Lyell’s Travels in North America by Sir Charles Lyell

July 8th

A lovely day with a fine wind, have just returned from a walk on deck, the water looks beautiful this morning so intensely blue, and the little waves crowned with their white crusted tops. Our carpenter continues to keep a constant din overhead and will for some two days more. When I went on deck found a Chinese there talking with Williams. He was complaining of the water. He departed with a satisfied look. Orders were then given for a new cask.

Before breakfast read nearly an hour in Lyell’s “Travels in America”. I note this book contains an account of his second visit. Commenced the book yesterday, have read some hundred pages and find it very interesting reading – being a celebrated geologist as well as a botanist, his books seem filled with remarks on these subjects. This morning I accompanied him to the White Mountains, visited a number of its localities and ascended Mount Washington. This I could well do having spent a fortnight there with Williams soon after we were married. Mr. Lyell says nothing of visiting Franconia – I am surprised, there being so much of the grand and beautiful there to attract the traveler. How much I long to visit those scenes again and so does Williams. We often speak of them. At will I can call them all up to my mind’s eye with vivid distinctness.

After breakfast read for some time in Gibbon – have finished the reign of Theodosius, and the chapter on the religious affairs of the nation ending with his death. I read this history slowly, not because I do not find it extremely interesting, for I do, but because I wish to have some work of this kind on hand all the time. Reading in this way my thoughts dwell on it and for a long time and consequently I remember all its parts better. The account of religious matters during this and five or six of the preceding reigns is really heart sickening – so much controversy, bitter and unchristian feeling – this with ambition and the love of riches seem the great and influencing motives and acts that characterize this era. The religion of the meek and lowly Jesus cannot be recognized.