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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
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Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 9 Jun 2016 13:34:11 -0700
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Friends of the Dickens Forum,

Each of us has his own version of June 9, 1870   Certain details have 
fixed themselves
in our memories, and they come to mind when we think of Dickens's death. 
We happen to
recall a paragraph written by Dickens earlier that day.   We are 
aware--and others have so
cautioned us--not to read too much into it.

      A brilliant morning shines on the old city.  Its antiquities and 
ruins are surprisingly
     beautiful, with its lusty ivy gleaming in the sun, rich trees 
waving in the balmy air.
     Changes of glorious light from moving boughs, songs of birds, 
scents from gardens
     woods, and fields--or, rather. from the one great garden of the 
whole cultivated
     island in its yielding time--penetrate into the Cathedral, subdue 
its earthy odour, and
     preach the Resurrection and the Life.  The cold stone tombs of 
centuries grow
     warm; and flecks of brightness dart into the sternest marble 
corners of the building,
     fluttering there like wings.
       Our long-term colleague Harry Moscovitz has provided his readers 
an account of Dickens's
     death quoting long passages from a variety of sources.  He has 
passed on this
     cornucopia of quotations to us.                             PJM
> 146 Years ago,
> on June 9, 1870
> Charles Dickens died at Gads Hill Place
> http://spartacus-educational.com/PRdickens4.htm
> The traditional version of his death was given by his official biographer,
> _John  Forster_ (http://spartacus-educational.com/Jforsterhtm.htm) . He
> claimed that Dickens was having dinner with _Georgina  Hogarth_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRhogarthG2.htm)  at _Gad's Hill Place_
> (http://gadshill.org/gadshillplace/GadsHillPlace.html)  when he fell to the floor: "Her
> effort then was to get him on the sofa, but after a slight struggle he sank
> heavily on his left side... It was now a little over ten minutes past six
> o'clock. His two daughters came that night with Mr. Frank Beard, who had also
> been telegraphed for, and whom they met at the station. His eldest son arrived
>   early next morning, and was joined in the evening (too late) by his
> youngest son  from Cambridge. All possible medical aid had been summoned. The
> surgeon of the  neighbourhood (Stephen Steele) was there from the first, and a
> physician from  London (Russell Reynolds) was in attendance as well as Mr.
> Beard. But human help  was unavailing. There was effusion on the brain."
> _The  Times_ (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRtimes.htm)  reported on
> 11th June, 1870: "During the whole of Wednesday Mr  Dickens had manifested
> signs of illness, saying that he felt dull, and that the  work on which he was
> engaged was burdensome to him. He came to the dinner-table  at six o'clock
> and his sister-in-law, Miss Hogarth, observed that his eyes were  full of
> tears. She did not like to mention this to him, but watched him  anxiously,
> until, alarmed by the expression of his face, she proposed sending  for medical
> assistance.... Miss Hogarth went to him, and took his arm, intending  to
> lead him from the room. After one or two steps he suddenly fell heavily on
> his left side, and remained unconscious and speechless until his death, which
> came at ten minutes past six on Thursday, just twenty-four hours after the
> attack."
> _George  Dolby_ (http://spartacus-educational.com/DICdolby.htm)  went to
> _Gad's Hill Place_
> (http://www.visitkent.co.uk/explore/thedms.asp?dms=13&p1=cab&venue=3093816)  as soon as he heard the news: "I  went to Gad's Hill at
> once, where I was most kindly and gently received by Miss  Dickens and Miss
> Hogarth, who told me the story of his last moments. The body  lay in the
> dining-room, where Mr. Dickens had been seized with the fatal  apoplectic fit.
> They asked me if I would go and see it, but I could not bear to  do so. I
> wanted to think of him as I had seen him last. I went away from the  house, and
> out on to the Rochester road. It was a bright morning in June, one of  the
> days he had loved; on such a day we had trodden that road together many and
> many a time. But never again, we two, along that white and dusty way, with
> the  flowering hedges over against us, and the sweet bare sky and the sun
> above us.  We had taken our last walk together."
> After the publication of her book, _The Invisible Woman_
> (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=The+Pick
> wick+Papers&x=16&y=12#/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=stripbooks
> &field-keywords=The+Invisible+Woman:+The+Story+of+Nelly+Ternan+and+Charles+Dickens+&r
> h=n:266239,k:The+Invisible+Woman:+The+Story+of+Nelly+Ternan+and+Charles+Dick
> ens+)  (1990), _Claire  Tomalin_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/Jtomalin.htm)  received a letter from J. C. Leeson, telling her a story that had
> been passed down in the family, originating with his highly respectable
> great-grandfather, a Nonconformist minister, J. Chetwode Postans, who became
> pastor of _Lindon Grove Congregational Church_
> (http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=12537&inst_id=118&nv1=search&nv2=)  in 1872. He  was
> told later by the caretaker that Charles Dickens did not collapse at _Gad's
> Hill Place_
> (http://www.visitkent.co.uk/explore/thedms.asp?dms=13&p1=cab&venue=3093816) , but at another house "in  compromising circumstances". Tomalin
> took a keen interest in this story as at  the time, _Ellen Ternan_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRternan.htm)  was living at nearby _Windsor Lodge_
> (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Dickens's+death:+the+Peckham+conjecture.-a01869
> 00832) . After investigating all the  evidence Tomalin has speculated that
> Dickens was taken ill while visiting the  home he rented for Ternan. She
> then arranged for a horse-drawn vehicle to take  Dickens to Gad's Hill.
> _John  Everett Millais_ (http://spartacus-educational.com/DICmillais.htm)
> was invited to draw Dickens's dead face. On 16th June, _Kate  Dickens
> Perugini_ (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRdickensKT.htm)  wrote to Millais:
> "Charlie - has just brought down your  drawing. It is quite impossible to
> describe the effect it has had upon us. No  one but yourself, I think, could
> have so perfectly understood the beauty and  pathos of his dear face as it lay
> on that little bed in the dining-room, and no  one but a man with genius
> bright as his own could have so reproduced that face  as to make us feel now,
> when we look at it, that he is still with us in the  house. Thank you, dear
> Mr. Millais, for giving it to me. There is nothing in the  world I have, or
> can ever have, that I shall value half as much. I think you  know this,
> although I can find so few words to tell you how grateful I am."
> _The  Times_ (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRtimes.htm)  ran an
> editorial calling for Dickens to be buried in _Westminster  Abbey_
> (http://www.westminster-abbey.org/) . This was readily accepted and on 14th June, 1870, his
> oak coffin was  carried in a special train from _Higham_
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higham,_Kent)  to _Charing Cross Station_
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charing_Cross_railway_station) . The family travelled on the same
> train  and they were met by a plain hearse and three coaches. Only four of his
> children, _Charles Culliford Dickens_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRdickensCC.htm) , _Mamie  Dickens_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRdickensMAR.htm) , _Kate Dickens Collins_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRdickensKT.htm)  and _Henry  Fielding Dickens_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRdickensHF.htm)  attended the funeral. _George Augustus  Sala_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/Jsala.htm)  gave the number of mourners as fourteen.
> Dickens's last will and testament, dated 12th May 1869 was published on
> 22nd  July. As _Michael Slater_ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeTkZn2vT48)
> has commented: "Like Dickens's novels, his last  will has an
> attention-grabbing opening" as it referred to his mistress, _Ellen  Ternan_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRternan.htm) . It stated: "I give the sum of £1,000 free
> of legacy duty to Miss  Ellen Lawless Ternan, late of Houghton Place,
> Ampthill Square, in the county of  Middlesex." It is assumed that he made other,
> more secret, financial  arrangements for his mistress. For example, it is
> known that she received £60 a  year from the house he owned in Houghton Place.
> According to her biographer, she  was now a "woman approaching middle age,
> in delicate health, solitary and inured  to dependence on a man who could
> give her neither an honourable position nor  even steady companionship."
> The total estate amounted to over £90,000. "I give the sum of £1,000 free
> of  legacy duty to my daughter Mary Dickens. I also give to my said daughter
> an  annuity of £300 a year, during her life, if she shall so long continue
> unmarried; such annuity to be considered as accruing from day to day, but to
> be  payable half yearly, the first of such half yearly payments to be made
> at the  expiration of six months next after my decease. If my said daughter
> Mary shall  marry, such annuity shall cease; and in that case, but in that
> case only, my  said daughter shall share with my other children in the
> provision hereinafter  made for them."
> Dickens used the will to highlight the role that _Georgina  Hogarth_
> (http://spartacus-educational.com/PRhogarthG2.htm)  had played in his life: "I
> give to my dear sister-in-law Georgina  Hogarth the sum of £8,000 free of
> legacy duty. I also give to the said Georgina  Hogarth all my personal jewellery
> not hereinafter mentioned, and all the little  familiar objects from my
> writing-table and my room, and she will know what to do  with those things. I
> also give to the said Georgina Hogarth all my private  papers whatsoever and
> wheresoever, and I leave her my grateful blessing as the  best and truest
> friend man ever had."
> ============