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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.]

HÔTEL DE LA VILLE, MILAN, _25th October, 1853._

MY DEAREST CATHERINE,

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'hôte 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._

MY DEAREST CATHERINE,

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 ÉTRANGERS, NAPLES,
_Friday Night, November 4th, 1853._

MY DEAREST CATHERINE,

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'hôte - 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.

FOOTNOTE:

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




1854.


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

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, LONDON, _13th January, 1854._

MY DEAR SIR,

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._

MY DEAR MRS. GASKELL,

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._

MY DEAR HARNESS,

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._

MY DEAR WHITE,

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._

MY DEAR WILLS,

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 fête 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_


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