Julia Ward Howe (1819 - 1910)

by Laura E. Richards

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Chapter XI - No. 19 Boylston Place: "Later Lyrics" - 1866; aet. 47


From the hurried city fleeing,
From the dusty men and ways,
In my golden sheltered valley,
Count I yet some sunny days.

Golden, for the ripened Autumn
Kindles there its yellow blaze;
And the fiery sunshine haunts it
Like a ghost of summer days.

Walking where the running water
Twines its silvery caprice,
Treading soft the leaf-spread carpet,
I encounter thoughts like these:—

"Keep but heart, and healthful courage,
Keep the ship against the sea,
Thou shalt pass the dangerous quicksands
That ensnare Futurity;

"Thou shalt live for song and story,
For the service of the pen;
Shalt survive till children's children
Bring thee mother-joys again.

"Thou hast many years to gather;
And these falling years shall bring
The benignant fruits of Autumn,
Answering to the hopes of Spring.

"Passing where the shades that darken
Grow transfigured to thy mind,
Thou shalt go with soul untroubled
To the mysteries behind;

"Pass unmoved the silent portal
Where beatitude begins,
With an equal balance bearing
Thy misfortunes and thy sins."

[236]Treading soft the leaf-spread carpet,
Thus the Spirits talked with me;
And I left my valley, musing
On their gracious prophecy.

To my fiery youth's ambition
Such a boon were scarcely dear;
"Thou shalt live to be a grandame,
Work and die, devoid of fear."

"Now, as utmost grace it steads me,
Add but this thereto," I said:
"On the matron's time-worn mantle
Let the Poet's wreath be laid."

J. W. H.

"My first writing in the new house, where may God help and bless us all. May no dark action shade our record in this house, and if possible, no surpassing sorrow."

After the wide sunny spaces of No. 13 Chestnut Street, the new house seemed small and dark; nor was Boylston Place even in those days a specially cheerful cul de sac; yet we remember it pleasantly enough as the home of much work and much play.

"November 19. Had the comforts of faith from dear James Freeman [Clarke] to-day. Felt restored to something like the peace I enjoyed before these two tasks of printing and moving broke up all leisure and all study. Determined to hold on with both hands to the largeness of philosophical pursuit and study, and to do my utmost to be useful in this connection and path of life...."

"Comforting myself with Hedge's book. Determined to pass no more godless days...."

She began to read Grote's Plato, and the Journal contains much comment on the Platonic philosophy. Another interest which came to her this autumn was[237] that of singing with the Handel and Haydn Society. She and Florence joined the altos, while "Harry," then in college (Harvard, 1869), sang bass. We find her also, in early December, rehearsing with a small chorus the Christmas music for the Church of the Disciples, and writing and rehearsing a charade for the Club.

"December 12. Saw my new book at Tilton's. It looks very well, but I am not sanguine about its fate."

"Later Lyrics" made less impression than either of the earlier volumes. It has been long out of print; our mother does not mention it in her "Reminiscences"; even in the Journal, the book once published, there are few allusions to it, and those in a sad note: "Discouraged about my book," and so forth; yet it contains much of her best work.

"December 16. Sarah Clarke[57] and Foley[58] are to dine with me at 5.30. Went out at 10 A.M. to take Foley to see [William] Hunt, whom we found in his studio in a queer knitted coat. He showed an unfinished head of General Grant, in which it struck me that the eyes looked like the two scales of a balance in which men and events could be weighed."

The Journal for 1866 opens with a Latin aspiration: "Quod bonus, felix, faustusque sit hic annus mihi et meis amicis dilectis et generi humano!"

February finds her in New York, going to a "family[238] party at Aunt Maria's.[59] Uncle John came. He was the eldest, my Harry the youngest member. I made a charade, Shoddy, in which Mary [Ward] and Flossy took part. Mary did very well. Flossy always does well. I enjoyed this family gathering more than anything since leaving home. It is so rare a pleasure for me. Family occasions are useful in bringing people together on the disinterested ground of natural affection, without any purpose of show or self-advancement. Relations should meet on more substantial ground than that of fashion and personal ambition. Nature and self-respect here have the predominance. In my youth I had no notion of this, though I always clung to those of my own blood."

From New York she went to Washington, where she gave a series of philosophical readings. Here, while staying at the house of Mrs. Eames, she had a violent attack of malarial fever, but struggled up again with her usual buoyancy.

"February 19. Weather rainy, so stayed at home; eyes weak, so could do little but lie in my easy-chair, avoid cold, and hang on to conversation. To-day the President[60] vetoed the bill for the Freedmen's Bureau. The reading of the veto was received by the Senate with intense, though suppressed, excitement. Governor Andrew read it to us. It was specious, and ingeniously overstated the scope and powers demanded for the Bureau, in order to make its withholdment appear a liberal and democratic measure. Montgomery Blair is supposed to have written this veto."

At her first reading, she had "an excellent audience. The rooms were well filled and there were many men of note there.... Governor Andrew brought me in. Sam Hooper was there. I read 'The Fact Accomplished.' They received it very well. I was well pleased with my reception."

The next day she was so weary that she fell asleep while the Marquis de Chambrun was talking to her.

"February 23. To-day we learned the particulars of President Johnson's disgraceful speech, which awakens but one roar of indignation. To the Senate at 11.30. When the business hour is over, Fessenden moves the consideration of the House Resolution proposing the delay in the admission of members for the Southern States until the whole South shall be in a state for readmission. Sherman, of Ohio, moves the postponement of the question, alleging the present excitement as a reason for this. (He probably does this in the Copperhead interest.) At this Fessenden shows his teeth and shakes the Ohio puppy pretty well. Howe of Wisconsin also speaks for the immediate discussion of the question. Doolittle, of ——, speaking against it, Trumbull calls him to order. Reverdy Johnson pitches in a little. The Ayes and Noes are called for and the immediate consideration receives a good majority. Fessenden now makes his speech, reads the passage from the President's speech, calling the committee of fifteen a directory,—comments fully on the powers of Congress, the injustice of the President and his defiant attitude.... He has force as[240] debater, but no grasp of thought.... In the evening I read the first half of 'Limitations' to a very small circle. A Republican caucus took all the members of Congress. Garrison also lectured. I was sorry, but did my best and said, 'God's will be done.' But I ought to have worked harder to get an audience."

"February 25.... Rode with Lieber[61] as far as Baltimore. He heard Hegel in his youth and thinks him, as I do, decidedly inferior to Kant, morally as well as philosophically....

"The laws and duties of society rest upon a supposed compact, but this compact cannot deprive any set of men of rights and limit them to duties, for if you refuse them all rights, you deprive them even of the power to become a party to this compact, which rests upon their right to do so. Our slaves had no rights. Women have few."

After leaving Washington, she spent several days with her sister Annie in Bordentown, and there and in New York gave readings which seem to have been much more successful than those in Washington. After the New York reading she is "glad and thankful."

The visits in Bordentown were always a delight and refreshment to her. She and her "little Hitter" frolicked, once more two girls together: e.g., the following incident:—

The Reverend —— Bishop was the Mailliards' pastor; a kindly gentleman, who could frolic as well as[241] another. One day our Aunt Annie, wishing to ask him to dine, sat down at her desk and wrote:—

"My dear Mr. Bishop,
To-day we shall dish up
At one and a half
The hind leg of a calf—"

At this point she was called away on household business. Our mother sat down and wrote:—

"Now B., if he's civil,
May join in our revel;
But if he is not,
He may go to the devil!"

During the days that followed, Kant and charades divided her time pretty evenly.

"Kant's 'Anthropologia' is rather trifling, after his great works. I read it to find out what Anthropology is."

"Good is a direction; virtue is a habit."

* * * * * * "Wearied by endless running about to find help for my charade, —— having disappointed me. Determine to undertake nothing more of the kind."

* * * * * *

The charade (Belabor), which came off the following evening, was marked by a comic "To be or not to be," composed and recited by her in a "Hamlet costume, consisting of a narrow, rather short black skirt, a long black cloak and a black velvet toque, splendid lace ruff, amethyst necklace. It was very effective, and the verses gave reasonable pleasure."

"March 15.... Went to the Masonic Banquet, which was preceded by a long ceremony, the consecration of three new banners. The forms were curious, the music good, the occasion unique. The association appeared to me a pale ghost of knighthood, and the solemnities a compromise between high mass and dress parade. The institution now means nothing more than a military and religious toy."

In this year she met with a serious loss in the death of her uncle, John Ward. He had been a second father to her and her sisters; his kindly welcome always made No. 8 Bond Street a family home.

"April 4. The contents of uncle's will are known to-day. He had made a new one, changing the disposition of his property made in a previous will which would have made my sisters and me much richer. This one gives equally to my cousins, Uncle William's four sons, and to us; largely to Uncle Richard, and most kindly to Brother Sam and Wardie. We know not why this change was made, but once made, it must be acquiesced in, like other events past remedy. My cousins are wealthy already—this makes little difference to them, but much to us. God's will be done, however. I must remember my own doctrine, and build upon 'The Fact Accomplished.'"

This passage explains the financial worries which, from now on, often oppressed her. She was brought up in wealth and luxury; sober wealth, unostentatious luxury, but enough of both to make it needless for her ever to consider questions of ways and means. Her whole family, from the adoring father down to the loving youngest sister, felt that she must be shielded from every sordid care or anxiety; she was tended like an orchid, lest any rough wind check her perfect blossoming.

Her father left a large fortune, much of which was invested in blocks of real estate in what is now the heart of New York. Uncle John, best and kindest of men, had no knowledge of real estate and none of the foresight which characterized his elder brother. After Mr. Ward's death, he made the mistake of selling out the Manhattan real estate, and investing the proceeds in stocks and bonds. Later, realizing his grave error, he resolved to mitigate the loss to his three nieces by dividing among them the bulk of his property.

This failing, the disappointment could not but be a sensible one, even to the least money-loving of women. The Doctor's salary was never a large one: the children must be given every possible advantage of education and society; no door that was open to her own youth should be closed to them; again, to entertain their friends (albeit in simple fashion), to respond to every call of need or distress, was matter of necessity to both our parents: small wonder that they were often pressed for money. All through the Journals we find this note of financial anxiety: not for herself, but for her children, and later for her grandchildren. She accepted the restricted means; she triumphed over them, and taught us to hold such matters of little account compared with the real things of life; but they never ceased to bewilder her.

Yet to-day, realizing of what vital importance this seeming misfortune was to her; how but for this, her life and other lives might have lacked "the rich flavor of hope and toil"; how but for this she might have failed to lock hands with humanity in a bond as close as it was permanent, who can seriously regret Uncle John's devastating yet fruitful mistake?

In April again she writes:—

"Dull, sad and perplexed. My uncle not having made me a rich woman, I feel more than ever impelled to make some great effort to realize the value of my mental capacities and acquisitions. I am as well entitled to an efficient literary position as any woman in this country—perhaps better than any other. Still I hang by the way, picking up ten dollars here and there with great difficulty. I pray God to help me to an occasion or sphere in which I may do my utmost. I had as lief die as live unless I can be satisfied that I have delivered the whole value of my literary cargo—all at least that was invoiced for this world. Hear me, great Heaven! Guide and assist me. No mortal can."

The next day's entry is more cheerful.

"Feel better to-day. Made the acquaintance of Aldrich and Howells and their wives, at Alger's last evening. I enjoyed the evening more than usual. Aldrich has a very refined face. Howells[62] is odd-looking,[245] but sympathetic and intelligent. Alger was in all his glory."

"April 11.... Between a man governed by inner and one governed by outer control, there is the difference which we find between a reptile in a shell and a vertebrate. The one has his vertebræ within to support him, the other has them without to contain him."

"April 19. Very busy all day. Ran about too much, and was very tired. Had friends, in the evening, to meet young Perabo. I did not wish to give a party, on account of Uncle's death, but could not help getting together quite a lovely company of friends. Aldrich and wife were here, Alger, Bartol, Professor Youmans, Perabo, Dresel, Louisa D. Hunt, and others. It was a good time.... Saw my last cent go—nothing now till May, unless I can earn something."

"April 20. Began to work over and correct my poem for the Church Festival, which must be licked into shape, for the Gods will give me none other. So I must hammer at it slowly, and a good deal.... To write purely for money is to beg, first telling a story."

In these days the Doctor was very weary through excess of work. He longed for a change, and would[246] have been glad to receive the mission to Greece, of which some prospect had been held out to him. She writes: "Chev full of the Greek mission, which I think he cannot get. I wish he might, because he wishes it. Surely a man so modest and meritorious in his public career might claim so small an acknowledgment as this. But as we are, he represents Charity, I the study of Philosophy—we cannot be more honored than by standing for these things."

It was thought that she might have some influence in obtaining the mission: accordingly she went to Washington, anxious to help if she might. She saw the President of the Senate, who promised support. While there she writes: "Governor Andrew took me to General Grant's, where I saw the General, with great satisfaction. Prayed at bedtime that I might not become a superficial sham and humbug."

Hearing that Charles Sumner had sought her at the house of Mrs. Eames, she sent a message to him by a common friend. She writes: "Sumner cannot make a visit at the hotel, but will see me at the Capitol. I know of nothing which exempts a man in public life from the duty of having, in private, some human qualities." Mr. Sumner did come to see her later, when she was staying with Mrs. Eames. She saw Secretary Seward, who was very ungracious to her; and President Johnson, whom she found "not one inclined to much speech." Before the latter interview her prayer was: "Let me be neither unskilful nor mean!"

The visit to Mrs. Eames was a sad one, being at the time of the death of Count Gurowski, a singular man[247] whom she has described in her "Reminiscences"; but she met many notable persons, and had much interesting conversation with her host and hostess. She records one or two bits of talk.

"Mr. Eames saying that Mrs. X. was an intelligent but not an original woman, I said: 'She is not a silk-worm, but a silk-wearer!' Nine women out of ten would rather be the latter than the former."

"Mr. Eames saying that he often talked because he could not make the effort to be silent, I said: 'Yes, sir; we know that the vis inertiæ often shows itself in motion.'

"I record these sayings," she adds, "because they interested me, opening to myself little shades of thought not perceived before."

"May 27. Boston. My birthday. Forty-seven years old. J. F. C. preached on 'The seed is the word,' and gave a significant statement of the seminal power of Christianity. They sang also a psalm tune which I like, so that the day (a rainy one) seems to me auspicious. I have little to show for the past year's work, having produced no work of any length and read but little in public. The doctrine of the seed does, however, encourage us to continue our small efforts. The most effectual quickening of society is through that small influence which creeps like the leaven through the dough...."

"... Roman piety was the duteous care of one's relatives. It follows from this that the disregard of parents and elders common in America is in itself an[248] irreligious trait, and one which education should sedulously correct."

On May 29 she attended the Unitarian Festival. She recalls the fact that at the last festival she was "tormented by the desire to speak. But I am now grown more patient, knowing that silence also is valuable...."

The Chevalier was not to receive the only reward he had ever sought for his labors. On May 31 she writes: "To-day the blow fell. A kind letter from Vice-President Foster informed me that Charles T. Tuckerman had been nominated for the Greek mission. This gave me an unhappy hour. Chev was a good deal overcome by it for a time, but rallied and bears up bravely. The girls are rather glad. I am content, but I do not see what can take the place of this cherished object to Chev...."

The following verses embody her thoughts on this matter:—

To S. G. H.

On his failure to receive the Grecian mission which he had been led to think might be offered to him. 1866.

The Grecian olives vanish from thy sight,
The wondrous hills, the old historic soil;
The elastic air, that freshened with delight
Thy youthful temples, flushed with soldier toil.

O noble soul! thy laurel early wreathed
Gathers the Christian rose and lilies fair,
For civic virtues when the sword was sheathed,
And perfect faith that learns from every snare.

Let, then, the modern embassy float by,
Nor one regret in thy high bosom lurk:
God's mission called thy youth to that soft sky;
Wait God's dismissal where thou build'st His work!

"Divide et impera is an old maxim of despotism which does not look as if States' rights pointed in the direction of true freedom."

"It is only in the natural order that the living dog is better than the dead lion. Will any one say that the living thief is better than the dead hero? No one, save perhaps the thief himself, who is no judge."

The Journal is now largely concerned with Kant, and with Maine's work on "Ancient Law," from which she quotes freely. Here and there are touches of her own.

"Epicureans are to Stoics as circumference to centre."

"I think Hegel more difficult than important. Many people suppose that the difficulty of a study is a sure indication of its importance."

In these years the Doctor and our sister Julia were in summer time rather visitors than members of the family. The former was, as Governor Bullock said of him, "driving all the Charities of Massachusetts abreast," and could enjoy the Valley only by snatches, flying down for a day or a week as he could. Julia, from her early girlhood, had interested herself deeply in all that concerned the blind, and had become more and more the Doctor's companion and workfellow at the Perkins Institution, where much of his time was necessarily spent. She had classes in various branches of study, and in school and out gave herself freely to her blind pupils. A friend said to her mother, many years later, "It was one of the sights of Boston in the days of the Harvard Musical concerts to see your Julia's[250] radiant face as she would come into Music Hall, leading a blind pupil in either hand."

Early in this summer of 1866 Julia accompanied the Doctor on a visit to the State Almshouse at Monson, and saw there a little orphan boy, some three years old, who attracted her so strongly that she begged to be allowed to take him home with her. Accordingly she brought him to the Valley, a sturdy, blue-eyed Irish lad. Julia, child of study and poetry, had no nursery adaptability, and little "Tukey" was soon turned over to our mother, who gladly took charge of him. He was nearly of the age of her little Sammy: something in his countenance reminded her of the lost child, and she found delight in playing with him. She would have been glad to adopt him, but this was not thought practicable. Julia had already tired of him; the Doctor for many reasons advised against it.

She grieved all summer for the child; but was afterward made happy by his adoption into a cheerful and prosperous home.

This was a summer of arduous work. The "Tribune" demanded more letters; Kant and Maine could not be neglected, and soon Fichte was added to them.

Moreover, the children must have every pleasure that she could give them.

"Worked hard all the morning for the croquet party in the afternoon, which was very pleasant and successful.

"Took Julia to the party on board the Rhode Island. She looked charmingly, and danced. I was quite happy because she enjoyed it."

Early August found her in Northampton, reporting for the "Tribune" the Convention of the American Academy of Science. The Doctor and Julia joined her, and she had "very busy days," attending the sessions and writing her reports.

"Read over several times my crabbed essay on the 'Two Necessities,' which I determine to read in the evening. I have with me also the essay on 'Limitations,' far more amusing and popular. But for a scientific occasion, I will choose a treatise which aims at least at a scientific treatment of a great question. This essay asserts the distinctness of the Ideal Order and its legitimate supremacy in human processes of thought. I make a great effort to get its points thoroughly in my mind. Go late to the Barnards'. The scientifics arrive very late, Agassiz gets there at 9. I begin to read soon after. The ladies of our party are all there. I feel a certain enthusiasm in my work and subject, but do not communicate it to the audience, which seemed fatigued and cold; all at least but Pierce, Agassiz, and Davis. Had I done well or ill to read it?... Some soul may have carried away a seed-grain of thought."

"August 11.... To Mount Holyoke in the afternoon. The ascent was frightful, the view sublime. In the evening went to read to the insane people at the asylum; had not 'Later Lyrics,' but 'Passion Flowers.' Read from this and recited from the other. Had great pleasure in doing this, albeit under difficulties. Finished second 'Tribune' letter and sent it."

Back at the Valley, she plunges once more into[252] Fichte; long hours of study, varied by picnics and sailing parties.

"To church at St. Mary's. X. preached. The beginning of his sermon was liberal,—the latter half sentimental and sensational. 'The love of Christ constraineth us,' but he dwelt far too much on the supposition of a personal and emotional relation between the soul and Christ. It is Christian doctrine interpreted by human sympathy that reclaims us. Christ lives in his doctrine, influences us through that, and his historical personality. All else is myth and miracle. What Christ is to-day ideally we may be able to state, of what he is really, Mr. X. knows no more than I do, and I know nothing.

"Stayed to Communion, which was partly pleasant. But the Episcopal Communion struck me as dismal, compared to our own. It is too literal and cannibalistic;—the symbolism of the eating and drinking is too little made out. Our Unitarian Communion is a feast of joy. The blessedness of Christ's accomplishment swallows up the sorrow of his sacrifice. We have been commemorating the greatest act and fact of human history, the initiation of the gentler morals of the purer faith. We are glad,—not trivially, but solemnly, and our dear Master is glad with us, but not as if he aimed a direct personal influence at each one of us. This is too human and small a mode of operation.

"He is there for us as the sun is there and the brightness of his deed and doctrine penetrates the recesses of our mind and consciousness. But that he knows each one of us cannot and need not be affirmed.

'The moon looks
On many brooks:
The brook can see no moon but this.'
So that we see him, 
it matters not whether he sees us or no.

"Spinoza's great word;—if we love God, we shall not trouble ourselves about his loving us."

"I yesterday spoke to Joseph Coggeshall, offering to give a reading at the schoolhouse, in order to start a library fund. He appeared pleased with the idea. I proposed to ask .50 for each ticket."

"Chev suggests Europe. 'Je suis content du palazzo Pitti.'"

"I cannot study Fichte for more than forty-five minutes at a time. Reading him is not so bad as translating, which utterly overpowers my brain, although I find it useful in comprehending him."

"I begin to doubt the availability of Fichte's methods for me. I become each day more dispirited over him. With the purest intention he is much less of an ethicist than Kant. These endless refinements in rationale of the ego confuse rather than enlighten the moral sense. Where the study of metaphysics becomes de-energizing, it becomes demoralizing. Subtlety used in a certain way unravels confusion, in a certain other way produces it. Kant unwinds the silkworm's web, but Fichte tangles the skein of silk,—at least so it seems to me.

"Spent most of the afternoon in preparing for a tea party, cutting peaches and preparing bread and butter."

"Read 11th and 12th chapters of Mark in the Valley. At some moments one gets a clearer and nearer perception of the thought and personality of Christ than that which we commonly carry with us."

Early in October came the move "home to Boylston Place, leaving the Valley with great regret, but feeling more the importance of being with the children, as I draw nearer to them."

Our mother had remained after the rest of us, to close the house. In Boston she had the great pleasure of welcoming to this country her nephew, Francis Marion Crawford, then a boy of twelve years. Born and bred in Rome, a beautiful and petted child, he was now to learn to be an American schoolboy. She took him herself to St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire; and for a year or two he spent most of his holidays with us, to the delight of us all.

In this autumn of 1866 she undertook a new task, of which the first mention in the Journal reads: "I will here put the names of some writers of stories whom I may employ for the magazine."

A list of writers follows: and the next day she writes: "I saw J. R. Gilmour and agreed with him to do editorial service for thirty dollars per week for three months."

This magazine was the "Northern Lights." The first number appeared in January, 1867. It contained two articles by Mrs. Howe: the "Salutation" and a thoughtful poem called "The Two R's" (Rachel and Ristori). Later, we find her in the "Sittings of the Owl Club," making game of the studies she loved.

This owl went to Germany,
This owl stayed at home;
This owl read Kant and Fichte,
This owl read none.
This owl said "To-whit! I can't understand 
the dogmatic categorical!"
The "Northern Lights" gleam fitfully in 
the Journal.

"October 26. To write Henry James for story, Charles T. Brooks for sketches of travel. Saw and talked with Gilmour, who confuses my mind."

"October 29. Chev went with me to Ristori's début, which was in Medea."

"November 3. All of these days have been busy and interrupted. Maggi[63] has been reading Ristori's plays in my parlor every day this week and my presence has been compulsory. I have kept on with Fichte whose 'Sittenlehre' I have nearly finished. Have copied one or two poems, written various letters in behalf of the magazine, have seen Ristori thrice on the stage and once in private."

"November 10. Finished copying and correcting my editorial for the first number of my weekly. Finished also Fichte's 'Sittenlehre' for whose delightful reading I thank God, praying never to act quite unworthily of its maxims."

"November 11. Called on Mrs. Charles Sumner, and saw both parties, who were very cordial and seemed very happy."

"November 15. Crackers, .25, eggs, .43, rosewater for Frank Crawford, .48. Very weary and overdone.[256] The twelve apostles shall judge the twelve tribes in that the Christian doctrine judges the Jews.

"I lead a weary life of hurry and interruption."

"November 18. Weary hearts must, I think, be idle hearts, for it is cheery even to be overworked. My studies and experience have combined to show me the difficulty of moral attainment, but both have made me feel that with every average human being there is a certain possible conjunction of conviction, affection, and personality which, being effected, the individual will see the reality of the ethical aspects of life and the necessary following of happiness upon a good will and its strenuous prosecution.

"I began Fichte's 'Wissenschaftslehre' two or three days ago.

"Gave a small party to Baron Osten Sacken.... Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must, makes the difference between the beggar and the thief."

"November 26. Very unwell; a good day's work, nevertheless."

"November 27. Better. Last week was too fatiguing for a woman of my age. I cannot remember my forty-seven years, and run about too much. The oratorio should, I fear, be given up."

"December 8. I came in from Lexington last night after the reading[64] in an open buggy with a strange driver, a boy of eighteen, who when we were well under way showed me a pistol,—a revolver, I think,—and said that he never travelled at night without one. As the boy's very face was unknown to me, the whole[257] adventure seemed bizarre. He brought me home to my own house.... Am writing on 'Representation.'... Man asks nothing so much as to be helped to self-control."

"December 9. Heard J. F. C. as usual. 'She hath done what she could'—a good text for me at this moment. Independently of ambition, vanity, pride,—all of which prompt all of us, I feel that I must do what my hand finds to do, taking my dictation and my reward from sources quite above human will and approbation."

"December 19.... Vicomte de Chabreuil came. We had a long, and to me splendid, conversation. Were I young this person would occupy my thoughts somewhat. Very intelligent, simple, and perfectly bred, also a rosso,—a rare feature in a Frenchman."

"December 27. Let me live until to-morrow, and not be ridiculous! I have a dinner party and an evening party to-day and night, and knowing myself to be a fool for my pains, am fain to desire that others may not find it out and reproach me as they discover it.

"Got hold of Fichte a little which rested my weary brain.

"My party proved very pleasant and friendly."

"December 29.... I read last night at the Club a poem, 'The Rich Man's Library,' which contrasts material and mental wealth, much to the disparagement of the former. I felt as if I ought to read it, having inwardly resolved never again to disregard that inner prompting which leaves us no doubt as to the authority of certain acts which present themselves to us for[258] accomplishment. Having read the poem, however, I felt doubtful whether after all I had done well to read it in that company. I will hope, however, that it may prove not to have been utterly useless. The imperfection of that which we try to do well sometimes reacts severely upon us and discourages us from further effort. It should not."

"December 31. Ran about all day, but studied and wrote also.

"Farewell, old Diary, farewell, old Year! Good, happy and auspicious to me and mine, and to mankind, I prayed that you might be, and such I think you have been. To me you have brought valued experience and renewed study. You have introduced me to Fichte, you have given me the honor of a new responsibility, you have made me acquainted with some excellent personages, among them Baron McKaye, a youth of high and noble nature; Perabo, an artist of real genius.... You have taught me new lessons of the true meaning and discipline of life,—the which should make me more patient in all endurance, more strenuous in all endeavor. You have shown me more clearly the line of demarcation between different talents, pursuits, and characters. So I thank and bless your good days, looking to the Supreme from whom we receive all things. The most noticeable events of the year just passed, so far as I am concerned, are the following: the invitation received by me to read at the Century Club in New York. This reading was hindered by the death of my brother-in-law, J. N. Howe. The death of dear Uncle John. My journey to Washington to get Chev the[259] Greek appointment. Gurowski's death. Attendance at the American Academy of Science at Northampton in August. The editorship of the new weekly. My study of Fichte's 'Sittenlehre' and the appearance of my essay on the 'Ideal State' in the 'Christian Examiner.' My reading at Lexington for the Monument Association. My being appointed a delegate from the Indiana Place Church to the Boston Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches. My readings at Northampton, Washington, and elsewhere are all set down in their place. The bitter opposition of my family renders this service a very difficult and painful one for me. I do not, therefore, seek occasions of performing it, not being quite clear as to the extent to which they ought to limit my efficiency; but when the word and the time come together I always try to give the one to the other and always shall. God instruct whichever of us is in the wrong about this. And may God keep mean and personal passions far removed from me in the coming years. The teaching of life has of late done much to wean me from them, but the true human requires culture and the false human suppression every day of our lives and as long as we live."


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