Charles Dickens

Graham Storey, Kathleen Mary Tillotson, and Angus Easson (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 7: 1853–1855

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pg 696To RAIKES CURRIE,1 28 AUGUST 1855

Text from N, ii, 686–7.

Folkestone | Tuesday, Twenty Eighth August 1855

My Dear Sir

Being at Deal yesterday, I could not answer your friendly letter last night; though I assure you I feel very truly obliged to you for it, and am far indeed from being indifferent to your kindness.

I cannot come to you tomorrow, or I would have gladly availed myself of the privilege you offer me of bringing Mr. Wilkie Collins (who is our only visitor now) with the family caravan. But just because I was in town on Saturday and at Deal yesterday, I am obliged to keep myself in my own room until tomorrow afternoon. I have lately fallen hard at work upon a new book, and, when I am so engaged, I am always by myself from 9 to 2. It is a part of my necessary habit to go out and walk afterwards, until 5. My dinner time, bed time and whole time, I arrange according to the system that experience has shewn me to make my work easiest and happiest; and while I myself do this during eight months of the year, in London, with as much constancy as one can reasonably exercise in such a place, I do it rigidly for four months in the country; never going anywhere except upon an idle country jaunt. It is not that a day or a week is an object to me; but that I cannot comfortably do what I want to do, unless I am systematic in my own way.

These are details that I never trouble anybody with; and I only inflict them upon you, because I feel responsive to your hospitality and want to explain myself for not appearing so. I hope within a week to come over to Sandling Park2 with Mrs. Dickens and make my personal acknowledgments. If I may hope in the meantime to have unceremoniously shewn you how I am obliged to lay a number of my own inclinations on my desk every day and how rare my deviations are, I shall have got rid of a positive uneasiness.

Wonderful legends are afloat here of the great success of last Wednesday's festivities.3

  • Believe me my Dear Sir | Faithfully yours
  • [Charles Dickens]   

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 Raikes Currie (1801–81), banker and politician; Liberal MP for Northampton 1837–57; CD may have met him at the Athenaeum, of which he was a member; or perhaps through the Watsons.
Editor’s Note
2 Sandling Park, Hythe, Currie's country home.
Editor’s Note
3 On 22 Aug the Foreign Legion stationed at Shorncliffe and Dover assembled at Sandling Park, for a fête and to receive their colours from the Duke of Cambridge; after the ceremony, the troops played games until a dinner of beef, plum pudding and porter was served, paid for by subscriptions raised in Folkestone and the area; Currie himself gave lunch to 200 guests and in the evening, after the troops were gone, there was dancing (The Times, 23 and 25 Aug).
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