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Charles Dickens








1836 TO 1870.


[_The Right of Translation is Reserved._]



Since our publication of "The Letters of Charles Dickens" we have
received the letters addressed to the late Lord Lytton, which we were
unable to procure in time for our first two volumes in consequence of
his son's absence in India. We thank the Earl of Lytton cordially for
his kindness in sending them to us very soon after his return. We also
offer our sincere thanks to Sir Austen H. Layard, and to the senders of
many other letters, which we now publish for the first time.

With a view to making our selection as complete as possible, we have
collected together the letters from Charles Dickens which have already
been published in various Biographies, and have chosen and placed in
chronological order among our new letters those which we consider to be
of the greatest interest.

As our Narrative was finished in our second volume, this volume consists
of Letters _only_, with occasional foot-notes wherever there are
allusions requiring explanation.


LONDON: _September, 1881._



Page 87, line 5. For "J. W. Leigh Murray," _read_ "Mr. Leigh Murray."
" 111, line 8. For "annoying," _read_ "amazing."
" 243, line 10. For "Tarass Boulla," _read_ "Tarass Boulba."
" 259, line 6, and in footnote. For "Hazlett," _read_ "Hazlitt."
" 261, line 2. For "procters," _read_ "proctors."



1836 to 1839.

[Sidenote: Mr. John Hullah.]

FURNIVAL'S INN, _Sunday Evening (1836)_ (?).


Have you seen _The Examiner_? It is rather depreciatory of the opera;
but, like all inveterate critiques against Braham, so well done that I
cannot help laughing at it, for the life and soul of me. I have seen
_The Sunday Times_, _The Dispatch_, and _The Satirist_, all of which
blow their critic trumpets against unhappy me most lustily. Either I
must have grievously awakened the ire of all the "adapters" and their
friends, or the drama must be decidedly bad. I haven't made up my mind
yet which of the two is the fact.

I have not seen the _John Bull_ or any of the Sunday papers except _The
Spectator_. If you have any of them, bring 'em with you on Tuesday. I am
afraid that for "dirty Cummins'" allusion to Hogarth I shall be reduced
to the necessity of being valorous the next time I meet him.

Believe me, most faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

FURNIVAL'S INN, _Monday Afternoon, 7 o'clock (1836)._


Mr. Hogarth has just been here, with news which I think you will be glad
to hear. He was with Braham yesterday, who was _far more full_ of the
opera[1] than he was; speaking highly of my works and "fame" (!), and
expressing an earnest desire to be the first to introduce me to the
public as a dramatic writer. He said that he intended opening at
Michaelmas; and added (unasked) that it was his intention to produce the
opera within _one month_ of his first night. He wants a low comedy part
introduced - without singing - thinking it will take with the audience;
but he is desirous of explaining to me what he means and who he intends
to play it. I am to see him on Sunday morning. Full particulars of the
interview shall be duly announced.

Perhaps I shall see you meanwhile. I have only time to add that I am

Most faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The same.]

PETERSHAM, _Monday Evening (1836)._


Since I called on you this morning I have not had time to look over the
words of "The Child and the Old Man." It occurs to me, as I shall see
you on Wednesday morning, that the best plan will be for you to bring
the music (if you possibly can) without the words, and we can put them
in then. Of course this observation applies only to that particular

Braham having sent to me about the farce, I called on him this morning.
Harley wrote, when he had read the whole of the opera, saying: "It's a
sure card - nothing wrong there. Bet you ten pound it runs fifty nights.
Come; don't be afraid. You'll be the gainer by it, and you mustn't mind
betting; it's a capital custom." They tell the story with infinite
relish. I saw the fair manageress,[2] who is fully of Harley's opinion,
so is Braham. The only difference is, that they are far more
enthusiastic than Harley - far more enthusiastic than ourselves even.
That is a bold word, isn't it? It is a true one, nevertheless.

"Depend upon it, sir," said Braham to Hogarth yesterday, when he went
there to say I should be in town to-day, "depend upon it, sir, that
there has been no such music since the days of Sheil, and no such piece
since "The Duenna."" "Everybody is delighted with it," he added, to me
to-day. "I played it to Stansbury, who is by no means an excitable
person, and he was charmed." This was said with great emphasis, but I
have forgotten the grand point. It was not, "I played it to Stansbury,"
but, "I sang it - _all through_!!!"

I begged him, as the choruses are to be put into rehearsal directly the
company get together, to let us have, through Mrs. Braham, the necessary
passports to the stage, which will be forwarded. He leaves town on the
_8th of September_. He will be absent a month, and the first rehearsal
will take place immediately on his return; previous to it (I mean the
first rehearsal - not the return) I am to read the piece. His only
remaining suggestion is, that Miss Rainforth will want another song when
the piece is in rehearsal - "a bravura - something in the 'Soldier Tired'
way." We must have a confab about this on Wednesday morning.

Harley called in Furnival's Inn, to express his high delight and
gratification, but unfortunately we had left town. I shall be at
head-quarters by 12 Wednesday noon.

Believe me, dear Hullah,
Most faithfully yours.

P.S. - Tell me on Wednesday when you can come down here, for a day or
two. Beautiful place - meadow for exercise, horse for your riding, boat
for your rowing, room for your studying - anything you like.

[Sidenote: Mr. George Hogarth.]

[3]13, FURNIVAL'S INN, _Tuesday Evening, January 20th, 1837._


As you have begged me to write an original sketch for the first number
of the new evening paper, and as I trust to your kindness to refer my
application to the proper quarter, should I be unreasonably or
improperly trespassing upon you, I beg to ask whether it is probable
that if I commenced a series of articles, written under some attractive
title, for _The Evening Chronicle_, its conductors would think I had any
claim to some additional remuneration (of course, of no great amount)
for doing so?

Let me beg of you not to misunderstand my meaning. Whatever the reply
may be, I promised you an article, and shall supply it with the utmost
readiness, and with an anxious desire to do my best, which I honestly
assure you would be the feeling with which I should always receive any
request coming personally from yourself. I merely wish to put it to the
proprietors, first, whether a continuation of light papers in the style
of my "Street Sketches" would be considered of use to the new paper;
and, secondly, if so, whether they do not think it fair and reasonable
that, taking my share of the ordinary reporting business of _The
Chronicle_ besides, I should receive something for the papers beyond my
ordinary salary as a reporter.

Begging you to excuse my troubling you, and taking this opportunity of
acknowledging the numerous kindnesses I have already received at your
hands since I have had the pleasure of acting under you,

I am, my dear Sir, very sincerely yours.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Hogarth.]

DOUGHTY STREET, _Thursday Night, October 26th, 1837._


I need not thank you for your present[4] of yesterday, for you know the
sorrowful pleasure I shall take in wearing it, and the care with which I
shall prize it, until - so far as relates to this life - I am like her.

I have never had her ring off my finger by day or night, except for an
instant at a time, to wash my hands, since she died. I have never had
her sweetness and excellence absent from my mind so long. I can solemnly
say that, waking or sleeping, I have never lost the recollection of our
hard trial and sorrow, and I feel that I never shall.

It will be a great relief to my heart when I find you sufficiently calm
upon this sad subject to claim the promise I made you when she lay dead
in this house, never to shrink from speaking of her, as if her memory
must be avoided, but rather to take a melancholy pleasure in recalling
the times when we were all so happy - so happy that increase of fame and
prosperity has only widened the gap in my affections, by causing me to
think how she would have shared and enhanced all our joys, and how proud
I should have been (as God knows I always was) to possess the affections
of the gentlest and purest creature that ever shed a light on earth. I
wish you could know how I weary now for the three rooms in Furnival's
Inn, and how I miss that pleasant smile and those sweet words which,
bestowed upon our evening's work, in our merry banterings round the
fire, were more precious to me than the applause of a whole world would
be. I can recall everything she said and did in those happy days, and
could show you every passage and line we read together.

I see _now_ how you are capable of making great efforts, even against
the afflictions you have to deplore, and I hope that, soon, our words
may be where our thoughts are, and that we may call up those old
memories, not as shadows of the bitter past, but as lights upon a
happier future.

Believe me, my dear Mrs. Hogarth,
Ever truly and affectionately yours.


[1] "The Village Coquettes."

[2] Mrs. Braham.

[3] Printed in "Forty Years' Recollections of Life, Literature, and
Public Affairs," by Charles Mackay.

[4] A chain made of Mary Hogarth's hair, sent to Charles Dickens on the
first anniversary of her birthday, after her death.

[5]DIARY - 1838.

_Monday, January 1st, 1838._

A sad New Year's Day in one respect, for at the opening of last year
poor Mary was with us. Very many things to be grateful for since then,
however. Increased reputation and means - good health and prospects. We
never know the full value of blessings till we lose them (we were not
ignorant of this one when we had it, I hope). But if she were with us
now, the same winning, happy, amiable companion, sympathising with all
my thoughts and feelings more than anyone I knew ever did or will, I
think I should have nothing to wish for, but a continuance of such
happiness. But she is gone, and pray God I may one day, through his
mercy, rejoin her. I wrote to Mrs. Hogarth yesterday, taking advantage
of the opportunity afforded me by her sending, as a New Year's token, a
pen-wiper of poor Mary's, imploring her, as strongly as I could, to
think of the many remaining claims upon her affection and exertions, and
not to give way to unavailing grief. Her answer came to-night, and she
seems hurt at my doing so - protesting that in all useful respects she is
the same as ever. Meant it for the best, and still hope I did right.

_Saturday, January 6th, 1838._

Our boy's birthday - one year old. A few people at night - only Forster,
the De Gex's, John Ross, Mitton, and the Beards, besides our
families - to twelfth-cake and forfeits.

This day last year, Mary and I wandered up and down Holborn and the
streets about for hours, looking after a little table for Kate's
bedroom, which we bought at last at the very first broker's which we had
looked into, and which we had passed half-a-dozen times because I
_didn't like_ to ask the price. I took her out to Brompton at night, as
we had no place for her to sleep in (the two mothers being with us); she
came back again next day to keep house for me, and stopped nearly the
rest of the month. I shall never be so happy again as in those chambers
three storeys high - never if I roll in wealth and fame. I would hire
them to keep empty, if I could afford it.

_Monday, January 8th, 1838._

I began the "Sketches of Young Gentlemen" to-day. One hundred and
twenty-five pounds for such a little book, without my name to it, is
pretty well. This and the "Sunday"[6] by-the-bye, are the only two
things I have not done as Boz.

_Tuesday, January 9th, 1838._

Went to the Sun office to insure my life, where the Board seemed
disposed to think I work too much. Made Forster and Pickthorn, my
Doctor, the references - and after an interesting interview with the
Board and the Board's Doctor, came away to work again.

_Wednesday, January 10th, 1838._

At work all day, and to a quadrille party at night. City people and
rather dull. Intensely cold coming home, and vague reports of a fire
somewhere. Frederick says the Royal Exchange, at which I sneer most
sagely; for - -

_Thursday, January 11th, 1838._

To-day the papers are full of it, and it _was_ the Royal Exchange,
Lloyd's, and all the shops round the building. Called on Browne and went
with him to see the ruins, of which we saw as much as we should have
done if we had stopped at home.

_Sunday, January 14th, 1838._

To church in the morning, and when I came home I wrote the preceding
portion of this diary, which henceforth I make a steadfast resolution
not to neglect, or _paint_. I have not done it yet, nor will I; but say
what rises to my lips - my mental lips at least - without reserve. No
other eyes will see it, while mine are open in life, and although I
daresay I shall be ashamed of a good deal in it, I should like to look
over it at the year's end.

In Scott's diary, which I have been looking at this morning, there are
thoughts which have been mine by day and by night, in good spirits and
bad, since Mary died.

"Another day, and a bright one to the external world again opens on us;
the air soft, and the flowers smiling, and the leaves glittering. They
cannot refresh her to whom mild weather was a natural enjoyment.
Cerements of lead and of wood already hold her; cold earth must have her
soon. But it is not . . . (she) who will be laid among the ruins. . . .
She is sentient and conscious of my emotions _somewhere_ - where, we cannot
tell, how, we cannot tell; yet would I not at this moment renounce the
mysterious yet certain hope that I shall see her in a better world, for
all that this world can give me.

* * * * *

"I have seen her. There is the same symmetry of form, though those limbs
are rigid which were once so gracefully elastic; but that yellow masque
with pinched features, which seems to mock life rather than emulate it,
can it be the face that was once so full of lively expression? I will
not look upon it again."

I know but too well how true all this is.

_Monday, January 15th, 1838._

Here ends this brief attempt at a diary. I grow sad over this checking
off of days, and can't do it.

* * * * *

[Sidenote: Mr. W. L. Sammins.]

48, DOUGHTY STREET, LONDON, _January 31st, 1839._


Circumstances have enabled me to relinquish my old connection with the
"Miscellany"[7] at an earlier period than I had expected. I am no longer
its editor, but I have referred your paper to my successor, and marked
it as one "requiring attention." I have no doubt it will receive it.

With reference to your letter bearing date on the 8th of last October,
let me assure you that I have delayed answering it - not because a
constant stream of similar epistles has rendered me callous to the
anxieties of a beginner, in those doubtful paths in which I walk
myself - but because you ask me to do that which I would scarce do, of my
own unsupported opinion, for my own child, supposing I had one old
enough to require such a service. To suppose that I could gravely take
upon myself the responsibility of withdrawing you from pursuits you have
already undertaken, or urging you on in a most uncertain and hazardous
course of life, is really a compliment to my judgment and inflexibility
which I cannot recognize and do not deserve (or desire). I hoped that a
little reflection would show you how impossible it is that I could be
expected to enter upon a task of so much delicacy, but as you have
written to me since, and called (unfortunately at a period when I am
obliged to seclude myself from all comers), I am compelled at last to
tell you that I can do nothing of the kind.

If it be any satisfaction to you to know that I have read what you sent
me, and read it with great pleasure, though, as you treat of local
matters, I am necessarily in the dark here and there, I can give you the
assurance very sincerely. With this, and many thanks to you for your
obliging expressions towards myself,

I am, Sir,
Your very obedient Servant.

[Sidenote: Mr. J. P. Harley.]

DOUGHTY STREET, _Thursday Morning._[8]


This is my birthday. Many happy returns of the day to you and me.

I took it into my head yesterday to get up an impromptu dinner on this
auspicious occasion - only my own folks, Leigh Hunt, Ainsworth, and
Forster. I know you can't dine here in consequence of the tempestuous
weather on the Covent Garden shores, but if you will come in when you
have done Trinculizing, you will delight me greatly, and add in no
inconsiderable degree to the "conviviality" of the meeting.

Lord bless my soul! Twenty-seven years old. Who'd have thought it? I
_never_ did!

But I grow sentimental.

Always yours truly.

[Sidenote: Mr. Edward Chapman.]

1, DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, _27th December, 1839._


The place where you pledge yourself to pay for my beef and mutton when I
eat it, and my ale and wine when I drink it, is the Treasurer's Office
of the Middle Temple, the new building at the bottom of Middle Temple
Lane on the right-hand side. You walk up into the first-floor and say
(boldly) that you come to sign Mr. Charles Dickens's bond - which is
already signed by Mr. Sergeant Talfourd. I suppose I should formally
acquaint you that I have paid the fees, and that the responsibility you
incur is a very slight one - extending very little beyond my good
behaviour, and honourable intentions to pay for all wine-glasses,
tumblers, or other dinner-furniture that I may break or damage.

I wish you would do me another service, and that is to choose, at the
place you told me of, a reasonable copy of "The Beauties of England and
Wales." You can choose it quite as well as I can, or better, and I shall
be much obliged to you. I should like you to send it at once, as I am
diving into all kinds of matters at odd minutes with a view to our
forthcoming operations.

Faithfully yours.


[5] This fragment of a diary was found amongst some papers which have
recently come to light. The Editors give only those paragraphs which are
likely to be of any public interest. The original manuscript has been
added to "The Forster Collection," at the South Kensington Museum.

[6] "Sunday, under Three Heads," a small pamphlet published about this

[7] "Bentley's Miscellany."

[8] No other date, but it must have been 7th February, 1839.


[Sidenote: Mr. H. G. Adams.[9]]

_Saturday, Jan. 18th, 1840._


The pressure of other engagements will, I am compelled to say, prevent
me from contributing a paper to your new local magazine.[10] But I beg
you to set me down as a subscriber to it, and foremost among those whose
best wishes are enlisted in your cause. It will afford me real pleasure
to hear of your success, for I have many happy recollections connected
with Kent, and am scarcely less interested in it than if I had been a
Kentish man bred and born, and had resided in the county all my life.

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: Mr. Thompson.[11]]

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, _Tuesday, 15th December, 1840._


I have received a most flattering message from the head turnkey of the
jail this morning, intimating that "there warn't a genelman in all
London he'd be gladder to show his babies to, than Muster Dickins, and
let him come wenever he would to that shop he wos welcome." But as the
Governor (who is a very nice fellow and a gentleman) is not at home this
morning, and furthermore as the morning itself has rather gone out of
town in respect of its poetical allurements, I think we had best
postpone our visit for a day or two.

Faithfully yours.


[9] Mr. Adams, the Hon. Secretary of the Chatham Mechanics' Institute,
which office he held for many years.

[10] "The Kentish Coronal."

[11] An intimate friend.


[Sidenote: Rev. Thomas Robinson.[12]]

_Thursday, April 8th, 1841._


I am much obliged to you for your interesting letter. Nor am I the less
pleased to receive it, by reason that I cannot find it in my conscience
to agree in many important respects with the body to which you belong.

In the love of virtue and hatred of vice, in the detestation of cruelty
and encouragement of gentleness and mercy, all men who endeavour to be
acceptable to their Creator in any way, may freely agree. There are more
roads to Heaven, I am inclined to think, than any sect believes; but
there can be none which have not these flowers garnishing the way.

I feel it a great tribute, therefore, to receive your letter. It is most
welcome and acceptable to me. I thank you for it heartily, and am proud
of the approval of one who suffered in his youth, even more than my poor

While you teach in your walk of life the lessons of tenderness you have
learnt in sorrow, trust me that in mine, I will pursue cruelty and
oppression, the enemies of all God's creatures of all codes and creeds,
so long as I have the energy of thought and the power of giving it

Faithfully yours.

[Sidenote: The Countess of Blessington.]

[13]DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, _June 2nd, 1841._


The year goes round so fast, that when anything occurs to remind me of
its whirling, I lose my breath, and am bewildered. So your handwriting
last night had as startling an effect upon me, as though you had sealed
your note with one of your own eyes.

I remember my promise, as in cheerful duty bound, and with Heaven's
grace will redeem it. At this moment, I have not the faintest idea how,
but I am going into Scotland on the 19th to see Jeffrey, and while I am
away (I shall return, please God, in about three weeks) will look out
for some accident, incident, or subject for small description, to send
you when I come home. You will take the will for the deed, I know; and,
remembering that I have a "Clock" which always wants winding up, will

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