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    Sale 5141

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts

    12 November 2007, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 150

    DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Autograph letter signed to T[imothy] Yeats Brown, Peschiere [Genoa], 'Tuesday Morning', 3 June 1845, two pages, 8vo (small hole at fold not affecting text); with a letter by Catherine Dickens to Mrs Yeats Brown. Provenance: Timothy Yeats Brown (b.1789), British Consul-general at Genoa -- his son, Montagu (1834-1921), presented to his wife, Agnes, née Bellingham (20 January 1893).

    Price Realised  

    DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Autograph letter signed to T[imothy] Yeats Brown, Peschiere [Genoa], 'Tuesday Morning', 3 June 1845, two pages, 8vo (small hole at fold not affecting text); with a letter by Catherine Dickens to Mrs Yeats Brown. Provenance: Timothy Yeats Brown (b.1789), British Consul-general at Genoa -- his son, Montagu (1834-1921), presented to his wife, Agnes, née Bellingham (20 January 1893).

    DICKENS TRIES TO WRIGGLE OUT OF READING HIS WORKS ALOUD. He writes to Timothy Yeats Brown, the consul-general in Genoa, alarmed that the latter is expecting guests whom Dickens has never met. He realises he is being called upon to read to them; 'I have an invincible repugnance to that kind of exhibition which an otherwise pleasant recreation becomes under such circumstances. It may be a natural and rational dislike or it may be very much beside the mark. But I have it'. Wishing to excuse this reluctance to oblige, Dickens apologises for not previously having made his dislike clear, but thought that Yeats Brown would have realised 'it from my dislike to reading out of my own [books]' and when Mrs Brown had 'proposed to make a special exception in the case of Lady Pellew and her daughter' (perhaps the first wife and daughter of Sir Fleetwood Pellew (1789-1861)), to which Dickens was pleased to consent. He ends by blaming his wife for the short notice, 'It is no fault of mine, but rests solely with Mrs Dickens'. The accompanying letter from Catherine Dickens, to the wife of the consul-general, is on the same subject: 'Charles' has made up his mind to read the Christmas Carol, instead of 'detached pieces from his other works' and has consented to reading in front of Lady Pellew.

    In 1844 Dickens decided to move his entire household to Italy, where he spent a year in the Palazzo Peschiere in Genoa. During 1845 he and Catherine travelled to Rome, Naples and Florence; in Genoa he 'became intensely involved in using, either directly or long-distance, the power of mesmeric healing he discovered in himself to alleviate the condition of Mme de la Rue, an Englishwoman who suffered great distress from hallucinations' (ODNB). (2)


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