Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester.
Wednesday Second September 1857.
My dear Andersen,
I have heen away from here - at Manchester - which is the cause of this slow and late reply to your two welcome letters.
You are in your own home again by this time, happy to see its familiar face, I do not doubt, and happy in heing received with open arms by all good Danish men, women and children.
Every thing here goes an as usual. Baby (too large far his name, this long while!) calls "auntie" all over the house; and the dogs come dancing about us and go running down the green lanes before us, as they used to do, when you were here. But the days are shorter and the evening darker, and when we go up to the Monument to see the sunset, we are obliged to go directly after dinner; and it gets dark while we are up there, and as we pass the grim dog, who rattles with his chain, we can hardly see his dim old eyes; as we feed him with biscuit. The workmen, who have been digging in that well in the stableyard so long, have found a great spring of clear, bright water, and they got rather drunk, when they found it (not with the water, but with some Gin I gave them), and then they packed up their tools and went away, and now the big dog and the Raven have all that place to themselves. The corn-fields that were golden, when you were here, are ploughed up brown; the hops are being picked; the leaves on the trees are just beginning to turn; and the rain is falling, as I write, very sadly - very steadily.
We have just closed our labour in remembrance of poor Jerrold, and we have raised for his widow two thousand pounds. On Monday I am going away (with Collins) for a fortnight or so, into odd corners af England, to write some descriptions for Household Words, When I come back, I shall find them dining here by lamp 1ight. And when I come back, I will write to you again. I never meet any of the friends, whom you saw here, but they always say: "How's Andersen - where's Andersen" - and I draw imaginary pictures of where you are, and declare, that you desired to be heartily remembered to them. They are always pleased to be told this. I told old Jerdan so, the other day, when he wrote to me asking when he has to come and see you!
All the house send you their kind regards. Baby says, you shall not be put out of the window, when yau come back. I have read "To be or not to be" and think it is a very fine book - full of a good purpose admirably wrought out - a book in every way worthy of its great author.
Good by, dear Andersen
Affectionately your friend