[Boston—Wednesday, 4 March 1868]

Wednesday March 3d [sic]. Mr. Dickens came over last night with Messrs Osgood & Dolby to pass the evening & have a little punch & supper and a merry game with us. He was full of life and fun and kept winning the games of “Lady Nincumtwitch” in such a preternatural manner that at last we suspected him of some plan to aid his memory wh. the rest of us had not the wit to discover. He confessed after a while that he invented a little story by means of which the cards were strung together in his mind but as the story seemed to us as difficult as the cards we acknowledged ourselves well beaten.

They left punctually before eleven having promised the driver they would not keep him waiting in the cold. Jamie has every day long-walks with him. He has told him much regarding the forms & habits of his life. He is fond of “Gad’s Hill” and his “dear daughters” and their aunt Miss Hogarth make his home-circle. What a dear one it is to him can be seen whenever his thoughts turn that way and if his letters do not come punctually he is in low spirits. He is a great actor & artist but above all a great and loving and well-beloved man. (This, I cling to in memory of Mr Emerson’s dictum.)

I am deep in Carlyle’s history and every little thing I hear chimes in with that. After the dinner (at the Parker) the other night, Mr. Dickens thought he would take a warm bath but the water being drawn he began playing the clown in pantomime on the edge of the bath (with his clothes on) for the amusement of Dolby & Osgood; in a moment & before he knew where he was he had tumbled in head over heels clothes & all. A second and improved edition of “Les Noyades” I thought!

Surely this book is a marvel of thought and labor. Why, why have I left it unknown to myself until now. I fear unlike Lowell it is because I could not read 18 uninterrupted hours without apoplexy or some other exy which would destroy what power I have forever.


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