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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To SAMUEL ROGERS, 17 DECEMBER 1843

MS Professor E. S. Pearson.

Devonshire Terrace | Seventeenth December 1843.

My Dear Mr. Rogers

If you should ever have inclination and patience to read the accompanying little book,6 I hope you will like the slight fancy it embodies. But whether you do or no,7 I am ever

  •                                         Your friend and admirer
  • Samuel Rogers Esquire                                   Charles Dickens

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Editor’s Note
6 CD presented at least 10 other copies before publication on 19 Dec: to Ainsworth, Carlyle, Miss Coutts, Fonblanque, Forster, Landor, Tagart, Talfourd, Thackeray, and Mrs Touchet. Many of these survive, and the inscriptions are given in P. Calhoun and H. J. Heaney, "Dickens' Christmas Carol", Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, xxxix (1945), 271–317. The Thackeray copy is inscribed "To W. M. Thackeray from Charles Dickens (Whom he made very happy once, a long way from home)"; Kitton (Introduction to facsimile edn of Carol, 1890) says, without evidence, that it is "a pleasing reference to some verses by his friend which had affected him very much while abroad"; but the reference is more probably to Thackeray's "Dickens in France" in Fraser's Mar 42 (see To Lady Holland, 23 Dec 42, fn). The mistaken statement that the Queen bought the inscribed copy was taken by Forster from Hotten in the 1st edn of the Life and corrected in later edns; the copy is now in Cornell University Library. Carlyle passed his copy on to Jane Carlyle's uncle John Welsh, to whom she wrote on 23 Dec 43: "My husband sends you the last literary nove ???… really a kind-hearted, almost poetical little thing, well worth any Lady or gentleman's perusal—somewhat too much imbued with the Cockney-admiration of The Eatable, but as Dickens writes for 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number' (of Cockneys) he could not be expected to gainsay their taste in that particular" (Letters to her Family, ed. L. Huxley, p. 167).
Editor’s Note
7 Clayden says (Rogers and his Contemporaries, ii, 239) : "He did read it, and his nephew Henry Sharpe records what he said of it in a conversation at Broadstairs soon afterwards—'Dickens's "Christmas Carol" being mentioned, he said he had been looking at it the night before; the first half hour was so dull it sent him to sleep, and the next hour was so painful that he should be obliged to finish it to get rid of the impression. He blamed Dickens's style very much, and said there was no wit in putting bad grammar into the mouths of all his characters, and showing their vulgar pronunciation by spelling "are" "air", a horse without an h: none of our best writers do that'".
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