Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 2: 1840–1841

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To W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, 29 APRIL 1841

MS Morgan Library.

Devonshire Terrace | April The Twenty Ninth /41,

My Dear Ainsworth.

With all imaginable pleasure. I quite look forward to the day.3 It is an age since we met, and it ought not to be.

The artist has just sent home your Nickleby. He suggested variety, pleading his fancy and genius. As a wilful binder must have his way, I put the best face on the matter and gave him, his. I will bring it, together with the Pickwick, to your house-warming with me.

The old Royal George went down in consequence of having too much weight on one side.4 I trust the New First Rate of that name,5 won't be pg 275heavy anywhere. There seems to me to be too much whisker for a shilling,1 but that's a matter of taste—

  • Faithfully Yours always
  •           Charles Dickens2

William Harrison Ainsworth Esquire

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Notes

Editor’s Note
3 On 28 Apr Ainsworth had written from Kensal Manor House, to which he had moved in Mar 41 from Kensal Lodge (where CD had in earlier days so often visited him): "I begin to think it long since we met; and I also long to show you my new house. Will you therefore dine with me on Saturday the 8th. of May at six o'clock, and set both my longings at rest?—I have been often intending to call upon you—but perhaps you know from experience that the best intentions are seldom fulfilled. The meeting of Saturday will be a sort of inaugural dinner, being the first I shall give in my new abode. Do not disappoint me" (MS Huntington). Forster had also been invited, and wrote to CD on 29 Apr "Do you go to TheManorHouse?" (MS Private). The Manor House, so called because built, early in the century, on the manorial lands of Willesden, was a large one-storied house to which Ainsworth, needing a large house for his three daughters and his own entertaining, added another storey. Mrs Touchet (see Vol. i, p. 277n) continued to live in a part of Kensal Lodge near by.
Editor’s Note
4 The flag-ship HMS Royal George (subject of Campbell's famous poem) had sunk at anchor in Spithead 29 Aug 1782. Attempts to raise her continued until 1840.
Editor’s Note
5 No. 1 of George Cruikshank's Omnibus (see To Cruikshank, 2 May, fn). In a postscript to his letter Ainsworth had said: "Our friend G. C. brings out his Omnibus this month. I hope it will not turn out to be the Loss of the Royal George—or what would be still worse the George and blue bore."
Editor’s Note
1 I.e. too much Cruikshank—whose whiskers, covering his chin, were notable in a mainly beardless period. The Omnibus cost 1/-.
Editor’s Note
2 CD received two further invitations to dinner with Ainsworth during 1841 (MSS Huntington): one for 28 June when he was in Scotland, the other undated.
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