Charles Dickens

58, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, _Saturday, Dec. 19th, 1846._




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,


                                                  Most affectionately.

                                       Charles Dickens