Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 1: 1820–1839

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Text from Memoir by Blanchard Jerrold in The Poetical Works of Laman Blanchard, 1876, p. 37. Date: The references both to Christmas and to the paper sent by Blanchard (clearly the Courier of 20 Dec) make 23 Dec certain.

48 Doughty Street | Sunday morning

My dear Blanchard,

I have booked you—one inside—for the fly to Ainsworth's,3 wherein all available places are now secured. As we have one Mr. Lover, of Charles Street, Middlesex Hospital, in the way-bill, and the gen'lm'n is to be took up at his own door, I must trouble you to have your luggage ready at the "Courier Office" at a quarter-past five.

I am writing to you with a sad heart, for I have just indited a few lines to poor Chatfield, to whom I should have written long since but for Forster's confounded assurance that it would be better not. I do not like to break in upon him without notice, but I have told him you gave me reason to hope he would not be displeased to see me, and that if the changes of sickness leave him in the same mood I will see him on Christmas morning (alas, poor fellow! a merry time to us), at two o' 475

I was very much obliged indeed to you for the paper. I was not aware of the quotation, and was greatly amused with the "leader." It seemed to me exceedingly happy, terse, pointed, smart, and quite an off [hand] leader in short.1

I have been amused beyond all telling with your son's2 play, in which the rival kings talk a great deal more common sense than any stage kings I have ever known.3 I suppose its excessive length is an insuperable objection to its representation at Covent Garden—even if the character of Stephen were not an insuperable objection with "Macweady," who could never stand Anderson4 in such a part as that.

  • My dear Blanchard,
  •    Always faithfully yours,
  •          Charles Dickens

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3 No doubt for dinner on the 29th (see Diary entry, p. 638), to celebrate the beginning of Jack Sheppard in the Jan Miscellany. Ainsworth had invited Cruikshank on the 20th to "little Jack Sheppard['s] … Christening dinner", and told him that CD and Forster would bring him out (Maggs catalogue, Spring 1935).
Editor’s Note
1 See To Forster, 21 Dec, fn. Blanchard edited the Courier and probably wrote the leader himself.
Editor’s Note
2 Sydney Laman Blanchard (?1827–83), the eldest of Blanchard's three sons. After his father's death in 1845, CD recommended him for a reporting post on the Morning Herald and employed him on the Daily News. He wrote two books about India and a novel, and contributed to Household Words and All the Year Round.
Editor’s Note
3 He had written (at the age of 10 or 11) a five-act play, which Forster had sent as a joke to Macready (see Poetical Works of Blanchard, p. 38n).
Editor’s Note
4 James Robertson Anderson (1811–95; DNB), actor. With Macready's company at Covent Garden 1837–9; his ambition to play leading parts was usually thwarted by Macready, who reserved most of these for himself (see Anderson, An Actor's Life, 1902, pp. 63–92).
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