[Boston—Wednesday, 6 December 1871]

Decr 6th Yesterday a terrible storm of wind. Chimneys blown down, carts overturned, trees broken—dust insufferable, cold fierce. Today the cold remains but it is quiet, and serene. We rose early for J. has gone to Portland to lecture. He never speaks without great appreciation and gratitude from the people coming to him afterward on all sides. “Where did you get that story of Sarah Mack? one said to him after his lecture at Mr. Clarke’s church the other night.” J. told the questioner “Strangely enough I am a native of that town was the rejoinder and my father knew her and in my youth I heard them tell the story.” It is delightful to see the happiness he gives and takes in lecturing. It is no stereotyped “slogging” work with him but a living contact of mind with mind and heart with heart.

The moist eyes and attentive ears of his listeners affect him deeply. He is in quite a rage of heat while speaking and hungry as a hound afterward. But it does him a world of good. Dear, dear Dickens as this season returns, come back not only thoughts of him but visions of his presence. I see him standing beside us, I see his eyes looking into mine. I heard quite accidently to human eyes the other day of N.T. being in Rome with Mrs Tilton. I feel the bond there is between us. She must feel it too. I wonder if we shall ever meet. Where is Dickens, what is his life, what is his relation to this scene of his hearty loving labor for those 56 [sic, for 58] long long years so full of joy and grief.

I am sitting to Lizzie who is endeavoring to finish my portrait. I think we were blessed with an idea yesterday that it ought to have eyes. If I am not mistaken she will get a good thing after all.


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