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downstairs: the painters had proved treacherous to her; time could not be kept! It was the one instance of such a thing here; and, except the first sick surprise, I now recollect no more of it.

"Mamma, wine makes cosy !" said the bright little one, perhaps between two and three years old, her Mother, after some walk with sprinkling of wet or the like, having given her a dram-glass of wine on their getting home: "Mamma, wine makes cosy!" said the small silver voice, gaily sipping, getting its new bits of insight into natural philosophy! What "pictures" has my Beautiful One left me; what joys can surround every well-ordered human hearth. I said long since, I never saw so beautiful a childhood. Her little bit of a first chair, its wee wee arms, etc., visible to me in the closet at this moment, is still here, and always was; I have looked at it hundreds of times; from of old, with many thoughts. No daughter or son of hers was to sit there; so it had been appointed us, my Darling. I have no Book a thousandth-part so beautiful as Thou; but these were our only "Children," and, in a true sense, these were verily OURS; and will perhaps live some time in the world, after we are both gone; and be of no damage to the poor brute chaos of a world, let us hope! The Will of the Supreme shall be accomplished: Amen. But to proceed.

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Shortly after my return from Germany (next summer I think, while the Cochin-chinas were at work, and we could not quit the house, having spent so much on it, and got a long lease), there began a new still worse hurly-burly of the building kind; that of the new top-story, — whole area of the house to be thrown into one sublime garret-room, lighted from above, thirty feet by thirty say, and at least eleven feet high; double-doored, doubled-windowed; impervious to sound, to—in short, to everything but self and work! I had my grave doubts about all this; but John Chorley, in his friendly zeal, warmly urged it on; pushed, superintended; — and was a good deal disgusted with my dismal experience of the result. Something really good might have come of it in a scene where good and faithful work was to be had on the part of all, from architect downwards; but here, from all (except one good young man of the carpenter trade, whom I at length noticed thankfully in small matters), the "work," of planning to

begin with, and then of executing, in all its details, was mere work of Belial, i.e. of the Father of LIES; such "work" as I had not conceived the possibility of among the sons of Adam till then. By degrees, I perceived it to be the ordinary English "work" of this epoch; and, with manifold reflections, deep as Tophet, on the outlooks this offered for us all, endeavoured to be silent as to my own little failure. My new illustrious "Study" was definable as the least inhabitable, and most entirely detestable and despicable bit of human workmanship in that kind. Sad and odious to me very. But, by many and long-continued efforts, with endless botherations which lasted for two or three years after (one winter starved by "Arnott's improved grate," I recollect), I did get it patched together into something of supportability; and continued, though under protest, to inhabit it during all working hours, as I had indeed from the first done. The whole of the now printed Friedrich was written there (or in summer in the back court and garden, when driven down by baking heat); much rawer matter, I think, was tentatively on paper, before this sublime new “Study.” Friedrich once done, I quitted the place for ever; and it is now a bedroom for the servants. The "architect" for this beautiful bit of masonry and carpentry was one "Parsons," really a clever creature, I could see, but swimming as for dear life in a mere "Mother of Dead Dogs" (ultimately did become bankrupt); his men of all types, Irish hodmen and upwards, for real mendacity of hand, for drunkenness, greediness, mutinous nomadism, and anarchic malfeasance throughout, excelled all experience or conception. Shut the lid on their "unexampled prosperity" and them, for evermore.


The sufferings of my poor little woman, throughout all this, must have been great, though she whispered nothing of them, the rather, as this was my enterprise (both the Friedrich and it); — indeed it was by her address and invention that I got my sooterkin of a "study" improved out of its worst blotches; it was she, for example, that went silently to Bramah's smith people, and got me a fireplace, of merely human sort, which actually warmed the room and sent Arnott's miracle about its business. But undoubtedly that Friedrich affair, with its many bad adjuncts, was much the worst we ever had; and sorely tried us both. It lasted thirteen

years or more. To me a desperate dead-lift pull all that time; my whole strength devoted to it; alone, withdrawn from all the world (except some bores who would take no hint, almost nobody came to see me, nor did I wish almost anybody then left living for me), all the world withdrawing from me; I desperate of ever getting through (not to speak of "succeeding"); left solitary "with the nightmares" (as I sometimes expressed it), “hugging unclean creatures" (Prussian Blockheadism) "to my bosom, trying to caress and flatter their secret out of them!" Why do I speak of all this? It is now become coprolith to me, insignificant as the dung of a thousand centuries ago: I did get through, thank God; let it now wander into the belly of oblivion for ever. But what I do still, and shall more and more, remember with loving admiration is her behaviour in it. She was habitually in the feeblest health; often, for long whiles, grievously ill. Yet by an alchemy all her own, she had extracted grains as of gold out of every day, and seldom or never failed to have something bright and pleasant to tell me, when I reached home after my evening ride, the most fordone of men. In all, I rode, during that book, some 30,000 miles, much of it (all the winter part of it) under cloud of night, sun just setting when I mounted. All the rest of the day, I sat silent aloft; insisting upon work, and such work, invitissimâ Minerva for that matter. Home between five and six, with mud mackintoshes off, and, the nightmares locked up for a while, I tried for an hour's sleep before my (solitary, dietetic, altogether simple) bit of dinner; but first always came up for half an hour to the drawing-room and Her; where a bright kindly fire was sure to be burning (candles hardly lit, all in trustful chiaroscuro), and a spoonful of brandy in water, with a pipe of tobacco (which I had learned to take sitting on the rug, with my back to the jamb, and door never so little open, so that all the smoke, if I was careful, went up the chimney): this was the one bright portion of my black day. Oh, those evening half-hours, how beautiful and blessed they were, — not awaiting me now on my home-coming, for the last ten weeks! She was oftenest reclining on the sofa; wearied enough, she too, with her day's doings and endurings. But her history, even of what was bad, had such grace and truth, and spontaneous tinkling melody of a naturally cheerful and loving

heart, that I never anywhere enjoyed the like. Her courage, patience, silent heroism, meanwhile, must often have been immense. Within the last two years or so she has told me about my talk to her of the Battle of Mollwitz on these occasions, while that was on the anvil. She was lying on the sofa; weak, but I knew little how weak, and patient, kind, quiet and good as ever. After tugging and wriggling through what inextricable labyrinth and Sloughs-of-despond, I still remember, it appears I had at last conquered Mollwitz, saw it all clear ahead and round me, and took to telling her about it, in my poor bit of joy, night after night. I recollect she answered little, though kindly always. Privately, she at that time felt convinced she was dying:- dark winter, and such the weight of misery and utter decay of strength; and, night after night, my theme to her, Mollwitz! This she owned to me, within the last year or two; - which how could I listen to without shame and abasement? Never in my pretended-superior kind of life, have I done, for love of any creature, so supreme a kind of thing. It touches me at this moment with penitence and humiliation, yet with a kind of soft religious blessedness too. She read the first two volumes of Friedrich, much of it in printer's sheets (while on visit to the aged Misses Donaldson at Haddington); her applause (should not I collect her fine Notekins and reposit them here?) was beautiful and as sunlight to me, for I knew it was sincere withal, and unerringly straight upon the blot, however exaggerated by her great love of me. The other volumes (hardly even the third, I think) she never read, I knew too well why; and submitted without murmur, save once or twice perhaps a little quiz on the subject, which did not afflict her, either. Too weak, too weak by far, for a dismal enterprise of that kind, as I knew too well! But those Haddington visits were very beautiful to her (and to me through her letters and her); and by that time we were over the hill and "the worst of our days were past" (as poor Irving used to give for toast, long ago), — worst of them past, though we did not yet quite know it.



[From The Life of Charles Dickens, by John Forster, Book I, Chaps. I and II. Chapman and Hall, London, 1872. For the Life of Dickens, see post, p. 569.

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This Third Volume throws a new light and character to me over the Work at large. I incline to consider this Biography as taking rank, in essential respects, parallel to Boswell himself, though on widely different grounds. Boswell, by those genial abridgements and vivid face to face pictures of Johnson's thoughts, conversational ways, and modes of appearance among his fellow-creatures, has given, as you often hear me say, such a delineation of a man's existence as was never given by another man. By quite different resources, by those sparkling, clear, and sunny utterances of Dickens's own (bits of auto-biography unrivalled in clearness and credibility) which were at your disposal, and have been intercalated every now and then, you have given to every intelligent eye the power of looking down to the very bottom of Dickens's mode of existing in this world; and, I say, have performed a feat which, except in Boswell, the unique, I know not where to parallel. So long as Dickens is interesting to his fellow-men, here will be seen, face to face, what Dickens's manner of existing was. His bright and joyful sympathy with everything around him; his steady practicality, withal; the singularly solid business talent he continually had; and, deeper than all, if one has the eye to see deep enough, dark, fateful, silent elements, tragical to look upon, and hiding, amid dazzling radiances as of the sun, the elements of death itself. Those two American journeys especially transcend in tragic interest, to a thinking reader, most things one has seen in writing!" THOMAS CARLYLE, Letter to the Author, 16 February, 1874.]

In Bayham-street, meanwhile, affairs were going on badly; the poor boy's visits to his uncle, while the latter was still kept a prisoner by his accident, were interrupted by another attack of fever; and on his recovery the mysterious 'deed' had again come uppermost. His father's resources were so low, and all his expedients so thoroughly exhausted, that trial was to be made whether his mother might not come to the rescue. The time was arrived for her to exert herself, she said; and she 'must do something.' The godfather down at Limehouse was reported to have an Indian connection. People in the East Indies always sent their children home to be educated. She would set up a school. They would all grow rich by it. And then, thought the sick boy, 'perhaps even I might go to school myself.'

A house was soon found at number four, Gower-street north;

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