Ecclesfield Vicarage. Feb. 20, 1866.
If deep admiration can give me any claim to address so great a man as yourself I trust you wil forgive me. With this letter I request my Publisher to send you a copy of one of my own little books and thus to introduce myself to you.
My object in writing is to ask your assistance in a Magazine for Children which I am about to edit. The Publishers Messrs Bell & Daldy have resolved to obtain, if possible, the best literature and art, and with, this in view I write to you. Entreating you if terms can be arranged between yourself and the Publishers (as I have no doubt of) to do us the honour and benefit of a story from your pen - to becontinued in so many numbers as you think fit; or if we cannot hope for more for one or two.
May I venture to beg for one of that sort in which you are so happy in teaching some good end. As "The Ugly Duckling", "The Emperor's new Clothes", the exquisite "Happy family" which almost makes one wish oneself a snail - The daming needle - or indeed a hundred Others.
But not very sad unless your mind is irresistibly drawn that way. And believe - whatever you send will be invaluable. My Publisher will add his Term proposals to this and I trust it may be in your power and will to comply with my - I fear - bold request.
It is quite a pleasure to me to feel that I am writing to the Author of Tales which have for years been the delight of our family of eight children - now pretty well emerged from children - but not the less loving the dear old volumes of Hans Christian Andersen and rushing at each new one as one of the treats of life.
I also cannot forget that had it not been for reading your Tales, I might never have written my own "Parables from Nature" which, though turning in another direction, are instigated by the perusal of some of your wonderful fancies.
The Magazine is for children from 7 to 15, but I think my friend Mr. Bell had best tell you all about that. My own entreaty is for your assistance both for the delight and honour of it and also that an original tale from yourself will launch the ship into the water.
With the highest esteem, believe me, very sincerely Yours,
I trust to receive an autograph answer from yourself.