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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To W. H. WILLS, 9 OCTOBER 1853

MS Huntington Library.

Boulogne, Sunday Ninth October 1853.

My Dear Wills.

Many thanks for your kind letter, both on my own behalf, and on that of the unprotected females. They are sincerely sensible of your offer, and Mrs. Dickens begs me to say that she will not hesitate to give you all the trouble in her power!

I write before the arrival of Mark, but leave this open in the meanwhile in case I should then have anything to add. On the second half of this sheet,2 I send my line of March as far as Lausanne, whence I will write again. I shall not expect (unless in some extraordinary case) to hear from you before I get there.

When the sheets of the 3rd. Volume of the Child's History come to you (as they will) will you put a few words into His Sowship's life,3 where his writings are referred to, to the effect that he wrote, aamong other things,a about Witches, in whom he was (as such a wrong-headed Dolt ought to have been) a strong4 believer.5 I somehow forgot to put this in to the MS. Likewise, you will find it stated that after the Gunpowder Plot some Catholics were for safety in the fens of Lincolnshire. It ought to be, the fens of Ely.6

pg 162I don't remember that I have anything more to add—except that the Moustaches don't look a bit better than they did. The failures1 desire their kindest regards. I shall come back, I hope, with no end of good things in my mind for H.W. Meanwhile and always, believe me Very heartily Yours. CD

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2 Not apparently extant.
Editor’s Note
3 Ch. 32, "England under James the First" (Ch. 34 in HW). CD calls the King "his Sowship"—as the Duke of Buckingham used to address him—throughout.
Editor’s Note
aa Added over caret.
Editor’s Note
4 Written after "great" cancelled.
Editor’s Note
5 After "He wrote some of the most wearisome treatises ever read" in the opening paragraph, Wills inserted: "—among others, a book upon witchcraft, in which he was a devout believer—" (Ch. 32).
Editor’s Note
6 Neither statement appeared in either HW (Ch. 34) or A Child's History, Ch. 32. CD must have deleted the sentence in proof and forgotten.
Editor’s Note
1 Collins and Egg, whose moustaches, CD told Georgina on 25 Oct, had totally failed, compared to his own (see To Miss Hogarth, that day).
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