[Paris—Wednesday, 21 December 1859]
Wednesday 21st Called on the Greene’s in the afternoon. They were both at home. He had not been out for a week because of illness. Talking of John Brown and Charlotte Corday, between whose principles, deeds and sacrifice there seemed to me some likeness. Mr Greene branched off to Robespierre and Marat defining their characters to me by the minute knowledge he possessed of the facts and his extraordinary descriptive powers, better than reading one or two of the greatest histories of the period could have done. Here was history and experience combined, and here was the keen intellect to describe with wonderful exactness between the true and the false. The alchemy of Truth is strong and precipitates Truth however large and crude the contents of the crucible may be.
Called at the Cranch’s too. Groped up a dark stair-case and knocked with no effect. Twas about to descend when the spectral Clarke with candle over his head appeared upon the landing to waylay me: so I was obliged to go in and disturb a nice little family time. Mrs Cranch intelligent and picturesque, in dressing-gown, children jumping rope without regard to the small size of the room and C. himself improvising suggestively (to himself I dare say) on the piano.