[Boston—Friday, 6 March 1868]

March 6th Mr. Dickens dined here last night without company except Messrs Dolby & Osgood & Howells. We had a very merry time. They had been to visit the Cambridge Printing Office in the afternoon and had been shown so many things that “the Chief” said he began to think he should have a bitter hatred against any mortal who undertook to show him anything else in the world and laughed immoderately at J.T.F.’s proposition to show him the new fruit-house afterward. We all had a game of Nincomtwitch and separated rather early because we were going to a party and as C.D. shook me by the hand to say good bye he said he hoped we would have a better time at this party than he ever had at any party in all his life. A part of the dinner-time was taken up by half guess & half calculation of how far Mr. Dickens’s manuscript would extend in a single line. Mr. Osgood said 40 miles. J. said 100,000 (!!) I believe they are really going to find out. C.D. said “he felt as if it would go farther than 40 miles and was inclined to be “down” on Osgood until he saw him doing figures in his head after a fearful fashion.” All this amusing talk served to give one a strange weird sensation of the value of words over time and space; these little marks of immeasurable value covering so slight a portion of the rough earth!

Howells talked a little of Venice, thought the Ligurians lived better than the Venetians. C.D. said they ate but little meat when he lived in Genoa, chiefly “pasta” with a good soup poured over it.

He helped me to win the game at cards. It was very pleasant to have him leaning over me to help me through. I have written to Syracuse to ask Mrs. White (wife of the President of Cornell University) to try to make him comfortable at the hotel. I feel somehow like one of his daughters and as if I could not take too good care of him.

He leaves Boston today to return the first of April so I will end this poor little surface record here, hoping always that the new sheet shall have something written down of a deeper, simpler and more inseeing nature.


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