A day ― [ἥμ έρα τις] ― how stuffily full of various littlenesses! Rose & packed by 7½. (The old domestic absalomly refuzed [sic] 2/6― “no occasion Sir!” ―). And she talked to me of Mr. James letting the dogs so! ― At breakfast came a lady ― only in black, just like Mrs. E. a widow ― Mrs.     ath ? ― being calm & cold & ladylike, yet innerwise I should say very good & loveable. After breakfast Mr. E.  came down ― & the chilliness, & the quiet of the 2 sisters was oddly contrasted with the constant run of talk & meandering of the paternal E. ― He, packing grouse &c. ― made it late, & it was 9.35 before we started. I should not like to forget that patience of those tall, pale, suffering, kindly women. We ― rattled along. Mr. E. talking ever ― & ah! how I understand now ― so unlike his son! ― Yet the whole matter I could not & do not comprehend. We were just & only just in time at Lime St. ― Rail as usual ― to Manchester by 11.10 & I left luggage & took a cab to the Langtons. All were out, ― gone to Scotland. My picture moved & looking well. Sir P. out, at Beech Hill. Mr. P. ill. ― Omnibus to town ― (little boy’s pull & breaking crockery.) Walk to Sir. J.N. He better, & kind as ever. ― Talk ― papers &c. &c. Call on Dr. Henry ― gone. ― To club with Sir J. ― Lunch &c. & to Exhibition. ― Wallis’s Stonebreaker1 I do not like at all. ―

Henry Wallis, The Stonebreaker (1857)

Afterwards, walked about till 5. ― I had not thought of staying ― but did so. So, to Beech green with Sir J. Stopping at Beech Hill, where I saw Tom & Mrs. T. Potter. ― T. Potter was very kindly indeed & wished for 2 pictures ― or one. ― Sir J. had been sadly vexed about the S.’s at Hasting. Dinner needless big, good: ― & much really pleasant conversation. ―

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

  1. The Stonebreaker, or The Dead Stonebreaker, is an 1857 oil-on-canvas painting by Henry Wallis. It depicts a manual labourer who appears to be asleep, worn out by his work, but has actually been worked to death. []