[Hartford—Saturday, 29 April 1876]

Saturday morning. Dear J. was up early and out in the beautiful sunshine. I read and scribbled until our breakfast at half past nine.

It was a lovely morning and I had already ventured out of my window and round the house to hear the birds sing and see the face of spring before the hour came for breakfast—when I did go to the drawing-room however I found Mr. Clemmens alone. He greeted me apparently as cheerfully as ever and it was not until some moments had passed that he told me they had a very sick child up stairs. From that instant I saw, especially after his wife came in that they could think of nothing else—they were half distracted with anxiety. Their messenger could not find the Dr. which made matters worse. However the little girl did not really seem very sick so I could not help thinking they were unnecessarily excited. The effect on them however was just as bad as if the child were really very ill. The messenger was hardly dispatched the second time before Jamie and Mrs Clemmens began to talk of our getting away in the next train whereat he (Mr. C.) said to his wife, “Why didn’t you tell me of that etc. etc.” It was all over in a moment but in his excitement he spoke more quickly than he knew and his wife felt it—nothing was said at the time, indeed we hardly observed it, but we were intensely amused and could not help finding it pathetic too, afterward, when he came to us and said, he spent the larger part of his life on his knees making apologies and now he had got to make an apology to us about that carriage. He was always bringing the blood into his wife’s face by his bad behavior and here this very morning he had said such things about that carriage. His whole life was one long apology. His wife had told him to see how well we behaved (poor we!!) and he knew he had everything to learn.

He was so funny about it that he left us in a storm of laughter, yet at bottom I could see it was no laughing matter to him. He is in dead earnest, with a desire for growth and truth in life and with such a sincere admiration for his wife’s sweetness & beauty of character that the most prejudiced and hardest heart could not fail to fall in love with him. She looked like an exquisite lily as we left her—so white and delicate and tender. Such sensitiveness and self-control as she possesses are very very rare.

Reached home in safety to find all well. There were letters to be answered and a telegram to be sent to Phila. So I sat with my bonnet on and worked at them until J. laughed at me and said dinner was almost ready—however I was ready then for peace and quiet so I was glad they were done.

I have omitted to describe a pleasant visit at the house of Mrs Perkins, a neighbor of Mr Clemmens, on our way to the car—a nice large family and a pleasant cottage. Evidently people earnestly in search of culture and the higher life, eager and interesting—good neighbors and good Americans—people to make the heart glad anywhere. Kingsley stayed here while in H.


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