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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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pg 183To JOHN MACRONE, [?19 OCTOBER 1836]

MS Morgan Library. Date: Could hardly be less than about three weeks after the birth of the Macrones' baby (30 Sep). Macrone presumably kept Cruikshank's letter (see below) for a week before showing it to CD. Address: John Macrone Esqre.

Furnivals Inn. | Wednesday Morning

My dear Macrone.

I have long believed Cruikshank to be mad; and his letter therefore, surprises me, not a jot. If you have any further communication with him, you will greatly oblige me by saying from me that I am very much amused at the notion of his altering my Manuscript,1 and that had it fallen into his hands, I should have preserved his emendations as "curiosities of Literature".2 Most decidedly am I of opinion that he may just go to the Devil; and so far as I have any interest in the book,3 I positively object to his touching it.

I think it a great question whether it requires any illustrations at all,4 but if so, I think my Pickwick man had better do them, as he is already favorably known to the public, by his connection with that immortal gentleman. This will be matter for reflection, and you are the best judge about it.

I am strongly of opinion that it would do you good to spend an hour or two here now, and then, while Mrs. Macrone is up stairs, and Catherine bids me say that she cordially agrees with me. Say when you will come, so that I may be at home, and not at work. I met Holland the other day in the street, and as he appeared much delighted to meet with his old contributor, I invited him to dine here to-day. I suppose it's a compliment, or rather no compliment at all, to ask you to meet him?

Take care of Mrs. Macrone. How could you let her come down to dinner so soon? Catherine is all anxiety to hear of her getting better. I trust you have a good account to send this morning.

  • Faithfully Yours
  •        Charles Dickens

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 Presumably the then proposed second volume of Sketches, Second Series (see To Macrone, ?8 Oct). Cruikshank had written to Macrone, 11 Oct [36]: "As it would not answer my purpose to stand idle I have commenced another work which must be finished before I can take up the secd. vol. of 'Boz'. I shall be extremely sorry should this affect any of yr. publishing arrangements, but it is clearly no fault of mine. I did expect to see that Ms. from time to time in order that I might have the privilege of suggesting any little alteration to suit the Pencil but if you are printing the book all that sort of thing is out of the question. Only this much I must say that unless I can get good subjects to work upon, I will not work at all." (A. de Suzannet, Catalogue d'un choix de livres imprimés …, 1925, i, 7).
Editor’s Note
2 No doubt taken from Isaac D'Israeli's title Curiosities of Literature, 1791.
Editor’s Note
3 Probably mainly sarcastic, but perhaps with a side-glance at the fact that Macrone had the financial interest.
Editor’s Note
4 CD could not have thought it possible to bring out a two-volume work with illustrations in one volume only. The tone of the first two paragraphs shows that he was writing in a fit of extreme exasperation.
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