The Letters of Charles Dickens - Vol. 3 (of 3), 1836-1870
by Charles Dickens
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How two men can have gone, one after the other, to the Camp, and have written nothing about it, passes my comprehension. I have been in great doubt about the end of ——. I wish you would suggest to him from me, when you see him, how wrong it is. Surely he cannot be insensible to the fact that military preparations in England at this time mean Defence. Woman, says ——, means Home, love, children, Mother. Does he not find any protection for these things in a wise and moderate means of Defence; and is not the union between these things and those means one of the most natural, significant, and plain in the world?

I wish you would send friend Barnard here a set of "Household Words," in a paid parcel (on the other side is an inscription to be neatly pasted into vol. i. before sending), with a post-letter beforehand from yourself, saying that I had begged you to forward the books, feeling so much obliged to him for his uniform attention and politeness. Also that you will not fail to continue his set, as successive volumes appear.


We have had a tremendous sea here. Steam-packet in the harbour frantic, and dashing her brains out against the stone walls.

Ever faithfully.

[Sidenote: Rev. James White.]

BOULOGNE, September 30th, 1853.


As you wickedly failed in your truth to the writer of books you adore, I write something that I hoped to have said, and meant to have said, in the confidence of the Pavilion among the trees.

Will you write another story for the Christmas No.? It will be exactly (I mean the Xmas No.) on the same plan as the last.

I shall be at the office from Monday to Thursday, and shall hope to receive a cheery "Yes," in reply.

Loves from all to all, and my particular love to Mrs. White.

Ever cordially yours.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Charles Dickens.]

HOTEL DE LONDRES, CHAMOUNIX, Thursday Night, 20th October, 1853.


We[55] came here last night after a very long journey over very bad roads, from Geneva, and leave here (for Montigny, by the Tete Noire) at 6 to-morrow morning. Next morning early we mean to try the Simplon.

After breakfast to-day we ascended to the Mer de Glace—wonderfully different at this time of the year from when we saw it—a great portion of the ascent being covered with snow, and the climbing very difficult. Regardless of my mule, I walked up and walked down again, to the great admiration of the guides, who pronounced me "an Intrepid." The little house at the top being closed for the winter, and Edward having forgotten to carry any brandy, we had nothing to drink at the top—which was a considerable disappointment to the Inimitable, who was streaming with perspiration from head to foot. But we made a fire in the snow with some sticks, and after a not too comfortable rest came down again. It took a long time—from 10 to 3.

The appearance of Chamounix at this time of year is very remarkable. The travellers are over for the season, the inns are generally shut up, all the people who can afford it are moving off to Geneva, the snow is low on the mountains, and the general desolation and grandeur extraordinarily fine. I wanted to pass by the Col de Balme, but the snow lies too deep upon it.

You would have been quite delighted if you could have seen the warmth of our old Lausanne friends, and the heartiness with which they crowded down on a fearfully bad morning to see us off. We passed the night at the Ecu de Geneve, in the rooms once our old rooms—at that time (the day before yesterday) occupied by the Queen of the French (ex- I mean) and Prince Joinville and his family.

Tell Sydney that all the way here from Geneva, and up to the Sea of Ice this morning, I wore his knitting, which was very comfortable indeed. I mean to wear it on the long mule journey to Martigny to-morrow.

We get on extremely well. Edward continues as before. He had never been here, and I took him up to the Mer de Glace this morning, and had a mule for him.

I shall leave this open, as usual, to add a word or two on our arrival at Martigny. We have had an amusingly absurd incident this afternoon. When we came here, I saw added to the hotel—our old hotel, and I am now writing in the room where we once dined at the table d'hote—some baths, cold and hot, down on the margin of the torrent below. This induced us to order three hot baths. Thereupon the keys of the bath-rooms were found with immense difficulty, women ran backwards and forwards across the bridge, men bore in great quantities of wood, a horrible furnace was lighted, and a smoke was raised which filled the whole valley. This began at half-past three, and we congratulated each other on the distinction we should probably acquire by being the cause of the conflagration of the whole village. We sat by the fire until half-past five (dinner-time), and still no baths. Then Edward came up to say that the water was as yet only "tippit," which we suppose to be tepid, but that by half-past eight it would be in a noble state. Ever since the smoke has poured forth in enormous volume, and the furnace has blazed, and the women have gone and come over the bridge, and piles of wood have been carried in; but we observe a general avoidance of us by the establishment which still looks like failure. We have had a capital dinner, the dessert whereof is now on the table. When we arrived, at nearly seven last night, all the linen in the house, newly washed, was piled in the sitting-room, all the curtains were taken down, and all the chairs piled bottom upwards. They cleared away as much as they could directly, and had even got the curtains up at breakfast this morning.

I am looking forward to letters at Genoa, though I doubt if we shall get there (supposing all things right at the Simplon) before Monday night or Tuesday morning. I found there last night what F—— would call "Mr. Smith's" story of Mont Blanc, and took it to bed to read. It is extremely well and unaffectedly done. You would be interested in it.

MARTIGNY, Friday Afternoon, October 21st.

Safely arrived here after a most delightful day, without a cloud. I walked the whole way. The scenery most beautifully presented. We are in the hotel where our old St. Bernard party assembled.

I should like to see you all very much indeed.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: The same.]

HOTEL DE LA VILLE, MILAN, 25th October, 1853.


The road from Chamounix here takes so much more time than I supposed (for I travelled it day and night, and my companions don't at all understand the idea of never going to bed) that we only reached Milan last night, though we had been travelling twelve and fifteen hours a day. We crossed the Simplon on Sunday, when there was not (as there is not now) a particle of cloud in the whole sky, and when the pass was as nobly grand and beautiful as it possibly can be. There was a good deal of snow upon the top, but not across the road, which had been cleared. We crossed the Austrian frontier yesterday, and, both there and at the gate of Milan, received all possible consideration and politeness.

I have not seen Bairr yet. He has removed from the old hotel to a larger one at a few hours' distance. The head-waiter remembered me very well last night after I had talked to him a little while, and was greatly interested in hearing about all the family, and about poor Roche. The boy we used to have at Lausanne is now seventeen-and-a-half—very tall, he says. The elder girl, fifteen, very like her mother, but taller and more beautiful. He described poor Mrs. Bairr's death (I am speaking of the head-waiter before mentioned) in most vivacious Italian. It was all over in ten minutes, he said. She put her hands to her head one day, down in the courtyard, and cried out that she heard little bells ringing violently in her ears. They sent off for Bairr, who was close by. When she saw him, she stretched out her arms, said in English, "Adieu, my dear!" and fell dead. He has not married again, and he never will. She was a good woman (my friend went on), excellent woman, full of charity, loved the poor, but un poco furiosa—that was nothing!

The new hotel is just like the old one, admirably kept, excellently furnished, and a model of comfort. I hope to be at Genoa on Thursday morning, and to find your letter there. We have agreed to drop Sicily, and to return home by way of Marseilles. Our projected time for reaching London is the 10th of December.

As this house is full, I daresay we shall meet some one we know at the table d'hote to-day. It is extraordinary that the only travellers we have encountered, since we left Paris, have been one horribly vapid Englishman and wife whom we dropped at Basle, one boring Englishman whom we found (and, thank God, left) at Geneva, and two English maiden ladies, whom we found sitting on a rock (with parasols) the day before yesterday, in the most magnificent part of the Gorge of Gondo, the most awful portion of the Simplon—there awaiting their travelling chariot, in which, with their money, their parasols, and a perfect shop of baskets, they were carefully locked up by an English servant in sky blue and silver buttons. We have been in the most extraordinary vehicles—like swings, like boats, like Noah's arks, like barges and enormous bedsteads. After dark last night, a landlord, where we changed horses, discovered that the luggage would certainly be stolen from questo porco d'uno carro—this pig of a cart—his complimentary description of our carriage, unless cords were attached to each of the trunks, which cords were to hang down so that we might hold them in our hands all the way, and feel any tug that might be made at our treasures. You will imagine the absurdity of our jolting along some twenty miles in this way, exactly as if we were in three shower-baths and were afraid to pull the string.

We are going to the Scala to-night, having got the old box belonging to the hotel, the old key of which is lying beside me on the table. There seem to be no singers of note here now, and it appears for the time to have fallen off considerably. I shall now bring this to a close, hoping that I may have more interesting jottings to send you about the old scenes and people, from Genoa, where we shall stay two days. You are now, I take it, at Macready's. I shall be greatly interested by your account of your visit there. We often talk of you all.

Edward's Italian is (I fear) very weak. When we began to get really into the language, he reminded me of poor Roche in Germany. But he seems to have picked up a little this morning. He has been unfortunate with the unlucky Egg, leaving a pair of his shoes (his favourite shoes) behind in Paris, and his flannel dressing-gown yesterday morning at Domo d'Ossola. In all other respects he is just as he was.

Egg and Collins have gone out to kill the lions here, and I take advantage of their absence to write to you, Georgie, and Miss Coutts. Wills will have told you, I daresay, that Cerjat accompanied us on a miserably wet morning, in a heavy rain, down the lake. By-the-bye, the wife of one of his cousins, born in France of German parents, living in the next house to Haldimand's, is one of the most charming, natural, open-faced, and delightful women I ever saw. Madame de —— is set up as the great attraction of Lausanne; but this capital creature shuts her up altogether. We have called her (her—the real belle), ever since, the early closing movement.

I am impatient for letters from home; confused ideas are upon me that you are going to White's, but I have no notion when.

Take care of yourself, and God bless you.

Ever most affectionately.

[Sidenote: The same.]

CROCE DI MALTA, GENOA, Friday Night, October 29th, 1853.


As we arrived here later than I had expected (in consequence of the journey from Milan being most horribly slow) I received your welcome letter only this morning. I write this before going to bed, that I may be sure of not being taken by any engagement off the post time to-morrow.

We came in last night between seven and eight. The railroad to Turin is finished and opened to within twenty miles of Genoa. Its effect upon the whole town, and especially upon that part of it lying down beyond the lighthouse and away by San Pietro d'Arena, is quite wonderful. I only knew the place by the lighthouse, so numerous were the new buildings, so wide the streets, so busy the people, and so thriving and busy the many signs of commerce. To-day I have seen ——, the ——, the ——, and the ——, the latter of whom live at Nervi, fourteen or fifteen miles off, towards Porto Fino. First, of the ——. They are just the same, except that Mrs. ——'s face is larger and fuller, and her hair rather gray. As I rang at their bell she came out walking, and stared at me. "What! you don't know me?" said I; upon which she recognised me very warmly, and then said in her old quiet way: "I expected to find a ruin. We heard you had been so ill; and I find you younger and better-looking than ever. But it's so strange to see you without a bright waistcoat. Why haven't you got a bright waistcoat on?" I apologised for my black one, and was sent upstairs, when —— presently appeared in a hideous and demoniacal nightdress, having turned out of bed to greet his distinguished countryman. After a long talk, in the course of which I arranged to dine there on Sunday early, before starting by the steamer for Naples, and in which they told me every possible and impossible particular about their minutest affairs, and especially about ——'s marriage, I set off for ——, at ——. I had found letters from him here, and he had been here over and over again, and had driven out no end of times to the Gate to leave messages for me, and really is (in his strange uncouth way) crying glad to see me. I found him and his wife in a little comfortable country house, overlooking the sea, sitting in a small summer-house on wheels, exactly like a bathing machine. I found her rather pretty, extraordinarily cold and composed, a mere piece of furniture, talking broken English. Through eight months in the year they live in this country place. She never reads, never works, never talks, never gives an order or directs anything, has only a taste for going to the theatre (where she never speaks either) and buying clothes. They sit in the garden all day, dine at four, smoke their cigars, go in at eight, sit about till ten, and then go to bed. The greater part of this I had from —— himself in a particularly unintelligible confidence in the garden, the only portion of which that I could clearly understand were the words "and one thing and another," repeated one hundred thousand times. He described himself as being perfectly happy, and seemed very fond of his wife. "But that," said —— to me this morning, looking like the figure-head of a ship, with a nutmeg-grater for a face, "that he ought to be, and must be, and is bound to be—he couldn't help it."

Then I went on to the ——'s, and found them living in a beautiful situation in a ruinous Albaro-like palace. Coming upon them unawares, I found ——, with a pointed beard, smoking a great German pipe, in a pair of slippers; the two little girls very pale and faint from the climate, in a singularly untidy state—one (heaven knows why!) without stockings, and both with their little short hair cropped in a manner never before beheld, and a little bright bow stuck on the top of it. —— said she had invented this headgear as a picturesque thing, adding that perhaps it was—and perhaps it was not. She was greatly flushed and agitated, but looked very well, and seems to be greatly liked here. We had disturbed her at her painting in oils, and I rather received an impression that, what with that, and what with music, the household affairs went a little to the wall. —— was teaching the two little girls the multiplication table in a disorderly old billiard-room with all manner of maps in it.

Having obtained a gracious permission from the lady of the school, I am going to show my companions the Sala of the Peschiere this morning. It is raining intensely hard in the regular Genoa manner, so that I can hardly hope for Genoa's making as fine an impression as I could desire. Our boat for Naples is a large French mail boat, and we hope to get there on Tuesday or Wednesday. If the day after you receive this you write to the Poste Restante, Rome, it will be the safest course. Friday's letter write Poste Restante, Florence. You refer to a letter you suppose me to have received from Forster—to whom my love. No letter from him has come to hand.

I will resume my report of this place in my next. In the meantime, I will not fail to drink dear Katey's health to-day. Edward has just come in with mention of an English boat on Tuesday morning, superior to French boat to-morrow, and faster. I shall inquire at —— and take the best. When I next write I will give you our route in detail.

I am pleased to hear of Mr. Robson's success in a serious part, as I hope he will now be a fine actor. I hope you will enjoy yourself at Macready's, though I fear it must be sometimes but a melancholy visit.

Good-bye, my dear, and believe me ever most affectionately.

Sunday, 30th October.

We leave for Naples to-morrow morning by the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamer the Valletta. I send a sketch of our movements that I have at last been able to make.

Mrs. —— quite came out yesterday. So did Mrs. —— (in a different manner), by violently attacking Mrs. —— for painting ill in oils when she might be playing well on the piano. It rained hard all yesterday, but is finer this morning. We went over the Peschiere in the wet afternoon. The garden is sorely neglected now, and the rooms are all full of boarding-school beds, and most of the fireplaces are closed up, but the old beauty and grandeur of the place were in it still.

This will find you, I suppose, at Sherborne. My heartiest love to dear Macready, and to Miss Macready, and to all the house. I hope my godson has not forgotten me.

I will think of Charley (from whom I have heard here) and soon write to him definitely. At present I think he had better join me at Boulogne. I shall not bring the little boys over, as, if we keep our time, it would be too long before Christmas Day.

With love to Georgy, ever most affectionately yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

HOTEL DES ETRANGERS, NAPLES, Friday Night, November 4th, 1853.


We arrived here at midday—two days after our intended time, under circumstances which I reserve for Georgina's letter, by way of variety—in what Forster used to call good health and sp—p—pirits. We have a charming apartment opposite the sea, a little lower down than the Victoria—in the direction of the San Carlo Theatre—and the windows are now wide open as on an English summer night. The first persons we found on board at Genoa, were Emerson Tennent, Lady Tennent, their son and daughter. They are all here too, in an apartment over ours, and we have all been constantly together in a very friendly way, ever since our meeting. We dine at the table d'hote—made a league together on board—and have been mutually agreeable. They have no servant with them, and have profited by Edward. He goes on perfectly well, is always cheerful and ready, has been sleeping on board (upside down, I believe), in a corner, with his head in the wet and his heels against the side of the paddle-box—but has been perpetually gay and fresh.

As soon as we got our luggage from the custom house, we packed complete changes in a bag, set off in a carriage for some warm baths, and had a most refreshing cleansing after our long journey. There was an odd Neapolitan attendant—a steady old man—who, bringing the linen into my bath, proposed to "soap me." Upon which I called out to the other two that I intended to have everything done to me that could be done, and gave him directions accordingly. I was frothed all over with Naples soap, rubbed all down, scrubbed with a brush, had my nails cut, and all manner of extraordinary operations performed. He was as much disappointed (apparently) as surprised not to find me dirty, and kept on ejaculating under his breath, "Oh, Heaven! how clean this Englishman is!" He also remarked that the Englishman is as fair as a beautiful woman. Some relations of Lord John Russell's, going to Malta, were aboardship, and we were very pleasant. Likewise there was a Mr. Young aboard—an agreeable fellow, not very unlike Forster in person—who introduced himself as the brother of the Miss Youngs whom we knew at Boulogne. He was musical and had much good-fellowship in him, and we were very agreeable together also. On the whole I became decidedly popular, and was embraced on all hands when I came over the side this morning. We are going up Vesuvius, of course, and to Herculaneum and Pompeii, and the usual places. The Tennents will be our companions in most of our excursions, but we shall leave them here behind us. Naples looks just the same as when we left it, except that the weather is much better and brighter.

On the day before we left Genoa, we had another dinner with —— at his country place. He was the soul of hospitality, and really seems to love me. You would have been quite touched if you could have seen the honest warmth of his affection. On the occasion of this second banquet, Egg made a brilliant mistake that perfectly convulsed us all. I had introduced all the games with great success, and we were playing at the "What advice would you have given that person?" game. The advice was "Not to bully his fellow-creatures." Upon which, Egg triumphantly and with the greatest glee, screamed, "Mr. ——!" utterly forgetting ——'s relationship, which I had elaborately impressed upon him. The effect was perfectly irresistible and uncontrollable; and the little woman's way of humouring the joke was in the best taste and the best sense. While I am upon Genoa I may add, that when we left the Croce the landlord, in hoping that I was satisfied, told me that as I was an old inhabitant, he had charged the prices "as to a Genoese." They certainly were very reasonable.

Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris have lately been staying in this house, but are just gone. It is kept by an English waiting-maid who married an Italian courier, and is extremely comfortable and clean. I am getting impatient to hear from you with all home news, and shall be heartily glad to get to Rome, and find my best welcome and interest at the post-office there.

That ridiculous —— and her mother were at the hotel at Leghorn the day before yesterday, where the mother (poor old lady!) was so ill from the fright and anxiety consequent on her daughter's efforts at martyrdom, that it is even doubtful whether she will recover. I learnt from a lady friend of ——, that all this nonsense originated at Nice, where she was stirred up by Free Kirk parsons—itinerant—any one of whom I take her to be ready to make a semi-celestial marriage with. The dear being who told me all about her was a noble specimen—single, forty, in a clinging flounced black silk dress, which wouldn't drape, or bustle, or fall, or do anything of that sort—and with a leghorn hat on her head, at least (I am serious) six feet round. The consequence of its immense size, was, that whereas it had an insinuating blue decoration in the form of a bow in front, it was so out of her knowledge behind, that it was all battered and bent in that direction—and, viewed from that quarter, she looked drunk.

My best love to Mamey and Katey, and Sydney the king of the nursery, and Harry and the dear little Plornishghenter. I kiss almost all the children I encounter in remembrance of their sweet faces, and talk to all the mothers who carry them. I hope to hear nothing but good news from you, and to find nothing but good spirits in your expected letter when I come to Rome. I already begin to look homeward, being now at the remotest part of the journey, and to anticipate the pleasure of return.

Ever most affectionately.


[55] Charles Dickens, Mr. Wilkie Collins, Mr. Augustus Egg, and Edward the courier.


[Sidenote: Mr. Frederick Grew.[56]]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, LONDON, 13th January, 1854.


I beg, through you, to assure the artizans' committee in aid of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, that I have received the resolution they have done me the honour to agree upon for themselves and their fellow-workmen, with the highest gratification. I awakened no pleasure or interest among them at Birmingham which they did not repay to me with abundant interest. I have their welfare and happiness sincerely at heart, and shall ever be their faithful friend.

Your obedient servant.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Gaskell.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, February 18th, 1854.


I am sorry to say that I am not one of the Zoologicals, or I should have been delighted to have had a hand in the introduction of a child to the lions and tigers. But Wills shall send up to the gardens this morning, and see if Mr. Mitchell, the secretary, can be found. If he be producible I have no doubt that I can send you what you want in the course of the day.

Such has been the distraction of my mind in my story, that I have twice forgotten to tell you how much I liked the Modern Greek Songs. The article is printed and at press for the very next number as ever is.

Don't put yourself out at all as to the division of the story into parts; I think you had far better write it in your own way. When we come to get a little of it into type, I have no doubt of being able to make such little suggestions as to breaks of chapters as will carry us over all that easily.

My dear Mrs. Gaskell, Always faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Rev. W. Harness.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Friday Evening, May 19th, 1854.


On Thursday, the first of June, we shall be delighted to come. (Might I ask for the mildest whisper of the dinner-hour?) I am more than ever devoted to your niece, if possible, for giving me the choice of two days, as on the second of June I am a fettered mortal.

I heard a manly, Christian sermon last Sunday at the Foundling—with great satisfaction. If you should happen to know the preacher of it, pray thank him from me.

Ever cordially yours.

[Sidenote: Rev. James White.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, May 26th, 1854.


Here is Conolly in a dreadful state of mind because you won't dine with him on the 7th of June next to meet Stratford-on-Avon people, writing to me, to ask me to write to you and ask you what you mean by it.

What do you mean by it?

It appears to Conolly that your supposing you can have anything to do is a clear case of monomania, one of the slight instances of perverted intellect, wherein a visit to him cannot fail to be beneficial. After conference with my learned friend I am of the same opinion.

Loves from all in Tavistock to all in Bonchurch.

Ever faithfully yours.

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

BOULOGNE, Wednesday, August 2nd, 1854.


I will endeavour to come off my back (and the grass) to do an opening paper for the starting number of "North and South." I can't positively answer for such a victory over the idleness into which I have delightfully sunk, as the achievement of this feat; but let us hope.

During a fete on Monday night the meteor flag of England (forgotten to be struck at sunset) was stolen!!!

Manage the proofs of "H. W." so that I may not have to correct them on a Sunday. I am not going over to the Sabbatarians, but like the haystack (particularly) on a Sunday morning.

I should like John to call on M. Henri, Townshend's servant, 21, Norfolk Street, Park Lane, and ask him if, when he comes here with his master, he can take charge of a trap bat and ball. If yea, then I should like John to proceed to Mr. Darke, Lord's Cricket Ground, and purchase said trap bat and ball of the best quality. Townshend is coming here on the 15th, probably will leave town a day or two before.

Pray be in a condition to drink a glass of the 1846 champagne when you come.

I think I have no more to say at present. I cannot sufficiently admire my prodigious energy in coming out of a stupor to write this letter.

Ever faithfully.


[56] Secretary to the Artizans' Committee in aid of the Birmingham and Midland Institute.


[Sidenote: Miss King.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Friday Evening, February 9th, 1855.


I wish to get over the disagreeable part of my letter in the beginning. I have great doubts of the possibility of publishing your story in portions.

But I think it possesses very great merit. My doubts arise partly from the nature of the interest which I fear requires presentation as a whole, and partly on your manner of relating the tale. The people do not sufficiently work out their own purposes in dialogue and dramatic action. You are too much their exponent; what you do for them, they ought to do for themselves. With reference to publication in detached portions (or, indeed, with a reference to the force of the story in any form), that long stoppage and going back to possess the reader with the antecedents of the clergyman's biography, are rather crippling. I may mention that I think the boy (the child of the second marriage) a little too "slangy." I know the kind of boyish slang which belongs to such a character in these times; but, considering his part in the story, I regard it as the author's function to elevate such a characteristic, and soften it into something more expressive of the ardour and flush of youth, and its romance. It seems to me, too, that the dialogues between the lady and the Italian maid are conventional but not natural. This observation I regard as particularly applying to the maid, and to the scene preceding the murder. Supposing the main objection surmountable, I would venture then to suggest to you the means of improvement in this respect.

The paper is so full of good touches of character, passion, and natural emotion, that I very much wish for a little time to reconsider it, and to try whether condensation here and there would enable us to get it say into four parts. I am not sanguine of this, for I observed the difficulties as I read it the night before last; but I am very unwilling, I assure you, to decline what has so much merit.

I am going to Paris on Sunday morning for ten days or so. I purpose being back again within a fortnight. If you will let me think of this matter in the meanwhile, I shall at least have done all I can to satisfy my own appreciation of your work.

But if, in the meantime, you should desire to have it back with any prospect of publishing it through other means, a letter—the shortest in the world—from you to Mr. Wills at the "Household Words" office will immediately produce it. I repeat with perfect sincerity that I am much impressed by its merits, and that if I had read it as the production of an entire stranger, I think it would have made exactly this effect upon me.

My dear Miss King, Very faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, 24th February, 1855.


I have gone carefully over your story again, and quite agree with you that the episode of the clergyman could be told in a very few lines. Startling as I know it will appear to you, I am bound to say that I think the purpose of the whole tale would be immensely strengthened by great compression. I doubt if it could not be told more forcibly in half the space.

It is certainly too long for "Household Words," and I fear my idea of it is too short for you. I am, if possible, more unwilling than I was at first to decline it; but the more I have considered it, the longer it has seemed to grow. Nor can I ask you to try to present it free from that objection, because I already perceive the difficulty, and pain, of such an effort.

To the best of my knowledge, you are wrong about the Lady at last, and to the best of my observation, you do not express what you explain yourself to mean in the case of the Italian attendant. I have met with such talk in the romances of Maturin's time—certainly never in Italian life.

These, however, are slight points easily to be compromised in an hour. The great obstacle I must leave wholly to your own judgment, in looking over the tale again.

Believe me always, very faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. W. M. Thackeray.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Friday Evening, 23rd March, 1855.


I have read in The Times to-day an account of your last night's lecture, and cannot refrain from assuring you in all truth and earnestness that I am profoundly touched by your generous reference to me. I do not know how to tell you what a glow it spread over my heart. Out of its fulness I do entreat you to believe that I shall never forget your words of commendation. If you could wholly know at once how you have moved me, and how you have animated me, you would be the happier I am very certain.

Faithfully yours ever.

[Sidenote: Mr. Forster.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Friday, 29th March, 1855.


I have hope of Mr. Morley,[58] whom one cannot see without knowing to be a straightforward, earnest man. I also think Higgins[59] will materially help them.[60] Generally, I quite agree with you that they hardly know what to be at; but it is an immensely difficult subject to start, and they must have every allowance. At any rate, it is not by leaving them alone and giving them no help, that they can be urged on to success. (Travers, too, I think, a man of the Anti-Corn-Law-League order.)

Higgins told me, after the meeting on Monday night, that on the previous evening he had been closeted with ——, whose letter in that day's paper he had put right for The Times. He had never spoken to —— before, he said, and found him a rather muddle-headed Scotchman as to his powers of conveying his ideas. He (Higgins) had gone over his documents judicially, and with the greatest attention; and not only was —— wrong in every particular (except one very unimportant circumstance), but, in reading documents to the House, had stopped short in sentences where no stop was, and by so doing had utterly perverted their meaning.

This is to come out, of course, when said —— gets the matter on. I thought the case so changed, before I knew this, by his letter and that of the other shipowners, that I told Morley, when I went down to the theatre, that I felt myself called upon to relieve him from the condition I had imposed.

For the rest, I am quite calmly confident that I only do justice to the strength of my opinions, and use the power which circumstances have given me, conscientiously and moderately, with a right object, and towards the prevention of nameless miseries. I should be now reproaching myself if I had not gone to the meeting, and, having been, I am very glad.

A good illustration of a Government office. —— very kindly wrote to me to suggest that "Houses of Parliament" illustration. After I had dined on Wednesday, and was going to jog slowly down to Drury Lane, it suddenly came into my head that perhaps his details were wrong. I had just time to turn to the "Annual Register," and not one of them was correct!

This is, of course, in close confidence.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Winter.]

Tuesday, 3rd April, 1855.


A necessity is upon me now—as at most times—of wandering about in my old wild way, to think. I could no more resist this on Sunday or yesterday than a man can dispense with food, or a horse can help himself from being driven. I hold my inventive capacity on the stern condition that it must master my whole life, often have complete possession of me, make its own demands upon me, and sometimes, for months together, put everything else away from me. If I had not known long ago that my place could never be held, unless I were at any moment ready to devote myself to it entirely, I should have dropped out of it very soon. All this I can hardly expect you to understand—or the restlessness and waywardness of an author's mind. You have never seen it before you, or lived with it, or had occasion to think or care about it, and you cannot have the necessary consideration for it. "It is only half-an-hour,"—"It is only an afternoon,"—"It is only an evening," people say to me over and over again; but they don't know that it is impossible to command one's self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes,—or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometimes worry a whole day. These are the penalties paid for writing books. Whoever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can't help it; I must go my way whether or no.

I thought you would understand that in sending the card for the box I sent an assurance that there was nothing amiss. I am pleased to find that you were all so interested with the play. My ladies say that the first part is too painful and wants relief. I have been going to see it a dozen times, but have never seen it yet, and never may. Madame Celeste is injured thereby (you see how unreasonable people are!) and says in the green-room, "M. Dickens est artiste! Mais il n'a jamais vu 'Janet Pride!'"

It is like a breath of fresh spring air to know that that unfortunate baby of yours is out of her one close room, and has about half-a-pint of very doubtful air per day. I could only have become her Godfather on the condition that she had five hundred gallons of open air at any rate every day of her life; and you would soon see a rose or two in the face of my other little friend, Ella, if you opened all your doors and windows throughout the whole of all fine weather, from morning to night.

I am going off; I don't know where or how far, to ponder about I don't know what. Sometimes I am half in the mood to set off for France, sometimes I think I will go and walk about on the seashore for three or four months, sometimes I look towards the Pyrenees, sometimes Switzerland. I made a compact with a great Spanish authority last week, and vowed I would go to Spain. Two days afterwards Layard and I agreed to go to Constantinople when Parliament rises. To-morrow I shall probably discuss with somebody else the idea of going to Greenland or the North Pole. The end of all this, most likely, will be, that I shall shut myself up in some out-of-the-way place I have not yet thought of, and go desperately to work there.

Once upon a time I didn't do such things you say. No. But I have done them through a good many years now, and they have become myself and my life.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: The same.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Wednesday, June 30th, 1855.


I am truly grieved to hear of your affliction in the loss of your darling baby. But if you be not, even already, so reconciled to the parting from that innocent child for a little while, as to bear it gently and with a softened sorrow, I know that that not unhappy state of mind must soon arise. The death of infants is a release from so much chance and change—from so many casualties and distresses—and is a thing so beautiful in its serenity and peace—that it should not be a bitterness, even in a mother's heart. The simplest and most affecting passage in all the noble history of our Great Master, is His consideration for little children, and in reference to yours, as many millions of bereaved mothers poor and rich will do in reference to theirs until the end of time, you may take the comfort of the generous words, "And He took a child, and set it in the midst of them."

In a book, by one of the greatest English writers, called "A Journey from this World to the Next," a parent comes to the distant country beyond the grave, and finds the little girl he had lost so long ago, engaged in building a bower to receive him in, when his aged steps should bring him there at last. He is filled with joy to see her, so young—so bright—so full of promise—and is enraptured to think that she never was old, wan, tearful, withered. This is always one of the sources of consolation in the deaths of children. With no effort of the fancy, with nothing to undo, you will always be able to think of the pretty creature you have lost, as a child in heaven.

A poor little baby of mine lies in Highgate cemetery—and I laid her just as you think of laying yours, in the catacombs there, until I made a resting-place for all of us in the free air.

It is better that I should not come to see you. I feel quite sure of that, and will think of you instead.

God bless and comfort you! Mrs. Dickens and her sister send their kindest condolences to yourself and Mr. Winter. I add mine with all my heart.

Affectionately your friend.

[Sidenote: Mr. Wilkie Collins.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Sunday, 8th July, 1855.


I don't know whether you may have heard from Webster, or whether the impression I derived from Mark's manner on Friday may be altogether correct. But it strongly occurred to me that Webster was going to decline the play, and that he really has worried himself into a fear of playing Aaron.

Now, when I got this into my head—which was during the rehearsal—I considered two things:—firstly, how we could best put about the success of the piece more widely and extensively even than it has yet reached; and secondly, how you could be best assisted against a bad production of it hereafter, or no production of it. I thought I saw immediately, that the point would be to have this representation noticed in the newspapers. So I waited until the rehearsal was over and we had profoundly astonished the family, and then asked Colonel Waugh what he thought of sending some cards for Tuesday to the papers. He highly approved, and I yesterday morning directed Mitchell to send to all the morning papers, and to some of the weekly ones—a dozen in the whole.

I dined at Lord John's yesterday (where Meyerbeer was, and said to me after dinner: "Ah, mon ami illustre! que c'est noble de vous entendre parler d'haute voix morale, a la table d'un ministre!" for I gave them a little bit of truth about Sunday that was like bringing a Sebastopol battery among the polite company), I say, after this long parenthesis, I dined at Lord John's, and found great interest and talk about the play, and about what everybody who had been here had said of it. And I was confirmed in my decision that the thing for you was the invitation to the papers. Hence I write to tell you what I have done.

I dine at home at half-past five if you are disengaged, and I shall be at home all the evening.

Ever faithfully.

NOTE (by Mr. Wilkie Collins).—This characteristically kind endeavour to induce managers of theatres to produce "The Lighthouse," after the amateur performances of the play, was not attended with any immediate success. The work remained in the author's desk until Messrs. Robson and Emden undertook the management of the Olympic Theatre. They opened their first season with "The Lighthouse;" the part of Aaron Gurnock being performed by Mr. F. Robson.—W. C.

[Sidenote: Miss Emily Jolly.]

3, ALBION VILLAS, FOLKESTONE, KENT, Tuesday, 17th July, 1855.


Your manuscript, entitled a "Wife's Story," has come under my own perusal within these last three or four days. I recognise in it such great merit and unusual promise, and I think it displays so much power and knowledge of the human heart, that I feel a strong interest in you as its writer.

I have begged the gentleman, who is in my confidence as to the transaction of the business of "Household Words," to return the MS. to you by the post, which (as I hope) will convey this note to you. My object is this: I particularly entreat you to consider the catastrophe. You write to be read, of course. The close of the story is unnecessarily painful—will throw off numbers of persons who would otherwise read it, and who (as it stands) will be deterred by hearsay from so doing, and is so tremendous a piece of severity, that it will defeat your purpose. All my knowledge and experience, such as they are, lead me straight to the recommendation that you will do well to spare the life of the husband, and of one of the children. Let her suppose the former dead, from seeing him brought in wounded and insensible—lose nothing of the progress of her mental suffering afterwards when that doctor is in attendance upon her—but bring her round at last to the blessed surprise that her husband is still living, and that a repentance which can be worked out, in the way of atonement for the misery she has occasioned to the man whom she so ill repaid for his love, and made so miserable, lies before her. So will you soften the reader whom you now as it were harden, and so you will bring tears from many eyes, which can only have their spring in affectionately and gently touched hearts. I am perfectly certain that with this change, all the previous part of your tale will tell for twenty times as much as it can in its present condition. And it is because I believe you have a great fame before you if you do justice to the remarkable ability you possess, that I venture to offer you this advice in what I suppose to be the beginning of your career.

I observe some parts of the story which would be strengthened, even in their psychological interest, by condensation here and there. If you will leave that to me, I will perform the task as conscientiously and carefully as if it were my own. But the suggestion I offer for your acceptance, no one but yourself can act upon.

Let me conclude this hasty note with the plain assurance that I have never been so much surprised and struck by any manuscript I have read, as I have been by yours.

Your faithful Servant.

[Sidenote: The same.]

3, ALBION VILLAS, FOLKESTONE, July 21st, 1855.


I did not enter, in detail, on the spirit of the alteration I propose in your story; because I thought it right that you should think out that for yourself if you applied yourself to the change. I can now assure you that you describe it exactly as I had conceived it; and if I had wanted anything to confirm me in my conviction of its being right, our both seeing it so precisely from the same point of view, would be ample assurance to me.

I would leave her new and altered life to be inferred. It does not appear to me either necessary or practicable (within such limits) to do more than that. Do not be uneasy if you find the alteration demanding time. I shall quite understand that, and my interest will keep. When you finish the story, send it to Mr. Wills. Besides being in daily communication with him, I am at the office once a week; and I will go over it in print, before the proof is sent to you.

Very faithfully yours.


[Sidenote: Captain Morgan.]


I am always delighted to hear from you. Your genial earnestness does me good to think of. And every day of my life I feel more and more that to be thoroughly in earnest is everything, and to be anything short of it is nothing. You see what we have been doing to our valiant soldiers.[65] You see what miserable humbugs we are. And because we have got involved in meshes of aristocratic red tape to our unspeakable confusion, loss, and sorrow, the gentlemen who have been so kind as to ruin us are going to give us a day of humiliation and fasting the day after to-morrow. I am sick and sour to think of such things at this age of the world. . . . I am in the first stage of a new book, which consists in going round and round the idea, as you see a bird in his cage go about and about his sugar before he touches it.

Always most cordially yours.


[57] The Editors have great pleasure in publishing another note to Mr. Thackeray, which has been found and sent to them by his daughter, Mrs. Ritchie, since the publication of the first two volumes.

[58] Chairman of the "Administrative Reform League" Meeting at Drury Lane Theatre.

[59] Mr. Higgins, best known as a writer in The Times, under the name of "Jacob Omnium."

[60] The Members of the Administrative Reform League.

[61] Mrs. Winter, a very dear friend and companion of Charles Dickens in his youth.

[62] Miss Emily Jolly, authoress of "Mr. Arle," and many other clever novels.

[63] This, and another Letter to Captain Morgan which appears under date of 1860, were published in Scribner's Monthly, October, 1877.

[64] Captain Morgan was a captain in the American Merchant Service. He was an intimate friend of Mr. Leslie, R.A. (the great painter), by whom he was made known to Charles Dickens.

[65] This Letter was written during the Crimean war.


[Sidenote: Mr. T. Ross. Mr. J. Kenny.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Monday, 19th May, 1856.


I have received a letter signed by you (which I assume to be written mainly on behalf of what are called Working-Men and their families) inviting me to attend a meeting in our Parish Vestry Hall this evening on the subject of the stoppage of the Sunday bands in the Parks.

I thoroughly agree with you that those bands have afforded an innocent and healthful enjoyment on the Sunday afternoon, to which the people have a right. But I think it essential that the working people should, of themselves and by themselves, assert that right. They have been informed, on the high authority of their first Minister (lately rather in want of House of Commons votes I am told) that they are almost indifferent to it. The correction of that mistake, if official omniscience can be mistaken, lies with themselves. In case it should be considered by the meeting, which I prefer for this reason not to attend, expedient to unite with other Metropolitan parishes in forming a fund for the payment of such expenses as may be incurred in peaceably and numerously representing to the governing powers that the harmless recreation they have taken away is very much wanted, I beg you to put down my name as a subscriber of ten pounds.

And I am, your faithful Servant.

[Sidenote: Mr. Washington Irving.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, London, July 5th, 1856.


If you knew how often I write to you individually and personally in my books, you would be no more surprised in seeing this note than you were in seeing me do my duty by that flowery julep (in what I dreamily apprehend to have been a former state of existence) at Baltimore.

Will you let me present to you a cousin of mine, Mr. B——, who is associated with a merchant's house in New York? Of course he wants to see you, and know you. How can I wonder at that? How can anybody?

I had a long talk with Leslie at the last Academy dinner (having previously been with him in Paris), and he told me that you were flourishing. I suppose you know that he wears a moustache—so do I for the matter of that, and a beard too—and that he looks like a portrait of Don Quixote.

Holland House has four-and-twenty youthful pages in it now—twelve for my lord, and twelve for my lady; and no clergyman coils his leg up under his chair all dinner-time, and begins to uncurve it when the hostess goes. No wheeled chair runs smoothly in with that beaming face in it; and ——'s little cotton pocket-handkerchief helped to make (I believe) this very sheet of paper. A half-sad, half-ludicrous story of Rogers is all I will sully it with. You know, I daresay, that for a year or so before his death he wandered, and lost himself like one of the Children in the Wood, grown up there and grown down again. He had Mrs. Procter and Mrs. Carlyle to breakfast with him one morning—only those two. Both excessively talkative, very quick and clever, and bent on entertaining him. When Mrs. Carlyle had flashed and shone before him for about three-quarters of an hour on one subject, he turned his poor old eyes on Mrs. Procter, and pointing to the brilliant discourser with his poor old finger, said (indignantly), "Who is she?" Upon this, Mrs. Procter, cutting in, delivered (it is her own story) a neat oration on the life and writings of Carlyle, and enlightened him in her happiest and airiest manner; all of which he heard, staring in the dreariest silence, and then said (indignantly, as before), "And who are you?"

Ever, my dear Irving, Most affectionately and truly yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. Frank Stone, A.R.A]

VILLE DES MOULINEAUX, BOULOGNE, Wednesday, 9th July, 1856.


I have got a capital part for you in the farce,[66] not a difficult one to learn, as you never say anything but "Yes" and "No." You are called in the dramatis personae an able-bodied British seaman, and you are never seen by mortal eye to do anything (except inopportunely producing a mop) but stand about the deck of the boat in everybody's way, with your hair immensely touzled, one brace on, your hands in your pockets, and the bottoms of your trousers tucked up. Yet you are inextricably connected with the plot, and are the man whom everybody is inquiring after. I think it is a very whimsical idea and extremely droll. It made me laugh heartily when I jotted it all down yesterday.

Loves from all my house to all yours.

Ever affectionately.


[66] The farce alluded to, however, was never written. It had been projected to be played at the Amateur Theatricals at Tavistock House.


[Sidenote: Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Wednesday, 28th January, 1857.


I thought Wills had told you as to the Guild (for I begged him to) that he can do absolutely nothing until our charter is seven years old. It is the stringent and express prohibition of the Act of Parliament—for which things you members, thank God, are responsible and not I. When I observed this clause (which was just as we were going to grant a pension, if we could agree on a good subject), I caused our Counsel's opinion to be taken on it, and there is not a doubt about it. I immediately recommended that there should be no expenses—that the interest on the capital should be all invested as it accrued—that the chambers should be given up and the clerk discharged—and that the Guild should have the use of the "Household Words" office rent free, and the services of Wills on the same terms. All of which was done.

A letter is now copying, to be sent round to all the members, explaining, with the New Year, the whole state of the thing. You will receive this. It appears to me that it looks wholesome enough. But if a strong idiot comes and binds your hands, or mine, or both, for seven years, what is to be done against him?

As to greater matters than this, however—as to all matters on this teeming Earth—it appears to me that the House of Commons and Parliament altogether, is just the dreariest failure and nuisance that has bothered this much-bothered world.

Ever yours.

[Sidenote: Miss Emily Jolly.]

GRAVESEND, KENT, 10th April, 1857.


As I am away from London for a few days, your letter has been forwarded to me.

I can honestly encourage and assure you that I believe the depression and want of confidence under which you describe yourself as labouring to have no sufficient foundation.

First as to "Mr. Arle." I have constantly heard it spoken of with great approval, and I think it a book of considerable merit. If I were to tell you that I see no evidence of inexperience in it, that would not be true. I think a little more stir and action to be desired also; but I am surprised by your being despondent about it, for I assure you that I had supposed it (always remembering that it is your first novel) to have met with a very good reception.

I can bring to my memory—here, with no means of reference at hand—only two papers of yours that have been unsuccessful at "Household Words." I think the first was called "The Brook." It appeared to me to break down upon a confusion that pervaded it, between a Coroner's Inquest and a Trial. I have a general recollection of the mingling of the two, as to facts and forms that should have been kept apart, in some inextricable manner that was beyond my powers of disentanglement. The second was about a wife's writing a Novel and keeping the secret from her husband until it was done. I did not think the incident of sufficient force to justify the length of the narrative. But there is nothing fatal in either of these mischances.

Mr. Wills told me when I spoke to him of the latter paper that you had it in contemplation to offer a longer story to "Household Words." If you should do so, I assure you I shall be happy to read it myself, and that I shall have a sincere desire to accept it, if possible.

I can give you no better counsel than to look into the life about you, and to strive for what is noblest and true. As to further encouragement, I do not, I can most strongly add, believe that you have any reason to be downhearted.

Very faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Saturday Morning, 30th May, 1857.


I read your story, with all possible attention, last night. I cannot tell you with what reluctance I write to you respecting it, for my opinion of it is not favourable, although I perceive your heart in it, and great strength.

Pray understand that I claim no infallibility. I merely express my own honest opinion, formed against my earnest desire. I do not lay it down as law for others, though, of course, I believe that many others would come to the same conclusion. It appears to me that the story is one that cannot possibly be told within the compass to which you have limited yourself. The three principal people are, every one of them, in the wrong with the reader, and you cannot put any of them right, without making the story extend over a longer space of time, and without anatomising the souls of the actors more slowly and carefully. Nothing would justify the departure of Alice, but her having some strong reason to believe that in taking that step, she saved her lover. In your intentions as to that lover's transfer of his affections to Eleanor, I descry a striking truth; but I think it confusedly wrought out, and all but certain to fail in expressing itself. Eleanor, I regard as forced and overstrained. The natural result is, that she carries a train of anti-climax after her. I particularly notice this at the point when she thinks she is going to be drowned.

The whole idea of the story is sufficiently difficult to require the most exact truth and the greatest knowledge and skill in the colouring throughout. In this respect I have no doubt of its being extremely defective. The people do not talk as such people would; and the little subtle touches of description which, by making the country house and the general scene real, would give an air of reality to the people (much to be desired) are altogether wanting. The more you set yourself to the illustration of your heroine's passionate nature, the more indispensable this attendant atmosphere of truth becomes. It would, in a manner, oblige the reader to believe in her. Whereas, for ever exploding like a great firework without any background, she glares and wheels and hisses, and goes out, and has lighted nothing.

Lastly, I fear she is too convulsive from beginning to end. Pray reconsider, from this point of view, her brow, and her eyes, and her drawing herself up to her full height, and her being a perfumed presence, and her floating into rooms, also her asking people how they dare, and the like, on small provocation. When she hears her music being played, I think she is particularly objectionable.

I have a strong belief that if you keep this story by you three or four years, you will form an opinion of it not greatly differing from mine. There is so much good in it, so much reflection, so much passion and earnestness, that, if my judgment be right, I feel sure you will come over to it. On the other hand, I do not think that its publication, as it stands, would do you service, or be agreeable to you hereafter.

I have no means of knowing whether you are patient in the pursuit of this art; but I am inclined to think that you are not, and that you do not discipline yourself enough. When one is impelled to write this or that, one has still to consider: "How much of this will tell for what I mean? How much of it is my own wild emotion and superfluous energy—how much remains that is truly belonging to this ideal character and these ideal circumstances?" It is in the laborious struggle to make this distinction, and in the determination to try for it, that the road to the correction of faults lies. [Perhaps I may remark, in support of the sincerity with which I write this, that I am an impatient and impulsive person myself, but that it has been for many years the constant effort of my life to practise at my desk what I preach to you.]

I should not have written so much, or so plainly, but for your last letter to me. It seems to demand that I should be strictly true with you, and I am so in this letter, without any reservation either way.

Very faithfully yours.


[Sidenote: Mr. Albert Smith.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, TAVISTOCK SQUARE, LONDON, W.C., Wednesday Night, 1st December, 1858.


I cannot tell you how grieved I am for poor dear Arthur (even you can hardly love him better than I do), or with what anxiety I shall wait for further news of him.

Pray let me know how he is to-morrow. Tell them at home that Olliffe is the kindest and gentlest of men—a man of rare experience and opportunity—perfect master of his profession, and to be confidently and implicitly relied upon. There is no man alive, in whose hands I would more thankfully trust myself.

I will write a cheery word to the dear fellow in the morning.

Ever faithfully.

[Sidenote: Mr. Arthur Smith.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, TAVISTOCK SQUARE, LONDON, W.C., Thursday, 2nd December, 1858.


I cannot tell you how surprised and grieved I was last night to hear from Albert of your severe illness. It is not my present intention to give you the trouble of reading anything like a letter, but I MUST send you my loving word; and tell you how we all think of you.

And here am I going off to-morrow to that meeting at Manchester without you! the wildest and most impossible of moves as it seems to me. And to think of my coming back by Coventry, on Saturday, to receive the chronometer—also without you!

If you don't get perfectly well soon, my dear old fellow, I shall come over to Paris to look after you, and to tell Olliffe (give him my love, and the same for Lady Olliffe) what a Blessing he is.

With kindest regards to Mrs. Arthur and her sister,

Ever heartily and affectionately yours.


[Sidenote: Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, Wednesday, 12th January, 1859.


At eleven on Monday morning next, the gifted individual whom you will transmit to posterity,[67] will be at Watkins'. Table also shall be there, and chair. Velvet coat likewise if the tailor should have sent it home. But the garment is more to be doubted than the man whose signature here follows.

Faithfully yours always.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Cowden Clark.]



I cannot tell you how much pleasure I have derived from the receipt of your earnest letter. Do not suppose it possible that such praise can be "less than nothing" to your old manager. It is more than all else.

Here in my little country house on the summit of the hill where Falstaff did the robbery, your words have come to me in the most appropriate and delightful manner. When the story can be read all at once, and my meaning can be better seen, I will send it to you (sending it to Dean Street, if you tell me of no better way), and it will be a hearty gratification to think that you and your good husband are reading it together. For you must both take notice, please, that I have a reminder of you always before me. On my desk, here, stand two green leaves[68] which I every morning station in their ever-green place at my elbow. The leaves on the oak-trees outside the window are less constant than these, for they are with me through the four seasons.

Lord! to think of the bygone day when you were stricken mute (was it not at Glasgow?) and, being mounted on a tall ladder at a practicable window, stared at Forster, and with a noble constancy refused to utter word! Like the Monk among the pictures with Wilkie, I begin to think that the real world, and this the sham that goes out with the lights.

God bless you both.

Ever faithfully yours.


[67] The portrait by Mr. Frith is now in the Forster Collection, at the South Kensington Museum.

[68] A porcelain paper-weight with two green leaves enamelled on it, between which were placed the initials C. D. A present from Mrs. C. Clarke.


[Sidenote: Mr. Henry F. Chorley.]

[69]TAVISTOCK HOUSE, TAVISTOCK SQUARE, W.C., Friday Night, Feb. 3, 1860.


I can most honestly assure you that I think "Roccabella" a very remarkable book indeed. Apart—quite apart—from my interest in you, I am certain that if I had taken it up under any ordinarily favourable circumstances as a book of which I knew nothing whatever, I should not—could not—have relinquished it until I had read it through. I had turned but a few pages, and come to the shadow on the bright sofa at the foot of the bed, when I knew myself to be in the hands of an artist. That rare and delightful recognition I never lost for a moment until I closed the second volume at the end. I am "a good audience" when I have reason to be, and my girls would testify to you, if there were need, that I cried over it heartily. Your story seems to me remarkably ingenious. I had not the least idea of the purport of the sealed paper until you chose to enlighten me; and then I felt it to be quite natural, quite easy, thoroughly in keeping with the character and presentation of the Liverpool man. The position of the Bell family in the story has a special air of nature and truth; is quite new to me, and is so dexterously and delicately done that I find the deaf daughter no less real and distinct than the clergyman's wife. The turn of the story round that damnable Princess I pursued with a pleasure with which I could pursue nothing but a true interest; and I declare to you that if I were put upon finding anything better than the scene of Roccabella's death, I should stare round my bookshelves very much at a loss for a long time. Similarly, your characters have really surprised me. From the lawyer to the Princess, I swear to them as true; and in your fathoming of Rosamond altogether, there is a profound wise knowledge that I admire and respect with a heartiness not easily overstated in words.

I am not quite with you as to the Italians. Your knowledge of the Italian character seems to me surprisingly subtle and penetrating; but I think we owe it to those most unhappy men and their political wretchedness to ask ourselves mercifully, whether their faults are not essentially the faults of a people long oppressed and priest-ridden;—whether their tendency to slink and conspire is not a tendency that spies in every dress, from the triple crown to a lousy head, have engendered in their ancestors through generations? Again, like you, I shudder at the distresses that come of these unavailing risings; my blood runs hotter, as yours does, at the thought of the leaders safe, and the instruments perishing by hundreds; yet what is to be done? Their wrongs are so great that they will rise from time to time somehow. It would be to doubt the eternal providence of God to doubt that they will rise successfully at last. Unavailing struggles against a dominant tyranny precede all successful turning against it. And is it not a little hard in us Englishman, whose forefathers have risen so often and striven against so much, to look on, in our own security, through microscopes, and detect the motes in the brains of men driven mad? Think, if you and I were Italians, and had grown from boyhood to our present time, menaced in every day through all these years by that infernal confessional, dungeons, and soldiers, could we be better than these men? Should we be so good? I should not, I am afraid, if I know myself. Such things would make of me a moody, bloodthirsty, implacable man, who would do anything for revenge; and if I compromised the truth—put it at the worst, habitually—where should I ever have had it before me? In the old Jesuits' college at Genoa, on the Chiaja at Naples, in the churches of Rome, at the University of Padua, on the Piazzo San Marco at Venice, where? And the government is in all these places, and in all Italian places. I have seen something of these men. I have known Mazzini and Gallenga; Manin was tutor to my daughters in Paris; I have had long talks about scores of them with poor Ary Scheffer, who was their best friend. I have gone back to Italy after ten years, and found the best men I had known there exiled or in jail. I believe they have the faults you ascribe to them (nationally, not individually), but I could not find it in my heart, remembering their miseries, to exhibit those faults without referring them back to their causes. You will forgive my writing this, because I write it exactly as I write my cordial little tribute to the high merits of your book. If it were not a living reality to me, I should care nothing about this point of disagreement; but you are far too earnest a man, and far too able a man, to be left unremonstrated with by an admiring reader. You cannot write so well without influencing many people. If you could tell me that your book had but twenty readers, I would reply, that so good a book will influence more people's opinions, through those twenty, than a worthless book would through twenty thousand; and I express this with the perfect confidence of one in whose mind the book has taken, for good and all, a separate and distinct place.

Accept my thanks for the pleasure you have given me. The poor acknowledgment of testifying to that pleasure wherever I go will be my pleasure in return. And so, my dear Chorley, good night, and God bless you.

Ever faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Sir John Bowring.]

GAD'S HILL, Wednesday, 31st October, 1860.


First let me congratulate you on your marriage and wish you all happiness and prosperity.

Secondly, I must tell you that I was greatly vexed with the Chatham people for not giving me early notice of your lecture. In that case I should (of course) have presided, as President of the Institution, and I should have asked you to honour my Falstaff house here. But when they made your kind intention known to me, I had made some important business engagements at the "All the Year Round" office for that evening, which I could not possibly forego. I charged them to tell you so, and was going to write to you when I found your kind letter.

Thanks for your paper, which I have sent to the Printer's with much pleasure.

We heard of your accident here, and of your "making nothing of it." I said that you didn't make much of disasters, and that you took poison (from natives) as quite a matter of course in the way of business.

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. A. H. Layard.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT, Tuesday, 4th December, 1860.


I know you will readily believe that I would come if I could, and that I am heartily sorry I cannot.

A new story of my writing, nine months long, is just begun in "All the Year Round." A certain allotment of my time when I have that story-demand upon me, has, all through my author life, been an essential condition of my health and success. I have just returned here to work so many hours every day for so many days. It is really impossible for me to break my bond.

There is not a man in England who is more earnestly your friend and admirer than I am. The conviction that you know it, helps me out through this note. You are a man of so much mark to me, that I even regret your going into the House of Commons—for which assembly I have but a scant respect. But I would not mention it to the Southwark electors if I could come to-morrow; though I should venture to tell them (and even that your friends would consider very impolitic) that I think them very much honoured by having such a candidate for their suffrages.

My daughter and sister-in-law want to know what you have done with your "pledge" to come down here again. If they had votes for Southwark they would threaten to oppose you—but would never do it. I was solemnly sworn at breakfast to let you know that we should be delighted to see you. Bear witness that I kept my oath.

Ever, my dear Layard, Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Captain Morgan.]


I am heartily obliged to you for your seasonable and welcome remembrance. It came to the office (while I was there) in the pleasantest manner, brought by two seafaring men as if they had swum across with it. I have already told —— what I am very well assured of concerning you, but you are such a noble fellow that I must not pursue that subject. But you will at least take my cordial and affectionate thanks. . . . We have a touch of most beautiful weather here now, and this country is most beautiful too. I wish I could carry you off to a favourite spot of mine between this and Maidstone, where I often smoke your cigars and think of you. We often take our lunch on a hillside there in the summer, and then I lie down on the grass—a splendid example of laziness—and say, "Now for my Morgan!"

My daughter and her aunt declare that they know the true scent of the true article (which I don't in the least believe), and sometimes they exclaim, "That's not a Morgan," and the worst of it is they were once right by accident. . . . I hope you will have seen the Christmas number of "All the Year Round."[71] Here and there, in the description of the sea-going hero, I have given a touch or two of remembrance of Somebody you know; very heartily desiring that thousands of people may have some faint reflection of the pleasure I have for many years derived from the contemplation of a most amiable nature and most remarkable man.

With kindest regards, believe me, dear Morgan, Ever affectionately yours.


[69] This and all other Letters addressed to Mr. H. F. Chorley, were printed in "Autobiography, Memoir, and Letters of Henry Fothergill Chorley," compiled by Mr. H. G. Hewlett.

[70] Sir John Bowring, formerly Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary in China, and Governor of Hong Kong.

[71] "A Message from the Sea."


[Sidenote: Mrs. Malleson.]

OFFICE OF "ALL THE YEAR ROUND," Monday, 14th January, 1861.


I am truly sorry that I cannot have the pleasure of dining with you on Thursday. Although I consider myself quite well, and although my doctor almost admits the fact when I indignantly tax him with it, I am not discharged. His treatment renders him very fearful that I should take cold in going to and fro; and he makes excuses, therefore (as I darkly suspect), for keeping me here until said treatment is done with. This morning he tells me he must see me "once more, on Wednesday." As he has said the like for a whole week, my confidence is not blooming enough at this present writing to justify me in leaving a possibility of Banquo's place at your table. Hence this note. It is screwed out of me.

With kind regards to Mr. Malleson, believe me,

Ever faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.]

OFFICE OF "ALL THE YEAR ROUND," Wednesday, 23rd January, 1861.


I am delighted to receive your letter, and to look forward with confidence to having such a successor in August. I can honestly assure you that I never have been so pleased at heart in all my literary life, as I am in the proud thought of standing side by side with you before this great audience.

In regard of the story,[72] I have perfect faith in such a master-hand as yours; and I know that what such an artist feels to be terrible and original, is unquestionably so. You whet my interest by what you write of it to the utmost extent.

Believe me ever affectionately yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

3, HANOVER TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK, Sunday, 28th April, 1861.


My story will finish in the first week in August. Yours ought to begin in the last week of July, or the last week but one. Wilkie Collins will be at work to follow you. The publication has made a very great success with "Great Expectations," and could not present a finer time for you.

The question of length may be easily adjusted.

Of the misgiving you entertain I cannot of course judge until you give me leave to rush to the perusal. I swear that I never thought I had half so much self-denial as I have shown in this case! I think I shall come out at Exeter Hall as a choice vessel on the strength of it. In the meanwhile I have quickened the printer and told him to get on fast.

You cannot think how happy you make me by what you write of "Great Expectations." There is nothing like the pride of making such an effect on such a writer as you.

Ever faithfully.

[Sidenote: The same.]

3, HANOVER TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK, Wednesday, 8th May, 1861.


I am anxious to let you know that Mr. Frederic Lehmann, who is coming down to Knebworth to see you (with his sister Mrs. Benzon) is a particular friend of mine, for whom I have a very high and warm regard. Although he will sufficiently enlist your sympathy on his own behalf, I am sure that you will not be the less interested in him because I am.

Ever faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

3, HANOVER TERRACE, Sunday, 12th May, 1861.


I received your revised proofs only yesterday, and I sat down to read them last night. And before I say anything further I may tell you that I COULD NOT lay them aside, but was obliged to go on with them in my bedroom until I got into a very ghostly state indeed. This morning I have taken them again and have gone through them with the utmost attention.

Of the beauty and power of the writing I say not a word, or of its originality and boldness, or of its quite extraordinary constructive skill. I confine myself solely to your misgiving, and to the question whether there is any sufficient foundation for it.

On the last head I say, without the faintest hesitation, most decidedly there is NOT sufficient foundation for it. I do not share it in the least. I believe that the readers who have here given their minds (or perhaps had any to give) to those strange psychological mysteries in ourselves, of which we are all more or less conscious, will accept your wonders as curious weapons in the armoury of fiction, and will submit themselves to the Art with which said weapons are used. Even to that class of intelligence the marvellous addresses itself from a very strong position; and that class of intelligence is not accustomed to find the marvellous in such very powerful hands as yours. On more imaginative readers the tale will fall (or I am greatly mistaken) like a spell. By readers who combine some imagination, some scepticism, and some knowledge and learning, I hope it will be regarded as full of strange fancy and curious study, startling reflections of their own thoughts and speculations at odd times, and wonder which a master has a right to evoke. In the last point lies, to my thinking, the whole case. If you were the Magician's servant instead of the Magician, these potent spirits would get the better of you; but you are the Magician, and they don't, and you make them serve your purpose.

Occasionally in the dialogue I see an expression here and there which might—always solely with a reference to your misgiving—be better away; and I think that the vision, to use the word for want of a better—in the museum, should be made a little less abstruse. I should not say that, if the sale of the journal was below the sale of The Times newspaper; but as it is probably several thousands higher, I do. I would also suggest that after the title we put the two words—A ROMANCE. It is an absurdly easy device for getting over your misgiving with the blockheads, but I think it would be an effective one. I don't, on looking at it, like the title. Here are a few that have occurred to me.

"The Steel Casket."

"The Lost Manuscript."

"Derval Court."

"Perpetual Youth."


"Dr. Fenwick."

"Life and Death."

The four last I think the best. There is an objection to "Dr. Fenwick" because there has been "Dr. Antonio," and there is a book of Dumas' which repeats the objection. I don't think "Fenwick" startling enough. It appears to me that a more startling title would take the (John) Bull by the horns, and would be a serviceable concession to your misgiving, as suggesting a story off the stones of the gas-lighted Brentford Road.

The title is the first thing to be settled, and cannot be settled too soon.

For the purposes of the weekly publication the divisions of the story will often have to be greatly changed, though afterwards, in the complete book, you can, of course, divide it into chapters, free from that reference. For example: I would end the first chapter on the third slip at "and through the ghostly streets, under the ghostly moon, went back to my solitary room." The rest of what is now your first chapter might be made Chapter II., and would end the first weekly part.

I think I have become, by dint of necessity and practice, rather cunning in this regard; and perhaps you would not mind my looking closely to such points from week to week. It so happens that if you had written the opening of this story expressly for the occasion its striking incidents could not possibly have followed one another better. One other merely mechanical change I suggest now. I would not have an initial letter for the town, but would state in the beginning that I gave the town a fictitious name. I suppose a blank or a dash rather fends a good many people off—because it always has that effect upon me.

Be sure that I am perfectly frank and open in all I have said in this note, and that I have not a grain of reservation in my mind. I think the story a very fine one, one that no other man could write, and that there is no strength in your misgiving for the two reasons: firstly, that the work is professedly a work of Fancy and Fiction, in which the reader is not required against his will to take everything for Fact; secondly, that it is written by the man who can write it. The Magician's servant does not know what to do with the ghost, and has, consequently, no business with him. The Magician does know what to do with him, and has all the business with him that he can transact.

I am quite at ease on the points that you have expressed yourself as not at ease upon. Quite. I cannot too often say that if they were carried on weak shoulders they would break the bearer down. But in your mastering of them lies the mastery over the reader.

This will reach you at Knebworth, I hope, to-morrow afternoon. Pray give your doubts to the winds of that high spot, and believe that if I had them I would swarm up the flag-staff quite as nimbly as Margrave and nail the Fenwick colours to the top.

Ever affectionately yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

3, HANOVER TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK, Monday, Twentieth May, 1861.


I did not read from Australia till the end, because I was obliged to be hard at work that day, and thought it best that the MS. should come back to you rather than that I should detain it. Of course, I can read it, whenever it suits you. As to Isabel's dying and Fenwick's growing old, I would say that, beyond question, whatever the meaning of the story tends to, is the proper end.

All the alterations you mention in your last, are excellent.

As to title, "Margrave, a Tale of Mystery," would be sufficiently striking. I prefer "Wonder" to "Mystery," because I think it suggests something higher and more apart from ordinary complications of plot, or the like, which "Mystery" might seem to mean. Will you kindly remark that the title PRESSES, and that it will be a great relief to have it as soon as possible. The last two months of my story are our best time for announcement and preparation. Of course, it is most desirable that your story should have the full benefit of them.

Ever faithfully.

[Sidenote: Lady Olliffe.]

LORD WARDEN HOTEL, DOVER, Sunday, Twenty-sixth May, 1861.


I have run away to this sea-beach to get rid of my neuralgic face.

Touching the kind invitations received from you this morning, I feel that the only course I can take—without being a Humbug—is to decline them. After the middle of June I shall be mostly at Gad's Hill—I know that I cannot do better than keep out of the way of hot rooms and late dinners, and what would you think of me, or call me, if I were to accept and not come!

No, no, no. Be still my soul. Be virtuous, eminent author. Do not accept, my Dickens. She is to come to Gad's Hill with her spouse. Await her there, my child. (Thus the voice of wisdom.)

My dear Lady Olliffe, Ever affectionately yours.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Milner Gibson.]

GAD'S HILL, Monday, Eighth July, 1861.


I want very affectionately and earnestly to congratulate you on your eldest daughter's approaching marriage. Up to the moment when Mary told me of it, I had foolishly thought of her always as the pretty little girl with the frank loving face whom I saw last on the sands at Broadstairs. I rubbed my eyes and woke at the words "going to be married," and found I had been walking in my sleep some years.

I want to thank you also for thinking of me on the occasion, but I feel that I am better away from it. I should really have a misgiving that I was a sort of shadow on a young marriage, and you will understand me when I say so, and no more.

But I shall be with you in the best part of myself, in the warmth of sympathy and friendship—and I send my love to the dear girl, and devoutly hope and believe that she will be happy. The face that I remember with perfect accuracy, and could draw here, if I could draw at all, was made to be happy and to make a husband so.

I wonder whether you ever travel by railroad in these times! I wish Mary could tempt you to come by any road to this little place.

With kind regard to Milner Gibson, believe me ever, Affectionately and faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT, Tuesday, Seventeenth September, 1861.


I am delighted with your letter of yesterday—delighted with the addition to the length of the story—delighted with your account of it, and your interest in it—and even more than delighted by what you say of our working in company.

Not one dissentient voice has reached me respecting it. Through the dullest time of the year we held our circulation most gallantly. And it could not have taken a better hold. I saw Forster on Friday (newly returned from thousands of provincial lunatics), and he really was more impressed than I can tell you by what he had seen of it. Just what you say you think it will turn out to be, he was saying, almost in the same words.

I am burning to get at the whole story;—and you inflame me in the maddest manner by your references to what I don't know. The exquisite art with which you have changed it, and have overcome the difficulties of the mode of publication, has fairly staggered me. I know pretty well what the difficulties are; and there is no other man who could have done it, I ween.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mr. H. G. Adams.]



My readings are a sad subject to me just now, for I am going away on the 28th to read fifty times, and I have lost Mr. Arthur Smith—a friend whom I can never replace—who always went with me, and transacted, as no other man ever can, all the business connected with them, and without whom, I fear, they will be dreary and weary to me. But this is not to the purpose of your letter.

I desire to be useful to the Institution of the place with which my childhood is inseparably associated, and I will serve it this next Christmas if I can. Will you tell me when I could do you most good by reading for you?

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. B. W. Procter.]

OFFICE OF "ALL THE YEAR ROUND," Tuesday, Twelfth November, 1861.


I grieve to reply to your note, that I am obliged to read at Newcastle on the 21st. Poor Arthur Smith had pledged me to do so before I knew that my annual engagement with you was being encroached on. I am heartily sorry for this, and shall miss my usual place at your table, quite as much (to say the least) as my place can possibly miss me. You may be sure that I shall drink to my dear old friend in a bumper that day, with love and best wishes. Don't leave me out next year for having been carried away north this time.

Ever yours affectionately.

[Sidenote: Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.]

QUEEN'S HEAD HOTEL, NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE, Wednesday Night, Twentieth November, 1861.


I have read here, this evening, very attentively, Nos. 19 and 20. I have not the least doubt of the introduced matter; whether considered for its policy, its beauty, or its wise bearing on the story, it is decidedly a great improvement. It is at once very suggestive and very new to have these various points of view presented to the reader's mind.

That the audience is good enough for anything that is well presented to it, I am quite sure.

When you can avoid notes, however, and get their substance into the text, it is highly desirable in the case of so large an audience, simply because, as so large an audience necessarily reads the story in small portions, it is of the greater importance that they should retain as much of its argument as possible. Whereas the difficulty of getting numbers of people to read notes (which they invariably regard as interruptions of the text, not as strengtheners or elucidators of it) is wonderful.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: The same.]

"ALL THE YEAR ROUND" OFFICE, Eighteenth December, 1861.


I have not had a moment in which to write to you. Even now I write with the greatest press upon me, meaning to write in detail in a day or two.

But I have read, at all events, though not written. And I say, Most masterly and most admirable! It is impossible to lay the sheets down without finishing them. I showed them to Georgina and Mary, and they read and read and never stirred until they had read all. There cannot be a doubt of the beauty, power, and artistic excellence of the whole.

I counsel you most strongly NOT to append the proposed dialogue between Fenwick and Faber, and NOT to enter upon any explanation beyond the title-page and the motto, unless it be in some very brief preface. Decidedly I would not help the reader, if it were only for the reason that that anticipates his being in need of help, and his feeling objections and difficulties that require solution. Let the book explain itself. It speaks for itself with a noble eloquence.

Ever affectionately.


[72] "A Strange Story."


[Sidenote: The same.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT, Friday, Twenty-fourth January, 1862.


I have considered your questions, and here follow my replies.

1. I think you undoubtedly have the right to forbid the turning of your play into an opera.

2. I do not think the production of such an opera in the slightest degree likely to injure the play or to render it a less valuable property than it is now. If it could have any effect on so standard and popular a work as "The Lady of Lyons," the effect would, in my judgment, be beneficial. But I believe the play to be high above any such influence.

3. Assuming you do consent to the adaptation, in a desire to oblige Oxenford, I would not recommend your asking any pecuniary compensation. This for two reasons: firstly, because the compensation could only be small at the best; secondly, because your taking it would associate you (unreasonably, but not the less assuredly) with the opera.

The only objection I descry is purely one of feeling. Pauline trotting about in front of the float, invoking the orchestra with a limp pocket-handkerchief, is a notion that makes goose-flesh of my back. Also a yelping tenor going away to the wars in a scene a half-an-hour long is painful to contemplate. Damas, too, as a bass, with a grizzled bald head, blatently bellowing about

Years long ago, When the sound of the drum First made his blood glow With a rum ti tum tum—

rather sticks in my throat; but there really seems to me to be no other objection, if you can get over this.

Ever affectionately.

[Sidenote: Mr. Baylis.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT, Saturday, First February, 1862.


I have just come home. Finding your note, I write to you at once, or you might do me the wrong of supposing me unmindful of it and you.

I agree with you about Smith himself, and I don't think it necessary to pursue the painful subject. Such things are at an end, I think, for the time being;—fell to the ground with the poor man at Cremorne. If they should be resumed, then they must be attacked; but I hope the fashion (far too much encouraged in its Blondin-beginning by those who should know much better) is over.

It always appears to me that the common people have an excuse in their patronage of such exhibitions which people above them in condition have not. Their lives are full of physical difficulties, and they like to see such difficulties overcome. They go to see them overcome. If I am in danger of falling off a scaffold or a ladder any day, the man who claims that he can't fall from anything is a very wonderful and agreeable person to me.

Faithfully yours always.

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry F. Chorley.]

16, HYDE PARK GATE, SOUTH KENSINGTON GORE, W., Saturday, 1st March, 1862.


I was at your lecture[73] this afternoon, and I hope I may venture to tell you that I was extremely pleased and interested. Both the matter of the materials and the manner of their arrangement were quite admirable, and a modesty and complete absence of any kind of affectation pervaded the whole discourse, which was quite an example to the many whom it concerns. If you could be a very little louder, and would never let a sentence go for the thousandth part of an instant until the last word is out, you would find the audience more responsive.

A spoken sentence will never run alone in all its life, and is never to be trusted to itself in its most insignificant member. See it well out—with the voice—and the part of the audience is made surprisingly easier. In that excellent description of the Spanish mendicant and his guitar, as well as the very happy touches about the dance and the castanets, the people were really desirous to express very hearty appreciation; but by giving them rather too much to do in watching and listening for latter words, you stopped them. I take the liberty of making the remark, as one who has fought with beasts (oratorically) in divers arenas. For the rest nothing could be better. Knowledge, ingenuity, neatness, condensation, good sense, and good taste in delightful combination.

Affectionately always.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Austin.]

PARIS, RUE DU FAUBOURG ST. HONORE, 27, Friday, Seventh November, 1862.


I should have written to you from here sooner, but for having been constantly occupied.

Your improved account of yourself is very cheering and hopeful. Through determined occupation and action, lies the way. Be sure of it.

I came over to France before Georgina and Mary, and went to Boulogne to meet them coming in by the steamer on the great Sunday—the day of the storm. I stood (holding on with both hands) on the pier at Boulogne, five hours. The Sub-Marine Telegraph had telegraphed their boat as having come out of Folkestone—though the companion boat from Boulogne didn't try it—and at nine o'clock at night, she being due at six, there were no signs of her. My principal dread was, that she would try to get into Boulogne; which she could not possibly have done without carrying away everything on deck. The tide at nine o'clock being too low for any such desperate attempt, I thought it likely that they had run for the Downs and would knock about there all night. So I went to the Inn to dry my pea-jacket and get some dinner anxiously enough, when, at about ten, came a telegram from them at Calais to say they had run in there. To Calais I went, post, next morning, expecting to find them half-dead (of course, they had arrived half-drowned), but I found them elaborately got up to come on to Paris by the next Train, and the most wonderful thing of all was, that they hardly seem to have been frightened! Of course, they had discovered at the end of the voyage, that a young bride and her husband, the only other passengers on deck, and with whom they had been talking all the time, were an officer from Chatham whom they knew very well (when dry), just married and going to India! So they all set up house-keeping together at Dessin's at Calais (where I am well known), and looked as if they had been passing a mild summer there.

We have a pretty apartment here, but house-rent is awful to mention. Mrs. Bouncer (muzzled by the Parisian police) is also here, and is a wonderful spectacle to behold in the streets, restrained like a raging Lion.

I learn from an embassy here, that the Emperor has just made an earnest proposal to our Government to unite with France (and Russia, if Russia will) in an appeal to America to stop the brutal war. Our Government's answer is not yet received, but I think I clearly perceive that the proposal will be declined, on the ground "that the time has not yet come."

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