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Before going to bed I just picked up Tennyson, which was lying on my table, and opening it at random, the first lines which caught my eye were in In Memoriam:—

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light,
The year is dying in the night,
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

They brought to my mind, what I had before forgotten, that this is the last night of 1862, and this the last chance to write to you in the old year; so, though I ought to go to bed, I will sit up a little while to cross, in imagination, the hundreds of miles of water, or of land worse than water, which separate me from all I love most, who are now, most likely, under a wilder sky than the clear, soft evening air shows here. A year does not go by without bringing much change to all of us. Certainly 1862 has brought change enough for you and me, and for many another beside; and 1863, which begins to-morrow, what has he in store for us? I suppose my little Bel, if she is not too sound asleep, is dreaming now of all the presents which 1863 will bring her to-morrow; and though I don't expect any presents, I know that 1863 will have much for you and me, too, of joy or sorrow, which we shall think as important to us as Bel's presents are to her. Thank God, we do not know what it will be. Perhaps in his eyes it is of no more consequence than Bel's presents seem to us. One thing gives me a pleasure which I hardly expected old 1862 to leave for me, and that is the belief that I am likely to be of some use here. I have not been in the Sequestration Commission long enough to feel sure; but I think now the chances are that I may do some good there, and it is a place where a man of real ability could at this time do an immense good. I think I would give anything to be able to talk with father for an hour, but perhaps it is as well that I should be obliged to rely entirely on my own ideas. However, 1863 will have other duties for me, before he is very old, than the Sequestration Commission, and I trust that he will “ring in the thousand years of peace” before next New-Year's day, and bring us all together in happiness again. But we will take things cheerfully, however they come, and thank God for what he leaves us, if he does take the blessings of peace away.

His time during this winter was almost wholly spent in his duties on the Sequestration Commission, of which, though

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