In June 1847, Andersen met Dickens at a party hosted by the Countess of Blessington. Both authors respected each others works and Andersen was a fan of Dickens, they both walked on the veranda of Gore House at the party. After this brief meeting they both exchanged letters for many years and planned to meet again.
Ten years passed and Andersen visited Dickens on a trip to his house at Gad’s Hill, Kent. The trip was meant to be a short visit but much to the annoyance of the Dickens household, Andersen stayed for five weeks! Tensions where high in the Dickens house before Andersens visit as Dickens, 45, has started a relationship with Ellen Ternan, 18. A year later Dickens wife, Catherine, would leave him, taking one child and leaving the other nine children to the care of her sister Georgina.
“He was a bony bore, and stayed on and on” was the daughter comment on Andersen’s long visit. To all accounts Andersen was a difficult guest, a selfish, aggressive and alternated between bouts of depression and suicide, while speaking in very poor English. They would go to London together to balls, plays and parties as well as spend the days together at Gad’s Hill.
Dickens stopped all correspondence between them after the disastrous stay, much to the great disappointment and confusion of Andersen, who had quite enjoyed the visit from accounts in letters to his friends, and never understood why his letters to Dickens went unanswered.