Charles Dickens

Kathleen Mary Tillotson, Madeline House, and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 3: 1842–1843

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MS3 Dr Noël J. Cortés.

Carlton House February 24

Dear Sir

I have read your letter with much pleasure and cordially thank you for it.

I am a little surprised by the question you ask, as the whole meaning and purpose of the story pointed to that end or none. I am not aware that I can give you any better reason for Nell's death than you will find in the last paragraph of page 352 of Lea and Blanchards American Edition of the tale.4

  •                                    I am Dear Sir | Faithfully Yours
  • Wm. C. Barton Esq.                                   Charles Dickens

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Editor’s Note
2 William Paul Crillon Barton (1786— 1856; DAB), botanist and naval surgeon; Professor of Botany, University of Pennsylvania, 1815; first Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, U. S. Navy, 1842–4. Resigned after attacks on his attempted reforms in naval sanitation and temperance. His publications include Flora of North America, 1821–3.
Editor’s Note
3 Only the ending and signature are in CD's hand; the rest in Putnam's.
Editor’s Note
4 The paragraph in Ch. 72 beginning, "Oh! It is hard to take to heart the lesson that such deaths will teach". Barton is one of the few Americans known to have questioned the necessity of Nell's death.
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