[Boston—Tuesday, 12 April 1864]

April 12. Wonderful snow storm. The common beautiful as a dream. Children will believe they have rubbed Aladdin’s lamp! It is a bower of chrystal.

When Mr Hawthorne returned after watching at the death bed of Mr Ticknor his mind was in a healthier condition we thought than when he left but the experience had been a terrible one. I can never forget the look of pallid exhaustion he wore the night he returned to us. He said he had scarcely eaten or slept since he left. “Mr Childs watched me so closely after poor Ticknor died, as if I had lost my protector and friend, and so I had! But he stuck by as if he were afraid to leave me alone—he stayed past the dinner hour and when I began to wonder if he never ate himself he departed and sent another man to watch me till he should return!”

Nevertheless he liked Mr Childs and spoke repeatedly of his unwearying kindness. “I never saw anything like it” he said—yet when he was abstractedly wondering where his slippers were I overheard him say to himself Oh! I remember, that cursed Childs watched me so I forgot everything.

He spoke of the coldness of somebody and said, “well I think he would have felt something if he had been there!” It was his first look at death. He said, “he did not think death would be so terrible if it were not for the undertakers—it was dreadful to think of being handled by those men.”

He was often wholly overcome by the ludicrous view of something presented to him in the midst of his grief. There was a black servant sleeping in the room that last night whose name was Peter. Once he snored loudly when the dying man raised himself with an appreciation of fun still living in him and said “Well done, Peter!”

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