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Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 1: 1820–1839

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MS Victoria & Albert Museum (FC). Date: CD went to the Sun office to insure his life on 9 Jan (Diary, p. 630). Address: John Forster Esqre.

My Dear Forster

Hard at it.

Fred is out now, but he will be in shortly, and I will communicate your message.

pg 352I am going to insure my life this morning for Mrs. D.1 It is necessary to give a reference as to my identity. May I give them your name and address—you know who I am I think.

Kean be blowed.2

  • Ever Yours
  •          CD.

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Editor’s Note
1 The life policy CD proposed was with the Sun Life Assurance Society, Cornhill, for £1000. For his interview by the Board, who "seemed disposed to think I work too much", see Diary entry, p. 630. On 19 Jan, after reading the answers of his referees (Forster and Pickthorn, his doctor) on his health, the Board declined the proposal. The only illness he declared was "cow-pox"; but Pickthom may well have mentioned his recurrent attacks of acute pain in the side. On 17 July 38 he insured his life for £999 with the Britannia Life Insurance Co. (MS Mr H. C. Dickens). For his later insurance of his life, see W. J. Carlton, D, li (1955), 133–7.
Editor’s Note
2 Kean, whose performance as Hamlet at Drury Lane on 8 Jan marked his return to the London stage (see To Forster, 3 Nov 37, fn), had been praised in some of the next morning's papers. CD's comment suggests disagreement, coloured possibly by loyalty to Macready who resented Kean's Drury Lane venture. When Forster (for a time a close friend of Kean's) also praised him and mentioned how "the pit rose at him" (Examiner, 14 Jan), Macready was deeply offended.
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