Ship Hotel, Dover, Thirtieth April, 1856.
My dear Collins, ---Wills* brought me your letter this morning, and I am very much interested in knowing what o'clock it is by the Watch with the brass tail to it. You know I am not in the habit of making professions, but I have so strong an interest in you and so true a regard for you that nothing can come amiss in the way of information as to your well-doing.
How I wish you were well now! For here I am in two of the most charming rooms (a third, a bedroom you could have occupied, close by), overlooking the sea in the gayest way. And here I shall be, for a change, till Saturday. And here we might have been, drinking confusion to Baronetcies, and resolving never to pluck a leaf from the Toady Tree, till this very small world shall have rolled us off! Never mind. All to come---in the fulness of the Arctic Seasons.
I take, as the people say in the comedies of eighty years ago, "hugely" to the idea you have suggested to Wills. But you mustn't do anything until you feel it a pleasure; from which sensation (and the disappearance of the East Wind until next winter) I shall date your coming round the corner with a great velocity.
On Saturday morning I shall be in town about 11, and will come on to Rowland Street about 1. Many thanks for your bulletin academical, which I have despatched straightway to Ary Scheffer, They were all blooming in Paris yesterday morning. I took the Plorn** out in a cabriolet the day before, and his observations on life in general were wonderful.
Ever yours, C. D.
*W. H. Wills, sub-editor of Household Words.
***Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens "Plorn" (1852-1902), the tenth child of Dickens.
-from the Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins edited by Laurence Hutton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) p. 55-57.