To arthur smith, esq.,
Mrs. dickens and i have lived unhappily
together for many years. Hardly anyone who
has known us intimately can fail to have known
that we are in all respects of character and tem
perament wonderfully unsuited to each other.
i suppose that no two people, not vicious in
themselves, ever were joined together who had
a greater difficulty in understanding one an
other, or who had less in common. an attached
woman servant (more friend to both of us than
a servant), who lived with us sixteen years and
is now married, and who was and still is in Mrs.
dickens’ confidence and mine, who had the
closest familiar experience of this unhappiness
in london, in the country, in France, in italy,
wherever we have been, year after year, month
after month, week after week, day after day, will
bear testimony to this.
nothing has, on many occasions, stood
between us and a separation but Mrs. dickens’
sister georgina Hogarth. From the age of fif
teen she has devoted herself to our house and
our children. she has been their playmate, nurse,
instructress, friend, protectress, adviser, compan
ion. in the manly consideration toward Mrs.
dickens which i owe to my wife, i will only re
mark of her that the peculiarity of her character
has thrown all the children on someone else. i
do not know—i cannot by any stretch of fancy