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Kate Perugini to Sylvia du Maurier - 1892


Letter from Charles Dickens' daughter Kate Perugini to Sylvia, 3 August 1892.

[No original available]


38a Victoria Road, Kensington, W.
3 August [1892]

Dearest Sylvia,
I am sending off to you today a small box containing a very tiny wedding gift from my husband and myself, with our kindest love and best wishes for your happiness.
I was so vexed not to see you when you called. I had not been out of the house in the daytime for weeks — and had been looking forward to seeing you and having a chat — but I had a little given you up — I thought you were perhaps too busy to come. So when at last I did go into town I left no message for you in case you called! I felt so angry with myself when I returned home and found you had been here in my absence.
When are you to be married, I wonder? Very soon, I hear. I do so hope you will be — well, as happy as I wish you! Now write me a line when you are a little settled down after the great event, and tell me where you are going to live — and all about yourself — whether you are going to write books, paint pictures, or make bonnets (I know which I think would be the most remunerative!) ...
Please dear say many nice things to your fiancé for me. He doesn't know me, but I think he will like me because I like you so well.
Ever, my dear Sylvia, your affectionate old friend,
Kate Perugini.

Peter's comments:

Mrs. Perugini was the youngest daughter of Charles Dickens. She survived well into the nineteen-twenties, and I remember going to see her a few years before her death: a delicious old lady, who smoked a cigarette and chatted away — but alas, I quite forget what about!
I don't know what other members of the Dickens family were on familiar terms with the du Mauriers. Jack may know, as a grandson of Dickens (now, I think, an Admiral) was in command of a Destroyer in which he served during the 1914-18 war [the HMS Harpy]. It is nice to preserve this link with "The Inimitable." Kate Dickens was born (1839) at the house in Devonshire Terrace which Louis-Mathurin and Ellen du Maurier had occupied for a few months, or had lodgings in, in the preceding year, and in which Isabel du M. was born.
Of the wedding I know no details — as, for example, who was best man and so forth. If I can collect any information about it I will add it later.

The material I have dealing with the married life of Arthur and Sylvia is very meagre indeed, until the beginning of A's fatal illness, from when until the end it is only too complete. They spent their honeymoon at Porthgwarra, in Cornwall, and set up house at 18, Craven Terrace, in Paddington a few doors away from where A. had shared rooms for a time with his brother Charley.


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