Tavistock House, London Twelfth May, 1857.
Dear Hans Christian Andersen.
I have just now finished Little Dorrit, and devote my first leisure to writing to you, in answer to your welcome and much-valued letter. My house in the country is not upon the straight main railway line between Dover and London. There is a station upon that line, where you could turn off, and come to me by a Branch Railroad; but it would be rather a complicated business for a stranger. Therefore, if you should be alone, I would recommend you to come to London, and then, at another part of the station at which you would arrive - the London Bridge Terminus - to take the North Kent Railway, to a place called Higham (HIGHAM) which is a mile from my house.
But, when you know exactly when you will com e and how you will come, I will meet you somewhere - either at the station in London, or at some other part of the journey - if you will tell me what your arrangements are. You write English so extraordinarily well, that I am quite surprised by what you tell me of your speaking it. I feel sure, however, that you will become a perfect Englishman among my family, in a very few days. We all speak French, and some Italian. My eldest boy speaks German too. So I am not in the least afraid of our failing to be talkative.
I may as well mention while I think of it, that I wear a moderate beard. As I wore none when you were last in England, your knowing of the change may enable you to recognize me the sooner, when you see me.
Do not write until you know all about your journey. And then be sure that you will find me somewhere, waiting to receive and welcome you.
With kindest regard from all my house,
Ever Faithfully yours,