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At the beginning of this year, Charles Dickens was in Paris for the purpose of giving a reading at the English Embassy.

He remained in Paris until the beginning of February, staying with his servant “John” at the Hotel du Helder.  There was a series of readings in London this season at the Hanover Square Rooms.  The Christmas number of “All the Year Round” was entitled “Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings,” to which Charles Dickens contributed the first and last chapter.

The Lyceum Theatre, under the management of M. Fechter, was opened in January with “The Duke’s Motto,” and the letter given here has reference to this first night.

We regret very much having no letters to Lady Molesworth, who was an old and dear friend of Charles Dickens.  But this lady explains to us that she has long ceased to preserve any letters addressed to her.

The “Mr. and Mrs. Humphery” (now Sir William and Lady Humphery) mentioned in the first letter for this year, were dear and intimate friends of his eldest daughter, and were frequent guests in her father’s house.  Mrs. Humphery and her sister Lady Olliffe were daughters of the late Mr. William Cubitt, M.P.

We have in this year the first letter of Charles Dickens to Mr. Percy Fitzgerald.  This gentleman had been a valuable contributor to his journal before he became personally known to Charles Dickens.  The acquaintance once made soon ripened into friendship, and for the future Mr. Fitzgerald was a constant and always a welcome visitor to Gad’s Hill.

The letter to Mr. Charles Reade alludes to his story, “Hard Cash,” which was then appearing in “All the Year Round.”  As a writer, and as a friend, he was held by Charles Dickens in the highest estimation.

Charles Dickens’s correspondence with his solicitor and excellent friend, Mr. Frederic Ouvry (now a vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries), was almost entirely of a business character; but we are glad to give one or two notes to that gentleman, although of little public interest, in order to have the name in our book of one of the kindest of our own friends.

Miss Dickens.

Friday, Jath, 1863.


As I send a line to your aunt to-day and know that you will not see it, I send another to you to report my safe (and neuralgic) arrival here.  My little rooms are perfectly comfortable, and I like the hotel better than any I have ever put up at in Paris.  John’s amazement at, and appreciation of, Paris are indescribable.  He goes about with his mouth open, staring at everything and being tumbled over by everybody.

The state dinner at the Embassy, yesterday, coming off in the room where I am to read, the carpenters did not get in until this morning.  But their platforms were ready ­or supposed to be ­and the preparations are in brisk progress.  I think it will be a handsome affair to look at ­a very handsome one.  There seems to be great artistic curiosity in Paris, to know what kind of thing the reading is.

I know a “rela-shon” (with one weak eye), who is in the gunmaking line, very near here.  There is a strong family resemblance ­but no muzzle.  Lady Molesworth and I have not begun to “toddle” yet, but have exchanged affectionate greetings.  I am going round to see her presently, and I dine with her on Sunday.  The only remaining news is, that I am beset by mysterious adorers, and smuggle myself in and out of the house in the meanest and basest manner.

With kind regard to Mr. and Mrs. Humphery,

Ever, my dearest Mamey, your affectionate Father.

P.S. ­Hommage a Madame B.!

Monsieur Regnier.

PARIS, Sunday, Fest, 1863.


I was charmed by the receipt of your cordial and sympathetic letter, and I shall always preserve it carefully as a most noble tribute from a great and real artist.

I wished you had been at the Embassy on Friday evening.  The audience was a fine one, and the “Carol” is particularly well adapted to the purpose.  It is an uncommon pleasure to me to learn that I am to meet you on Tuesday, for there are not many men whom I meet with greater pleasure than you.  Heaven! how the years roll by!  We are quite old friends now, in counting by years.  If we add sympathies, we have been friends at least a thousand years.

Affectionately yours ever.

Miss Dickens.

HOTEL DU HELDER, PARIS, Sunday, Fest, 1863.


I cannot give you any idea of the success of the readings here, because no one can imagine the scene of last Friday night at the Embassy.  Such audiences and such enthusiasm I have never seen, but the thing culminated on Friday night in a two hours’ storm of excitement and pleasure.  They actually recommenced and applauded right away into their carriages and down the street.

You know your parent’s horror of being lionised, and will not be surprised to hear that I am half dead of it.  I cannot leave here until Thursday (though I am every hour in danger of running away) because I have to dine out, to say nothing of breakfasting ­think of me breakfasting! ­every intervening day.  But my project is to send John home on Thursday, and then to go on a little perfectly quiet tour for about ten days, touching the sea at Boulogne.  When I get there, I will write to your aunt (in case you should not be at home), saying when I shall arrive at the office.  I must go to the office instead of Gad’s, because I have much to do with Forster about Elliotson.

I enclose a short note for each of the little boys.  Give Harry ten shillings pocket-money, and Plorn six.

The Olliffe girls, very nice.  Florence at the readings, prodigiously excited.

Miss Hogarth.

PARIS, Sunday, Fest, 1863.

From my hurried note to Mamie, you will get some faint general idea of a new star’s having arisen in Paris.  But of its brightness you can have no adequate conception.

[John has locked me up and gone out, and the little bell at the door is ringing demoniacally while I write.]

You have never heard me read yet.  I have been twice goaded and lifted out of myself into a state that astonished me almost as much as the audience.  I have a cold, but no neuralgia, and am “as well as can be expected.”

I forgot to tell Mamie that I went (with Lady Molesworth) to hear “Faust” last night.  It is a splendid work, in which that noble and sad story is most nobly and sadly rendered, and perfectly delighted me.  But I think it requires too much of the audience to do for a London opera house.  The composer must be a very remarkable man indeed.  Some management of light throughout the story is also very poetical and fine.  We had Carvalho’s box.  I could hardly bear the thing, it affected me so.

But, as a certain Frenchman said, “No weakness, Danton!” So I leave off.

M. Charles Fechter.

PARIS, Wednesday, Feth, 1863.


A thousand congratulations on your great success!  Never mind what they say, or do, pour vous écraser; you have the game in your hands.  The romantic drama, thoroughly well done (with a touch of Shakespeare now and then), is the speciality of your theatre.  Give the public the picturesque, romantic drama, with yourself in it; and (as I told you in the beginning) you may throw down your gauntlet in defiance of all comers.

It is a most brilliant success indeed, and it thoroughly rejoices my heart!

Unfortunately I cannot now hope to see “Maquet,” because I am packing up and going out to dinner (it is late in the afternoon), and I leave to-morrow morning when all sensible people, except myself, are in bed; and I do not come back to Paris or near it.  I had hoped to see him at breakfast last Monday, but he was not there.  Paul Feval was there, and I found him a capital fellow.  If I can do anything to help you on with “Maquet" when I come back I will most gladly do it.

My readings here have had the finest possible reception, and have achieved a most noble success.  I never before read to such fine audiences, so very quick of perception, and so enthusiastically responsive.

I shall be heartily pleased to see you again, my dear Fechter, and to share your triumphs with the real earnestness of a real friend.  And so go on and prosper, and believe me, as I truly am,

Most cordially yours.

Mr. W. C. Macready.

Thursday, Feth, 1863.


I have just come back from Paris, where the readings ­“Copperfield,” “Dombey” and “Trial,” and “Carol” and “Trial” ­have made a sensation which modesty (my natural modesty) renders it impossible for me to describe.  You know what a noble audience the Paris audience is!  They were at their very noblest with me.

I was very much concerned by hearing hurriedly from Georgy that you were ill.  But when I came home at night, she showed me Katie’s letter, and that set me up again.  Ah, you have the best of companions and nurses, and can afford to be ill now and then for the happiness of being so brought through it.  But don’t do it again yet awhile for all that.

Legouve (whom you remember in Paris as writing for the Ristori) was anxious that I should bring you the enclosed.  A manly and generous effort, I think?  Regnier desired to be warmly remembered to you.  He looks just as of yore.

Paris generally is about as wicked and extravagant as in the days of the Regency.  Madame Viardot in the “Orphée,” most splendid.  An opera of “Faust,” a very sad and noble rendering of that sad and noble story.  Stage management remarkable for some admirable, and really poetical, effects of light.  In the more striking situations, Méphistophélès surrounded by an infernal red atmosphere of his own.  Marguerite by a pale blue mournful light.  The two never blending.  After Marguerite has taken the jewels placed in her way in the garden, a weird evening draws on, and the bloom fades from the flowers, and the leaves of the trees droop and lose their fresh green, and mournful shadows overhang her chamber window, which was innocently bright and gay at first.  I couldn’t bear it, and gave in completely.

Fechter doing wonders over the way here, with a picturesque French drama.  Miss Kate Terry, in a small part in it, perfectly charming.  You may remember her making a noise, years ago, doing a boy at an inn, in “The Courier of Lyons”?  She has a tender love-scene in this piece, which is a really beautiful and artistic thing.  I saw her do it at about three in the morning of the day when the theatre opened, surrounded by shavings and carpenters, and (of course) with that inevitable hammer going; and I told Fechter:  “That is the very best piece of womanly tenderness I have ever seen on the stage, and you’ll find that no audience can miss it.”  It is a comfort to add that it was instantly seized upon, and is much talked of.

Stanfield was very ill for some months, then suddenly picked up, and is really rosy and jovial again.  Going to see him when he was very despondent, I told him the story of Fechter’s piece (then in rehearsal) with appropriate action; fighting a duel with the washing-stand, defying the bedstead, and saving the life of the sofa-cushion.  This so kindled his old theatrical ardour, that I think he turned the corner on the spot.

With love to Mrs. Macready and Katie, and (be still my heart!) Benvenuta, and the exiled Johnny (not too attentive at school, I hope?), and the personally-unknown young Parr,

Ever, my dearest Macready, your most affectionate.

Miss Power.

Thursday, Feth, 1863.


I think I have found a first-rate title for your book, with an early and a delightful association in most people’s minds, and a strong suggestion of Oriental pictures: 


I have sent it to Low’s.  If they have the wit to see it, do you in your first chapter touch that string, so as to bring a fanciful explanation in aid of the title, and sound it afterwards, now and again, when you come to anything where Haroun al Raschid, and the Grand Vizier, and Mesrour, the chief of the guard, and any of that wonderful dramatis personae are vividly brought to mind.

Ever affectionately.

Mr. Charles Knight.

Wednesday, March 4th, 1863.


At a quarter to seven on Monday, the 16th, a stately form will be descried breathing birthday cordialities and affectionate amenities, as it descends the broken and gently dipping ground by which the level country of the Clifton Road is attained.  A practised eye will be able to discern two humble figures in attendance, which from their flowing crinolines may, without exposing the prophet to the imputation of rashness, be predicted to be women.  Though certes their importance, absorbed and as it were swallowed up in the illustrious bearing and determined purpose of the maturer stranger, will not enthrall the gaze that wanders over the forest of San Giovanni as the night gathers in.

                                           Ever affectionately,
                                                       G. P. R. JAMES.

Mrs. Dallas.



It is curious to see London gone mad.  Down in the Strand here, the monomaniacal tricks it is playing are grievous to behold, but along Fleet Street and Cheapside it gradually becomes frenzied, dressing itself up in all sorts of odds and ends, and knocking itself about in a most amazing manner.  At London Bridge it raves, principally about the Kings of Denmark and their portraits.  I have been looking among them for Hamlet’s uncle, and have discovered one personage with a high nose, who I think is the man.

Faithfully yours always.

Mrs. Lehmann.

Tuesday, March 10th, 1863.


Two stalls for to-morrow’s reading were sent to you by post before I heard from you this morning.  Two will always come to you while you remain a Gummidge, and I hope I need not say that if you want more, none could be better bestowed in my sight.

Pray tell Lehmann, when you next write to him, that I find I owe him a mint of money for the delightful Swedish sleigh-bells.  They are the wonder, awe, and admiration of the whole country side, and I never go out without them.

Let us make an exchange of child stories.  I heard of a little fellow the other day whose mamma had been telling him that a French governess was coming over to him from Paris, and had been expatiating on the blessings and advantages of having foreign tongues.  After leaning his plump little cheek against the window glass in a dreary little way for some minutes, he looked round and enquired in a general way, and not as if it had any special application, whether she didn’t think “that the Tower of Babel was a great mistake altogether?”

Ever faithfully yours.

Mrs. Major.

Thursday, March 12th, 1863.


I am quite concerned to hear that you and your party (including your brother Willie) paid for seats at my reading last night.  You must promise me never to do so any more.  My old affections and attachments are not so lightly cherished or so easily forgotten as that I can bear the thought of you and yours coming to hear me like so many strangers.  It will at all times delight me if you will send a little note to me, or to Georgina, or to Mary, saying when you feel inclined to come, and how many stalls you want.  You may always be certain, even on the fullest nights, of room being made for you.  And I shall always be interested and pleased by knowing that you are present.

Mind!  You are to be exceedingly penitent for last night’s offence, and to make me a promise that it shall never be repeated.  On which condition accept my noble forgiveness.

With kind regard to Mr. Major, my dear Mary,

Affectionately yours.

Mr. W. C. Macready.

Thursday, March 31st, 1863.


I mean to go on reading into June.  For the sake of the finer effects (in “Copperfield” principally), I have changed from St. James’s Hall to the Hanover Square Room.  The latter is quite a wonderful room for sound, and so easy that the least inflection will tell anywhere in the place exactly as it leaves your lips; but I miss my dear old shilling galleries ­six or eight hundred strong ­with a certain roaring sea of response in them, that you have stood upon the beach of many and many a time.

The summer, I hope and trust, will quicken the pace at which you grow stronger again.  I am but in dull spirits myself just now, or I should remonstrate with you on your slowness.

Having two little boys sent home from school “to see the illuminations” on the marriage-night, I chartered an enormous van, at a cost of five pounds, and we started in majesty from the office in London, fourteen strong.  We crossed Waterloo Bridge with the happy design of beginning the sight at London Bridge, and working our way through the City to Regent Street.  In a by-street in the Borough, over against a dead wall and under a railway bridge, we were blocked for four hours.  We were obliged to walk home at last, having seen nothing whatever.  The wretched van turned up in the course of the next morning; and the best of it was that at Rochester here they illuminated the fine old castle, and really made a very splendid and picturesque thing (so my neighbours tell me).

With love to Mrs. Macready and Katie,

Ever, my dearest Macready, your most affectionate.

Mr. W. Wilkie Collins.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 1863.



Ah, poor Egg!  I knew what you would think and feel about it.  When we saw him in Paris on his way out I was struck by his extreme nervousness, and derived from it an uneasy foreboding of his state.  What a large piece of a good many years he seems to have taken with him!  How often have I thought, since the news of his death came, of his putting his part in the saucepan (with the cover on) when we rehearsed “The Lighthouse;” of his falling out of the hammock when we rehearsed “The Frozen Deep;” of his learning Italian numbers when he ate the garlic in the carriage; of the thousands (I was going to say) of dark mornings when I apostrophised him as “Kernel;” of his losing my invaluable knife in that beastly stage-coach; of his posting up that mysterious book every night!  I hardly know why, but I have always associated that volume most with Venice.  In my memory of the dear gentle little fellow, he will be (as since those days he always has been) eternally posting up that book at the large table in the middle of our Venice sitting-room, incidentally asking the name of an hotel three weeks back!  And his pretty house is to be laid waste and sold.  If there be a sale on the spot I shall try to buy something in loving remembrance of him, good dear little fellow.  Think what a great “Frozen Deep” lay close under those boards we acted on!  My brother Alfred, Luard, Arthur, Albert, Austin, Egg.  Even among the audience, Prince Albert and poor Stone!  “I heard the” ­I forget what it was I used to say ­“come up from the great deep;” and it rings in my ears now, like a sort of mad prophecy.

However, this won’t do.  We must close up the ranks and march on.

Rev. W. Brookfield.

GAD’S HILL, May 17th, 1863.


It occurs to me that you may perhaps know, or know of, a kind of man that I want to discover.

One of my boys (the youngest) now is at Wimbledon School.  He is a docile, amiable boy of fair abilities, but sensitive and shy.  And he writes me so very earnestly that he feels the school to be confusingly large for him, and that he is sure he could do better with some gentleman who gave his own personal attention to the education of half-a-dozen or a dozen boys, as to impress me with the belief that I ought to heed his conviction.

Has any such phenomenon as a good and reliable man in this wise ever come in your way?  Forgive my troubling you, and believe me,

Cordially yours.

May 24th, 1863.


I am most truly obliged to you for your kind and ready help.

When I am in town next week, I will call upon the Bishop of Natal, more to thank him than with the hope of profiting by that gentleman of whom he writes, as the limitation to “little boys” seems to stop the way.  I want to find someone with whom this particular boy could remain; if there were a mutual interest and liking, that would be a great point gained.

Why did the kings in the fairy tales want children?  I suppose in the weakness of the royal intellect.

Concerning “Nickleby,” I am so much of your mind (comparing it with “Copperfield"), that it was a long time before I could take a pleasure in reading it.  But I got better, as I found the audience always taking to it.  I have been trying, alone by myself, the “Oliver Twist” murder, but have got something so horrible out of it that I am afraid to try it in public.

Ever faithfully yours.

M. de Cerjat.

Thursday, May 28th, 1863.


I don’t wonder at your finding it difficult to reconcile your mind to a French Hamlet; but I assure you that Fechter’s is a very remarkable performance perfectly consistent with itself (whether it be my particular Hamlet, or your particular Hamlet, or no), a coherent and intelligent whole, and done by a true artist.  I have never seen, I think, an intelligent and clear view of the whole character so well sustained throughout; and there is a very captivating air of romance and picturesqueness added, which is quite new.  Rely upon it, the public were right.  The thing could not have been sustained by oddity; it would have perished upon that, very soon.  As to the mere accent, there is far less drawback in that than you would suppose.  For this reason, he obviously knows English so thoroughly that you feel he is safe.  You are never in pain for him.  This sense of ease is gained directly, and then you think very little more about it.

The Colenso and Jowett matter is a more difficult question, but here again I don’t go with you.  The position of the writers of “Essays and Reviews” is, that certain parts of the Old Testament have done their intended function in the education of the world as it was; but that mankind, like the individual man, is designed by the Almighty to have an infancy and a maturity, and that as it advances, the machinery of its education must advance too.  For example:  inasmuch as ever since there was a sun and there was vapour, there must have been a rainbow under certain conditions, so surely it would be better now to recognise that indisputable fact.  Similarly, Joshua might command the sun to stand still, under the impression that it moved round the earth; but he could not possibly have inverted the relations of the earth and the sun, whatever his impressions were.  Again, it is contended that the science of geology is quite as much a revelation to man, as books of an immense age and of (at the best) doubtful origin, and that your consideration of the latter must reasonably be influenced by the former.  As I understand the importance of timely suggestions such as these, it is, that the Church should not gradually shock and lose the more thoughtful and logical of human minds; but should be so gently and considerately yielding as to retain them, and, through them, hundreds of thousands.  This seems to me, as I understand the temper and tendency of the time, whether for good or evil, to be a very wise and necessary position.  And as I understand the danger, it is not chargeable on those who take this ground, but on those who in reply call names and argue nothing.  What these bishops and such-like say about revelation, in assuming it to be finished and done with, I can’t in the least understand.  Nothing is discovered without God’s intention and assistance, and I suppose every new knowledge of His works that is conceded to man to be distinctly a revelation by which men are to guide themselves.  Lastly, in the mere matter of religious doctrine and dogmas, these men (Protestants ­protestors ­successors of the men who protested against human judgment being set aside) talk and write as if they were all settled by the direct act of Heaven; not as if they had been, as we know they were, a matter of temporary accommodation and adjustment among disputing mortals as fallible as you or I.

Coming nearer home, I hope that Georgina is almost quite well.  She has no attack of pain or flurry now, and is in all respects immensely better.  Mary is neither married nor (that I know of) going to be.  She and Katie and a lot of them have been playing croquet outside my window here for these last four days, to a mad and maddening extent.  My sailor-boy’s ship, the Orlando, is fortunately in Chatham Dockyard ­so he is pretty constantly at home ­while the shipwrights are repairing a leak in her.  I am reading in London every Friday just now.  Great crams and great enthusiasm.  Townshend I suppose to have left Lausanne somewhere about this day.  His house in the park is hermetically sealed, ready for him.  The Prince and Princess of Wales go about (wisely) very much, and have as fair a chance of popularity as ever prince and princess had.  The City ball in their honour is to be a tremendously gorgeous business, and Mary is highly excited by her father’s being invited, and she with him.  Meantime the unworthy parent is devising all kinds of subterfuges for sending her and getting out of it himself.  A very intelligent German friend of mine, just home from America, maintains that the conscription will succeed in the North, and that the war will be indefinitely prolonged. I say “No,” and that however mad and villainous the North is, the war will finish by reason of its not supplying soldiers.  We shall see.  The more they brag the more I don’t believe in them.

Mr. Percy Fitzgerald.

GAD’S HILL PLACE, Saturday Night, July 4th, 1863.


I have been most heartily gratified by the perusal of your article on my dogs.  It has given me an amount and a kind of pleasure very unusual, and for which I thank you earnestly.  The owner of the renowned dog Cæsar understands me so sympathetically, that I trust with perfect confidence to his feeling what I really mean in these few words.  You interest me very much by your kind promise, the redemption of which I hereby claim, to send me your life of Sterne when it comes out.  If you should be in England before this, I should be delighted to see you here on the top of Falstaff’s own Gad’s Hill.  It is a very pretty country, not thirty miles from London; and if you could spare a day or two for its fine walks, I and my two latest dogs, a St. Bernard and a bloodhound, would be charmed with your company as one of ourselves.

Believe me, very faithfully yours.

Friday, July 10th, 1863.


I hope you will excuse this tardy reply to your letter.  It is often impossible for me, by any means, to keep pace with my correspondents.  I must take leave to say, that if there be any general feeling on the part of the intelligent Jewish people, that I have done them what you describe as “a great wrong,” they are a far less sensible, a far less just, and a far less good-tempered people than I have always supposed them to be.  Fagin, in “Oliver Twist,” is a Jew, because it unfortunately was true of the time to which that story refers, that that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew.  But surely no sensible man or woman of your persuasion can fail to observe ­firstly, that all the rest of the wicked dramatis personae are Christians; and secondly, that he is called the “Jew,” not because of his religion, but because of his race.  If I were to write a story, in which I described a Frenchman or a Spaniard as “the Roman Catholic,” I should do a very indecent and unjustifiable thing; but I make mention of Fagin as the Jew, because he is one of the Jewish people, and because it conveys that kind of idea of him which I should give my readers of a Chinaman, by calling him a Chinese.

The enclosed is quite a nominal subscription towards the good object in which you are interested; but I hope it may serve to show you that I have no feeling towards the Jewish people but a friendly one.  I always speak well of them, whether in public or in private, and bear my testimony (as I ought to do) to their perfect good faith in such transactions as I have ever had with them; and in my “Child’s History of England,” I have lost no opportunity of setting forth their cruel persecution in old times.

Dear Madam, faithfully yours.

In reply to this, the Jewish lady thanks him for his kind letter and its enclosure, still remonstrating and pointing out that though, as he observes, “all the other criminal characters were Christians, they are, at least, contrasted with characters of good Christians; this wretched Fagin stands alone as the Jew.”

The reply to this letter afterwards was the character of Riah, in “Our Mutual Friend,” and some favourable sketches of Jewish character in the lower class, in some articles in “All the Year Round.”

Mr. Ouvry.

                                   Wednesday Night, July 29th, 1863.


I have had some undefined idea that you were to let me know if you were coming to the archaeologs at Rochester. (I myself am keeping out of their way, as having had enough of crowding and speech-making in London.) Will you tell me where you are, whether you are in this neighbourhood or out of it, whether you will come here on Saturday and stay till Monday or till Tuesday morning?  If you will come, I know I can give you the heartiest welcome in Kent, and I think I can give you the best wine in this part of it.  Send me a word in reply.  I will fetch you from anywhere, at any indicated time.

We have very pretty places in the neighbourhood, and are not uncomfortable people (I believe) to stay with.

Faithfully yours ever.

Mr. Charles Reade.

                                  OFFICE OF “ALL THE YEAR ROUND,”
                                        Wednesday, Septh, 1863.


I must write you one line to say how interested I am in your story, and to congratulate you upon its admirable art and its surprising grace and vigour.

And to hint my hope, at the same time, that you will be able to find leisure for a little dash for the Christmas number.  It would be a really great and true pleasure to me if you could.

Faithfully yours always.

Miss Hogarth.

Wednesday, Octh, 1863.


You will see by to-day’s Times that it was an earthquake that shook me, and that my watch showed exactly the same time as the man’s who writes from Blackheath so near us ­twenty minutes past three.

It is a great satisfaction to me to make it out so precisely; I wish you would enquire whether the servants felt it.  I thought it was the voice of the cook that answered me, but that was nearly half an hour later.  I am strongly inclined to think that there is a peculiar susceptibility in iron ­at all events in our part of the country ­to the shock, as though there were something magnetic in it.  For, whereas my long iron bedstead was so violently shaken, I certainly heard nothing rattle in the room.

I will write about my return as soon as I get on with the still unbegun “Uncommercial.”

Ever affectionately.

Mr. W. H. Wills.

GAD’S HILL, Sunday, Deth, 1863.


I am clear that you took my cold.  Why didn’t you do the thing completely, and take it away from me? for it hangs by me still.

Will you tell Mrs. Linton that in looking over her admirable account (most admirable) of Mrs. Gordon’s book, I have taken out the references to Lockhart, not because I in the least doubt their justice, but because I knew him and he liked me; and because one bright day in Rome, I walked about with him for some hours when he was dying fast, and all the old faults had faded out of him, and the now ghost of the handsome man I had first known when Scott’s daughter was at the head of his house, had little more to do with this world than she in her grave, or Scott in his, or small Hugh Littlejohn in his.  Lockhart had been anxious to see me all the previous day (when I was away on the Campagna), and as we walked about I knew very well that he knew very well why.  He talked of getting better, but I never saw him again.  This makes me stay Mrs. Linton’s hand, gentle as it is.

Mrs. Lirriper is indeed a most brilliant old lady.  God bless her.

I am glad to hear of your being “haunted,” and hope to increase your stock of such ghosts pretty liberally.

Ever faithfully.