About midnight on that eventful landing, “Boz,”—everybody called him “Boz” in those days,—having finished his supper, came down into the office of the hotel, and, joining the young Earl of M——, his fellow-voyager, sallied out for a first look at Boston streets. It was a stinging night, and the moon was at the full. Every object stood out sharp and glittering, and “Boz,” muffled up in a shaggy fur coat, ran over the shining frozen snow, wisely keeping the middle of the street for the most part. We boys followed cautiously behind, but near enough not to lose any of the fun. Of course the two gentlemen soon lost their way on emerging into Washington from Tremont Street. Dickens kept up one continual shout of uproarious laughter as he went rapidly forward, reading the signs on the shops, and observing the “architecture” of the new country into which he had dropped as if from the clouds. When the two arrived opposite the “Old South Church” Dickens screamed. To this day I could never tell why. Was it because of its fancied resemblance to St. Paul’s or the Abbey? I declare firmly, the mystery of that shout is still a mystery to me!
The great event of Boz’s first visit to Boston was the dinner of welcome tendered to him by the young men of the city. It is idle to attempt much talk about the banquet given on that Monday night in February, twenty-nine years ago. Papanti’s Hall (where many of us learned to dance, under the guidance of that master of legs, now happily still among us and pursuing the same highly useful calling which he practised in 1842) was the scene of that festivity. It was a glorious episode in all our lives, and whoever was not there has suffered a loss not easy to estimate. We younger members of that dinner-party sat in the seventh heaven of happiness, and were translated into other spheres. Accidentally, of course, I had a seat just in front of the honored guest; saw him take a pinch of snuff out of Washington Allston’s