58, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, _Saturday, Dec. 19th, 1846._
MY DEAREST KATE,
I really am bothered to death by this confounded _dramatization_ of the
Christmas book. They were in a state so horrible at Keeley's yesterday
(as perhaps Forster told you when he wrote), that I was obliged to
engage to read the book to them this morning. It struck me that Mrs.
Leigh Murray, Miss Daly, and Vining seemed to understand it best.
Certainly Miss Daly knew best what she was about yesterday. At eight
to-night we have a rehearsal with scenery and band, and everything but
dresses. I see no possibility of escaping from it before one or two
o'clock in the morning. And I was at the theatre all day yesterday.
Unless I had come to London, I do not think there would have been much
hope of the version being more than just tolerated, even that doubtful.
All the actors bad, all the business frightfully behindhand. The very
words of the book confused in the copying into the densest and most
insufferable nonsense. I must exempt, however, from the general
slackness both the Keeleys. I hope they will be very good. I have never
seen anything of its kind better than the manner in which they played
the little supper scene between Clemency and Britain, yesterday. It was
quite perfect, even to me.
The small manager, Forster, Talfourd, Stanny, and Mac dine with me at
the Piazza to-day, before the rehearsal. I have already one or two
uncommonly good stories of Mac. I reserve them for narration. I have
also a dreadful cold, which I would not reserve if I could help it. I
can hardly hold up my head, and fight through from hour to hour, but had
serious thoughts just now of walking off to bed.
Christmas book published to-day--twenty-three thousand copies already
gone!!! Browne's plates for next "Dombey" much better than usual.
I have seen nobody yet, of course. But I sent Roche up to your mother
this morning, to say I am in town and will come shortly. There is a
great thaw here to-day, and it is raining hard. I hope you have the
advantage (if it be one, which I am not sure of) of a similar change in
Paris. Of course I start again on Thursday. We are expecting (Roche and
I) a letter from the malle poste people, to whom we have applied for
places. The journey here was long and cold--twenty-four hours from Paris
to Boulogne. Passage not very bad, and made in two hours.
I find I can't write at all, so I had best leave off. I am looking
impatiently for your letter on Monday morning. Give my best love to
Georgy, and kisses to all the dear children. And believe me, my love,