Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood

Excerpt

On Saturday 9 July 1842 there was a dinner of the Literary Fund at Greenwich. Charles Dickens persuaded Hood to come along and thoughtfully sent his carriage for him. There was a courteous suggestion that Hood should take the chair, but he excused himself on account of his health, and Captain Marryat presided, with Dickens and Monckton Milnes on one hand and Hood on the other. On the Monday evening Hood, in a letter addressed to Mrs. Elliot, his doctor's wife, described his pleasure at being there:

As to myself, I had to make my second maiden speech, for Mr. Monckton Milnes proposed my health in terms my modesty might allow me to repeat to you ; but my memory won't. However, I ascribed the toast to my notoriously bad health, and assured them that their wishes had already improved it--that I felt a brisker circulation--a more genial warmth about the heart, and explained that a certain trembling of my hand was not from palsy, or my old ague, but an inclination in my hand to shake itself with every one present. Whereupon I had to go through the friendly ceremony with as many of the company as were within reach, besides a few more who came express from the other end of the table. Very gratifying, wasn't it? Though I cannot go quite so far as Jane, who wants me to have that hand chopped off, bottled, and preserved in spirits. She was sitting up for me, very anxiously, as usual when I go out, because I am so domestic and steady, and was down at the door before I could ring at the gate, to which Boz kindly sent me in his own carriage. Poor girl! What would she do if she had a wild husband instead of a tame one.

Eighteen years later we have another recollection of that evening, a recollection by a young author who sat at the other end of the table where William Jerdan was Vice to Captain Marryat. Thackeray was noticing the Memorials of Thomas Hood in a Roundabout Paper in his Cornhill . He recalls that dinner: 'The little feast dates back only . . .

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