Charles Dickens

Graham Storey (ed.), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 11: 1865–1867

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To ARCHIBALD MICHIE, 7 OCTOBER 1867

MS New York Public Library.

  • gad's hill place, | higham by rochester, kent.
  • Monday Seventh October, 1867

My Dear Sir

I thank you heartily for your kind and considerate report of my son Alfred. He himself writes in the highest spirits—declares himself to be perfectly happy— pg 449and seems to have found the exact niche in life that he is best qualified to fill. In reference however to the great digestion question, you will please understand that I challenge the Bush generally to beat me in that [record],1 and that I hereby back myself against Creation, barring only Ostriches.

Horne's is a wretched story, and will not mend itself as it goes on. He will find, I fear, that he has lost what place he had here, and that he will come back to mortification of spirit. He tells me in his letter that you are kindly espousing some "claim" of his upon the Government. What for, I wonder!2

The general face of this country here is very little changed since Shakespeare's time. I look down upon the veritable Gad's Hill from the window at which I am writing. And it was but the other night that driving homeward through Rochester and looking up at the stars, I saw Charles's Wain above the chimney-tops of the old-Inn-revived there, just as the Carrier saw it when the fleas treated him so ill.3

On the 9th. of November I sail for America on a five months visit.

  •                                    My Dear Sir | Faithfully Yours always  
  • Archibald Michie Esquire.                              Charles Dickens

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 Broken letters make reading uncertain.
Editor’s Note
2 Horne had delayed his return because of his claim from the Victorian Govt for compensation for past services and loss of his post on the Melbourne Water Commission. He consequently remained at Blue Mountain, in the gold-diggings, and sailed home in June 69.
Editor’s Note
3 I Henry IV, ii, i, 2 and 15–17.
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