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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. 2: 1840–1841

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pg 440To D. M. MOIR,1 6 DECEMBER 1841

MS Doheny Memorial Library, Camarillo, California.

  • 1 Devonshire Terrace | York Gate Regents Park
  • Monday Sixth December 1841.

My Dear Sir.

I have been greatly pleased to hear from you; and am very proud to be ranked among that class of your admirers who are your private friends.

Let me thank you for the copy you have sent me of your very interesting and elegant Memoir of poor Galt.2 I have read it through; and it has impressed me very much.3

For your hearty and cordial wishes, I thank you no less. I reciprocate them, I assure you, with unaffected sincerity and warmth of heart; and shake the hand you autographically extend to me, with a most emphatic squeeze.

aI am exceedingly sorry to leave home, for my household Gods, like Charles Lambs4, "take a terrible deep root".5 But I look forward with a pleasure it would be hard to express, to seeing Washington Irving—So would you if you were going, I am sure. As I write his name and Lamb's, a crowd of passages from your books come flocking upon me, very much akin to both;6 and I feel, directly, that you love them as well as I do.

pg 441I shall only be six months gone, please God.a My other halfyear of rest I mean to pass in England. There may be some railroad then—Heaven knows—which will tempt you to London.1 If I hear of it, I will subscribe my mite, that I may see you here. A very pleasant recollection of a very unpleasant night when we rode from Blackwood's to Edinburgh2 inclines me to believe that we could be quite happy together for a whole day,—even though it were the Twenty First of June.

Mrs. Dickens begs me to send a great many Scottish remembrances to yourself and Mrs. Moir.3 Adding as many more of my own, I am

  •                          My Dear Sir | Faithfully Yours always
  • D. M. Moir Esquire.                            Charles Dickens

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 David Macbeth Moir (1798–1851; DNB), physician and author; contributed to Blackwood's, over the signature "Delta", nearly 400 prose and verse pieces; also a novel, The Autobiography of Mamie Wauch, Taylor in Dalkeith (republished in book form 1828). Contributed to Fraser's and the Edinburgh Literary Gazette; and wrote on medical subjects. He had been present at the Edinburgh dinner of 25 June, when CD's naming him as in the foremost rank of Scottish men of letters was greeted with loud cheers.
Editor’s Note
2 John Galt (1779–1839; DNB), novelist. Wrote several plays, historical novels and biographies, and edited the New British Theatre, 1814–15; but is remembered now chiefly for his novels of Scottish country life, especially Annals of the Parish and The Ayrshire Legatees, 1821. Visited Canada as Secretary of the Canada Company 1824 and 1826, and founded the town of Guelph; but was imprisoned for debt on his return 1829. Spent his last years in Greenock, where he had lived as a child—poor and paralysed, but still writing. Published his Autobiography, 1833, and his Literary Life, 1834.
Editor’s Note
3 The Memoir was prefixed to a reprint of Annals of the Parish and The Ayrshire Legatees (Vol. i of Blackwood's Standard Novels), 1841. Moir and Gait had been intimate friends since 1823.
Editor’s Note
aa Given in N, i, 366, from catalogue source; letter otherwise unpublished.
Editor’s Note
4 Thus in MS.
Editor’s Note
5 CD misquotes, from memory, from "New Year's Eve" in Essays of Elia: "My household-gods plant a terrible fixed foot, and are not rooted up without blood".
Editor’s Note
6 Moir's good-natured enjoyment of humble people and local customs was an obvious link with Lamb and Irving. Mrs Oliphant (Annals of a Publishing House, i, 315–16) refers to him as "the gentle 'Delta' of Blackwood, the well-beloved physician, whom everybody delighted to honour". But the broadly comic style of Mamie Wauch is nearer to Pickwick.
Editor’s Note
1 It was not possible to do the whole journey from Edinburgh to London by rail until Oct 48, 15 months after the opening of the Berwick-Newcastle line.
Editor’s Note
2 CD had dined with the Blackwoods on 30 June (To Forster, that day).
Editor’s Note
3 Née Catherine E. Bell, of Leith. She married Moir in 1828.
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