ALs to Douglas Jerrold

Charles Dickens
ALs to Douglas Jerrold

Item Info

Item No: cdc198401
Title: ALs to Douglas Jerrold
Accession Number: 86-2773
Physical Description: [2] pages
Material: paper

                Geneva. Saturday October Twenty Fourth 1846.
My Dear Jerrold. This day week, I finished my little Christmas Book (writing, towards the close, the exact words of a passage in your affectionate letter, received this morning: to wit “after all, life has something serious in it”,) and ran over here, for a week’s rest. I cannot tell you how much true gratification I have had in your most hearty letter. Forster told me that the same spirit breathed through a notice of Dombey in your paper: and I have been saying since to Kate and Georgina that there is no such good way of testing the worth of a literary friendship as by comparing its influence on one’s mind, with any that literary animosity can produce. Mr. Warren will throw me into a violent fit of anger for the moment, it is true – but his acts and deeds pass into the death of all bad things next day, and rot out of my memory. Whereas a generous sympathy like yours, is ever present to me, ever fresh and new to me: always stimulating, cheerful, and delightful. The pain of unjust malice is lost in an hour. The pleasure of a generous friendship is the steadiest joy in the world. What a Glorious and comfortable thing that is to think of!
                No, I don’t get the paper regularly. To the best of my recollection I have not had more than three numbers – certainly not more than four. But I knew how busy you must be, and had no expectation of hearing from you, until I wrote from Paris (as I intended doing) and implored you to come and make merry with us there. I am truly pleased to receive your good account of that enterprise. I feel all you say upon the subject of the literary man in his old age, and know the incalculable benefit of such a resource. You can hardly fail to realize an independent property from such success; and I congratulate you upon it, with all my heart and soul. Two numbers of the Barber’s Chair have reached me. It is a capital idea, and capable of the best and readiest adaptation to things as they arise. The number that ought to have come with the letter I am acknowledging, is brilliantly replaced by – The Spectator!!! There is a printed slip inside, from the Post Office, saying that the envelopes of a great many newspapers, being badly put on, have come off that evening: and they hope the Paper they forward me, may prove to be the right one, but don’t much expect it. Of all the papers going, they couldn’t have picked me out a more unlikely one.
                Anent the Comic History of England and similar comicalities (Snobs in general, included) I feel exactly as you do. Their effect upon me is very disagreeable. Such joking is like the sorrow of an undertaker’s mute, reversed – and is applied to serious things with the like propriety and force. I have not seen A’Beckett’s book however. Did you see an allusion to “discontented” writers in an advertisement of Mr. Albert Smith’s, fashioned like an act of Parliament? There was an impertinence in it that rather stirred my bile. If it has not met your eye, I wish you’d look at it. It was about Christopher Tadpole – some fortnight ago. The Manchester Soirée has not come off, I suppose? I saw, in Galignani, that you were going. I wish I were going with you. – I have often thought, believe me, of your domestic troubles, and more than once asked Forster about your daughter. It is a sad story my dear Jerrold, God knows, but that which is a part of your regret, makes it lighter to her. As long as she can like him, she will feel it gently. Your boy at Baring’s does well, I hope? And the elder, how does he go on! My father told me he had left the Daily News. How does that go on I wonder! What B and He call the “adds”, look shy, I fear. And Dilke is rather weighty, generally speaking.
                Paris is good, both in the Spring and in the Winter. So come, first, at Christmas, and let us have a few jolly holidays together, at what Mr. Rowland, of Hatton Garden, calls “that festive season of the year”, when the human hair is peculiarly liable to come out of curl, unless &c. I hope to reach there, bag and baggage, by the 20th. of next month. As soon as I am lodged, I will write to you. Do arrange to run over at Christmas time, and let us be as English and as merry as we can. Its nothing of a journey, and you shall write “o’mornings”, as they say in Modern Elizabethan, as much as you like. Perhaps Forster (having finished with Madame Tussaud) will come at the same time. I’ll stir him up. By the bye, I have stirred up my French, and have come out rather strong.
                The Newspapers seem to know as much about Switzerland as about the Esquimaux Country. I should like to shew you the people as they are here, or in the Canton de Vaud – their wonderful education – splendid schools – comfortable homes – great intelligence – and noble independence of character. It is the fashion among the English to decry them, because they are not servile. I can only say that if the first quarter of a century of the best general Education would rear such a peasantry in Devonshire as exists about here, or about Lausanne, (‘bating their disposition towards drunkenness) it would do what I can hardly hope in my most sanguine moods it will effect in four times that period. The revolution here just now (which has my cordial sympathy) was conducted with the most gallant, true, and Christian spirit. The conquering party, moderate in the first transports of triumph – forbearing – and forgiving. I swear to you that some of the appeals to the Citizens of both parties posted by the new Government (the people’s) on the walls, and sticking there now, almost drew the tears into my eyes as I read them; they are so truly generous, and so exalted in their tone – so far above the miserable strife of politics, and so devoted to the General Happiness and Welfare.
                Kate and Georgy send their best regards. The latter small person was making me weak with laughter only last night, by imitating Mrs. Bradbury, in a manner quite inconceivable. We often talk of you, and project Parisian entertainments. There are only a few English (some dozen or so) at Lausanne, but very agreeable and well-informed people. I have had great success again in Magnetism – this time with a male subject. Elliotson, who has been with us for a week or so, holds my magnetic powers in great veneration; and I really think they are, by some conjunction of chances, strong.
                 Let them, or something else, hold you to me by the heart. Ever My Dear Jerrold – Affectionately Your friend   CD.

MssDate: Saturday October Twenty Fourth 1846
Media Type: Letters
Source: Rare Book Department
Recipient: Jerrold, Douglas William, 1803-1857
Provenance: Purchased at Sotheby, 25 Mar 1974, Lot 193, thru Maggs. Benoliel Fund.


Volume 4, pp. 642-645, The Letters of Charles Dickens, edited by Madeline House & Graham Storey ; associate editors, W.J. Carlton … [et al.].

Country: Country:Switzerland

Call Number: DL J487 1846-10-24
Creator Name: Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 - Author

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