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wax; and all scrupulously neat and orderly. There are magnificent specimens of Newfoundland dogs on the grounds, such animals as Landseer would love to paint. One of them, Bumble, seems to be a favorite with Dickens. They are all named after characters in Dickens's works. Dickens at home seems to be perpetually jolly, and enters into the interests of games with all the ardor of a boy. Physically, as well as mentally, he is immensely strong, having quite regained his wonted health and strength. He is an immense walker, and never seems to be fatigued. He breakfasts at eight o'clock; immediately after, answers all the letters received that morning ; writes until one o'clock ; lunches ; walks twelve miles (every day); dines at six; and passes the evening entertaining his numerous friends."
In a letter written long ago to a friend in America, he thus describes his home :
“ Divers birds sing here all day, and the nightingales all night. The place is lovely, and in perfect order. I have put five mirrors in the Swiss chalet (where I write), and they reflect and refract, in all kinds of ways, the leaves that are quivering at the windows, and the great fields of waving corn, and the sail-dotted river. My room is up among the branches of the trees; and the birds and the butterflies fly in and out; and the green branches shoot in at the open windows; and the lights
and shadows of the clouds come and go with the rest of the company. The scent of the flowers, and, indeed, of every thing that is growing for miles and miles, is most delicious."
THE UNFINISHED STORY.
Mystery of Edwin Drood. - Sudden Illness. - Death.
“ There is no death: what seems so is transition.
This life of mortal breath
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?”– 1 COR. xv. 55.
R. DICKENS'S readings interfered with his writing ; and therefore he gave a longing public no other work till the first number of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,
which appeared in March, 1870. It was to be completed in twelve parts, and was published simultaneously in London and in Boston. Only three numbers had been published when he passed away.
It is a remarkable coincidence that the last completed work the novelist wrote ended with this paragraph:
"On Friday, the 9th of June, in the present year, Mr. and Mrs. Boffin (in the manuscript-dress of receiv
ing Mr. and Mrs. Lammle at breakfast) were in the South-Eastern Railway with me in a terribly destructive accident. When I had done what I could to help others, I climbed back into my carriage, nearly turned over a viaduct, and caught aslant upon the turn, to extricate the worthy couple. They were much soiled, but otherwise unhurt. The same happy result attended Miss Bella Wilfer on her wedding-day, and Mr. Riderhood inspecting Bradley Headstone's red neckerchief as he lay asleep. I remember with devout thankfulness, that I can never be much nearer parting company with
my readers forever than I was then, until there shall be written against my life the two words with which I have closed this book, – the end."
After his return from America, he continued to give readings in different parts of England; but on the evening of March 16 last he brought to a close, at St. James' Hall, in London, his series of public readings. He said in his remarks at the close,
“ I have thought it well, at the full flood-tide of your favor, to retire upon those older associations between us, which date from much farther back than these, and henceforth to devote myself exclusively to the art that first brought us together. [Great applause.] Ladies and gentlemen, in but two short weeks from this time, I hope that you may enter, in your own houses, on a new
series of readings,' at which my assistance will be indispensable ; but from this garish light I vanish now forevermore, with a heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell."
Carlyle is “reported as saying, that he never saw nor heard of any thing so extraordinary in its way as the picturesque-dramatic power of Mr. Dickens in his readings. "Mr. Dickens, in some characters,' said his philosophic observer, costumes his mind with a completeness that is so absolutely perfect.' This puts it into my head to tell a little story which I long since heard, -how, one evening, the great novelist was reading, I think the trialscene in Pickwick,' to an audience of rank and fashion, and all that, in London. Presently, rank and fashion began to have their attention drawn to an explosive merriment in one part of the hall. On the front bench sat a tall man, blue-eyed and gray-haired, who ever and anon swung his steeple-crowned felt hat forcibly down on his knees, bursting into peals of such inextinguishable laughter as the gods on Homer's Olympus when they beheld limp-footed Vulcan halting round the circle as cup-bearer. Rank and fashion were inclined to be shocked at this unconventional mirth: but by and by the whisper went round that he of the steeple-hat was no other than Thomas Carlyle of Chelsea ; and for the rest of the evening Mr. Dickens had but a divided attention from his reverently wondering audience.”