ALs to Count D'Orsay

Charles Dickens
ALs to Count D'Orsay

Item Info

Item No: cdc198901
Title: ALs to Count D'Orsay
Accession Number: 86-2776
Physical Description: [4] pages

                                                                             Rosemont, Lausanne, Switzerland. Fifth August 1846.
My Dear Count D'Orsay.
    Your Godson's Mama and Nurses, are, and have been ever since we left home, so desperately importunate to have a Report made to you - a true and ungarnished report of his unparalleled and never-sufficiently-to-be-wondered-at Goodness - that I must, for the sake of peace and quietness, begin my letter with it. So pray take notice that he is never known to cry; that he came through the long journey and great heat without the smallest remonstrance of any sort or kind; that he is perpetually laughing and good tempered; and that I see him at this moment lying in the Garden, in the shade, with two pink legs upreared in the air, and the bells and Coral forced into his mouth.
    This place is on the hill between Lausanne and Ouchy - about midway between the two place. The house is small, but the grounds are extensive and very pretty; and it is certainly the most cheerful house here. The heat is, and has been, most intense; but I hope the weather will soon change, now that we have got installed in these regions, I set to work on my new book, whereof I have done the first number and begun the second; and this has kept me constantly employed. I hope it will be liked; and I think there is a good idea in it. My leisure hours I devote to thinking of the Christmas Book, and I shall go to work on that, as soon as I have matured the idea which is afloat in my mind. We purpose leaving here about the end of November, and going to Paris, whence I shall hope to run over to London. I look forward to Paris with great interest and am very glad Lord Normanby will be there, as it will make all the difference between what is stately and what is agreeable.
    We started off to Chamounix a week ago, and were delighted beyond all expression with the place. If I could have found any adventurous Englishman there, I would have made (I think) a start for the Summit of Mount Blanc, about which there was not one speck of vapour. But I couldn't find anybody disposed to join such an expedition, so was forced to content myself by ingloriously climbing over the Mer de Glace and tumbling about, with a leaping pole, in one or two inaccessible places. What do you say to coming over and sharing in the enterprize? We have only to sear over the long pipe (I smoke it constantly) that we never will turn back without reaching the top - and the thing is done.
    And talking of the long pipe, I am bound to say that the Brave Courier is a perfect Hookahadahr (I think that's the way to spell it) and prepares it wonderfully. When he was at Cairo, he watched them getting up the Pipes, with a Courier's eye; and when he does it quite in the Arabian Night manner.
    At the Inn at Chamounix, there was a splendid couple of travellers. An immense Frenchman and a very little Englishman, who had struck up an acquaintance at Geneva, and had agreed to make some mountain excursions together. The Englishman could speak no French, but the Frenchman could speak a little English, and the Englishman's patronage of him in consequence was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw in my life. He had not the least idea that it was very good of the Frenchman to bother himself with the language, but seemed to think it was a laudable ambition in any poor fellow to plunge into the attempt (however hopeless) and that it deserved some condescencion; and the way in which he set the Frenchman right - talkng broken English to him, himself, as if the Frenchman were a child - and his look round the table at his countrymen, as much as to say "You hear this poor Devil? Excuse him! He means well" - was perfectly insupportable. I don't think I ever was so much tickled by anything; and being opposite to him, I was in a continual agony, for I could not help laughing. There was a pretty good Englishman on board of one of the Rhine boats, who would talk to a Prussian, in English, and persisted in making small jokes at which he expected the Prussian to laugh; and said of the Cutlets at dinner time "Very tough Sir, eh? A good deal of the old shoe in these chops Sir, eh? - but the Englishman of Chamounix outshone him, very far.
    There are only four English families here, but they are very agreeable people indeed, and we find Mr. Haldimand - of whom perhaps you know something - he has a beautiful house upon the lake - everything that is hospitable and friendly; I may say affectionate indeed. The Revolution is supposed to have frightened people and kept them away. However that may be, nearly every Country house is to let, and the Genius of Dulness seems to brood over the town. I find the common-people very polite and agreeable, though they seem to drink rather hard. At all the little f?tes and holidays they get drunk, but they are obliging and good-tempered to me always. As I am getting up my French with a view to Paris, I let it off upon the unfortunate Cottagers and people as I walk about in the evening, but I have never met with any churlish fellows among them, and I have plenty of such acquaintences on all the wlks about here. There is going to be a great f?te next Sunday, the anniversary of the declaration of the New Constitution, when the town is to be illuminated, and various illuminated boats are to be rowed about the Lake. My landlord (who is the Sous Prefect of the town) is immensely busy with the preparations and hints darkly at the probable magnificence.
    So your friend Lord Auckland is to be busy again, and Brougham is to be Captain Warner to the new Government! What do you hear about the Daily News? Does it seem likely to succeed? Forster says the circulation is very great - more than 20,000, I think - but there he stops, and doesn't seem to know what to make of it beyond that. I take it for granted that Lady Blessington has concluded her engagement, without having any new reason of complaint, as Forster assured me, before I left town, that he would take the matter in his own hands, knowing my anxiety about it. Sitll I shall be very glad to hear that it is all over, and well over. Pray tell me when you write.
    I find a burning disgust arising in my mine - a sort of morbid canker of the most frightful description - againt Mister Hudson. His position seems to me to be a monstrous one, and illustrative of the breeches pocket side of the English character, that I can't bear it. There are some dogs who can't endure one particular note on the Piano. In like manner I feel disposed to throw up my head, and howl, whenever I hear Mr. Hudson mentioned. He is my rock ahead in life. If you can let me know anything bad of him, pray do. It would be a great comfort. Somthing intensley mean and odious would be preferred, but anything bad, will thankfully received.
    Lord Morpeth, I find, is to make the Speech at Manchester, this year. He reminds me of the Poles at Lord Dudley Stuart's dinner, just before I left. Good God! if you could have heard them, making inaudible and unintelligible speeches of the most hideous length, until past midnight! I never inclined so much towards the Emperor of Russia, as on that occassion. And Dudley Stuart himself (for whom I have a very strong regard) talking about celebrated Polish Women, and saying "but when I mention the hallowed name of Titchbowski - or of Lobski - or of Pastocrontiki - or of Sploshock - or of Screweyzlunskifi, that wife and mother" - and everybody professing to roar with enthusiasm at every name, as if they knew all about it! There was a Lord (I forget his name) sat next me, who was so enthusiastic at one name, that I asked him afterwards, what association was connected with it; upon which he laughed and told me it was such a hard one that he felt sure the owner must have done something uncommon: and applauded accordingly.
    I wish I had anything to tell you worth the trouble of wading through me letter; but as I have not, I fall back on the pleasant conviction that you will be glad to see my hand-writing, even to so little purpose as this. Give my love to Lady Blessington, and best remembrances to her fair nieces, and ever believe me, as I heartily am, 
                                                                                                  Your Affectionate friend
                                                                                                                       Charles Dickens
The Count D'Orsay.

MssDate: Fifth August 1846.
Media Type: Letters
Source: Rare Book Department

Formerly DL D738 1846-08-05

Recipient: Orsay, Alfred Guillaume Gabriel, comte d’, 1801-1852
Provenance: Sotheby 22 June 76 Lot 230, Gratz


The Letters of Charles Dickens, Pilgrim Edition, Volume Four, 1844-1846, p. 596.

Country: Creation Place Note:Rosemont

Call Number: DL Or8 1846-08-05
Creator Name: Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 - Author

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