Read an excerpt from the diary

One rainy day in September 1852 (ten years after their marriage), while Nathaniel was off on an excursion to Maine, Sophia made this record of her domestic activities—reading to the children, paying a local carpenter for work on their house, awaiting the post. On the right-hand page, their eight-year-old daughter contributed a very short story (written upside down) to the family notebook.

I told him to ask Mr Stacy to send the letters, if there were [photographed passage begins here] any, tonight – but if he could get no messenger to bring them himself in the morning & I would pay him. I am faint & weary and hardly know how to drag myself up to bed. No letters have come.

[text written upside down in Una's hand:] Dear Mary I have been wishing to write [illeg.] . . .

September 13th Monday. I have not written my journal since Friday. I was wholly exhausted on Saturday. I do not remember any thing in the morning except that Mr. Buttrick brought two newspapers & that I in vain looked for a letter from my husband – & the next thing I remember was Ellen rushing up to me after dinner as I lay extended on the floor with the letter I wanted in her hand. The revulsion of joy was so immense that my head almost burst asunder & all the rest of the day it ached so desperately that I had to hold it together, while my heart was dancing for joy. But in the evening it subsided. I wrote another sheet to my husband, my dear truest husband & sent it by Mr Adams, (who brought his to me), & he mended the drawers of the bookshelves, mended the table, put up a curtain fixture, & made two doors shut properly. I asked him for his bill for all he had done for us, & he gave it to me. It amounted to only 18 dollars. He asked but $1.50 for making the old mahogany dining table look as good as new. It began to rain very hard after Mr Adams went away. Una gave him some apples in his handkerchief to carry home. Una dearly loves to give. Baby slept till five. Sunday 12th. Heavy rain & now we all wished for rain & wind & all that would make a grand storm for Papa at the Isle of Shoals, because he wanted to see one there. It entirely reconciled the children to being imprisoned within doors to know that the rain was what Papa desired. I read to them as long as I could articulate in Rosamond in the morning, & when baby went to bed, I craved permission to write some letters. Una said she must write to her godpapa & thereupon she wrote to him. I also wrote to him & to Mr Cohoes & to Miss Burroughs. In the afternoon, I was bound to read, but all the children suddenly disappeared, & not a sound was to be heard in or out of the house – & finally I discovered them all up in Ellen's chamber. Baby had waked me at dawn, & I went to bed very sleepy. I had worn the beloved letter all day in my bosom for consolation. The odic power kept penetrating my heart from it. It cleared off at sunset, & in the evening the stars came out.

This morning baby waked me before light. It [sentence continues on following page] came to be a splendid day.

[text written upside down in Una's hand:] My dearest mamma –
There was once a little boy & his papa & mama died & he had a little sister who was very good to him. One day as they were taking their morning walk they saw a beautiful light, & they went where they saw the light whitch came from a little cottege & an old woman lived there who was very kind to them & as it was very late she gave them some bread & milk for that was all she had, but they thought it was a beautiful supper. & then she made them a beautiful little bed & they were so glad & thought she was so kind & they lived with her always. do you [think] this is a good story.
Yours lovingly,
Una