In relation to Easter, states that his plans are uncertain. Is glad that she is interested in [William] Lecky. Gives his thoughts on reading and thinking; believes that 'it is not so easy as people think to choose reading that really sets the mind to work and makes it grow'; however, since everyone is 'always... much "involved in matter' as Aristotle says', the world and our 'little petty interests are "too much with us", and anything that lifts us out of them is a gain'. The ability to be thus lifted is something he much values in people; it is not proportionate to talent - intellect viewed as an instrument'. Arthur Butler has it, and it is one of the things Henry likes in [E. A?]. Scott.
Remarks that his mother has not written to him lately, and that they have 'in a sort of way dropped out of correspondence'. Claims that it was not he who objects to gossip; asserts that he has always maintained that 'it was the only way most people [had] of exercising their minds really, originally, on moral and social questions'. Says he is certainly interested in the Ritchies [the family of William Ritchie]; wishes that his mother could see them 'and ascertain whether the interest is due to [his] very limited acquaintance with (feminine) human nature'; has met many families but 'never... with one that took [his] fancy like this'. Asks what she thinks of Mrs Gretton; thinks that she must be livelier than most Rugby people, but that 'she is to be taken "cum grano" '.
Reports that Macmillan won't say who wrote Ecce Homo [recently published anonymously by J. R. Seeley], but has promised sometime to ask twenty people to dinner including Henry and the author. Reports that Gladstone wrote to Macmillan 'a letter acknowledging a presented copy and calling it a "noble book".' Relates that some of the 'younger men', such as Myers, are 'tremendously stirred by it', but that Henry is 'not quite in the same way'; quotes Carlyle saying that 'man and his universe are eternally divine', and adds that the author of Ecce Homo 'means us to go further and credit what is now to us incredible. He may be right'.
Expresses surprise at Mrs Gretton preferring the eldest Miss Ritchie [Augusta], and declares that he does also, although he does not think most people would. Refers also to the second Miss Ritchie [Blanche], 'Cornish's betrothed', as 'more unworldly perhaps.' Declares that when he comes across girls who interest him he uses his opportunities with considerable eagerness, 'because they are necessarily so few.'