Skip to main content


    Charles Dickens Autograph Letter Signed "C D" one page, 4.25" x 7.25". Devonshire Terrace, May 2, 1844. To actor and dramatist T[homas] J[ames] Serle, who served as Dickens' acting manager. He writes: "As Rosa will most probably have to take a letter of credit, I have thought it best to make a round sum, and fill up the cheque for five and twenty pounds. May some Nova-Scotia bedlamite fall in love with her and marry her! The passage cheque was £ 39..18..0. She will have to give the Steward a Guinea besides, and the Stewardess summut [something] for herself." Published in The Letters of Charles Dickens, Pilgrim Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    Dickens had strong ties to the theater, often performing in amateur theatrical productions and sometimes serving as director. Actor Edward William Elton (1794-1843), a widower with seven children, had drowned while returning home from an acting engagement in Edinburgh. He had been Chairman and Treasurer of the Theatrical Fund. See previous lot for more information.

    Nine months after her father's death, in early May 1844, Rosa Elton, Elton's second eldest daughter sailed on the Britannia for Nova Scotia, her passage paid for by Dickens as attested by this letter. In writing, "May some Nova-Scotia bedlamite fall in love with her and marry her!" Dickens shows evidence of perhaps having grown tired of the responsibility of helping to provide for the orphans. The term "bedlamite" was a colloquial word fool, particularly said in contempt of young men between the ages of 16 and 20. ("Journal of American Folklore", Vol. 9, No. 32; Jan.-Mar. 1896).

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Flat Material, Small (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 503

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 39 days left to consign to the 2018 June 20 Cartography Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 March 17 Western Americana & Texana Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    2018 March 17 Western Americana & Texana Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $327,896