Last night we went to the Observatory with Mrs. Long. They were very kind and attentive. The Prest took a look at the moon & Arcturus. I went with him to the Soldiers’ Home, and he read Shakespeare to me, the end of Henry V, and the beginning of Richard III, till my heavy eyelids caught his considerate notice, and he sent me to bed. This morning we ate an egg, and came in very early.
He went to the library to write a letter to Conkling, and I went to pack my trunk for the North. . . . Staid about a week at Long Branch. Fine air — disgusting bathing — pretty women, and everything lovely. No politics, no war, nothing to remind me while there that there was such a thing as government or a soul to save. Count Gurowski was an undertone of nuisance — that was all.
SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 94; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 82-3.