After Reading in Sheffield
Mr. Mayor, I beg to assure you, and those gentlemen who are associated with you in this kind gift, that I accept with heartfelt delight and cordial gratitude such beautiful specimens of the work of your famous town. The kind expressions with which you have accompanied this presentation, and the response which they have received from the assembly, will never be obliterated from my memory. You have heard my voice so much tonight that out of pure forbearance I will not say more than to assure you that these things shall be heirlooms in my family. They will be prized by those who love me as testifying not only to the work of Sheffield hands, but to the warmth and generosity of Sheffield hearts.
Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, that to the earnestness of my aim and desire to do right by my readers, and to leave our imaginative and popular literature more closely associated than I found it at once with the private homes and public rights of the English people, I shall ever be faithful – to my death – in the principles which have won your approval. Allow me to take a reluctant leave, wishing you, one and all, many many merry Christmases, and many, many happy new years.