[Gad‘s Hill Place—Thursday, 10 June 1869]
Thursday morning left Gad’s Hill. Dickens came in the cars with us nearly to London. We separated without words in the carriage and he jumped out alone. Conversation flagged and Jamie making a desperate attempt to revive it at one point C.D. laughed merrily at what he called his wretched use of “mustard” as a conversational aperient. It is wonderful the fun and flow of spirits C.D. has for he is a sad man. Sleepless nights come too often, oftener than they ever could to a free heart. But the sorrows of such a nature are many and must often seem more than he can bear. Mine has been a most exceptional lot to have known this great man so well—think of having sat by Shakspeare’s side at dinner for weeks, and since Shakspeare there has not been a more various and dramatic and thoroughly human creature than Charles Dickens. One of the happiest moments of my life was standing by his side on the top of Rochester Castle and looking down into the very Inn Yard described by Shakspeare in Henry IV where the Carriers see Charles’s Wain over the chimney and know tis four o the clock. An old wagon was just lumbering away in the afternoon light as we looked down.
Thursday passed in London. J. at his affairs—Mabel and I over Hogarth’s pictures of the Rake’s Progress in the Soane Museum. Went to Cambridge by the afternoon train.