[Boston—Sunday, 7 May 1876]

Sunday. May 7. Soft lovely day—at home during the morning getting my lesson on John Bunyan ready for the children. We have postponed going to Phila. until Tuesday, when I hope to be better.

Found only a small group of children who seemed interested in hearing about Christian and the Pilgrim’s Progress. Coming away Mr. Bartol tried to enlist my sympathies in behalf of a beautiful young girl with histrionic powers a Miss Bigelow. Went to Mrs Greene’s. It is the anniversary of Bessie’s death by drowning. She heard only this morning of the safe arrival of her son at Plymouth with 200 miles still farther to go before Home should be reached. It has been a time of great anxiety—all her own apparently as the Colonel has been occupied in writing a mathematical essay. I cannot help thinking that his absorption was partly “malice prepense” knowing that his son was on the sea. He appeared however to know nothing of it until 3 o’clock Sunday morning when he was suddenly roused from sleep by the sound of the alarm bell on the church opposite. Then he apparently awoke from his sleep to a full consciousness of the fact that it was just one year that day since Bessie was drowned and that their only son was going on to the same dangerous coast. “Only those who have passed through such a narrow & difficult strait can understand what we suffered. William went to his breakfast however as usual and when my breakfast was brought to me half an hour later, a card came with it announcing the arrival of the Saint Laurent at Plymouth. Nobody can tell what that card has been to us, with those few little words written upon it”.

It is impossible perhaps to analyse and set down the reason why one person is attractive and lovely and touching, in spite of age, sorrow, and infirmity such as Mrs Greene labors under, while another tempts you to walk the other way though gifted with what the world has to give. It was always so with her. In her youth people said it was because she was too beautiful and in a position to be courted and admired. Now she is the wife of a most eccentric and unpopular man, her health is so delicate she is obliged often to stay in bed, (I always see her there on Sunday) and yet we should hardly know where to turn for a person to compare with her in sympathetic attraction. We talked of her poor people and of our plans for them and by turns of Bessie.

One of the serving women left as an especial legacy to Mrs Greene’s care by Bessie, was on the eve of committing suicide the other day, from sheer poverty and misery. “She came to ask my advice about killing herself” said Mrs Greene laughing. The first time she told me of her temptation, I told her she had better not do it if she dreaded the poor-house for she would probably wake up to find herself there in another world. The second time Mrs G. read her quite a lecture asking her if she did not believe in a guardian angel. I rather think Miss Choate will not kill herself just yet. The memory of what Bessie Greene has been to her is too strong.

Jamie lectured in the evening. I remained at home and read Macauley’s life. He came home covered with honors as usual. I was almost ill with cold, so we deferred going to Phila. one day.


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