Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.
Devonshire Terrace, 23rd February, 1849.
My dear Sir Edward,
I have not written sooner to thank you for “King Arthur” because I felt sure you would prefer my reading it before I should do so, and because I wished to have an opportunity of reading it with the sincerity and attention which such a composition demands.
This I have done. I do not write to express to you the measure of my gratification and pleasure (for I should find that very difficult to be accomplished to my own satisfaction), but simply to say that I have read the poem, and dwelt upon it with the deepest interest, admiration, and delight; and that I feel proud of it as a very good instance of the genius of a great writer of my own time. I should feel it as a kind of treason to what has been awakened in me by the book, if I were to try to set off my thanks to you, or if I were tempted into being diffuse in its praise. I am too earnest on the subject to have any misgiving but that I shall convey something of my earnestness to you in the briefest and most unaffected flow of expression.
Accept it for what a genuine word of homage is worth, and believe me,
Mr. C. Cowden Clarke.
Devonshire Terrace, May 5th, 1849.
My dear Sir,
I am very sorry to say that my Orphan Working School vote is promised in behalf of an unfortunate young orphan, who, after being canvassed for, polled for, written for, quarrelled for, fought for, called for, and done all kind of things for, by ladies who wouldn’t go away and wouldn’t be satisfied with anything anybody said or did for them, was floored at the last election and comes up to the scratch next morning, for the next election, fresher than ever. I devoutly hope he may get in, and be lost sight of for evermore.
Pray give my kindest regards to my quondam Quickly, and believe me,
Mr. Joseph C. King.
Devonshire Terrace, Saturday, December 1st, 1849.
My dear Sir,
I hasten to let you know what took place at Eton to-day. I found that I did stand in some sort committed to Mr. Evans, though not so much so but that I could with perfect ease have declined to place Charley in his house if I had desired to do so. I must say, however, that after seeing Mr. Cookesley (a most excellent man in his way) and seeing Mr. Evans, and Mr. Evans’s house, I think I should, under any circumstances, have given the latter the preference as to the domestic part of Charley’s life. I would certainly prefer to try it. I therefore thought it best to propose to have Mr. Cookesley for his tutor, and to place him as a boarder with Mr. Evans. Both gentlemen seemed satisfied with this arrangement, and Dr. Hawtrey expressed his approval of it also.
Mr. Cookesley, wishing to know what Charley could do, asked me if I would object to leaving him there for half-an-hour or so. As Charley appeared not at all afraid of this proposal, I left him then and there. On my return, Mr. Cookesley said, in high and unqualified terms, that he had been thoroughly well grounded and well taught—that he had examined him in Virgil and Herodotus, and that he not only knew what he was about perfectly well, but showed an intelligence in reference to those authors which did his tutor great credit. He really appeared most interested and pleased, and filled me with a grateful feeling towards you, to whom Charley owes so much.
He said there were certain verses in imitation of Horace (I really forget what sort of verses) to which Charley was unaccustomed, and which were a little matter enough in themselves, but were made a great point of at Eton, and could be got up well in a month “from an Old Etonian.” For this purpose he would desire Charley to be sent every day to a certain Mr. Hardisty, in Store Street, Bedford Square, to whom he had already (in my absence) prepared a note. Between ourselves, I must not hesitate to tell you plainly that this appeared to me to be a conventional way of bestowing a little patronage. But, of course, I had nothing for it but to say it should be done; upon which, Mr. Cookesley added that he was then certain that Charley, on coming after the Christmas holidays, would be placed at once in “the remove,” which seemed to surprise Mr. Evans when I afterwards told him of it as a high station.
I will take him to this gentleman on Monday, and arrange for his going there every day; but, if you will not object, I should still like him to remain with you, and to have the advantage of preparing these annoying verses under your eye until the holidays. That Mr. Cookesley may have his own way thoroughly, I will send Charley to Mr. Hardisty daily until the school at Eton recommences.
Let me impress upon you in the strongest manner, not only that I was inexpressibly delighted myself by the readiness with which Charley went through this ordeal with a stranger, but that I also saw you would have been well pleased and much gratified if you could have seen Mr. Cookesley afterwards. He had evidently not expected such a result, and took it as not at all an ordinary one.
My dear Sir, yours faithfully and obliged.
Mr. Alexander Ireland.
Devonshire Terrace, London, 24th December, 1849.
My dear Sir,
You will not be offended by my saying that (in common with many other men) I think “our London correspondent” one of the greatest nuisances of this kind, inasmuch as our London correspondent, seldom knowing anything, feels bound to know everything, and becomes in consequence a very reckless gentleman in respect of the truthfulness of his intelligence.
In your paper, sent to me this morning, I see the correspondent mentions one ——, and records how I was wont to feast in the house of the said ——. As I never was in the man’s house in my life, or within five miles of it that I know of, I beg you will do me the favour to contradict this.
You will be the less surprised by my begging you to set this right, when I tell you that, hearing of his book, and knowing his history, I wrote to New York denouncing him as “a forger and a thief;” that he thereupon put the gentleman who published my letter into prison, and that having but one day before the sailing of the last steamer to collect the proofs printed in the accompanying sheet (which are but a small part of the villain’s life), I got them together in short time, and sent them out to justify the character I gave him. It is not agreeable to me to be supposed to have sat at this amiable person’s feasts.