Saturday, August 2, 2008

in the nature of a draught

Charles Dickens to W. Wilkie Collins

Tavistock House,
Wednesday, Fourth March, 1857.

My dear Collins,---I cannot tell you what pleasure I had in the receipt of your letter yesterday evening, or how much good it did me in the depression consequent upon an exciting and exhausting day's work. I immediately arose (like the desponding Princes in the Arabian Nights, when the old woman--Procuress evidently, and probably of French extraction--comes to whisper about the Princesses they love) and washed my face and went out; and my face has been shining ever since.

Ellis [proprietor of the Bedford Hotel at Brighton] responds to my letter that rooms shall be ready! There is a train at 12 which appears to me to be the train for the distinguished visitors. If you will call for me in a cab at about 20 minutes past II, my hand will be on the latch of the door.

I have got a book to take down with me of which I have not read a line, but which I have been saving up to get a pull at it in the nature of a draught--The Dead Secret--by a Fellow Student.

Plornish* has broken ground with a Joke which I consider equal to Sydney Smith.
Ever faithfully,
Charles Dickens.

* Charles Dickens' tenth child's nickname.

-from the Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins edited by Laurence Hutton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) p. 73-74.

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