Speeches: Literary and Social, by Charles Dickens

SPEECH: EDINBURGH, MARCH, 26, 1858.

[On the above date Mr. Dickens gave a reading of his Christmas Carol in the Music Hall, before the members and subscribers of the Philosophical Institution. At the conclusion of the reading the Lord Provost of Edinburgh presented him with a massive silver wassail cup. Mr. Dickens acknowledged the tribute as follows:]

My Lord Provost, ladies, and gentlemen, I beg to assure you I am deeply sensible of your kind welcome, and of this beautiful and great surprise; and that I thank you cordially with all my heart. I never have forgotten, and I never can forget, that I have the honour to be a burgess and guild-brother of the Corporation of Edinburgh. As long as sixteen or seventeen years ago, the first great public recognition and encouragement I ever received was bestowed on me in this generous and magnificent city — in this city so distinguished in literature and so distinguished in the arts. You will readily believe that I have carried into the various countries I have since traversed, and through all my subsequent career, the proud and affectionate remembrance of that eventful epoch in my life; and that coming back to Edinburgh is to me like coming home.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard so much of my voice to-night, that I will not inflict on you the additional task of hearing any more. I am better reconciled to limiting myself to these very few words, because I know and feel full well that no amount of speech to which I could give utterance could possibly express my sense of the honour and distinction you have conferred on me, or the heartfelt gratification I derive from this reception.

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