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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.

Gammon Lodge | Saturday Evening | June 23rd. 1838


I am requested to inform you that at a numerous meeting of the Gammon Aeronautical Balloon association3 for the encouragement of Science and the Consumption of Spirits of Wine—Thomas Beard Esquire, Mrs. Charles Dickens, Charles Dickens Esquire, the Snodgering Blee, Popem Jee,4 and other distinguished characters being present and assenting—the pg 407vote of censure of which I inclose a copy was unanimously passed upon you for gross negligence in the discharge of your duty, and most unjustifiable disregard of the best interests of the Society.

  •                                    I am Sir
  •                                         Your most obedt. Servant
  •                                                   Charles Dickens
  • John Forster Esquire.                              Honorary Secretary1

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3 A balloon club for the children at Twickenham; Forster was President, with the duty of supplying the balloons (F, ii, v, 131 n). Serious balloon ascents were in the news and the ascent of "the Royal Nassau Balloon" was one of the attractions of Vauxhall Gardens.
Editor’s Note
4 Charley and Mamie. These are the first known of CD's many nicknames for his children.
Editor’s Note
1 The following, written by CD the week before on the back of a wine-list of Joseph Ellis and Son, Richmond, is in the V & A:

Balloon Club

Mr. Beard




C. Dickens







Wice President

C. Dickens

Honorary Sect.


June 17th (dies non) 1838.

To The Editor of "The Times".
Sir. | I beg to acquaint you that on Sunday last at eight o'Clock precisely that intrepid aeronaut Mr. Forster accomplished an ascent with his new and splendid Montgolfier Balloon from Gammon Lodge Twickenham, my residence. "The Lovely" (by which appropriate designation he is known to fame) appeared in the best spirits—of wine, as did the gorgeous machine itself which took a Nor' Westerly direction slightly varied by gusts from the East and West. I have only time to add that when the Balloon descended, it most providentially came down; and that the bold lovely with a cap (my property) was last seen going in high health and spirits in the direction of Saint Luke's [a lunatic asylum]. | I have the honor to be &c.
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