I
A DICKENS FRIENDSHIP

CHRISTIANA WELLER and Thomas James Thompson, the future mother and father of Alice Meynell, had an early friendship with Charles Dickens, who even presided over their destinies.

"I cannot joke about Miss Weller, for she is too good; and interest in her (spiritual young creature that she is, and destined to an early death, I fear) has become a sentiment with me. Good God, what a madman I should seem if the incredible feeling I have conceived for that girl could be made plain to anyone!" Thus did Dicknes in 1844 unburden himself to his friend Thompson after their joint meeting with Christiana Weller. The two friends, Dicknes and Thompson, had gone together to Liverpool, where Dicknes was to speak at the opening of a new Mechanics' Institute, and there it was that the pianist of the evening, young and beautiful and a brilliant player, so affected Dicknes. The next day, after calling, still with Mr. Thompson, at her home, he wrote:

"My dear Miss Weller, -- Riding out to you to-day -- the horse's name is not Pegasus -- I conceived the idea of putting this piece of doggerel in your album. But you do nothing like anybody else and therefore did not produce

-1-

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Alice Meynell, a Memoir
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • I - A Dickens Friendship 1
  • II - Christiana Thompson's Journal 13
  • III - A Child and Her Father 26
  • IV - Girlhood 34
  • V - Preludes 45
  • VI - Early Years of Married Life 57
  • VII - The Rhythm of Life 71
  • VIII - "The Pencilling Mamma" 88
  • IX - The Friend 110
  • X - The "Wares of Autolycus" 123
  • XI - The Children 147
  • XII - Prose and Poems 158
  • XIII - In America 169
  • XIV - The Critic 195
  • XV - Journeys 214
  • XVI - Ceres' Runaway 250
  • XVII - Greatham 274
  • XVIII - The War 298
  • XIX - Last Poems 318
  • XX - The End 345
  • Index 349
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