The Letters of Charles Dickens - Vol. 1 (of 3), 1833-1856
by Charles Dickens
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Faithfully yours.

P.S.—Mrs. Dickens and her sister send their love.

[Sidenote: Rev. James White.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Tuesday, Feb. 5th, 1850.


I have been going to write to you for a long time, but have always had in my mind that you might come here with Lotty any day. As Lotty has come without you, however (witness a tremendous rampaging and ravaging now going on upstairs!), I despatch this note to say that I suppose you have seen the announcement of "the" new weekly thing, and that if you would ever write anything for it, you would please me better than I can tell you. We hope to do some solid good, and we mean to be as cheery and pleasant as we can. (And, putting our hands in our breeches pockets, we say complacently, that our money is as good as Blackwood's any day in the week.)

Now the murder's out!

Are you never coming to town any more? Must I come to Bonchurch? Am I born (for the eight-and-thirtieth time) next Thursday, at half-past five, and do you mean to say you are not coming to dinner? Well, well, I can always go over to Puseyism to spite my friends, and that's some comfort.

Poor dear Jeffrey! I had heard from him but a few days, and the unopened proof of No. 10 was lying on his table when he died. I believe I have lost as affectionate a friend as I ever had, or ever shall have, in this world.

Ever heartily yours, my dear White.

[Sidenote: Mr. Charles Knight.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, February 8th, 1850.


Let me thank you in the heartiest manner for your most kind and gratifying mention of me in your able pamphlet. It gives me great pleasure, and I sincerely feel it.

I quite agree with you in all you say so well of the injustice and impolicy of this excessive taxation. But when I think of the condition of the great mass of the people, I fear that I could hardly find the heart to press for justice in this respect, before the window-duty is removed. They cannot read without light. They cannot have an average chance of life and health without it. Much as we feel our wrong, I fear that they feel their wrong more, and that the things just done in this wise must bear a new physical existence.

I never see you, and begin to think we must have another play—say in Cornwall—expressly to bring us together.

Very faithfully yours.



A Weekly Journal,

Conducted by Charles Dickens.

"Thus at the glowing Forge of Life our actions must be wrought, Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought."—Longfellow.


[Sidenote: Mr. W. H. Wills.]

148, KING'S ROAD, BRIGHTON, Tuesday Night, March 12th, 1850.


I have made a correction or two in my part of the post-office article. I still observe the top-heavy "Household Words" in the title. The title of "The Amusements of the People" has to be altered as I have marked it. I would as soon have my hair cut off as an intolerable Scotch shortness put into my titles by the elision of little words. "The Seasons" wants a little punctuation. Will the "Incident in the Life of Mademoiselle Clairon" go into those two pages? I fear not, but one article would be infinitely better, I am quite certain, than two or three short ones. If it will go in, in with it.

I shall be back, please God, by dinner-time to-morrow week. I will be ready for Smithfield either on the following Monday morning at four, or any other morning you may arrange for.

Would it do to make up No. 2 on Wednesday, the 20th, instead of Saturday? If so, it would be an immense convenience to me. But if it be distinctly necessary to make it up on Saturday, say by return, and I am to be relied upon. Don't fail in this.

I really can't promise to be comic. Indeed, your note put me out a little, for I had just sat down to begin, "It will last my time." I will shake my head a little, and see if I can shake a more comic substitute out of it.

As to two comic articles, or two any sort of articles, out of me, that's the intensest extreme of no-goism.

Ever faithfully.

[Sidenote: Rev. James White.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, July 13th, 1850.


Being obliged (sorely against my will) to leave my work this morning and go out, and having a few spare minutes before I go, I write a hasty note, to hint how glad I am to have received yours, and how happy and tranquil we feel it to be for you all, that the end of that long illness has come.[8] Kate and Georgy send best loves to Mrs. White, and we hope she will take all needful rest and relief after those arduous, sad, and weary weeks. I have taken a house at Broadstairs, from early in August until the end of October, as I don't want to come back to London until I shall have finished "Copperfield." I am rejoiced at the idea of your going there. You will find it the healthiest and freshest of places; and there are Canterbury, and all varieties of what Leigh Hunt calls "greenery," within a few minutes' railroad ride. It is not very picturesque ashore, but extremely so seaward; all manner of ships continually passing close inshore. So come, and we'll have no end of sports, please God.

I am glad to say, as I know you will be to hear, that there seems a bright unanimity about "Copperfield." I am very much interested in it and pleased with it myself. I have carefully planned out the story, for some time past, to the end, and am making out my purposes with great care. I should like to know what you see from that tower of yours. I have little doubt you see the real objects in the prospect.

"Household Words" goes on thoroughly well. It is expensive, of course, and demands a large circulation; but it is taking a great and steady stand, and I have no doubt already yields a good round profit.

To-morrow week I shall expect you. You shall have a bottle of the "Twenty." I have kept a few last lingering caskets with the gem enshrined therein, expressly for you.

Ever, my dear White, Cordially yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. H. Wills.]

HOTEL WINDSOR, PARIS, Thursday, July 27th, 1850. After post-time.


I have had much ado to get to work; the heat here being so intense that I can do nothing but lie on the bare floor all day. I never felt it anything like so hot in Italy.

There is nothing doing in the theatres, and the atmosphere is so horribly oppressive there that one can hardly endure it. I came out of the Francais last night half dead. I am writing at this moment with nothing on but a shirt and pair of white trousers, and have been sitting four hours at this paper, but am as faint with the heat as if I had been at some tremendous gymnastics; and yet we had a thunderstorm last night.

I hope we are doing pretty well in Wellington Street. My anxiety makes me feel as if I had been away a year. I hope to be home on Tuesday evening, or night at latest. I have picked up a very curious book of French statistics that will suit us, and an odd proposal for a company connected with the gambling in California, of which you will also be able to make something.

I saw a certain "Lord Spleen" mentioned in a playbill yesterday, and will look after that distinguished English nobleman to-night, if possible. Rachel played last night for the last time before going to London, and has not so much in her as some of our friends suppose.

The English people are perpetually squeezing themselves into courtyards, blind alleys, closed edifices, and other places where they have no sort of business. The French people, as usual, are making as much noise as possible about everything that is of no importance, but seem (as far as one can judge) pretty quiet and good-humoured. They made a mighty hullabaloo at the theatre last night, when Brutus (the play was "Lucretia") declaimed about liberty.

Ever faithfully.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. H. Wills.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, August 9th, 1850.


I shall be obliged to you if you will write to this man, and tell him that what he asks I never do—firstly, because I have no kind of connection with any manager or theatre; secondly, because I am asked to read so many manuscripts, that compliance is impossible, or I should have no other occupation or relaxation in the world.

[Symbol: right hand] A foreign gentleman, with a beard, name unknown, but signing himself "A Fellow Man," and dating from nowhere, declined, twice yesterday, to leave this house for any less consideration than the insignificant one of "twenty pounds." I have had a policeman waiting for him all day.

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Charles Dickens.]

BROADSTAIRS, Tuesday, Sept. 3rd, 1850.


I enclose a few lines from Georgy, and write these to say that I purpose going home at some time on Thursday, but I cannot say precisely when, as it depends on what work I do to-morrow. Yesterday Charles Knight, White, Forster, Charley, and I walked to Richborough Castle and back. Knight dined with us afterwards; and the Whites, the Bicknells, and Mrs. Gibson came in in the evening and played vingt-et-un.

Having no news I must tell you a story of Sydney. The children, Georgy, and I were out in the garden on Sunday evening (by-the-bye, I made a beautiful passage down, and got to Margate a few minutes after one), when I asked Sydney if he would go to the railroad and see if Forster was coming. As he answered very boldly "Yes," I opened the garden-gate, upon which he set off alone as fast as his legs would carry him; and being pursued, was not overtaken until he was through the Lawn House Archway, when he was still going on at full speed—I can't conceive where. Being brought back in triumph, he made a number of fictitious starts, for the sake of being overtaken again, and we made a regular game of it. At last, when he and Ally had run away, instead of running after them, we came into the garden, shut the gate, and crouched down on the ground. Presently we heard them come back and say to each other with some alarm, "Why, the gate's shut, and they're all gone!" Ally began in a dismayed way to cry out, but the Phenomenon shouting, "Open the gate!" sent an enormous stone flying into the garden (among our heads) by way of alarming the establishment. I thought it a wonderful piece of character, showing great readiness of resource. He would have fired a perfect battery of stones, or very likely have broken the pantry window, I think, if we hadn't let him in.

They are all in great force, and send their loves. They are all much excited with the expectation of receiving you on Friday, and would start me off to fetch you now if I would go.

Our train on Friday will be half-past twelve. I have spoken to Georgy about the partridges, and hope we may find some.

Ever, my dearest Kate, Most affectionately.

[Sidenote: Miss Mary Boyle.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, Monday Night, Sept. 16th, 1850.


Your letter having arrived in time for me to write a line by the evening post, I came out of a paroxysm of "Copperfield," to say that I am perfectly delighted to read it, and to know that we are going to act together in that merry party. We dress "Every Man" in Queen Elizabeth's time. The acting copy is much altered from the old play, but we still smooth down phrases when needful. I don't remember anyone that is changed. Georgina says she can't describe the dress Mrs. Kitely used to wear. I shall be in town on Saturday, and will then get Maclise to make me a little sketch, of it, carefully explained, which I will post to you. At the same time I will send you the book. After consideration of forces, it has occurred to me (old Ben being, I daresay, rare; but I do know rather heavy here and there) that Mrs. Inchbald's "Animal Magnetism," which we have often played, will "go" with a greater laugh than anything else. That book I will send you on Saturday too. You will find your part (Lisette, I think it is called, but it is a waiting-maid) a most admirable one; and I have seen people laugh at the piece until they have hung over the front of the boxes like ripe fruit. You may dress the part to please yourself after reading it. We wear powder. I will take care (bringing a theatrical hairdresser for the company) of your wig! We will rehearse the two pieces when we go down, or at least anything with which you have to do, over and over again. You will find my company so well used to it, and so accustomed to consider it a grave matter of business, as to make it easy. I am now awaiting the French books with a view to "Rockingham," and I hope to report of that too, when I write to you on Saturday.

My dear Miss Boyle, very faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Miss Mary Boyle.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Friday, Sept. 20th, 1850.


I enclose you the book of "Animal Magnetism," and the book of "Every Man in his Humour;" also a sketch by Mr. Maclise of a correct and picturesque Mrs. Kitely. Mr. Forster is Kitely; Mr. Lemon, Brainworm; Mr. Leech, Master Matthew; Mr. Jerrold, Master Stephen; Mr. Stone, Downright. Kitely's dress is a very plain purple gown, like a Bluecoat-boy's. Downright's dress is also very sober, chiefly brown and gray. All the rest of us are very bright. I am flaming red. Georgina will write you about your colour and hers in "Animal Magnetism;" the gayer the better. I am the Doctor, in black, with red stockings. Mr. Lemon (an excellent actor), the valet, as far as I can remember, in blue and yellow, and a chintz waistcoat. Mr. Leech is the Marquis, and Mr. Egg the one-eyed servant.

What do you think of doing "Animal Magnetism" as the last piece (we may play three in all, I think) at Rockingham? If so, we might make Quin the one-eyed servant, and beat up with Mrs. Watson for a Marquis. Will you tell me what you think of this, addressed to Broadstairs? I have not heard from Bulwer again. I daresay I have crossed a letter from him by coming up to-day; but I have every reason to believe that the last week in October is the time.

Ever very faithfully yours.

P.S.—This is quite a managerial letter, which I write with all manner of appointments and business discussions going on about me, having my pen on the paper and my eye on "Household Words," my head on "Copperfield" and my ear nowhere particularly.

I will let you know about "A Day after the Wedding." I have sent for the book on Monday.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, September 24th, 1850.


Coming out of "Copperfield" into a condition of temporary and partial consciousness, I plunge into histrionic duties, and hold enormous correspondence with Miss Boyle, between whom and myself the most portentous packets are continually passing. I send you a piece we purpose playing last at Rockingham, which "my company" played in London, Scotland, Manchester, Liverpool, and I don't know where else. It is one of the most ridiculous things ever done. We purpose, as I have said, playing it last. Why do I send it to you? Because there is an excellent part (played in my troupe by George Cruikshank) for your brother in it—Jeffrey; with a black patch on his eye, and a lame leg, he would be charming—noble! If he is come home, give him my love and tell him so. If he is not come home, do me that favour when he does come. And add that I have a wig for him belonging to the part, which I have an idea of sending to the Exposition of '51, as a triumph of human ingenuity.

I am the Doctor; Miss Boyle, Lisette; Georgy, the other little woman. We have nearly arranged our "bill" for Rockingham. We shall want one more reasonably good actor, besides your brother and Miss Boyle's, to play the Marquis in this piece. Do you know a being endowed by nature with the requisite qualities?

There are some things in the next "Copperfield" that I think better than any that have gone before. After I have been believing such things with all my heart and soul, two results always ensue: first, I can't write plainly to the eye; secondly, I can't write sensibly to the mind. So "Copperfield" is to blame, and I am not, for this wandering note; and if you like it, you'll forgive me. With my affectionate remembrances to Watson,

Ever, my dear Mrs. Watson, Very faithfully yours.

P.S.—I find I am not equal to the flourish.

[Sidenote: Miss Mary Boyle.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Wednesday, Oct 30th, 1850.


We are all extremely concerned and distressed to lose you. But we feel that it cannot be otherwise, and we do not, in our own expectation of amusement, forget the sad cause of your absence.

Bulwer was here yesterday; and if I were to tell you how earnestly he and all the other friends whom you don't know have looked forward to the projected association with you, and in what a friendly spirit they all express their disappointment, you would be quite moved by it, I think. Pray don't give yourself the least uneasiness on account of the blank in our arrangements. I did not write to you yesterday, in the hope that I might be able to tell you to-day that I had replaced you, in however poor a way. I cannot do that yet, but I am busily making out some means of filling the parts before we rehearse to-morrow night, and I trust to be able to do so in some out-of-the-way manner.

Mrs. Dickens and Bridget send you their kindest remembrances. They are bitterly disappointed at not seeing you to-day, but we all hope for a better time.

Dear Miss Boyle, Faithfully yours always.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Saturday Evening, Nov. 23rd, 1850.


Being well home from Knebworth, where everything has gone off in a whirl of triumph and fired the whole length and breadth of the county of Hertfordshire, I write a short note to say that we are yours any time after Twelfth-night, and that we look forward to seeing you with the greatest pleasure. I should have made this reply to your last note sooner, but that I have been waiting to send you "Copperfield" in a new waistcoat. His tailor is so slow that it has not yet appeared; but when the resplendent garment comes home it shall be forwarded.

I have not your note at hand, but I think you said "any time after Christmas." At all events, and whatever you said, we will conclude a treaty on any terms you may propose. And if it should include any of Charley's holidays, perhaps you would allow us to put a brass collar round his neck, and chain him up in the stable.

Kate and Georgina (who has covered herself with glory) join me in best remembrances and regards to Watson and you and all the house. I have stupendous proposals to make concerning Switzerland in the spring.

I promised Bulwer to make enquiry of you about "Miss Watson," whom he once knew and greatly wished to hear of. He associated her (but was not clear how) with Lady Palmer.

My dear Mrs. Watson, Ever faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Bicknell.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, November 28th, 1850.


If I ever did such a thing, believe me I would do it at your request. But I don't, and if you could see the ramparts of letters from similar institutions with which my desk bristles every now and then, you would feel that nothing lies between total abstinence (in this regard) and utter bewilderment and lecturation.

Mrs. Dickens and her sister unite with me in kind regards to you and Mrs. Bicknell. The consequences of the accident are fast fading, I am happy to say. We all hope to hear shortly that Mrs. Bicknell has recovered that other little accident, which (as you and I know) will occasionally happen in well-regulated families.

Very faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. Walter Savage Landor.]

OFFICE OF "HOUSEHOLD WORDS," Wednesday, Dec. 4th, 1850.


I have been (a strange thing for me) so very unwell since Sunday, that I have hardly been able to hold up my head—a bilious attack, I believe, and a very miserable sort of business. This, my dear friend, is the reason why I have not sooner written to you in reference to your noble letter, which I read in The Examiner, and for which—as it exalts me—I cannot, cannot thank you in words.

We had been following up the blow in Kinkel's[9] favour, and I was growing sanguine, in the hope of getting him out (having enlisted strong and active sympathy in his behalf), when the news came of his escape. Since then we have heard nothing of him. I rather incline to the opinion that the damnable powers that be connived at his escape, but know nothing. Whether he be retaken or whether he appear (as I am not without hope he may) in the streets of London, I shall be a party to no step whatever without consulting you; and if any scrap of intelligence concerning him shall reach me, it shall be yours immediately.

Horne wrote the article. I shall see him here to-night, and know how he will feel your sympathy and support. But I do not wait to see him before writing, lest you should think me slow to feel your generosity. We said at home when we read your letter, that it was like the opening of your whole munificent and bare heart.

Ever most affectionately yours, My dear Landor.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

[Symbol: right hand] THIS IS NO. 2.

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Monday Morning, Dec. 9th, 1850.


Your note to me of Saturday has crossed mine to you, I find. If you open both of mine together, please to observe this is No. 2.

You may rely on Mr. Tucker's doing his work thoroughly well and charging a fair price. It is not possible for him to say aforehand, in such a case, what it will cost, I imagine, as he will have to adapt his work to the place. Nathan's stage knowledge may be stated in the following figures: 00000000000. Therefore, I think you had best refer Mr. Tucker to me, and I will apply all needful screws and tortures to him.

I have thought of one or two very ingenious (hem!) little contrivances for adapting the difficulties of "Used Up" to the small stage. They will require to be so exactly explained to your carpenter (though very easy little things in themselves), that I think I had better, before Christmas, send my servant down for an hour—he is quite an old stager now—to show him precisely what I mean. It is not a day's work, but it would be extremely difficult to explain in writing. I developed these wonderful ideas to the master carpenter at one of the theatres, and he shook his head with an intensely mournful air, and said, "Ah, sir, it's a universal observation in the profession, sir, that it was a great loss to the public when you took to writing books!" which I thought complimentary to "Copperfield."

Ever faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Saturday, Dec. 14th, 1850.


I shall be delighted to come on the seventh instead of the eighth. We consider it an engagement. Over and above the pleasure of a quiet day with you, I think I can greatly facilitate the preparations (that's the way, you see, in which we cheat ourselves into making duties of pleasures) by being at Rockingham a day earlier. So that's settled.

I was quite certain when that Child of Israel mentioned those dimensions, that he must be wrong. For which wooden-headedness the Child shall be taken to task on Monday morning, when I am going to look at his preparations, by appointment, about the door. Don't you observe, that the scenery not being made expressly for the room, it may be impossible to use it as you propose? There is a scene before that wall, and unless the door in the scene (supposing there to be one, which I am not sure of) should come exactly into the place of the door of the room, the door of the room might as well be in Africa. If it could be used it would still require to be backed (excuse professional technicality) by another scene in the passage. And if it be rather in the side of the bottom of the room (as I seem to remember it), it would be shut out of sight, or partially, by the side scenes. Do you comprehend these stage managerial sagacities? That piece of additional room in so small a stage would be of immense service, if we could avail ourselves of it. If we can't, I have another means (I think) of discovering Leech, Saville, and Coldstream at table. I am constantly turning over in my mind the capacities of the place, and hope by one means or other to make something more than the best of it. As to the fireplace, you will never be able to use that. The heat of the lamp will be very great, and ventilation will be the thing wanted. Thirteen feet and a half of depth, diminished by stage fittings and furniture, is a small space. I think the doorway could be used in the last scene, with the castle steps and platform for the staircase running straight through it toward the hall. Nous verrons. I will write again about my visit of inspection, probably on Monday.

Will you let them know that Messrs. Nathan, of Titchborne Street, Haymarket, will dress them, please, and that I will engage for their doing it thoroughly well; also that Mr. Wilson, theatrical hairdresser, Strand, near St. Clement's Churchyard, will come down with wigs, etc., to "make up" everybody; that he has a list of the pieces from me, and that he will be glad to measure the heads and consult the tastes of all concerned, if they will give him the opportunity beforehand? I should like to see Sir Adonis Leech and the Hon. T. Saville if I can. For they ought to be wonderfully made up, and to be as unlike themselves as possible, and to contrast well with each other and with me. I rather grudge caro sposo coming into the company. I should like him so much to see the play. If we do it all well together it ought to be so very pleasant. I never saw a great mass of people so charmed with a little story as when we acted it at the Glasgow Theatre. But I have no other reason for faltering when I take him to my arms. I feel that he is the man for the part.[10] I see him with a blue bag, a flaxen wig, and green spectacles. I know what it will be. I foresee how all that sessional experience will come out. I reconcile myself to it, in spite of the selfish consideration of wanting him elsewhere; and while I have a heavy sense of a light being snuffed out in the audience, perceive a new luminary shining on the stage!

Your brother[11] would make a capital tiger, too! Very short tight surtout, doeskins, bright top-boots, white cravat, bouquet in button-hole, close wig—very good, ve—ry good. It clearly must be so. The thing is done. I told you we were opening a tremendous correspondence when we first began to write on such a long subject. But do let me tell you, once and for all, that I am in the business heart and soul, and that you cannot trouble me respecting it, and that I wouldn't willingly or knowingly leave the minutest detail unprovided for. It cannot possibly be a success if the smallest peppercorn of arrangement be omitted. And a success it must be! I couldn't go into such a thing, or help to bring you poorly out of it, for any earthly consideration. Talking of forgetting, isn't it odd? I doubt if I could forget words I had learned, so long as I wanted them. But the moment the necessity goes, they go. I know my place and everybody's place in this identical piece of "Used Up" perfectly, and could put every little object on its own square inches of room exactly where it ought to be. But I have no more recollection of my words now (I took the book up yesterday) than if I had only seen the play as one of the audience at a theatre. Perhaps not so much. With cordial remembrances,

Ever, dear Mrs. Watson, Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, December 19th, 1850.


I am sorry to say that business ("Household Words" business) will keep me in town to-morrow. But on Monday I propose coming down and returning the same day. The train for my money appears to be the half-past six A.M. (horrible initials!), and to that invention for promoting early rising I design to commit myself.

I am shocked if I also made the mistake of confounding those two (and too) similar names.[12] But I think Mr. S-T-A-F-F-O-R-D had better do the Marquis. I am glad to find that we agree, but we always do.

I have closely overhauled the little theatre, and the carpenter and painter. The whole has been entirely repainted (I mean the proscenium and scenery) for this especial purpose, and is extremely pretty. I don't think, the scale considered, that anything better could be done. It is very elegant. I have brought "the Child" to this. For the hire of the theatre, fifteen pounds. The carriage to be extra. The Child's fares and expenses (which will be very moderate) to be extra. The stage carpenter's wages to be extra—seven shillings a day. I don't think, when you see the things, that you will consider this too much. It is as good as the Queen's little theatre at Windsor, raised stage excepted. I have had an extraction made, which will enable us to use the door. I am at present breaking my man's heart, by teaching him how to imitate the sounds of the smashing of the windows and the breaking of the balcony in "Used Up." In the event of his death from grief, I have promised to do something for his mother. Thinking it possible that you might not see the enclosed until next month, and hoping that it is seasonable for Christmas, I send it. Being, with cordial regards and all seasonable good wishes,

Ever, dear Mrs. Watson, Faithfully yours.

P.S.—This [blot] is a tear over the devotion of Captain Boyle, who (as I learned from the Child of Israel this morning) would not decide upon Farmer Wurzel's coat, without referring the question of buttons to managerial approval.

[Sidenote: Mr. John Poole.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Tuesday Night, Christmas Eve, 1850.


On the Sunday when I last saw you, I went straight to Lord John's with the letter you read. He was out of town, and I left it with my card.

On the following Wednesday I received a note from him, saying that he did not bear in mind exactly what I had told him of you before, and asking me to tell it again. I immediately replied, of course, and gave him an exact description of you and your condition, and your way of life in Paris and everything else; a perfect diorama in little, with you pervading it. To-day I got a letter from him, announcing that you have a pension of a hundred a year! of which I heartily wish you joy.

He says: "I am happy to say that the Queen has approved of a pension of one hundred pounds a year to Mr. Poole.

"The Queen, in her gracious answer, informs me that she meant to have mentioned Mr. Poole to me, and that she had wished to place him in the Charter House, but found the society there was not such as he could associate with.

"Be so good as to inform Mr. Poole that directions are given for his pension, which will date from the end of June last."

I have lost no time in answering this, but you must brace up your energies to write him a short note too, and another for the Queen.

If you are in Paris, shall I ascertain what authority I shall need from you to receive the half-year, which I suppose will be shortly due? I can receive it as usual.

With all good wishes and congratulations, seasonable and unseasonable,

Always faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Monday Morning, Dec. 30th, 1850.


As your letter is decided, the scaffolding shall be re-erected round Charley's boots (it has been taken down, and the workmen had retired to their respective homes in various parts of England and Wales) and his dressing proceeded with. I have been very much pleased with him in the matter, as he has never made the least demonstration of disappointment or mortification, and was perfectly contented to give in. (Here I break off to go to Boxall.) (Here I return much exhausted.)

Your time shall be stated in the bills for both nights. I propose to rehearse on the day, on Thursday and Friday, and in the evening on Saturday, that we may try our lights. Therefore:

{will come on Tuesday, 7th January, as there must be a {responsible person to anathematise, and as the company NATHAN {seem so slow about their dresses, that I foresee the AND {strong probability of Nathan having a good deal to do STAGE CARPENTER {at Rockingham without respect.

WILSON will come on Saturday, 11th January. TUCKER will come on Saturday, 11th January.

I shall be delighted to see your brother, and so no more at present from


P.S.—As Boxall (with his head very much on one side and his spectacles on) danced backward from the canvas incessantly with great nimbleness, and returned, and made little digs at it with his pencil, with a horrible grin on his countenance, I augur that he pleased himself this morning.

"Tag" added by Mr. Dickens to "Animal Magnetism," played at Rockingham Castle.


[After LA FLEUR says to the Marquis: "Sir, return him the wand; and the ladies, I daresay, will fall in love with him again."]

DOCTOR. I'm cheated, robbed! I don't believe! I hate Wand, Marquis, Doctor, Ward, Lisette, and Fate!

LA FLEUR. Not me?

DOCTOR. You worse, you rascal, than the rest.

LA FLEUR. (bowing). To merit it, good sir, I've done my best.

LISETTE. (sharply). And I.

CONSTANCE. I fear that I too have a claim Upon your anger.

LISETTE. Anger, madam? Shame! He's justly treated, as he might have known. And if the wand were a divining one It would have turn'd, within his very hands, Point-blank to where your handsome husband stands.

CONSTANCE (glancing at DOCTOR). I would it were the wand of Harlequin, To change his temper and his favour win.

JEFFREY (peeping in). In that case, mistress, you might be so kind As wave me back the eye of which I'm blind.

MARQUIS (laughing and examining it). 'Tis nothing but a piece of senseless wood, And has no influence for harm or good. Yet stay! It surely draws me towards those Indulgent, pleasant, smiling, beaming rows! It surely charms me.

ALL. And us too.

MARQUIS. To bend Before their gen'rous efforts to commend; To cheer us on, through these few happy hours, And strew our mimic way with real flowers.

[All make obeisance.

Stay yet again. Among us all, I feel One subtle, all-pervading influence steal, Stirring one wish within one heart and head, Bright be the path our host and hostess tread! Blest be their children, happy be their race, Long may they live, this ancient hall to grace Long bear of English virtues noble fruit— Green-hearted ROCKINGHAM! strike deep thy root


[8] The last illness of Mrs. White's mother.

[9] Dr. Gottfried Kinkel, a distinguished scholar and Professor in the University of Bonn, who was at that time undergoing very rigorous State imprisonment in Prussia, for political reasons. Dr. Kinkel was afterwards well known as a teacher and lecturer on Art in London, where he resided for many years.

[10] The part of the lawyer in "Used Up." It was not played after all by Mr. Watson, but by Mr. (now Sir William) Boxall, R.A., a very old and intimate friend of Mr. and Mrs. Watson, and of Charles Dickens.

[11] This part, finally, was played by Charles Dickens, junior.

[12] Mr. Stafford and Mr. Stopford, who both acted in the plays at Rockingham.



In February this year, Charles Dickens made a short bachelor excursion with Mr. Leech and the Hon. Spencer Lyttelton to Paris, from whence we give a letter to his wife. She was at this time in very bad health, and the little infant Dora had a serious illness during the winter. The child rallied for the time, but Mrs. Dickens continued so ill that she was advised to try the air—and water—of Malvern. And early in March, she and her sister were established in lodgings there, the children being left in London, and Charles Dickens dividing his time between Devonshire Terrace and Malvern. He was busily occupied before this time in superintending the arrangements for Mr. Macready's last appearance on the stage at Drury Lane, and for a great dinner which was given to Mr. Macready after it on the 1st March, at which the chair was taken by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. With him Charles Dickens was then engaged in maturing a scheme, which had been projected at the time of the amateur play at Knebworth, of a Guild of Literature and Art, which was to found a provident fund for literary men and artists; and to start which, a series of dramatic performances by the amateur company was proposed. Sir E. B. Lytton wrote a comedy, "Not so Bad as We Seem," for the purpose, to be played in London and the provinces; and the Duke of Devonshire turned one of the splendid rooms in Devonshire House into a theatre, for the first occasion of its performance. It was played early in May before her Majesty and the Prince Consort, and a large audience. Later in the season, there were several representations of the comedy (with a farce, "Mr. Nightingale's Diary," written by Charles Dickens for himself and Mr. Mark Lemon) in the Hanover Square Rooms.

But in the interval between the Macready banquet and the play at Devonshire House, Charles Dickens underwent great family trouble and sorrow. His father, whose health had been declining for some time, became seriously ill, and Charles Dickens was summoned from Malvern to attend upon him. Mr. John Dickens died on the 31st March. On the 14th April, Charles Dickens had gone from Malvern to preside at the annual dinner of the General Theatrical Fund, and found his children all well at Devonshire Terrace. He was playing with his baby, Dora, before he went to the dinner; soon after he left the house the child died suddenly in her nurse's arms. The sad news was communicated to the father after his duties at the dinner were over. The next day, Mr. Forster went to Malvern to break the news to Mrs. Dickens, and she and her sister returned with him to London, and the Malvern lodgings were given up. But Mrs. Dickens being still out of health, and London being more than usually full (this being the year of the Great Exhibition), Charles Dickens decided to let the town house again for a few months, and engaged the Fort House, Broadstairs, from the beginning of May until November. This, which was his longest sojourn at Broadstairs, was also the last, as the following summer he changed his seaside resort, and never returned to that pretty little watering-place, although he always retained an affectionate interest in it.

The lease of the Devonshire Terrace house was to expire this year. It was now too small for his family, so he could not renew it, although he left it with regret. From the beginning of the year, he had been in negotiation for a house in Tavistock Square, in which his friend Mr. Frank Stone had lived for some years. Many letters which follow are on the subject of this house and the improvements Charles Dickens made in it. His brother-in-law, Henry Austin—himself an architect—superintended the "works" at Tavistock House, as he did afterwards those at Gad's Hill—and there are many characteristic letters to Mr. Austin while these works were in progress. In the autumn, as a letter written in August to Mr. Stone will show, an exchange of houses was made—Mr. Stone removing with his family to Devonshire Terrace until his own new house was ready—while the alterations in Tavistock House went on, and Charles Dickens removed into it from Broadstairs, in November.

His eldest son was now an Eton boy. He had been one of the party and had played a small part in the play at Rockingham Castle, in the Christmas holidays, and his father's letters to Mrs. Watson at the beginning of this year have reference to this play.

This year he wrote and published the "Haunted Man," which he had found himself unable to finish for the previous Christmas. It was the last of the Christmas books. He abandoned them in favour of a Christmas number of "Household Words," which he continued annually for many years in "Household Words" and "All the Year Round," and in which he had the collaboration of other writers. The "Haunted Man" was dramatised and produced at the Adelphi Theatre, under the management of Mr. Benjamin Webster. Charles Dickens read the book himself, at Tavistock House, to a party of actors and actresses.

At the end of the year he wrote the first number of "Bleak House," although it was not published until March of the following year. With the close attention and the hard work he gave, from the time of its starting, to his weekly periodical, he found it to be most desirable, now, in beginning a new monthly serial, that he should be ready with some numbers in advance before the appearance of the first number.

A provincial tour for the "Guild" took place at the end of the year. A letter to his wife, from Clifton, in November, gives a notion of the general success and enthusiasm with which the plays were attended. The "new Hardman," to whom he alludes as taking that part in Sir E. B. Lytton's comedy in the place of Mr. Forster, was Mr. John Tenniel, who was a new addition, and a very valuable and pleasant one, to the company. Mr. Topham, the delightful water-colour painter, Mr. Dudley Costello, and Mr. Wilkie Collins were also new recruits to the company of "splendid strollers" about this time. A letter to Mr. Wills, asking him to take a part in the comedy, is given here. He never did act with the company, but he complied with Charles Dickens's desire that he should be "in the scheme" by giving it all sorts of assistance, and almost invariably being one of the party in the provincial tours.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, January 24th, 1851.


Kate will have told you, I daresay, that my despondency on coming to town was relieved by a talk with Lady John Russell, of which you were the subject, and in which she spoke of you with an earnestness of old affection and regard that did me good. I date my recovery (which has been slow) from that hour. I am still feeble, and liable to sudden outbursts of causeless rage and demoniacal gloom, but I shall be better presently. What a thing it is, that we can't be always innocently merry and happy with those we like best without looking out at the back windows of life! Well, one day perhaps—after a long night—the blinds on that side of the house will be down for ever, and nothing left but the bright prospect in front.

Concerning supper-toast (of which I feel bound to make some mention), you did, as you always do, right, and exactly what was most agreeable to me.

My love to your excellent husband (I wonder whether he and the dining-room have got to rights yet!), and to the jolly little boys and the calm little girl. Somehow, I shall always think of Lord Spencer as eternally walking up and down the platform at Rugby, in a high chill wind, with no apparent hope of a train—as I left him; and somehow I always think of Rockingham, after coming away, as if I belonged to it and had left a bit of my heart behind, which it is so very odd to find wanting twenty times a day.

Ever, dear Mrs. Watson, faithfully yours, and his.

[Sidenote: The same.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Tuesday Night, Jan. 28th, 1851.


I presume you mean Mr. Stafford and Mr. Stopford to pay Wilson (as I have instructed him) a guinea each? Am I right? In that just case I still owe you a guinea for my part. I was going to send you a post-office order for that amount, when a faint sense of absurdity mantled my ingenuous visage with a blush, and I thought it better to owe you the money until we met. I hope it may be soon!

I believe I may lay claim to the mysterious inkstand, also to a volume lettered on the back, "Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea, II.," which I left when I came down at Christmas. Will you take care of them as hostages until we effect an exchange?

Charley went back in great spirits, threatening to write to George. It was a very wet night, and John took him to the railway. He said, on his return: "Mas'r Charles went off very gay, sir. He found some young gen'lemen as was his friends in the train, sir." "Come," said I, "I am glad of that. How many were there? Two or three?" "Oh dear, sir, there was a matter of forty, sir! All with their heads out o' the coach-windows, sir, a-hallooing 'Dickens!' all over the station!"

Her ladyship and the ward of the FIZ-ZISH-UN send their best loves, in which I heartily join. If you and your dear husband come to town before we bring out Bulwer's comedy, I think we must have a snug reading of it.

Ever, dear Mrs. Watson, faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. Mark Lemon.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Friday, Jan. 31st, 1851.


We are deeply sorry to receive the mournful intelligence of your calamity. But we know you will both have found comfort in that blessed belief, from which the sacred figure with the child upon His knee is, in all stages of our lives, inseparable, for of such is the kingdom of God!

We join in affectionate loves to you and your dear wife. She well deserves your praise, I am sure.

Ever affectionately yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. H. Wills.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Monday, Feb. 10th, 1851.


There is a small part in Bulwer's comedy, but very good what there is—not much—my servant, who opens the play, which I should be very glad if you would like to do.

Pray understand that there is no end of men who would do it, and that if you have the least objection to the trouble, I don't make this the expression of a wish even. Otherwise, I would like you to be in the scheme, which is a very great and important one, and which cannot have too many men who are steadily—not flightily, like some of our friends—in earnest, and who are not to be lightly discouraged.

If you do the part, I would like to have a talk with you about the secretarial duties. They must be performed by someone I clearly see, and will require good business direction. I should like to put some young fellow, to whom such work and its remuneration would be an object, under your eye, if we could find one entire and perfect chrysolite anywhere. Let me know whether I am to rate you on the ship's books or not. If yes, consider yourself "called" to the reading (by Macready) at Forster's rooms, on Wednesday, the 19th, at three.

And in the meantime you shall have a proof of the plan.

Ever yours.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Charles Dickens.]

HOTEL WAGRAM, PARIS, Thursday, Feb. 12th, 1851.


I received your letter this morning (on returning from an expedition to a market thirteen miles away, which involved the necessity of getting up at five), and am delighted to have such good accounts of all at home.

We had D'Orsay to dinner yesterday, and I am hurried to dress now, in order to pay a promised visit to his atelier. He was very happy with us, and is much improved both in spirits and looks. Lord and Lady Castlereagh live downstairs here, and we went to them in the evening, and afterwards brought him upstairs to smoke. To-night we are going to see Lemaitre in the renowned "Belphegor" piece. To-morrow at noon we leave Paris for Calais (the Boulogne boat does not serve our turn), and unless the weather for crossing should be absurd, I shall be at home, please God, early on the evening of Saturday. It continues to be delightful weather here—gusty, but very clear and fine. Leech and I had a charming country walk before breakfast this morning at Poissy and enjoyed it very much. The rime was on the grass and trees, and the country most delicious.

Spencer Lyttelton is a capital companion on a trip, and a great addition to the party. We have got on famously and been very facetious. With best love to Georgina and the darlings,

Ever most affectionately.

[Sidenote: Miss Mary Boyle.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Friday Night, late, Feb. 21st, 1851.


I have devoted a couple of hours this evening to going very carefully over your paper (which I had read before) and to endeavouring to bring it closer, and to lighten it, and to give it that sort of compactness which a habit of composition, and of disciplining one's thoughts like a regiment, and of studying the art of putting each soldier into his right place, may have gradually taught me to think necessary. I hope, when you see it in print, you will not be alarmed by my use of the pruning-knife. I have tried to exercise it with the utmost delicacy and discretion, and to suggest to you, especially towards the end, how this sort of writing (regard being had to the size of the journal in which it appears) requires to be compressed, and is made pleasanter by compression. This all reads very solemnly, but only because I want you to read it (I mean the article) with as loving an eye as I have truly tried to touch it with a loving and gentle hand. I propose to call it "My Mahogany Friend." The other name is too long, and I think not attractive. Until I go to the office to-morrow and see what is actually in hand, I am not certain of the number in which it will appear, but Georgy shall write on Monday and tell you. We are always a fortnight in advance of the public or the mechanical work could not be done. I think there are many things in it that are very pretty. The Katie part is particularly well done. If I don't say more, it is because I have a heavy sense, in all cases, of the responsibility of encouraging anyone to enter on that thorny track, where the prizes are so few and the blanks so many; where——

But I won't write you a sermon. With the fire going out, and the first shadows of a new story hovering in a ghostly way about me (as they usually begin to do, when I have finished an old one), I am in danger of doing the heavy business, and becoming a heavy guardian, or something of that sort, instead of the light and airy Joe.

So good-night, and believe that you may always trust me, and never find a grim expression (towards you) in any that I wear.

Ever yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. David Roberts, R.A.]

February 21st, 1851.

Oh my dear Roberts, if you knew the trouble we have had and the money we pay for Drury Lane for one night for the benefit, you would never dream of it for the dinner. There isn't possibility of getting a theatre.

I will do all I can for your charming little daughter, and hope to squeeze in half-a-dozen ladies at the last; but we must not breathe the idea or we shall not dare to execute it, there will be such an outcry.

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. C. Macready.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, February 27th, 1851.


Forster told me to-day that you wish Tennyson's sonnet to be read after your health is given on Saturday. I am perfectly certain that it would not do at that time. I am quite convinced that the audience would not receive it, under these exciting circumstances, as it ought to be received. If I had to read it, I would on no account undertake to do so at that period, in a great room crowded with a dense company. I have an instinctive assurance that it would fail. Being with Bulwer this morning, I communicated your wish to him, and he immediately felt as I do. I could enter into many reasons which induce me to form this opinion. But I believe that you have that confidence in me that I may spare you the statement of them.

I want to know one thing from you. As I shall be obliged to be at the London Tavern in the afternoon of to-morrow, Friday (I write, observe, on Thursday night), I shall be much helped in the arrangements if you will send me your answer by a messenger (addressed here) on the receipt of this. Which would you prefer—that "Auld Lang Syne" should be sung after your health is given and before you return thanks, or after you have spoken?

I cannot forbear a word about last night. I think I have told you sometimes, my much-loved friend, how, when I was a mere boy, I was one of your faithful and devoted adherents in the pit; I believe as true a member of that true host of followers as it has ever boasted. As I improved myself and was improved by favouring circumstances in mind and fortune, I only became the more earnest (if it were possible) in my study of you. No light portion of my life arose before me when the quiet vision to which I am beholden, in I don't know how great a decree, or for how much—who does?—faded so nobly from my bodily eyes last night. And if I were to try to tell you what I felt—of regret for its being past for ever, and of joy in the thought that you could have taken your leave of me but in God's own time—I should only blot this paper with some drops that would certainly not be of ink, and give very faint expression to very strong emotions.

What is all this in writing! It is only some sort of relief to my full heart, and shows very little of it to you; but that's something, so I let it go.

Ever, my dearest Macready, Your most affectionate Friend.

P.S.—My very flourish departs from me for the moment.

[Sidenote: Mr. David Roberts, R.A.]



Mrs. Dickens has been unwell, and I am here with her. I want you to give a quarter of an hour to the perusal of the enclosed prospectus; to consider the immense value of the design, if it be successful, to artists young and old; and then to bestow your favourable consideration on the assistance I am going to ask of you for the sake and in the name of the cause.

For the representation of the new comedy Bulwer has written for us, to start this scheme, I am having an ingenious theatre made by Webster's people, for erection on certain nights in the Hanover Square Rooms. But it will first be put up in the Duke of Devonshire's house, where the first representation will take place before a brilliant company, including (I believe) the Queen.

Now, will you paint us a scene—the scene of which I enclose Bulwer's description from the prompter's book? It will be a cloth with a set-piece. It should be sent to your studio or put up in a theatre painting-room, as you would prefer. I have asked Stanny to do another scene, Edwin Landseer, and Louis Haghe. The Devonshire House performance will probably be on Monday, the 28th of April. I should want to have the scenery complete by the 20th, as it would require to be elaborately worked and rehearsed. You could do it in no time after sending in your pictures, and will you?

What the value of such aid would be I need not say. I say no more of the reasons that induce me to ask it, because if they are not in the prospectus they are nowhere.

On Monday and Tuesday nights I shall be in town for rehearsal, but until then I shall be here. Will you let me have a line from you in reply?

My dear Roberts, ever faithfully yours.

Description of the Scene proposed:


In perspective, an alley inscribed DEADMAN'S LANE; a large, old-fashioned, gloomy, mysterious house in the corner, marked No. 1. (This No. 1, Deadman's Lane, has been constantly referred to in the play as the abode of a mysterious female figure, who enters masked, and passes into this house on the scene being disclosed.) It is night, and there are moonlight mediums.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Charles Dickens.]

H. W. OFFICE, Monday, March 26th, 1851.


I reserve all news of the play until I come down. The Queen appoints the 30th of April. There is no end of trouble.

My father slept well last night, and is as well this morning (they send word) as anyone in such a state, so cut and slashed, can be. I have been waiting at home for Bulwer all the morning (it is now two), and am now waiting for Lemon before I go up there. I will not close this note until I have been.

It is raining here incessantly. The streets are in a most miserable state. A van, containing the goods of some unfortunate family moving, has broken down close outside, and the whole scene is a picture of dreariness.

The children are quite well and very happy. I had Dora down this morning, who was quite charmed to see me. That Miss Ketteridge appointed two to-day for seeing the house, and probably she is at this moment disparaging it.

My father is very weak and low, but not worse, I hope, than might be expected. I am going home to dine with the children. By working here late to-night (coming back after dinner) I can finish what I have to do for the play. Therefore I hope to be with you to-morrow, in good time for dinner.

Ever affectionately.

P.S.—Love to Georgy.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. H. Wills.]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, Thursday Morning, April 3rd, 1851.


I took my threatened walk last night, but it yielded little but generalities.

However, I thought of something for to-night, that I think will make a splendid paper. I have an idea that it might be connected with the gas paper (making gas a great agent in an effective police), and made one of the articles. This is it: "A Night in a Station-house." If you would go down to our friend Mr. Yardley, at Scotland Yard, and get a letter or order to the acting chief authority at that station-house in Bow Street, to enable us to hear the charges, observe the internal economy of the station-house all night, go round to the cells with the visiting policeman, etc., I would stay there, say from twelve to-night to four or five in the morning. We might have a "night-cap," a fire, and some tea at the office hard by. If you could conveniently borrow an hour or two from the night we could both go. If not, I would go alone. It would make a wonderful good paper at a most appropriate time, when the back slums of London are going to be invaded by all sorts of strangers.

You needn't exactly say that I was going in propria (unless it were necessary), and, of course, you wouldn't say that I propose to-night, because I am so worn by the sad arrangements in which I am engaged, and by what led to them, that I cannot take my natural rest. But to-morrow night we go to the gas-works. I might not be so disposed for this station-house observation as I shall be to-night for a long time, and I see a most singular and admirable chance for us in the descriptive way, not to be lost.

Therefore, if you will arrange the thing before I come down at four this afternoon, any of the Scotland Yard people will do it, I should think; if our friend by any accident should not be there, I will go into it.

If they should recommend any other station-house as better for the purpose, or would think it better for us to go to more than one under the guidance of some trustworthy man, of course we will pay any man and do as they recommend. But I think one topping station-house would be best.

Faithfully ever.

P.S.—I write from my bed.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. C. Macready.]

Saturday, May 24th, 1851.


We are getting in a good heap of money for the Guild. The comedy has been very much improved, in many respects, since you read it. The scene to which you refer is certainly one of the most telling in the play. And there is a farce to be produced on Tuesday next, wherein a distinguished amateur will sustain a variety of assumption-parts, and in particular, Samuel Weller and Mrs. Gamp, of which I say no more. I am pining for Broadstairs, where the children are at present. I lurk from the sun, during the best part of the day, in a villainous compound of darkness, canvas, sawdust, general dust, stale gas (involving a vague smell of pepper), and disenchanted properties. But I hope to get down on Wednesday or Thursday.

Ah! you country gentlemen, who live at home at ease, how little do you think of us among the London fleas! But they tell me you are coming in for Dorsetshire. You must be very careful, when you come to town to attend to your parliamentary duties, never to ask your way of people in the streets. They will misdirect you for what the vulgar call "a lark," meaning, in this connection, a jest at your expense. Always go into some respectable shop or apply to a policeman. You will know him by his being dressed in blue, with very dull silver buttons, and by the top of his hat being made of sticking-plaster. You may perhaps see in some odd place an intelligent-looking man, with a curious little wooden table before him and three thimbles on it. He will want you to bet, but don't do it. He really desires to cheat you. And don't buy at auctions where the best plated goods are being knocked down for next to nothing. These, too, are delusions. If you wish to go to the play to see real good acting (though a little more subdued than perfect tragedy should be), I would recommend you to see —— at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Anybody will show it to you. It is near the Strand, and you may know it by seeing no company whatever at any of the doors. Cab fares are eightpence a mile. A mile London measure is half a Dorsetshire mile, recollect. Porter is twopence per pint; what is called stout is fourpence. The Zoological Gardens are in the Regent's Park, and the price of admission is one shilling. Of the streets, I would recommend you to see Regent Street and the Quadrant, Bond Street, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, and Cheapside. I think these will please you after a time, though the tumult and bustle will at first bewilder you. If I can serve you in any way, pray command me. And with my best regards to your happy family, so remote from this Babel,

Believe me, my dear Friend, Ever affectionately yours.

P.S.—I forgot to mention just now that the black equestrian figure you will see at Charing Cross, as you go down to the House, is a statue of King Charles the First.

[Sidenote: The Earl of Carlisle.]

BROADSTAIRS, July 8th, 1851.


We shall be delighted to see you, if you will come down on Saturday. Mr. Lemon may perhaps be here, with his wife, but no one else. And we can give you a bed that may be surpassed, with a welcome that certainly cannot be.

The general character of Broadstairs as to size and accommodation was happily expressed by Miss Eden, when she wrote to the Duke of Devonshire (as he told me), saying how grateful she felt to a certain sailor, who asked leave to see her garden, for not plucking it bodily up, and sticking it in his button-hole.

As we think of putting mignonette-boxes outside the windows, for the younger children to sleep in by-and-by, I am afraid we should give your servant the cramp if we hardily undertook to lodge him. But in case you should decide to bring one, he is easily disposable hard by.

Don't come by the boat. It is rather tedious, and both departs and arrives at inconvenient hours. There is a railway train from the Dover terminus to Ramsgate, at half-past twelve in the day, which will bring you in three hours. Another at half-past four in the afternoon. If you will tell me by which you come (I hope the former), I will await you at the terminus with my little brougham.

You will have for a night-light in the room we shall give you, the North Foreland lighthouse. That and the sea and air are our only lions. It is a very rough little place, but a very pleasant one, and you will make it pleasanter than ever to me.

Faithfully yours always.

[Sidenote: The Hon. Mrs. Watson.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, July 11th, 1851.


I am so desperately indignant with you for writing me that short apology for a note, and pretending to suppose that under any circumstances I could fail to read with interest anything you wrote to me, that I have more than half a mind to inflict a regular letter upon you. If I were not the gentlest of men I should do it!

Poor dear Haldimand, I have thought of him so often. That kind of decay is so inexpressibly affecting and piteous to me, that I have no words to express my compassion and sorrow. When I was at Abbotsford, I saw in a vile glass case the last clothes Scott wore. Among them an old white hat, which seemed to be tumbled and bent and broken by the uneasy, purposeless wandering, hither and thither, of his heavy head. It so embodied Lockhart's pathetic description of him when he tried to write, and laid down his pen and cried, that it associated itself in my mind with broken powers and mental weakness from that hour. I fancy Haldimand in such another, going listlessly about that beautiful place, and remembering the happy hours we have passed with him, and his goodness and truth. I think what a dream we live in, until it seems for the moment the saddest dream that ever was dreamed. Pray tell us if you hear more of him. We really loved him.

To go to the opposite side of life, let me tell you that a week or so ago I took Charley and three of his schoolfellows down the river gipsying. I secured the services of Charley's godfather (an old friend of mine, and a noble fellow with boys), and went down to Slough, accompanied by two immense hampers from Fortnum and Mason, on (I believe) the wettest morning ever seen out of the tropics.

It cleared before we got to Slough; but the boys, who had got up at four (we being due at eleven), had horrible misgivings that we might not come, in consequence of which we saw them looking into the carriages before us, all face. They seemed to have no bodies whatever, but to be all face; their countenances lengthened to that surprising extent. When they saw us, the faces shut up as if they were upon strong springs, and their waistcoats developed themselves in the usual places. When the first hamper came out of the luggage-van, I was conscious of their dancing behind the guard; when the second came out with bottles in it, they all stood wildly on one leg. We then got a couple of flys to drive to the boat-house. I put them in the first, but they couldn't sit still a moment, and were perpetually flying up and down like the toy figures in the sham snuff-boxes. In this order we went on to "Tom Brown's, the tailor's," where they all dressed in aquatic costume, and then to the boat-house, where they all cried in shrill chorus for "Mahogany"—a gentleman, so called by reason of his sunburnt complexion, a waterman by profession. (He was likewise called during the day "Hog" and "Hogany," and seemed to be unconscious of any proper name whatsoever.) We embarked, the sun shining now, in a galley with a striped awning, which I had ordered for the purpose, and all rowing hard, went down the river. We dined in a field; what I suffered for fear those boys should get drunk, the struggles I underwent in a contest of feeling between hospitality and prudence, must ever remain untold. I feel, even now, old with the anxiety of that tremendous hour. They were very good, however. The speech of one became thick, and his eyes too like lobsters' to be comfortable, but only temporarily. He recovered, and I suppose outlived the salad he took. I have heard nothing to the contrary, and I imagine I should have been implicated on the inquest if there had been one. We had tea and rashers of bacon at a public-house, and came home, the last five or six miles in a prodigious thunderstorm. This was the great success of the day, which they certainly enjoyed more than anything else. The dinner had been great, and Mahogany had informed them, after a bottle of light champagne, that he never would come up the river "with ginger company" any more. But the getting so completely wet through was the culminating part of the entertainment. You never in your life saw such objects as they were; and their perfect unconsciousness that it was at all advisable to go home and change, or that there was anything to prevent their standing at the station two mortal hours to see me off, was wonderful. As to getting them to their dames with any sort of sense that they were damp, I abandoned the idea. I thought it a success when they went down the street as civilly as if they were just up and newly dressed, though they really looked as if you could have rubbed them to rags with a touch, like saturated curl-paper.

I am sorry you have not been able to see our play, which I suppose you won't now, for I take it you are not going on Monday, the 21st, our last night in town? It is worth seeing, not for the getting up (which modesty forbids me to approve), but for the little bijou it is, in the scenery, dresses, and appointments. They are such as never can be got together again, because such men as Stanfield, Roberts, Grieve, Haghe, Egg, and others, never can be again combined in such a work. Everything has been done at its best from all sorts of authorities, and it is really very beautiful to look at.

I find I am "used up" by the Exhibition. I don't say "there is nothing in it"—there's too much. I have only been twice; so many things bewildered me. I have a natural horror of sights, and the fusion of so many sights in one has not decreased it. I am not sure that I have seen anything but the fountain and perhaps the Amazon. It is a dreadful thing to be obliged to be false, but when anyone says, "Have you seen ——?" I say, "Yes," because if I don't, I know he'll explain it, and I can't bear that. —— took all the school one day. The school was composed of a hundred "infants," who got among the horses' legs in crossing to the main entrance from the Kensington Gate, and came reeling out from between the wheels of coaches undisturbed in mind. They were clinging to horses, I am told, all over the park.

When they were collected and added up by the frantic monitors, they were all right. They were then regaled with cake, etc., and went tottering and staring all over the place; the greater part wetting their forefingers and drawing a wavy pattern on every accessible object. One infant strayed. He was not missed. Ninety and nine were taken home, supposed to be the whole collection, but this particular infant went to Hammersmith. He was found by the police at night, going round and round the turnpike, which he still supposed to be a part of the Exhibition. He had the same opinion of the police, also of Hammersmith workhouse, where he passed the night. When his mother came for him in the morning, he asked when it would be over? It was a great Exhibition, he said, but he thought it long.

As I begin to have a foreboding that you will think the same of this act of vengeance of mine, this present letter, I shall make an end of it, with my heartiest and most loving remembrances to Watson. I should have liked him of all things to have been in the Eton expedition, tell him, and to have heard a song (by-the-bye, I have forgotten that) sung in the thunderstorm, solos by Charley, chorus by the friends, describing the career of a booby who was plucked at college, every verse ending:

I don't care a fig what the people may think, But what WILL the governor say!

which was shouted with a deferential jollity towards myself, as a governor who had that day done a creditable action, and proved himself worthy of all confidence.

With love to the boys and girls, Ever, dear Mrs. Watson, Most sincerely yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. Frank Stone.]

"HOUSEHOLD WORDS," Sunday, July 20th, 1851.


I have been considering the great house question since you kindly called yesterday evening, and come to the conclusion that I had better not let it go. I am convinced it is the prudent thing for me to do, and that I am very unlikely to find the same comforts for the rising generation elsewhere, for the same money. Therefore, as Robins no doubt understands that you would come to me yesterday—passing his life as he does amidst every possible phase of such negotiations—I think it hardly worth while to wait for the receipt of his coming letter. If you will take the trouble to call on him in the morning, and offer the L1,450, I shall be very much obliged to you. If you will receive from me full power to conclude the purchase (subject of course to my solicitor's approval of the lease), pray do. I give you carte blanche to L1,500, but I think the L1,450 ought to win the day.

I don't make any apologies for thrusting this honour upon you, knowing what a thorough-going old pump you are. Lemon and his wife are coming here, after the rehearsal, to a gipsy sort of cold dinner. Time, half-past three. Viands, pickled salmon and cold pigeon-pie. Occupation afterwards, lying on the carpet as a preparation for histrionic strength. Will you come with us from the Hanover Square Rooms?

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mr. Charles Knight.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, Sunday, July 27th, 1851.


A most excellent Shadow![13] I have sent it up to the printer, and Wills is to send you a proof. Will you look carefully at all the earlier part, where the use of the past tense instead of the present a little hurts the picturesque effect? I understand each phase of the thing to be always a thing present before the mind's eye—a shadow passing before it. Whatever is done, must be doing. Is it not so? For example, if I did the Shadow of Robinson Crusoe, I should not say he was a boy at Hull, when his father lectured him about going to sea, and so forth; but he is a boy at Hull. There he is, in that particular Shadow, eternally a boy at Hull; his life to me is a series of shadows, but there is no "was" in the case. If I choose to go to his manhood, I can. These shadows don't change as realities do. No phase of his existence passes away, if I choose to bring it to this unsubstantial and delightful life, the only death of which, to me, is my death, and thus he is immortal to unnumbered thousands. If I am right, will you look at the proof through the first third or half of the papers, and see whether the Factor comes before us in that way? If not, it is merely the alteration of the verb here and there that is requisite.

You say you are coming down to look for a place next week. Now, Jerrold says he is coming on Thursday, by the cheap express at half-past twelve, to return with me for the play early on Monday morning. Can't you make that holiday too? I have promised him our only spare bed, but we'll find you a bed hard by, and shall be delighted "to eat and drink you," as an American once wrote to me. We will make expeditions to Herne Bay, Canterbury, where not? and drink deep draughts of fresh air. Come! They are beginning to cut the corn. You will never see the country so pretty. If you stay in town these days, you'll do nothing. I feel convinced you'll not buy the "Memoirs of a Man of Quality." Say you'll come!

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mr. Frank Stone.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, Saturday, August 23rd, 1851.


A "dim vision" occurs to me, arising out of your note; also presents itself to the brains of my other half.

Supposing you should find, on looking onward, a possibility of your being houseless at Michaelmas, what do you say to using Devonshire Terrace as a temporary encampment? It will not be in its usual order, but we would take care that there should be as much useful furniture of all sorts there, as to render it unnecessary for you to move a stick. If you should think this a convenience, then I should propose to you to pile your furniture in the middle of the rooms at Tavistock House, and go out to Devonshire Terrace two or three weeks before Michaelmas, to enable my workmen to commence their operations. This might be to our mutual convenience, and therefore I suggest it. Certainly the sooner I can begin on Tavistock House the better. And possibly your going into Devonshire Terrace might relieve you from a difficulty that would otherwise be perplexing.

I make this suggestion (I need not say to you) solely on the chance of its being useful to both of us. If it were merely convenient to me, you know I shouldn't dream of it. Such an arrangement, while it would cost you nothing, would perhaps enable you to get your new house into order comfortably, and do exactly the same thing for me.

Ever affectionately.

P.S.—I anticipated your suggestion some weeks ago, when I found I couldn't build a stable. I said I ought to have permission to take the piece of ground into my garden, which was conceded. Loaden writes me this morning that he thinks he can get permission to build a stable one storey high, without a chimney. I reply that on the whole I would rather enlarge the garden than build a stable with those restrictions.

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Austin.]

BROADSTAIRS, Sunday, September 7th, 1851.


I am in that state of mind which you may (once) have seen described in the newspapers as "bordering on distraction;" the house given up to me, the fine weather going on (soon to break, I daresay), the painting season oozing away, my new book waiting to be born, and


along of my not hearing from you!! I have torn all my hair off, and constantly beat my unoffending family. Wild notions have occurred to me of sending in my own plumber to do the drains. Then I remember that you have probably written to prepare your man, and restrain my audacious hand. Then Stone presents himself, with a most exasperatingly mysterious visage, and says that a rat has appeared in the kitchen, and it's his opinion (Stone's, not the rat's) that the drains want "compo-ing;" for the use of which explicit language I could fell him without remorse. In my horrible desire to "compo" everything, the very postman becomes my enemy because he brings no letter from you; and, in short, I don't see what's to become of me unless I hear from you to-morrow, which I have not the least expectation of doing.

Going over the house again, I have materially altered the plans—abandoned conservatory and front balcony—decided to make Stone's painting-room the drawing-room (it is nearly six inches higher than the room below), to carry the entrance passage right through the house to a back door leading to the garden, and to reduce the once intended drawing-room—now school-room—to a manageable size, making a door of communication between the new drawing-room and the study. Curtains and carpets, on a scale of awful splendour and magnitude, are already in preparation, and still—still—


To pursue this theme is madness. Where are you? When are you coming home? Where is the man who is to do the work? Does he know that an army of artificers must be turned in at once, and the whole thing finished out of hand? O rescue me from my present condition. Come up to the scratch, I entreat and implore you!

I send this to Laetitia to forward,

Being, as you well know why, Completely floored by N. W., I Sleep.

I hope you may be able to read this. My state of mind does not admit of coherence.

Ever affectionately.


Ha! ha! ha! (I am laughing demoniacally.)

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Austin.]

BROADSTAIRS, Sunday, September 21st, 1851.


It is quite clear we could do nothing else with the drains than what you have done. Will it be at all a heavy item in the estimate?

If there be the least chance of a necessity for the pillar, let us have it. Let us dance in peace, whatever we do, and only go into the kitchen by the staircase.

Have they cut the door between the drawing-room and the study yet? The foreman will let Shoolbred know when the feat is accomplished.

O! and did you tell him of another brass ventilator in the dining-room, opening into the dining-room flue?

I don't think I shall come to town until you want to show the progress, whenever that may be. I shall look forward to another dinner, and I think we must encourage the Oriental, for the goodness of its wine.

I am getting a complete set of a certain distinguished author's works prepared for a certain distinguished architect, which I hope he will accept, as a slight, though very inadequate, etc. etc.; affectionate, etc.; so heartily and kindly taking so much interest, etc. etc.

Love to Laetitia. Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Austin.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, October 7th, 1851.


O! O! O! D—— the Pantechnicon. O!

I will be at Tavistock House at twelve on Saturday, and then will wait for you until I see you. If we return together—as I hope we shall—our express will start at half-past four, and we ought to dine (somewhere about Temple Bar) at three.

The infamous —— says the stoves shall be fixed to-morrow.

O! if this were to last long; the distraction of the new book, the whirling of the story through one's mind, escorted by workmen, the imbecility, the wild necessity of beginning to write, the not being able to do so, the, O! I should go—— O!

Ever affectionately.

P.S.—None. I have torn it off.

[Sidenote: Miss Mary Boyle.]

BROADSTAIRS, KENT, October 10th, 1851.



Your remembrance at such a time—not thrown away upon me, trust me—is a sufficient assurance that you know how truly I feel towards you, and with what an earnest sympathy I must think of you now.

God be with you! There is indeed nothing terrible in such a death, nothing that we would undo, nothing that we may remember otherwise than with deeply thankful, though with softened hearts.

Kate sends you her affectionate love. I enclose a note from Georgina. Pray give my kindest remembrances to your brother Cavendish, and believe me now and ever,

Faithfully your Friend.

[Sidenote: Mr. Eeles.]

"HOUSEHOLD WORDS" OFFICE, Wednesday Evening, Oct. 22nd, 1851.


I send you the list I have made for the book-backs. I should like the "History of a Short Chancery Suit" to come at the bottom of one recess, and the "Catalogue of Statues of the Duke of Wellington" at the bottom of the other. If you should want more titles, and will let me know how many, I will send them to you.

Faithfully yours.


Tavistock House, 1851.

Five Minutes in China. 3 vols. Forty Winks at the Pyramids. 2 vols. Abernethy on the Constitution. 2 vols. Mr. Green's Overland Mail. 2 vols. Captain Cook's Life of Savage. 2 vols. A Carpenter's Bench of Bishops. 2 vols. Toot's Universal Letter-Writer. 2 vols. Orson's Art of Etiquette. Downeaster's Complete Calculator. History of the Middling Ages. 6 vols. Jonah's Account of the Whale. Captain Parry's Virtues of Cold Tar. Kant's Ancient Humbugs. 10 vols. Bowwowdom. A Poem. The Quarrelly Review. 4 vols. The Gunpowder Magazine. 4 vols. Steele. By the Author of "Ion." The Art of Cutting the Teeth. Matthew's Nursery Songs. 2 vols. Paxton's Bloomers. 5 vols. On the Use of Mercury by the Ancient Poets. Drowsy's Recollections of Nothing. 3 vols. Heavyside's Conversations with Nobody. 3 vols. Commonplace Book of the Oldest Inhabitant. 2 vols. Growler's Gruffiology, with Appendix. 4 vols. The Books of Moses and Sons. 2 vols. Burke (of Edinburgh) on the Sublime and Beautiful. 2 vols. Teazer's Commentaries. King Henry the Eighth's Evidences of Christianity. 5 vols. Miss Biffin on Deportment. Morrison's Pills Progress. 2 vols. Lady Godiva on the Horse. Munchausen's Modern Miracles. 4 vols. Richardson's Show of Dramatic Literature. 12 vols. Hansard's Guide to Refreshing Sleep. As many volumes as possible.

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Austin.]

OFFICE OF "HOUSEHOLD WORDS," Saturday, Oct. 25th, 1851.


On the day of our departure, I thought we were going—backward—at a most triumphant pace; but yesterday we rather recovered. The painters still mislaid their brushes every five minutes, and chiefly whistled in the intervals; and the carpenters (especially the Pantechnicon) continued to look sideways with one eye down pieces of wood, as if they were absorbed in the contemplation of the perspective of the Thames Tunnel, and had entirely relinquished the vanities of this transitory world; but still there was an improvement, and it is confirmed to-day. White lime is to be seen in kitchens, the bath-room is gradually resolving itself from an abstract idea into a fact—youthful, extremely youthful, but a fact. The drawing-room encourages no hope whatever, nor the study. Staircase painted. Irish labourers howling in the school-room, but I don't know why. I see nothing. Gardener vigorously lopping the trees, and really letting in the light and air. Foreman sweet-tempered but uneasy. Inimitable hovering gloomily through the premises all day, with an idea that a little more work is done when he flits, bat-like, through the rooms, than when there is no one looking on. Catherine all over paint. Mister McCann, encountering Inimitable in doorways, fades obsequiously into areas, and there encounters him again, and swoons with confusion. Several reams of blank paper constantly spread on the drawing-room walls, and sliced off again, which looks like insanity. Two men still clinking at the new stair-rails. I think they must be learning a tune; I cannot make out any other object in their proceedings.

Since writing the above, I have been up there again, and found the young paper-hanger putting on his slippers, and looking hard at the walls of the servants' room at the top of the house, as if he meant to paper it one of these days. May Heaven prosper his intentions!

When do you come back? I hope soon.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Charles Dickens.]

CLIFTON, November 13th, 1851.


I have just received your second letter, and am quite delighted to find that all is going on so vigorously, and that you are in such a methodical, business-like, and energetic state. I shall come home by the express on Saturday morning, and shall hope to be at home between eleven and twelve.

We had a noble night last night. The room (which is the largest but one in England) was crammed in every part. The effect of from thirteen to fourteen hundred people, all well dressed, and all seated in one unbroken chamber, except that the floor rose high towards the end of the hall, was most splendid, and we never played to a better audience. The enthusiasm was prodigious; the place delightful for speaking in; no end of gas; another hall for a dressing-room; an immense stage; and every possible convenience. We were all thoroughly pleased, I think, with the whole thing, and it was a very great and striking success. To-morrow-night, having the new Hardman, I am going to try the play with all kinds of cuts, taking out, among other things, some half-dozen printed pages of "Wills's Coffee House."

We are very pleasant and cheerful. They are all going to Matthew Davenport Hill's to lunch this morning, and to see some woods about six or seven miles off. I prefer being quiet, and shall go out at my leisure and call on Elliot. We are very well lodged and boarded, and, living high up on the Downs, are quite out of the filth of Bristol.

I saw old Landor at Bath, who has bronchitis. When he was last in town, "Kenyon drove him about, by God, half the morning, under a most damnable pretence of taking him to where Walter was at school, and they never found the confounded house!" He had in his pocket on that occasion a souvenir for Walter in the form of a Union shirt-pin, which is now in my possession, and shall be duly brought home.

I am tired enough, and shall be glad when to-morrow night is over. We expect a very good house. Forster came up to town after the performance last night, and promised to report to you that all was well. Jerrold is in extraordinary force. I don't think I ever knew him so humorous. And this is all my news, which is quite enough. I am continually thinking of the house in the midst of all the bustle, but I trust it with such confidence to you that I am quite at my ease about it.

With best love to Georgy and the girls, Ever, my dearest Kate, most affectionately yours.

P.S.—I forgot to say that Topham has suddenly come out as a juggler, and swallows candles, and does wonderful things with the poker very well indeed, but with a bashfulness and embarrassment extraordinarily ludicrous.

[Sidenote: Mr. Eeles.]



I must thank you for the admirable manner in which you have done the book-backs in my room. I feel personally obliged to you, I assure you, for the interest you have taken in my whim, and the promptitude with which you have completely carried it out.

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Gaskell.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Thursday Afternoon, Dec. 5th, 1851.


I write in great haste to tell you that Mr. Wills, in the utmost consternation, has brought me your letter, just received (four o'clock), and that it is too late to recall your tale. I was so delighted with it that I put it first in the number (not hearing of any objection to my proposed alteration by return of post), and the number is now made up and in the printer's hands. I cannot possibly take the tale out—it has departed from me.

I am truly concerned for this, but I hope you will not blame me for what I have done in perfect good faith. Any recollection of me from your pen cannot (as I think you know) be otherwise than truly gratifying to me; but with my name on every page of "Household Words," there would be—or at least I should feel—an impropriety in so mentioning myself. I was particular, in changing the author, to make it "Hood's Poems" in the most important place—I mean where the captain is killed—and I hope and trust that the substitution will not be any serious drawback to the paper in any eyes but yours. I would do anything rather than cause you a minute's vexation arising out of what has given me so much pleasure, and I sincerely beseech you to think better of it, and not to fancy that any shade has been thrown on your charming writing, by

The unfortunate but innocent.

P.S.—I write at a gallop, not to lose another post.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Gaskell.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Sunday, December 21st, 1851.


If you were not the most suspicious of women, always looking for soft sawder in the purest metal of praise, I should call your paper delightful, and touched in the tenderest and most delicate manner. Being what you are, I confine myself to the observation that I have called it "A Love Affair at Cranford," and sent it off to the printer.

Faithfully yours ever.

[Sidenote: Mr. Peter Cunningham.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, December 26th, 1851.


About the three papers.

1st. With Mr. Plowman of Oxford, Wills will communicate.

2nd. (Now returned.) I have seen, in nearly the same form, before. The list of names is overwhelming.

3rd. I am not at all earnest in the Savage matter; firstly, because I think so tremendous a vagabond never could have obtained an honest living in any station of existence or at any period of time; and secondly, because I think it of the highest importance that such an association as our Guild should not appear to resent upon society the faults of individuals who were flagrantly impracticable.

At its best, it is liable to that suspicion, as all such efforts have been on the part of many jealous persons, to whom it must look for aid. And any stop that in the least encourages it is one of a fatal kind.

I do not think myself, but this is merely an individual opinion, that Savage was a man of genius, or that anything of his writing would have attracted much notice but for the bastard's reference to his mother. For these reasons combined, I should not be inclined to add my subscription of two guineas to yours, unless the inscription were altered as I have altered it in pencil. But in that case I should be very glad to respond to your suggestion, and to snuff out all my smaller disinclination.

Faithfully yours ever.


[13] Mr. Charles Knight was writing a series of papers in "Household Words," called "Shadows."



In the summer of this year, Charles Dickens hired a house at Dover for three months, whither he went with his family. At the end of this time he sent his children and servants back to Tavistock House, and crossed over to Boulogne, with his wife and sister-in-law, to inspect that town and its neighbourhood, with a view of making it his summer quarters in the following year. Many amateur performances were given in the provinces in aid of the fund for the Guild of Literature and Art; Charles Dickens, as usual, taking the whole management on his own shoulders.

In March, the first number of "Bleak House" appeared, and he was at work on this book all through the year, as well as being constantly occupied with his editorship of "Household Words."

We have, in the letters for this year, Charles Dickens's first to Lord John Russell (afterwards the Earl Russell); a friend whom he held in the highest estimation, and to whom he was always grateful for many personal kindnesses. We have also his first letter to Mr. Wilkie Collins, with whom he became most intimately associated in literary work. The affectionate friendship he had for him, the high value in which he held him as a brother-artist, are constantly expressed in Charles Dickens's own letters to Mr. Collins, and in his letters to other friends.

"Those gallant men" (in the letter to Mr. J. Crofton Croker) had reference to an antiquarian club, called the Noviomagians, who were about to give a dinner in honour of Sir Edward Belcher and Captain Kellett, the officers in command of the Arctic Exploring Expedition, to which Charles Dickens was also invited. Mr. Crofton Croker was the president of this club, and to denote his office it was customary to put on a cocked hat after dinner.

The "lost character" he writes of in a letter to Mrs. Watson, refers to two different decipherings of his handwriting; this sort of study being in fashion then, and he and his friends at Rockingham Castle deriving much amusement from it.

The letter dated July 9th was in answer to an anonymous correspondent, who wrote to him as follows: "I venture to trespass on your attention with one serious query, touching a sentence in the last number of 'Bleak House.' Do the supporters of Christian missions to the heathen really deserve the attack that is conveyed in the sentence about Jo' seated in his anguish on the door-step of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts? The allusion is severe, but is it just? Are such boys as Jo' neglected? What are ragged schools, town missions, and many of those societies I regret to see sneered at in the last number of 'Household Words'?"

The "Duke of Middlesex," in the letter we have here to Mr. Charles Knight, was the name of the character played by Mr. F. Stone, in Sir E. B. Lytton's comedy of "Not so Bad as we Seem."

Our last letter in this year, to Mr. G. Linnaeus Banks, was in acknowledgment of one from him on the subject of a proposed public dinner to Charles Dickens, to be given by the people of Birmingham, when they were also to present him with a salver and a diamond ring. The dinner was given in the following year, and the ring and salver (the latter an artistic specimen of Birmingham ware) were duly presented by Mr. Banks, who acted as honorary secretary, in the names of the subscribers, at the rooms of the Birmingham Fine Arts Association. Mr. Banks, and the artist, Mr. J. C. Walker, were the originators of this demonstration.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. C. Macready.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, January 31st, 1852.


If the "taxes on knowledge" mean the stamp duty, the paper duty, and the advertisement duty, they seem to me to be unnecessarily confounded, and unfairly too.

I have already declined to sign a petition for the removal of the stamp duty on newspapers. I think the reduced duty is some protection to the public against the rash and hasty launching of blackguard newspapers. I think the newspapers are made extremely accessible to the poor man at present, and that he would not derive the least benefit from the abolition of the stamp. It is not at all clear to me, supposing he wants The Times a penny cheaper, that he would get it a penny cheaper if the tax were taken off. If he supposes he would get in competition two or three new journals as good to choose from, he is mistaken; not knowing the immense resources and the gradually perfective machinery necessary to the production of such a journal. It appears to me to be a fair tax enough, very little in the way of individuals, not embarrassing to the public in its mode of being levied, and requiring some small consideration and pauses from the American kind of newspaper projectors. Further, a committee has reported in favour of the repeal, and the subject may be held to need no present launching.

The repeal of the paper duty would benefit the producers of periodicals immensely. It would make a very large difference to me, in the case of such a journal as "Household Words." But the gain to the public would be very small. It would not make the difference of enabling me, for example, to reduce the price of "Household Words," by its fractional effect upon a copy, or to increase the quantity of matter. I might, in putting the difference into my pocket, improve the quality of the paper a little, but not one man in a thousand would notice it. It might (though I am not sure even of this) remove the difficulties in the way of a deserving periodical with a small sale. Charles Knight holds that it would. But the case, on the whole, appeared to me so slight, when I went to Downing Street with a deputation on the subject, that I said (in addressing the Chancellor of the Exchequer) I could not honestly maintain it for a moment as against the soap duty, or any other pressing on the mass of the poor.

The advertisement duty has this preposterous anomaly, that a footman in want of a place pays as much in the way of tax for the expression of his want, as Professor Holloway pays for the whole list of his miraculous cures.

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