Tavistock House, London
Third april, 1857.
Dear Hans Andersen.
I received your welcome letter, the day before yesterday, and immediately proceed to answer it. I hope my answer will at once decide you to make your summer visit to us.
We shall not be at home here in London itself, after the first week in June, but we shaH be at a little country house I have, only twenty seven miles away. It is on a line of Railroad, and within an hour and a half of London, in a very beautiful part of Kent. You shaH have a pleasant room there, with a charming view, and shall live as quietly and wholesomely as in Copenhagen itself. If you should want, at any time while you are with us, to pass the night in London, this house, from the roof to the cellar, will be at your disposal. A servant who is our friend also, who lived with us many years and is now married, will be taking care of it; and she will take care of you too, with all her heart. So pray make up your mind to come to England. We shall be at this place I mention, within an hour and a halfs ride, all through the summer, and if you will let me know when we may expect you, we shall look forward to that time with most cordial pleasure.
I am very much interested in what you tell me of your new Novel, and you may be very sure that it will have no more attentive and earnest reader than it will find in me. I am impatient for its publication. Little Dorrit at present engages me closely. I hope to finish her story by about the end of this month, and that you will find me in the summer quite a free man, playing at ericket and all manner of English open-air games.
The two little girls you saw at Broadstairs when you left England, are young women now, and my eldest boy is more than 20 years old. But we have children of all sizes, and they all love you. You will find yourself in a house full of admiring and affectionate friends, varying from three feet high to five feet nine. Mind! Y ou must not think any more of going to Switzerland. you must come to us.
With kind regards from all my family. Believe me my Dear Andersen affectionately and cordially yours
Hans Christian Andersen.