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    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).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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