[Manchester—Saturday, 5 August 1876]

August 5th 1876. Miss Whitney was in town during mid-day where hot weather reigned. Here all was beautiful as ever, moonlight and all.

Mrs E.P. Whipple and her son and Mrs Lesley called in the afternoon.

Miss Whitney gave us a good description of Couture and his wife, two daughters and “bonne”—how they went to the theatre together, it was the young girls’ first visit and how afterward they went home to take a little refreshment at the villa. Couture’s great work is the Roman decadence and upon this and the portraits he has made I presume his fame will rest, for he appears no long likely to achieve much further. He seems to be very excellent and satisfactory as a teacher though Miss Manning was his first pupil for years and it is quite possible his first American pupil. When she first went to call upon him with Miss Whitney he was decorating his daughter’s bedroom for her approaching birthday. Madame Couture received them, but hearing their errand, carried them to where he was at work with a straw hat on much like the one Mr. Fields wears about here. He hardly took any notice of their presence beyond a nod until he had finished using the paint he had prepared upon his palette, then he turned about and sat down, took his hat off and began to talk. “Why didn’t you come before” he asked. “Because I was afraid” said Miss Manning. He laughed heartily, said he would give her a few lessons (five) at five dollars each and see what came of it. So she began at once and kept on with the prescribed intermissions until the late autumn when he suddenly disappeared and she thought she had lost him altogether—asking Mme. C. for an explanation she said he had gone to Paris and they were to pass the winter in an old tenement house he owned in order to eject the present tenant and he was ashamed to ask her there. However she followed and all went well until she left.


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