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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Extract in F, vii, iv, 593. Date: 3 July according to Forster. From Boulogne.

Fancy what Beaucourt told me last night. When he "conceived the inspiration" of planting the property ten years ago, he went over to England to buy the trees, took a small cottage in the market-gardens at Putney, lived there three months, held a symposium every night attended by the principal gardeners of Fulham, Putney, Kew, and Hammersmith (which he calls Hamsterdam), and wound up with a supper at which the market-gardeners rose, clinked their glasses, and exclaimed with one pg 109accord (I quote him exactly) VIVE BEAUCOURT! He was a captain in the National Guard, and Cavaignac1 his general. Brave Capitaine Beaucourt! said Cavaignac, you must receive a decoration. My General, said Beaucourt, No! It is enough for me that I have done my duty. I go to lay the first stone of a house upon a Property I have—that house shall be my decoration. (Regard that house!)

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Editor’s Note
1 Louis Eugène Cavaignac (1802–57), French Republican general; Minister of War 1848.
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