[Plymouth—Sunday, 13 September 1874]

Sunday. Walked up one of the neighboring hills and sat in a wonderful and lovely solitude overlooking the valley & the river—rested for a while on the piazza of a half finished house. The farmer, its owner, told us he was burned out at West Campton and almost everything he owned in the world swept off in one moment. Therefore he came to Plymouth and began afresh. “If my health is spared, he said, I shall do very well again I think in a year or two.” He owns 22 acres of pasture and orchard ground overlooking the Pemigewasset valley. Few sites in the world are more beautiful. The winters are very cold and I see no sheep which I wonder at but I presume the necessity of keeping them housed during the winter in their severe climate accounts for all. We climbed a high point near a sugar hut where there was no sound but the voices of birds & squirrels and the bell of a wandering cow wh. we could not see. I fancied there was once a human habitation where we sat because of two or three old apple trees under one of which we reposed, two or three butternut trees, quite a good stone wall rather higher than is usual for the mere protection of cattle, and uneven ground with scattered stones which appeared to indicate the position of the cellar; but the silence told us no tales. We lingered until the hour of dinner approached. As we came home we saw the minister returning from his Sunday service with his sermon under his arm. He climbed a few high wooden steps from the roadside, passed up over a kind of rude ascent of terrace, unlocked the door of a low wooden cottage which he left wide open as he went in. It would be difficult to find a simpler, plainer, more modest home. Surely one not unfit for the disciple of the carpenter’s son.

Passed the afternoon in our hotel room reading the Persian Poet Firdawsì [sic], The Epistle of St. James and a few of Whittier’s poems—the 2 latter aloud to dear J.

I feel very ungrateful sometimes in this most comfortable house because I often get impatient over a kind of confinement. I long to go and sit under the trees which is obviously an absurd thing to do in the heart of a town of 3000 inhabitants; but the wilderness we see from our windows tempts me forth, I long to be a part of what I see, therefore our sojourn here is never unmixed enjoyment of nature—on the contrary there is much confinement and disappointment mingled with the pleasure of driving through glorious scenery. But I often think an hour of peaceful solitary strolling about among scenery one half as glorious would be productive of more lasting pleasure.

Jamie continues at work on his Wordsworth lecture. He has just read with infinite amusement that passage where Wordsworth says, no one who has come at length to an admiration of his poems, has ever been known to survive their satisfaction in them.

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