AL [Fragment] to Madame De la Rue

Charles Dickens
AL [Fragment] to Madame De la Rue

Item Info

Item No: cdc287101
Title: AL [Fragment] to Madame De la Rue
Accession Number: 87-246
Physical Description: [4] pages
Material: paper

Devonshire Terrace.
                Friday Seventeenth April 1846.
My Dearest Madame De la Rue.
                I received your letter this morning, and immediately sit down to say that your patient was , beyond all question, mistaken, in regard to me. And to make this clearer to you, I will tell you what I have been delaying for, from day to day.
                I am exceedingly unsettled in my plans. I think I told you sometime ago – or I wrote it to De la Rue; I am not sure which – that I was not satisfied with the business Managers of the Newspaper. In the course of a little more time, I saw so much reason to believe that they would be the Ruin of what might otherwise have been made a very fine property – and that their proceedings would so commit and involve me, who had no power either of getting rid of them or controulling them – that I straightway stopped my letters, and walked, bodily, out of the concern. The result of this, has been a daily-widening division among all the halfhundred people connected with the Paper; and I am strongly inclined to believe that it will stop abruptly. Pending their disputes and differences among themselves, I cannot very well leave town. But if the Paper should go by the board, then I should be strongly disposed to do so, and to go abroad for another year. For I have engaged to produce a new story in twenty monthly parts, and I think I could write it more comfortably and easily, abroad, than at home. Now, I need not tell you that I want to go to Genoa! But Mrs. Dickens, who was never very well there, cannot be got to contemplate the Peschiere – though I have beset her in all kinds of ways. Therefore, I think I should take a middle course, for the present and, coming as near you as I could, pitch my tent somewhere on the Lake of Geneva – say at Lausanne, whence I should run over to Genoa immediately. Against my coming away at all, there is the consideration that I am (nominally, God knows) a Law Student, and have a certain number of “terms to keep” before I can be called to the Bar; and it would be well for me to be called, as there are many little pickings to be got – pretty easily within my reach – which can only be bestowed on Barristers. Again, there is the consideration that the good people of England seem to be fonder of their favorite (your humble servant and physician) now, than ever; and that it might be a pity to run away from them, when they are so very kind. On the other hand if these people do ruin the Paper, I shall be very much annoyed, and would rather not have to be questioned, and condoled with, and all sorts of things, in all kinds of society. Now, every day (to the exclusion of almost all other occupation) I have been discussing the pros and cons of all these questions, with Forster. Every day we have expected that the squabbling body of proprietors would decide on their course, and so enable me to decide on mine. Every day has brought with it a postponement to the next day. And all the time I have been in a condition of incessant restlessness, uneasiness, and uncertainty. From this I am not yet delivered. But I think this Week must decide it; and the moment I resolve on my course, I will write to you again. Tell De la Rue, with my best regards, that I should have answered his letter, but for the same reason, which rendered it impossible to write definitely.
                Your magnetic case is a very extraordinary one, though nothing of that kind surprises me. I should like to see the lady very much, and to – no, not to try my hand upon her – to see you mesmerize her. Let us live in hope.
                I shall publish, early next month, a little Volume called Pictures from Italy – astonish the Consul by telling him the title, and give him my regards. An early Copy shall be got to you, by some means or other. You have been in my society these many days, for I have just finished Rome, and am now working back to Genoa. The greater part of the descriptions were written in letters to Forster, but the putting of them together, and making additions to them, and touching them up, is rather a long job. I like them very much, and I think the Holy Week will make you laugh and remind you of the reality. – My Diary of March the 19th. 1845 is lying open on my desk, and looking at it I see this entry “Madame D L R very ill in the night. Up ‘till four.” Good God how distinctly everything has been present to me as I have gone over all the ground again! And what a miserable Devil I seem, to be cooped up here, bothered by printers and stock jobbers, when there are bright Genoas (with bright patients in them!) and ruined Coliseums in the world.
                I talk to all the Italian Boys who go about the streets with Organs and white mice, and give them mints of money per l’amore della bell’Italia.
                Maclise has been painting a large picture for the Royal Academy Exhibition which opens in May. The subject is the Superstition of the Ordeal by Touch – the old belief that if the Murderer touched the dead body of his Victim, it would bleed. It is very fine indeed, and buyers are fighting for it. He can have a Thousand Pounds for it, easily; but he says he “don’t know” – and says nothing else. His last invention has been the abolition of traps to his trousers. We went down to Greenwich Fair last Monday, and walked about the

MssDate: Friday Seventeenth April 1846
Media Type: Letters
Source: Rare Book Department
Recipient: DelaRue, Augusta Granet, d. 1887
Provenance: Purchased at Sotheby, Suzannet sale, lot 241, via Maggs 11/23/7?. Coleman Fund.


Volume 4, pp. 533-535, The Letters of Charles Dickens, edited by Madeline House & Graham Storey ; associate editors, W.J. Carlton … [et al.].

Country: Creation Place Note:Devonshire Terrace

Call Number: DL D375 1846-04-17
Creator Name: Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 - Author

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