[New York City—Tuesday, 21 April 1868]

Tuesday. I find it very difficult today to write at all. Mr. Dickens is on his bed and has been unable to rise in spite of efforts all day long. Mr Morgan’s dinner when his lady-love was to meet Mr. Dickens comes off tonight. We were all to go together and thus wind up the visit. But alas! we are in no spirit for gayety with “the dear chief” ill at home and suffering. What a position for us, obliged to go to dine with almost an utter stranger and his intimate friend, the night of his departure for Europe too the one link wanting which was to bind us together!! How every step in life shows us our own weakness and the folly of counting upon anything the world contains or has to give except the love of our friends.

Dear devoted Laura and her little Laura came from Staten Island again today to see me. Mr Norton has been here and we have been obliged to go out but our hearts have been in that other room all the time where our dear friend lies suffering. The exertion of last evening was too great. He went through with the whole bravely in spite of the pain in his foot. His desk was covered with flowers and there was one wreath sent from Boston. His speech though graceful as ever was not in the least like the one he made in Boston which was overflowing with real feeling. After all was over when Jamie went in to speak a word with him, he shut in his hand as he took it a velvet box containing his favorite studs and worn by him then for the last time. Oh! these last times—what heart break there is in the words.

I lay awake since early this morning (though we did not leave him until ½ past 12) feeling as if when I arose we must say good-bye. How relieved I felt to brush the tears away and know there was one more day but even that gain was lessened when I found he could not rise and even this must be a day of separation too. When Jamie told him last night he felt like erecting a statue to him because of his heroism in doing his duty so well, he laughed and said “no don’t, take down one of the old ones instead!”

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