Description

    John Forster's Life of Charles Dickens, with Two Autograph Notes by Charles Dickens and One by John Forster

    [Charles Dickens]. John Forster. The Life of Charles Dickens. London: Chapman and Hall, 1872-1874.

    First edition. Three octavo volumes (8.3125 x 5.375 inches; 211 x 137 mm.). xviii, [1, list of illustrations], [1, blank], 398, [6, advertisements]; xx, 462, [2, advertisements]; xv, [1, blank], 552 pages. Seven engraved plates (including frontispiece portraits) and numerous wood-engraved text illustrations and facsimiles. Extra-illustrated with proofs of the engraved plates.

    Bound by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed on the verso of the front free endpaper) in full red morocco. Covers with gilt triple fillet border, spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments with five gilt-ruled raised bands, board edges ruled in gilt, gilt inner dentelles, top edge gilt, others uncut. Minimal rubbing to extremities, some slight discoloration to covers. A very attractive copy.

    With a pencil note on the front flyleaf of Volume I: "Illustrated with Proofs of all the Portraits, and there are added 2 Autograph Notes of Charles Dickens in Vols I and 2, and in Vol 3 an Autograph Note of Forster the Editor." Bound in at the front of each volume is a printed "From the Author" slip on blue paper (inlaid to size).

    Bound in at the front of Volume I is Autograph Note Signed by Charles Dickens to The Reverend E. Trimmer, 31 July 1854, regarding the education of his second son, Walter Landor Dickens. One small octavo page (6.9375 x 4.3125 inches; 176 x 109 mm.) inlaid to size. Written in blue ink on blue paper.

    "Villa du Camp de droite, Boulogne / Monday Thirty First July, 1854 / Dear Sir / I beg to announce to you that I / propose removing Walter from under your / care, at Christmas next. I have been / considering what course of Education is most / likely to be of service to him with reference / to a Direct appointment, and hence this / change in my plans. / I am Dear Sir / Faithfully Yours always / Charles Dickens / [flourish] / The Reverend E. Trimmer."

    This letter is listed, but not published, in Volume VII of The Pilgrim Edition of The Letters of Charles Dickens, p. 384: "To the Rev. E. Trimmer, 31 July 1854. Mention in Chas. J. Sawyer Ltd catalogue No. 80, June 1925; MS 1 p.; dated Boulogne, 31 July 54. Regarding the education of Walter Dickens."

    Reverend Edward Trimmer (?1800-1857), military coach at Putney, had been preparing Walter for service with the East India Company since Christmas 1851. "[Dickens's] second son Walter [1841-1863] was now sixteen years of age, a healthy, vigorous youngster who had done well at school and even won an occasional prize. Although an amiable boy who was a favorite with the whole family, he was not without flashes of temper: at the age of twelve he had ended a dispute with the younger children's nurse by flinging a chair at her. Miss Coutts was going to use her influence to have him nominated for a cadetship, and Dickens had put him to study with a Mr. Trimmer at Putney, who prepared boys for Addiscombe and India. But at Addiscombe it seemed unlikely that Walter could attain high distinction in his studies, 'least of all in mathematics and fortification,' Dickens said, 'without which he couldn't get into the Engineers.' He was steady and good, his father thought, and would always do his duty, but was undeniably 'a little slow.' Dickens consequently wavered about having Walter put up for the nomination...In April of 1857 Walter had passed his final examinations and returned home 'radiant and gleaming.' He was to sail from Southampton on July 20th, as a cadet in the East India Company's 26th Native Infantry. (Later he was transferred to the 42nd Highlanders.)" ((Edgar Johnson, Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, p. 875).

    "[In January 1864] Dickens received word that Walter had died of hematemesis on the last day of the old year. He had been only twenty-two. 'My poor boy was on his way home from an up-country station, on sick leave. He had been very ill, but was not so at the time. He was talking to some brother-officers in the Calcutta hospital about his preparations for home, when he suddenly became exited, had a rush of blood from the mouth, and was dead'" (Edgar Johnson, Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, pp. 1012-1013).

    Bound in at the front of Volume II is an Autograph Note by Charles Dickens to Miss Rogers, 23 January 1841. One small octavo page (7 x 4.4375 inches; 177 x 113 mm.) mounted to size. Written in black ink on white paper. "Mr. Charles Dickens exceedingly regrets / that a person's engagement presents / his having the pleasure of accepting / Miss Rogers' kind invitation for Friday. / 1 Devonshire Terrace. / Saturday Twenty Third January / 1841. / [flourish]."

    "Sarah Rogers (?1773-1855), Samuel Rogers's only unmarried sister, with whom he was on close and affectionate terms. She visited France, Switzerland and Italy with him in 1814, and saw through the press Part I of his Italy, 1822...George Ticknor described breakfast parties at her house in Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, in 1838, itself 'a sort of imitation...of her brother's at St. James's...She has some good pictures...keeps autographs, curiosities, and objects of virtù, just like her brother' (Life, Letters and Journals of George Ticknor, ed. G. S. Hillard, 1876, II, 181)" (The Letters of Charles Dickens, II, p. 101, note 1).

    This note is apparently unpublished. Three other letters from Dickens to Miss Rogers are published in The Pilgrim Edition of The Letters of Charles Dickens: dated 16 July 1840 (II, p. 101), 13 November 1840 (VII, p. 822), and 14 June 1841 (II, p. 302).

    Bound in at the front of Volume III is an Autograph Note Signed by John Forster to Francis Harvey, Bookseller, 14 October 1875. One small octavo page (6.125 x 3.8125 inches; 155 x 96 mm.). Written in black ink on white embossed Palace Gate House Kensington, W. letterhead.

    "14th Octob 1875 / Dear Sir / Thank you very / much. Your list shall / go into the revised Edition / now on eve of publication. / Very truly yours / John Forster / Mr Francis Harvey." On another leaf, inlaid to size, is a portion of the original envelope addressed to "Mr Francis Harvey / 4 St. James's Street / S.W / John Forster." Postmarked "Oc 14 75," with cancelled stamp. From the H. Barry Morris Collection.


    View all of [The H. Barry Morris Collection of Charles Dickens' First Editions ]

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