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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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To T. N. TALFOURD, [?9 JULY 1838]

Text from N, i, 166. Date: probably the Monday before 15 July—the first anniversary of Letitia's wedding; seems clearly to refer to CD's first invitation from Lady Holland, since on 15 July he wrote to Talfourd of the invitation being "renewed".

Twickenham Park | Monday evening

My dear Talfourd,

I am more sorry than I can tell you to find your note on returning from a walk. I have not been out for weeks, and have purposely kept aloof from Sunday engagements in expectation of Lady Holland's2 most agreeable invite; but two days ago I contracted an engagement for next Sunday (in fancied security) which I cannot now postpone as it is a family anniversary, and I have moreover engaged myself with Mrs. Dickens.

May I ask you to let Lady Holland know how very much I regret this circumstance, and how anxiously I hope to have another opportunity of retrieving my loss?1

I don't know whether you are aware of your great popularity in America, where Ion is sold for a penny! Thinking you might not have seen one of these curiosities I have requested some booksellers in Philadelphia2 with whom I have been in communication, to send me a copy or two.

I write in great haste, and in the dark, to save the next post; but in haste or leisure, or darkness or light, I am always.

  • Most faithfully yours
  •    [Charles Dickens]

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Editor’s Note
2 Elizabeth Vassall Fox (1770–1845; DNB), wife of the 3rd Baron Holland; the famous and autocratic hostess of Holland House. Before meeting CD, Lady Holland asked Bulwer "if Boz was presentable, and became the condescending with a man of genius, a thing not to be forgiven; so I growled and snapped" (Journal entry, given in Lord Lytton, Life of Edward Bulwer, First Lord Lytton, 1913, ii, 13). For her subsequent friendly relations with CD, see Vol. ii.
Editor’s Note
2 Probably Carey, Lea & Blanchard.
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