I thought it would be worth about that”!!! The Press also said I spoiled everything by my awkwardness—scattered my notes about and ended by saying nothing in particular. I did not think I should ever go to Pa. again.” He was very lovely with Louisa’s children, playing with them and talking with them—indeed he never seemed to me so tender and lovely as of late. Mr. & Mrs Henry James who came later, to dinner, said they had never seen Mr. Emerson so well in health nor so inert in intellect but I think this is an aphorism which is calculated to deceive like some others of Mr. James’s pet sayings.

Jamie and I were rather tired and I fear Mr. James did not thoroughly feel rewarded for coming—certainly we did not hear quite so much that was keen and new from him as usual. He spoke of Mr. Lewes’ new book on metaphysics and said he had contributed two or three words of value to the world of science but somehow one feels the rottenness somewhere in everything Lewes does. This book for instance seems absolutely of no value except for those words. I shall never look at it again. They were deeply interested about the Hunts and their sad separated fate—two such strange uncontrolled creatures. She came and sat down by my wife at a concert and told her that William Hunt had not been near his children for six months.

Mary Dewey and I went to see a clever work-woman by the name of Flynch, dressmaker, who has invented underclothes and waterproof clothing which will be a comfort to woman-kind, I sincerely believe.

Today I shall dedicate part of my birthday to endeavoring to plan Sunday Excursions for the people.

Went to the meeting, found these excursions were alone for children—but there were too many of them to write my plan.

Jamie was to have returned home at noon but at the hour for the meeting 3 P.M. he had not arrived so I sent for a carriage and drove hastily to the meeting—a thunderstorm was just coming up so I said my say at the meeting and left precipitately at the end of 15 minutes. I drove hurriedly home again fearing dear J. had arrived and would be shocked not to find me after a week’s absence. I must say I was rather glad to find he had not yet come. It was six before he came and after, there being no morning train from Hanover as he supposed; in the meantime while the rain was descending in torrents in came a beautiful watercolor drawing which he had bought for my birthday of “Lacing Group” by Weatherhead and afterward the post-man came with a registered letter which proved to be an exquisite ring from Lizzy. I was truly touched by these presents—how wonderful it is that people anybody even one’s dearest should remember these days but it is far more grateful to have them remembered as the years go by than it is earlier in life, of course. Jamie was petted by the whole town of Hanover—they were delighted not only with his lectures but with him to judge from the tributes of every kind which were lavished upon him. A Committee from the Senior class was chosen to wait upon him. They met him at the Station with a carriage & pair of beautiful white horses, as they called for him every day to see where he would be driven. Parties were arranged for every day in the week, and no attention possible to devise was forgotten. Professor & Mrs Quimby made a very elegant fête: lanterns in the trees, music, ice cream & unwonted gaieties for Hanover. They urged us also most kindly to go upon a camping tour with them into the New Hampshire woods—a scientific expedition. He ran away from all these festivities on the second day in order to see the mountains and have two days of quiet before his next lecture. Then he had three days of talk and good time & was glad enough to reach home on Saturday.


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