Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 2: 1840–1841

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To T. N. TALFOURD,5 4 FEBRUARY [1840]

Text in N, I, 247, checked from MS Sotheby's, 15 Dec 1964. Date: 4 Feb was Tuesday in 1840.

1 Devonshire Terrace, York Gate | Tuesday 4th. February.

My Dear Talfourd.

Many thanks for the little book,6 which I hope will prove among the most interesting I shall ever leave to those for whom I work.

pg 18As you will come fresh upon the subject, I am curious to see how the idea of the first No. of my projected work, strikes you. I inclose you the proof (a secret yet, of course) which, when you have had time to look at, please return to me. It is the first article that I want you most to read. The blanks are for Wood Cuts.

Macready certainly is most singularly warm upon the1 subject.2 I saw him at dinner the other evening,3 and he took me aside and dwelt upon what he felt he could do with his part4 (which it seemed he had been going over that day) in a manner which for him is most extraordinary.

  •                                         Faithfully Yours always
  • Mr. Serjeant Talfourd | &c &c.                         Charles Dickens

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Notes

Editor’s Note
5 Thomas Noon Talfourd (1795– 1854; DNB): see Vol. I, p. 290n. After their association over Glencoe, CD's friendship with Talfourd seems to some extent to have cooled, perhaps partly through the influence of Macready (whose diary in 1841 shows particular irritation at Talfourd's envy of Bulwer) or of Forster (who was outraged by the "contemptible figure" he cut when a second reading of his Copyright Bill was defeated 5 Feb 41: MS Lytton Papers). In Talfourd's own journal-entry for 6 Jan 42, summing up the previous years, he showed much bitterness, recording his "increasing disiaste" for the Whigs; his lack of Govt briefs; his decreased income for 1841 (£1000 less than for 1840); that his Copyright Bill had been "thrown out [in fact modified] in one night by Macaulay"; and that his "extravagant eulogies" of Macready had brought him only ill-will elsewhere—and now "Mr. Macready will never act one of my Plays" (quoted by Vera Watson, "The Journals of Thomas Noon Talfourd", Times Literary Supplement, 8 Feb 1957). Nevertheless, he had much "to be thankful for—wife—children—a good name— and much, very much love after all misunderstandings and mistakes" (ibid). See later vols.
Editor’s Note
6 Presumably Talfourd's Three Speeches Delivered in the House of Commons in Favour of a Measure for an Extension of Copyright, published early Feb 40. A copy inscribed "Charles Dickens, Esq., from his admirer and friend, T. N. Talfourd" was in the Gad's Hill library at CD's death (Catalogue of the Library of CD, ed. J. H. Stonehouse, 1935, p. 108).
Editor’s Note
1 Underlined twice.
Editor’s Note
2 His production of Glencoe.
Editor’s Note
3 Macready, Rogers, the Cattermoles, Maclise and Forster dined with CD on 23 Jan.
Editor’s Note
4 Halbert Macdonald. After the first night, 23 May, Macready recorded: "I did all I could do—all that the very short period allowed for preparation allowed me to do" (Diaries, ii 61).
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