To John Forster, 06 April 1838



Text from facsimile in Sotheby’s New York on-line catalogue, December 2001. Date: after CD’s first meeting with Talfourd in Spring 1837, but not on mourning paper which CD used for nearly a year after Mary Hogarth’s death (April 1837); handwriting points to Spring 1838; “always” in subscription and “Esquire” in full, support 1838.                                      

48 Doughty Street

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wednesday Morning2

My Dear Forster

I have not sent your note to Mrs. Talfourd,3 for I found on reflection that I could not possibly dine out on Monday – or indeed sooner than Saturday,4 having in mind my work. Will you say how much pleasure it will afford me to dine in Russell Square on that day, if convenient?

John Forster Esquire

Always Faithfully Yours


  • 1. John Forster (1812-76; Dictionary of National Biography), CD’s closest friend and literary and legal advisor: see Pilgrim Letters 1 p. 239n.
  • 2. Short double strokes under “Morning”.
  • 3. Rachel, eldest daughter of John Towill Rutt, married (1822) Thomas Noon Talfourd (1795-1854; Dictionary of National Biography), barrister and writer: see Pilgrim Letters 1, pp. 290n, 315n. CD had first met Talfourd in Spring 1837; the arrangements proposed support a date when CD knew the Talfourds well.
  • 4. Throughout Spring 1838 CD was editing Bentley’s Miscellany, writing Oliver Twist, and planning and writing Nicholas Nickleby: he clearly needed ten days to complete his stint before a deadline of the 19th of the month.

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