Charles Dickens

Kathleen Mary Tillotson (ed.), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 4: 1844–1846

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To SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON,7 25 JANUARY 1844

MS Lytton Papers.

  • Athenaeum.
  • Thursday afternoon | Twenty Fifth January 1844.

My Dear Sir Edward.

I received your kind cheque yesterday, in behalf of the Elton Family; and am much indebted to you on their behalf.

pg 30Pray do not believe that the least intentional neglect has prevented me from calling on you, or that I am not sincerely desirous to avail myself of any opportunity of cultivating your friendship. I venture to say this to you in an unaffected and earnest spirit, and I hope it will not be displeasing to you.

At the time when you called1 and for many weeks afterwards, I was so closely occupied with my little Carol (the idea of which had just occurred to me) that I never left home before the owls went out; and led quite a solitary life. When I began to have a little time, and to go abroad again, I knew that you were in affliction, and I then thought it better to wait, even before I left a card at your door, until the pressure of your distress had passed.2

I fancy a reproachful spirit in your note—possibly because I know that I may appear to deserve it. But do let me say to you that it would give me real pain to retain the idea that there was any coldness between us, and that it would give me heartfelt satisfaction to know the reverse.

I shall make a personal descent3 upon you before Sunday, in the hope of telling you this myself. But I cannot rest easy without writing it also. And if this should lead to a better knowledge in each of us, of the other, believe me that I shall always look upon it as something I have long wished for.

  •                                         Always Faithfully Yours
  • Sir Edward Bulwer.                                   Charles Dickens

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Notes

Editor’s Note
7 Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer Lytton (1803–73; DNB), writer and politician: see Vol. i, p. 337n. On succeeding to the Knebworth estates under his mother's will Bulwer took the surname of Lytton. In May 46 Forster became one of his trustees in place of Henry Arthur Hoare who had withdrawn.
Editor’s Note
1 Presumably in Oct 43.
Editor’s Note
2 His mother Elizabeth Barbara Bulwer Lytton died 19 Dec 43; anxiety and "the crushing grief, for the loss of my nearest & dearest friend", added to overwork, had affected his healthy which by Jan was thoroughly shattered. In June he went to Malvern to take the water-cure, which was successful (Bulwer to Macready, 29 June 44: Bulwer and Macready, ed. C. H. Shattuck, University of Illinois Press, 1958, p. 224, and Lytton's "Confessions and Observations of a Water Patient", New Monthly Magazine, lxxv, Sep 45).
Editor’s Note
3 At his towr. residence, 36A Hertford St.
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