Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A.
Gad’s Hill Place, Higham by Rochester,
Wednesday, 12th January, 1859.
My dear Frith,
At eleven on Monday morning next, the gifted individual whom you will transmit to posterity, will be at Watkins’. Table also shall be there, and chair. Velvet coat likewise if the tailor should have sent it home. But the garment is more to be doubted than the man whose signature here follows.
Faithfully yours always.
Mrs. Cowden Clark.
Gad’s Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent,
21st August, 1859.
My dear Mrs. Cowden Clarke,
I cannot tell you how much pleasure I have derived from the receipt of your earnest letter. Do not suppose it possible that such praise can be “less than nothing” to your old manager. It is more than all else.
Here in my little country house on the summit of the hill where Falstaff did the robbery, your words have come to me in the most appropriate and delightful manner. When the story can be read all at once, and my meaning can be better seen, I will send it to you (sending it to Dean Street, if you tell me of no better way), and it will be a hearty gratification to think that you and your good husband are reading it together. For you must both take notice, please, that I have a reminder of you always before me. On my desk, here, stand two green leaves which I every morning station in their ever-green place at my elbow. The leaves on the oak-trees outside the window are less constant than these, for they are with me through the four seasons.
Lord! to think of the bygone day when you were stricken mute (was it not at Glasgow?) and, being mounted on a tall ladder at a practicable window, stared at Forster, and with a noble constancy refused to utter word! Like the Monk among the pictures with Wilkie, I begin to think that the real world, and this the sham that goes out with the lights.
God bless you both.
Ever faithfully yours.