Mr. W. J. Fox.
Office of the “Daily News,” Whitefriars,
21st January, 1846.
My dear Fox,
The boy is in waiting. I need not tell you how our Printer failed us last night. I hope for better things to-night, and am bent on a fight for it. If we can get a good paper to-morrow, I believe we are as safe as such a thing can be.
Your leader most excellent. I made bold to take out —— for reasons that I hinted at the other day, and which I think have validity in them. He is unscrupulous and indiscreet. Cobden never so.
It didn’t offend you?
Rosemont, Tuesday Morning.
My dear Thompson,
All kinds of hearty and cordial congratulations on the event. We are all delighted that it is at last well over. There is an uncertainty attendant on angelic strangers (as Miss Tox says) which it is a great relief to have so happily disposed of.
48, Rue de Courcelles, St. Honoré, Paris,
2nd December, 1846.
My dear Thompson,
We got to Paris, in due course, on the Friday evening. We had a pleasant and prosperous journey, having rather cold weather in Switzerland and on the borders thereof, and a slight detention of three hours and a half at the frontier Custom House, atop of a mountain, in a hard frost and a dense fog. We came into this house last Thursday. It has a pretty drawing-room, approached through four most extraordinary chambers. It is the most ridiculous and preposterous house in the world, I should think. It belongs to a Marquis Castellane, but was fitted (so Paul Pry Poole said, who dined here yesterday) by —— in a fit of temporary insanity, I have no doubt. The dining-room is mere midsummer madness, and is designed to represent a bosky grove.
At this present writing, snow is falling in the street, and the weather is very cold, but not so cold as it was yesterday. I dined with Lord Normanby on Sunday last. Everything seems to be queer and uncomfortable in the diplomatic way, and he is rather bothered and worried, to my thinking. I found young Sheridan (Mrs. Norton’s brother) the attaché. I know him very well, and he is a good man for my sight-seeing purposes. There are to be no theatricals unless the times should so adjust themselves as to admit of their being French, to which the Markis seems to incline, as a bit of conciliation and a popular move.
Lumley, of Italian opera notoriety, also dined here yesterday, and seems hugely afeard of the opposition opera at Covent Garden, who have already spirited away Grisi and Mario, which he affects to consider a great comfort and relief. I gave him some uncompromising information on the subject of his pit, and told him that if he didn’t conciliate the middle classes, he might depend on being damaged, very decidedly. The danger of the Covent Garden enterprise seems to me to be that they are going in for ballet too, and I really don’t think the house is large enough to repay the double expense.
Forster writes me that Mac has come out with tremendous vigour in the Christmas Book, and took off his coat at it with a burst of such alarming energy that he has done four subjects! Stanfield has done three. Keeleys are making that “change” I was so hot upon at Lausanne, and seem ready to spend money with bold hearts, but the cast (as far as I know it, at present) would appear to be black despair and moody madness. J. W. Leigh Murray, from the Princess’s, is to be the Alfred, and Forster says there is a Mrs. Gordon at Bolton’s who must be got for Grace. I am horribly afraid —— will do one of the lawyers, and there seems to be nobody but —— for Marion. I shall run over and carry consternation into the establishment, as soon as I have done the number. But I have not begun it yet, though I hope to do so to-night, having been quite put out by chopping and changing about, and by a vile touch of biliousness, that makes my eyes feel as if they were yellow bullets. “Dombey” has passed its thirty thousand already. Do you remember a mysterious man in a straw hat low-crowned, and a Petersham coat, who was a sort of manager or amateur man-servant at Miss Kelly’s? Mr. Baynton Bolt, sir, came out, the other night, as Macbeth, at the Royal Surrey Theatre.
There’s all my news for you! Let me know, in return, whether you have fought a duel yet with your milingtary landlord, and whether Lausanne is still that giddy whirl of dissipation it was wont to be, also full particulars of your fairer and better half, and of the baby. I will send a Christmas book to Clermont as soon as I get any copies. And so no more at present from yours ever.