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    Charles Dickens Autograph Letter Signed "CD". One page, 4.5" x 7.25", Tavistock House, London, March 8, 1858. Dickens writes to Mark Lemon, inquiring about payment for a piece he had written that appeared in a popular periodical. The story Dickens refers to, "A Confession found in the Papers of a deceased Prussian Judge", appeared in the London Journal. Dickens believed it was clearly plagiarized from his story "A Confession found in a prison in the time of Charles the Second", published in 1840. The letter reads, in full:

    "My Dear Mark, I trust you are better? You were sadly missed, yesterday and the night before. Enclosed No. of popular periodical has been shewn [sic] to me. If the article I have marked be not yet paid for, please pay me for it - I wrote it, and it is taken from Master Humphrey's Clock. Ever affectionately CD."

    Lemon, a playwright and founder of Punch magazine, was a close and personal friend of Dickens, although their friendship came to an abrupt end only a few months after this letter was sent (May 1858). The dispute appears to have arisen over Punch magazine's refusal to publish details about Dickens' reasons for separating from his wife. Lemon and Dickens would not reconcile until 1867. It is generally believed that the last letter to have passed between the two men was sent in January 1858, but this letter suggests they were still in close contact in March of that year.

    Condition: Mounting remnants along vertical margins on verso. Usual mail folds and light toning along edges. Signature is bold.

    More Information:

    Master Humphrey's Clock is believed to have been the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe's famous short story, "The Tell-Tale Heart". Master Humphrey's Clock was originally published in 88 weekly numbers, beginning with No. 1 on April 4, 1840, and ending with Nos. 87 and 88 (separately) on November 17, 1841. Every fourth or fifth week the textual portion of the weekly numbers was collected into a single monthly part and distributed in that form. There are 20 monthly parts (April 1840-November 1841), 8 of which consist of 5 weekly numbers each, and 12 of 4 weekly numbers each. After the monthly parts, Master Humphrey's Clock was issued in three volumes with yellow endpapers and with marbled endpapers and marbled edges. The next sequence in the publishing history of Master Humphrey's Clock was the issuance of its two novels, The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge, as separate volumes with and without the Master Humphrey data. Chapman and Hall then continued to publish further issues of the two novels from the first edition plates" (Smith I, p. 57, note 3).

    The first volume of Master Humphrey's Clock was published on October 15, 1840; the second April 12/15 1841; and the third December 15, 1841. Vols. I and II, 8s. each; Vol. III, 10s. 6d. The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge were published as separate novels on December 15, 1841, each in one volume" (Smith I, p. 47, note 4). Eckel, pp. 67-70. Gimbel A51. Smith I, 6.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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