Chapter 10: the wider outlookv1865; aet. 46
The war was nearly over, and all hearts were with Grant and Lee in their long duel before Richmond. Patriotism and philosophy together ruled our mother's life in these days; the former more apparent in her daily walk among us, the latter in the quiet hours with her Journal. The Journal for 1865 is much fuller than that of  1864; the record of events is more regular, and we find more and more reflection, meditation, and speculation. The influence of Kant is apparent; the entries become largely notes of study, to take final shape in lectures and essays. “A morning visit received in study hours is a sickness from which the day does not recover. I can neither afford to be idle, nor to have friends who are so.” “Man is impelled by inward force, regulated by outward circumstance. He is inspired from within, moralized from without.... A man may be devout in himself, but he can be moral only in his relation with other men. ....” “Early to Mary Dorr's, to consult about the Charade. Read Kant and wrote as usual. Spent the afternoon in getting up my costumes for the Charade. The word was Au-thor-ship.... Authorship was expressed by my appearing as a great composer, Jerry Abbott performing my Oratorio — a very comical thing, indeed. The whole was a success.” No one who saw the “Oratorio” can forget it. Mr. Abbott, our neighbor in Chestnut Street, was a comedian who would have adorned any stage. The “book” of the Oratorio was a simple rhyme of Boston authorship.
Abigail Lord,With these words, an umbrella, and a chair held before  him like a violoncello, Mr. Abbott gave a truly Handelian performance. Fugue and counterpoint, first violin and bass tuba, solo and full chorus, all were rendered with a verve and spirit which sent the audience into convulsions of laughter.--This was one of the “carryings-on” of the Brain Club. After another such occasion our mother writes:--
Of her own accord,
Went down to see her sister,
When Jason Lee,
As brisk as a flea,
He hopped right up and kissed her.
Very weary and aching a little. I must keep out of these tomfooleries, though they have their uses. They are much better than some other social entertainments, as after all they present some aesthetic points of interest. They are better than scandal, gluttony, or wild dancing. But the artists and I have still better things to do. January 23. It is always legitimate to wish to rise above one's self, never above others. In this, however, as in other things, we must remember the maxim: “Natura nil facit per saltum.” All true rising must be gradual and laborious, in such wise that the men of tomorrow shall look down almost imperceptibly upon the men of to-day. All sudden elevations are either imaginary or factitious. If you had not a kingly mind before our coronation, no crown will make a king of you. The true king is somewhere, starving or hiding, very like. For the true value which the counterfeit represents exists somewhere. The world has much dodging about to produce the real value and escape the false one.Throughout the Journal, we find a revelation of the conflict in this strangely dual nature. Her study was, she thought, her true home; yet no one who saw her in society would have dreamed that she was making an  effort: nor was she She gave herself up entirely to the work or the play of the hour. She was a manysided crystal: every aspect of life met its answering flash. The glow of human intercourse kindled her to flame; but when the flame had cooled, the need of solitude and study lay on her with twofold poignancy. She went through life in double harness, thought and feeling abreast; though often torn between the two, in the main she gave free rein to both, trusting the issue to God. The winter of 1864-65 was an arduous one. She was writing new philosophical essays, and reading them before various circles of friends. The larger audience which she craved was not for the moment attainable. She was studying deeply, reading Latin by way of relaxation, going somewhat into society (Julia and Florence being now of the dancing age), and entertaining a good deal in a quiet way. In February she writes: “Much tormented by interruptions. Could not get five quiet minutes at a time. Everybody torments me with every smallest errand. And I am trying to study philosophy!” Probably we were troublesome children and made more noise than we should. Her accurate ear for music was often a source of distress to her, as one of us can witness, an indolent child who neglected her practising. As this child drummed over her scales, the door of the upstairs study would open, and a clear voice come ringing down, “B-flat, dear, not B natural!” It seemed to the child a miracle; she, with the book before her, could not get it right: “Mamma,” studying  Kant upstairs behind closed doors, knew what the note should be. “Few of us consider the wide and laborious significance of the simplest formulas we employ. ‘I love you!’ opens out a long vista of labor and endeavor; otherwise it means: ‘I love myself and need you ... ’ ” “Played all last evening for Laura's company to dance. My heart flutters to-day. It is a feeling unknown to me until lately.” Now, Laura would have gone barefoot in snow to save her mother pain or fatigue; yet she has no recollection of ever questioning the inevitability of “Mamma's” playing for all youthful dancing. Grown-up parties were different; for them there were hired musicians, who made inferior music; but for the frolics of the early 'teens, who should play except “Mamma” ? On March 10, she writes: “I have now been too long in my study. I must break out into real life, and learn some more of its lessons.” Two days later a lesson began: “I stay from church to-day to take care of Maud, who is quite unwell. This is a sacrifice, although I am bound and glad to make it. But I shall miss the church all the week.” The child became so ill that “all pursuits had to be given up in the care of her.” The Journal gives a minute account of this illness, and of the remedies used, among them “long-continued and gentle friction with the hand.” The words bring back the touch of her hand, which was like no other. There were no trained nurses in our nursery, rarely any doctor save “Papa,”  but “Mamma” rubbed us, and that was a whole pharmacopoeia in itself. At this time she gave her first public lecture before the Parker Fraternity. This was an important event to her; she had earnestly desired yet greatly dreaded it. She found the hall pleasant, the audience attentive. “When I came to read the lecture,” she says, “I felt that it had a value.” “All these things in my mind point one way, viz.: towards the adoption of a profession of Ethical exposition, after my sort.” She had been asked to give a lecture at Tufts College, and says of this: “The difficulties are great, the question is to me one of simple duty. If I am sent for, and have the word to say, I should say it.” And again: “I determine that I can only be good in fulfilling my highest function — all else implies waste of power, leading to demoralization.” She declined the invitation, “feeling unable to decide in favor of accepting it.” “But I was sorry,” she says, “and I remembered the words: ‘He that hath put his hand to the plough and looketh back is not fit for the kingdom of heaven.’ God keep me from so looking back!” The Journal of this spring is largely devoted to philosophic speculations and commentaries on Kant, whose theories she finds more and more luminous and convincing; now and then comes a note of her own:-- “ ‘I am God!’ says the fool. ‘I see God!’ says the wise man. For while you are your own supreme, you are your own God, and self-worship is true atheism.”  “It is better to use a bad man by his better side than a good man by his worse side.” “Christ said that he was older than Abraham. I think that he used this expression as a measure of value. His thoughts were further back in the primal Ideal necessity. He did not speak of any personal life antedating his own existence.... In his own sense, Christ was also newer than we are, for his doctrine is still beyond the attainment of all and the appreciation of most of us.” “There is no essential religious element in negation.” “Saw Booth in ‘Hamlet’ --still first-rate, I think, although he has played it one hundred nights in New York. ‘Hamlet’ is an aesthetic Evangel. I know of no direct ethical work which contains such powerful moral illustration and instruction.” “James Freeman [Clarke] does not think much of Sam's book, probably not as well as it deserves. But the knowledge of Sam's personality is the light behind the transparency in all that he does.” 1 These were the closing months of the Civil War. All hearts were lifted up in thankfulness that the end was near. She speaks of it seldom, but her few words are significant. “Monday, April 3.... Richmond was taken this morning. Laus Deo” On April 10, after “Maud's boots, $3.00, vegetables, .12, bread, .04,” we read, “ Ribbons for victory, .40. To-day we have the news of Lee's surrender with the  whole remnant of his army. The city is alive with people. All flags hung out — shop windows decorated --processions in the street. All friends meet and shake hands. On the newspaper bulletins such placards as “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” “Thanks be to God!” We all call it the greatest day of our lives. Apples, half-peck, .50.” That week was one of joy and thankfulness for all. Thursday was Fast Day; she “went to church to fatigue Satan. Afterwards made a visit to Mrs. who did not seem to have tired her devil out.” The joy bells were soon to be silenced. Saturday, April 15, was “A black day in history, though outwardly most fair. President Lincoln was assassinated in his box at the theatre, last evening, by J. Wilkes Booth. This atrocious act, which was consummated in a very theatrical manner, is enough to ruin not the Booth family alone, but the theatrical profession. Since my Sammy's death, nothing has happened that has given me so much personal pain as this event. The city is paralyzed. But we can only work on, and trust in God.” Our father's face of tragedy, the anguish in his voice, as he called us down to hear the news, come vividly before us to-day, one of the clearest impressions of our youth. Our mother went with him next day to hear Governor Andrew's official announcement of the murder to the Legislature, and heard with deep emotion his quotation from “MacBETHeth” :-- 
Besides, this DuncanWednesday, April 19, was:--
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off, etc.
The day of President Lincoln's funeral. A sad, disconnected day. I could not work, but strolled around to see the houses, variously draped in black and white. Went to Bartol's church, not knowing of a service at our own. Bartol's remarks were tender and pathetic. I was pleased to have heard them. Wrote some verses about the President — pretty good, perhaps,--scratching the last nearly in the dark, just before bedtime.This is the poem called “Parricide.” It begins:--
O'er the warrior gauntlet grimOn April 27 she “heard of Wilkes Booth's deathshot on refusing to give himself up — the best thing that could have happened to himself and his family” ; and wrote a second poem entitled “Pardon,” embodying her second and permanent thought on the subject: Pains the sharp sentence the heart in whose wrath it was uttered,
Late the silken glove we drew,
Bade the watch-fires slacken dim
In the dawn's auspicious hue.
Staid the armed heel;
Still the clanging steel;
Joys unwonted thrilled the silence through.
Now thou art cold;Brief entries note the closing events of the war.  “May 13. Worked much on Essay. ... In the evening said to Laura: ‘Jeff Davis will be taken tomorrow.’ Was so strongly impressed with the thought that I wanted to say it to Chev, but thought it was too silly.” “May 14. The first thing I heard in the morning was the news of the capture of Jeff Davis. This made me think of my preluding the night before....” Other things beside essays demanded work in these days. The great struggle was now over, and with it the long strain on heart and nerve, culminating in the tragic emotion of the past weeks. The inevitable reaction set in. Her whole nature cried out for play, and play meant work. “Working all day for the Girls' Party, to-morrow evening. Got only a very short reading of Kant, and of Tyndall. Tea with the Bartols. Talk with [E. P.] Whipple, who furiously attacked Tacitus. Bartol and I, who know a good deal more about him, made a strong fight in his behalf.” “Working all day for the Party. The lists of men and women accepting and declining were balanced by my daughter F. with amusing anxiety.... The two sexes are now neck and neck. Dear little Maud was in high glee over every male acceptance. Out of all this hubbub got a precious forty-five minutes with Kant....” The party proved “very gay and pleasant.” Now came a more important event: the Musical Festival celebrating the close of the war, which  was given by the Handel and Haydn Society, at its semi-centennial, in May, 1865. Our mother sang alto in the chorus. The Journal records daily, sometimes semi-daily, rehearsals and performances, Kant squeezed to the wall, and getting with difficulty his daily hour or half-hour. Mendelssohn's “Hymn of praise” and “Elijah” ; Haydn's “Creation,” Handel's “Messiah” and “Israel in Egypt” ; she sang in them all. Here is a sample Festival day:-- “Attended morning rehearsal, afternoon concert, and sang in the evening. We gave ‘Israel in Egypt’ and Mendelssohn's ‘Hymn of Praise.’ I got a short reading of Kant, which helped me through the day. But so much music is more than human nerves can respond to with pleasure. This confirms my belief in the limited power of our sensibilities in the direction of pure enjoyment. The singing in the choruses fatigues me less than hearing so many things.” After describing the glorious final performance of the “Messiah,” she writes:-- “So farewell, delightful Festival! I little thought what a week of youth was in store for me. For these things carried me back to my early years, and their passion for music. I remembered the wholeness with which I used to give myself up to the concerts and oratorios in New York, and the intense reaction of melancholy which always followed these occasions.” And the next day:-- “Still mourning the Festival a little. If I had kept up my music as I intended, in my early youth, I should  never have done what I have done — should never have studied philosophy, nor written what I have written. My life would have been more natural and passionate, but I think less valuable. Yet I cannot but regret the privation of this element in which I have lived for years. But I do believe that music is the most expensive of the fine arts. It uses up the whole man more than the other arts do, and builds him up less. It is more passional, less intellectual, than the other arts. Its mastery is simple and absolute, while that of the other arts is so complex as to involve a larger sphere of thought and reflection. I have observed the faces of this orchestra just disbanded. Their average is considerably above the ordinary one. But they have probably more talent than thought.” On May 31 we find a significant entry. The evening before she had attended the Unitarian Convention, and “heard much tolerable speaking, but nothing of any special value or importance.” She now writes:-- “I really suffered last evening from the crowd of things which I wished to say, and which, at one word of command, would have flashed into life and, I think, into eloquence. It is by a fine use of natural logic that the Quaker denomination allows women to speak, under the pressure of religious conviction. ‘In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female,’ is a good sentence. Paul did not carry this out in his church discipline, yet, one sees, he felt it in his religious contemplation. I feel that a woman's whole moral responsibility is lowered by the fact that she must never obey a transcendent command of conscience.  Man can give her nothing to take the place of this. It is the divine right of the human soul.” The fatigue and excitement of the Festival had to be paid for: the inevitable reaction set in. “June 3. Decidedly I have spleen in these days. Throughout my whole body, I feel a mingled restlessness and feebleness, as if the nerves were irritated, and the muscles powerless. I feel puzzled, too, about the worth of what I have been doing for nearly three years past. There is no one to help me in these matters. I determine still to work on and hope on. Much of the work of every life is done in the dark.” Again: “Spleen to-day, and utter discouragement. The wind is east, and this gives me the strange feeling, described before, of restlessness and powerlessness. My literary affairs are in a very confused state. I have no market. This troubles me.... God keep me from falling away from my purpose, to do only what seems to me necessary and called for in my vocation, and not to produce for money, praise, or amusement.” “Was melancholy and Godless all day, having taken my volume of Kant back to the Athenaeum for the yearly rearrangement. Could not interest myself in anything.... Visited old Mrs. Sumner,2 whose chariot and horses are nearly ready.” At this time there was some question of selling Lawton's Valley for economic reasons. The exigency passed, but the following words show the depth of her feeling on the subject: “If I have any true philosophy, any sincere religion, these must support me under the  privation of the Valley. I feel this, and resolve to do well, but nature will suffer. That place has been my confidante,--my bosom friend,--intimate to me as no human being ever will be — dear and comforting also to my children....” “June 11 ....Thought of a good text for a sermon, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation,’ the scope being to show that our tribulation, if we try to do well, is in the world, our refuge and comfort in the church. Thought of starting a society in Newport for the practice of sacred music, availing ourselves of the summer musicians and the possible aid of such ladies as Miss Reed, etc., for solos. Such an enterprise would be humanizing, and would supply a better object than the empty reunions of fashion ....” “Wednesday, June 21. Attended the meeting at Faneuil Hall, for the consideration of reconstruction of the Southern States. Dana made a statement to the effect that voting was a civic, not a natural, right, and built up the propriety of negro suffrage on the basis first of military right, then of duty to the negro, this being the only mode of enabling him to protect himself against his late master. His treatment was intended to be exhaustive, and was able, though cold and conceited. Beecher tumbled up on the platform immediately after, not having heard him, knocked the whole question to pieces with his great democratic power, his humor, his passion, and his magnetism. It was Nature after Art, and his nature is much greater than Dana's art.” A few days after this she writes: “... Sumner in  the evening — a long and pleasant visit. He is a very sweet-hearted man, and does not grow old.” The Musical Festival had not yet exacted full arrears of payment; she was too weary even to enjoy the Valley at first; but after a few days of its beloved seclusion she shook off fatigue and was herself again, reading Kant and Livy, teaching the children, and gathering mussels on the beach. She flits up to town to see the new statue of Horace Mann, “in order to criticise it for Chev's pamphlet” ; 3 meets William Hunt, who praises its simplicity and parental character; and Charles Sumner, who tells her it looks better on a nearer view. The day after--“we abode in the Valley, when three detachments of company tumbled in upon us, to wit, Colonel Higginson and Mrs. McKay, the Tweedys and John Field, and the Gulstons. All were friendly. Only on my speaking of the rudeness occasionally shown me by a certain lady, Mrs. Tweedy said: ‘But that was in the presence of your superiors, was it not?’ I replied: ‘I do not know that I was ever in Mrs. X.'s company under those circumstances!’ After which we all laughed.” She was at this time sitting to Miss Margaret Foley for a portrait medallion and was writing philosophy and poetry. Family and household matters also claimed their share of attention. “Finished reading over ‘Polarity’ [her essay]. Reading to the children, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where  to lay his head’ --my little Maud's eyes filled with tears.” “Much worried by want of preparedness for today's picnic. Managed to get up three chickens killed on short notice, a pan of excellent gingerbread, two cans of peaches, and a little bread and butter. Went in the express wagon.... At the picnic I repeated my Cambridge poem, .. . and read ‘Amanda's Inventory’ and my long poem on Lincoln's death.... Duty depends on an objective, happiness upon a subjective, sense. The first is capable of a general and particular definition, the second is not.” “In the afternoon mended Harry's shirt, finished Maud's skirt, read Livy and Tyndall, and played croquet, which made me very cross.” “Exhumed my French story and began its termination. Mended a sheet badly torn.” After a long list of purchases-- “Worked like a dog all day. Went in town, running about to pick up all the articles above mentioned.... Came home — cut bread and butter and spread sandwiches till just within time to slip off one dress and slip on another. My company was most pleasant, and more numerous than I had anticipated.....” “Legal right is the universal compulsion which secures universal liberty.” “I feel quite disheartened when I compare this summer with the last. I was so happy and hopeful in writing my three Essays and thought fhey should open such a vista of usefulness to me, and of good to others. But the opposition of my family has made it almost  impossible for me to make the use intended of them. My health has not allowed me to continue to produce so much. I feel saddened and doubtful of the value of what I have done or can do. .. .” “August 23. .... Rights and duties are inseparable in human beings. God has rights without duties. Men have rights and duties. If a slave have not rights, he also has not duties .. .” “With the girls to a matinee at Bellevue Hall. They danced and I was happy.” “My croquet party kept me busy all day. It was pleasant enough....” “... ‘My peace I give unto you’ is a wonderful saying. What peace have most of us to give each other? But Christ has given peace to the world, peace at least as an ideal object, to be ever sought, though never fully attained.” “September 10.... Read Kant on state rights. According to him, wars of conquest are allowable only in a state of nature, not in a state of peace (which is not to be attained without a compact whose necessity is supreme and whose obligations are sacred). So Napoleon's crusade against the constituted authority of the European republic was without logical justification,--which accounts for the speedy downfall of his empire. What he accomplished had only the subjective justification of his genius and his ambition. His work was of great indirect use in sweeping away certain barriers of usage and of superstition. He drew a picture of government on a large scale and thus set a pattern which inevitably enlarged the procedures of his  successors, who lost through him the prestige of divine right and of absolute power. But the inadequacy of his object showed itself through the affluence of his genius. The universal dominion of the Napoleon family was not to be desired or endured by the civilized world at large. The tortoise in the end overtook the hare, and slow, plodding Justice, with her loyal hack, distanced splendid Ambition mounted on first-rate ability, once and forever....” “To Zion church, to hear preach. Text, ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things.’ Sermon as far removed from it as possible, weak, sentimental, and illiterate. He left out the ‘d’ in ‘receivedst,’ and committed other errors in pronunciation. But to sit with the two aunts 4 in the old church, so familiar to my childhood, was touching and impressive. Hither my father was careful to bring us. Imperfect as his doctrine now appears to me, he looks down upon me from the height of a better life than mine, and still appears to me as my superior.” “A little nervous about my reading. Reached Mrs. [Richard] Hunt's at twelve. Saw the sweet little boy. Mrs. Hunt very kind and cordial. At one Mr. Hunt led me to the studio which I found well filled, my two aunts in the front row, to my great surprise; Bancroft, too, quite near me. I shortened the essay somewhat. It was well heard and received. Afterwards I read my poem called ‘Philosophy,’ and was urged to recite my ‘Battle Hymn,’ which I did. I was  much gratified by the kind reception I met with and the sight of many friends of my youth. A most pleasant lunch afterwards at Mrs. Hunt's, with Tweedys, Tuckermans, and Laura.” “I see no outlook before me. So many fields for activity, but for passivity, which seems incumbent upon me, only uselessness, obscurity, deterioration. Some effort I must make.” Many efforts were impending, though not precisely in the direction contemplated. First, a new abode must be found for the winter, as the owners of 13 Chestnut Street claimed it for themselves. She and the Doctor added house-hunting to their other burdens, and found it a heavy one. On October 6 she writes:--
Vengeance, the headlong, and Justice, with purpose close mut-
Loosen their hold, etc.
Much excited about plans and prospects. Chev has bought the house in Boylston Place.5 God grant it may be for the best. Determine to have classes in philosophy, and to ask a reasonable price for my tickets ... The Sunday's devotion without the week's thought and use is a spire without a meeting-house. It leaps upward, but crowns and covers nothing. I have too often set down the moral weight I have to carry, and frisked around it. But the voice now tells me that I must bear it to the end, or lose it forever.The move to Boylston Place was in November. Early in the month a “frisking” took place, with amusing results. Our mother went with GovernorAndrew and Mrs. Andrew and a gay party to Barnstable for the  annual festival and ball. The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company acted as escort, and — according to custom — the band of the Company furnished the music. For some reason — the townspeople thought because the pretty girls were all engaged beforehand for the dance — the officer in command stopped the music at twelve o'clock, to the great distress of the Barnstable people who had ordered their carriages at two or later. The party broke up in disorder far from “admired,” and our mother crystallized the general feeling in the following verses, which the Barnstableites promptly printed in a “broadside,” and sang to the then popular tune of “Lanigan's Ball” :--
This autumn saw the preparation of a new volume of poems, “Later Lyrics.” Years had passed since the appearance of “Words for the hour,” and our mother had a great accumulation of poems, the arrangement of which proved a heavy task. “The labor of looking over the manuscript nearly made me ill.... Had a new bad feeling of intense pressure in the right temple.” And again:-- “Nearly disabled by headaches.... Determine to push on with my volume.” “Almost distracted with work of various sorts — my book — the new house — this one full of company, and a small party in the evening.” “All these days much hurried by proofs. Went in the evening to the opening of the new wards in the Women's Hospital — read two short poems, according to promise. These were kindly received. . ..” The next day she went with a party of friends to the Boys' Reform School at Westboro. “In the yard  where the boys were collected, the guests were introduced. Quite a number crowded to see the Author of the ‘Battle Hymn.’ Two or three said to me: ‘Are you the woman that wrote that Battle Hymn?’ When I told them that I was, they seemed much pleased. This I felt to be a great honor.” The next day again she is harassed with correcting proofs and furnishing copy. “Ran to Bartol for a little help, which he gave me.” The Reverend C. A. Bartol was our next-door neighbor in Chestnut Street, a most kind and friendly one. His venerable figure, wrapped in a wide cloak, walking always in the middle of the road (we never knew why he eschewed the sidewalk), is one of the pleasant memories of Chestnut Street. We were now to leave that beloved street; a sorrowful flitting it was. “Friday, November 3. Moving all day. This is my last writing in this dear house, No. 13 Chestnut Street, where I have had three years of good work, social and family enjoyment. Here I enjoyed my dear Sammy for six happy months — here I mourned long and bitterly for him. Here I read my six lectures on Practical Ethics. Some of my best days have been passed in this house. God be thanked for the same!”