To Thomas Noon Taulford, 15 July 1838

Period: 
1837-1840

To T. N. TALFOURD, 15 JULY 1838

Text from MDGH corrected from facsimile of p. 1including part of new paragraph (bb) in Bonham’s catalogue, 23 March 2004; MS 3 pp. Twickenham Park / Tuesday July 15th. 1838.

My dear Talfourd.

I cannot tell you how much pleasure I have derived from the receipt of your letter. I have heard little of you, and seen less, for so long a time that your hand-writing came like the renewal of some old friendship, and gladdened my eyes like the face of some old friend. If I hear from Lady Holland1 before your return, I shall, as in duty bound, present myself at her bidding; but between you and me and the general post I hope she may not renew her Invitation until I can visit her with you, as I would much rather avail myself of your personal introduction.2 However, whatever her ladyship may do, I shall respond to, and anyway shall be only too happy to avail myself of what I am sure cannot fail to prove a very pleasant and delightful introduction. Mr. Simmonds (of whom you speak so highly) came quite safe.3 The next Number is printed, but his mark must be something below the lowest low water, if it be not as high as the usual standard of Bentley’s Miscellany. I hope to find4 Your kind invitation and reminder of the subject of a pleasant conversation in one of our pleasant rides, has thrown a gloom over the brightness of Twickenham, for here I am chained. It is indispensably necessary that “Oliver Twist” should be published in three volumes, in September next.5 I have only just begun the last one,6 and, having the constant drawback of my monthly work, shall be sadly harassed to get it finished in time, especially as I have several very important scenes (important to the story I mean) yet to write. Nothing would give me so much pleasure as to be with you for a week or so. I can only imperfectly console myself with the hope that when you see “Oliver” you will like the close of the book, and approve my self-denial in staying here to write it. I should like to know your address in Scotland when you leave town, so that I may send you the earliest copy if it be produced in the vacation, which I pray Heaven it may. Meanwhile, believe that though my body is on the banks of the Thames, half my heart is going the Oxford circuit.7 Mrs. Dickens and Charley desire their best remembrances (the latter expresses some anxiety, not unmixed with apprehension, relative to the Copyright Bill,8 in which he conceives himself interested),9 with hearty wishes that you may have a fine autumn, which is all you want, being sure of all other means of enjoyment that a man can have.  

I am, my dear Talfourd, / Ever faithfully yours 

[CHARLES DICKENS]

P.S. – I hope you are able to spare a moment now and then to glance at “Nicholas Nickleby”, and that you have as yet found no reason to alter the opinion you formed on the appearance of the first number. You know, I suppose, that they elected me at the Athenæum.10 Pray thank Mr. Serjeant Storks11 for me. 

  • 1. Elizabeth Vassall Fox (1770-1845; Dictionary of National Biography), wife of the 3rd Baron Holland; the famous and autocratic hostess of Holland House: see Pilgrim Letters 1, p. 412n and Pilgrim Letters 2, p. 63n.
  • 2. CD first went to Holland House – with Talfourd – on 12 Aug 38.
  • 3. Simmonds not otherwise identified; nor his contribution discovered in the September Bentley’s.
  • 4. The end of the new paragraph in the catalogue facsimile remains missing.
  • 5. It was not in fact published until Nov.
  • 6. Vol. III opens with the Aug instalment which CD had finished on 7 July.
  • 7. Talfourd had joined the circuit in Feb.
  • 8. See To Talfourd, 27 Sep 37 (Pilgrim Letters 1, p. 313n).
  • 9. As CD’s heir.
  • 10. On 21 June.
  • 11. Henry Storks (1778-1866), Serjeant-at-Law from 1827; Middlesex magistrate: see further Pilgrim Letters 1, p. 416n.