Gad's Hill Place. Higham, by Rochester, Kent,
Sunday, Ninth August, 1863.
My dear Wilkie,---Although your account of yourself is not so brilliant as I had hoped you might be able to render by this time, I rejoice to hear from you to any effect. I had divined that you had discovered a yacht and gone on a cruise, and did not wonder at your going as soon as you could. Your plan for the winter is the best you could make, I think. I hope nothing will prevent your coming here, as you propose, for a little while before you depart.
It is extremely hot here--so very hot today that I retired to my bedroom (from which I write) after lunch, and reduced myself to my shirt and drawers. In that elegant costume I achieve the present feat of penmanship. The De la Rues, of Genoa, are coming to England; I expect them here for three days this next week. . . .
I am always thinking of writing a long book, and am never beginning to do it. I have not been anywhere for ever and ever so long, but am thinking of evaporating for a fortnight on the 18th. . . .
All send love. Ever, my dear Wilkie,
Affec'ly yours, C. D.
-from the Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins edited by Laurence Hutton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) p. 128-29.