Charles Dickens to W. Wilkie Collins
No. 16, Wellington Street, North, Strand,
First June (Monday), 1857.
My dear Collins,---In consequence of bedevilments at Gad's Hill, arising from the luggage wandering over the face of the earth, I shall have to pass tomorrow behind a hedge, attired in leaves from my own fig-tree. Will you therefore consider our appointment to stand for next day--Wednesday?
When last heard of the family itself (including the birds and the goldfinch on his perch) had been swept away from the stupefied John by a crowd of Whitsun holiday-makers, and had gone (without tickets) somewhere down into Sussex. A desperate calmness has fallen upon me. I don't care.
Faithfully ever, C. D.
-from the Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins edited by Laurence Hutton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) p. 79.