Literary Gazette Office. London.
March 21, [1847.] Fast Day.
My dear Sir,
The Fast Day reminds me of a duty so long neglected that I sit down with repentance and gratification to make a clean heart by disharging it. I know not what apology to offer you for not having told you how much your letter (I dare not mention the date) delighted me. I hope you will think of me and the matter, as of a horse in a mill, so incessantly engaged in drudging round and round, that it never has any time to look out for a bit of pleasure like other hearts of burthen. How often I have resolved to write to you I cannot count, but I assure you there have been as many good intentions as would pave
a considerable space
In a certain place,
so there is rhyme if not reason in my excuse very sincerely submitted to your merciful construction.
I trust the period is not distant when I may urge it more strongly in person and enjoy the happiness of your society.
It was only ten days ago that I had the opportunity to tell my friend Dickens how warmly you spoke of him, and he was exceedingly flattered by your good opinion. He has now returned to reside in London; and no one will be more desirous to give you a warm welcome than he will be. But other friends you will also, I can truly state, find "as plenty as blackberries".
My valued friend Ainsworth was also charmed with your recollection of him. He is a first rate fellow and ought to be more prominent in public estimation. But he is modest and amiable, and thus better known to the few than to the many, who are so much imposed upon by the forward pushing.
At present our literary world is very dull. Irish Famine, like Pharaoh's lean kine, seems to eat up all that is worth any thing, physically, morally, or intellectually. The failure of potatoes has led to the failure of mental culture, and the arts and literature may fast without a royal proclamation. The mechanical Sciences alone continue in full activity: for they bring money, direct as cause and effect, and Money is the mighty Idol to which all bow the knee in a Commercial Country.
I have been much indebted to Mr. Beckwith for several valued contributions to my Gazette, and I hope he will continue his favours when opportunities offer and he has leizure for the bounty.
Bulwer, I learn, is going to have another dash at the cold water cure; but I have not been able to go and see him for some time. We are about to have a display of Private or Amateur theatricals at the St. James' Theatre (tickets two Guineas!). Mrs. Butler (F. Kemble) the heroine, Mr. Forster of the Examiner newspaper and author of several works the hero. The play the Hunchback. Other characters by people of fashion, and I anticipate not worth two shillings to see, except for curiosity's sake.
And now, dear Sir, and Friend, as I hope I may call you in the true spirit of literary esteem and regard, permit me to add an impudent request, considering the circumstances; which, nevertheless, is that you will have the goodness to eschew my bad example, and favour me with a speedy letter, were it only to show that you have forgiven the tardiness of
Yours most faithfully,