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This, as far as his movements were concerned, was again a very unsettled year with Charles Dickens.  He hired a furnished house in the Regent’s Park, which he, with his household, occupied for some months.  During the season he gave several readings at St. James’s Hall.  After a short summer holiday at Gad’s Hill, he started, in the autumn, on a reading tour in the English provinces.  Mr. Arthur Smith, being seriously ill, could not accompany him in this tour; and Mr. Headland, who was formerly in office at the St. Martin’s Hall, was engaged as business-manager of these readings.  Mr. Arthur Smith died in October, and Charles Dickens’s distress at the loss of this loved friend and companion is touchingly expressed in many of his letters of this year.

There are also sorrowful allusions to the death of his brother-in-law, Mr. Henry Austin, which sad event likewise happened in October.  And the letter we give to Mrs. Austin ("Letitia”) has reference to her sad affliction.

In June of this year he paid a short visit to Sir E. B. Lytton at Knebworth, accompanied by his daughter and sister-in-law, who also during his autumn tour joined him in Edinburgh.  But this course of readings was brought rather suddenly to an end on account of the death of the Prince Consort.

Besides being constantly occupied with the business of these readings, Charles Dickens was still at work on his story of “Great Expectations,” which was appearing weekly in “All the Year Round.”  The story closed on the 3rd of August, when it was published as a whole in three volumes, and inscribed to Mr. Chauncey Hare Townshend.  The Christmas number of “All the Year Round” was called “Tom Tiddler’s Ground,” to which Charles Dickens contributed three stories.

Our second letter in this year is given more as a specimen of the claims which were constantly being made upon Charles Dickens’s time and patience, than because we consider the letter itself to contain much public interest; excepting, indeed, as showing his always considerate and courteous replies to such constant applications.

“The fire” mentioned in the letter to Mr. Forster was the great fire in Tooley Street.  The “Morgan” was an American sea-captain, well known in those days, and greatly liked and respected.  It may interest our readers to know that the character of Captain Jorgan, in the Christmas number of the previous year, was suggested by this pleasant sailor, for whom Charles Dickens had a hearty liking.  Young Mr. Morgan was, during the years he passed in England, a constant visitor at Gad’s Hill.  The “Elwin” mentioned in the letter written from Bury St. Edmunds, was the Rev. Whitwell Elwin, a Norfolk gentleman, well known in the literary world, and who was for many years editor of “The Quarterly Review.”

The explanation of the letter to Mr. John Agate, of Dover, we give in that gentleman’s own words: 

“There are few public men with the strain upon their time and energies which he had particularly (and which I know better now that I have read his life), who would have spared the time to have written such a long courteous letter.

“I wrote to him rather in anger, and left the letter myself at The Lord Warden, as I and my family were very much disappointed, after having purchased our tickets so long before, to find we could not got into the room, as money was being received, but his kind letter explained all.”

Miss Hogarth.

Wednesday, Jath, 1861.


“We” are in the full swing of stopping managers from playing “A Message from the Sea.”  I privately doubt the strength of our position in the Court of Chancery, if we try it; but it is worth trying.

I am aware that Mr. Lane of the Britannia sent an emissary to Gad’s Hill yesterday.  It unfortunately happens that the first man “we” have to assert the principle against is a very good man, whom I really respect.

I have no news, except that I really hope and believe I am gradually getting well.  If I have no check, I hope to be soon discharged by the medico.

Ever affectionately.

P.S. ­Best love to Mamie, also to the boys and Miss Craufurd.

Tuesday Evening, Jath, 1861.


I feel it quite hopeless to endeavour to present my position before you, in reference to such a letter as yours, in its plain and true light.  When you suppose it would have cost Mr. Thackeray “but a word” to use his influence to obtain you some curatorship or the like, you fill me with the sense of impossibility of leading you to a more charitable judgment of Mr. Dickens.

Nevertheless, I will put the truth before you.  Scarcely a day of my life passes, or has passed for many years, without bringing me some letters similar to yours.  Often they will come by dozens ­scores ­hundreds.  My time and attention would be pretty well occupied without them, and the claims upon me (some very near home), for all the influence and means of help that I do and do not possess, are not commonly heavy.  I have no power to aid you towards the attainment of your object.  It is the simple exact truth, and nothing can alter it.  So great is the disquietude I constantly undergo from having to write to some new correspondent in this strain, that, God knows, I would resort to another relief if I could.

Your studies from nature appear to me to express an excellent observation of nature, in a loving and healthy spirit.  But what then?  The dealers and dealers’ prices of which you complain will not be influenced by that honest opinion.  Nor will it have the least effect upon the President of the Royal Academy, or the Directors of the School of Design.  Assuming your supposition to be correct that these authorities are adverse to you, I have no more power than you have to render them favourable.  And assuming them to be quite disinterested and dispassionate towards you, I have no voice or weight in any appointment that any of them make.

I will retain your packet over to-morrow, and will then cause it to be sent to your house.  I write under the pressure of occupation and business, and therefore write briefly.

Faithfully yours.

M. de Cerjat.

OFFICE OF “ALL THE YEAR ROUND,” Friday, Fest, 1861.


You have read in the papers of our heavy English frost.  At Gad’s Hill it was so intensely cold, that in our warm dining-room on Christmas Day we could hardly sit at the table.  In my study on that morning, long after a great fire of coal and wood had been lighted, the thermometer was I don’t know where below freezing.  The bath froze, and all the pipes froze, and remained in a stony state for five or six weeks.  The water in the bedroom-jugs froze, and blew up the crockery.  The snow on the top of the house froze, and was imperfectly removed with axes.  My beard froze as I walked about, and I couldn’t detach my cravat and coat from it until I was thawed at the fire.  My boys and half the officers stationed at Chatham skated away without a check to Gravesend ­five miles off ­and repeated the performance for three or four weeks.  At last the thaw came, and then everything split, blew up, dripped, poured, perspired, and got spoilt.  Since then we have had a small visitation of the plague of servants; the cook (in a riding-habit) and the groom (in a dress-coat and jewels) having mounted Mary’s horse and mine, in our absence, and scoured the neighbouring country at a rattling pace.  And when I went home last Saturday, I innocently wondered how the horses came to be out of condition, and gravely consulted the said groom on the subject, who gave it as his opinion “which they wanted reg’lar work.”  We are now coming to town until midsummer.  Having sold my own house, to be more free and independent, I have taken a very pretty furnished house, N, Hanover Terrace, Regent’s Park.  This, of course, on my daughter’s account.  For I have very good and cheerful bachelor rooms here, with an old servant in charge, who is the cleverest man of his kind in the world, and can do anything, from excellent carpentery to excellent cookery, and has been with me three-and-twenty years.

The American business is the greatest English sensation at present.  I venture to predict that the struggle of violence will be a very short one, and will be soon succeeded by some new compact between the Northern and Southern States.  Meantime the Lancashire mill-owners are getting very uneasy.

The Italian state of things is not regarded as looking very cheerful.  What from one’s natural sympathies with a people so oppressed as the Italians, and one’s natural antagonism to a pope and a Bourbon (both of which superstitions I do suppose the world to have had more than enough of), I agree with you concerning Victor Emmanuel, and greatly fear that the Southern Italians are much degraded.  Still, an united Italy would be of vast importance to the peace of the world, and would be a rock in Louis Napoleon’s way, as he very well knows.  Therefore the idea must be championed, however much against hope.

My eldest boy, just home from China, was descried by Townshend’s Henri the moment he landed at Marseilles, and was by him borne in triumph to Townshend’s rooms.  The weather was snowy, slushy, beastly; and Marseilles was, as it usually is to my thinking, well-nigh intolerable.  My boy could not stay with Townshend, as he was coming on by express train; but he says:  “I sat with him and saw him dine.  He had a leg of lamb, and a tremendous cold.”  That is the whole description I have been able to extract from him.

This journal is doing gloriously, and “Great Expectations” is a great success.  I have taken my third boy, Frank (Jeffrey’s godson), into this office.  If I am not mistaken, he has a natural literary taste and capacity, and may do very well with a chance so congenial to his mind, and being also entered at the Bar.

Dear me, when I have to show you about London, and we dine en garcon at odd places, I shall scarcely know where to begin.  Only yesterday I walked out from here in the afternoon, and thought I would go down by the Houses of Parliament.  When I got there, the day was so beautifully bright and warm, that I thought I would walk on by Millbank, to see the river.  I walked straight on for three miles on a splendid broad esplanade overhanging the Thames, with immense factories, railway works, and what-not erected on it, and with the strangest beginnings and ends of wealthy streets pushing themselves into the very Thames.  When I was a rower on that river, it was all broken ground and ditch, with here and there a public-house or two, an old mill, and a tall chimney.  I had never seen it in any state of transition, though I suppose myself to know this rather large city as well as anyone in it.

Mr. E. M. Ward‚ R.A.

Saturday Night, March 9th, 1861.


I cannot tell you how gratified I have been by your letter, and what a splendid recompense it is for any pleasure I am giving you.  Such generous and earnest sympathy from such a brother-artist gives me true delight.  I am proud of it, believe me, and moved by it to do all the better.

Ever faithfully yours.

Mr. W. C. Macready.

“ALL THE YEAR ROUND” OFFICE, Tuesday, June 11th, 1861.


There is little doubt, I think, of my reading at Cheltenham somewhere about November.  I submit myself so entirely to Arthur Smith’s arrangements for me, that I express my sentiments on this head with modesty.  But I think there is scarcely a doubt of my seeing you then.

I have just finished my book of “Great Expectations,” and am the worse for wear.  Neuralgic pains in the face have troubled me a good deal, and the work has been pretty close.  But I hope that the book is a good book, and I have no doubt of very soon throwing off the little damage it has done me.

What with Blondin at the Crystal Palace and Leotard at Leicester Square, we seem to be going back to barbaric excitements.  I have not seen, and don’t intend to see, the Hero of Niagara (as the posters call him), but I have been beguiled into seeing Leotard, and it is at once the most fearful and most graceful thing I have ever seen done.

Clara White (grown pretty) has been staying with us.

I am sore afraid that The Times, by playing fast and loose with the American question, has very seriously compromised this country.  The Americans northward are perfectly furious on the subject; and Motley the historian (a very sensible man, strongly English in his sympathies) assured me the other day that he thought the harm done very serious indeed, and the dangerous nature of the daily widening breach scarcely calculable.

Kindest and best love to all.  Wilkie Collins has just come in, and sends best regard.

Ever most affectionately, my dearest Macready.

Mr. John Forster.

GAD’S HILL, Monday, July 1st, 1861.


You will be surprised to hear that I have changed the end of “Great Expectations” from and after Pip’s return to Joe’s, and finding his little likeness there.

Bulwer (who has been, as I think I told you, extraordinarily taken by the book), so strongly urged it upon me, after reading the proofs, and supported his views with such good reasons, that I resolved to make the change.  You shall have it when you come back to town.  I have put in a very pretty piece of writing, and I have no doubt the story will be more acceptable through the alteration.

I have not seen Bulwer’s changed story.  I brought back the first month with me, and I know the nature of his changes throughout; but I have not yet had the revised proofs.  He was in a better state at Knebworth than I have ever seen him in all these years, a little weird occasionally regarding magic and spirits, but perfectly fair and frank under opposition.  He was talkative, anecdotical, and droll; looked young and well, laughed heartily, and enjoyed some games we played with great zest.  In his artist character and talk he was full of interest and matter, but that he always is.  Socially, he seemed to me almost a new man.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and so did Georgina and Mary.

The fire I did not see until the Monday morning, but it was blazing fiercely then, and was blazing hardly less furiously when I came down here again last Friday.  I was here on the night of its breaking out.  If I had been in London I should have been on the scene, pretty surely.

You will be perhaps surprised to hear that it is Morgan’s conviction (his son was here yesterday), that the North will put down the South, and that speedily.  In his management of his large business, he is proceeding steadily on that conviction.  He says that the South has no money and no credit, and that it is impossible for it to make a successful stand.  He may be all wrong, but he is certainly a very shrewd man, and he has never been, as to the United States, an enthusiast of any class.

Poor Lord Campbell’s seems to me as easy and good a death as one could desire.  There must be a sweep of these men very soon, and one feels as if it must fall out like the breaking of an arch ­one stone goes from a prominent place, and then the rest begin to drop.  So one looks towards Brougham, and Lyndhurst, and Pollock.

I will add no more to this, or I know I shall not send it; for I am in the first desperate laziness of having done my book, and think of offering myself to the village school as a live example of that vice for the edification of youth.

Ever, my dear Forster, affectionately.

The Hon. Mrs. Watson.

                                             Monday, July 8th, 1861.


I have owed you a letter for so long a time that I fear you may sometimes have misconstrued my silence.  But I hope that the sight of the handwriting of your old friend will undeceive you, if you have, and will put that right.

During the progress of my last story, I have been working so hard that very, very little correspondence ­except enforced correspondence on business ­has passed this pen.  And now that I am free again, I devote a few of my first leisure moments to this note.

You seemed in your last to think that I had forgotten you in respect of the Christmas number.  Not so at all.  I discussed with them here where you were, how you were to be addressed, and the like; finally left the number in a blank envelope, and did not add the address to it until it would have been absurd to send you such stale bread.  This was my fault, but this was all.  And I should be so pained at heart if you supposed me capable of failing in my truth and cordiality, or in the warm remembrance of the time we have passed together, that perhaps I make more of it than you meant to do.

My sailor-boy is at home ­I was going to write, for the holidays, but I suppose I must substitute “on leave.”  Under the new regulations, he must not pass out of the Britannia before December.  The younger boys are all at school, and coming home this week for the holidays.  Mary keeps house, of course, and Katie and her husband surprised us yesterday, and are here now.  Charley is holiday-making at Guernsey and Jersey.  He has been for some time seeking a partnership in business, and has not yet found one.  The matter is in the hands of Mr. Bates, the managing partner in Barings’ house, and seems as slow a matter to adjust itself as ever I looked on at.  Georgina is, as usual, the general friend and confidante and factotum of the whole party.

Your present correspondent read at St. James’s Hall in the beginning of the season, to perfectly astounding audiences; but finding that fatigue and excitement very difficult to manage in conjunction with a story, deemed it prudent to leave off reading in high tide and mid-career, the rather by reason of something like neuralgia in the face.  At the end of October I begin again; and if you are at Brighton in November, I shall try to see you there.  I deliver myself up to Mr. Arthur Smith, and I know it is one of the places for which he has put me down.

This is all about me and mine, and next I want to know why you never come to Gad’s Hill, and whether you are never coming.  The stress I lay on these questions you will infer from the size of the following note of interrogation[HW:  =?=]

I am in the constant receipt of news from Lausanne.  Of Mary Boyle, I daresay you have seen and heard more than I have lately.  Rumours occasionally reach me of her acting in every English shire incessantly, and getting in a harvest of laurels all the year round.  Cavendish I have not seen for a long time, but when I did see him last, it was at Tavistock House, and we dined together jovially.  Mention of that locality reminds me that when you DO come here, you will see the pictures looking wonderfully better, and more precious than they ever did in town.  Brought together in country light and air, they really are quite a baby collection and very pretty.

I direct this to Rockingham, supposing you to be there in this summer time.  If you are as leafy in Northamptonshire as we are in Kent, you are greener than you have been for some years.  I hope you may have seen a large-headed photograph with little legs, representing the undersigned, pen in hand, tapping his forehead to knock an idea out.  It has just sprung up so abundantly in all the shops, that I am ashamed to go about town looking in at the picture-windows, which is my delight.  It seems to me extraordinarily ludicrous, and much more like than the grave portrait done in earnest.  It made me laugh when I first came upon it, until I shook again, in open sunlighted Piccadilly.

Pray be a good Christian to me, and don’t be retributive in measuring out the time that shall pass before you write to me.  And believe me ever,

Your affectionate and faithful.

Mr. W. Wilkie Collins.

Wednesday, Auth, 1861.


I have been going to write to you ever since I received your letter from Whitby, and now I hear from Charley that you are coming home, and must be addressed in the Rue Harley.  Let me know whether you will dine here this day week at the usual five.  I am at present so addle-headed (having hard Wednesday work in Wills’s absence) that I can’t write much.

I have got the “Copperfield” reading ready for delivery, and am now going to blaze away at “Nickleby,” which I don’t like half as well.  Every morning I “go in” at these marks for two or three hours, and then collapse and do nothing whatever (counting as nothing much cricket and rounders).

In my time that curious railroad by the Whitby Moor was so much the more curious, that you were balanced against a counter-weight of water, and that you did it like Blondin.  But in these remote days the one inn of Whitby was up a back-yard, and oyster-shell grottoes were the only view from the best private room.  Likewise, sir, I have posted to Whitby.  “Pity the sorrows of a poor old man.”

The sun is glaring in at these windows with an amount of ferocity insupportable by one of the landed interest, who lies upon his back with an imbecile hold on grass, from lunch to dinner.  Feebleness of mind and head are the result.

Ever affectionately.

P.S. ­The boys have multiplied themselves by fifty daily, and have seemed to appear in hosts (especially in the hottest days) round all the corners at Gad’s Hill.  I call them the prowlers, and each has a distinguishing name attached, derived from his style of prowling.

Mr. Arthur Smith.

Tuesday, Seprd, 1861.


I cannot tell you how sorry I am to receive your bad account of your health, or how anxious I shall be to receive a better one as soon as you can possibly give it.

If you go away, don’t you think in the main you would be better here than anywhere?  You know how well you would be nursed, what care we should take of you, and how perfectly quiet and at home you would be, until you become strong enough to take to the Medway.  Moreover, I think you would be less anxious about the tour, here, than away from such association.  I would come to Worthing to fetch you, I needn’t say, and would take the most careful charge of you.  I will write no more about this, because I wish to avoid giving you more to read than can be helped; but I do sincerely believe it would be at once your wisest and least anxious course.  As to a long journey into Wales, or any long journey, it would never do.  Nice is not to be thought of.  Its dust, and its sharp winds (I know it well), towards October are very bad indeed.

I send you the enclosed letters, firstly, because I have no circular to answer them with, and, secondly, because I fear I might confuse your arrangements by interfering with the correspondence.  I shall hope to have a word from you very soon.  I am at work for the tour every day, except my town Wednesdays.

Ever faithfully.

P.S. ­Kindest regards from all.

Mr. John Watkins.

Saturday Night, Septh, 1861.


In reply to your kind letter I must explain that I have not yet brought down any of your large photographs of myself, and therefore cannot report upon their effect here.  I think the “cartes” are all liked.

A general howl of horror greeted the appearance of N, and a riotous attempt was made to throw it out of window.  I calmed the popular fury by promising that it should never again be beheld within these walls.  I think I mentioned to you when you showed it to me, that I felt persuaded it would not be liked.  It has a grim and wasted aspect, and perhaps might be made useful as a portrait of the Ancient Mariner.

I feel that I owe you an apology for being (innocently) a difficult subject.  When I once excused myself to Ary Scheffer while sitting to him, he received the apology as strictly his due, and said with a vexed air:  “At this moment, mon cher Dickens, you look more like an energetic Dutch admiral than anything else;” for which I apologised again.

In the hope that the pains you have bestowed upon me will not be thrown away, but that your success will prove of some use to you, believe me,

Faithfully yours.

Mr. Edmund Yates.

Sunday, Octh, 1861.



Coming back here to-day, I find your letter.

I was so very much distressed last night in thinking of it all, and I find it so very difficult to preserve my composure when I dwell in my mind on the many times fast approaching when I shall sorely miss the familiar face, that I am hardly steady enough yet to refer to the readings like a man.  But your kind reference to them makes me desirous to tell you that I took Headland (formerly of St. Martin’s Hall, who has always been with us in London) to conduct the business, when I knew that our poor dear fellow could never do it, even if he had recovered strength to go; and that I consulted with himself about it when I saw him for the last time on earth, and that it seemed to please him, and he said:  “We couldn’t do better.”

Write to me before you come; and remember that I go to town Wednesday mornings.

Ever faithfully.

Miss Dickens.

Thursday, Octh, 1861.


I received your affectionate little letter here this morning, and was very glad to get it.  Poor dear Arthur is a sad loss to me, and indeed I was very fond of him.  But the readings must be fought out, like all the rest of life.

Ever your affectionate.

Mr. W. C. Macready.

Sunday, Octh, 1861.


This is a short note.  But the moment I know for certain what is designed for me at Cheltenham, I write to you in order that you may know it from me and not by chance from anyone else.

I am to read there on the evening of Friday, the 3rd of January, and on the morning of Saturday, the 4th; as I have nothing to do on Thursday, the 2nd, but come from Leamington, I shall come to you, please God, for a quiet dinner that day.

The death of Arthur Smith has caused me great distress and anxiety.  I had a great regard for him, and he made the reading part of my life as light and pleasant as it could be made.  I had hoped to bring him to see you, and had pictured to myself how amused and interested you would have been with his wonderful tact and consummate mastery of arrangement.  But it’s all over.

I begin at Norwich on the 28th, and am going north in the middle of November.  I am going to do “Copperfield,” and shall be curious to test its effect on the Edinburgh people.  It has been quite a job so to piece portions of the long book together as to make something continuous out of it; but I hope I have got something varied and dramatic.  I am also (not to slight your book) going to do “Nickleby at Mr. Squeers’s.”  It is clear that both must be trotted out at Cheltenham.

With kindest love and regard to all your house,

Ever, my dearest Macready, your most affectionate.

P.S. ­Fourth edition of “Great Expectations” almost gone!

Miss Hogarth.

Wednesday, Octh, 1861.


I have just now received your welcome letter, and I hasten to report (having very little time) that we had a splendid hall last night, and that I think “Nickleby” tops all the readings.  Somehow it seems to have got in it, by accident, exactly the qualities best suited to the purpose, and it went last night not only with roars, but with a general hilarity and pleasure that I have never seen surpassed.

We are full here for to-night.

Fancy this:  last night at about six, who should walk in but Elwin!  He was exactly in his usual state, only more demonstrative than ever, and had been driven in by some neighbours who were coming to the reading.  I had tea up for him, and he went down at seven with me to the dismal den where I dressed, and sat by the fire while I dressed, and was childishly happy in that great privilege!  During the reading he sat on a corner of the platform and roared incessantly.  He brought in a lady and gentleman to introduce while I was undressing, and went away in a perfect and absolute rapture.

ROYAL HOTEL, NORWICH, Tuesday, Octh, 1861.

I cannot say that we began well last night.  We had not a good hall, and they were a very lumpish audience indeed.  This did not tend to cheer the strangeness I felt in being without Arthur, and I was not at all myself.  We have a large let for to-night, I think two hundred and fifty stalls, which is very large, and I hope that both they and I will go better.  I could have done perfectly last night, if the audience had been bright, but they were an intent and staring audience.  They laughed though very well, and the storm made them shake themselves again.  But they were not magnetic, and the great big place was out of sorts somehow.

To-morrow I will write you another short note, however short.  It is “Nickleby” and the “Trial” to-night; “Copperfield” again to-morrow.  A wet day here, with glimpses of blue.  I shall not forget Katey’s health at dinner.  A pleasant journey down.

Ever, my dearest Georgy, your most affectionate.


I cannot quite remember in the whirl of travelling and reading, whether or no I wrote you a line from Bury St. Edmunds.  But I think (and hope) I did.  We had a fine room there, and “Copperfield” made a great impression.  At mid-day we go on to Colchester, where I shall expect the young Morgans.  I sent a telegram on yesterday, after receiving your note, to secure places for them.  The answer returned by telegraph was:  “No box-seats left but on the fourth row.”  If they prefer to sit on the stage (for I read in the theatre, there being no other large public room), they shall.  Meantime I have told John, who went forward this morning with the other men, to let the people at the inn know that if three travellers answering that description appear before my dinner-time, they are to dine with me.

Plorn’s admission that he likes the school very much indeed, is the great social triumph of modern times.

I am looking forward to Sunday’s rest at Gad’s, and shall be down by the ten o’clock train from town.  I miss poor Arthur dreadfully.  It is scarcely possible to imagine how much.  It is not only that his loss to me socially is quite irreparable, but that the sense I used to have of compactness and comfort about me while I was reading is quite gone.  And when I come out for the ten minutes, when I used to find him always ready for me with something cheerful to say, it is forlorn.  I cannot but fancy, too, that the audience must miss the old speciality of a pervading gentleman.

Nobody I know has turned up yet except Elwin.  I have had many invitations to all sorts of houses in all sorts of places, and have of course accepted them every one.

Love to Mamie, if she has come home, and to Bouncer, if she has come; also Marguerite, who I hope is by this time much better.

Ever, my dear Georgy, your most affectionate.

Mrs. Henry Austin.

GAD’S HILL, Sunday, Nord, 1861.


I am heartily glad to hear that you have been out in the air, and I hope you will go again very soon and make a point of continuing to go.  There is a soothing influence in the sight of the earth and sky, which God put into them for our relief when He made the world in which we are all to suffer, and strive, and die.

I will not fail to write to you from many points of my tour, and if you ever want to write to me you may be sure of a quick response, and may be certain that I am sympathetic and true.

Ever affectionately.

Miss Dickens.

FOUNTAIN HOTEL, CANTERBURY, Windy Night, Noth, 1861.


A word of report before I go to bed.  An excellent house to-night, and an audience positively perfect.  The greatest part of it stalls, and an intelligent and delightful response in them, like the touch of a beautiful instrument.  “Copperfield” wound up in a real burst of feeling and delight.

Ever affectionately.

Mr. John Agate.

LORD WARDEN HOTEL, DOVER, Wednesday, Noth, 1861.


I am exceedingly sorry to find, from the letter you have addressed to me, that you had just cause of complaint in being excluded from my reading here last night.  It will now and then unfortunately happen when the place of reading is small (as in this case), that some confusion and inconvenience arise from the local agents over-estimating, in perfect good faith and sincerity, the capacity of the room.  Such a mistake, I am assured, was made last night; and thus all the available space was filled before the people in charge were at all prepared for that circumstance.

You may readily suppose that I can have no personal knowledge of the proceedings of the people in my employment at such a time.  But I wish to assure you very earnestly, that they are all old servants, well acquainted with my principles and wishes, and that they are under the strongest injunction to avoid any approach to mercenary dealing; and to behave to all comers equally with as much consideration and politeness as they know I should myself display.  The recent death of a much-regretted friend of mine, who managed this business for me, and on whom these men were accustomed to rely in any little difficulty, caused them (I have no doubt) to feel rather at a loss in your case.  Do me the favour to understand that under any other circumstances you would, as a matter of course, have been provided with any places whatever that could be found, without the smallest reference to what you had originally paid.  This is scanty satisfaction to you, but it is so strictly the truth, that yours is the first complaint of the kind I have ever received.

I hope to read in Dover again, but it is quite impossible that I can make any present arrangement for that purpose.  Whenever I may return here, you may be sure I shall not fail to remember that I owe you a recompense for a disappointment.  In the meanwhile I very sincerely regret it.

Faithfully yours.

Miss Hogarth.

BEDFORD HOTEL, BRIGHTON, Thursday, Noth, 1861.


The Duchess of Cambridge comes to-night to “Copperfield.”  The bad weather has not in the least touched us, and beyond all doubt a great deal of money has been left untaken at each place.

The storm was most magnificent at Dover.  All the great side of The Lord Warden next the sea had to be emptied, the break of the sea was so prodigious, and the noise was so utterly confounding.  The sea came in like a great sky of immense clouds, for ever breaking suddenly into furious rain.  All kinds of wreck were washed in.  Miss Birmingham and I saw, among other things, a very pretty brass-bound chest being thrown about like a feather.  On Tuesday night, the unhappy Ostend packet could not get in, neither could she go back, and she beat about the Channel until noon yesterday.  I saw her come in then, with five men at the wheel; such a picture of misery, as to the crew (of passengers there were no signs), as you can scarcely imagine.

Tho effect at Hastings and at Dover really seems to have outdone the best usual impression, and at Dover they wouldn’t go, but sat applauding like mad.  The most delicate audience I have seen in any provincial place is Canterbury.  The audience with the greatest sense of humour certainly is Dover.  The people in the stalls set the example of laughing, in the most curiously unreserved way; and they really laughed when Squeers read the boys’ letters, with such cordial enjoyment, that the contagion extended to me, for one couldn’t hear them without laughing too.

So, thank God, all goes well, and the recompense for the trouble is in every way great.  There is rather an alarming breakdown at Newcastle, in respect of all the bills having been, in some inscrutable way, lost on the road.  I have resolved to send Berry there, with full powers to do all manner of things, early next week.

The amended route-list is not printed yet, because I am trying to get off Manchester and Liverpool; both of which I strongly doubt, in the present state of American affairs.  Therefore I can’t send it for Marguerite; but I can, and do, send her my love and God-speed.  This is addressed to the office because I suppose you will be there to-morrow.

Ever affectionately.

The Earl of Carlisle.

                                                November 15th, 1861.


You know poor Austin, and what his work was, and how he did it.  If you have no private objection to signing the enclosed memorial (which will receive the right signatures before being presented), I think you will have no public objection.  I shall be heartily glad if you can put your name to it, and shall esteem your doing so as a very kind service.  Will you return the memorial under cover to Mr. Tom Taylor, at the Local Government Act Office, Whitehall?  He is generously exerting himself in furtherance of it, and so delay will be avoided.

My dear Lord Carlisle, faithfully yours always.

Miss Mary Boyle

Sunday, Noth, 1861.


I am perfectly enraptured with the quilt.  It is one of the most tasteful, lively, elegant things I have ever seen; and I need not tell you that while it is valuable to me for its own ornamental sake, it is precious to me as a rainbow-hint of your friendship and affectionate remembrance.

Please God you shall see it next summer occupying its allotted place of state in my brand-new bedroom here.  You shall behold it then, with all cheerful surroundings, the envy of mankind.

My readings have been doing absolute wonders.  Your Duchess and Princess came to hear first “Nickleby” and the “Pickwick Trial,” then “Copperfield,” at Brighton.  I think they were pleased with me, and I am sure I was with them; for they are the very best audience one could possibly desire.  I shall always have a pleasant remembrance of them.

On Wednesday I am away again for the longest part of my trip.

Yes, Mary dear, I must say that I like my Carton, and I have a faint idea sometimes that if I had acted him, I could have done something with his life and death.

Believe me, ever your affectionate and faithful

Miss Hogarth

QUEEN’S HEAD, NEWCASTLE, Friday, Nond, 1861.

I received your letter this morning, and grieve to report that the unlucky Headland has broken down most awfully!

First, as perhaps you remember, this is the place where the bills were “lost” for a week or two.  The consequence has been that the agent could not announce all through the “Jenny Lind” time (the most important for announcing), and could but stand still and stare when people came to ask what I was going to read.  Last night I read “Copperfield” to the most enthusiastic and appreciative audience imaginable, but in numbers about half what they might have been.  To-night we shall have a famous house; but we might have had it last night too.  To-morrow (knowing by this time what can, of a certainty, be done with “Copperfield"), I had, of course, given out “Copperfield” to be read again.  Conceive my amazement and dismay when I find the printer to have announced “Little Dombey"!!!  This, I declare, I had no more intention of reading than I had of reading an account of the solar system.  And this, after a sensation last night, of a really extraordinary nature in its intensity and delight!

Says the unlucky Headland to this first head of misery:  “Johnson’s mistake” (Johnson being the printer).

Second, I read at Edinburgh for the first time ­observe the day ­next Wednesday.  Jenny Lind’s concert at Edinburgh is to-night.  This morning comes a frantic letter from the Edinburgh agent.  “I have no bills, no tickets; I lose all the announcement I would have made to hundreds upon hundreds of people to-night, all of the most desirable class to be well informed beforehand.  I can’t announce what Mr. Dickens is going to read; I can answer no question; I have, upon my responsibility, put a dreary advertisement into the papers announcing that he is going to read so many times, and that particulars will shortly be ready; and I stand bound hand and foot.”  “Johnson’s mistake,” says the unlucky Headland.

Of course, I know that the man who never made a mistake in poor Arthur’s time is not likely to be always making mistakes now.  But I have written by this post to Wills, to go to him and investigate.  I have also detached Berry from here, and have sent him on by train at a few minutes’ notice to Edinburgh, and then to Glasgow (where I have no doubt everything is wrong too).  Glasgow we may save; Edinburgh I hold to be irretrievably damaged.  If it can be picked up at all, it can only be at the loss of the two first nights, and by the expenditure of no end of spirits and force.  And this is the harder, because it is impossible not to see that the last readings polished and prepared the audiences in general, and that I have not to work them up in any place where I have been before, but that they start with a London intelligence, and with a respect and preparation for what they are going to hear.

I hope by the time you and Mamie come to me, we shall have got into some good method.  I must take the thing more into my own hands and look after it from hour to hour.  If such a thing as this Edinburgh business could have happened under poor Arthur, I really believe he would have fallen into a fit, or gone distracted.  No one can ever know what he was but I who have been with him and without him.  Headland is so anxious and so good-tempered that I cannot be very stormy with him; but it is the simple fact that he has no notion of the requirements of such work as this.  Without him, and with a larger salary to Berry (though there are objections to the latter as first man), I could have done a hundred times better.

As Forster will have a strong interest in knowing all about the proceedings, perhaps you will send him this letter to read.  There is no very tremendous harm, indeed, done as yet.  At Edinburgh I KNOW what I can do with “Copperfield.”  I think it is not too much to say that for every one who does come to hear it on the first night, I can get back fifty on the second.  And whatever can be worked up there will tell on Glasgow.  Berry I shall continue to send on ahead, and I shall take nothing on trust and more as being done.

On Sunday morning at six, I have to start for Berwick.  From Berwick, in the course of that day, I will write again; to Mamie next time.

With best love to her and Mrs. B.

Miss Dickens.

Saturday, Nord, 1861.

A most tremendous hall here last night; something almost terrible in the cram.  A fearful thing might have happened.  Suddenly, when they were all very still over Smike, my gas batten came down, and it looked as if the room was falling.  There were three great galleries crammed to the roof, and a high steep flight of stairs, and a panic must have destroyed numbers of people.  A lady in the front row of stalls screamed, and ran out wildly towards me, and for one instant there was a terrible wave in the crowd.  I addressed that lady laughing (for I knew she was in sight of everybody there), and called out as if it happened every night, “There’s nothing the matter, I assure you; don’t be alarmed; pray sit down;” and she sat down directly, and there was a thunder of applause.  It took some few minutes to mend, and I looked on with my hands in my pockets; for I think if I had turned my back for a moment there might still have been a move.  My people were dreadfully alarmed, Boylett in particular, who I suppose had some notion that the whole place might have taken fire.

“But there stood the master,” he did me the honour to say afterwards, in addressing the rest, “as cool as ever I see him a-lounging at a railway station.”

A telegram from Berry at Edinburgh yesterday evening, to say that he had got the bills, and that they would all be up and dispersed yesterday evening under his own eyes.  So no time was lost in setting things as right as they can be set.  He has now gone on to Glasgow.

P.S. ­Duty to Mrs. Bouncer.

Miss Hogarth.

BERWICK-ON-TWEED, Monday, Noth, 1861.

I write (in a gale of wind, with a high sea running), to let you know that we go on to Edinburgh at half-past eight to-morrow morning.

A most ridiculous room was designed for me in this odd out-of-the-way place.  An immense Corn Exchange made of glass and iron, round, dome-topped, lofty, utterly absurd for any such purpose, and full of thundering echoes, with a little lofty crow’s-nest of a stone gallery breast high, deep in the wall, into which it was designed to put me!  I instantly struck, of course, and said I would either read in a room attached to this house (a very snug one, capable of holding five hundred people) or not at all.  Terrified local agents glowered, but fell prostrate.

Berry has this moment come back from Edinburgh and Glasgow with hopeful accounts.  He seems to have done the business extremely well, and he says that it was quite curious and cheering to see how the Glasgow people assembled round the bills the instant they were posted, and evidently with a great interest in them.

We left Newcastle yesterday morning in the dark, when it was intensely cold and froze very hard.  So it did here.  But towards night the wind went round to the S.W., and all night it has been blowing very hard indeed.  So it is now.

Tell Mamie that I have the same sitting-room as we had when we came here with poor Arthur, and that my bedroom is the room out of it which she and Katie had.  Surely it is the oddest town to read in!  But it is taken on poor Arthur’s principle that a place in the way pays the expenses of a through journey; and the people would seem to be coming up to the scratch gallantly.  It was a dull Sunday, though; O it was a dull Sunday, without a book!  For I had forgotten to buy one at Newcastle, until it was too late.  So after dark I made a jug of whisky-punch, and drowned the unlucky Headland’s remembrance of his failures.

I shall hope to hear very soon that the workmen have “broken through,” and that you have been in the state apartments, and that upholstery measurements have come off.

There has been a horrible accident in Edinburgh.  One of the seven-storey old houses in the High Street fell when it was full of people.  Berry was at the bill-poster’s house, a few doors off, waiting for him to come home, when he heard what seemed like thunder, and then the air was darkened with dust, “as if an immense quantity of steam had been blown off,” and then all that dismal quarter set up shrieks, which he says were most dreadful.

Miss Dickens.

WATERLOO HOTEL, EDINBURGH, Wednesday, Noth, 1861.

Mrs. Bouncer must decidedly come with you to Carlisle.  She shall be received with open arms.  Apropos of Carlisle, let me know when you purpose coming there.  We shall be there, please God, on the Saturday in good time, as I finish at Glasgow on the Friday night.

I have very little notion of the state of affairs here, as Headland brought no more decisive information from the agents yesterday (he never can get decisive information from any agents), than “the teeckets air joost moving reecht and left.”  I hope this may be taken as satisfactory.  Jenny Lind carried off a world of money from here.  Miss Glyn, or Mrs. Dallas, is playing Lady Macbeth at the theatre, and Mr. Shirley Brooks is giving two lectures at the Philosophical Society on the House of Commons and Horace Walpole.  Grisi’s farewell benefits are (I think) on my last two nights here.

Gordon dined with me yesterday.  He is, if anything, rather better, I think, than when we last saw him in town.  He was immensely pleased to be with me.  I went with him (as his office goes anywhere) right into and among the ruins of the fallen building yesterday.  They were still at work trying to find two men (brothers), a young girl, and an old woman, known to be all lying there.  On the walls two or three common clocks are still hanging; one of them, judging from the time at which it stopped, would seem to have gone for an hour or so after the fall.  Great interest had been taken in a poor linnet in a cage, hanging in the wind and rain high up against the broken wall.  A fireman got it down alive, and great exultation had been raised over it.  One woman, who was dug out unhurt, staggered into the street, stared all round her, instantly ran away, and has never been heard of since.  It is a most extraordinary sight, and of course makes a great sensation.


I think it is my turn to write to you, and I therefore send a brief despatch, like a telegram, to let you know that in a gale of wind and a fierce rain, last night, we turned away a thousand people.  There was no getting into the hall, no getting near the hall, no stirring among the people, no getting out, no possibility of getting rid of them.  And yet, in spite of all that, and of their being steaming wet, they never flagged for an instant, never made a complaint, and took up the trial upon their very shoulders, to the last word, in a triumphant roar.

The talk about “Copperfield” rings through the whole place.  It is done again to-morrow night.  To-morrow morning I read “Dombey.”  To-morrow morning is Grisi’s “farewell” morning concert, and last night was her “farewell” evening concert.  Neither she, nor Jenny Lind, nor anything, nor anybody seems to make the least effect on the draw of the readings.

I lunch with Blackwood to-day.  He was at the reading last night; a capital audience.  Young Blackwood has also called here.  A very good young fellow, I think.

Miss Hogarth.


I send you by this post another Scotsman.  From a paragraph in it, a letter, and an advertisement, you may be able to form some dim guess of the scene at Edinburgh last night.  Such a pouring of hundreds into a place already full to the throat, such indescribable confusion, such a rending and tearing of dresses, and yet such a scene of good humour on the whole.  I never saw the faintest approach to it.  While I addressed the crowd in the room, Gordon addressed the crowd in the street.  Fifty frantic men got up in all parts of the hall and addressed me all at once.  Other frantic men made speeches to the walls.  The whole Blackwood family were borne in on the top of a wave, and landed with their faces against the front of the platform.  I read with the platform crammed with people.  I got them to lie down upon it, and it was like some impossible tableau or gigantic picnic; one pretty girl in full dress lying on her side all night, holding on to one of the legs of my table.  It was the most extraordinary sight.  And yet from the moment I began to the moment of my leaving off, they never missed a point, and they ended with a burst of cheers.

The confusion was decidedly owing to the local agents.  But I think it may have been a little heightened by Headland’s way of sending them the tickets to sell in the first instance.

Now, as I must read again in Edinburgh on Saturday night, your travelling arrangements are affected.  So observe carefully (you and Mamie) all that I am going to say.  It appears to me that the best course will be for you to come to Edinburgh on Saturday; taking the fast train from the Great Northern station at nine in the morning.  This would bring you to the Waterloo at Edinburgh, at about nine or so at night, and I should be home at ten.  We could then have a quiet Sunday in Edinburgh, and go over to Carlisle on the Monday morning.

The expenditure of lungs and spirits was (as you may suppose) rather great last night, and to sleep well was out of the question; I am therefore rather fagged to-day.  And as the hall in which I read to-night is a large one, I must make my letter a short one.

My people were torn to ribbons last night.  They have not a hat among them, and scarcely a coat.

Give my love to Mamie.  To her question, “Will there be war with America?” I answer, “Yes;” I fear the North to be utterly mad, and war to be unavoidable.

Mr. W. H. Wills.

VICTORIA HOTEL, PRESTON, Friday, Deth, 1861.


The news of the Christmas number is indeed glorious, and nothing can look brighter or better than the prospects of the illustrious publication.

Both Carlisle and Lancaster have come out admirably, though I doubted both, as you did.  But, unlike you, I always doubted this place.  I do so still.  It is a poor place at the best (you remember?), and the mills are working half time, and trade is very bad.  The expenses, however, will be a mere nothing.  The accounts from Manchester for to-morrow, and from Liverpool for the readings generally, are very cheering indeed.

The young lady who sells the papers at the station is just the same as ever.  Has orders for to-night, and is coming “with a person.” “The person?” said I.  “Never you mind,” said she.

I was so charmed with Robert Chambers’s “Traditions of Edinburgh” (which I read in Edinburgh), that I was obliged to write to him and say so.

Glasgow finished nobly, and the last night in Edinburgh was signally successful and positively splendid.

Will you give my small Admiral, on his personal application, one sovereign?  I have told him to come to you for that recognition of his meritorious services.

Ever faithfully.



I sent you a telegram to-day, and I write before the answer has come to hand.

I have been very doubtful what to do here.  We have a great let for to-morrow night.  The Mayor recommends closing to-morrow, and going on on Tuesday and Wednesday, so does the town clerk, so do the agents.  But I have a misgiving that they hardly understand what the public general sympathy with the Queen will be.  Further, I feel personally that the Queen has always been very considerate and gracious to me, and I would on no account do anything that might seem unfeeling or disrespectful.  I shall attach great weight, in this state of indecision, to your telegram.

A capital audience at Preston.  Not a capacious room, but full.  Great appreciation.

The scene at Manchester last night was really magnificent.  I had had the platform carried forward to our “Frozen Deep” point, and my table and screen built in with a proscenium and room scenery.  When I went in (there was a very fine hall), they applauded in the most tremendous manner; and the extent to which they were taken aback and taken by storm by “Copperfield” was really a thing to see.

The post closes early here on a Sunday, and I shall close this also without further reference to “a message from the” W. H. W. being probably on the road.

Radley is ill, and supposed to be fast declining, poor fellow.  The house is crammed, the assizes on, and troops perpetually embarking for Canada, and their officers passing through the hotel.

Kindest regards, ever faithfully.

Miss Mary Boyle.

Saturday, Deth, 1861.


On Monday (as you know) I am away again, but I am not sorry to see land and a little rest before me; albeit, these are great experiences of the public heart.

The little Admiral has gone to visit America in the Orlando, supposed to be one of the foremost ships in the Service, and the best found, best manned, and best officered that ever sailed from England.  He went away much gamer than any giant, attended by a chest in which he could easily have stowed himself and a wife and family of his own proportions.

Ever and always, your affectionate