Dickens als plus envelope
Lot 56
DICKENS (CHARLES) Autograph letter signed ("CD"), to his solicitor and close friend, Thomas Mitton, lambasting his father, 1842
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Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("CD"), to his solicitor and close friend, Thomas Mitton ("My Dear Mitton"), lambasting his father ("...I think my father is a great Jackass – which is not a novel sentiment with me, by any means...") and reporting progress on his latest work: "I hope to finish my first Volume by the end or middle of next week. If I don't complete it by that time, it can only be, please God, a very few days later", promising to have dinner with him as soon as he is free ("...At the same time I will bring a blank cheque in the bag – and some proofs to read..."); he also confesses himself "rather horrified" by Mitton's statement of the money owing ("...I fear... that I have very little money – and I did not expect you to come down upon me so soon..."); concluding with family news from the seaside ("...All well, I am happy to say – and Toby illustrious in his renewed vigor and sunburnt face..."); with autograph envelope, signed ("Charles Dickens"), 3 pages, envelope dust-stained with stamp removed, 8vo, Broadstairs, 17 August 1842


  • A NEWLY-DISCOVERED LETTER IN WHICH DICKENS DESCRIBES HIS FATHER – THE ORIGINAL OF MACAWBER – AS 'A GREAT JACKASS' AND REPORTS ON HIS PROGRESS WRITING 'AMERICAN NOTES'. Dickens had got back from his American tour at the end of June, and at the time he wrote our letter was working on Chapter 6 of American Notes, for General Circulation, in which he described New York (for the chronology of composition, see the Pilgrim Edition, iii, p. 311, fn. 1). The book came out in two volumes on 19 October. By this time, Dickens had ceased to have any financial dealings with his feckless father, leaving him to be dealt with by Mitton instead. Mitton not only lent money to the father but, as our letter makes clear, to Dickens as well, in acknowledgment of which he was to be presented with the manuscript of A Christmas Carol (now in the Pierpont Morgan). The reference to 'Toby' appears to be to Dickens's eldest child, Charley. Dickens later wrote to a friend from Broadstairs that Charley was known as 'Flaster Floby', being 'a corruption of Master Toby' (to Henry Austin, 25 September 1845). Our letter is not published in the Pilgrim Edition.
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