DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Nine autograph letters signed to various correspondents, including E.M. Ward (2), Mrs Ward, Daniel Gisborne, Richard Wood, Lord Robertson, Sir Roderick Murchison, George Smith, and others, Gads Hill, Tavistock House, Genoa, Broadstairs, and Hyde Park Place, 28 April 1843 - 11 May 1870, approximately 14 pages, 8vo, one page 4to, blanks, address panels (seal tears and an excision in the letter to Lord Robertson, with loss of text); together with 8 letters by other correspondents referring to or associated with Dickens, approximately 16 pages, 8vo, and one page, 4to; the 3 letters to the Wards annotated by the recipients and laid in, the remainder of Dickens' letters loosely inserted (2 letters mounted, one with integral leaf cut away, slightly worn), in an album, early 20th-century green morocco by Riviere, spine in six compartments, lettered in one, roll-tooled gilt turn-ins, gilt edges (covers sunned).
Letters mostly to friends, including a humourous one to Lord (Patrick) Robertson (28.4.45) whose visit to Genoa Dickens recalls, 'Don't think me unmindful of the pleasant day we passed together here last autumn...or of anything connected with your pleasant self, because I am a Beast in appearance (correspondentially speaking) and have never wafted half a sheet of paper to Edinburgh'. An entertaining account of a puppet show depicting Napoleon's on St Helena is followed by a disclosure of his reluctance as a sightseer, 'I took the valet de chambre by the throat on the tenth day of churches, and on the steps of the eighty-second church, and swore I would strangle him if he shewed me another'. Family news reveals that 'a coming event which I hadn't reckoned on is casting its shadow before Mrs [Dickens] in a very disconcerting manner'.
An apology [for missing an engagement] to Sir Roderick Murchison (21.6.55) confesses 'The defaulter blushes, but the beaten one pleads. I was quite knocked up last night after four nights theatricals - had no legs, no head, or voice - nothing to bring to Greenwich but a suit of clothes', and on 11.5.70 he writes to Mrs Ward that he is 'laid by the heels and incapable of dining with you'. The letter to Richard Wood gives instructions for the garden at Tavistock House and for drainage which his brother-in-law, Mr Austin, will supervise, insisting that 'punctuality and dispatch are conditions on which I invariably rest in all transactions, and for which I always stipulate'. One letter sends an article for the Cornhill Magazine, the remainder refer to social arrangements.