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marmalade. Another deputation of two has solicited a reading to-night.
Illustrious novelist has unconditionally and absolutely declined. More
love, and more to that, from your ever affectionate friend.


[Sidenote: The same.]

"ALL THE YEAR ROUND" OFFICE, _May 15th, 1868._

MY DEAR FIELDS,

I have found it so extremely difficult to write about America (though
never so briefly) without appearing to blow trumpets on the one hand, or
to be inconsistent with my avowed determination _not_ to write about it
on the other, that I have taken the simple course enclosed. The number
will be published on the 6th of June. It appears to me to be the most
modest and manly course, and to derive some graceful significance from
its title.

Thank my dear Mrs. Fields for me for her delightful letter received on
the 16th. I will write to her very soon, and tell her about the dogs. I
would write by this post, but that Wills' absence (in Sussex, and
getting no better there as yet) so overwhelms me with business that I
can scarcely get through it.

Miss me? Ah, my dear fellow, but how do I miss _you_! We talk about you
both at Gad's Hill every day of our lives. And I never see the place
looking very pretty indeed, or hear the birds sing all day long and the
nightingales all night, without restlessly wishing that you were both
there.

With best love, and truest and most enduring regard, ever, my dear
Fields,

Your most affectionate.

. . . I hope you will receive by Saturday's Cunard a case containing:

1. A trifling supply of the pen-knibs that suited your hand.

2. A do. of unfailing medicine for cockroaches.

3. Mrs. Gamp, for - - .

The case is addressed to you at Bleecker Street, New York. If it should
be delayed for the knibs (or nibs) promised to-morrow, and should be too
late for the Cunard packet, it will in that case come by the next
following Inman steamer.

Everything here looks lovely, and I find it (you will be surprised to
hear) really a pretty place! I have seen "No Thoroughfare" twice.
Excellent things in it, but it drags to my thinking. It is, however, a
great success in the country, and is now getting up with great force in
Paris. Fechter is ill, and was ordered off to Brighton yesterday. Wills
is ill too, and banished into Sussex for perfect rest. Otherwise, thank
God, I find everything well and thriving. You and my dear Mrs. Fields
are constantly in my mind. Procter greatly better.


[Sidenote: Mr. Fechter.]

OFFICE OF "ALL THE YEAR ROUND,"
_Friday, 22nd May, 1868._

MY DEAR FECHTER,

I have an idea about the bedroom act, which I should certainly have
suggested if I had been at our "repetitions" here.[91] I want it done _to
the sound of the Waterfall_. I want the sound of the Waterfall louder
and softer as the wind rises and falls, to be spoken through - like the
music. I want the Waterfall _listened to when spoken of, and not looked
out at_. The mystery and gloom of the scene would be greatly helped by
this, and it would be new and picturesquely fanciful.

I am very anxious to hear from you how the piece seems to go,[92] and how
the artists, who are to act it, seem to understand their parts. Pray
tell me, too, when you write, how you found Madame Fechter, and give all
our loves to all.

Ever heartily yours.


[Sidenote: Mrs. James T. Fields.]

GAD'S HILL, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT,
_25th May, 1868._

MY DEAR MRS. FIELDS,

As you ask me about the dogs, I begin with them. When I came down first,
I came to Gravesend, five miles off. The two Newfoundland dogs, coming
to meet me with the usual carriage and the usual driver, and beholding
me coming in my usual dress out at the usual door, it struck me that
their recollection of my having been absent for any unusual time was at
once cancelled. They behaved (they are both young dogs) exactly in their
usual manner; coming behind the basket phaeton as we trotted along, and
lifting their heads to have their ears pulled - a special attention which
they receive from no one else. But when I drove into the stable-yard,
Linda (the St. Bernard) was greatly excited; weeping profusely, and
throwing herself on her back that she might caress my foot with her
great fore-paws. Mamie's little dog, too, Mrs. Bouncer, barked in the
greatest agitation on being called down and asked by Mamie, "Who is
this?" and tore round and round me, like the dog in the Faust outlines.
You must know that all the farmers turned out on the road in their
market-chaises to say, "Welcome home, sir!" and that all the houses
along the road were dressed with flags; and that our servants, to cut
out the rest, had dressed this house so that every brick of it was
hidden. They had asked Mamie's permission to "ring the alarm-bell" (!)
when master drove up, but Mamie, having some slight idea that that
compliment might awaken master's sense of the ludicrous, had recommended
bell abstinence. But on Sunday the village choir (which includes the
bell-ringers) made amends. After some unusually brief pious reflections
in the crowns of their hats at the end of the sermon, the ringers bolted
out, and rang like mad until I got home. There had been a conspiracy
among the villagers to take the horse out, if I had come to our own
station, and draw me here. Mamie and Georgy had got wind of it and
warned me.

Divers birds sing here all day, and the nightingales all night. The
place is lovely, and in perfect order. I have put five mirrors in the
Swiss châlet (where I write) and they reflect and refract in all kinds
of ways the leaves that are quivering at the windows, and the great
fields of waving corn, and the sail-dotted river. My room is up among
the branches of the trees; and the birds and the butterflies fly in and
out, and the green branches shoot in, at the open windows, and the
lights and shadows of the clouds come and go with the rest of the
company. The scent of the flowers, and indeed of everything that is
growing for miles and miles, is most delicious.

Dolby (who sends a world of messages) found his wife much better than he
expected, and the children (wonderful to relate!) perfect. The little
girl winds up her prayers every night with a special commendation to
Heaven of me and the pony - as if I must mount him to get there! I dine
with Dolby (I was going to write "him," but found it would look as if I
were going to dine with the pony) at Greenwich this very day, and if
your ears do not burn from six to nine this evening, then the Atlantic
is a non-conductor. We are already settling - think of this! - the details
of my farewell course of readings. I am brown beyond belief, and cause
the greatest disappointment in all quarters by looking so well. It is
really wonderful what those fine days at sea did for me! My doctor was
quite broken down in spirits when he saw me, for the first time since my
return, last Saturday. "Good Lord!" he said, recoiling, "seven years
younger!"

It is time I should explain the otherwise inexplicable enclosure. Will
you tell Fields, with my love (I suppose he hasn't used _all_ the pens
yet?), that I think there is in Tremont Street a set of my books, sent
out by Chapman, not arrived when I departed. Such set of the immortal
works of our illustrious, etc., is designed for the gentleman to whom
the enclosure is addressed. If T., F. and Co., will kindly forward the
set (carriage paid) with the enclosure to - - 's address, I will invoke
new blessings on their heads, and will get Dolby's little daughter to
mention them nightly.

"No Thoroughfare" is very shortly coming out in Paris, where it is now
in active rehearsal. It is still playing here, but without Fechter, who
has been very ill. The doctor's dismissal of him to Paris, however, and
his getting better there, enables him to get up the play there. He and
Wilkie missed so many pieces of stage-effect here, that, unless I am
quite satisfied with his report, I shall go over and try my
stage-managerial hand at the Vaudeville Theatre. I particularly want the
drugging and attempted robbing in the bedroom scene at the Swiss inn to
be done to the sound of a waterfall rising and falling with the wind.
Although in the very opening of that scene they speak of the waterfall
and listen to it, nobody thought of its mysterious music. I could make
it, with a good stage-carpenter, in an hour.

My dear love to Fields once again. Same to you and him from Mamie and
Georgy. I cannot tell you both how I miss you, or how overjoyed I should
be to see you here.

Ever, my dear Mrs. Fields,
Your most affectionate friend.


[Sidenote: Mr. Alexander Ireland.]

THE ATHENÆUM, _Saturday, 30th May, 1868._

DEAR MR. IRELAND,

Many thanks for the book[93] you have kindly lent me. My interest in its
subject is scarcely less than your own, and the book has afforded me
great pleasure. I hope it will prove a very useful tribute to Hazlett
and Hunt (in extending the general knowledge of their writings), as well
as a deservedly hearty and loving one.

You gratify me much by your appreciation of my desire to promote the
kindest feelings between England and America. But the writer of the
generous article in _The Manchester Examiner_ is quite mistaken in
supposing that I intend to write a book on the United States. The fact
is exactly the reverse, or I could not have spoken without some
appearance of having a purpose to serve.

Very faithfully yours.


[Sidenote: Mr. James T. Fields.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, _Tuesday, 7th July, 1868._

MY DEAR FIELDS,

I have delayed writing to you (and Mrs. Fields, to whom my love) until I
should have seen Longfellow. When he was in London the first time he
came and went without reporting himself, and left me in a state of
unspeakable discomfiture. Indeed, I should not have believed in his
having been here at all, if Mrs. Procter had not told me of his calling
to see Procter. However, on his return he wrote to me from the Langham
Hotel, and I went up to town to see him, and to make an appointment for
his coming here. He, the girls, and Appleton, came down last Saturday
night and stayed until Monday forenoon. I showed them all the
neighbouring country that could be shown in so short a time, and they
finished off with a tour of inspection of the kitchens, pantry,
wine-cellar, pickles, sauces, servants' sitting-room, general household
stores, and even the Cellar Book, of this illustrious establishment.
Forster and Kent (the latter wrote certain verses to Longfellow, which
have been published in _The Times_, and which I sent to D - - ) came down
for a day, and I hope we all had a really "good time." I turned out a
couple of postillions in the old red jacket of the old red royal Dover
Road, for our ride; and it was like a holiday ride in England fifty
years ago. Of course we went to look at the old houses in Rochester, and
the old cathedral, and the old castle, and the house for the six poor
travellers who, "not being rogues or procters, shall have lodging,
entertainment, and four pence each."

Nothing can surpass the respect paid to Longfellow here, from the Queen
downward. He is everywhere received and courted, and finds (as I told
him he would, when we talked of it in Boston) the working-men at least
as well acquainted with his books as the classes socially above
them. . . .

Last Thursday I attended, as sponsor, the christening of Dolby's son and
heir - a most jolly baby, who held on tight by the rector's left whisker
while the service was performed. What time, too, his little sister,
connecting me with the pony, trotted up and down the centre aisle,
noisily driving herself as that celebrated animal, so that it went very
hard with the sponsorial dignity.

Wills is not yet recovered from that concussion of the brain, and I have
all his work to do. This may account for my not being able to devise a
Christmas number, but I seem to have left my invention in America. In
case you should find it, please send it over. I am going up to town
to-day to dine with Longfellow. And now, my dear Fields, you know all
about me and mine.

You are enjoying your holiday? and are still thinking sometimes of our
Boston days, as I do? and are maturing schemes for coming here next
summer? A satisfactory reply to the last question is particularly
entreated.

I am delighted to find you both so well pleased with the Blind Book
scheme.[94] I said nothing of it to you when we were together, though I
had made up my mind, because I wanted to come upon you with that little
burst from a distance. It seemed something like meeting again when I
remitted the money and thought of your talking of it.

The dryness of the weather is amazing. All the ponds and surface-wells
about here are waterless, and the poor people suffer greatly. The people
of this village have only one spring to resort to, and it is a couple of
miles from many cottages. I do not let the great dogs swim in the canal,
because the people have to drink of it. But when they get into the
Medway it is hard to get them out again. The other day Bumble (the son,
Newfoundland dog) got into difficulties among some floating timber, and
became frightened. Don (the father) was standing by me, shaking off the
wet and looking on carelessly, when all of a sudden he perceived
something amiss, and went in with a bound and brought Bumble out by the
ear. The scientific way in which he towed him along was charming.

Ever your loving.


[Sidenote: Mr. J. E. Millais, R.A.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT,
_Sunday, 19th July, 1868._

MY DEAR MILLAIS,[95]

I received the enclosed letter yesterday, and I have, perhaps
unjustly - some vague suspicions of it. As I know how faithful and
zealous you have been in all relating to poor Leech, I make no apology
for asking you whether you can throw any light upon its contents.

You will be glad to hear that Charles Collins is decidedly better
to-day, and is out of doors.

Believe me always, faithfully yours.


[Sidenote: Mr. Serle.]

GAD'S HILL, _Wednesday, 29th July, 1868._

MY DEAR SERLE,[96]

I do not believe there is the slightest chance of an international
Copyright law being passed in America for a long time to come. Some
Massachusetts men do believe in such a thing, but they fail (as I
think) to take into account the prompt western opposition.

Such an alteration as you suggest in the English law would give no
copyright in America, you see. The American publisher could buy no
absolute _right_ of priority. Any American newspaper could (and many
would, in a popular case) pirate from him, as soon as they could get the
matter set up. He could buy no more than he buys now when he arranges
for advance sheets from England, so that there may be simultaneous
publication in the two countries. And success in England is of so much
importance towards the achievement of success in America, that I greatly
doubt whether previous publications in America would often be worth more
to an American publisher or manager than simultaneous publication.
Concerning the literary man in Parliament who would undertake to bring
in a Bill for such an amendment of our copyright law, with weight enough
to keep his heart unbroken while he should be getting it through its
various lingering miseries, all I can say is - I decidedly don't know
him.

On that horrible Staplehurst day, I had not the slightest idea that I
knew anyone in the train out of my own compartment. Mrs. Cowden
Clarke[97] wrote me afterwards, telling me in the main what you tell me,
and I was astonished. It is remarkable that my watch (a special
chronometer) has never gone quite correctly since, and to this day there
sometimes comes over me, on a railway - in a hansom cab - or any sort of
conveyance - for a few seconds, a vague sense of dread that I have no
power to check. It comes and passes, but I cannot prevent its coming.

Believe me, always faithfully yours.


[Sidenote: Mr. Rusden.]

_24th August, 1868._

MY DEAR SIR,

I should have written to you much sooner, but that I have been home from
the United States barely three months, and have since been a little
uncertain as to the precise time and way of sending my youngest son out
to join his brother Alfred.

It is now settled that he shall come out in the ship _Sussex_, 1000
tons, belonging to Messrs. Money, Wigram, and Co. She sails from
Gravesend, but he will join her at Plymouth on the 27th September, and
will proceed straight to Melbourne. Of this I apprise Alfred by this
mail. . . . I cannot sufficiently thank you for your kindness to Alfred.
I am certain that a becoming sense of it and desire to deserve it, has
done him great good.

Your report of him is an unspeakable comfort to me, and I most heartily
assure you of my gratitude and friendship.

In the midst of your colonial seethings and heavings, I suppose you have
some leisure to consult equally the hopeful prophets and the dismal
prophets who are all wiser than any of the rest of us as to things at
home here. My own strong impression is that whatsoever change the new
Reform Bill may effect will be very gradual indeed and quite wholesome.

Numbers of the middle class who seldom or never voted before will vote
now, and the greater part of the new voters will in the main be wiser as
to their electoral responsibilities and more seriously desirous to
discharge them for the common good than the bumptious singers of "Rule
Britannia," "Our dear old Church of England," and all the rest of it.

If I can ever do anything for any accredited friend of yours coming to
the old country, command me. I shall be truly glad of any opportunity of
testifying that I do not use a mere form of words in signing myself,

Cordially yours.


[Sidenote: Mr. Russell Sturgis.]

KENNEDY'S HOTEL, EDINBURGH,
_Monday, 14th December, 1868._[98]

MY DEAR MR. RUSSELL STURGIS,

I am "reading" here, and shall be through this week. Consequently I am
only this morning in receipt of your kind note of the 10th, forwarded
from my own house.

Believe me I am as much obliged to you for your generous and ready
response to my supposed letter as I should have been if I had really
written it. But I know nothing whatever of it or of "Miss Jeffries,"
except that I have a faint impression of having recently noticed that
name among my begging-letter correspondents, and of having associated it
in my mind with a regular professional hand. Your caution has, I hope,
disappointed this swindler. But my testimony is at your service if you
should need it, and I would take any opportunity of bringing one of
those vagabonds to punishment; for they are, one and all, the most
heartless and worthless vagabonds on the face of the earth.

Believe me, faithfully yours.


[Sidenote: Mrs. James T. Fields.]

GLASGOW, _Wednesday, December 16, 1868._

MY DEAR MRS. FIELDS,

. . . First, as you are curious about the Oliver murder, I will tell you
about that trial of the same at which you _ought_ to have assisted.
There were about a hundred people present in all. I have changed my
stage. Besides that back screen which you know so well, there are two
large screens of the same colour, set off, one on either side, like the
"wings" at a theatre. And besides these again, we have a quantity of
curtains of the same colour, with which to close in any width of room
from wall to wall. Consequently, the figure is now completely isolated,
and the slightest action becomes much more important. This was used for
the first time on the occasion. But behind the stage - the orchestra
being very large and built for the accommodation of a numerous
chorus - there was ready, on the level of the platform, a very long
table, beautifully lighted, with a large staff of men ready to open
oysters and set champagne-corks flying. Directly I had done, the screens
being whisked off by my people, there was disclosed one of the prettiest
banquets you can imagine; and when all the people came up, and the gay
dresses of the ladies were lighted by those powerful lights of mine, the
scene was exquisitely pretty; the hall being newly decorated, and very
elegantly; and the whole looking like a great bed of flowers and
diamonds.

Now, you must know that all this company were, before the wine went
round, unmistakably pale, and had horror-stricken faces. Next morning
Harness (Fields knows - Rev. William - did an edition of Shakespeare - old
friend of the Kembles and Mrs. Siddons), writing to me about it, and
saying it was "a most amazing and terrific thing," added, "but I am
bound to tell you that I had an almost irresistible impulse upon me to
_scream_, and that, if anyone had cried out, I am certain I should have
followed." He had no idea that, on the night, P - - , the great ladies'
doctor, had taken me aside and said: "My dear Dickens, you may rely upon
it that if only one woman cries out when you murder the girl, there will
be a contagion of hysteria all over this place." It is impossible to
soften it without spoiling it, and you may suppose that I am rather
anxious to discover how it goes on the 5th of January!!! We are afraid
to announce it elsewhere, without knowing, except that I have thought it
pretty safe to put it up once in Dublin. I asked Mrs. K - - , the famous
actress, who was at the experiment: "What do _you_ say? Do it or not?"
"Why, of course, do it," she replied. "Having got at such an effect as
that, it must be done. But," rolling her large black eyes very slowly,
and speaking very distinctly, "the public have been looking out for a
sensation these last fifty years or so, and by Heaven they have got it!"
With which words, and a long breath and a long stare, she became
speechless. Again, you may suppose that I am a little anxious!

Not a day passes but Dolby and I talk about you both, and recall where
we were at the corresponding time of last year. My old likening of
Boston to Edinburgh has been constantly revived within these last ten
days. There is a certain remarkable similarity of _tone_ between the two
places. The audiences are curiously alike, except that the Edinburgh
audience has a quicker sense of humour and is a little more genial. No
disparagement to Boston in this, because I consider an Edinburgh
audience perfect.

I trust, my dear Eugenius, that you have recognised yourself in a
certain Uncommercial, and also some small reference to a name rather
dear to you? As an instance of how strangely something comic springs up
in the midst of the direst misery, look to a succeeding Uncommercial,
called "A Small Star in the East," published to-day, by-the-bye. I have
described, _with exactness_, the poor places into which I went, and how
the people behaved, and what they said. I was wretched, looking on; and
yet the boiler-maker and the poor man with the legs filled me with a
sense of drollery not to be kept down by any pressure.

The atmosphere of this place, compounded of mists from the highlands and
smoke from the town factories, is crushing my eyebrows as I write, and
it rains as it never does rain anywhere else, and always does rain here.
It is a dreadful place, though much improved and possessing a deal of
public spirit. Improvement is beginning to knock the old town of
Edinburgh about, here and there; but the Canongate and the most
picturesque of the horrible courts and wynds are not to be easily
spoiled, or made fit for the poor wretches who people them to live in.
Edinburgh is so changed as to its notabilities, that I had the only
three men left of the Wilson and Jeffrey time to dine with me there,
last Saturday.

I think you will find "Fatal Zero" (by Percy Fitzgerald) a very curious
analysis of a mind, as the story advances. A new beginner in "A. Y. R."
(Hon. Mrs. Clifford, Kinglake's sister), who wrote a story in the series
just finished, called "The Abbot's Pool," has just sent me another


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