[Boston—Thursday, 27 April 1876]

Thursday—April 27. I had arranged to go with Mary Lodge to the North End to see poor people today, but she sent her maid on early to say her mother had been so ill all night that she had scarcely touched her bed since we parted and she should not go. I was glad for I was weary—I cannot say with what, but I dreaded the excitement and labor of a North End tour with the other plans we had on hand. So I read and wrote letters until it was time to pack my bag to go to Hartford with dear J. Mean while he was lecturing before the Boston University whence he returned at noon laden with an exquisite bouquet one of the largest I ever saw.

We lunched and at 3 P.M. were en route for Hartford. I slept and read Mr. Tom Appleton’s journal on the Nile and looked out at the Sunset and the touches of Spring in the hollows, each in turn, doing more sleeping than either of the others I fear, because I seem for some unexplained reason to be tired as Mrs Hawthorne used to say far into the future. By giving up to it however I felt quite fresh when we arrived at half past Seven o’clock. Mr. Clemmens’ (Mark Twain’s) carriage was waiting for us to take us to the hall where he was to perform for the second night in succession Peter Spyk in the Loan of a Lover. It is a pretty play and the girl’s part Gertrude was well done by a Miss Helen Smith, but Mr. Clemmens’ part was a creation. I see no reason why, if he chose to adopt the profession of actor, he should not be as successful as Jefferson in whatever he might conclude to undertake. It is really amazing to see what a man of genius can do beside what is usually considered his legitimate sphere.

Afterward we went with Mr. Hammersley to the Club for a bit of supper. This I did not wish to do but I was overruled of course by the decision of our host. We met at supper one of two clever actors, who played in a little operetta called the Artful Mendicants. It was after 12 o clock when we finally reached Mr. Clemmens house. He believed his wife would have retired as she is in very delicate health; but there she was expecting us with a pretty supper table laid. When her husband discovered this he fell down on his knees in mock desire for forgiveness. His mind was so full of the play and with the poor figure he felt he had made in it, that he had entirely forgotten all her directions and injunctions. She is a very small, sweet looking, simple, finished creature, charming in her ways and evidently deeply beloved by him. The house is a brick villa designed by one of the first N.Y. architects, standing in a lovely lawn which slopes down to a small stream or river at the side. In this Spring season the black birds are busy in the trees and the air is sweet and vocal. Inside there is great luxury. Especially I delight in a lovely conservatory opening out of the drawing room.

Although we had already eaten supper the gentlemen took a glass of lager beer to keep Mrs Clemmens company while she ate a bit of bread after her long anxiety and waiting. Meantime Mr. Clemmens talked. The quiet earnest manner of his speech would be impossible to reproduce but there is a drawl in his tone peculiar to himself also. He is much interested in actors and the art of acting just now and seriously talks of going to Boston next week to the debut of Anna Dickenson.

We were a tired company and went soon to bed and to sleep. I slept late but I found Mr. Clemmens had been re-reading Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast in bed early and revolving subjects for his Autobiography.


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