Morning cloudy. I rode to town and found my ride much the pleasanter from the rain which had fallen during the night. At the Office where I had several visitors—One accidental one. Mr. Whitcomb is a connexion of Mr. Everett’s and an intelligent man. He has had Office in the Custom House here but has been turned out of it upon party considerations. Of course he feels very bitterly and seems to seek out my conversation for the purpose of explaining some of his past political conduct.
Mr. Ayer came in and kept me nearly the whole of my time in discussion upon a variety of points. I finally agreed with him upon the terms and he gave me estimates of the cost of building which from their extent a little startled me. I know not in what particular I am extravagant, not desiring any ornamental work and yet I see that I shall not get on without great expense. But as I am in for it I mean to go through, justifying myself only by the simplicity of my design. After he had gone, for a wonder, a stray person from Vermont dropped in and wished me to execute a deed, the first client I have had for a long time.
Returned to Quincy and in the afternoon went over to the ledge of Rocks worked by Mr. Colburn to see after the contracts for my stone. He appears to be at work in earnest and has succeeded thus far quite well. He now proposes to begin lower down in order to take advantage of the fall of the ground and get some headway without necessity of drainage. I then walked home by the way of the next ledge on land of my father’s neighbour Mr. Bass. There is some secret about this rock not yet perfectly known. This ledge works unprofitably. Colburn’s so far as he has gone the reverse. The reason as I understand it is what they call the pitch or dip of the stone and the course of the grain. The first enables them to get out more or less easily and the other to divide the stone. Home. Evening quietly with the family. I sent to the Advocate today two numbers of my latest attempt.
Morning pleasant. The ladies of the family went into town together with Elizabeth, from Mrs. T. B. Adams’. I remained at home until nearly noon during which time I very nearly finished the twenty sixth book. The entrance of Scipio upon the scene immediately announces the presence of a character. Until he came forward the great difficulty with Rome appears to have been a want of talent in her leaders, though no want of perseverance in her people.83
Having finished this, I thought I had a leisure hour or two to devote to the business of visiting the Quarries of Stone which lie up towards the Railway. This is what I have been intending to do for some time. I found the whole surface of the ground changing with amazing rapidity and that Mr. Dudley had got very much into Mr. Hall’s land. He has obtained here as fine a Quarry as any of them.1 He was not however himself there. I then went to the other ledge upon which they have done a great deal of work with little profit. There was no body working there. But there were indications that the ledge was not deserted. I endeavored to stir up the managers to report to me. The ownership of all this land in the Stone Region is now becoming a business of much importance. Rights come very near to each other and trespasses necessarily must occur. And unless the owner appears and takes some decided part, they are apt to think his eye is not upon them. I have designed coming up here once in a fortnight but such is the infirmity of human purpose and the obstacle in the distance, that this is my first visit.
Home. Afternoon short, the ladies having come home late. Devoted almost entirely to the MS Letters. Evening quietly at home.