[Manchester—Thursday, 13 July 1876]

Thursday afternoon came Mrs Guild, with her beautiful head and lovely figure and delight in every exquisite thing of nature and art.

A few queer things of Nelly’s came to me. Driving with her mother who did not attend altogether to some little complaint of hers but remarked the strange beauty of a thunder-cloud she said “You do not mind my woe at all you only talk of the thunder-cloud which feels no woe.” At another time “Every woman must I suppose yearn after some man” (this at 8 years, ye gods!) Stretching out her hands she said one day “Now I feel alive! Sometimes for a few moments I know I am alive but then it goes away and everything is a dream again.”

Mrs Guild is probably the original of Mrs Farrell the heroine of Howells’ little tale. She is so like his picture that I cannot for an instant suppose anything else. She talks of going to England with her two children to study sculpture and to model. Poor child! I hope she will always keep the lovely phantasy of possible achievement before her.


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