[Gad’s Hill Place—Monday, 7 June 1869]
Monday. Started for Canterbury at 9 o’clock a.m. It was ten P.M. before we returned for dinner. A day of great pleasure—summer was upon us, every thing was in full luxury of loveliness and I could seem to see the little figure of David Copperfield trudging by our side. The party went in two large carriages, two postillions to each carriage and we passed The Bull Inn, Rochester, the House of Entertainment for Seven Poor Travellers and changed horses and riders at Faversham & after a gorgeous lunch in the woods just beyond, came in the yellow afternoon to Canterbury. How we clattered into the old town; what a mark we were for the gaze of the people as we descended near the old Cathedral, I shall not soon forget. We had been exposed to the hot sun rays all day and the change into the shadow of the Cathedral was refreshing. Service was going forward as we entered; we sat down therefore and joined our voices with those of the choristers. The sleepy inane faces of the men and their half dead and alive manner of gabbling the service was anything but impressive—and think of Ouvry said C.D. to me afterward—a man who believes in nothing in heaven or hell joining in with all the responses louder than any of them!! But to tell the truth I enjoyed lifting up my voice and saying a portion of the prayers (those which my heart could follow) and as for the rest how could I do better than to pray for those I loved.
Well—we came out at length into the lovely cloisters and walked round and round the old place until nearly night—then a gay swift ride back to find Gad’s Hill lighted up and looking a home welcome.
Unfortunately I was rather too full of the Cathedral and what was just before me to remember how much I wished to see Mr. Wickfield’s house and the spots that Copperfield most loved; but we walked through the most interesting streets and I am sure found all there was to be found in one afternoon. Dickens assured me at dinner that I had been through the best part of the town and he knew what I meant and chiefly wished.