[Gad’s Hill Place—Friday, 4 June 1869]
Friday. Went to Cooling into the old churchyard of “Great Expectations” (A more dreary spot or one more faithfully described cannot be imagined). There are the 12 little gravestones like little figures with “their hands in their trousers pockets, as if they had been born so and had never taken them out;” and there the wild dreary, dreary fen where the convicts hid beyond. We took our lunch in the graveyard and to add to the dreariness of it there is a drunken rector belonging to this wretched parish who has married a pretty, young wife & makes her life most miserable.
We walked home by the lovely lanes.
In the evening were Charades, when Mr. Dickens acted marvellously, according to his wont. His words were, Anecdote, Nightingale, Fair-Play, the company acting alternately with the important exception that he always acted on both sides.
I went all over the upper rooms of the house with Miss Hogarth in the morning. His thought and care are to be seen everywhere, in every body’s room.
But the Chalet is his pet place for writing. A lovely, lovely corner of the earth. All he has said of it indeed.