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The Founders of Canterbury

Chateau Mabille, 9th November, 1848

Chateau Mabille, 9th November, 1848.

My Dear Godley,

—For once you will be glad to hear of an approaching death. My Mrs. Harris is in a bad way; and I feel pretty confident of seeing the last of her some time next month. In plainer English, the book that was always talked of and never appeared, is almost complete in the rough. I am better pleased with it than I expected to be; and it is in consequence of this my good humour with my own handiwork, that I now write to you. In what state is Mr. Gladstone's pamphlet? I presume it will be out before my book. If it should, he will first shoot at the bird, but I shall be deemed to have killed it. This would not be pleasant for him. I am loath to be concerned in anything that would be unpleasant for him. I fancy if he knew what my book will contain, he would not shoot at all. I must shoot. His publication cannot hurt me, but mine, if his takes place, will hurt him. What is to be done? Only a greater intimacy than yours with him could venture on giving him a hint of the dilemma; but I fancy that you might, considering his quickness, put him in the way of finding it out himself, by talking about my book as being very full, and as now sure of appearing. What think you? Is it worth while to do anything, or best that matters page 32should take their course? At any rate I would not for the world that he became aware of this notion having come into my head, and I make you aware of it in the strictest confidence. As being in my head, the communication of it would be offensive; and as being in yours not pleasant to make. What I wish is, that it would get into his head of its own accord.