Main Contents & Search
   Letters & Diaries


Sarah Orne Jewett Diaries 1871-1879
1 May 1871 -- 28 December 1879

Houghton Library: Sarah Orne Jewett Papers: bMS Am 1743.1 Jewett , Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. Additional correspondence: Series: VI. Compositions and other papers ( 341) Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. A.MS. diary; [n.p.] 1 May-28 Dec 1879. 1v.
Citation of this material should include the Houghton Library call number.

Transcription by Terry and Linda Heller, Coe College, with assistance of Kelly Sanders

Notes on the transcription

We have tried to reproduce Jewett’s text so it is reasonably close to its appearance in her manuscript.  We have left without comment what appear to be her errors.  The reader may expect, therefore, to encounter the following regular irregularities:

- Jewett’s use of the apostrophe is inconsistent.
 -- Jewett often extends her periods and sometimes her commas, so they appear as dashes.  We have rendered these as dashes.
 -- Jewett often leaves out end punctuation.  Where this seems necessary for clarity, punctuation sometimes is added within braces: {.}.

Notes within the transcription.

[ blue ] = text Jewett inserted.
[ black? ] = a guess at ambiguous text.
[ black ] = editorial observations, comments, notes and headings.
* = annotated item, or an item to be annotated.

Dividing lines between sections have been added.


Persons Often Named in this Diary

To reduce repetition, these persons are identified by full name, when necessary, in the section notes, but are described just once, in this list.

Kate / Katherine de Costa Birckhead (1843? - 1925?), close friend and spiritual mentor to Jewett, mainly in the late 1870s.  Little has as yet been learned about her.  Her parents were James Birckhead, Jr. (1792 - 1 December 1870) and Elizabeth / Eliza / Lizzy  Hunter (1807-1890). Before the Civil War, James Birckhead had been an international flour merchant, engaged especially in trade with Brazil, where Katherine was born. Elizabeth's father, William Hunter, was United States Minister to Brazil at the time of their marriage. Kate's brother, William Hunter Birckhead (1839 - 19 April 1895), became a physician. He married Sarah King of Newport, and their children were: James, Philip, and Hugh.  Miss Birckhead also was a close friend of Ellen Mason.  See also Laura Jamagin, A Confluence of Transatlantic Networks, p. 121.

Georgie Halliburton (1 May 1849-1910) a lifelong friend of Miss Jewett from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was the daughter of  Susan Halliburton Peters (1830 - 9 April 1898) and James Pierrepont Halliburton (1824-1849).  After the death of Mr. Halliburton, Georgina's mother married George Wallis Haven (1808-1895).  Mr. Haven's first wife had been Helen Sarah Bell (1822 - 1846), who was the mother of another close Jewett friend, Edith Bell Haven (Mrs. Charles Cogswell) Doe (1840-1922). Georgina's half-brother was Dr. George Haven (1861-1903).  Often mentioned in the correspondence through 1899 is "Auntie," who seems to be an important second mother to Georgina. This could be neither of her known aunts, because both died in 1888. her father's sister, Mary Ann Halliburton (1797-1888) resided near Georgina in Portsmouth, NH. The other, Cornelia Woodhull Griswold (1807-1888), resided in Brooklyn, NY, the wife of Joseph W. Haven (1803-1872), the only brother of her step-father.

Ella Maria Walworth (Mrs. George Britton) Little (7 February 1849 - )  One of Jewett's closest friends in her early years, Ella Walworth married George Britton Little (14 August 1847 - ) on 3 November 1875.  Their children were Theodore Walworth and Harry Britton.
Ellen Francis Mason (1846 - 1930) lived on Beacon Hill in Boston and in Newport, RI.  Partnering with her sister, Ida, she devoted much of her time to charitable enterprises and to sponsorship of the arts, particularly music.  She was an author, civic leader, trustee, and philanthropist, remembered for her translations of Plato. (Cary and Wikipedia). 

Cora Lee Clark Rice (1849-1925) was one of Miss Jewett's earliest Boston friends who introduced her to the social and cultural life of the city. Married to John Rice, the son of a Massachusetts governor, she devoted much time to philanthropies and the Home for Incurables in Boston.

Grace Gordon Walden (10 Sep 1842 - 1 April 1918) was one of Jewett's early friends. The daughter of George W. Gordon (1801-1877) and Katherine Parker Sleeper, she became the second wife of the Protestant Episcopal clergyman Jacob Treadwell Walden (1830-1918) in 1885.  He had served a number of parishes before their marriage, but in the 1880s was concentrating on scholarship and writing, residing in London and New Hampshire.  She had two older sisters, Helen and Kate (who married Dr. H. L. H. Hoffendahl), and one older brother, George. Sources:  Who's Who in New England; Cow New Hampshire blog; The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 32 (1878).

[ Entries begin ]


[Written diagonally across the first page]

Father said one day "A story should be managed so that it should suggest interesting things to the reader instead of the author's doing all the thinking for him, & setting it before him in black and white.  The best compliment is for the reader to say, "Why didn't he put in this or that"


[Second and third pages contain a list of friends and correspondents]

1 Grace Gordon
2 Kate Birckhead
3 Georgie Halliburton
4 Ella Walworth
5 Ellen Mason
6 Lily Orne
7 Lilie Waterbury
8 Sadie McHenry.
9 Emily Irwin
10 Mrs. Furber
11 Aunty.
12 Minnie Fiske
13 H. C. H. B.
14 Cicely Burt.
15 Grace Minot
16 Cora Clark
17 Emily Whitney
18 Etta Jackman


19 Ned McHenry.
20 Mary
22 Prof. Parsons.

   Etta Jackman.

23 Mr. Ward.
24 Annie Jewett.
25 Anna Fox.
26 Maggie Hunt.
27 Aunt Helen.
28 Aunt Mary.
29 Grandpa
30 Miss Mary Hayes.
31 Frank Fiske


[Title page]


Not how but what!


T. S. O. Jewett


May 1st 1871



[ May 1871 ]



Do every-thing as well as you can, and be sure not to do your work at the wrong time.


Not polite for the sake of seeming polite, but polite for the sake of being kind ------


An echo repeats our own tone exactly.  So the world replies to us; kindness or roughness.  As our own fashion is, so answers it.


"What can be nobler than helping men to lead better lives?"


"For what every-one is in Thy sight -- that is he, and nothing more."

      Thomas a Kempis.


"There is a gift that is almost a blow, and there is a kind word that is munificence; so much is there in the way of doing things.

      Arthur Helps*


1871 May 1st.  This was G.H.'s* birthday and Grace* and I talked a great deal of her and I thought of her.  I meant to give her The Lady of La Garaye* but found Grace had also thought of it.  So I was disappointed the second time for I bought "H. H.'s Verses" for her Saturday, and found [__ Emery?] had given it & I changed mine.  I was very selfish about it & thought of ways it could be arranged in both cases so I could do as I wished.  I am so glad I was good natured about it for I should be so ashamed of myself now --  I wish particularly to be unselfish in such things & not "seek my own" & because I have been a very selfish girl I must try hard Sunday.  Mr. Brooks* said something I liked so much.  We are all fighting in a great battle and each one has his own place & temptations to overcome, but it does not have to do with himself alone but when ever we conquer, we are helping every body else & aiding in the great victory.  So each in his own little corner must be very brave and earnest.  I must try and remember this, when it is hard to give up things, or I find myself doubting at all --  & forgetting God & all those other things.  Mr. Brooks said that "every temptation conquered leads us a little deeper into that ------ strength."  There is one thing which I was noticing in myself.  I used to make great efforts to understand all the grand mysteries, & to know God as so many poor blind foolish girls have done before me, and I only got farther and farther away from Him, & more in the dark, & more bewildered than ever  --  Now I let it alone as well as I can, and try to be good without asking to know the reason of Things & every little while I read some verse in the Bible which used to perplex me, & find it is all clear and plain and that God is teaching me faster than ever before.  I wish I could remember something Mr. Brooks said about straining my mind to know God & never getting one step ahead until we come like little children.  The evening of this day I went to see "Rip Van Winkle"* and I believe it is like something in that, when he begs his daughter to know him & pleads with her and she thinks 'I don't know this old man, he says he is my father but how am I to know it is the truth, I have never seen anyone who looks like him.  He does not look as my father used, & thinks about it. By & by he says something about her child hood & she takes it all for granted as it were.  If she stops and thinks there is nothing to be certain of but she sees his smile, & he tells of things which she knows are true, & believes him, and afterward -- if it were all in real life I suppose he would grow familiar & she be quite certain and then wonder why she did not know him at first sight.  I think if we would only know God at first sight it would save us so many sad uncertain hours.  But we feel obliged to think it all over.  Whether this thing is sensible, & that probable, & get in the dark and have so much more respect for our own opinion than for what He tells us  --  & finally have to throw our "thoughts" all away & come to Him like a tired child who is lost at night & cares for nothing but to keep fast hold of its Fathers hand and to go home no matter how, & saying nothing if there are hard places to go through because our the fathers we chose have all turned out the wrong one and we are sure He knows best, & are so glad He found us -------


Helps: Sir Arthur Helps (1813 - 1875) was an English writer and political appointee.  The quotation is from Friends in Council (1860) p. 85.

a KempisThomas à Kempis (c. 1380 - 1471) was a German monk and the author of The Imitation of Christ (c. 1441).  The quotation, while it may appear in the writings of à Kempis, is actually from St. Francis of Assisi: "If others commended him, and showed any esteem of his virtue, he often said to himself: 'What everyone is in the eyes of God, that he is, and no more'."

G. H.:  Georgie Halliburton.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Grace:  Grace Gordon Walden.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Garaye:  Jewett refers to The Lady of La Garaye (1862) by the British poet and social reformer, Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Mrs. George) Norton (1808-1877).

Mr. BrooksPhillips Brooks, rector of Trinity Church, Boston.

Rip Van Winkle: Joseph Jefferson and Dion Boucicault wrote a popular dramatization of `Rip Van Winkle,' Washington Irving's well-known story from The Sketch Book (1819-1820). The play was first performed in 1865, and Jefferson was enormously successful in the role of Rip.

 3rd. Georgie* has been up today and we had some nice talks  --  We are going to learn the collect every week & say it at night.  She was telling me of one of Mr. Brooks's Easter sermons which had to do with the Easter collect.  He said we must follow out our good impulses and thoughts and not let them be like the little seeds which never sprout but only wither away.  "By thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect," the collect says.  Georgie said something which I do not mean to lose sight of -- that if we stop a minute to think whether a thing is right or wrong, & if there is any doubt, it is better to give it up.  I thought while I was walking with her how much she helps me and how much good her earnestness and faith and sincerity and love always do [illegible deletion] me.  I can see on looking back what a wise hand took care of me last year!  Kate* in the Spring and Summer was just the one to help me give up my doubts & to see the shallowness of what I had been trying to believe & find comfort in and then, just as I was trying to walk -- as a child does.  I began to know Georgie & she was just the one to help me that part of the way.  & I have seen her just when I needed her most.  I do not mean that I have forgotten my darling Kate, but I cannot be with her now & have her talk to me, and I need some one.  I long to see Kate again, but I shall all in good time -- when it is best for me.  It is so nice to think that every thing is ours to be right & "working together for good"  ------  I began with Georgie's birthday to be more careful about doing right.  & I am hoping to have a great many little crosses in my "sin book" -- for this month.  Last month there were only nine bad days which is an immense improvement --  it is so easy for me to be cross and say wicked things.

[The following segment is marked with a vertical line in the left margin]

I am going to try very hard from this day (Saturday, 6th) to do pleasantly all the little things which people ask me to which are so apt to come just at the wrong time.  Not only to do them without scolding or 'making a time,' but to do them as if I wished to & I had rather do it than not!  ---------

      I saw a verse in one of the Psalms yesterday which I liked very much.  I wish I could hear Mr. Brooks preach about it  --  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord"* --  There is such a wide meaning and so much comfort in it.  Not that God has arranged that our lives taken as a whole shall be one way or another or that he means, no matter what happens to have them come out all right & in a certain condition. That he lets us alone till just before we go to Him.  Or that he starts us in a certain place with certain influences about us.  & then forgets us as it were, but that every little step of ours is watched & provided for and ordered, and chosen for us.  It is such a pleasant thought that there is one friend -- & the best we have too -- who never forgets us or stops loving us and helping us & caring for us.  Even when we are careless about pleasing Him, & perhaps forgetting Him altogether.  I often think of one of the friends I am most fond of and wonder if she is thinking of me, & caring about me.  I never know.  But I can always be certain when I think of Christ, that He knows it and it is so pleasant as Georgie said the other day, that we are never alone.  I wish I could always remember this.


Georgie: Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Kate:  Kate Birckhead. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

by the Lord:  Psalm 37.

      "And do you like it?"

      I don't always like it answered Agnes "but just now I do."

      "Then you should always like it," retorted Ruth.  "Don't form the habit of whims, and fits, and starts.  When you like your duty, praise God for the blessing and when you don't like it, pray God for His help.  Anyhow, do it all the same."

Page 353 "Occupations of a Retired Life."--------*


I wonder where this came from:

"Our ideals partially realized, are powers for good in our lives"--------*

"Such stages have to be gone through, I believe, by all young and brave souls, who must win their way through hero-worship, to the worship of Him who is the King and Lord of heroes.  For it is only though our mysterious human relationships xxx ----- that we can come to the knowledge of Him in whom alone the love, and the tenderness, and the purity, and the strength, and the courage, and the wisdom of all these dwell for ever and ever in perfect fullness."

      Tom Brown at Rugby* -- last page ------


Retired Life:  Edward Garrett, "The Occupations of a Retired Life" The Sunday Magazine (June 1, 1868), p 573.

lives:  H. R. Hudson, "Miss Faith," The Galaxy. A Magazine of Entertaining Reading 6:3 (Sept. 1868), pp. 381 ff.
"OUR ideals; partially realized, are powers for good in our lives." Miss Faith Langley, being my ideal woman, was a power in mine. I used to see her, Sundays, when I first became a teacher in the academy at Winton--a lady with delicate features, bright eyes, and sunny-brown hair. I remember I thought the face a grave one, sometimes, when it was lifted in earnest attention; but if, after the service, she turned to speak to those about her, it seemed the very brightest and sweetest face in the world."

Rugby:  The British author Thomas Hughes (1822-1896) published Tom Brown's School Days (also known as Tom Brown at Rugby) in 1857.


24 May.  I have just been spending [two?] days with Kate* in Boston, & though this is not exactly a journal I shall write about it here.  When I heard her voice on the stairs, -- she is at Miss Mason's* -- it gave me the queerest feeling.  I have longed to see her, to be with her, for so many months that I could not believe it was real.  My dear dear darling Kate! --  We sat & talked a little while & she told me something which touched me inexpressibly.  I will write more about it sometime & I hope there will be more to write than I know now.   We went into the Gordon's & Kate soon went back to dinner, & after lunch Grace and I went in & I saw dear Miss Mason.  At five I went to drive with Miss Mason & Ida & Kate to Brookline & while they were calling Kate & I walked round a pleasant garden & enjoyed ourselves excessively in stealing & secreting flowers!  After a time we climbed on a rock near the [horses?] carriage, & talked a little.  One thing I did grieves me so, I showed Kate Father's picture in my watch & talked about him, of course it made her think of her own father, oh her face haunts me so!  & I wished to comfort her, and could not say a word{.}*  If I could only forget my doing that!  She must have thought me careless and heartless, and she never will know how careful and loving I wish to be & how willingly I would give up my own pleasures or do any thing for her.  I love her so perfectly, & how was it I could do such a thing!  I cannot ask her to forgive me for it ever.  & I cannot bear to have her remember my doing it & thinking how cruel I was to her.  It worries me so.  She was so sweet afterward as we were driving in town & laughed and talked with us but I could see that same look in her eyes & I know I hurt her so.  I was at Miss Mason's to tea & we sat in the parlor in the back afterward, & Kate & I were alone and I was just going to talk to her or try to at least, & some gentlemen came in & I lost her.  We went in to Grace's at half past eight and Mr Hill came, a friend of Kate's & they stayed until half past eleven.  We [buried?] cities and laughed a great deal, and of course I was happy because Kate was there -- In the morning I went down to Mrs. Hoffendahl's* [illegible deleted words] and she came out with me & we went to several shops.  I was in such a hurry to see Kate and I was not half so kind to Mrs. Hoffendahl as I wish I had been, because I might have gone round with her more.  I hope she did not notice I did not wish to stay but she must have, for she is so quick.  I made Mrs. Greene* a little call & then went to the Mason's and Kate was not ready to see me & I was so ashamed of myself -- I read aloud to her and we talked a while & then she sang for me, & there to my utter astonishment it was dinner time & I stayed & had a very nice time, but when I got back to the Gordon's I was met by the most dreadful expression on Mrs. G's face & though I made a more humble apology than I have for a great while, it did not seem to do any good.  I did not suppose they would keep lunch waiting & indeed never thought of it till long after the time & then it seems to me it would have been worse to go back & have lunch alone.  It was very childish and rude in me and I think I have a great deal to regret in those two days, but I mean never to do either of these two things I have written about again, and there were so many lovely things happened, & Kate helped me so much & was so kind.  I have promised her I will learn the twenty-seventh psalm for her, and -- oh dear -- I cannot write about her any more it makes me wish for her so.  God bless her and take the lovingest care of her, & help me to be good and true to her always.


Kate:  Kate Birckhead.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Miss Mason's:  Ellen Francis Mason. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

a word:  Kate Birckhead's father was James Birckhead (1792 - 1 December 1870).  This entry, therefore, is only months after the death of Kate's father.

Mrs. Hoffendahl:  Grace Gordon's older sister, Kate, married Dr. H. L. H. Hoffendahl.

Mrs. Greene:  Probably this is Anna Blake Shaw (1817-1901), who married the minister and activist, William Batchelder Greene (1819-1878).  Their daughter, Elizabeth (Bessie, 1846-1875), became a benefactor of the New England Hospital for Women and Children.


      It was so lonely!  I was wishing to see, Georgie* so much, and Father had a note from a patient in Portsmouth.  And I persuaded him to drive down in the after noon instead of waiting for the morning train.  I found Georgie at home and enjoyed her so much.  We walked round the garden & talked very fast, about Kate* & everybody.  It made me wish to see Kate so much & I envy Georgie her music & lessons & her Saturdays in Boston, with all my heart  --  I wrote her at night after I got home, and after that I was reading Kate's psalm, [the 27th] which by the way I have not learned yet, and then some others, &  some verses struck me very forcibly .  One was that about "breaking" the gates of brass & cutting the bands of iron in sunder  --  I suppose it means that shows us God's great wisdom & strength.  Very often it seems as if we could do nothing, as if we were in prison with fastened with bands of iron & shut in by the strongest gates & there was no way out at all.  & there was none for us, but God can do every thing.  And so every day He shows us our weakness and ignorance & carries us on our way, & the path which looks impossible in the morning is God's "plain path" when we look back at night & see how wisely we have been led.  I do not mean that we always understand why things have happened, every night --  but I think there is always something that we can understand & thank God for -- & that helps us to trust Him for the rest.


"Blessed are they that are homesick, for they shall come at last to the Fathers house" --

      Heinrich Shilling


"Life is the changing deep
and I a little wave."--------*


"Let us recollect that it is His cloud that over shadows us" ------       Newman*


"He that laboreth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto Eternal Life."*


      Only think how beautiful the days will be in heaven, if we shall no longer care for the exquisite night, & what a country it must be if we shall be content to have "no more sea"----


      Uncle John gave to night, in the course of a very interesting discussion with Father upon the authenticity of the Gospels & that sort of thing, what was to me a very strong proof.  The radicals admit the genuineness  of some few things Hist.  The Epistle to the Romans[?] when it says that this and that person saw Christ &

      I meant to remember all this & write it here but have unhappily forgotten it ----


Mr. Beecher* says in a "Lecture Room Talk" something like this –

      When a little child begins to walk, the mother watches it standing undecidedly & coaxes it toward her and then as it takes it's first faltering steps, she goes slowly backward, yet always reaching out, so if it stumbles she can surely hold it.  It is just so with us: It is best we should learn to walk.  It is best we should make all the efforts we can, but God is always close by and if we fall will surely lift us up--  We must take care of ourselves to the utter most, but just where our strength fails there stands the Heavenly Father.




      If we are going a journey the last thing our friends will find us doing is sitting quietly down making no effort, and looking as if we did not care --  We are busy getting ready and thinking what we must do, & making our plans.  And yet, when we wish to go the journey -- to travel the road that will bring us to the place we would not for the world fail of arriving at.  We sometimes put it off [starting] for years and then loiter by the way and continually take the wrong path [sinfully?].


      In Mark*, the three [illegible deletion] women are busy getting ready in the night because they have to 'rest' and do nothing on the Jewish Sabbath but the first thing in the morning they go out at the city gate as soon as it is opened with their spices and to go to the tomb of Christ to anoint Him.  And [where or when?] they are almost there they say "Who shall roll away the stone"?  This is such a lesson to us!  They did not sit down and wonder and calculate about it -- whether they could find some one [to help] -- for the moving of the stone was beyond their power -- being a great labor.  They were working with 'love' and so they did all they could without thought or doubt -- Not as we think about our 'duty' as we call it, & try to decide whether we can avoid doing things.  They might have reasonably given up all hope of being able anoint Christ's body  --  Their was the rough Roman guard who would most likely beat them with any thing but kindness, & the heavy stone, & they so weak, but they never thought of any of these things, & how often we let such little ["little" is double-underlined] obstacles hinder us.  If we could only be less careless of consequences when we know the things are right we wish to do  --  & if we could only have more faith to believe that if we do right -- do God's work, nothing can harm us -- or really hinder us  The Roman soldiers of the present will never trouble us and the 'stone' be always rolled away!  -------


Madame Guion  [diagonally across top of page]

 "O Lord how full of sweet content
Our years of pilgrimage are spent.
Wherein we dwell, we dwell with Thee
In heaven or earth or on the sea.

To us remains nor place nor time
Our country is in every clime:
We can be calm & free from care
On any shore since God is there."

       Old Hymns*

 "With joy & gladness shall they be brought, and shall enter into the Kings' palace" -- *

 "Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."*

 "Kind eyes are the stars in the Kingdom of Heaven"

      Mac Donald


      A man ought to be just and true but never stern and cold.  If you say I am so by nature I reply that is not the nature which you ought to cultivate.  A man may have a piece of hard gravelly land but his answer is not to keep saying "Ah! I cannot do much with it" --  But he takes his oxen and plows it up very deep and works over it and does all the things he can think of or know about, to make it better to make it fruitful laud.  Our natures are given us to start on -- for the sake of cultivation.  We must never say "I cannot change that; it has always been my way it is my nature--"  when it is a bad way & a wicked nature & we can & ought to change it.  We are given our natures to cultivate:

      I think if is just like a piece of land given to a man for his garden.  Perhaps it is uneven and there are places where there is dark rich earth where things will grow almost without being touched.  [illegible deletion] and then there are hard stony places where the ground is all dry and baked by the sun.  And the man ploughs it all up and smooths it, and after that it has an object -- It is no longer useless and not good, but it is to be used for something.  There may have been wild flowers & berries growing there before, perhaps both the very best -- but now it is to bear fruit for people and vegetables and begins to be of use  --  Then the man digs down in the dry places & tries to find what is the matter with them.  Perhaps there is a great stone just hidden which keeps everything parched and kills all the little plants that try to grow  --  so he goes to work to dig it out, & perhaps it takes him a great many days, & perhaps some of it always stays deep down in the ground, but it is made much better and he cares more about the things which grow in that places than those which he has had no trouble about.  Then there he plants some beautiful flowers and they come up and he is very proud of them, & one day he finds a horrid weeds choking them, because he has been careless & neglected them  --  & weeds keep coming up every where & he fights with them [illegible deletion] day after day & sometimes is almost discouraged, & sometimes he sees fruit ripening around him, and thinks he has not worked for nothing after all.  There is the rain and dry weather, and storms that beat every thing down & pleasant days when every thing grows very fast.  And so the summer goes and the harvest grows near  --  There is a kind of harvest all the time from our gardens.  Some times we gather one kind of fruit & sometimes another  --  and find little flowers growing where we did not look for them, & the better our gardens are & the more carefully we take care of them the better things we find.  I mean to plant a great deal of unselfishness for one thing  --  that is I am going to ask God to give me a great deal & when I see the little plants coming up I shall take all the care of them I can, and make them grow strong.


Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Kate:  Kate Birckhead. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Heinrich Shilling:  In a review of Charles L. Goodell, Pathways to the Best (1907), the reviewer finds this quotation in the book, where it is attributed to Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825).  See Methodist Review 89 (1907) 833.

little wave:  From the poem, "Life and I" (p. 69) by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889).

NewmanJohn Henry Newman (1801-1890), from "Our Lord's Last Supper and His First," Sermons, Bearing on Subjects of the Day, (1844) pp. 31-46.

Eternal Life:  This popular quotation, though it sounds biblical, appears to have originated in publications of the American Quakers.  See, for example, The Friend 20 (1856) p.360.

BeecherHenry Ward Beecher (1813-1887).  Lyman Abbott describes Beecher's Lecture-Room Talks as brief lectures given at Friday evening meetings at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, NY. (217-8).

Mark:  The Gospel of St. Mark 16:3.

Old Hymn:  Hymnals attribute these verses to Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717).  They are given various titles, such as "Contentment" and "God is with us everywhere."  Two additional verses are:

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none;
But with our God to guide our way,
'Tis equal joy to go or stay.

Could we be cast where thou art not,
That were indeed a dreadful lot;
But regions none remote we call,
Secure of finding God in all.

palace:  Psalm 45.

to pass:  Psalm 37.

Mac DonaldGeorge MacDonald (1824-1905) At the Back of the North Wind (1871) Chapter 27.

"The city's shining towers we may not see*
      with our dim earthly vision;
For death, the silent warder, keeps the key
      That opes these gates Elysian.

But sometimes, when adown the western sky
      The fiery sunset lingers,
Its golden gates swing inward noiselessly,
      Unlocked by silent fingers.

 And while they stand a moment half ajar.
      Gleams from the inner glory
Stream brightly through the azure vault afar
      And half reveal the story."

4 July, 1871.


[ July ]


I have been reading "A Sisters Story"* or memoirs of the Ferronnays Family and like it very much.  It is compiled from their letters & journals by Mrs. Craven one of the daughters who is married to an Englishman, & has outlived them all.  I think it would have great influence if one had any tendency toward being a Catholic.  They are very delightful cultivated people, the father a count, & they are connected & are friends with the best French families.  Comte de la Ferronnays is Ambassador at Rome when the story begins.  Albert, one of the sons marries Alex d' Alopeus daughter of the Princess [Lapoukhyn?] & her first husband, & who was a Swedish Count.  He lived in Russia & was Protestant  --  Albert dies of consumption & Alex's grief is intense, but she finally becomes a Catholic & finds great happiness, & does a great deal of good.  Her character is very interesting.  Eugenie & Olga (who are both saints of girls) die & so does the old Comte, & Finally only Pauline is left.  The book is most sad & touching for the most part but sometimes the letters are bright and entertaining.  They must have been a charming family to know with their devotion to each other & real goodness.  & they all seem to be charming from a worldly point of view, friends of noted people & with great refinement & cultivation & all seem by their mention of each other to have been very nice looking.  I am very much struck with the perfect faith in God which they seem to have & their intense love for him in spite of bitter sorrow  --  It reminds me of Eugenie Guerin in places, though the Ferronnays are not like Eugenie much.  They are not in the least, disagreeable Catholics.  Indeed the book makes me wish I could be a Catholic & believe as they did, for they are all so earnest and seem to be so very happy & satisfied.  Not that I am dissatisfied with my Episcopalianism for I know too well that I should still be myself if I tried any belief  --  I mean I have not such faith & love as these French people had & never could be entirely at rest.  Why not?  I suppose they had to begin, & indeed poor Alex's troubles when she gave up her Protestantism were much greater & harder than mine ever have been as the subject.  I must pray more & do as they did & God will be as good to me as to them.  I am very much delighted with the confidence they have in one another.  & particularly by their seeming to pray so much for each other  --  I think reading about them has done me good, & I hope I say from my heart that dear little Olga's dying words: "I repent, I believe  I love  I hope."—




      "It is very strange that when there is not politeness enough to go round, that it should not be kept for home consumption"  -----    L. S. B.*


      "I often feel as though the seas were really my own soul itself, and as there are in it hidden plants which only rise at the instant in wh. they bloom above the water, and sink again at the instant in which they fade; so from time to time there rise wondrous flower forms from the depth of my soul, and breathe forth perfume and gleam and vanish."  --------             Heine.*


      "In an ordinary human attachment, out of love to a woman, out of love to a friend, out of love to a child, you can suppress quite easily, because by sympathy you become one with them and their feelings, this or that impulse of selfishness which happens to conflict with them, and which hither to you have obeyed.  All impulses of selfishness conflict with Christ's feelings, he showed it by dying to them all; if you are one with him by faith and sympathy, you can die to them also.  Then, secondly, if you thus die with him, you become transformed by the renewing of your mind, and rise with him.  The law of the spirit of life which is in Christ becomes the law of your life also, and frees you from the law of sin and death.  You rise with him to that harmonious conformity with the real and eternal order, that sense of pleasing God who trieth the hearts, which is life and peace, and which grows more and more till it becomes glory.  If you suffer with him there fore, you shall also be glorified with him."

      Matthew Arnold* "St Paul & Protestantism" -- Part II --------------------------------


      "Christ -- our kinsman"*


      "Eyes filled with the tears of yesterday--------*




Companion none is like
      Unto the mind alone,
For many have been harmed by speech.--------
      Through thinking, few or none.

Fear often times restraineth words.
      But makes not thoughts to cease;
And he speaks best, that hath the skill
      Where for to hold his peace.

 Our wealth leaves us at death,
      Our kinsmen at the grave,
But virtues of the mind into
      The heavens with us we have;

Wherefore, for virtue's sake,
      I can be well content
The sweetest time of all my life
      To dream in thinking spent

      Lord Vaux* -- died 1555


Don't spend your life as children do a holiday!


Hidden Growth

Dear secret greenness!  Nurst below
      Tempests and winds and winter-nights!
Vex not, that but One sees thee grow;
      That One made all these lesser lights.

What needs a conscience calm and bright
      Within itself, an outward test?
Who breaks his glass to take more light,
      Makes way for storms into his rest.

Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
      At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb;
Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch
      Till the white-winge'd reapers come!

      Henry Vaughan*



      I have long dark days when I feel very far from God, but I am quite sure that He loves me, and that at last I shall be led into the Kingdom.  For if I had been left to myself all these years my strength would failed me long ago.  And I should have given up the battle, and have fought no longer against these temptations and doubts and fears.  It is not in me to have persevered; it is only by God's help that I have. And so, having so strong a helper, what need I fear?  He will not change His mind, He has begun to make me good and He never will leave the work half done.  He has heard my prayers; and brought me nearer to Himself and can I for a moment imagine He means by and by to turn away and leave me alone?--------


      If one loves Christ one never grows old.  For are we not "the children of God"*

      Some people seem remind me of that verse in Matthew.  [Some people are a great deal more "the children" than others.] [The insertion runs across the bottom of two facing pages.]


      "The path of a good woman is strewn with flowers; but they rise behind her steps, not before them.  'Her feet have touched the meadows and left the daisies rosy.'  Flowers flourish in the garden of one who loves them.  A pleasant magic it would be, if you could flush flowers into brighter brighter bloom by a kind look upon them; nay, more, if a look had the power, not only to cheer but to guard them.  This you would think a great thing?  And do you think it not a greater thing, that all this, and more than this, you can do for fairer flowers than these -- flowers that could bless you for having blessed them, and will love you for having loved them --  flowers that have eyes like yours, and thoughts like yours, and lives like yours."

      Ruskin's "Queens' Gardens"*


"Those only ____   _____   _____  [Jewett's three blanks] who have faith in principle, as opposed to faith in human dexterity; who feel that in human things there is really and truly a spiritual nature a spiritual connexion, a spiritual tendency, which the wisdom of the serpent cannot alter, and scarcely can affect.

      Page 290. Vol. I. Froude's History*


      "What we call evil is the only and best shape, which for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good."




Death* -- "merely the arrival at the end of a journey."



We slight the gifts that every season bears,
And let them fall unheeded from our grasp,
In our great eagerness to reach and clasp
The promised treasure of the coming years;

Or else we mourn some great good passed away,
And, in the shadow of one grief shut in,
Refuse the lesser good we yet might win.
The offered peace and gladness of to day.

So through the chambers of our life we pass,
And leave them one by one and never stay[,?]
Not knowing how much pleasantness there was
In each until the closing of the door
Has sounded through the house, and died away,
And in our hearts we sigh "Forevermore."

      Chambers Journal*


--------------      --------------      ------------



may not see:  From a hymn by Nancy Amelia Priest Wakefield (1836-1870).

Sister's StoryA Sister's Story  (1868), by Mrs. Augustus Craven (1808-1891).

home consumption:  Jewett paraphrases from an article, "A Word About Common Politeness," which appeared in Every Saturday 3 (22 July 1871) pp. 90-1.  The identity of L. S. B. is not yet known.  That Jewett has information about the author suggests that she may have seen the article in a different source.

HeineChristian Johann Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856), in Heinrich Heine's Pictures of Travel (1863).

Arnold Matthew Arnold (1822 - 1888).  His essay, "St. Paul and Protestantism," appeared in about 1870 in the book of that title.

kinsman:  This phrase was current in Christian religious discourse.

tears of yesterday:  Whether this is a quotation from a written source is not yet known.

VauxThomas Vaux's poem, "A Quiet Mind." appears in Songs of Three Centuries (1875). edited by John Greenleaf Whittier.  Jewett evidently saw the poem before it appeared in this volume.

VaughanHenry Vaughan's (1621-1695)  poem became a popular hymn.

children of God:  The reference appears to be to Matthew 5:9.

Gardens:  "Of Queen's Gardens," by John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a lecture collected in Sesame and Lilies (1865).

Froude's historyThe Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1, by James Anthony Froude (1818-1894).  The full quotation is: "Those only read the world's future truly who have faith in principle, as opposed to faith in human dexterity; who feel that in human things there lies really and truly a spiritual nature, a spiritual connection, a spiritual tendency, which the wisdom of the serpent cannot alter, and scarcely can affect."

PhantastesGeorge MacDonald (1824-1905), Phantastes (1858) Chapter 25, the final sentence of the book.

death: This phrase is from Catherine (1859, p. 71)  by Nehemiah Adams (1806-1878).

Chambers Journal:  Jewett cites the anonymous sonnet's appearance in Chambers Journal 1871, p. 384, where the title is "Through Life."  It was widely reprinted, and she may well have seen it elsewhere, perhaps in The Living Age 110, p. 258. from the same year.

[ 5 September ]


5th Sept.  I will write a little to night for I wish to remember this happy day.  I have had such a contented feeling all day long and so many nice things have happened.  I had such a kind loving letter from Georgie* this morning with some birthday wishes which I have not read yet, and a little book: "Morning Watches"* -- which has a page or two for every morning and evening.  She has one like it and it is so pleasant to think we read the same thing.  Her letter was so earnest and hopeful that it makes me feel as if I had cared so little about being good, and as if I had been quite contented as it were, instead of wishing, and trying as hard as she does.  Dear Georgie! --  Aunty & Fanny and Cousin Fanny Gilman* are here & Father has gone away.  This afternoon we were all out driving.  I do wish I was a better girl.  I wish I longed for it more.  I wonder why I am not [where or when?] God is so good to me.  I am so cross about little things.  I had another thing which I had wished for with all my heart: a letter from my darling Kate.*  I would give any thing to see her to night.  I have not said that Sunday was my birthday and these two were birthday letters with the kindest wishes for me.  Kate sent me some verses from the Bible as her wishes and Georgie's I have not yet read.  Kate also sent me a little fern and some flowers, which I have put in my bible.  Mary Hayes* was here this evening, & was very nice.  I liked all my birthday presents, and every one was so kind Sunday.  It was so good to have it Communion Sunday, to begin "my year" with.  I think the year beginning with one's birthday is one's particular year.  I am going to copy here the verses Kate gave me so I shall have them all together.  God bless all my dear friends who are so good to me, and help me to make my life brave and beautiful and nearer to His, here on Earth, and bring us by and by all together in the "better country" where we shall have forgotten to do wrong and be always with Him.

      Isaiah 41:13 -- "For I the Lord God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not: I will help thee."  Job 34:32. "That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity I will do no more.  2 Cor. 5:15.  And that he died for all, that they which live should not hence forth live unto them selves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again."  2 Peter 3:9.  The Lord is not slack as concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Col 1:10.  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.  "This one is my especial [illegible deletion] wish for you."

      "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it. -- also:  "Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means."*





This week after my birthday was one of the best and happiest I have ever had.  I never have been 'stronger' or loved God more.  It helps me so much when I am blue and things are troubling me to remember sunshine, like this.  Every body was so kind to me and every thing -- myself included -- went right.  I think it is the greatest blessing in the world to have such dear friends as I have.  I am really beginning to feel that I can do some good in the world & have influence.  I have been so successful in my writing & I mean to keep on.  It is so pleasant to feel that I can ask God to help me do things and that He is my Friend.  I was thinking today how glad I am that I am no longer trying to get on without Christ.  It seems so strange that I ever wished to.  When I know so fully how little dependence I can place upon myself, how false and miserable I am.  how can I for a moment think that I can save myself & be friends with God by being good & how I can I help being glad that there is some one who is perfect & can make me better & 'save' me.  I cannot go back to my 'Radicalism' on that point at any rate.  I should have very little respect for a pardon that God gave me on account of my own merits and good works!  And besides that I should be needing another in half an hour!  It is so much better to believe that some one else has taken care of it for me, and I know he is helping me to be a better & truer girl.  I do believe in Him.  "That they which live, should henceforth not live unto themselves but unto Him"------    -------


Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

"Morning Watches"The Morning Watches (1852) is a devotional book by John Ross Macduff (1818-1895), published by the Protestant Episcopal Book Society.  It has gone through many editions.  By 1857, an expanded version had appeared, entitled The Morning Watches and Night Watches.

Aunty & Fanny and Cousin Fanny Gilman: This would be the Dr. John (1806-1884) and Helen Gilman (1817-1905) family of Portland, ME.  Cousin Fanny may be their adopted daughter, but confusion remains as to that daughter's name and in identifying the two "Fannys" named here.

Kate:  Kate Birckhead. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Mary Hayes:  Richard Cary identifies Mary Osgood Hayes (1830-1884) as an aunt of Susan and William Hayes Ward, editors of the Independent.  She was a friend and neighbor of the Jewett's, living near the Berwick Academy.

all means:  See 1 Thessalonians 5:23-4 and, for the last quotation, 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

 [ November ]

November 12th  It is a great while since I wrote anything in 'the other book' as Georgie* and I call this, but I really have a great deal to now that I wish to remember.  I will "begin at the beginning" as I always ask Grace* to do when I see her after she has had one of her 'Campaigns' in Newport.  Thursday morning Carrie and I were out driving and stopped at Mrs Doe's to make a call and she told me that perhaps Georgie would be up this week, & she was going over to the station at eleven to meet Mrs. Langdon & I drove over too and stopped with her till the cars came to see if Mrs. Langdon knew when Georgie would come & dear me!  What did I see but that dear child herself!  It was quite too much, for I had wished to see her so.  I cannot write about it at all!  After dinner I drove over to see her and she came back with me to get my bag and then we walked back.  That night evening we had great fun talking and guessing puzzles and Mrs Doe was so good to us.  At night I was very happy for it was so delightful to be alone with her and have her all to my self and we had a talk after we went to bed which helped me more than anything has for a great while.  I do not know any thing which encourages me more than to see how Georgie improves and how she has grown in this last year.  I wish I had begun this book a year ago -- for Georgie and I were together at Mrs Doe's before then -- and I think that was the beginning of our real friendship, though not the beginning of my loving her by any means.  This was our anniversary.  She made me feel quite contented with myself and as if I too had 'grown'.  But it has been so little and the year has been such an idle and useless one compared to what I meant it should be, and I have no excuse at all except that I have forgotten God is near me all the time and would always have helped me only I would not let him.  Georgie seems to be so much nearer God than I am.  I do not mean [only] that her life is better and more Christian than mine -- but she seems to remember Him and think of Him so much & realizes He is with her  --.  She is such a sincere girl, and it is so seldom one finds a girl with so much purpose and earnestness in her life.  No wonder she gets on faster than I do.  I owe a great deal to her for one cannot be with her without being influenced by her and she makes me try harder always and feel more sure and contented and happy.  The next morning I read The Lady of La Garaye* aloud and enjoyed it ever so much.  I promised her last spring that I never would read it until I did with her.  In the afternoon we took a long walk to Mrs. Langdon's & then round by the Hayes's to [illegible deletion] house and then to Salmon Falls & home.  In the evening we had a nice time and Mrs Doe read us Elaine.*  Yesterday we could not go out because it had snowed in the night and we talked about the "Thirty Years War"* and made great plans for it.  I wonder if any of them will ever come true.  I came over [to the?] station with her and we walked up & down the platform and talked  I dread her going to New York but I think I should feel much worse if I were not so very fond of her.  I mean that I love her so perfectly and am so 'sure' of her & have such faith in her, that it makes a great difference.  I was not afraid of her forgetting me, and am not afraid of my forgetting her and I am not afraid that we have "seen the best days" of our friendship, and that we are to lose each other because we are to be separated.  I do not fear losing Georgie and I am perfectly sure she will not lose me!


I cannot think of anything I wish to remember more than when we went up stairs together after breakfast and read & said our prayers and sat in one chair and read the psalms for the day.  We came upon this verse the first morning and liked it so & never had noticed it before  --  & so we are going to take if for our verse this year.


      "Whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoreth me, and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God."


I will write last weeks collect here too because it is one I like best and we talked about it:  "Grant we beseech thee, Merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind, through Jesus Christ Our Lord."  ---------------


Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Grace:  Grace Gordon Walden. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Carrie:  Jewett's sister, Caroline, who eventuall married Edward Eastman.

Mrs. Doe:  Edith Bell Haven (Mrs. Charles Cogswell) Doe (1840-1922). 

Mrs. Langdon:  This person has not been identified.  A strong candidate would be Helen Bell Haven Langdon (1845-1874) of Portsmouth, NH, who was related to Georgie Halliburton.

The Lady of La Garaye:  Jewett refers to The Lady of La Garaye (1862) by the British poet and social reformer, Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Mrs. George) Norton (1808-1877).

Elaine:  While this is not certain, it seems likely they are reading Alfred Lord Tennyson's (1809-1892) Idylls of the King, part 6, "Lancelot and Elaine" (1859).

30 Years War:  Perhaps the friends plan to read Frederick Schiller's History of the Thirty Years' War, English translation 1799.

salvation of God:  From The Book of Common Prayer.  The next quotation is from the same source.

Nov [16 or 26?]

      I never thought until last night how much one of the petitions of the Lord's Prayer* means.  Deliver us from evil.  Not only from outward evils:  sickness & trouble and disappointments -- but we ask to be helped in our fight against inner evils too!  For they are far greater, and we can be helped by no one else but God Himself.  The evil of doubting God, and being careless about pleasing Him, and all our temptations to neglect our duty and to be selfish, and thoughtless & inconsiderate of the people about us  --  It does not say "Lead us not into temptations, and deliver us from evil" as if it meant distinct things; "but deliver us from evil," the Lord taught us to ask.  It gives it a new force to me to have thought of this, though I dare say, every one else always understood it so  --   I heard Mr. Bartlett preach this morning at the Methodist church* and liked him so much.  His text was For though the outward man perisheth yet is the inward man renewed day by day.*  He was really very eloquent.  I wish to remember one thing he said:  "We cannot all preach to a multitude but every one of us can preach to one!


      I am thinking a great deal to day of what happened to me just a year ago -- my confirmation at Portsmouth.*  Just a year ago I was making many resolutions, and praying with all my heart that God would make me one of His True Children & I gave myself to Him.  And now to day, I can see that I have drawn a little nearer:  that all the steps I have taken have not been away from Him, and that even the doubting hesitating way I have taken hold of His hand has been enough for Him to lead me on by.  He has been so kind and so ready & given to see me when I came back to His side after days of carelessness and hours when I had forgotten His love.  If we could only remember that it is ourselves who go away from God, not God who turns away from us!  How different it would have been if I had treated any of my friends in this world as I have treated Him!  If I had been so careless, only remembering them kindly once in a while and spent the rest of time in doing the very things I knew would make them angry and sorry & which they had asked me again and again not to do!  But Christ is so patient, and it makes me wish so much to be better when I think how much He must love me and how little I have done to deserve it.  I have been looking at two of Kate's letters which came before I was confirmed and which were the greatest comfort and help to me. I shall keep one of them in this book for I am more fond of it than of any except the little note she wrote me first.  Dear Kate!  She must be thinking a great deal of her father* now, and this will be a sad week for her.  I have her in my thoughts so often always and more than even now. 

The other day in Boston I had such a nice call upon Miss Mason and she said so many true things about Kate:  She is like one's own self, only nicer" -- and she called her such dear names -- and spoke so affectionately of her.  I believe I could not help liking some very disagreeable person if I knew they loved Kate!  I wish I had time to write something about those four days in Boston for I enjoyed every hour & dear Grace was so kind and good  I was so happy with her.  Grace is so true and earnest I think.  I don't believe any girl ever had better friends than I.  I am so sure of them all. I hope I shall 'grow' this year & that God will teach me His way & help me to keep it and not wander away from Him, and forget Him and doubt Him any more.

      Mr Bartlett said one thing to night -- I went down to the prayer meeting.--------  "Infidelity has an argument against every thing but a man's experience"  --  I think it is so true!  I know it is true.  The doubts I used to have do not trouble one half so much now -- because I have felt in my heart that I love God and that God loves me and helps me and nothing can blot that out.  I can find an argument against many points in "Theology" but nothing can take the belief away that comes from experience!


Lord's Prayer:  Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

Mr. Bartlett ... the Methodist church:  Willard B. Bartlett (1817 - 8 July 1898) served as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in South Berwick, ME 1870-1. Find-a-Grave

day by day:  2 Corinthians 4:16.

confirmation at Portsmouth:  Elizabeth Silverthorne in Sarah Orne Jewett (p. 71) says that Jewett was confirmed a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, NH on 27 November 1870.

Kate ... her father:  The anniversary of the death of James Birckhead (1792 - 1 December 1870) is near at the time of this entry.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

-------   "And I ask you with me to look back often during this week upon the past and let us close the old year with devout thankfulness for past mercies -- and prepare for the new with prayer and strong resolve to meet and perform all that is given us to do, so ere another twelve-month passes by, we may be more ready, reliable and faithful:  let us do all the little things so well that that God may find us ready to bear heavier burdens, perhaps those of others or whatever He sees fit to send.  If joy, may we give it to others, if sorrow we may carry it to Him.  Let us strive with all this "Pride of Life" to remain humble, and to feel we are children of God, and for every treasure we possess here let us lay up double that treasure in Heaven, so when God calls us. it will not be hard to go for we will have more there than we leave behind. ---------  Dear Sarah, when I think of our love for each other it makes me very happy, and it seems an instance of our treasure in Heaven  --  I love you, not for anything outward and I know you love me in the same way  --  We love what is good in each other, and that is God's, and is in Heaven, & the more we love our friends & each other in this way, the more we give unto God's Keeping.  This is one of the happiest ways, save our love for God, of giving our treasure to Him, but we know of many ways beside.  All the trials weekly borne, all deeds gently done, every right motive truly obeyed, & countless other ways which I am sure we know.  We can, and I hope we will daily lay up our treasures in the blessed country where we shall one day meet them and be so glad to find them there before us  --  not behind, wasted and perished in the cold world. ---------  We will try every day to give something pure to God.  Even a little sacrifice if nobly given will He accept, one little temptation resisted, one evil habit conquered.  God will not deem it too small to keep for us, No, dear.  I am sure some day the little deeds; the little kind words; the very least of all will be there to welcome us, and we shall not be strangers; it will be Home.  -----------------I have written just as I wish I could talk to you and I shall be sorry if I have not been able to convey my meaning but I think we understand each other's way of expressing now. [Illegible deletion]  I trust you will agree with me and we will begin together this new year, not as we began the old, but as we finished it."

      From a letter of G. H.'s:  received Nov. 28th -- one of the best letters I ever had in my life, & which has done me wonderful good.  I like so much her idea expressed in the first of the letter, that the world-year & the Christian-year -- are distinct & yet join together in one -- one is the motive, & the the other the action:  "the one working out the aspirations and hopes, and building firmly the castles which in the holy year we have founded upon works of faith."


      An old Roman emperor [general] was once marching to the wars and asked to lodge his army in a certain city.  "but the governor would not let his city be troubled by so numerous & dangerous a guest".  The general then asked only for relief & entertainment for his sick soldiers -- the governor thought sick men could do no mischief and this was granted.  But when they had been there a while they grew strong well again, opened the gates to the rest and were strong enough to take the city.

      Now if Satan cannot get leave for his whole army, he begs very hard for his 'weak ones', the little sins, but those sickly soldiers soon get strength to surprise the soul."*  [And everything may live within  --  Ezekiel 17.19]


      Mr. Brooks said, Dec  31st  71  Wherever the river cometh in life [The river cometh.] Perhaps it is only up to our [ancles?] and though our feet are walking in the way of Gods commandments, while our hearts are cold, but by & by the river will rise & fill life to our hearts & our hands & our heads, and we shall ------------*


What looks to one [man?] only the ripples sparkling in the [sunshine?] becomes a strong wave rolling on & on gathering strength & power till it reaches eternity [breaks on the shore of eternity]



Prayer is not a conquering of God's unwillingness*


surprise the soul:  See The Works of Thomas Adams (1862) v. 2, Sermon XLV, p. 359.  Thomas Adams (1583-1653) was a British clergyman.  The addition of the Biblical quotation from Ezekiel seems relevant to the next passage, which appears to be quoted from Phillips Brooks, though no print source for it has yet been located.  While Jewett appears to have written Ezekiel 17:19, the passage she quotes is from Ezekiel 47:9.

we shall:  Jewett returns to this quotation, rendering it more completely following her 23 May 1873 entry below.

 unwillingness:  Jewett uses this quotation in her essay, "Lucky People" (1882), where she attributes it to a wise preacher.  This idea appears in Select Notes: A Commentary on the International Lessons, Volume 27, p. 273, by Francis Nathan Peloubet and Mary Abby Thaxter Peloubet, published in 1900.  This could not be Jewett's source, but it does suggest that the idea was part of contemporary religious discourse.  The Peloubet quotation appears in "A Study of Blessings":  "What is 'prevailing prayer'?  Not a conquering of God's unwillingness, but a mastery of the Christian's own unreadiness.  God would like to give us so many things, if we were only ready for them!"

[ January 1872 ]


January 14th    I wonder at my self for not having written here before, for I have had a great to deal to write.  I went to Boston the Friday before Christmas, to stay with Grace* and I really think I never had a pleasanter or more satisfactory visit in all my life.  I think if I had written out just what I wished to have happen to me in the two weeks that followed, it would have been just what has happened.  I have not time to write about it fully and there is small danger of my forgetting it.  Saturday I did not go out.  Sunday I went to church with Mr. Hill, (Trinity) & Mr. Brooks* preached a good sermon.  In the afternoon Grace & I went, and he preached on the text:  "And there was no room for them in the inn -"* which I shall write try to remember some of for this book.  In the evening we went over to Kitty's,* carrying part of the presents & having great fun on the way.  Monday was Christmas and we all went to St. Pauls.*  Dined at Mrs Hoffendahl's* and had the presents and a little party & great fun in the evening, Grace & I were asked to the Mason's* party also but I had a headache and we were both tired and didn't go.  Tuesday we went out to Cora Clarks and stopped at Ella Walworth's* as we came back.  Wednesday Mrs Gordon & I went to the Sonle's.*  Thursday I went to Mrs. Green's* to tea. Grace & I had such a nice time.  Enjoyed Mr. Edmund Quincy particularly & Mrs Waterston.*  Friday [morning] Grace & I spent with Mrs Waterston, & I could have stayed a week in the library.  It is such a delightful home.  I was perfectly fascinated by Helen W.'s portrait.*  We made a short call at the Sonle's and then I went to see Mrs Winthrop* and then to see Mrs. Howells at Field's & Osgoods,* & spent an hour or two with him in her charming room there  We talked about mysteries & he said a great many kind & encouraging things to me.  That evening seven of us went to see Sothern play Dundreary* and I never laughed harder.  We went to the club with Mr. Gordon and had a delicious supper afterward.  Saturday Georgie* came at twelve & Grace and I were so glad to see her.  I was just going to say the most complimentary things about those two dear girls, but I think I'll leave off writing such things in this book for I know and they know that I love them with all my heart and there is no danger that I shall forget that I do! --  Sunday we went to Trinity all day, & heard most beautiful sermons.  Sat in [the morning in] what we call "our pew" in the gallery.  In the morning the text was: "And everything shall [live] whither the river cometh* --  and in the afternoon, we sat down stairs.  I had seen Miss Mary Hayes* and she called us & went with us.  It was a sermon for the last day of the year -- about the cloud which had been leading the children of Israel -- "When the Egyptians came after them it moved and went behind them.* Saw Miss Mason after church, went up to Louisburg NY. with Miss Mary -- Captain Matthews* came in the evening & we went over to Kitty's.  Georgie & I went together & we had a delightful little escapade -- which remaineth a secret to this day -- before we joined the others. --  Ah but Monday was the day!  New Years day and such a lovely beginning as my year has had!  It ought to be a very good year.  Georgie & Grace & I went to Trinity in the morning and had a walk together afterward.  I saw Miss Mason whom I like so much, and then I started for Newport! ------- with Captain Matthews.*  Ah, my dear darling Kate!* what lovely days those four were!  The walks and talks by sunlight and starlight -- and at twilight in the house.  The sea and the sunshine and the delicious Newport air and the kind charming people I saw, and that blessed Kate herself!  Oh dear!  I ought to be such a good girl for so many good things are always being given me, and I am so thoughtless and live in such a careless way, only remembering once in awhile to thank God for it all --  It is one of the best things about our friendship, that we always take each other just as we are and go right on, no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other.  We never have to get acquainted with each other all over again.  Oh Kate does me so much good!  she always helps me and makes me stronger.  I know that it all comes from God, but I am so glad the 'way' is Kate.  I can talk to her so easily, and I never regret have told her anything:  I never feel what some body calls in some book I have just been reading:  "faithless hesitation" -----  I have perfect confidence in her.  I think as perfect as it is possible for me to have in any person, and the more I see [her] the more my confidence and love are strengthened.  If I found myself disappointed in her it would have been one of the bitterest things in all my life, for to lose Kate would be losing a powerful influence for good, and an influence which enters not merely into great things but into my little every-day interests.  I suppose God would have give me somebody to take her place but I should have to wait a long while before I loved anybody else in the way I do her --  But I know I am not mistaken and am not disappointed -- and I need not trouble myself!  I wish I could remember many things she said to me, well enough to write them here -- but though the words do not come to me the influence is not lost.  I think she cares more for me then she used, and she tells me she enjoyed my visit, and that a letter of mine helped her and all this makes me so happy.  How I wish I could do some thing for you to show you that I love you Kate!  When I try to talk about [it] the only words I can think of seem such weak silly meaningless ones, & just the same one which people use when they do not mean half that I do!  Nothing made me happier than her showing her friends' letters and telling me about her.  I never can forget her doing that! --  After I came back to Boston I was there a day & night -- and I had such a nice walk with Miss Mason.  I like her so much!  We went out on the Cambridge bridge, & when we came back Grace & I went in to lunch with her & Mrs. Winthrop.  Ellen and I talked a great deal about Kate whom she loves in the same way I do, & that is a strong link between us -- though I am fond of her for her own sake, and have always asked God to bless her and take care of her every day since I was with her in Newport a year and a half ago --  I thought I was not going to write any more about my friends!!   ---------------------


Mr. Hill, (Trinity) & Mr. Brooks:  Jewett attended Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston, where Phillips Brooks was rector.  Mr. Hill's identity is uncertain.  A good candidate is William H. Hill (1838-1913), a Gordon neighbor who was a bookseller and then a banker at Richardson, Hill, & Co.  See also The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, v. 11.

Grace: Grace Gordon Walden. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

no room for them in the inn:  From the biblical story of the birth of Jesus in Luke 2.

Kitty's: Though this is not certain, it seems likely Jewett refers to Grace Gordon's sister, Kate.  See note above.

St. Pauls.  Grace Gordon's future husband, Jacob Treadwell Walden, was rector at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.

Mrs Hoffendahl's:  Gordon's older sister, Kate.  See note above.

Mason's:  Ellen Francis Mason. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Cora Clarks ... Ella Walworth's:  Cora Lee Clark Rice and Ella Maria Walworth (Mrs. George Britton) Little.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

the Sonle's: These people have not yet been identified.  Jewett elsewhere mentions visiting Mary Sonle in South Berwick.

Mrs. Green's:  Probably this is Anna Blake Shaw (1817-1901), who married the minister and activist, William Batchelder Greene (1819-1878).  Their daughter, Elizabeth (Bessie, 1846-1875), became a benefactor of the New England Hospital for Women and Children.

Mr. Edmund Quincy ... Mrs Waterston: Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy (1812-1899) married the Rev. Robert Cassie Waterston (1812-1893). She was the author of A Woman's Wit & Whimsy: The 1833 Diary of Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy, Verses (1863), Together (1863), and Edmonia Lewis (the young colored woman who has successfully modelled the bust of Colonel Shaw) (1866). Mrs. Waterston's older brother was Edmond Quincy V (1808-1877).

Helen W.'s portrait:  This may be Helen Ruthven Waterston (1841-1858), the deceased daughter of Robert and Anna Waterston.  A portrait of Helen Waterston is held by Historic New England.  See note above.

Mrs. WinthropProbably, this is Cornelia Adeline "Adele" Granger (1819/20 - 1892), widow of John Eliot Thayer (1803-1857), who was the third wife of Robert Charles Winthrop, an American lawyer, politician, and philanthropist.  Representing Massachusetts, he was Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1847-49.  Her parents were the politician Francis Granger and Cornelia Rutson Van Rensselaer.  See also Wikipedia.

Mrs. Howells at Field's & Osgoods:  William Dean Howells (1837-1920) a prolific American novelist, editor, literary critic and playwright.  He befriended Jewett at the beginning of her career and, while working as editor at Atlantic Monthly, nurtured and encouraged her.  He married Elinor Mead, sister of the sculptor Larkin G. Mead and the architect William R. Mead. Wikipedia.
    James T. Fields and James R. Osgood were partners in Fields, Osgood & Company, publishers, in 1871.  The reorganized firm published Jewett's first book, Deephaven, in 1877.

Sothern play Dundreary:  Jewett has seen the British comic actor Edward Askew Sothern (1826-1881) in one of his most popular roles as Lord Dundreary in Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin (1858).  Jewett would have known that seven years earlier, this was the play President Abraham Lincoln was enjoying when he was assassinated.

Georgie:  Georgie Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

whither the river cometh:  See Ezekiel 47:9.

Miss Mary Hayes:  Richard Cary identifies Mary Osgood Hayes (1830-1884) as an aunt of Susan and William Hayes Ward, editors of the Independent.  She was a friend and neighbor of the Jewett's, living near the Berwick Academy.

went behind them:  See Exodus 14:20.

Captain Matthews: Probably this is the Civil War veteran, David Andrew Matthews (1847-1923).  He became a captain during the "Indian Wars."  After leaving the army, he returned to Worcester, MA, where he eventually became Chief of Police in 1907.

darling Kate:  Kate Birckhead. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

"faithless hesitation":  Probably, Jewett has been reading "Stanzas to an Unknown" (1846, p. 97), in Solitary Hours of Fancy and Feeling by James Marius Macrum.

God does not explain all His plans, and His system for our education to us -- and when He is teaching us in a way which seems a mistake, and just the wrong way and very hard to learn, we ought to be willing to trust His wisdom rather than our own and try to make out His meaning and even if we fail utterly in that, still be sure it is 'all right' –


Since I came home I have been very lonely and have missed Kate and Grace immensely.  I was glad to get home but I had written almost every day and they did not want to hear the stories more than once all over again, and some how I missed the girls more than usual and it is so poky to walk alone -- after having been with them!  But I thought at last that I was behaving in a very cowardly way.  My work is here in Berwick -- not in Boston or Newport, and I am shirking furiously.  The people here are just the ones God has chosen for me out of all the world & they are the ones who can do me most good and to whom I can be of service if I only try.  I ought not to wish I lived some where else as I always do (in the winter) and feel so dissatisfied with people & have so little interest in them.  If it were better for me to be with my nearer friends of course God would bring it about -- but I am so dependent upon them and wonder at it continually for I used to be quite contented to be alone.  If I had not the happy home which I have, I should be very wretched in Berwick.  I don't think it is mere love of excitement and novelty -- but I am so happy with my friends.  But God never has asked me to do any thing for Him like the things I am always wishing to do, and I will try very hard to be contented here, and do the work He has given me, as well and earnestly and lovingly as I can.  I think very often we wish to do some thing which God knows is too hard for us, and sees that we are not fitted for, and so in His kindness, hinders us, and then we make ourselves very miserable and scorn the things which He has suited to our strength and love exactly.


[Illegible word] wonder what Georgie said [illegible words] about Graces being troubled [illegible words] and her telling [illegible words] & it really [illegible words]  This is just what God asks us to do with our trials & troubles -- give them to Him --

      After we have earnestly asked God to help us to be good and patient and kind, and He does, what right have we = how foolish it is, for us to try and make ourselves believe that the devil is tempting us with a feeling of our goodness, and search diligently for the wicked motive we are sure we must have had!  I think this is is dishonoring God, & we ought to be glad and thankful to Him, instead: that He has brought us a step nearer Himself --


Christ knows better than we do -- how weak & how unreliable we are.  He knows that we are a long way off from 'perfection'.  He knows how great our failures are & how impossible it some times seems that we are ever going to be different people.  But he says now in our present life, with his eye upon us; with a full knowledge of all our circumstances:  "My grace is sufficient for thee"*  -----------


      "A man who is able to throw himself into the existence of another, to see with passion & vehemence the welfare of another, has the strongest safeguard ever invented by God against all the evils that result from brooding over & becoming absorbed in the sufferings of self" --  Essay on Cowper in Blackwood,*


      'It may seem a small point of difference that one man should say "yes --in a little while."  And another shall say "Yes -- now."  But in reality a larger point of difference could hardly be'.       (From a sermon of Dr. Alex Raleigh's)


      "Reason may climb very high mountains, it may reach the very top, but it must have the mountain under it all the time".*



      "But to you who have known Jewett all his life, it is useless to write such things.  I commenced practice close by him a few years after his beginning & I was in the closest relations with him for nearly seven years, and our intimacy has continued.  I am sure I know him thoroughly -- our intercourse has been that of brothers with never a "family quarrel", and my esteem for him equals my knowledge of him both personally and professionally.  Take him for all in all, he is the best physician of my acquaintance.  There is no person upon whose judgment I should so safely rely in any important case.  His resources in practice are very great, and his tact in managing a case -- in doing the right thing and in [just] the right way is wonderful.    And as a man, -- studious, well informed -- a keen observer, and understander of men, exceedingly intelligent, decisive but not obstructive in his opinions, affable, cheerful, of infinite humor which never detracts from his quiet dignity -- unselfish -- devoted to his profession from a love of it, and from its being a means of exercising his unaffected benevolence:  of the highest integrity, & pleasing in manners -- he is a type of the courteous, cultivated, Christian gentleman & physician.  This is no exaggeration as you who know him can aver -- whoever is within his reach ought to be satisfied that they have as good as this wicked world affords in the way of a physician, surgeon & friend."

From a letter of Dr. J. E. Tyler's to D. Lord, September --  1866.*


sufficient for thee:  See 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Blackwood:  While it is possible Jewett read "William Cowper" in Blackwood's Magazine, she is more likely to have seen it in Littel's The Living Age, v. 110 (1871) pp. 67-90.

hardly be:  See Alexander Raleigh, "Hearing and Doing," in Quiet Resting Places and Other Sermons (1863), p. 120.

the time:  No source has yet been located for this quotation.

1866:   This is Dr. John Eugene Tyler (1819-1878), whose medical practice in Salmon Falls, NH contributed to his family's friendship with Jewett's father, Dr. Theodore Herman Jewett, in neighboring South Berwick, ME.  Dr. Tyler came to specialize in mental illness and served as superintendent of the McLean Asylum in Somerville, MA.

I don't want the personal question of my own salvation to be the whole of religion to me!


For what every one is in Thy sight that is he, & nothing more."  a Kempis*


"And they called her cold.  God knows

      Underneath the winter snows,

 The invisible hearts of flowers grow ripe for blossoming!

      And the lives that look so cold,

      If their stories could be told

Would seem cast in gentler mould,

Would seem full of love & Spring"*


      "When these dark days come again remember this, that you have within reach the "Friend of friends" that He knows all you are feeling & thinking, and that He will never "grow tired or disgusted with your weakest efforts, so long as they are efforts;  After this put by self, and set to work to try & be some thing for some body else!  Never mind who or what it is.  This is always the best remedy" --------

From K. B.*

Jan ye 22nd 1872.

And they called her cold.  God knows ….
Underneath the winter snows,
The invisible hearts of flowers
      grow ripe for blossoming;
And the lives that look so cold,
If their stories could be told,
Would seem cast in gentler mould,
      Would seem full of love and spring.


a KempisThomas à Kempis (c. 1380 - 1471) was a German monk and the author of The Imitation of Christ (c. 1441).  The quotation, while it may appear in the writings of à Kempis, is actually from St. Francis of Assisi: "If others commended him, and showed any esteem of his virtue, he often said to himself: 'What everyone is in the eyes of God, that he is, and no more'."

life and spring:  This is a slightly modified version of the final stanza of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, "Lady of Castelnoire" (1865).  See The Poems of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, pp. 251-3.

K.B.: Kate Birckhead.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.


[ March 1872 ]


Easter day March 31st 1872

      I have not written here for a great while before, and I very much wonder for I have sat here at my desk day after day -- when I have been at home.  Some time the last of last month I made Georgie* a most charming little visit, and the week after that I had a note from her saying that she would like to come up & spend the day with me Saturday.  I went down to the junction to meet her & who should be with her but Grace!*  I was overjoyed and we had such a nice day together, only it was so short.  I was to have gone to Boston that day but postponed it until Monday --when I went to make Ella Walworth a little visit, & stayed with her ten days or so.  I had a very nice time & I probably shall not see much of her for a good while as she is going abroad again in June.  It was a very satisfactory visit to both of us, for we know each other much better than ever before -- & she was so kind.  One thing about my Boston visit which I think I shall remember longest -- is my knowing Ellen Mason better.  I have always fancied her very much and been interested in her because we both are so fond of Kate,* but last January I saw her more than ever before, & this time I have really been with her a great deal.  It is so nice to hear her talk about Kate.  We had some walks together & went to church together twice, once to St. Paul's and once to Trinity.  I enjoyed Mr. Brooks's *sermons so much.  I heard three of his Lenten Lectures & a sermon, all of which were very fine.  The first one I heard, I liked best, about Mary's anointing Christ.*  --------  I wonder why I had to stop just here!  I do not suppose I can ever finish it exactly as I meant to in the first place  --  I know what I can write about though, and that is the lovely Easter letter I had a day or two after this.   From Grace and Kate and Georgie & Ella Walworth -- hers wasn't all 'Easter letter' though -- and such a nice one from Ellen which I was not looking for.  I care so much more about it than if she had written it a day before or after, because if she had not cared for me she never would have written me such a note as this -- upon Easter day itself.  She could not have "made believe" that day, and I don't believe she ever does.  She has done me good already, for seeing how earnestly she lives and that she does [every] things as if she thought it was worth while made me sadly conscious of my laziness and shirking and I have tried for some time to be more systematic and to study and use my time better.  Can't stop to write anymore about you, my girl with the sweet eyes!  -----  And Grace's letter was another of the [dear] letters which have come to me from her for years now.  I have been looking over this book a little and I really was quite pained to notice that I have written so little about her.  I suppose it is partly because I have known her longer and the others are newer --  "But newest friend is oldest friend in this:  That waiting him (her!) we longest grieved to miss one thing we sought."  (That was a very nice little sentence of yours Mrs. H. H.!*  -------  What ever the reason is, it cannot be because I have not the deepest and truest and most real love for Grace, and there is a place in my heart which she has lived in ever since I was a child and will always live in forever and ever.  Dear sad, loving-hearted Grace.  I should have found  it out years ago (and forgotten I ever cared for you) if you were not as "true as steel" -- and I know very well how good you have been to me and I only hope I may be quarter as good to you -- and then how you will treasure my memory!  It took me a great while to know more of [you] than than your dear dainty outside, but I do know the inside of your heart now, or at least I know some of it.  You're my tea-rose bud girl, & there's nothing in all the world as much like you, in looks or ways:  Ellen is one of those very sweet pink-rose buds.  I don't know their names but they are very fragrant and are made in the most compact way -- all the leaves very close together so you think at first they are not meant to open, and let you see the rose's heart.  Georgie is my wild-rose a bright little wild-rose, not the pale kind, tender looking -- willful looking, brave looking little fellows!  Kate -- is like [Illegible deletion] a very tall white hyacinth (& Ellen is like  pink one) and Kate is also like spring violets  the very fragrantest sweetest ones and knowing her is as good as having them bloom all the year round!  Georgie says I am most like a little bright red poppy -- which at this time is dreadful to think of -- for what would one say to see my friends & myself in a bouquet together!  "That staring horrid poppy in with the roses!"  "Throw [Frow?] her away!"  Kate would say immediately!  And this is all of that story, but I am so fond of those girls -- and there are some more, but those four are all that belong to this book.  I certainly never must let anybody read these last few pages.  They are only for me:  "And then she stopped and said no more.  She ought to have done so long before."*  ----------------



When out beyond the eastern hills
      Was faintest light; then, scorning
Shadows which warned us back, we turned
      Our faces toward the morning.

And soon by daylight we could see
      The road we thought so weary
Where we were frightened in the night,
      Was anything but dreary.

On either side grew grass and flowers,
      We saw each others faces
The light shone deep into our hearts
      The rocks were resting places.


When first upon that morning cold
      We saw the golden glory,
And found the light was meant for us,
      And learned anew its story -----

We were so glad, with hearts at rest,
      In peace the sunshine found us
We sang a psalm, and smiling watched
      The pleasant land around us.

For though the clouds grow dark o'er head
      And storms may bring us sorrow
It's not for always, and the sun
      Still shines: will shine tomorrow.

 We lose the path, our feet soon tire
      We seek new ways, lamenting;
And back like truant children come,
      Unsatisfied, repenting.

Though we may fall and fall again
      We fear to walk no longer
And ever through mistakes & pain
      Can hourly grow the stronger

Dear Lord of Light!  Forever lead
      Our wandering hearts.  Oh guide us;
Nor let us once in storms or sun
      Forget the Friend besides us.

April 1872             "[H. G. ?]"*




      The inflexibility of the laws of nature are [is] no bar to special answers to prayer -- when the Creator of the world promised to answer prayer He probably understood the laws of nature as well a men did:  at any rate, the laws of nature are His affair, not theirs:  men should obey orders.*

      "Is it not possible that He who made the world may have established laws for prayer as well as those for the sowing of seed, or raising of grain?  Is it not as legitimate subject of inquiry when petitions are not answered, which of these laws have been neglected?"* ----


Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Grace: Grace Gordon Walden. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Kate:  Kate Birckhead. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

St. Paul's ... Trinity ...Mr. Brooks: Grace Gordon's future husband, Jacob Treadwell Walden, was rector at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.  Phillips Brooks was rector of Trinity Church, Boston.

Mary's anointing Christ:  A few days before Jesus was crucified, Mary Magdalene washed and anointed his feet.  For accounts of this event see Matthew 26, Mark 14, John 12 and Luke 7.
      Lyman Abbott describes Beecher's Lecture-Room Talks as brief lectures given at Friday evening meetings at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, NY. (217-8).  Whether this also was Brooks' practice at Trinity is not certain.  Nor is a text yet known in which Brooks speaks at length about Mary Magdalene.

H. H.:  Helen Hunt's poem "My New Friend" appears in Verses by H.H. (Helen Hunt, 1873) p. 111. The edition referenced here is Mary Jewett's copy in the collection of the Houghton Library at Harvard University, inscribed to her by Cora Clark Rice.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

long before:  The source of this quotation is not yet known.

Daybreak:  Jewett's poem was published in The Independent 24:4 (August 1, 1872).  The initials at the end of the poem, following the date, are not easily legible, but appear to be H. G., which suggest some connection for Jewett between this poem and Helen Gordon, Grace's older sister.

obey orders: This appears to be a paraphrase of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Chapter 39 of The Minister's Wooing (1859) p. 542.

neglected:  This quotation also paraphrases Stowe's The Minister's Wooing, p. 543.

[ 14 April ]


      14th April.     [ This is copied from some thing I found in Father's handwriting ]

"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out"*  "Wise" can be read in two ways --  Besides this verse's meaning that God will certainly not cast us out, it means that He will not send us away from Him.  No matter what way we come if it be a true 'coming' --.  And He will cast us out in 'no wise'; all His strange dealings with us which we puzzle ourselves so about, are not a casting out & keeping at a distance  --  but if we cling to God they will most certainly be a bringing nearer.


      "And the Tenderness that is in the midst of the Almightiness shall feed them & lead them unto fountains of living waters  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" –*



       Not Now

Not now, my child -- a little more rough tossing
A little longer on the billow's foam;
A few more journeyings in the desert darkness
And then the sun shine of thy Father's home.

Not now, for I have wandered in the distance
And time must call thee in with patient love.
Not now, for I have sheep among the mountains
And thou must follow them where'er they rove.

Not now, for I have children sad and weary
Wilt thou not cheer them with a kindly smile?
Sick ones who need thee in their lonely sorrow
Wilt thou not tend them for a little while?

Not now, for many a hungry one is pining.
Thy willing hand must be outstretched & free.
Thy Father hears the mighty cry of anguish
And gives some answering messages to thee.*




cast out:  Mr. Jewett quotes John 6:37.

their eyes:  Jewett quotes from Real Folks by Adeline Dutton Train Whitney (1872) p. 141.

to thee:  "Not Now my Child" is a hymn by Catherine K. Pennefather, collected in Congregational Hymns, by W. Garrett Horer (London: Elliot Stock, 1884), number 826.  The original has seven stanzas.


 "And there was no room for them in the inn"*  ---------  When the poor carpenter and his wife came to that inn in Bethlehem it was full every one told them and they could not get in.  How that has been followed out all these hundreds of years.  No room for Christ  -- We find room for every thing else and every body else in the busy inn of our hearts.  Let us see who were probably there:  the Jewish farmer with his money bag -- come to pay his tax:  the consequential Rabbi, the proud Roman soldiers, etc. and now they are all forgotten (we do not know any thing about one of them except that they kept Christ out.  It is just so with things we make room for!  How worthless they are & how completely we shall forget them.  And we cramp our souls so!  the doors are too low for any but little stooping thoughts to enter -- and the apartments are all so filled with rubbish, when God meant they should be roomy & open, and that they should be a temple for Himself --  If the people had known who was being born how eagerly they would have made ready the best room.  If they had known it was the King of Kings -- the only Savior of us all, the Creator, the [best] friend! and if we realized how important it is for us to let Christ in we should hesitate no longer.  We do not recognize Him  --  He comes to the palace gate  'No room!'  and the splendor & revelry goes on and the Lord of all glory is shut out.  He knocks at the students' door, and he says  'No room!'  and turns to his books and his study of philosophy and science while the Lord of all Wisdom goes away.  We cry  'No room!'  continually.  We are [too] busy or too idle.  We let friend after friend come into our hearts and dwell there but there is never any place for Him.

      I never half understood until I was confirmed myself, what a help & comfort & satisfaction it is!  One of the reasons why it is urged upon us is showing to the world which side we have taken in the battle, but I think it is of great service also, in making that fact plain -- to ourselves, beyond fear of mistake.  There is almost always a hungering doubt in one's mind whether one has fully decided, and at any rate we feel that we are not Christians outwardly.  We read about it and hear it preached about and think we are entirely convinced & thoroughly made acquainted with it & its benefits, but we are very far from being right.  You may have a fine picture of some beautiful old house, hanging upon your wall for years and you feel as if you knew all about it: -- it is so familiar to you.  But perhaps you go to live in that house -- you go inside -- you see the carvings and and pictures, and the exquisite views from the windows, and it keeps you from the heat & the cold & is your home, &  the place where you go to rest, and then you think of the picture of the outside which you used to know so well, and of the old times when that was all you knew about the comfort you have now.


      "The hopeful, the trusting, the strong, infuse their hope & strength into others by the mere force of example"* --       The instinctive imitativeness of mankind must not be forgotten.  We must bear in mind [illegible deletion] this power [even] our physical influence has upon people about us" ----




"The instincts of the higher and lower nature of man, are in constant conflict because the lower are not limited, but are constantly pushing beyond their proper bounds as they never do in animals.  If the higher gain the day,  man is worthy of the place he was made to fill as the the image of God and the ruler of the globe, -- having dominion over all its creatures and over his own animal nature.  But if the animal instincts take the control, there is no limit to his possible degradation" ----   "The animal powers of man must be governed because they are not self-regulative.  They must be limited & directed in their action by some power or set of powers above them.  This power the man has  * * * * *  The very fact that his lower propensities,  -- the  Appetites and Instincts, -- are not self-regulative as in animals, but are capable of terrific power, ever destructive power when left to them selves, shows them to be admirably adapted for service.  No matter how powerful any agency is, if it be directed and controlled.  The more powerful it is the better."

      "Instinct in Animals & Man"*


      God tells us we must not worship any gods but Himself, and we do not.  I do not mean to ignore our "making idols" of ourselves and all that sort of thing -- but I am thinking of the worshipping a god, a supernatural being.  Our God is the true God but I think we do not consider our duty done when we say this ourselves, & that we do not break that commandment & are Christian people. Now, when we pray, we are so apt to merely think of our Heavenly Father as someone who can give us the many things we are in such need of and almost entirely leave out all the 'worship' part -- He says Thou shalt have no other gods beside me -- but He does not tell us not to bring our tribute to Him.  I read some where awhile ago that we are all priests and have a 'service' to perform just as the old priests in the Temple used.

[From Miss Sewell's "A Glimpse of the World"]*

      "If you hate doubt," he said, "you hate the condition in which God has placed you.  What is there wh. is not open to doubt?  And if it was not, where would be the trial of faith?"

"But faith is the reverse of doubt," said Myra.

"You  are mistaken child.  Faith is the certainty of the spiritual faculties opposed to the doubt of the material causes, but without doubt there could be no faith.  Faith will not exist in heaven because there" ---------


no room for them in the inn:  From the biblical story of the birth of Jesus in Luke 2.

force of example:  Jewett quotes from Mental Hygiene by Isaac Ray (1863) p. 160. It is not clear whether Jewett quotes elsewhere in this passage and whether the final quotation mark is intentional.

"Instinct in Animals & Man":  The title Jewett gives is not exact, making one wonder whether her source may be different from Instinct: Its Office in the Animal Kingdom, and Its Relation to the Higher Powers in Man by Paul Ansel Chadbourne (1872)  249-50.

Glimpse of the World:  This item is inserted at the top of a page and is barely legible.  Its content is inferred from the source of the quotation, a novel by Elizabeth Missing Sewell (1815-1906): A Glimpse of the World (1863).  The quotation is from volume 1, p. 237.


[ June ]


5th June.     It is a very stormy day and a very disappointing day to me, for I had made a great many plans.  Father and I were going to Marblehead to dear old DMr. Allen's funeral & Mary* was to join us at Portsmouth.  I was so sorry when I heard he was dead, day before yesterday and I am grieved to think I wrote no more -- or rather that I wrote nothing about him last summer while he was here.  If I had only taken some notes of his magnificent sermons or tried to remember some of the things he said.  He is my idea of what a clergyman ought to be, and seemed to belong rather to a past generation than to the present.  He was so dignified and elegant & yet one could talk so freely with him & he was so kind and good.  Dear old man!  I would give a great deal if I could have one more talk with him.  I hope his teaching was not all lost.  I think I shall see him again but it is a long way to look forward and I am so wayward and faithless, but God is very strong, if I am not.  I think it is the greatest encouragement to think about such a person as Mr. Allen.  He was high-tempered and self-willed just as I am, and he was able to conquer his faults and instead of yielding to them and doing harm in the world he died a brave true Christian, Christlike man and everybody is sorry -- and he has gone home to see his Master no longer {"}through a glass darkly but now face to face"* --   I should have liked so much to have gone to Marblehead, and I was so disappointed to see such a rain -- but it is all right.  Then to night I was going to spend with Grace* in Boston and had great plans for to-morrow.      I must write a little about Ella.*  I have been meaning to do so ever since she went away.  We have loved each other for a long time but have seen little and known little really [for a long time] until I was there in March when things changed, and now we have just finished a most happy week together & it will probably be the last for a good while as she is going abroad again.  I think we helped each other a great deal and I have 'found [her] out' more fully than ever before & we have found our way very deep into each other's heart.  I miss her sweet little face and her loving little hands and I like to hear her play better than I do anyone else, for she catches the meaning of the music.  Her tunes are not like a dozen uninteresting people jabbering at once, but like some sweet force telling a story for every word of which, one listens.  I shall give her a habitation in this book  I wonder that I have not before -- but some how I had grown used to knowing her -- that is knowing the little I did know and I have hardly seen her this year.  I loved her truly but I love her differently now and think we should never go back to the old way -- which however has been a very pleasant way and a helpful way to us both --.  How strange it is to go on with a friendship for so long and have a kind of "waking-up" as we have!  God bless my deal little girl! ----



      June 17th

If I ever am half as good as my darling Aunt Helen!*  Somehow all my other friends put together do not give me such belief in goodness and the possibility of living close to God and spending one's time in serving Him.  I am not "crying down my other friends" -- I am sure of their goodness and earnestness, but they are none of them like Aunt Helen.  Her life is more Christlike and more filled with faith, and love to her neighbor and kind thoughtfulness, trust in God and brave earnestness and unselfishness than any life I know.  Last week (which I spent with her) has taught me more of this than I ever knew before though I have loved her ever since I can remember.  I am certain I have thought too much of doctrine and all that sort of thing, and have adjourned the doing of it: as Shairp says --  It is the life that tells*, and my life is just nothing but a selfish one.  I am good-natured when I am amused and interested -- but when I am left to my self and ought to be at work  --  Horrors!  I cannot write about it! ------


The sweetness and goodness of her face haunts me, and having been with her & seeing how entirely unselfish and true her life is, makes myself seem unbearably selfish, and wicked.  I have written and talked as wisely and impertinently about belief and had such a profound satisfaction in my religious achievements and now I hate the thought of it for it isn't what I thought and felt, but what I did. -- and I have done nothing, and worse than nothing.  Oh if I only get over this hatred of my laziness  --  of myself, and my insincerity!  I almost believe in the popular idea of the devil -- (which is gotten from Paradise Lost* and not from the Bible) and that he has been deceiving me, with this feeling of goodness.  It seems as if --  It is very wicked for me to write in this way, but I hate myself so entirely today --  I cannot begin to tell how I enjoyed my week in Portland.  The house is so delightful and the sea air always makes me contented & happy if nothing else will.  And I saw such pleasant people.  Mrs. Pierce was there  Mr. Longfellow's sister* who was a most charming person, & it is so nice to know one of Aunt Helen's best friends.  I hated awfully to come away and when I got home I found I might have stayed longer as well as not.

      I hate to look at the beginning of this book when I feel as I do now.  There is such a smirk of satisfaction about it and I am so restless and unhappy.  I have longed to be good all this time and I have wished sincerely -- but it seems to be no use ------  I have always been afraid it was merely a state of mind I happened to be in for a time and would not last for me  --  I believe I am not like other people in anything, and it never will amount to any thing, all this trouble and perplexity and sorrow I have gone through with.  I don't see why Aunt Helen should have suggested all this raving of mine, but it is the contrast between her & myself --  I have all that old feeling back again which used to come so often when I first knew Kate* -- when I used to wish with all my heart I could die & end it all.  I would not live a day longer if it were not for my friends, being troubled -- it is a shocking thing for any body to do, & I know they love me, and think I am going to accomplish great things, & I can't!  --------- 


I wish I could be ill and die, for then they would not mind it so much & it would not seem my own fault.


Marblehead ... Mr. Allen's funeral: Rev. Benjamin Russell Allen (1805-1872) was Congregational minister at Marblehead, MA, when he died on 2 June 1872.  He had served 12 years (1842-1854) in South Berwick.

face to face:  1 Corinthians 13:12.

Grace:  Grace Gordon. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Ella:  Ella Walworth. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Aunt Helen: Helen Gilman (1817-1905) of Portland, ME. 

Shairp ... life that tellsJohn Campbell Shairp (1819-1885), Scottish author and critic.  "The life that tells" is a common theme in 19th-century Christian discourse.  Shairp's use of this phrase, however, has not yet been located.

Paradise Lost:  British poet John Milton's (1608-1674) epic retelling of the temptation and fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden from the Biblical book of Genesis.

Mrs. Pierce ... Mr. Longfellow's sister: Richard Cary identifies Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's (1807-1882) sister,  Anne Longfellow (1810-1901), who married George Washington Pierce, described by the poet  as "brother-in-law and dearest friend."

Kate:  Kate Birckhead.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

[ July ]


        July 9th


I have forgotten the exact circumstances -- but I remember that a great multitude had followed Christ out from the city: and night was coming and there was nothing for all the people to eat.  One of the disciples came and told Him that one boy had a few small fishes and some loaves of bread "But what are they among so many."  Jesus told them to sit down on the grass and gave them all enough to eat.*  Somehow this miracle always seems very beautiful to me.  It is the loveliest picture whenever I think of it:  All the people there by the sea.  The shadows growing long & night coming: they must have spent such an eventful day and have been so filled with love and wonder.  Then Jesus giving them their supper and caring for their every day wants -- and [the disciples] going away in the boat, and Jesus Himself up into the mountain to be alone for awhile -- just as we like to go away and be alone, and then His walking on the sea & telling them not to be afraid for "It is I" --  But what I was thinking of when I began writing was how that boy must have felt!  Perhaps he thought said to himself that he wished he had more loaves and fishes, and how glad he must have been when he found that after all, the people's supper was, in a way, owing to him!  He may have followed the multitude very idly as boys often do, and watched the miracles with curiosity -- but how awed he must have been by this.  Those little loaves and fishes which he had brought, and all the five thousand being fed with them.  I should like to know what became of that child!  And how often some thing very like this has happened since.  I am like that boy -- and I can be more like him!  I have very small possessions of goodness and helpfulness in my heart, and there are thousands of hungry people in the world but one or twice I have been of service [illegible deletion] already.  And many a 'child' of the Father who is in Heaven has through Him given help and comfort to the multitudes with the "loaves & fishes" which are nothing except through Him.


      9th July

I wonder if I can go to Nana [Gausette? Jewett?]?*  I want to awfully!  And I want to go to the mountains too.  and I wish for xxxx and to [see?] xxxx and to finish ---- & to begin ----


      "His book is too stuffed with scripture, too parsonish.  The best thing in it is the boy's own story.  When I say it is too full of scripture, I mean it is too full of direst quotations; no book can have too much of silent scripture in it; but the natural power of a story is diminished when the uppermost purpose in the writing seems to be to recommend Religion"     Extract from one of Charles Lamb's letters to his friend Barton.*  I wish to recognize this particularly in my writing.  It is melancholy that one must acknowledge the innate antipathy & antagonism wh. prevails in the mind of mankind to religion, when the reception of any other good; for lesser benefits -- is so eager -- but such is certainly the case.  In one's life preachiness must be avoided and I know I don't like to read "parsonish" stories, & I don't mean to write them for other people.  I wish I could make practical use of that idea of the instinctive imitativeness of mankind* -- and behave my self so that [were? even?] by my being in the world w'd make people better, but I am afraid I must be contented with being able to preach a little occasionally & only hope that God will not let the evil my miserable practicing must infallibly do, be very great.

13th July 1872


When Jesus had risen: when He walked with disciples to Emmaus and when He appeared to the Eleven at Jerusalem & they were afraid (Luke XXIV) He said; "Why are ye troubled? --  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself"* --  Is this any clue to our resurrection!  Shall we not be our same familiar selves as He was?


"And they remembered His words" (Luke XXIV)  How we "remember his words!"  in how many experiences of life verses from the Bible come into our minds with singular power & a new, fresh meaning, & how often we thank Him for some promise that has been fulfilled.  It is such a comfort to "remember his words" ---------


      Christ is a mediator intellectually, helping us to know God --  Christ said to Mary and Martha "Your brother shall rise again!"*  This will go well with what I have written just opposite.  He did not say that their brother had passed on to a grander state of existence and that they ought to be happy about it.


      I think He meant to teach us by the way He expressed Himself, that we are to have our "brothers" -- our dear friends  our very selves, again by and by.  He had been really dead and he came back at least entirely recognizable --  Of course this is a type of the general resurrection so far as concerns our seeing people again.


enough to eat: Jewett refers to the "Feeding of the 5000," a miracle of Jesus recounted in the all four of the Christian gospels: Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6.

Gausette:  The transcription is doubtful, and the person's identity remains unknown.  This may be Jewett's only use of "Nana," making the entry more puzzling.  At this time, she had no living grandparents on the Jewett side of her family.

Barton:  Jewett quotes from Letters of Charles Lamb v. 2 (1864, 1886 ), by Charles Lamb, p. 167.

instinctive imitativeness of mankind:  Jewett quotes from Mental Hygiene by Isaac Ray (1863) p. 160.

I myself:  Jewett refers, as she notes, to the appearance of Christ after his resurrection to his disciples in the village of Emmaus.

rise again:  In John 11, Jesus resurrects Lazarus of Bethany.

[ August ]



          8th August

I may travel to the ends of the earth and see more wonderful things than I have ever dreamed of now, but one thing is certain:  I never shall be standing on the top of a mountain for the first time again!  I have just come home from my first visit to the White Hills and one night and part of the next day I spent on Mount Washington.*  I never shall forget that little grassy place where the little white flowers grew, down among the rocks toward Tuckerman's Ravine.  That lonely place where I could not see a bird in the air or a living creature on the earth or hear a sound except the faint dashing of water at lone intervals, in the unknown mysterious hiding places where I should not dare to intrude -- in the unknown mountain clefts and solitudes where I never shall go.  I can understand people's being afraid of the mountains and imagining them gods themselves, or peopled with creatures not of this earth --  It did not seem as if I were in the world I had been born and brought up in, the world I was looking at there -- the whole world, it seemed, and all of it mountains --  What had become of all the houses and the people and the climbing and pushing and falling and laughing and crying?  It had all been taken away for a while, there were rocks and clouds -- and the hills were alive:  they were huge giants crouching there asleep, waiting for the day when they are to rise up and march away with their bowed heads lifted, chanting with their great voices, with Mt Washington for the captain, a grand and solemn and stately procession.  I wonder if they mean so much to every body else as they do to me.  Their strength teaches me what God's strength is like, and the wonderfulness of them grows greater and greater to me.  all that afternoon as we went up and the next morning, I kept thinking of the Psalms and it was so good to "lift my eyes unto the hills,"* in reality, and to see the strength of the hills which is Him also -- and I thought most of the Psalm which begins "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof:"* I was half afraid to ascend into the hill of the Lord* for my hands are so soiled with the wicked things I have done and my heart was very fare from pure.  Somehow I could not help taking it literally, for there was the hill of the Lords and there was I  --  And when I said it over and over again to myself and came to the last verses, I could not believe anything else but that these were the very gates and that the King of Glory was coming very soon. 


      "That I spente, that I had
        That I gave, that I have
        That I lefte, that I loste"
      Old Epitaph


"Take us, the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines"  --  I think this verse would be such a good one for one of those illuminated texts.  I should like one for my room.  Those little foxes are such rascals, & my 'vines' grow so hesitatingly, and are so easily spoiled!


Spurgeon says that the old ship Zion is a three-decker & some of the passengers live way down in the dark, always stay where they are uncomfortable & desolate and the next ones above them get sunshine once in awhile --"but the place for me" (Mr. Bartlett said tonight:) is on deck where the sunlight and fresh air is -- out in the day light.


      "The ship Zion carries no passengers:  one must be a sailor!"

[ October ]


Oct 3.  I have heard something tonight which grieves me terribly.  Helen Gordon says that Kate said last summer in Narragansett that it was strange I couldn't come there as well as go to the mountains and elsewhere and she thought she was disappointed and felt badly about my refusing to come.  It was hard enough not to go, and to give up all my plans, and the being with my darling Kate without hearing this!  Oh if I only could have gone!  It wasn't right for me to be away and Kate would have told me so if she had known all about it and seen how I was placed, but she never can know this and will always think I didn't care to be with her when I would rather see her than any one, and would give up any pleasure to do the least little thing for her.  I have been truer to Kate than I ever have been to any body and she can't think I am true.  I am afraid she thinks that I don't care for her so much as I used, and that last summer or summers before I would have moved heaven and earth rather than stay at home if she wanted me.  Oh Kate if you only knew how I love you all the time you would be sure I am true. If I could have gone -- if nothing had hindered me I might have been of use to her and might have helped her in some little way and at least have done a great many little services which would have made me so happy.  It breaks my heart to think that I had to give up all this, and I knew what I was giving up at the time.  Oh it was so hard to write and tell her I was not coming, but God knew best and He kept me at home.  Oh Kate forgive me!  I couldn't see why it was at first and it was so provoking that Father & Mother didn't tell me to go, but I didn't tease them, and afterward I found how much use I could be here, and perhaps I couldn't have been any at Narragansett.  I so longed to be with Kate and all those summer evenings I used to wonder about her -- what she was doing, and if I were there perhaps there was something I could do for her -- I wish she had said just one word in one of her letters to me -- she never said she was sorry I didn't come.  She couldn't have believed I cared about being with her , or realized how sad I was about it.  She couldn't have thought.  I wondered where I should have the best time and chose to stay at home.  Oh, Kate!  ----  I was not away from home more than four or five days at once from May till October, but I suppose she thought I was at the mountains & the beach much longer  --  I never shall tell her about it for it would be no use.  I dare say she has forgotten now.  I don't believe she ever was angry with me before and it was a happy thought that I never had willingly or knowingly done any thing that had troubled her.  There was nobody else I could think of.



Mount WashingtonMt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is the highest peak in New England.  Tuckerman Ravine is a glacial valley on the southeast face of Mt. Washington.

eyes unto the hills:  Psalm 121.

earth is the Lord's:  Psalm 24.

hill of the Lord: Psalm 24:3.

That I lefte, that I loste: In Aspects of Death and Correlated Aspects of Life in Art, Epigram, and Poetry (1918), Frederick Parkes Weber reports this epitaph as that of Robert Byrkes (d. 1579).  It continues:
    "Quoth Robertus Byrkes, who in this world did reign
    Threescore years and seven, and yet lived not one." (p. 360).
little foxes that spoil the vines:  Song of Solomon 2:15.

Spurgeon says that the old ship Zion is a three-deckerCharles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1893) was a British Baptist preacher and a prolific author of religious texts, including sermons and hymns.  His comments on "the ship of Zion" have not been located. 
    Willard B. Bartlett (1817 - 8 July 1898) served as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in South Berwick, ME 1870-1.  Perhaps the quotations about the "ship of Zion" come from his sermon.

Helen Gordon ... Kate:  Helen Gordon is Grace Gordon's older sister; she refers to Kate Birckhead.  See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.


[ 1873 ]


1873.  23 May.

      I am very sorry I did not carry this book away with me last October, for there were so many things I should like to have written at the time and to have read in years to come.  I was just going to write that I should not attempt it now but I will write about it for a little while.  I went on to New York the 24th of October.  Stayed there until early in November.  Then went to Cleveland with the Furbers & then to Chicago.  Then up to Green Bay, Wisconsin.*  Where I had three very happy weeks and where I think I was better and kinder & more useful than during any three weeks I can remember.  It makes me conscious of my capabilities for usefulness and goodness more than any other visit ever did! Then back to Chicago and down to Cincinnati where I enjoyed seeing my old friends & the pleasure of finding they had not forgotten me.  Then back to Chicago after two weeks.  And then on to Brooklyn where I spent the holidays and went to Philadelphia the 7th of January. And I stayed there two months and came back to Brooklyn and New York & stayed two weeks longer & then Georgie and I came on together and I spent a week in Boston --  While I was in New York I was run over on Broadway and very much hurt and since I came home, I have been rather useless and indeed I was ill in bed part of the time.


And now I have been looking over this book a little and it seems to me as if this volume were done.  There is much else mixed up with it, but after all it is chiefly a chapter out of my biography, out of the book of my life.  I have a feeling that however blue and despairing and unreasonable I may be henceforward, the days are past when such feelings will have any [more?] influence over me unless in urging me to seek a more entire dependence upon the Friend who can do all things and is strong enough to make up for any weakness that may show itself in me --  The days are over with when “the question of my own personal salvation was the whole of religion to me” as some one wisely says --  and now I am living another kind of life from the one I was snarled and tangled up in [two?] years ago when this book, half journal and half extract book, was begun.  I know better what I am doing, and this I owe in great measure to Prof -- Parsons,* who has been one of my best friends these last six months -- Whose letters and whose books and what he himself has said to me have made me wiser and better.  I think of my writing in a very different way from what I used.  It is no longer an amusement merely but my work.  In a review of Miss Thackerays last novel I found this  “In short, the tenderness of a loving womanly heart pervades the whole book.  It is Miss Thackeray in “Old Kensington”* that makes it so delightful a story.” -- This is what I wish; to be so good and true that myself in my stories, my books if I write them; will be sympathetic, and I hope they may never fail to be interesting and helpful and strong to do good, because there is no life or reality running through and my own heart is cold and selfish.  And I mean never to finish a story without putting in at least some little word that will help people to be happier, and to grow better.

Sarah O. Jewett.


Wisconsin:  Jewett's stay in Green Bay led to her story, "Tame Indians" (1875).  The Furbers are relatives, Henry Jewett Furber and Elvira Irwin.

Parsons:  Theophilus Parsons (17 May, 1797 - 26 January 1882), who was Dane professor of law at Harvard from 1848 to 1870, is remembered chiefly as the author of a series of legal treatises and some books in support of Swedenborgian doctrines. Wikipedia

Old Kensington:  Daughter of William M. Thackeray (1811-1863)  the novelist Anne Isabella Thackeray, Lady Ritchie (1837-1919) published  Old Kensington in 1873.  Richard Cary notes that in his review, Henry Mills Alden wrote: "It is Miss Thackeray in Old Kensington which makes it so delightful a story" in "Editor's Literary Record," Harper's, XLVII (June 1873), p. 131.

[The following verses are marked with a curving line from Jewett's signature above down the left margin.]


“I do not ask you whence you came,
Or wherefore you have grown so dear
I know, since you deserve the name
Of friend, -- God sent you here.”

“Thou must be true thyself
If thou the truth would teach;
Thy soul must overflow, if thou
Another soul would reach, --
Only the overflowing heart
To give the lips full speech --
Think truly, and thy thought
Shall the world’s famine feed; --



I heard Mr. Beecher* preach some magnificent sermons last winter, and I am glad to say that I knew him and liked him very much. I always had an idea I shouldn’t. One sermon had for its text that verse in the Acts where they brought the sick people out in the streets. 'lest haply the shadow of Peter passing by might over shadow them’* --  He said that Peters shadow did as effectual service as his body did and in the same way we had an influence wh. followed us as Pete our shadows do. & that had as much effect upon people the influence we exerted consciously -- The sermon was an unconscious influence –



Speak truly & thy word
Shall be a fruitful Seed
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A true and noble creed."*



Text. "And every thing shall live whither the river cometh." -- 'Perhaps it has only risen to our ankles, and though are feet are walking in the way of God’s commandments our hearts are cold, but by and by the river will rise and give life to our hearts and then to our hands and heads."

Rev. Phillips Brooks


"What looks to one man only the ripples sparkling in the sunshine -- becomes a strong wave rolling on and on, gathering strength and power till it breaks on the shores of eternity.

Mr. Brooks*


"[Illegible deletion] ____________"  Today and tomorrow shall be little words in the tale of our loving" -- *


From all the millions of the people in the world, God has chosen out a few for us to live with  We are necessary [to] them and they are necessary to us -- They are exactly the right people for us to be with.


"When shall we return love for love?

When shall we turn toward Him who is ever seeking us and whose arms are ever round us? It is while resting in His bosom that we forget him. The sweetness of his gifts makes us forget the giver …… This infinite love follows us everywhere, and we are ever trying to escape from it; it is in all places and we see it nowhere. We call ourselves alone when when we have only God with us; He does all things, and we trust in Him for nothing   We think our hopes are desperate when we have no other resource than His providence as if infinite and all-powerful love could not do all things.



Many have puzzled themselves about the origin of evil; I know that there is an evil and that there is a way to escape it, and with this I begin and end.*


[Illegible deletion] Man truly illuminated will no more despise others than Bartimeus after his own eyes were opened would take a stick, and beat every blind man he met.*



It seems to me that a great mistake has been made in confusing men’s ideas of God with the unchangeable God Himself. If we are to believe that what men have said of their belief in all these centuries, has been said honestly; God must be variable as one of ourselves. God cannot change; He has been the same always. Our knowledge of Him [is] relative. It depends upon our capacity for original thought, and for understanding what may be taught us. Because some man of great learning and goodness studies over the subject, and says 'This is your God; He does this’ or ‘that'; it by no means follows that he cannot be mistaken. They are not so strenuous upon peoples belief in God, as that they should believe in Him this  [the] way they do --  Some men go back to the old presentations of our relation with God, and some get ahead of the rest of the world in these days, just as they did centuries ago. The main principles of the teachings of Christ are very simple; the dogmas which have arisen from men’s different ways of understanding verses in the New Testament -- or of choosing out of one to the exclusion of the rest, are like the sands of the sea. Christ gives no creed in His Sermon on the Mount* nor anywhere else. No one can deny that one persons acceptance of a religious doctrine can never be anything but vague, and another’s’ definite and controlling. There is as great difference between men’s spiritual intellectual powers as between their natural intellectual. The idea of God suggested by the spiritual faculties is too often surrendered to the natural faculties, and by them our Heavenly Father[‘s?] being and character has been measured off and defined over and over again.


BeecherHenry Ward Beecher (1813-1887).

shadow them:  Acts 5:15.  Beecher's sermon is entitled "Unconscious Influence."  It appears in The Sermons of Henry Ward Beecher: In Plymouth Church, Brooklyn v. 9 (1874).

"Be True" is by  Horatius Bonar (1808 -1889). a Scottish churchman and poet.  The poem appears in Hymns of Faith and Hope (1867). Jewett has placed the first two stanzas on one page, the final stanza on the next.]

river cometh:  Jewett refers several times in this journal to this text from Ezekiel 47:9 and to Phillips Brooks speaking on this text.  A print source for the Brooks text to which Jewett refers has not been located.

our loving:  From "Love is Enough" in The Collected Works of William Morris: Love is Enough. Poems by the Way (1911) by William Morris, p,. 35.

Fénèlon:  While this is not the translation from which Jewett quotes, the passage may be found in: Selections from the Writings of Fenelon (1829) by a Lady [E. L. Follen]. p. 292.

many have puzzled ... metThe Memoirs of John Newton, v. 1 (1847) pp. 61, 64.  Mark 10:46-52 tells Bartimaeus, a blind man whom Jesus healed.

Sermon on the Mount:  This sermon appears in Matthew, Chapters 5-7.

Sept 3  1873    This is my 24th birthday and I have been hard at work at my writing almost all day. I have had a very happy year and I have tried to grow better. I begin this 'new year' -- for I think ones birthdays are one’s especial new Year days -- with an earnest wish to be good & to do good, & to be a good servant. I have made up my mind to write in the morning and not sit up so late at night any more. I don’t suppose it has been good for me but I lacked courage to overthrow habit that has been almost lifelong. I have just been at the sea shore for three weeks and had a lovely time. I am a great deal stronger, and I met Miss Seeger* who has done me ever so much good. I am too tired tonight to write much, but there is such a satisfaction in being tired from real hard work -- & not from laziness.


Someone said to me the other day that she thought there never was any use in praying when one did not feel like it -- I must confess to having had the same feeling myself, but I have thought that after all it is much like eating when one has no appetite.  One cannot go on fasting for very long and one must eat in order to keep up ones strength else the liking for food cannot come: I think there may have been a great many prayers that amounted to little, but none that were useless.


From Morris’s "Love is Enough --"*  [This line appears to have been added later, possibly by another hand.]


"O hearken the words of his voice of compassion:
Come cling round about me, ye faithful who sicken
Of the weary unrest and the world’s passing fashion!
As the rain in mid-morning your troubles shall thicken,
But surely within you some Godhead shall [doth] all quicken
As ye cry to me heeding, and leading you home"


(From Carlyle’s "Past and Present"{)}*


'Happy' my brother? First of all, what difference is it whether thou art happy or not! To-day becomes Yesterday so fast, all To-morrows become Yesterdays and then there is no question whatever of thy "happiness’ -- but quite another question. Nay. Thou has such a sacred pity left at least for thyself, thy very pains, once gone over into Yesterday, become joys to thee. Besides, thou knowest not what heavenly blessedness and indispensable sanative virtue was in them, thou shalt only know it after many days when thou art wiser. x x x  The Prophets preach to us, Thou shalt be happy; thou shall love pleasant things and find them. The people clamour. Why have we not found pleasant things? x x x x x x x  The only happiness a brave man ever troubled himself with asking much about was, happiness enough to get his work done. Not “I can’t eat!” but “I can’t work!” that was the burden of all wise complaining among men. It is, after all, the one unhappiness of a man, that he cannot work; that he cannot get his destiny as a man fulfilled. The night once come, our happiness or unhappiness -- it is all abolished  vanished, clean gone; a thing that has been. But our work. -- behold that is not abolished, -- that has not vanished; our work, behold remains, or the want of it remains; -- for endless Times and Eternities remains; and that is now the sole question with us forevermore. Brief brawling day with its noisy Phantasms its poor paper crowns tinsel gilt is gone; and divine everlasting Night, with her star diadems, with her silences and her veracities is come! What hast thou done, and how?”_____________________________


One’s deeds look sometimes like caricatures of ones aspirations _________________________


“God harden me against myself –
This coward with pathetic voice,
Who craves for ease and rest and joys.

Myself, arch traitor to myself;
My hollowest friend; my deadliest foe;
My clog, whatever road I go.

God strengthens me aga to bear myself
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.”

      C. Rossetti*


We shall never have reason to complain of a lack of friends if we keep ourselves ready to receive them. If we are kind and good and true and helpful, those who wish for help and kindness will find us out. A tree richly laden with [good] fruit is never left alone, and or unnoticed in the field. If we bear only thorns and briers* who will come to gather them?


It is a blessed thing to know as I do, that in spite of my mistakes and wilful negligences, and in spite of my utter incapacity for carrying on the affairs of life so that my plans will not all prove to be blunders -- that there is the power of God always working out right results. : a something outside oneself that works for righteousness. In spite of all the hindrances which we consciously and unconsciously put in its way -- our prayer that God’s kingdom may come will surely be answered.


Miss Seeger:   C. Carroll Hollis says that is Harriet / Hatty Woodworth Seeger (b. 1843?), a schoolteacher and Jewett friend from Boston.  If this identification is correct, then her parents were Harriet Woodworth Foot (1814-1843) and Dr. Edwin Seeger (1811-1866).

"Love is Enough": The Collected Works of William Morris: Love is Enough. Poems by the Way (1911) by William Morris, p,. 76.

"Past and Present"Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Past and Present (1843)All quotations are from Chapter 4, "Happy."

Rossetti:  Jewett quotes the final stanzas of "Who Shall Deliver Me?" by the British poet, Christina Rossetti (1830-1894).   Christina Rossetti: The Complete Poems, pp. 220-1.  Internet sources frequently attribute the quotation to the Christian missionary, Amy Carmichael (1867-1951).

thorns and briers:  Though Jewett seems to have composed this passage, the phrase "bear only thorns and briers" is a commonplace in 19th-century religious discourse.


[ 1874 ]


[ March ]



22 March 1874    I wish I had perseverance enough to keep a journal regularly. I have almost a mind to make another attempt for it seems to me I have more use for keeping one than most girls.  I could  writ[e]ing about my writing in it and I have really a great many things to say. This winter has been a very charming one. I wonder if I had not better begin further back than winter and remind myself of my journey to Canada with Father & mother. I have always wished to go there more than any where else. We went up through the mountains which were perfectly gorgeous for it was the week the leaves turned  -- That is all the smaller mountains and the hills were gorgeous and Mount Washington* & the other high high hills were grand and solemn and blue in the late September haze. It was so foreign and new in Canada -- Every thing fascinated me and it was such fun to hear people talk French, and so gratifying to see Quebec at last. How can I forget the night I went down the St. Lawrence [Lawrance?] from Montreal or how I sat on the stern of the steamer in the moonlight in the evening and got up ever so early next morning to go out forward and watch for Quebec which appeared just as the sun came up and made its tin roofs look like silver. Dear me, I was so jolly that morning and so contented so increasingly contented all the time I stayed there --


After this I stayed at home until January with the exception of two little visits at Georgie’s,* and in January I made Grace a visit and loved her more than ever before when it was over with. Then I went to Newport and was happy with Kate *for a while. We read and walked and talked and now I know her so much better than I ever did before --  It was awfully hard to say good-bye -- and then I came back to Boston and stayed over Sunday at Grace’s and then Mary* and I went to Springfield for two weeks. I had a very nice time. Then back to Boston again and up to Ella Walworth’s. To my great joy Ellen Mason had come home and I enjoyed seeing her so much! We went to Cambridge together one afternoon. and it was so nice to have her all to myself. I am so glad I have seen dear Prof. Parsons again and I spent three nights with Hattie Seeger -- Georgie came to Grace’s the day I went away and Aunt Helen Gilman* was in Cambridge the first time I went there. I saw Mrs. Greene several times and saw Miss Quincy & Miss Sophia & Miss Abby who were as quaint and charming as ever. I believe I saw every one of my best friends and every body was so kind and seemed glad to see me. Prof. Parsons came in town twice to see me. I wonder what makes people do good to me. I wish I deserved all these things. We stopped in Exeter a few days and that was very pleasant   I had a nice time with Aunt Mary as I always do -- and Nelly Bell is getting better which is a comfort --


I have done a good deal of painting this winter and I am sure that I have gained in other ways. I am trying very hard to be more industrious and to use my time better, and to be more orderly. These are the two special [Illegible deletion] points of reform just now!


Mount Washington: Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is the highest peak in New England.

Georgie's:  Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Grace:  Grace Gordon. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Kate:  Kate Birckhead. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett, Jewett's older sister.

Prof. Parsons:  Theophilus Parsons.

Mrs. Greene:  Probably this is Anna Blake Shaw (1817-1901), who married the minister and activist, William Batchelder Greene (1819-1878).  Their daughter, Elizabeth (Bessie, 1846-1875), became a benefactor of the New England Hospital for Women and Children.

Miss Quincy & Miss Sophia & Miss Abby"Miss Quincy" may be Eliza Susan Quincy(1798-1884), the artist and author, the oldest sister of the poet Anna C. Quincy, who married Rev. Robert Cassie Waterston (1812-1893).  She was the author of A Woman's Wit & Whimsy: The 1833 Diary of Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy, Verses (1863), Together (1863), and Edmonia Lewis (the young colored woman who has successfully modelled the bust of Colonel Shaw) (1866).
    Miss Sophia may be Sophia Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin (8 September 1824 - 25 March 1905).  Her husband was Ichabod Goodwin (1819-1869).  Her son, William Allen Hayes Goodwin (1853-1930) married Minnie Lord Weeks, and their daughter  Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin (1895/7 - 1992) was for many years "hostess" at the 18th-century Jewett house after it became a museum.
    The identity of Miss Abby is more difficult to guess.  Possibly she is Jewett's cousin, Abby Fiske, daughter of her Aunt
Abby Gilman (1824-1868) and Francis Allen Fiske (1819-1887)    

Aunt Mary ... Nelly Bell: Mary Elizabeth Gray Bell (1826 - 1904) was one of Jewett's two favorite "Aunt Marys."  Her step-daughter was Helen/Nelly Bell.



14 August.      I wouldn’t have believed it possible that I should neglect this book so long. I certainly cannot have any talent for keeping a journal! This has been a very pleasant summer: I went to New York and then out to Wisconsin & then back to New York with the Furbers* and then passed a most charming week at Rye {:} Aunt Mary Bell’s house at Little Boars Head. Aunt Mary Long* & Judge Chamberlain were there in addition to Mary Carrie* & myself --  [with the family] making ten in all & we were a jolly family. Mrs. Secretary Robeson of Washington* was very charming and sang for us gloriously and I also liked Miss [Eugenia?] Radcliff* very  much. After this I went to Wells two or three times. Once Hatty Seeger and I were there together at “Law’s”* for a week or two, and it was one of the best weeks in all my life. We had a lovely time together -- how lovely, nobody ever will know but our two selves. It was perfect weather. Afterward we spent my birthday at North Conway & had a charming day. She made me a little visit after we came up from the beach and when she went away she left me a wiser and a better girl & more ready to put down self & go to work manfully than ever I had been before. God bless her!



      The autumn was quiet and nothing much happened. I saw Georgie Halliburton several times -- She was here once & I was there twice, & saw her beside. I began German lessons & music lessons & I kept my writing & painting as well as I could. I have got a long step ahead in my writing for the Independent advertised me as one of its contributors.* I am living a very responsible life. God is trusting me with some of his best gifts & I hope and pray I may live earnestly and fearlessly -- & not be a shirk & a coward or a hypocrite.


“Just as the nations tried to build a tower on the plains of Shinar that should reach up to heaven, we try to raise our ideas and thoughts, our present world --  into the next -- and the result of the first is like the last, utter confusion of tongues”-----*





I wonder if you really send
      These loving thoughts that come and go;
I like to say; ‘she thought of me
      And I have known it;’ Is it so?

Though other friends walk by your side,
      Yet sometimes it must surely be,
They wonder where your thoughts have gone;
      Because I have you here with me.

And when the busy day is done
      When work is ended; voices cease,
And everyone has said good night,
      When sleep is waiting and in peace.

[I idly] I lie at rest: you come to me
      Your dear love holds me close to you
If I could see you face to face,
      It would not be more sweet and true.

I do not hear the words you speak
      Nor grasp [touch] your hands, nor see your eyes,
Yet So, far away the flowers may grow
      From whence to me the fragrance flies.

And so across the weary miles
      Light from my star shines. [Is it, dear, ?]
Your love has never gone away?
      I said farewell -- and kept you here.

Oct. 1874 -----

The Atlantic* May 1875         S.O.J


When Christs garments were to be divided after the crucifixion they each took a part of the outer garment but left the inner robe whole -- it was all one piece, you remember? It is just like this in Christs church -- The outer garment is divided and every man may have a different share, but the inner garment is God’s love, and that the churches cannot divide. Though they may each have a different expression of this love it is after all, a unity of idea and a diversity of acceptance and expression.*


And bye and bye we shall look back over this life and wonder why we made such blunders, and why we thought every thing was wrecked and wrong, because God saw we should do better with less happiness than we wanted -- let us try to see what is right and not what is pleasanter.


Soc.  ‘Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods who haunt this place, give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the inward and the outward man be at one. May I reckon the wise to be the wealthy, and may I have such a quantity of gold as none but the temperate man can bear and carry.’  Plato's Phaedon*


      I know this is true of me: At times I drift into an unaccountable melancholy. I am morbid and dreary with self-analyzing -- with dread of the future and remorse for real and imagined mistakes in the past. But a little thing blows away all this fog like a fresh wind and I am fearless and happy -- strong with the free strength of an untamed creature -- and the sunshine of the world comes to me from a clear blue sky and warms me through and through. So my days go -- shadow and sun -- shadow and sun. And the evening and the morning are the first day and the second* -- and will be the last, but it is only in the dark [that] I see the stars –


      I know that the later loneliness is harder to bear than the despair that comes at first. It clings to one so, and lies so heavily on ones heart and such a sorrow is the thing that says good morning and good night and follows one all day long.



FurbersThe Furbers are relatives, Henry Jewett Furber and Elvira Irwin.

Aunt Mary Bell’s ... Aunt Mary LongMary Elizabeth Gray Bell (1826 - 1904) was one of Jewett's two favorite "Aunt Marys."  The other was Mary Olivia Gilman Long ( 1810 - 1904).

Judge Chamberlain ... Mary Carrie: Mellen Chamberlain (1821 - 1900), according to Wikipedia, was a Boston municipal judge and an amateur historian.  He was director of the Boston Public Library from 1878 to 1890.
    Mary Rice and Carrie are Jewett's sisters.  John Alden recounts the 8 July 1874 gathering Jewett mentions in "Sarah Orne Jewett to Mellen Chamberlain."

Mrs. Secretary Robeson of Washington: Presumably, Jewett refers to the wife of George Maxwell Robeson (1829 - 1897), who served as Secretary of the Navy (1869-1877) under President Ulysses S. Grant.  He married the widowed Mary Isabella Ogston Aulick (1840-1910) in 1872.  She was well-known in Washington and in the Grant administration for her social skills.

Miss [Eugenia?] Radcliff: This person has not been identified.

Hatty Seeger ... “Law’s”C. Carroll Hollis says that is Harriet / Hatty Woodworth Seeger (b. 1843?), a schoolteacher and Jewett friend from Boston.  If this identification is correct, then her parents were Harriet Woodworth Foot (1814-1843) and Dr. Edwin Seeger (1811-1866).  "Law's" remains unidentified, and the transcription of the name is uncertain.

contributors:   Jewett refers to the Independent beginning to list her among its well-known contributors in advertising future issues.

confusion of tongues:  Though Jewett places this passage in quotation marks, it appears to be of her own composition or, perhaps, quoted from a letter.  She refers to the biblical account of the origin of different languages in Genesis 11.

Atlantic:  "Together" first appeared in Atlantic Monthly 35:590 (May 1875).  Jewett's handwriting suggests that probably the publication line was added later, after the poem was published.

expression:  This passage, addressed to "you," appears to be quoted from a letter, but whether to or from Jewett is unclear.  For the division of Christ's garments at the crucifixion, see Matthew 27:35 and John 19:23.

Phaedon: In Plato's "Phaedrus," this is Socrates's "prayer at departure." (p. 489).

the second:  Jewett echoes the bible in Genesis 1:3 ff.

      24 Feb. 1879

      I learned a great deal when Father died* -- In the first place I found out what grief and sorrow and despair are and I never had known until then. The day the telegram came and the next day until I saw father’s face, late in the afternoon I was so hurt --  in such terrible stunning bewildering agony that the positive physical pain was the least of it -- And I think even then I went about the house almost as if I were not so very sorry, and I had to do as quietly as if they were every day affairs things about the funeral which I was all the time dreading more than any body could understand -- And then I asked God to help me to be good and to do right in a way that seemed mechanical at the time I remember, -- and at last I I was tired out and I didn’t feel anything. Everything comes back to me now as if it were burnt into my mind. I remember what the people said who came and now I shiver when I think about it but then I tried to do the best I could and to please father in little things   And then when I saw him and I was with my dear Aunt Helen* somehow I grew suddenly happy happy  and untroubled and the smile on father’s dead face brought me closer to him than I had ever been before, and somehow I have never lost that feeling --  And it seemed to me that I could never doubt God’s love any more -- and I never could be afraid of any thing [that] could happen to me for if he could happen [help] me then I had put his love and his power to the greatest test. I think it all came clearer than ever to me that it is all one life that we are living together -- I am here and Father is there -- the two worlds are one world after all. I have lost a great deal, but I have gained a great deal as well as he, and through his death a larger life has opened to me as well as to him. It is going to be harder to live in some ways but it is going to be easier in others.  And dying is no such shock and mystery and unnatural thing after all. There is a terrible pathos and sadness about a life that is finished here.  The [Illegible deletionthings that are [work that is] left unfinished and the disappointments and the dissapointments [sorrows] and the trials of patience all stand out so plainly when one looks back and you cant help a heart-ache over them though you know it must all have been more than made up. Sometimes the sight of some little thing that belonged to Father or the remembrance of something he said, or the mere longing that comes over me to see him again is almost more than I can bear --  I try to get used to seeing his grave but it is the one terror to me for it neither belongs to his being here or his being in heaven.


But I don’t lose the new love that came into my heart that Sunday, for God and for father -- and I care more than ever to be good and to do my work well. I never believed in God as I do now and I never cared so much to have other people. I know ["know" is double underlined] and nothing else could have taught me that God is my own dear loving Best Friend and that nothing hinders me from knowing him better day by day and getting nearer to him but my not caring enough for it. And while some days I am tired out and I miss father and one thing after another goes wrong and this is in many ways the hardest winter I have ever lived through; yet I never have enjoyed more in other ways.   And somehow life never seemed half so worth while.


I have so many friends and so much that pleases me and makes me happy. And so I have learned what it means when we are told that it is blessed to be a mourner for then one is comforted,* and I see that one is willing to be so tried and awfully troubled because then one can learn something of the friendship of God that nothing else can teach. And so I know Father is in heaven and we love each other better and know each other better than we used and it makes up for my having to do without him in the old way because I have something better. It has spoiled a great deal that used to be the best and dearest in my life but his dying has put something new into it. I am so sorry for people who only feel the loss and not the gain for it is just as much as I can do to bear missing father  Although I have the best of comfort and I don’t wonder that peoples hearts break without it, since I can’t help being sorry even with it and all the tenderness of love that I do truly feel coming straight to me from heaven and from God who knows so well what human sorrow is, is only enough to keep me from being miserable. It is very hard for me to be good. I am very passionate and I am selfish and I have a great many faults that I don’t try half hard enough to cure, and I get worried over the thought that I have such a chance to help people and influence them toward better things by mean of my writing if I were only more true and good --


=      It seems very strange to me now that Father should have been taken away -- I think if we had worked together, I with my writing and he with his insight and great thoughts which I could express for him sometimes better than he could for himself, we might be have done a great deal of good & helped a great many people.


I heard today the first sweet song of Spring*
A blue bird’s eager note so faint and far
Across the fields, and first I was so glad:
I thought of summer, and the flowers that are
Waiting for that glad day when they can bloom:
But quick again my heart was sorrowing.
It was mistaken in its winter’s end.
I think I never as to grieved and sad
And in my heart there was no longer room
For any thought but of my dearest friend
Who taught me first the beauty of these days.
To watch the green leaves start, the birds return,
And how the brooks wash down their rocky ways,
The new life every where -- the stars that burn
Bright in the mild soft nights –
      For he has gone
And and I must watch the Spring this year alone.

April 1879*


 [ December 1879]

      28 Dec 1879

I have got out of the way of writing much here in this book for it seems sometimes to belong to my life of several years ago more than it does to the present. I wish I had written in it the things I have felt most deeply all the way along, even with the risk of reading most of them with a smile. It seems to me I was very young when I began it but after all I am in many ways not much older now!

      I wish to say something about dear Cora Rice here, for she seems so very near and dear to me, and I always feel as {if} father had something to do with our friendship which has brought [brought is written over another word] to me some much [ so written ] comfort and happiness in to a year which very often has been lonely and sad. I thank God for so true and dear a friend. I think she and Ellen Mason and Georgie* seem nearer to me than anyone else. I am rich in a host of friends   I grow afraid when I think how many people I know well, and how many lives my life touches. God help me to live honestly and unselfishly -- and may the things come true that I ask every night and every morning, that God will help me pray and fight to become a brave good woman -- to be a Christian through and through and to be tireless in trying to do right.


“To love is to be useful to yourself; to cause love is to be useful to others{."}




Father died:  Theodore Herman Jewett died on 20 September 1878.

Aunt Helen:  Mrs. Helen Williams Gilman (1817 - 1905).

one is comforted:  See Matthew 5:4.

1879"To My Father II" was first published in Verses (1916).

Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton. See "Persons Often Named" at the beginning of this document.

BerangerPierre-Jean de Béranger (1780 - 1857) was a popular French poet.  This quotation is widely attributed to him in 19th-century collections of quotations, but an English source for its context is as yet unknown.  Jeannine Hammond of Coe College reports that the quotation is from "Le Suicide: Sur la Mort des Jeunes Victor Escousse et Auguste Legras, Février 1832." The poem mourns two young poets who committed suicide from despair at the state of the world.  Hammond translates the final stanza:
Humanity lacks holy apostles
Who would have been able to say to them:  children, follow its law;
To love, to love, is the way to be useful to oneself;
To make people love you, is the way to be useful to others.
And toward heaven, making their own path
They departed hand in hand.


[A few newspaper clippings and notes are filed with this diary at the end.  These are not included here.]


Last revised:  January 2018

    Main Contents & Search
    Letters & Diaries