[Manchester—Thursday, 15 June 1876]

June 15. As I came upon these lines of Chaucer in my reading I could not help thinking that the free religionists would pounce upon the noble poet as after all, at the root of the misleading faith. In his “[La] Priere de Nostre Dame” he says

“We have none other melodie or gle

Us to rejoyce in our adversite,

Ne advocate, that wol & dare so praye

For us, and that for as litel hire as ye

That helpen for an Ave Marie or twaye.”

Yesterday our first day at Manchester passed delightfully. In spite of unpacking and house arrangements, of which latter dear Jamie did more than I, we had an hour or two of reading together of Daniel Deronda in the afternoon. It was lovely weather though I think it quite early enough for this place provided we get it well planted before coming.

Watson from Beverly the Irish gardener and mason was at work today around the place. “Watson when will you see forty years?” said dear J. to him half laughing with the knowledge that he is older than that—“It will be on Saint Tibs [sic] Eve Surr,” answered Watson with a delicious brogue and twinkle “and that comes nyther before Christmas nor afthar.” “I was born on a May mornin’ Surr 1825”.

He is a fit product of May, a jocund nature like that of spring herself.

We read Daniel Deronda together in the afternoon and took tea at Mrs Towne’s, thereby losing a call from Mrs George Howe who asked us to dinner tomorrow. We found Mr. Wild at Mrs T’s.

We returned home feeling how easy it is to shut nature out. When I remember the glorious wilderness of Eagle Head and see it now, a plantation of cares, I weep to think of the follies into which we fall. I struggle for moments, hours I do not think of except in rare periods, but moments of reprieve from the pettiness of life we ought and must make in such a paradise as this. It depends much upon ourselves and our determination to be sufficiently careless and simple in our ways.


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