[Boston—Sunday, 23 April 1876]

Sunday April 23. Went yesterday afternoon to see the French players in a play by Alexandre Dumas fils called Le Demi Monde. It lasted three hours and a half—yet no time was lost in waits nor in tedious speeches. I was lost in wonder to imagine how a play so intense in interest and speedy in extreme could be so long. It was intensely disagreeable to me at the dénouement and I came away with a soul full of disgust in spite of the good acting and the attraction of the language.

Read Gautier’s Émaux et Camées in the evening; here again is a master of art, but there is something in the refined voluptuous, the surrender sans frein of the loftier nature to the joys of sense which is shocking. Wordsworth and Tennyson, the latter especially, cannot be considered inferior to De Musset or Gautier in their power of comprehending the beauty of the flesh, but with what a different spirit the subject is always treated, the latter drag the spirit down to earth, the former give it wings.

Mrs Diaz and Mrs Lodge were here during the morning. What strangely contrasting characters I have for friends. How little they would understand or appreciate each other. Mrs Diaz is struggling with her desire to enlighten the world and sometimes loses her balance a trifle, I fear. Yet she is dead in earnest and if her culture were equal to her endeavor she could be a power indeed. Mrs Lodge is a power in the present with her ceaseless energy and determination, but she does not bring her thought steadfastly to bear on serious subjects and find her joy in them altogether. She is a charming woman of society without strong passions or iron purpose, but she is most loveable and amiable and useful. They are both of them very valuable and dear to me.

Coming from the french play I found Dear Jamie had reached home from Hartford with his pleasant budget which I shall try to find a moment at least to extract from before long.

“Makaria retired from society to astronomy and her correspondence” Goethe.


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