Jan. 2.—George has returned this evening from a week's visit to Vernon Hill. On coming up-stairs he said, "I have some very pretty news for you—something in my pocket." I was at a loss to conjecture, and thought confusedly of possible opinions from admiring readers, when he drew the Times from his pocket—to-day's number, containing a review of the "Scenes of Clerical Life." He had happened to ask a gentleman in the railway carriage, coming up to London, to allow him to look at the Times, and felt quite agitated and tremulous when his eyes alighted on the review. Finding he had time to go into town before the train started, he bought a copy there. It is a highly favorable notice, and, as far as it goes, appreciatory.
When G. went into town he called at Nutt's, and Mrs. Nutt said to him, "I think you don't know our curate. He says the author of 'Clerical Scenes' is a High Churchman; for though Mr. Tryan is said to be Low Church, his feelings and actions are those of a High Churchman." (The curate himself being of course High Church.) There were some pleasant scraps of admiration also gathered for me at Vernon Hill. Doyle happening to mention the treatment of children in the stories, Helps said, "Oh, he is a great writer!"
I wonder how I shall feel about these little details ten years hence, if I am alive. At present I value them as grounds for hoping that my writing may succeed, and so give value to my life; as indications that I can touch the hearts of my fellow-men, and so sprinkle some precious grain as the result of the long years in which I have been inert and suffering. But at present fear and trembling still predominate over hope.
Jan. 5.—To-day the "Clerical Scenes" came in their two-volume dress, looking very handsome.
Jan. 8.—News of the subscription—580, with a probable addition of 25 for Longmans. Mudie has taken 350. When we used to talk of the probable subscription, G. always said, "I dare say it will be 250!" (The final number subscribed for was 650.)
This is in fair condition with wear and damage to the spine. It is from 1902 and has a soft cover.