Theory:

     At the hour of sunset, as had long been his custom, Ernest was to speak to a group of neighbours in the open air. Together he and the poet went to the meeting place, arm in arm. From there could be seen the Great Stone Face.
 
     Ernest threw a look of familiar kindness around upon his audience. He began to speak to the people what was in his heart and mind. His words had power, because they agreed with his thoughts; and his thoughts had reality and depth, because they harmonised with the life which he had always lived. It was not mere breath that the preacher uttered; they were the words of life. A life of good deeds and selfless love was melted into them. The poet, as he listened, felt that the life and character of Ernest were a nobler strain of poetry than he had ever written. His eyes filled with tears and he said to himself that never was there so worthy a sage as that mild, sweet, thoughtful face, with the glory of white hair diffused about it.
Explanation:
 
The conversation between the poet and Ernest came to an end around sunset. Ernest got right to work, as usual. He would go around to his neighbours every evening. Ernest has always shared what was in his thoughts and his heart with his neighbours during his talk with them.
 
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Ernest and the poet- walking towards Ernest's neighbours
  
The poet and Ernest reached a point where The Great Stone Face could be seen clearly. Ernest's neighbours had been anticipating to see the lovely, pleasant face every day. Ernest had brought the poet along and began speaking to the crowd (neighbours).

As previously said, Ernest began to communicate to them with his ideas from his mind and heart. Ernest's style of speaking to his audience drew the poet's attention. Ernest had the manner of a preacher, and his remarks resonated with genuineness. Since Ernest's words coincided with his lifestyle, the words he uttered to others seemed to have power.
 
Rather than the customary preaching, the poet realised that Ernest's speech was distinguished by a life of good acts and unselfish love and that it was the words of Ernest's true life.
 
earnest addressing the crowd 1.png
Ernest speaking to his neighbours
 
While listening to Ernest, the poet considered Ernest's life and character to be a nobler strain of poetry than any he had ever produced. His eyes welled up with tears, and he told himself that he'd never met a man as intelligent, and kind as Ernest, with a contemplative face framed by white hair.
 
Meaning of difficult words:
 
S.No
Words
Meaning
1.
Harmonise Two or more things combined together to give a good result
2.
StrainA particular feature or quality of something
3.
Thoughtful Think and caring about others
4.
DiffuseTo spread out or scattering something
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). Honeydew. The Great Stone Face II - Nathaniel Hawthorne (pp. 128-132). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.