[Manchester—Thursday, 15 July 1875]

July 15. Wonderful weather and a marvellous look at the skies by day and by night. Yesterday there was a squally look in the sky in the afternoon which kept us from Mr. Dana’s where we wished to go to pay our respects to the old man, so we went to see our neighbours the actors, instead. Mr. Gilbert was interesting; he talked with great admiration of Longfellow’s poem and recited the first four lines which seemed to him as to us a most dignified and happy opening.“We, Caesar, who are now about to die” etc.

Mrs Bowers is a well preserved woman of fifty years perhaps—yet with the hair of a girl. She is intelligent and speaks agreeably except a slight hoarseness of voice which is so often the result of public speaking or acting. The manner and the matter are refined and agreeable. Mr. & Mrs Inglis, friends of the actors, live in a pretty little cottage with a garden in front full of fragrant flowers. Mrs Inglis has been a very handsome woman but has no culture save what her knowledge of her garden and her husband’s pictures give to her. She is a good-hearted New England woman, a patient of my father’s. He is a Scotchman who has made some money and retired from his trade which was in liquor and held in dis-esteem. But he is good-hearted too though selfish & crochetty. Absorbed in pictures—painting the most fearful darks himself but buying really fine things. He owns a beautiful miniature of Napoleon by Isabey.

Called at Mrs Burlingame’s. They were at tea but came out cordially to meet us. Mr. Burlingame told us a strange anecdote of Wagner’s vanity. On a windy day he was walking in the street with a cape on fastened by one button at the throat. The button became detached and the wind, taking the cloak, blew it under the feet of the horses of a lady who was driving in a Victoria. She stopped the carriage before the wheels went over it, alighted from the low carriage and handed the cloak to M. Wagner as she would have done to any gentleman with whom she had acquaintance. He, taking it to be an especial favor, smiled, bowed his acknowledgements and said, with a wave of his hand “Keep it, Madame.”

Mr. Bartol brought dear J. yesterday a poem of his own to read to him. “To my Boat” was the subject. And a lovely poem it was, said dear J.

July 15. Came Laura and her little girl Laura, a sweet child, graceful and natural. Dear Laura herself seems more subdued than I have seen her and a little saddened I think and hope fatigue may have something to do with it. Such a day and such moonlight as greeted them here I have seldom seen. They seemed to breathe in new life and health from the new loveliness. The men are haying and my morning walk in the fields was most refreshing.

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