Sunday February 7th

I stayed in this morning and like, I trust, all good Dickensians celebrated the 97th anniversary of his birth. I started reading aloud A. E. Ward’s ‘Dickens’ in the ‘English Men of Letters’. I had read it before buy I was struck again with the charming way in which it was written. To me the wonderful thing about Dickens is that however many times you read his books, however well you know and love them, you will always find something fresh, some inimitably turned phrase never noticed before. Superior people say that ‘Dickens is never read after the age of sixteen’ but as has been well said ‘his humour is not for everyone’ but for those who really love him he is almost inexhaustible and never failing source of pleasure.

The Professor is a most amusing child — we had a most literary conversation. It was quite delightful to be talking to so well-read a person. We ranged from Milton, to Swinburne, including Dr Johnson, Cowper, Dickens etc. He amused me by telling me that Smurthwaite was a great lecturer, he gives lectures to his Dormitory being an Imperialist on the state of the navy and they can’t shut him up!!! The idea!

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