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Georgina Hogarth and tne 

Dickens circle 



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GEORGINA HOGARTH 

and the. Dickens Circle 




GEORGINA HOGARTH, c. 1905 

Photograph by Charlotte Roche 
By courtesy of Henry Charles Dickens, Q.B.E, 



GEORGINA HOGARTH 
and the Dickens Circle 



ARTHUR A. ADRIAN 



LONDON 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

NEW YORK TORONTO 

1957 



Oxford University Press, Amen House r , London E.G. 4 

GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE WELLINGTON 

BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS KARACHI 
CAPE TOWN IBADAK NAIROBI ACCRA SINGAPORE 



Oxford University Press, 1957 



PRINTED IN GEEAT BBITAIN 



'She is the active spirit 

of the house, and the children 

dote upon her.' 

Letter of Charles Dickens 



To the memory of 

FINLEY M. K. FOSTER 

who introduced me to Dickensian studies 



Preface 

I N spite of her long and close association with. Dickens, his children, 
and his Mends, Georgina Hogarth has hitherto inspired no biog 
raphy. It is curious that she should have been neglected when other 
women whose association with the novelist was briefer and no more 
significant notably Maria Beadnell and Ellen Ternan have 
received book-length consideration. To be sure, as Dickens's sister- 
in-law and confidante she has of necessity been given some attention 
by his biographers, but frequently with negative results. If only a 
few of her detractors have accepted the unsavoury gossip aimed at 
her from irresponsible quarters, more have condemned her as a 
clever and ruthless schemer bent on usurping the position of her 
sister, Catherine Dickens. Where criticism of her has not advanced 
such unsupportable charges, she has usually emerged only as a 
shadowy figure or an enigma. 

To such treatments there are, happily, exceptions, particularly 
the definitive biography of Dickens by Professor Edgar Johnson, 
which has appraised Miss Hogarth objectively. Understandably, 
however, the focus of that work has not permitted a detailed chron 
icle of her life as a member of Dickens's household from 1842 to 1870 
nor any consideration whatever of her forty-seven years after the 
novelist's- death. 

Such emphasis has been the purpose of my study, which reviews 
her connection not only with Dickens himself but with his family 
circle and his friends. Though Part One covers what to most Dick- 
ensians must be familiar territory, especially since the appearance 
of Professor Johnson's comprehensive two-volume work, to ignore 
this material would be to ignore thirty-eight years of Miss Hogarth's 
life. While I have tried to summarize and condense wherever pos 
sible, I have not hesitated to introduce well-known details whenever 
they were needed to point up interpretations of character or prepare 
the reader for Miss Hogarth's association with Dickens's children 
and friends in the second half of the book. If this work seems to 
devote a disproportionate amount of space to Dickens and his 
family, it is because her relationship with them was not only the 
mainspring of her life, but also the chief justification for a biography 
of her. 

In presenting this portrait of Georgina Hogarth, I have let the 
evidence speak for itself. Dickens's letters to her, both published 



x Preface, 

and unpublished; his recorded comments on her; her own consider 
able correspondence with close Mends during the latter half of her 
life, particularly with Mrs. James T. Melds; and the testimony of 
family and others who knew her intimately on such sources I have 
relied heavily. But I have not ventured into a highly technical area 
which should be reserved for professional psychologists. Though to 
many readers the more elementary psychological implications of my 
material will be obvious, as a layman I have eschewed the sort of 
analysis which, in unskilled hands, could only have led to pseudo- 
scientific conclusions. 

Where quotations from unpublished sources have been introduced, 
I have made every effort to render the originals accurately, but, for 
the sake of clarity, have often taken the liberty of changing to semi 
colons or periods the dashes to whose use Miss Hogarth was addicted. 
At times the transcription of her letters posed difficulties, for, by 
her own admission, her hand was frequently almost illegible. For 
consistency I have regularized the spelling of 'Georgy', 'Katey', and 
'Mamie', which in the family letters are written at different periods 
in two or three ways, often by the same person. 

If the portrait that emerges from this study reveals a woman with 
human shortcomings, it also presents a person of generous impulses, 
strong loyalties, and great perceptiveness. Above all, it is the story 
of unfaltering devotion to the genius of Dickens, a devotion by 
which Georgina Hogarth justified her very existence. 

A. A. A. 
Cleveland, Ohio 
January 1957. 



Contents 

PREFACE ix 

LIST OF lULTTSTRATIONS xiii 

ACKNO WILED GEMENTS xiv 

PART ONE: 1835-1870 

1. The Genesis of Aunt Georgy 3 

2. A 'Pair of Petticoats' 12 

3. The 'Little Housekeeper' 24 

4. 'The Skeleton ... in the Cupboard' 35 

5. 'No Other Way Out' 47 

6. 'A Place to Repose In' 61 

7. 'Enormous Drags' 82 

8. 'Sad Work, without the Head' 96 

9. 'Over for Ever' 116 

PART TWO: 1870-1917 

10. C A Dreadful Wrench' 143 

11. 'Making the Best of It' 162 

12. "The Many Friends Who Loved TTiTn* 188 

13. A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 206 

14. Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 228 

15. 'How the Years Melt into Each Other!' 241 

16. 'Sufficiently Rewarded' 254 
NOTES 269 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 297 

INDEX 303 



List of Illustrations 



GEORGINA HOGARTH, c. 1905. Photograph by 
Charlotte Roche 

GEORGINA HOGARTH, c. 1850. By Augustus Egg, 
R.A. 

GEORGINA HOGARTH as Lady Grace in The Light- 
Ao-use. Portrait by Charles Allston Collins 

ELLEN TERNAN 

CATHERINE DICKENS 

CHARLES DICKENS 

GAD'S HILL PLACE 

THE GAD'S HILL DINING-ROOM 

GEORGINA HOGARTH 

MONUMENT HOUSE, WEYBRIDGE, now Lavender 
Cottage 

GEORGINA HOGARTH, c. 1894 
GEORGINA HOGARTH, c. 1912 



frontispiece 



facing p. 41 



50 



68 



158 



257 



Acknowledgements 

WITHOTTT much valuable aid given me during the past five years, 
this book could not have been written. From the earliest stages of my 
research to the completion of my final manuscript I have had the 
support of numerous persons and institutions. I take pleasure in 
acknowledging my gratitude to all of them. 

To members of the Dickens family, first of all, I am deeply indebted 
for a generous endorsement of my undertaking. Mr. Henry Charles 
Dickens, O.B.E., has not only given me permission to quote from unpub 
lished letters but has also shared with me his recollections of his Aunt 
Georgina and has provided me with the frontispiece of my book. Further 
choice details came from two of his sisters, Mrs. Elaine Waley and Mrs. 
Olive Shuckburgh. Still another Dickens descendant, the late Mrs. 
Sydney Whinney, recalled for me, with a vitality and enthusiasm that 
belied her eighty -four years, her association with 'Auntie'. 

Indispensable to my work have been the rich collections of letters and 
documents in libraries and other institutions. In America I have had 
free access to manuscripts in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art 
Gallery, the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the Berg Collection of the 
New York Public Library. To their officers and staffs I am considerably 
obligated, especially to Miss Mary Isabel Fry, Miss Phyllis Rigney, Dr. 
Herbert C. SchuLz (Curator of Manuscripts), and Mr. Tyrus G. Harmsen 
(Cataloguer) of the Huntington; to Mr. Herbert Cahoon, Curator of 
Autograph Manuscripts at the Pierpont Morgan; and to Dr. John 
Gordan, Director of the Berg Collection, and his assistant, Miss Adelaide 
Smith. Also invaluable have been certain unpublished portions of Mrs. 
James T. Fields's diaries, owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society 
of Boston. I am grateful to the Society for permission to publish my 
findings and to Mr. Stephen T. Riley, Director of the Library, for check 
ing numerous passages in my transcripts. To the William Andrews 
Clark Memorial Library of the University of California at Los Angeles 
I am also grateful for permission to quote from one of its letters. 

In Great Britain I likewise had ready access to useful materials. To 
the Trustees of the Dickens House, London, I am indebted for permis 
sion to examine and reproduce extracts from its remarkable holdings. 
To Miss Doris Mmards, its librarian, and to Mr. Leslie Staples, Editor of 
the IHckensiatn, I am especially grateful for a sincere interest in my 
work. They have directed me to valuable sources of information, 
answered numerous inquiries, and furnished some of my illustrations. I 
am further indebted to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster and to 
Mr. Lawrence E. Tanner, the Keeper of the Muniments of Westminster 
Abbey; to the Victoria and Albert Museum, especially to the Keeper of 
the Library, Mr. Arthur Wheen, and to Mr. G. W. Nash, Curator of the 



Acknowledgements xv 

Enthoven Theatre Collection ; to the National Library of Scotland and 
particularly to Mr. J". S. Ritchie for his prompt and generous response 
to numerous inquiries; to Mr. W. A. Taylor, Borough of Saint Pancras 
Public Library, London; and to Eastgate House, Rochester. 

Among the collections in private hands I have found extraordinarily 
valuable the large body of Ouvry Papers at 66 Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
London. To the owner, Sir Leslie Farrer, K.C.V.O., I am greatly 
indebted for the privilege of studying and transcribing some of this 
material, and for the many courtesies extended me at the offices of 
Farrer & Company. To Mr. William Miller of Brighton I am deeply 
grateful for putting at my disposal his wealth of holographs and other 
treasures, and for repeatedly drawing on his extensive knowledge of 
Dickensiana to answer my questions. Several others have given me 
permission to quote from letters in their possession: Lady Hermione 
Cobbold, Mrs. Mary Walker, and Mr. S. E. Budden. To Mr. A. J. 
Sluman of Henry Sotheran, Ltd., I am grateful for allowing me to 
examine and reproduce portions of a letter included in the valuable 
'Dora Collection' of that firm. 

Generous, too, has been the assistance given me by several Victorian 
scholars. Mr. K. J. Fielding has put me greatly in his debt by calling 
my attention to the Ouvry Papers and allowing me to utilize some of his 
discoveries. On his extensive publications I have drawn heavily, par 
ticularly for Chapter Five. From time to time, furthermore, he has sent 
me transcripts of significant documents. Information and helpful sug 
gestions have come also from another well-informed Dickensian, Mr. W. J. 
Carlton. From the late Humphry House I received permission to use 
unpublished correspondence which will appear in the forthcoming 
edition of Dickens's letters. From his wife, Mrs. Madeline E. House, I 
have had transcripts of valuable manuscripts and helpful replies to 
queries. To Professor J. Lee Harlan I am indebted for copies of 
important Forster letters ; and to Professor Gerald G. Grubb, for direct 
ing me to significant sources of information. Mrs. Kathleen Tillotson 
and Professor Clyde K. Hyder have put me heavily in their debt by 
reading my manuscript and suggesting improvements. To Professor 
Hyder I owe my final choice of title. 

Still others have put their specialized knowledge and services at my 
disposal. Mrs. Lisa G. Puckle gave me some treasured letters written 
to her father, Sir Nevil Macready, by Georgina Hogarth; and called up 
many interesting memories. Similarly helpful was the information 
given me by Miss Gladys Storey, O.B.E., relative to her association with 
Kate Perugini, Dickens's second daughter. Generous responses to mis 
cellaneous requests have come from Mrs. Gladys Reece; Mr. George 
Almond; Mr. Alec Robertson; Mr. Felix Aylmer; Major C. E. Pym, 
C.B.E., D.L.; Mr. B. Eldridge, Society for Army Research; Mr. H. A. 
Johnston, Public Record Office; Mr. Emerson Greenway, Director of the 
Free Library of Philadelphia; Miss Winifred A. Myers, of Myers and 
Company, Booksellers, London ; and Miss Hebe Elsna. Mr. J. Jarman 



xvi Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

transcribed some letters in the Fitzgerald Collection, Eastgate House, 
for me; Professor Carl Woodring lent me photostats of two Georgina 
Hogarth letters ; Professor James Austen let me use his microfilm of the 
Fields Papers; and Miss W. Stewart Burt, Gad's Hill Place, Kent, 
graciously conducted me through Dickens's last home. 

For generous grants-in-aid of research I express heartfelt thanks to 
the American Philosophical Society , to the Henry E. Huntington 
Library and Art Gallery, and to the Modern Language Association of 
America. 

I am grateful also to Western Reserve University for granting me 
sabbatical leave to work on my book, and to the staff of the University 
Library for many courtesies. To the Cleveland Public Library, and 
especially to Miss Marie Corrigan, Director of the Literature Division, 
I am indebted for long-time loans of indispensable materials. 

My greatest indebtedness is to my wife, Vonna Hicks Adrian. Since 
the completion of my preliminary draft in the spring of 1955, she has 
laboured with me, subjecting my findings to rigorous scrutiny and 
working tirelessly on the revisions of my manuscript. There is hardly 
a paragraph of this book that does not bear her imprint. Quick to dis 
cern significant implications, she has repeatedly made me aware of 
interpretations that would otherwise have been lost to these pages. For 
time and help cheerfully given, at a sacrifice of her own creative writing 
activities, I am deeply grateful. 



PART ONE 

1835-1870 



Chapter One 
THE GENESIS OF AUNT GEORGY 



IT WAS an evening in early summer, two years before the young 
Victoria mounted the English throne. In Fulham Road, Chelsea, an 
indolent breeze floated the scent of nearby orchards into the drawing 
room where George Hogarth and his large family were tranquilly 
assembled. 1 Suddenly, though, their privacy was disrupted as, 
through one of the tall french windows opening on the garden, a 
sailor lad leaped into the room and danced a hornpipe to his own 
whistled accompaniment. Almost before the Hogarths realized what 
was happening he had scampered out again. After a brief interval 
the door opened and in came the suitor whom Catherine, the eldest 
daughter, had been expecting. It was Charles Dickens, a young 
newspaper reporter. Having disposed of the sailor uniform, bor 
rowed for the performance, he betrayed no evidence of his recent 
impersonation, but shook hands decorously all around. The startled 
faces of the family proving too much, however, he broke into a 
hearty laugh. 2 

On no one did this prank leave a more vivid impression than on 
eight-year-old Georgina Hogarth, a blue-eyed child dressed so the 
mode dictated in a quaint counterpart of her older sister's frock: 
slim-waisted, with ballooning sleeves and long, wide skirts, beneath 
which peeped an inch or two of white pantaloon frills. Decades later, 
as an old lady in a beribboned cap, she was to delight her grandnieces 
and grandnephews with accounts of the sailor episode, the first bead 
in her cherished rosary of Dickens memories. For the child Georgina 
was destined to become the confidante of Charles Dickens 'the best 
and truest friend man ever had', he was to call her in his zenith 
years. But if he noticed the little girl now, it may have been only 
because her name touched a sentimental chord. While still in his 
teens, so tradition has it, he had admired and perhaps considered 
marrying one Georgina Ross, but her family, like Maria BeadnelTs 
several years later, had not smiled on a young man of such slender 
means and undistinguished background. 3 

Who were the Hogarths with whom this theatrical young man was 
soon to ally himself? At this time they had been in London only a 



4 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

year. Originally they had lived in Edinburgh. There, in that citadel 
of the legal profession, George Hogarth, the father, had grown up 
and been educated for the law. At the age of twenty-seven, his 
apprenticeship finished, he had been admitted to the practice of Scots 
law. Four years later, in 1814, he had married Georgina Thomson, 
daughter of George Thomson, the amateur musician and publisher, 
who is remembered today chiefly as the friend of Robert Burns. 4 

Because of the young wife's background and the husband's inclina 
tions the couple were part of a musical and literary environment 
from the beginning of their marriage. When two years later 
Hogarth's sister married James Ballantyne of the ill-fated publish 
ing firm which bankrupted Sir "Walter Scott, Hogarth became the 
intimate of the novelist, as well as of J. G. Lockhart and others in the 
intellectual aristocracy of Edinburgh. Soon he was Scott's valued 
legal adviser, heavily relied upon when the publishing firm failed. 5 
Lockhart spoke of him as a 'gentleman . . . well known in the literary 
world; especially by a History of Music, of which all who understand 
that science speak highly.' 6 

Indeed, music, more than law, was Hogarth's forte. A violon 
cellist and composer, he had served as joint secretary for the first 
Edinburgh Musical Festival in 1815. He also acquired a reputation 
as a music critic with his pieces in the Edinburgh Courant. 7 As a 
lawyer, though, he was less successful. By January of 1827, when 
the Hogarths were expecting their eighth child, he had begun to 
doubt whether the legal profession could be counted upon to sup 
port his family adequately. The new baby, who was given her 
mother's name, arrived on 22nd January, three weeks after the 
Hogmanay celebrations and three days before that other great Scot 
tish occasion, the birthday of Robert Burns. At this time the 
Hogarths were living at 2 Nelson Street, in the New Town, only a 
short walk down the steep slope from Princes Street. Before little 
Georgina was a year old, they moved to 19 Albany Street in the 
immediate vicinity. 8 Nearby were the lodgings at 6 St. David Street, 
where Scott, newly a widower, had stayed in 1826 during the darkest 
months of his debt and sorrow. In the same neighbourhood were 
houses occupied only a few years earlier by David Hume, Adam 
Smith, and William Robertson. 

But another change of scene was already imminent, for in 1830, 
after subscribing himself Writer to the Signet for full twenty years, 
Hogarth, then forty-seven, abandoned the law. Perhaps he had no 
talent for advancing himself financially, or at any rate was unable 
to do so without initial capital. His lack of funds and the keen com 
petition from 'other members of a profession so much overstocked' 



The Genesis of Aunt Georgy 5 

were the reasons lie gave Scott in a letter announcing his decision 
to relinquish law and 'do something for my family in another way'. 9 
The other way was to be the congenial path of journalism, for which 
he had already demonstrated his fitness. 

Having failed to find an editorship in London, in spite of the 
recommendation solicited from Scott, 10 he became interested in 
Halifax, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, attracted, perhaps, as 
much by its musical festival as by the invitation of the local Conser 
vative Party to found and edit a weekly newspaper there. When 
Georgina was four, the family therefore left Edinburgh, then in its 
golden age as the Athens of the North, and settled in the provincial 
city. The following year, 1832, Hogarth launched the Halifax 
Guardian, with the ambitious aim of returning a Conservative can 
didate in a red-hot radical town. 11 Since only two issues of the 
Guardian preceded the election, the party's failure that year is not 
surprising. 12 The next year, however, saw a Conservative victory. 
At the ball celebrating this triumph, each lady received an exqui 
sitely bound copy of a literary annual, The White Rose of York, 
edited by Hogarth. Dedicated 'To Her Most Gracious Majesty, 
Adelaide, the Queen,' the silver-stamped purple volume, made up 
largely of local contributions, reflected in its Preface the pride of the 
editor in his newly adopted town and county, an attitude which 
must have endeared him locally. He served the community still 
further by helping to found the Halifax Orchestral Society and by 
making his home a cultural centre, frequented by musical amateurs 
of the district. His wife shared this musical interest, an inheritance 
from her father, who had published the five-volume Select Scottish 
Airs, a work which doubtless graced the Hogarth musical library. 
Like his son-in-law, Thomson had been one of the directors of the 
first Edinburgh Musical Festival. 13 To her children Mrs. Hogarth 
must have told the story of how their Grandpapa Thomson had car 
ried on a bulky four-year correspondence with Robert Burns, whom 
he had commissioned to supply the words to a number of old Scottish 
folk tunes, and she would hardly have neglected to point out to her 
brood their distinguished grandfather's likeness by the great 
Raeburn. Still another, by W. S. Watson, would one day hang in 
the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. 1 * 

That the Hogarths in Halifax, as in Edinburgh, were richer in cul 
ture and family pride than in worldly goods, may be gathered partly 
from figures indicating the father's income as Georgina approached 
her sixth birthday. A typical issue of the Guardian, that of 1 
December 1832, brought in only 28 4s. 7d., out of which came all 
production expenses. 15 What remained went for the week's support 



6 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

of a large family. Obviously Hogarth needed to supplement these 
earnings by other ventures. One such was the instruction of private 
pupils, as announced in the Halifax Guardian : 

To Parents and Guardians 

Mr. Hogarth begs leave to state, that during the holidays, he 
proposes giving PBIVATE LESSONS in the CLASSICS, MATHE 
MATICS, ARITHMETIC, BELLES LETTBES, and the PBACTICE 

or ENGLISH COMPOSITION, either at his own house or at the 

residence of the Pupil as may be found mere convenient. 

Mr. Hogarth's terms, &c, may be Jcnoum by application to 

him at his House, 8 Clare Place, Ward's End, Halifax, 

4 December 1833. 

Besides making himself available as a tutor, Hogarth compiled a 
small geography and short histories of England and Borne. Designed 
primarily for elementary classes, these sold at tenpence each and 
were used in several of the smaller private schools of Halifax. 17 In 
addition, he met a number of other publication commitments. 

Early in 1834 came the move which brought three of Ms daughters 
into the Dickens orbit. Following a disagreement with his pro 
prietors, Hogarth resigned the editorship of the Halifax Guardian and 
took his family to London, where he joined the staff of the Morning 
Chronicle as music critic. Here he was to meet his future son-in-law, 
Charles Dickens, the young journalist who was to write a series of 
Street Sketches for this paper. When some months later an offshoot, 
the Evening Chronicle, was projected, Hogarth, as the newly 
appointed editor, asked the young author for a contribution to launch 
the first issue. Dickens complied, welcoming the prospect of addi 
tional earnings. 18 Accordingly the first of his twenty Sketches of 
London, signed *Boz s , appeared in the introductory number, exactly 
one week before his twenty-third birthday. His weekly salary was 
thereupon raised from five to seven guineas. 

Soon his relations with Hogarth became quite cordial. With the 
older journalist's help he was able to place his libretto, The Village 
Coquettes, for which John Hullah had composed the music.-" Before 
long he was visiting the Hogarth home, where he was attracted to 
Catherine, a buxom young lady whose heavy-lidded blue eyes gave 
her an indolent look. With, her cultivated manners, fresh colouring, 
and voluptuous curves she was quite attractive, in spite of a notice 
able lack of chin. The attachment became so compelling that, at tbe 
time of the sailor prank, Dickens had temporarily taken lodgings just 
around the corner from her house. It was his second serious affair, 



The Genesis of Aunt Georgy 1 

an earlier one with the capricious Maria Beadnell having ended 
abruptly in a lovers' quarrel. Between visits he sent Catherine 
frequent notes, often through his younger brother Fred, who shared 
his rooms. Presently 'Dearest Kate* or 'Katie' replaced the formal 
'My dearest Catherine'. Sometimes he asked her to pay a morning 
visit to his rooms, usually around ten-thirty or eleven, for his 
reporting kept him out late at night. As for the proprieties, they 
were satisfied by the presence of Mary, the next younger sister, a 
great favourite of his. 'Will you indulge me by making breakfast for 
me this morning?' he once asked Catherine. 'It will give me pleasure ; 
I hope will give you no trouble ; and I am sure will be excellent prac 
tice for you against Christmas next.' 20 It was almost the cajoling 
tone one might take with a child whose training must be achieved 
by tactful reasoning and kindly persuasion. 

Finally, with the consent of Catherine's parents, the couple 
planned an early spring marriage. Dickens was proud of his 
betrothed proud, especially, of his alliance with gentlefolk of dis 
tinction. To his uncle, Thomas Barrow, he boasted that Catherine 
was the daughter of 'one of the most eminent among the literati of 
Edinburgh'. 21 In the early months of 1836, as the wedding day drew 
near, he alternated between playful excitement and critical admoni 
tions. He sent his Katie 1000000000000 kisses'. She was his 'own 
dearest Pig', his 'dearest Wig', his 'darling Tatie', his 'dear Mouse'. 
'Here's another day off the fortnight. Hurrah!' he exclaimed in 
March. But he showed little indulgence toward her petulant accusa 
tions when duty kept him away. Though he sometimes inquired 
playfully whether she felt 'coss' with him, he also made it plain that 
his work was exacting, that its success was necessary to their future, 
and that her childish attitudes of suspicion and sultriness 'in anyone 
else would have annoyed me greatly'. Yet, significantly, he felt con 
strained to defend himself by a protest of Vorking as a duty, and 
not as a pleasure'. 22 Plainly, Catherine lacked sympathy with the 
satisfactions of artistic creation, and could excuse her lover for pre 
occupation with literary activity only if it was presented as an 
arduous duty. Therefore he wrote her only of the more prosy aspects 
of his work: the daily schedule of composition, publishing contracts, 
appointments. He discussed with her no ideas as such, nor did he 
exhibit the sparkle that characterized his other correspondence. If 
he saved this side of his nature for their tete--tetes, the letters give 
no hint of it. 

March found the Hogarths in the midst of modest wedding pre 
parations, too simple to linger in the memory of little Georgina. On 
Saturday, 2nd April, the marriage took place at St. Luke's Church, 



8 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Chelsea. Though Charles Kingsley's father was the rector here, it 
was a curate who read the vows. Writing of the event in affcer years 
Thomas Beard, the bridegroom's Mend and best man, called it 'an 
altogether quiet bit of business. ... To the best of my recollection, 
the only persons present beyond the members of the Dickens and 
Hogarth families were Macrone, the publisher of the Sketches by Boz, 
and myself.' 23 On Henry Burnett, Dickens's brother-in-law, the 
wedding made a similar impression. 'The breakfast was the quietest 
possible/ he recalled. *A few common, pleasant things were said, 
healths were drunk with a few words said by either party yet all 
things passed off very pleasantly, and all seemed happy, not the 
least so Dickens and his young girlish wife. She was a bright, 
pleasant bride, dressed in the simplest and neatest manner, and 
looked better perhaps than if she had been enabled to aim at some 
thing more/ Burnett described Catherine's father as a gentleman 
in feeling and education', one who 'would not have made any show 
if he had possessed the means'. 24 

In this last particular the Hogarths and the Dickenses were, per 
haps, not strictly in accord. Still, the marriage had united two 
whose background had one significant point in common: lack of 
worldly substance. Both families had attempted to supplement their 
regular incomes by offering private instruction. As Catherine's 
father had advertised in the Halifax Guardian for pupils, so Charles's 
mother had once posted on her door a plaque announcing her inten 
tion of opening a school for small children. It is not known whether 
Hogarth was more successful than Mrs. John Dickens, who waited 
in vain for the first applicant. The fathers of both families were at 
times losers in the struggle against poverty. The story of John 
Dickens's imprisonment for debt is too well known to require repeat 
ing. Even after his three months in the Marshalsea in 1824, he was 
never free from financial embarrassment, but required constant 
assistance from Charles. Similarly Hogarth, after his Edinburgh 
failure, continued to have money troubles. In later years, according 
to one source, he wrote a Mend from debtors' prison, remarking that 
Catherine's husband, though very kind, had been unable to help him 
in his present predicament. 25 

Of the events immediately preceding and following the wedding, 
Georgina was to retain few memories. Some delightful musical 
evenings with Dickens in attendance and her father as chief per 
former, an isolated incident or two during the courtship, and finally 
the arrival of the wedding morning these were her recollections as 
she looked back in later years. She did not even witness the cere 
mony at the church, but stayed at home with her younger brother 



The Genesis of Aunt Georgy 9 

and sister, Edward and Helen, the twins whose birth in Halifax had 
brought to nine the number of Hogarth children then living five 
sons and four daughters, another daughter having died in infancy.** 
However, she saw the couple leave on their honeymoon, which they 
spent in Chalk, a Kentish village not far from Chatham, where the 
bridegroom had lived during the happiest part of his childhood. 
And when Catherine and her husband returned to Chalk to celebrate 
their first anniversary, she visited them in the honeymoon cottage, 
run by a Mrs. Nash who let lodgings.* ? 

Of Georgina herself little has been recorded from this childhood 
period. Whether she attended a private school, as did her older 
sisters in Halifax, 28 or whether her father taught her at home, is not 
known. Her later reputation as a woman of culture and taste indi 
cates that her girlhood must have laid the foundation for the musical 
and intellectual attainments of her maturity. The Hogarth back 
ground would obviously have provided ample opportunity for her 
development. 

For these years far more is known about Mary Hogarth, the gentle 
sister between Catherine and Georgina. Already fond of her during 
his courting days, Dickens had her join him and his bride when they 
went to housekeeping. He found her an 'amiable companion, 
sympathising with all my thoughts and feelings more than anyone 
I knew ever did or will. . . .' 29 Possibly her cheerful charms threw 
Catherine somewhat into the shade as the couple adjusted to the 
overcrowded rooms at Fuinival's Inn, where Dickens had had his 
bachelor quarters. As his brother Fred was also a member of the 
household, the four of them doubtless managed with some difficulty. 
Surely the arrival of the first child, Charles Culliford Boz, on 6 
January 1837, must have complicated matters enormously. 

In April of 1837, however,, having achieved sudden fame with The 
Pickwick Papers, Dickens considered his prospects bright enough to 
warrant a move to a three-story house at 48 Doughty Street, near 
Gray's Inn. But this pleasure in the new home was short lived, for 
the next month Mary Hogarth died. She had accompanied Catherine 
and him to the theatre one evening, apparently in the best of health 
and spirits. Taken ill upon her return, she died in his arms the fol 
lowing afternoon. 'Since our marriage she has been the peace and 
life of our home the admired of all for her beauty and excellence 
I could have better spared a much nearer relation or an older friend, 
for she has been to us what we can never replace, and has left a 
blank which no one who ever knew her can have the faintest hope 
of seeing supplied,' he wrote Mary's grandfather the day after her 
death. 30 From that time on he was to wear the ring he had slipped 



10 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickers Circle 

from her lifeless finger. That he should, have felt the presence of an 
outsider necessary to complete his domestic happiness in the first 
year of his marriage suggests that something was even then lacking 
in the match. 

Though Catherine suffered a miscarriage, brought on, her husband 
believed, by the agitation following Mary's death, she sensibly recon 
ciled herself to the loss of her sister and in ten days' time, he reported 
to Tom Beard, was c so calm and cheerful that I wonder to see her 5 . 31 
Her mother, however, refused to be consoled, and was still nursing 
her gloom on the eve of the new year: 'I wrote to Mrs. Hogarth 
yesterday,' her son-in-law explained, e . . . imploring her, as strongly 
as I could, to think of the many remaining claims upon her affection 
and exertions, and not to give way to unavailing grief. Her answer 
came to-night, and she seems hurt at my doing so protesting that 
in all useful respects she is the same as ever. Meant it for the best, 
and still hope I did right.' 32 The incident was a faint prelude to later 
discord between Dickens and his mother-in-law, whom he was never 
to address by any name less formal than Mrs. Hogarth. 

In spite of sore grief Dickens, urged on by genius and domestic 
responsibilities, had entered upon a period of feverish literary pro 
ductivity. Keeping pace were the additions to his family: Mary 
(Mamie) in March of 1 838 and Katey in October of the following year. 
By the end of 1839, with his literary success assured, he confidently 
took his growing family to a more pretentious home, 1 Devonshire 
Terrace, Regent's Park. Here, to a large room furnished as a 
nursery, Georgina, now entering her teens, came to play with the 
children. Here, too, the novelist maintained the pace of his literary 
output. Nor did Catherine's own. productivity lag behind, for in 
February of 1841 a fourth child, Walter Landor, arrived. With H 
Dickens initiated the practice of naming his sons after noted literary 
figures. 

Early in 1842 there developed a situation which brought Georgina 
entirely within the Dickens orbit. For some months the novelist had 
craved a change of scene and a look at American institutions. So, 
on 4th January, accompanied by their maid, Anne Brown, he and 
Catherine sailed for Boston, having prudently let Devonshire Ter 
race and taken a small furnished house in nearby Osnaburgh Street 
for Fred Dickens and the four children, who were left in the care of 
friends, the noted actor William Metcready and his wife.sa During 
the Dickenses* absence Georgina saw much of her little nieces and 
nephews. They in turn grew so fond of her that they babbled con 
stantly of 'Aunt Georgy' when their parents returned in June. The 
result was that Dickens invited her to become a regular member of 



The Genesis of Aunt Georgy 11 

the household at Devonshire Terrace, to fill the void left by her 
sister's death. She was fifteen now, almost the age Mary had been 
on joining the Doughty Street menage. Thus began the long associa 
tion between Georgina Hogarth and Charles Dickens, a tie which 
strengthened with each passing year, ending only with the novelist's 
death in 1870. 



Chapter Two 
A 'PAIR OF PETTICOATS' 



THE Devonshire Terrace household contrasted sharply with the 
comfortably shabby one which Georgina had just left. At her 
father's home it had not been easy to stock the larder or keep the 
growing children in kilts and pinafores. But these and other burdens 
had been somewhat lightened by an easy-going attitude. If the 
butcher had been forced to wait for his money, if meals had been 
served at odd hours, if several weeks' dust had accumulated on 
floors and furniture, no one had seemed greatly upset. Her new 
home, on the contrary, was a model of elegance and order. In keep 
ing with the social position Dickens was determined to establish, 
paintings, bric-a-brac, and furnishings of the latest fashion filled the 
rooms. Furthermore, the household was regulated by a martinet : 
Dickens 's daily tour of inspection allowed no slovenly lapse in the" 
care of his home, nor was prompt payment of tradesmen's bills ever 
neglected. Transferred to such an environment in the plastic period 
of adolescence, Georgina intelligent, impressionable, and eager to 
please began cultivating her lifelong habits of punctuality and 
attention to detail. 

Not that she was deprived of relaxation, or even hilarity far 
from it. There were frequent parties, picnics, and junketings. And 
there were the evenings at home when the sisters bent over their 
fancy needlework while the young father sent the children into a 
riot of giggles as he roared out "The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman' 
or the ludicrous ditty about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.-* 
Among the listeners, his ear cocked attentively, sat the white spaniel, 
Timber. And there was another pet, a garrulous raven who, in 
Georgina's first summer at Devonshire Terrace, turned maniac, fall 
ing into periodic fits, throwing 'himself wildly on his back*, and 
plucking 'his own feathers up, by the roots'. Topping, the groom, 
pronounced it a case of 'aggerwation*, a diagnosis scorned by the 
'medical gentleman' none less than the attendant on Queen 
Victoria's birds. 2 Whatever the affliction, the raven survived to 
amuse the household for several more years. 

Yes, it was an interesting establishment in which Georgina found 
herself. But more worthy of her attention than the engaging Timber 



A 'Pair of Petticoats 1 13 

or the raucous raven were the four children. To them she was as 
dear as their own mother, perhaps dearer, for Auntie never tired of 
playing with them. And when worn out after a full day of games and 
prattle, they were ready for bed, she prompted them as they knelt 
beside her to say the prayer their father had composed for them,: 
Tray God who has made everything and is so kind and merciful to 
everything he has made: pray God to bless my dear Papa and 
Mama, brothers and sisters, and all my relations and friends : make 
me a good little child and let me never be naughty and tell a lie, 
which is a mean and shameful thing. Make me kind to my nurses 
and servants and to all beggars and poor people and let me never 
be cruel to any dumb creature, for if I am cruel to anything, even 
to a poor little fly, you, who are so good, will never love me: and 
pray God to bless and preserve us all this night and for ever, for the 
sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.' 3 

Nor could Auntie consider her responsibilities ended when the 
youngsters were asleep. Should one of them wake screaming from 
a bad dream, she was there at once to drive the bogy away. During 
their waking hours she took on the duties of a nursery governess. 
Before the children were old enough to read for themselves, she read 
to them from their father's manuscript of The Life of Our Lard, 
written especially for them. 4 Then, as the time came, she taught 
each one to read and write before his formal schooling began. 

Though Georgina spent much of her day with the little ones, she 
was, despite her youth, treated as an adult. Socially inexperienced 
as yet, but fully aware of her distinguished brother-in-law's position, 
she strove to make herself acceptable in a circle dominated by an 
aristocracy of talent and an exuberance of spirit, a combination 
which she came increasingly to admire. Prominent in this group was 
William Macready, whom she first saw in Macbeth and whose quiet 
yet terrifying portrayal in the dagger scene was so vivid that she 
shared the murderer's tortured mind and all but saw the dagger 
floating in air. 5 

All the Dickens circle seemed quick to recognize the charm of this 
responsive blue-eyed girl whose dainty nose was 'tip-tilted like a 
flower'. One, the painter Daniel Maclise, had her pose barefoot, 
water-jug on shoulder, looking down the rapids of the St. Knighton 
waterfall, a background which he had sketched in Cornwall. 
Entitled 'The Girl at the Waterfall', the painting was shown at 
the Royal Academy in 1843. Dickens was so eager to possess it, 
yet determined not to have Maclise sacrifice it as a gifb, that he 
bought it under an assumed name. 6 

Before long Georgina was accompanying the Dickenses to all social 



14 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

affairs. If she was not included in an invitation, her brother-in-law 
speedily dispatched a note asking permission to bring her. 7 When 
guests called at Devonshire Terrace she helped receive them, for 
Dickens considered her a social asset. Once, however, during her 
first year in the household, the duties of hospitality subjected her to 
something of an ordeal. Having learned to hypnotize from the 
famous Dr. John Elliotson, Dickens could not resist giving a demon 
stration as a parlour trick. On this occasion he experimented with 
his sister-in-law and wife, both of whom, Macready observed, became 
violently hysterical. Invited to be the next victim, the actor resisted. 
*I did not like it. ... Reasoned myself out of it', he wrote in his 
diary. 8 But to Georgina and Catherine, Dickens's whim was law, 
and neither would have thought of reasoning herself out of compli 
ance with his demands. 

Of the sisters' sixteen-year association under Dickens's roof, the 
1840's were the most harmonious period. Though domestic discord 
lurked even then, any thought of an open marital rift, with the sub 
sequent estrangement between Georgina and Catherine, could hardly 
have occurred to either. Moreover, the rise in fortunes and honour 
was still novel enough to call forth thankful wonder. The two might 
well have said with the Psalmist, "Thou hast set my feet in a large 
room' . In this atmosphere the younger became a worshipper of genius 
in general and, most of all, of the particular genius who had achieved 
this miracle.* Performing her daily devotions, she took on added 
perfections in the eyes of her deity. Clearly, both Dickens and 
Georgina cultivated their best traits for each other, each basking in 
the other's approval. And if the younger sister was the elder's 
superior in grace, personality, and abilities, she was likewise exalted, 
as Mary Hogarth had been, by the becoming cloud of reverential 
incense which hung about her. (Reverence and veneration were ever 
to be her words for the proper attitude of the world toward Dickens.) 
Such a situation must have been a trying one to Catherine, whetner 
or not she openly resented it. 

If the idol sometimes tottered on his pedestal, his worshipper was 
ready with the convenient philosophy: *A man of genius ought not 
to be judged with the common herd of men.' 10 This she was to apply 
to his major transgressions as well as to mere venial faults, such as 
the extreme nervous irritability and moody outbursts which beset 
him when the fit of creation was upon him. How different his periods 
of literary production from those of her father! a difference not 
only of major and minor. But, after all, how different the person 
alities of the two men! Carlyle said of Dickens in 1844, 'I . . . discern 
in the inner man of him a tone of real music. . . .' n But the music 



A 'Pair of Petticoats' 15 

}f Dickens' s personality was that of a trumpet strident and brassy 
it times, perhaps, but stirring, heart-lifting. In. contrast George^ 
Eogarth gave forth the music of his own mild, genial violoncello. I 

For the sisters, life at Devonshire Terrace was no unbroken suc- 
session of social diversion. Always their activities were bound by 
bhose of the resident genius, who alternated between feverish slavery 
bo creation and equally feverish liberation from it. In the fit of com 
position he was likely, he wrote Miss Angela Burdett Coutts (the 
heiress whose philanthropies he helped direct), 'to be so horribly 
3ross and surly, that the boldest fly at my approach. . . ,' 12 And 
bhere were the nerve-shattering days when he could not produce a 
iine, however hard he tried. Such times occasionally culminated in 
a, treat for the sisters. c ln a kind of despair/ he once confessed to his 
friend John Forster, 'I started off at half-past two with my pair of 
petticoats to Richmond; and dined there!! Oh what a lovely day it 
was in those parts. . . .'** Even when the writing flowed, Georgina, 
Catherine, and the two little girls might be invited to end the day 
with a drive in an open carriage to Hampstead Heath. Rambling 
about, picking wild flowers, watching Dickens and the children 
romp, his 'pair of petticoats' would note with relief that the tensions 
Df authorship had disappeared. After a pause at Jack Straw's 
CJastle for refreshments, they would all drive home. 14 

Late summer usually found the family, servants and all, retreat 
ing from oppressive London to Broadstairs, a fishing village on the 
south-east coast. There Georgina moved quite easily between the 
adult world and the shouting, active world of the youngsters. From 
the window near which he wrote in 1843, Dickens would watch the 
children 'throw up impossible fortifications' in the sand. 15 Some 
times they took thrilling donkey rides, with Auntie always in attend 
ance. 16 Through the handsome pair of ivory binoculars, Georgina J s 
recent gift to him, their father could follow their antics from afar.-*? 

When the family returned to London that autumn, the neighbours 
could have observed in Catherine visible promise of a fifth child. 
But even earlier they might have conjectured. For, they chuckled 
among themselves, didn't Mrs. Dickens always take a walk religi 
ously twice a day as soon as a new baby was expected ??* The 
approaching birth was somewhat overshadowed, however, by the 
December publication of A Christmas Carol. Never had Georgina. 
seen Dickens more excited by composition ; he 'wept and laughed and 
wept again' over his manuscript pages. While she and Catherine 
slumbered, he 'walked about the black streets of London, fifteen and 
twenty miles many a night. . . .' Small wonder that he 'broke out 
like a madman' when it was done. 19 



16 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

The occasion called for a series of seasonal celebrations: 'Such 
dinings, such dancings, such conjurings, such blind-man's-buffings, 
such theatre-goings, such kissings-out of old years and kissings-in of 
new ones' as Georgina had not witnessed before. 20 The climax of the 
holiday merriment was the usual children's party on Twelfth Night, 
Charley's birthday, a revel to which not only juveniles but 'some 
children of a larger growth' were customarily invited. 21 Catherine 
was then hardly presentable to do the honours, but to Georgina it 
was a gay evening of games, magic lantern entertainment, and con 
jurer's tricks. So riotous was the celebration that the pet guinea- 
pig later expired, convinced, according to his master, that the con 
juring had killed him, though 'he forgave his enemies, and died . . . 
believing in the whole Bench of Bishops'. 22 

^Nine days after the party, Francis Jeffrey (Frank) was born. It 
was exactly eight months and five days after Dickens, congratulat 
ing a friend whose wife had just presented him with offspring, had 
confessed, 'I hope my missis won't do so never no more'. 23 But now, 
resigned, he summarized the infant's arrival: 'Nurses, wet and dry; 
apothecaries; mothers-in-laws [sic]', babies; with all the sweet (and 
chaste) delights of private life.' 24 Even a month later his somewhat 
satiric tone was not yet replaced by the fond rapture that invariably 
ensued as his children began to develop. 'Kate is all right again, 
and so ... is the Baby', he remarked. 'But I decline (on principle) 
to look at the latter object.' 25 With the advent of this fifth child 
Aunt Georgy was needed more than ever. 

Dickens now found himself increasingly drawn to his young sister- 
in-law, for she had all but taken the place of the seventeen-year-old 
Mary Hogarth. Georgina was also seventeen now, and of the same 
^heerful, helpful, adoring nature. Only a few months earlier, on the 
sixth anniversary of Mary's death, as he had been thinking of the 
past, there had arrived a note from Mrs. Hogarth, with a packet con 
taining a portrait of Mary and a lock of her smooth dark hair. 
Thanking his mother-in-law for the keepsakes, he had written feel 
ingly: *I trace in many respects a strong resemblance between her 
mental features and Georgina's so strange a one, at times, that 
when she and Kate and I are sitting together, I seem to think that 
what has happened is a melancholy dream from which I am just 
awakening. The perfect like of what she was, will never be again, 
but so much of her spirit shines out in this aster, that the old time 
comes back again at some seasons, and I can hardly separate it 
from the present.* 26 



A 'Pair of Petticoats' 17 

In July of 1844 Georgina entered upon an enriching phase of her 
girlhood, a series of sojourns abroad. All agog she climbed into the 
miraculous second-hand carriage 'about the size of your library', 
Dickens had boasted to Forster 27 which was to transport the entire 
family, plus four women servants, a courier, and Timber, to their 
destination on the Bay of Genoa. (The cost of a year's residence on 
the Continent, Dickens had estimated at half that of the same period 
in London, where his expenses had mounted ruinously.) 28 As the 
vast carriage lumbered south across France after the Channel cross 
ing, Georgina savoured anew the fruits of her brother-in-law's 
resourcefulness and organization: from its numerous pockets and 
'leathern cellars' he conjured up titbits to refresh the party; he 
devised amusements for the children ; and with Roche, the efficient 
courier, he transformed primitive roadside lodgings into havens of 
comfort. 29 

There was need of the utmost in such ingenuity when the travellers 
finally rolled into the courtyard of the dilapidated pink villa in 
Albaro which was to be their home for the next three months. It 
was a 'stagnant old staggerer of a domain 5 with a stable e so full of 
"vermin and swanners'Y Dickens wrote Forster, *. . . that I always 
expect to see the carriage going out bodily, with legions of indus 
trious fleas harnessed to and drawing it off. . . . J Poor Timber, an 
immediate victim, had to be clipped in lion style, whereupon, 
humiliated by the transformation, he slunk about, 'turning round 
and round to look for himself 3 . Even then the fleas tormented him 
by colonizing in his mane. 30 

Georgina adjusted to life in Italy more happily than Timber. She 
could sit on the vine- covered terrace and watch the Alps dissolving 
into purple distance beyond the ever-changing blues of the Bay of 
Genoa. And she had all the new and delectable fruits of the region 
to enjoy lemons, green figs, green almonds. For diversion she could 
play the piano which Dickens had installed after their arrival. 
Though her upstairs bower was, as always, near the nurseries, 
life was relaxed. 31 The younger children had their nurse, and 
the older ones could amuse themselves safely in the vineyard and 
garden. 

At the end of September, when Dickens transferred Ms family to 
more livable quarters in Genoa, Georgina began life in a palace 
'larger than Whitehall multiplied by four'. 32 Set among terraced 
gardens and fountains, the Palazzo Peschiere looked down on orange 
groves and, beyond the towers of the old city, a sweep of blue 
Mediterranean. But a rainy autumn, 'worse than any November 
English weather', dampened the scenery and her delight. 33 So did 



18 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

the rather boring guest, Mrs. Macready's sister, Susan Atkins, cur 
rently in their midst. Evidently Georgina and Catherine thought of 
packing her off to Rome or leaving her with the frescoed nymphs 
and satyrs and all the antique grandeur of the palazzo while they 
escaped to Milan on a sightseeing expedition. The occasion stands 
out in the annals as almost the only time Georgina ever displeased 
her brother-in-law. From Milan, to which he had already preceded 
them, he sent his wife a sharp reminder that Susan, in spite of her 
'inanities', must be shown more courtesy,, lest the valued friendship 
with the Macreadys lapse. Georgina in particular had grieved him 
with a 'glaringly foolish and unnecessary silliness', for her indiscreet 
messages to Forster had placed 'huge means of misrepresentation in 
very willing hands'. Even though the presence of Susan in Milan 
would be e a positive grievance', she must be invited to join them. 
Should she have a prior opportunity to leave, properly escorted, for 
Borne, well and good ; but she must in no circumstances be permitted 
to go in the custody of an utter stranger. This matter disposed 
of, Dickens, still in the mood for forestalling petticoat error, admon 
ished his wife, 'Keep things in their places, I can't bear to picture 
them otherwise'. 34 

Presumably Susan departed without incident, for the sisters alone 
joined the head of the family in Milan, whence he left for a brief 
visit to London to try out Ms new Christmas book, The Chimes, in 
a pre-publication reading to a few friends. His first letter from Eng 
land reported a triumph. 'If you had seen Macready last night,' he 
gloated to Catherine, 'undisguisedly sobbing and crying on the sofa 
as I read, you would have felt, as I did, what a thing it is to have 
power.' 35 

Just before her eighteenth birthday in January, Georgina was left 
in Genoa with the household staff and the children while Catherine 
went travelling with her husband. First, though, he had satisfied 
himself that Georgy could 'be perfectly happy for a fortnight or so 
in our stately palace with the children' ; for he loved her 'too dearly', 
he protested, 'to think of any project which would involve her being 
uncomfortable for that space of time'. 36 

But early in February 'Dearest Georgy' received a plea from him, 
full of regrets that she had not come along to witness the Carnival 
in Rome. She must pack up and come south 'by the first boat' 
or, 'if there be a good one a day or two before it', she noted with 
amusement, she was to 'come by that'. But first she must fulfil the 
commission 'to have the darlings' bonnets made at once' in the 
bright colours their father invariably favoured. 37 

On 9th February she arrived at the Victoria Hotel in Naples, 



A 'Pair of Petticoats' 19 

bringing letters from England and news of 'the darlings'. 38 What 
she had expected in novelty and thrills how could a trip with 
exuberant Charles provide anything else? was more than fulfilled 
in the adventure of scaling Vesuvius. Months before, Dickens had 
planned that she should 'top and cap' all her former walks with him 
by clambering up to the very crater. 39 As the day approached, 
Catherine was also included in the party. Preparations were elab 
orate: twenty- two guides, an armed guard, and six saddle horses 
had to be engaged. The climbers started on horseback at four in the 
afternoon, hoping to see the sunset midway and the raging fire of 
the crater by dark. When the sightseers dismounted on reaching 
the snow, the sisters were transferred to litters and carried up a 
nearly perpendicular incline. They scarcely dared steal a downward 
glance at the fearful chasm behind them as their bearers worked 
cautiously up toward the lava rock. Entering the fiery regions as 
darkness fell, they gasped and choked from the 'smoke and sulphur 
bursting out of every chink and crevice. . . .' At last, nearing the 
summit, Georgina and Catherine, still game, finished the ascent on 
foot, stumbling into beds of cinders and ashes at every step. At the 
base of the crater they were horrified to see Dickens scramble on up 
for a look down 'into the flaming bowels of the mountain. . . .' 
Roche, 'tearing his hair like a madman' and predicting a fatal issue, 
did nothing to ease then: terror. They could only wait for the 
daredevil to return singed but safe. 40 

The descent proved even more perilous. Supported by half a dozen 
men, the two women faltered down the narrow track gouged into the 
ice and snow. Suddenly Georgina, between Dickens and the head 
guide, froze to feel a jerk as the latter lost his footing and plunged 
down into the blackness, followed by a shrieking Italian boy and 
another guide carrying spare cloaks. Shaken, she and Catherine 
inched on, their garments in torn disarray. Not until midnight was 
their exhaustive ordeal ended. By then the head guide and the boy, 
both painfully injured, had been rescued; but the third victim 
Dickens's cloak with him was still missing next morning. 'My 
ladies are the wonder of Naples/ Dickens boasted, 'and everybody 
is open-mouthed.' 41 

Before returning to the Palazzo Peschiere and the children, 
Georgina underwent another memorable experience, Holy Week in 
Rome. This interval, in which she continually saw 'the poor old 
Pope' being carried 'about on men's shoulders like a gorgeous Guy 
Faux', served to imbue her with her brother-in-law's anti-Catholic 
sentiments. But she revelled in the Vatican's treasured Raphaels, 
Correggios, and Titians, which, Dickens admitted, were of such lofty 



20 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

beauty as to compensate for legions of whining friars and waxy 
holy families' encountered elsewhere. 42 Altogether, the whirl of 
sightseeing was a radiant adventure for her. 

But for her sister it was a period of distress. Not that Catherine 
failed to find strange places and modes of life entrancing, but she 
was tormented by worry and jealousy. For Charles showed too 
much attention to Madame De la Rue, the English wife of a Swiss 
banker in Genoa. Actually, his frequent calls on these friends were 
prompted by an attempt to relieve Madame De la Rue, through 
hypnotism, of a nervous affliction and terrifying hallucinations. 43 
But when, heightening the tension, the Genoese pair appeared in 
Rome and stayed at the Dickenses } hotel, Catherine was beside her 
self with anxiety and suspicion. As the two families travelled back 
to Genoa together, she brooded, aloof and silent. Embarrassed, 
Dickens tried to explain her behaviour as a nervous breakdown. In 
private he urged upon her the absurdity of her jealousy. But she 
remained so cold and distant that he was finally driven to make a 
'painful declaration of [her] state of mind to Ms friends'. 44 



At last, in June, Catherine was relieved to see her household 
stowed away in the commodious carriage and bound for England, 
where by the end of the month they resumed domesticity in a Devon 
shire Terrace transformed by paint, new wallpaper, and ingenuity, 
all in accord with Dickens's detailed instructions sent on in April 
plans in which his passive mate had taken small part. 45 

The ensuing summer was given over to double anticipation, for 
autumn was to bring not only a sixth heir no novelty but the 
first amateur theatrical performance under Dickens's direction. 
Georgina already knew what fascination the stage held for her 
brother-in-law: she had watched him playing half-seriously with 
young Charley's toy theatres, designing scenery, pasting, cutting out 
cardboard characters. 46 And now, in September, she saw him act the 
star role of Captain Bobadil in his own production of Jonson's Every 
Man in His Humour, given at Miss Kelly's Theatre, Dean Street, 
Soho. 

In the convenient interval between this and the repeat perform 
ance at St. James's Theatre in November, Catherine was confined 
'with what', her actor-husband announced, 'is usually called (I 
don't know why) a chopping Boy'. He had hoped for a girl. 'But 
never mind me,' he added with resignation. 47 The baby was christ 
ened Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson, both Tennyson and Count D'Orsay 
standing as godfathers. Before long he was nicknamed 'Skittles'. 



A 'Pair of Petticoats' 21 

(His brothers and sisters had their own ridiculous names : his imme 
diate predecessor, two-year-old Frank, was e Chickenstalker' ; in 
infancy Walter had been 'Young Skull' ; auburn-haired Katey of the 
fiery temper was 'Lucifer Box'; gentle Mamie was 'mild Glo'ster*; 
and Charley was 'Flaster Floby', a corruption of Master Toby.) 48 
As nursery governess Aunt Georgy saw her situation stretch forward 
interminably. 

By June of 1846, though, she was enjoying another lighthearted 
expedition abroad. Because her sister, still nursing memories of the 
De la Eue affair, was set against seeing Genoa again, Switzerland 
became the family residence for the summer. 49 With the children, 
two nurses, the other servants, and Timber settled in Lausanne, 
Georgina and Catherine maintained their Neapolitan reputation for 
hardihood by going forth on Alpine excursions, riding muleback 
once with Dickens for 'ten hours at a stretch' over the Col de Balme, 
a mountain pass not often crossed by ladies'. 50 

At the end of November they moved on to Paris, where they were 
domiciled at 48 Rue de Courcelles, Faubourg St. Honore, in a house 
whose decor and arrangement Dickens pronounced 'most ridiculous 
and preposterous'. 51 By then Catherine was over four months preg 
nant and possibly in no mood to relish the ludicrous. But Georgina 
found Paris exhilarating, particularly the long rambles through the 
streets with Dickens, whom she often made 'weak with laughter' by 
her impersonations of various acquaintances. 52 

Among the Parisians she learned to know was Amelia Fillonneau, 
a sister of Henry Austin, the husband of Dickens's sister Letitia. 
Mme. Fillonneau had in her possession the manuscript of a farce 
which Dickens had composed in youth for private performance by a 
few of his relatives and friends, a circle of which she had been part. 
But now, ashamed of what he regarded as juvenile rubbish, he made 
a bargain with her, taking her keepsake in exchange for the manu 
script of his newly composed Christmas book, The Battle, of Life. 
Thereupon he burned his youthful dramatic effort." {Decades later 
this exchange was to involve Georgina and Amelia Fillonneau in an 
interesting manuscript transaction.) 

Late in February the carefree atmosphere of Paris visits and 
rambles ended for Georgina when she was left alone to supervise the 
children and the servants. Catherine and Dickens had hurried back 
to London to be with Charley, who had contracted scarlet fever at 
King's College School and was being cared for by his Grandmother 
Hogarth in Albany Street lodgings. 54 Devonshire Terrace being let, 
Aunt Georgy could not follow with her charges until Dickens had 
found temporary quarters for them. Meanwhile, though, she could 



22 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

see to it that Mamie and Katey wrote to cheer Charley. 55 In the 
second week of March, Roche, still in Dickens's employ, came over 
from London to convoy the household back to Lodgings at 1 Chester 
Place, near the Hogarths. 56 There, to complicate matters further, 
Catherine, after a difficult labour, 57 was delivered of her seventh, 
Sydney Smith Haldimand, on 18th April. She was now well on 
the way to rivalling her mother, who had borne ten children. 

Whatever the views of Georgina on her sister's fecundity, by the 
end of that same year, 1847, she must have had knowledge of an 
anticipated eighth child to whom she might one day teach the ABC's. 
For in December, left with the youngsters while Catherine accom 
panied Dickens to Scotland for the first anniversary of the Glasgow 
Athenaeum, she received a startling communication from her 
brother-in-law. After an elated account of his own part in the anni 
versary programme ('The Inimitable [his customary humorous refer 
ence to himself] did wonders') came the revelation: 'Kate didrit go! 
having been taken ill on the railroad. . . .' The reason for her 
absence, he predicted, would out, 'like murder', for to hope to veil 
such a tremendous disgrace from the general intelligence is out of the 
question'. 58 Georgina was trusted to read between the lines: her 
sister's illness had been a miscarriage. 59 

When by April Catherine was again pregnant, a whirl of social 
engagements began; for, freed by the completion of Dombey and 
Son, Dickens, more and more restless, sought to lose himself in the 
theatre, banquets, and parties, a programme that invariably 
included Georgina. But always her role of social butterfly alternated 
with that of useful spinster aunt, that ubiquitous adjunct to so 
many Victorian households. As she was hence to do frequently 
whenever the family left home for an extended stay, she preceded 
Catherine and Charles to Broadstairs in July, taking her young 
charges with her and directing the servants as the premises were 
put in order. 60 

This summer Catherine was especially glad to leave London, 
having 'entreated' her husband, so he told Bulwer-Lytton, 'to bring 
her away from town and let her grumble "unbeknown." to all, but 
our old hoarse monster-friend, the sea here'. Still, though she found 
visiting and, presumably, receiving visitors 'irksome', she and 
Georgina entertained a number of Dickens's friends before the return 
to London in October. 61 And in November, when Catherine must 
have been still less disposed to social exertion, she issued, at her 
husband's behest, an invitation for a small dinner to be given at 
Devonshire Terrace the second week of December while the Thomas 
Mittons, friends from Northampton, were in town. As the evening 



A 'Pair of Petticoats" 23 

was to be climaxed by the lengthy reading of Dickens's new Christ 
mas book, The Haunted Man, dinner must be served promptly at 
six o'clock, she wrote Miss Coutts. 52 

Thus, as their sixth year together under Dickens's roof was draw 
ing to a close, the Hogarth sisters sat in the drawing-room, listening 
to his performance. It merited whatever applause it received; for, 
in perfecting his dramatic techniques, Dickens always took endless 
pains, as if to ensure appeasement of the hunger for recognition, a 
need fostered by his meagre early years. In the little group before 
him that night he could not have found anyone who catered to his 
craving more fervently, and sincerely, than Georgina. 



Chapter Three 
THE 'LITTLE HOUSEKEEPER' 



As Georgina's twenty-second birthday drew near, the household was 
in an even madder whirl of January activity than usual. On the 3rd 
a group much larger than the December party gathered to dine and 
hear the reading of The Haunted Man. Next came the usual Twelfth 
Night gaieties, to which not only juveniles hut Captain Marryat and 
other adults were invited. 1 On the 15th followed the birth of Henry 
Fielding (Harry), a healthy c "moon-faced" monster' whose arrival 
was eased by chloroform, which Dickens had urged against the con 
servatism of Catherine's doctors. 2 The next day he accepted a dinner 
invitation from his Unitarian friend, the Reverend Edward Tagart, 
promising to bring 'the gentle Georgina', as Mrs. Dickens would be, 
'according to the precedents, hardly presentable yet'. 3 

The confinement safely over, Devonshire Terrace settled down as 
Dickens began concentrating on his next novel, David Copperfteld. 
An idealized portrayal of his own early years, it would dip into the 
shadowy past, the blackest depths of which Georgina was never to 
suspect in his lifetime. She little dreamed how much of himself he 
was confiding to this 'favourite child' among Ms books : the secrets 
of his bitterest disappointments, his early bouts with poverty, his 
first love frustrations. But as he recalled his youth to reconstruct in 
Dora the idealized image of his boyhood sweetheart, the coquettish 
Maria Beadnell, Georgina may have recognized unmistakable sug 
gestions of Catherine as the delineation became a curious blend of 
past and present. For Dickens had long been aware of his wife's 
shortcomings* Like Dora, she exerted little control over the man 
agement of her household, having surrendered such responsibilities 
to more capable hands during her constant childbearing. Like Dora, 
furthermore, she did not share her husband's intellectual interests, 
his efforts at improving her mind resulting only in nervousness. Like 
David Copperfield, Dickens had to tell himself that 'there can be no 
disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose'. 4 

Into the breach created by the growing incompatibility stepped 
Georgina Hogarth. Just as David depended on Agnes Wickfield for 
the qualities he missed in Dora, so Dickens turned to his sister-in- 
law for intellectual companionship, sympathetic understanding, and 



The 'Little Housekeeper' 25 

practical common sense. Far too perceptive not to recognize her 
sister's inadequacy as the wife of a distinguished novelist, Georgina 
tried to earn her keep by providing the well-ordered household her 
brother-in-law required to carry on his creative work. Observing 
this capable and meticulous young woman, he may have recalled at 
times the child who had spent a day with him and Catherine at their 
honeymoon cottage, may have asked himself, like David, 'And the 
little girl . . . , where is she?* In her stead was 'quite a woman' 
moving about the house c my sweet sister, as I call her in my 
thoughts, my counsellor and friend, the better angel of the lives of 
all who come within her calm, good, self-denying influence. . . .'* 
In the years since Mary Hogarth's death Dickens had been confiding 
in Georgina. To her his 'heart turned naturally . . . and found its 
refuge and best friend'.* As Agnes Wickfield to David Copperfield, 
so was Georgina Hogarth to Charles Dickens his right hand. And^ 
David's words of praise, words that unwittingly make a colourless 
paragon of Agnes, may have been the author's way of privately 
acknowledging his debt to his 'best friend'. But it is significant that 
David's fl.dmira.tion, though excessive, never convinces one that this 
was a lover's rapture. The whole tone of the Agnes episodes suggests 
Dickens's own lack of romantic ardour for Agnes Wickfield's 
prototype. 

Georgina may have inspired still another capable, self-denying 
character in David Copperfield Sophy, the fiancee of Traddles. For 
Sophy, too, assumes domestic responsibilities not her own, in which 
she acquits herself cheerfully and efficiently, and she is the fourth 
daughter in a family of ten, as was Georgina, if the Hogarth birth 
records are reliable. 

It is note worthy that Dickens's preoccupation with his indebtedness 
to his sister-in-law should have been reflected in these two portraits, 
even before he had passed the mid-point of Ms career. Depending 
upon her for the guidance of his children, looking to her for the 
practical management of a large household, and finding in her a 
stimulating companion, did he sometimes anticipate losing this indis 
pensable young woman? He must have felt that she deserved a 
home and children of her own. But did he, perhaps, place the 
barrier of unreasonably high standards in the way of her marriage? 
Here again he may have used Copperfield as a vehicle for his own 
sentiments. 'But there is no one that I know of, who deserves to 
love you, Agnes,' says David. 'Some one of a nobler character, and 
more worthy altogether than any one I have ever seen here, must 
rise up, before I give my consent. In the time to come, I shall have a 
wary eye on all admirers; and shall exact a great deal from the 



26 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

successful one. . . .' 7 That Georgina needed no advice on appraising 
any possible suitors is a reasonable assumption. Having lived with 
Dickens since the age of fifteen, she had acquired his tastes and 
sense of values. With his wife's mind already formed at the time of 
their marriage, he had turned, perhaps unconsciously, to the more 
rewarding prospect of moulding his impressionable sister-in-law. His 
success with respect to her matrimonial ideals is borne out in his 
statement to William de Cerjat, the Swiss friend with whom he had 
become intimate in Lausanne. e We have had no marriages or giving 
in marriage here,' Dickens wrote him during the serial publication 
of Copperfield. 'We might have had, but a certain young lady, 
whom you know, is hard to please.' 8 

He should also have reflected that under his roof Georgina had 
witnessed more than one deterrent to matrimony. Not only was there 
her sister's distress, nervous as well as physical, during her frequent 
pregnancies; still more discouraging must have been the husband's 
deprecating tone toward his wife in 'that ^interesting condition', 9 
and his irritating acceptance of the resulting infant as superfluous 
the attitude that had prompted his half-jesting declaration of reluct 
ance to look at Baby Frank. 10 And there was the impatience of a 
genius toward what he chose to term stupidity in his wife, an atti 
tude that occasionally revealed itself to outsiders under a mask of 
levity. 'It is more clear to me than ever,' Dickens had written to a 
feminine acquaintance in 1842, 'that Kate is as near being a Donkey, 
as one of that sex . . . can be.' 11 Yes, genius was difficult to live with, 
but Georgina could scarcely be content now with less. 

Moving in the aura of genius, she relished, as Catherine did not, 
the contacts with such prominent literary persons as those who 
gathered around the Dickens table one March evening in 1849. Of 
all the social events at Devonshire Terrace perhaps none occasioned 
a greater flurry of preparations than this dinner, at which appeared 
Mis. Gaskell, Sam Rogers, and Jane and Thomas Carlyle. To have 
the latter accept an invitation was no mean triumph. Once before, 
Dickens had tried to lure Carlyle to Devonshire Terrace, only to be 
told that he and Jane were 'such a pair of poor silly creatures' that 
they had to deny themselves 'with great reluctance* the 'pleasure of 
dining out anywhere at present'. 12 Bnt if the Dickenses had hoped 
to dazzle their guests with lavish decorations and fashionable service, 
they failed utterly to impress Jane Carlyle, who judged the event 
with her usual acerbity, 'Such getting up of the steam is unbecoming 
to a literary man,' she objected. *The dinner was served up in the 
new fashion not placed on the table at all but handed round 
only the dessert on the table and quantities of artificial flowers but 



The 'Little Housekeeper' 27 

such an overloaded dessert! pyramids of figs, raisins, oranges 

ach!' She contrasted such profusion with the restraint shown in the 
decorations and service at one of Lady Ashburton's dinners: 'Just 
four cowslips in china pots four silver shells containing sweets, and 
a silver filigree temple in the middle! but here the very candles rose 
each out of an artificial rose! Good God!' 13 Rogers had also carried 
away an unfavourable impression of the evening at Devonshire 
Terrace. There had been so much loud talk that the old man had 
heard only confused noises, though Jane suspected that his displea 
sure had arisen from not having had 'the talk to himself in other 
words Mr. Carlyle was there, the greatest affliction that can befall 
Rogers at a dinner party'. 14 

The hint of vulgarity, the burgeoning vitality of Cockneydom 
that the mature Jane Carlyle had detected in the host and his table, 
very likely impressed the inexperienced Georgina as enviable exuber 
ance and luxury. True, the setting may have been unlike anything 
her father would have sanctioned in his home, even had he been well- 
to-do, but Georgina had been away from the influence of that home 
for seven years now. Perhaps she discerned no trace of vulgarity in 
her hero; on the other hand, she may have been too far removed 
from snobbery to wince at it. 

The lonely Thackeray, though, envious in spite of himself, com 
mented sourly on the lusty appearance of the family when he 
glimpsed them that July on the pier at Ryde 'the great Dickens 
with his wife his children Ms Miss Hogarth all looking abominably 
coarse, vulgar and happy bound to Bonchurch where they have 
taken one of White's houses for the summer'. 15 But though the Isle 
of Wight and the Reverend James White's cottage promised a 
paradise 'cool, airy, private bathing, everything delicious', 16 
within a few weeks the family was shepherded back to the mainland 
to finish the summer at a hotel in the familiar Broadstairs. Dickens 
had found the gentle island climate too enervating for his work 
schedule. 

The following year the schedule became still more rigorous with 
the launching of Household Words, a weekly journal 'designed for the 
instruction and entertainment of all classes of readers'. Henceforth 
Dickens as editor would spend many hours at the headquarters of 
his periodical in Wellington Street. Of this publishing venture and 
W. H. Wills, its assistant editor, Georgina was to hear much in the 
years to come. In charge of production were Bradbury and Evans, 
who had replaced Chapman and Hall as Dickens's publishers, a 
change which was to have family repercussions later. 

In July Georgina, with the help of the governess and nurses, again 



28 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

took charge of the children on their usual holiday in Broadstairs. 
Catherine, now awaiting her ninth child, stayed behind in the less 
riotous atmosphere of Devonshire Terrace, where her mother had 
come to be with her. There Dora Annie was born in August. In the 
meantime, whenever Dickens could escape his duties in London, he 
relaxed at Broadstairs and received guests there. All arrangements 
for their accommodation were turned over to Georgina. 'Write . . . 
to my little housekeeper Miss Hogarth/ he instructed Wills, 'and 
she will expect you.' 17 Now and then, unfortunately, these visitors 
brought vexations. There was the time, for instance, when Forster, 
in e a tip top state of amiability 5 , caused his host to complain: C I 
think I never heard him half so loud(\) He really ... so disordered 
me that by no process I could possibly try, could I get to sleep after 
wards.' Finally Dickens was forced to pace about the house until 
five, having got Georgina up for company. 18 

During the Broadstairs holiday, Sydney, now three years old and 
his father's special pet, delighted his Aunt Georgy by his curious 
unchildlike habit of pausing in his play, cupping his tiny hands 
under his chin, and casting a faraway look over the ocean. At such 
times a film seemed to pass over his eyes, as if Dickens laughingly 
suggested he were entertaining a 'clear vision of futurity'. Subse 
quently Sydney was known as 'Ocean Spectre', rendered in baby talk 
as 'Hoshen Peck'. 19 

Soon after this seaside holiday Georgina was introduced to a great 
country house, Knebworth, Bulwer-Lytton's Hertfordshire estate, 
when Dickens accepted an invitation to bring an amateur troupe 
there to present Every Man in His Humour before a county audi 
ence. Knebworth, with its magnificent galleried banqueting hall the 
full height of the house, was an ideal place for a theatrical produc 
tion. Here, surrounded by old leather, tapestries, armour, stained 
glass, colourful banners, and burnished plate, 20 Georgina might 
gratify whatever antiquarian and luxurious tastes she possessed. 
Lord Lytton himself she found a match for the grandeur of his estate. 
Lounging in his gorgeous Oriental robes and smoking chibouks, 21 
this slender, hook-nosed dandy shared Dickens's love for the flam 
boyant and the dramatic. He shared, too, something of Dickens's 
creative talent and his vanity. These resemblances, combined with 
Lytton's cordial regard and admiration for her brother-in-law, were 
enough to charm the young guest. The man whom Carlyle described 
as 'tragic-gawky', whom Henry F. Chorley considered a glossy, 
'thoroughly satin character*, 22 Georgina found magnetic. He in turn 
responded with gallant and lasting affection for this girl who was 
only half bis age. 



The 'Little Housekeeper' 29 

Assembling a cast for Lytton's dramatic festival, Dickens assigned 
to Georgina the part of Mistress Bridget, whose wooing and marriage 
climax the play. Addressed to her in the fourth act was an apropos 
line to delight possibly all but Georgina herself: 'You are ripe for a 
husband; and a minute's loss to such an occasion, is a great trespass 
in a wise beauty'. The speech may have elicited some banter at 
rehearsals, particularly if anyone suspected that Georgina was the 
object of a growing romantic attachment on the part of Dickens's 
painter friend, Augustus Egg, A.R.A., also a member of the cast. 
Sensitive, rather small in stature and delicate in health, this talented 
bachelor of thirty -four had the instincts and tastes of a gentleman. 
Having inherited a comfortable fortune from his father, a London 
gunmaker, he li ved independent of his art, occupying his own attrac 
tive home, Ivy Cottage, in Bayswater. 23 But it was not he who 
played the part of Georgy's stage lover on this occasion. Though he 
was frequently to appear in Dickens's theatricals, it was invariably 
in such minor roles as Cob, a water-bearer in the Jonson comedy. 

To Catherine also went a -minor role, that of Cob's wife Tib, 
involving few speeches longer than 'What say you, sir?* But as the 
production shaped up, poor Catherine, whose clumsiness had irri 
tated Dickens as early as the American tour, fell through a stage 
trap door at the London rehearsals and sprained her ankle. The 
situation, if not the ankle, was eased when Mrs. Mark Lemon went 
to Georgina to offer herself as a substitute. A few days later Dickens 
assured Bulwer-Lytton that his 'unfortunate other half' would 
nevertheless be in the audience, having planned to travel to Kneb- 
worth c in the brougham, with her foot upon a T/ 24 

During October and the first half of November Georgina prepared 
and rehearsed not only her role in Every Man in His Humour, which 
continued for the three nights of the festival, but also two roles in 
the farcical afterpieces : Constance in Animal Magnetism for the first 
night and Miss Knibbs in Turning ike Tables for the last two nights. 
In Dickens's judgment she 'covered herself with glory' in her main 
role of Mistress Bridget. 25 

In January she had a chance to appear again in Animal Magne 
tism, for Dickens, exultant over the recent triumph at Knebworth, 
needed no urging to stage his amateur theatricals at Rockingham 
Castle in Northampton, the seat of his friends the Honourable and 
Mrs. Richard Watson. Catherine, her ankle healed, was cast as Lady 
Clutterbuck in a short piece whose title, Used Up, made a wry com 
mentary on her own state. Dickens also appeared in this comedy, 
opposite Mary Boyle, the sprightly niece of Mrs. Watson. Thence 
forth they were to address each other by their stage names : he would 



30 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

always be her 'Joe', she his 'darling Mary 3 . 26 With Mary Boyle, 
seventeen years her senior, Georgina was to form a lifelong tie based 
on their shared idolatry of Dickens. 

Though Catherine was ever fond of the theatre, she seems not to 
have entered happily into the group at Rockingham Castle nor, 
perhaps, into that at Kneb worth. On the brink of a nervous collapse 
and pathetically insecure as to her own charms, she may have 
resented the mock flirtation between her husband and the talented 
niece of her hostess. By March she was suffering from e an alarming 
disposition of blood to the head, attended by giddiness and dimness 
of sight', 27 a disorder not entirely new to her and more mental than 
physical, her husband stated in letters to Dr. James Wilson of Great 
Malvern, to whose care she was entrusted. Anne Brown, her depend 
able maid, was sent to Malvern to 'take some cheerful cottage or 
house', Dickens assuming from the experience at Rockingham Castle 
that his wife would not adjust contentedly to the proffered lodging 
under Dr. Wilson's roof. 28 Georgina then accompanied her sister to 
the spa, where Catherine began the prescribed 'vigorous discipline of 
exercise, air, and cold water'. 29 

Their absence from London just then was unwelcome to both. 
For Georgina it meant interrupting a fascinating task just begun 
that of amanuensis to Dickens, who was using his spare time to 
write A Child's History of England, dedicated to his own offspring 
in the hope that it might induce them 'by and by, to read with 
interest larger and better books upon the same subject'. 30 (From 
this work the children and their aunt must have absorbed the 
author's highly subjective notions of English monarchs : Henry VIII 
was a 'blot of blood and grease on the History of England' ; James II 
had 'a remarkable partiality for the ugliest women in the country' ; 
and the entire Stuart line was 'a public nuisance altogether.') 31 For 
Catherine the stay at Great Malvern meant leaving little Dora Annie, 
only seven months old and frail from birth. 

Some four weeks later the Malvern sojourn was interrupted by 
upsetting news: Dora Annie, though not 'in the least pain' and 
appearing as if 'quietly asleep', had been stricken by grave illness 
so stated a note from Dickens. Catherine was entreated to 'come 
home with perfect composure', remembering her duty to the rest of 
the children, even should she find on returning to London that the 
baby was dead. 32 Upon reaching Devonshire Terrace, she and 
Georgina learned that Dora Annie had died of convulsions in her 
nurse's arms the night before Dickens had chosen to break the news in 
this diluted form. Catherine bore the shock well and seemed quite 
resigned, though her nervous malady continued for some weeks. 33 



The 'Little Housekeeper* 31 

As the melancholy winter of 1851 brightened into spring, plans 
were afoot that would set Georgina in the more ample environment 
suited to Dickens's growing prestige. The expanding family needed 
a larger home than Devonshire Terrace, sublet now as their summer 
holiday began at Broadstairs. In September, when his twelve-year 
lease would expire, Dickens hoped to have a new dwelling ready for 
occupancy. After several unsuccessful attempts at house hunting he 
learned that his artist friend Frank Stone was vacating Tavistock 
House in the Russell Square vicinity. Following a thorough 
inspection of the place by his sister Letitia's husband, Henry Austin, 
Dickens bought the three-story building and immediately launched 
extensive alterations. 

As late as October these 'convulsions of repairing' were still going 
on, while Georgina and the children waited at Broadstairs until the 
completion of a 'pigeon-hole or two into which they [might] creep'. 
By this time Catherine was back in London, occasionally inspecting 
the remodelling and, her husband quipped, 'gradually falling into fits 
of imbecility' and getting herself 'all over paint 5 as though she were 
'somehow useful' in that condition. 34 

Georgina, banished with the children to Broadstairs, had seen 
little of Tavistock House while the transformation was in progress. 
But what she saw when she returned to London in November 
delighted her. Not even the garden had been overlooked, having 
been redesigned, drained, and stocked with flowers and shrubs. 
Some of these looked hauntingly familiar as, indeed, they were ; 
for Dickens had gone back to Devonshire Terrace with a gardener in 
September to see whether the shrubs could not be transplanted. *I 
put them there,' he told Wills, 'and I don't want to leave them 
there.' 35 Such practicality and thrifty concern for Ms just rights 
were Dickensian qualities which Georgina took increasing note of 
and had already begun to cultivate in herself. 

As she stepped into the entrance hall, newly extended to the rear 
of the house, there stood the marble bust executed from Maclise's 
portrait of Dickens in his twenties. (Just so Charles had looked 
while dancing the hornpipe in her father's drawing-room that 
summer evening in 1835.) Everywhere paintings, engravings, 
bas-reliefs, mirrors, new curtains, and carpets 'on a scale of awful 
splendour and magnitude' graced the house. 35 

Even the bathroom was a model of careful planning. As Dickens 
had specified in his detailed instructions to the architect, the water 
closet was partitioned from the rest of the room, for he could not 
have endured the 'enforced contemplation of the outside of that 



32 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

box' while taking his morning shower. As for the bath itself, he had 
devised a shower-tub combination, enclosed by 'light, cheerful- 
coloured water proof curtains'. 37 

Also bearing the original stamp of the owner was the study. The 
door leading from it had been ingeniously faced with simulated 
shelves and dummy bookbacks to give the impression of a continuous 
wall of -books. For these pseudo- volumes Dickens had playfully 
devised such titles as History of the. Middling Ages, The Quarrelly 
Review, Jonah's Account of the Whale, King Henry the Eighth's 
Evidences of Christianity, and (hi twenty-one volumes) the History 
of a Short Chancery Suit* B The sumptuousness of this room led 
George Eliot to remark sarcastically: 'Splendid library, of course, 
with soft carpet, couches, etc., such as become a sympathizer with 
the suffering classes. How can we sufficiently pity the needy unless 
we know fully the blessings of plenty? 539 It was here that Georgina 
resumed her secretarial role whenever Dickens was in the mood to 
relax from the arduous composition of Bleak House by pacing up 
and down the carpet, dictating A Child's History of England. 

As she took up her residence at Tavistock House, it was in a 
position markedly different from her earlier one in those first days 
at Devonshire Terrace. Then she had been a mere girl, the children's 
playmate. !Now she was a poised young woman of twenty-four. 
Already largely in charge of the household, she was unconsciously 
training for the years when she would generally be recognized as 
Dickens's hostess. 

Perhaps it was fear of being superseded as mistress of her new 
home which led Catherine to assert her worth by publishing under 
the pseudonym of Lady Clutterbuck (borrowed from her role in Used 
Up) a slim octavo volume listing the menus once served at Devon 
shire Terrace and giving some of her favourite recipes. Entitled 
What Shall We Have for Dinner?, the little book in its blue and tan 
marbled covers appeared near the close of 1851 under the imprint 
of Bradbury and Evans, Dickens's own publishers. Was Catherine 
perhaps hoping to prove to her husband that she could be creative 
in her own right aside from bearing children? Or had the strain of 
marital insecurity driven her for consolation to a preoccupation 
with menus and recipes? Or did she choose thus to remind Charles 
that he had once found pleasure in her domestic endeavours? Wist 
fully her preface declares that 'attention to the requirements of his 
[Sir Joseph Clutterbuck's] appetite secured me the possession of his 
esteem to the last'. 

If the menus and recipes are any indication, Dickens's digestive 
powers were truly phenomenal, as doubtless were those of many 



The 'Little Housekeeper' 33 

Victorians. Combinations of mashed and browned potatoes and 
macaroni, topped off with breads, rice pudding, and the ubiquitous 
toasted cheese, would daunt the hardiest glutton today. Though the 
title page states that the bills of fare are planned to serve from two 
to eighteen persons, in general a larger number of guests results 
merely in the addition of more dishes to an already staggering menu. 
The overladen meals were, of course, only in keeping with the heavy 
diet of the times. But some of the dinners assembled in the Clutter- 
buck opus strike the reader as odd for any period : for instance, one 
listing three separate broccoli dishes. Too, more than one of the 
'receipts' could have led to culinary disaster. One wonders about 
the results achieved by the trusting amateur who followed implicitly 
the directions for rice blancmange : 'Boil rice in milk, put it into a 
mould, and let stand until cold 3 . No sweetening, no seasoning, no 
specified proportions! Perhaps Lady Clutterbuck was more adept at 
supervising such dishes than in recording the methods of prepara 
tion. If not, it was well that her sister had taken over the practical 
side of the household. 

If Dickens examined his wife's effort at authorship, his orderly 
soul must have been dismayed by the volume's slipshod organiza 
tion. Though the bills of fare are arranged according to the months 
in which they are to be served, the recipes appended in a final section 
do not follow the order of the corresponding dishes in the menu 
section, nor do they follow any other logical scheme entrees, 
sweets, sauces, and soups being jumbled together indiscriminately. 

Having concluded her one publishing venture, Catherine returned 
to her familiar role. On 13 March 1852 Dickens announced to 
Wills: 'I am happy to say that Mrs. Dickens is just confined with a 
brilliant boy of unheard-of-dimensions'. 40 Writing to William 
Howitt six days later, he was less elated, doubting whether he had 
'particularly wanted' the infant, but admitting the possibility 'that 
he is good for me in some point of view or other'. 41 The new boy, 
christened Edward Bulwer Lytton, was later nicknamed 'The 
Plornishghenter'. He was the tenth and last child. With him 
Catherine had tied her mother's record for fertility. 

Once life at Tavistock House had resumed its normal routine, 
Dickens withdrew to his study and concentrated on Bleak House, the 
first number of which had gone to press shortly before the baby's 
arrival. As he had already done with Agnes Wickfield, so he again 
modelled a heroine on Georgina. Industry, self-sacrifice, and warm 
affection being the qualities which he repeatedly attributed to his 
sister-in-law, he bestowed them liberally on Esther Summerson. 
But, having chosen to make his heroine a compound of these virtues 



34 Gfeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle, 

and having at the same time chosen to make her the narrator of her 
own story, he was compelled, unwittingly, to create a prig who pro 
claims her own merits and records the good opinion in which others 
hold her, affecting all the while an irritating meekness in striving 'to 
be useful to some one in my small way'.** The high spirits, the 
natural lapses into indiscretion, the slight touch of malice in mimick 
ing the idiosyncrasies of others none of the human traits which 
made Georgina so amusing and congenial a companion were allowed 
to taint Esther's perfection. 

Yet, if one discounts the note of false humility, Esther hears 
undoubted resemblances to her prototype. Like Georgina, she is 
the constant companion of those younger than she and assumes 
responsibility in moulding them. 'I . . . was very soon engaged in 
helping to instruct others,' she explains. I had plenty to do, which 
I was very fond of doing, because it made the dear girls fond of 
me. . . . They said I was so gentle. ... I often thought of the resolu 
tion I had made on my birthday, to try to be industrious, contented, 
and true-hearted, and to do some good to some one, and win some 
love if I could.' 43 This attitude prompts Esther's guardian to declare 
that her life must not be devoted entirely to others, a sentiment 
which echoes Dickens's own as he half-guiltily deplored Georgina's 
dedication to his own family. 

Like Georgina, Esther has a talent for home management. Iden 
tified throughout the novel with her little basket of housekeeping 
keys, she makes methodical notes on her slate about jams, pickles, 
preserves, bottles, glass, and china, and demonstrates her 'capacity 
for the administration of detail'. 44 Grateful to his 'little house 
keeper' for providing him with the antithesis of the chaotic Jelly by 
menage, Dickens might well have addressed her under cover of 
Skimpole's words to Esther: 'You appear to me to be the very 
touchstone of responsibility. When I see you . . . intent upon the 
perfect working of the whole little orderly system of which you are 
the centre, I feel inclined to say to myself in fact I do say to 
myself, very often that's responsibility!' 45 



Chapter Four 
; THE SKELETON ... IN THE CUPBOARD' 



GEORGINA was proud of her nieces and nephews. The older children 
were maturing fast: Charley, now fifteen, was at Eton; Mamie, 
reserved and attractive, displayed considerable poise at fourteen; 
and vivid Katey, almost thirteen, had been enrolled at nearby Bed 
ford College to cultivate her talent for art. 1 Of the younger contin 
gent, only eight-year-old Frank, afflicted with a decided stammer, 
gave his elders anxiety. Every morning Aunt Georgy sent him to the 
study, where his father read him a passage from Shakespeare and 
made him repeat it many times, distinctly and slowly. 2 

The years that had seen the children developing had marked 
Timber, too. Now in his chimney-corner decline, he usually sat with 
his bowed forelegs wide apart and his venerable 'head apparently 
nailed by the left ear to the kitchen door'. 3 But no such placidity 
had overtaken his master. Georgina had observed the growing ten 
sion, the restless energy Charles poured into his work, travel, and 
even play. His amateur theatricals especially had cost him endless 
pains ever since his 1845 promise of 'merry rehearsals innumerable*. 4 
From that year, when Georgina had helped by taking over the 
billing of the actors for their share of expenses in the production at 
Miss Kelly's Theatre, 5 she had been involved in these frolics in 
various capacities. Whether she was mere spectator, musical 
accompanist, secretary in charge of invitations, or actress, she might 
also expect to be responsible for finding neighbourhood lodgings for 
an actor's family, or for keeping sufficient steak and 'an extra 
morsel of Fish' on hand for the diners that rehearsals brought to the 
Dickens table. 6 

On a few occasions she accompanied the amateurs on provincial 
tours. It had been delightful to find bouquets waiting for her and 
Catherine and the actresses of the troupe at the hotel in Manchester 
when Every Man in His Humour and The Merry Wives of Windsor 
had gone on tour in June of 1848. The air of expectancy and the 
generous applause there and at Leeds and Birmingham had been 
exhilarating. 

Again in August of 1852 she and Catherine had accompanied the 



36 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

troupe and shared the gaieties when Lytton's Not So Bad As We 
Seem was touring to build up a fund for the Guild of Literature and 
Art. Whether or not the sisters knew it at the time, they were part 
of an uncomfortably jittery audience at Sunderland. The new hall 
had been rumoured unsafe, and Dickens had taken care to place 
them near an exit. The anxiety proved unjustified, but every round 
of applause with its vibrations had strained his nerves. 7 

Young Charley, who shared the family enthusiasm for the stage, 
began with his birthday that year an annual custom in which Aunt 
Georgy was ever to assist with gusto: the annual Twelfth Night 
theatricals in the schoolroom at Tavistock. Of these celebrations, 
none was more hilarious than the third, hi 1854. The children and 
their friends, with Dickens as director and manager and composer 
of the incidental lyrics, acted a revised version of Fielding's Tom 
Thumb. The hit of the show was the author's namesake, Henry 
Fielding Dickens s not yet five, who toddled through the title role, 
piping the songs with Auntie's assistance. 8 'Miss Hogarth will pre 
side in the orchestra [at the piano],' announced the programme, 
handsomely printed in red, green, and gold. 9 

She was to provide the accompaniment again the following 
Twelfth Night when the young people presented Planche's Fortunio 
and His Seven Gifted Servants, in which Dickens himself and Mark 
Lemon, the children's fat 'Uncle Porpoise', took part. Lighthearted 
captions in bold type announced the cast, including Harry, 'who 
created so Powerful an Impression last year* ; Katey, 'who declined 
the munificent offers of the Management last season'; and 'Mr. 
Plornishmaroontigoonter [Edward, not quite three], who has been 
kept out of bed at a vast expense'. Charley was billed as returned 
'from his German engagements'. (He had been studying German in 
Leipzig in preparation for a mercantile career.) After the perform 
ance a supper, followed by Scottish reels and country dances, finished 
the evening. 10 At such revels Auntie loved watching her young 
nieces whirling about in their best sashes and white satin slippers, 
and she took care that shy little girl guests were not neglected. 
Years later Anne Thackeray still remembered how Mamie and 
Katey's Aunt Georgy had seen to it that she and her younger sister 
had dancing partners. 11 

The next Tavistock theatricals, in June 1855, promoted Georgina 
from 'the orchestra* to the stage. The play was The Lighthouse, a 
melodrama by Wilkie Collins, now one of Dickens's most intimate 
friends. Georgina played the shipwrecked Lady Grace, a secondary 
character. She was also cast in the farcical afterpiece, Mr. Night- 
ingale's Diary , as Susan. 12 The Lighthouse commanded professional 



'The Skeleton . . . in the Cupboard' 37 

sets by Stanfield, including a seascape backdrop. Equally realistic 
were the sound effects for the first act : wind, rain, thunder (on sheets 
of iron) all were there, and so were lightning flashes and blown sea 
spray (handfuls of salt thrown through the open window by Stanfield , 
stationed in the wings). 13 

In October of 1856 Georgina began rehearsing for another of 
Collins's melodramas, The Frozen Deep, designed to open as part of 
the next Twelfth Night celebration and to continue for three per 
formances thereafter: 8th, 12th, and 14th of January. Every 
Monday and Friday evening, for ten weeks, the cast worked on the 
melodrama and the two comic afterpieces, Animal Magnetism and 
Uncle John. Georgina took a role in all three: Lucy Crayford, a 
minor part in the main play; Jacintha in Animal Magnetism-, and 
Niece Hawk in Uncle John. December seemed 'one long rehearsal'. 
Dickens was everywhere, checking costumes and scenery, suggest 
ing stage business, interpreting lines. 14 And everywhere, on stage 
and off, was Georgina. For, ever since Catherine's activities had been 
mainly reduced to childbearing, she had largely assumed the direc 
tion of the household staff. Rehearsals on the current scale com 
plicated her domestic routine considerably, what with the stage 
carpentry, scene painting, and dressmaking going on, and actors 
and workingmen being boarded on the premises. 15 

At least a month before the performance Georgina was busy send 
ing out invitations, approximately two hundred handwritten notes, 
many of them composed especially for the recipients. For example, 
her message to Sir Joseph and Lady Olliffe in Paris suggested that 
certainly they would not mind the short journey over to London, 
and added that two seats would be reserved for the night of their 
choice. 16 

To crown all her footlight appearances, Georgina played before the 
Queen the following July. In the months after the January theatri 
cals Dickens had sunk into intermittent periods of moodiness. But 
now, conceiving the idea of repeating The Frozen Deep as a benefit 
for the widow of the journalist Douglas Jerrold, he could escape from 
the canyon of gloom by his customary route. Applied to for a sub 
scription to the Jerrold fund, Her Majesty made it clear that, to 
forestall a deluge of similar appeals, she never patronized benefits for 
individuals. But she wished to see the play and asked Dickens to 
bring his troupe to Buckingham Palace. He thereupon insisted that, 
since his family had not been presented at court, he preferred not to 
take his ladies there *in the quality of actresses*. Queen Victoria 
acknowledged the validity of his objections and accepted his invita 
tion to a private presentation for herself and a court party on 4th 



38 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

July at the Gallery of Illustration in Regent Street. 17 This was to 
be followed by public benefit performances on the llth, 18th, and 



At the end of April Georgina plunged into rehearsals that con 
tinued throughout May and June. On the night of the dress rehear 
sal, when the actresses were a perfect blaze of colour', she initiated 
the costumes designed for her (with fond care, one may assume) by 
Augustus Egg, whose sketches for the garments of the entire cast 
had been followed so minutely that not a 'pocket-flap or a scrap of 
lace' but was executed c to the quarter of an inch'. Katey, almost 
eighteen now, had supplemented the drawings by detailed written 
instructions to her dressmaker for a white silk creation to be worn 
with 'a very handsome lace tucker' and a voluminous red scarf in 
'soft net, not spotted'. 19 

The command performance turned out happily, and Georgina was 
overjoyed to report that the Queen and her party 'made a most 
excellent audience; so far from being cold, as was expected, they 
cried and laughed and applauded and made as much demonstration 
as so small a party (they were not more than fifty) could do'. 20 
Both Her Majesty and the Prince Consort had laughed at Augustus 
Egg's comic bit about seasickness. Since there had been some 
qualms over this scene, its reception as one of the hits of the after 
piece had come as a relief. 21 

As absorbing to Georgina as the theatricals, as necessary to 
Dickens in providing an escape from private tensions, were the 
public benefit readings from his own books, a venture begun early 
in 1854. The previous November she had received his bid to attend 
the premiere performances : 'I suppose you won't object to be taken 
to hear them?' 22 Between Christmas and the New Year, therefore, 
she and Catherine accompanied him to Birmingham, where he gave 
three readings of A Christmas Carol for the benefit of a new working- 
men's institute. He was so elated with the response, particularly 
from the third night worMng-class audience, that he felt as if he and 
they 'were all bodily going up into the clouds together'. 23 Thereafter 
Carol readings became an annual affair. Not alarmed as yet over 
such exhausting expenditures of energy, Georgina could feel a surge 
of mi mixed pride in this new achievement. 



Between 1853 and 1856 Georgiaa spent three summers and a 
winter in France with the family. By these further Continental 
sojourns Dickens was seeking to divert his mind from domestic fric 
tion and free his body from the strain of multiple exertions. These 



'The Skeleton . . . in the Cupboard' 39 

had so reduced his vitality by early June of 1853 that he succumbed 
easily to exposure in a chill hailstorm. While he convalesced and 
hatched plans for a change of scene, Georgina helped with his per 
sonal correspondence for a few days. Fervent was her relief when 
she could report that the patient, after being cupped, was pro 
nounced by the doctor 'most decidedly and greatly better, thank God!' 24 

The ensuing change of scene gave her a blissful summer on the 
surface, at least among the terraced rose gardens surrounding 
the hillside Chateau du Moulineaux in Boulogne. 25 She rejoiced in 
the exploratory tours and the bracing walks which soon rejuvenated 
Dickens. Only she and Mary Boyle during a visit could match his 
sustained speed. 26 

The following June she was again in Boulogne, living in a delightful 
house on the hilltop. A high point of her summer was the illumina 
tion of the town in honour of the Prince Consort's visit. On the 
appointed night she stationed herself at a front window as did 
seventeen others of the household, including guests and servants 
and waited for Dickens's dinner-bell signal. In one moment, as all 
their lights flared up simultaneously, the house became a sparkling 
beacon to be admired from miles away. 27 

In autumn of the following year Georgina was back in France 
again. (Her parents had been temporarily installed at Tavistock to 
keep house for Charley, now a clerk in Baring's Bank at 50 a year.) 28 
While Catherine and the children waited at Boulogne, she went on to 
Paris to find a house for the family. It was a season when dwellings 
were scarce and rents exorbitant, 29 but with the help of Lady 
Olliffe, wife of the physician at the British Embassy, and after 
various bafflements, Georgina found quarters on two floors of 'a 
Doll's house 5 at 49 Avenue des Champs Ely sees. Dickens, who 
joined her to complete the rental arrangements, cautiously wrote to 
prepare Catherine for the worst as well as the best features of the 
place. 30 The drawbacks of the ill- ventilated, neglected rooms (only 
'larger than meat safes') had been apparent to Georgina on her first 
night's occupancy with Dickens and the servants. 'Oh it's dreadfully 
dirty,' she had complained to her brother-in-law, routed out by her 
restless prowling. 'I can't sleep for the smell of my room.' The next 
day he convinced the proprietors of his aversion to dirt and cajoled 
them into 'offering new carpets (accepted)' and 'embraces (not 
accepted). . . / 31 

With the reunited family soon settled in the sweetened and refur 
bished abode, Georgina took up her old pastime of walking through 
the Paris streets with Dickens in all weathers. Mud-spattered to the 
eyebrows at times, she presented 'a turned-up nose ... in the midst 



40 Georgina Hogarth and the DicJcens Circle 

of splashes, . . . nothing more'. 32 If she shopped with him, it was to 
find the name of 'Monsieur Dickin' well known to tradesmen 
(through the current serialization of Martin Chuzzlewit in the 
Moniteur). One day she had a chat with a man who had delivered 
some vases to the family apartments. He declared himself a regular 
reader of Monsieur Dickin, whose characters he found 'si spirituelle- 
ment tournes! 3 especially Mrs. Todgers: Ah! Qu'elle est drole, et 
precisement comme une dame que je connais a Calais!' 33 

At this time Alfred, Frank, and Sydney were attending an English 
school in Boulogne. When eight-year-old Sydney had joined the 
older two, his father had given the headmaster special instructions 
not to put the boy 'back into strokes', as he had already "'learned 
from his Aunt to write very well' and had even carried on e a large 
imaginary correspondence with scores of people'. 34 

The three boys being still in Boulogne the following June, the 
Dickenses and Georgina came over to join them for the summer. 
Walter, on holiday from Wimbledon, and the Boulogne boys all 
brought away prizes from school. 'In honour of these achievements,' 
wrote the proud father to Miss Coutts, c we have made rejoicings with 
five franc pieces, running matches, and cricket ditto.' But in spite 
of vacation and scholastic glory, discipline was not relaxed. The 
boys had to keep their bedrooms scrupulously neat and clean. 'Each 
in his turn is appointed Keeper for the week,' explained Dickens, 
e and I go out in solemn procession (Georgina and the Baby [Edward, 
Tlorn'] as we call him forming the rest of it) three times a day, 
on a tour of inspection.' 35 Georgina, twenty-nine now and solidified 
in the Dickens mould, needed no such expeditions to form her char 
acter and habits. Whatever taint of Hogarth carelessness she might 
have been born with had been irretrievably dissipated. 

For all an outsider could see, the Dickenses' life in Boulogne was 
idyllic. The garden was pure enchantment: the sweet pea blossoms 
swayed on seven-foot vines, the honeysuckle was a delicate cascade 
of fragrance, roses and a hedge of giant geraniums almost hid the 
house. Supplied by all this bloom, Mamie daily improved her talent 
for flower arranging. 36 The younger children, too, seemed busy and 
happy. Benign matrons, observing their devotion to their charm ing 
aunt, might have beamed to reflect on her probable destiny with a 
brood of her own. 

Such thoughts had haunted her brother-in-law for some time now. 
Three years earlier, when he had toured Italy and Switzerland with 
Wilkie Collins and Augustus Egg, he had sprinkled a letter to 
Georgina with praise of the artist : e an excellent fellow and full of 
good qualities', 'a generous and staunch man at heart', a person 




}25 - 




'The Skeleton . . . in the Cupboard 1 41 

with 'a good and honourable nature 5 . 37 Dickens's motive must have 
been quite transparent, for these remarks followed by little more 
than a week a pointed observation to Catherine : ' A general sentiment 
expressed this morning, that Georgina ought to be married. Perhaps 
youll mention it to her!' 38 

But Georgina had already dismissed any idea of becoming Mrs. 
Augustus Egg of Ivy Cottage, perhaps as long ago as 1850, when she 
had sat to the painter for the attractive circular portrait which 
shows her in profile demurely bending over her sewing. Though she 
had refused him, they had remained good friends. Dickens had not 
tried to influence her, he declared to Miss Coutts, but had only urged 
her to 'be quite sure that she knew her own mind'. He admitted the 
desirability of a match with a painter of established reputation 
though, to be sure, Egg was not her intellectual equal. But then, 
not one man in five was, for she had one of the 'most remarkable 
capacities' he had ever known and was, moreover, 'one of the most 
amiable and affectionate of girls'. Having confessed this much, 
Dickens unburdened himself further: 'Whether it is, or is not a pity 
that she is all she is to me and mine instead of brightening up a good 
little man's house where she would still have the artist kind of life 
she is used to, about her, is a knotty point I can never settle to my 
satisfaction. And I have been trying to untwist it in my mind on the 
road here, until it will persist in ravelling itself out on this paper.' 39 

A little later, friends, solicitous for Georgina's happiness, wished 
that a match might be made with another painter, William Mulready, 
B..A. Gentle, personable, and dependable, he had no enemies. He 
was, moreover, on good terms with the family. It is likely, though, 
that the faultless Mulready, another 'good little man', seemed too 
bland a dish beside Dickens's spice. At any rate, the well-wishers 
were to be disappointed: Mulready remained a bachelor, Georgina 
a spinster. 40 

Was it attachment for her brother-in-law that made Georgina 
reject Augustus Egg and any suitor who may have followed him? 
There is no evidence that she thought of Dickens with romantic 
ardour. If she knowingly hid any such love in her heart, sublimating 
it in sisterly devotion and service, she naturally would not have 
confessed it. Modern psychology tends, of course, to find in sex, con 
scious or not, the only drive powerful enough to motivate such life 
long obsession as this woman's. But of psychoanalysis she lived and 
died unaware. For Georgina Hogarth it sufficed that Charles Dickens 
was the major planet in her sky, and she, his satellite, had to move 
in an orbit fixed by his. 

As for her idol, quite aware of his compelling personality, did he 



42 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

ever suspect his 'best and truest friend' of more than sisterly love? 
If so, he may have furnished a hint of it through the parallel with 
Agnes Wickfield, who long hid her love under the cheerful guise of 
friendship. Near the end of Coppeirfield, hut before the culmination 
of its unconvincing romance, the obtuse David tells Agnes that there 
is about her 'something inexplicably gentle and softened . . . ; some 
thing that might have been sorrowful in some one else 5 , but that in 
calm, cheerful Agnes does not seem so. He then goes on to say that 
he believes her able to remain for a lifetime 'faithfully affectionate 
against all discouragement'. 41 Dickens could manoeuvre his plot so 
that Agnes's love should not remain unrequited but, not being him 
self disposed to fall in love with her kind, could hardly have done as 
much for Georgina Hogarth, had her secret heart matched Agnes 
Wickfield's." 



The decade of the 1850's, for all her pride in the children and 
Dickens's expanding fame, for all the thrills of foreign residence, was 
an uneasy time for Georgina. The marital discord that had begun 
soon after Mamie's birth 43 was growing more and more menacing. 
The roster of Catherine's inept and careless acts, each petty in itself, 
had so lengthened with the years that her husband's jangled nerves 
were now raw. Governing his own life by 'habits of punctuality, 
order, and diligence', as he had pointed out in Copperfidd^ Dickens 
could not tolerate the lack of these qualities in anyone, much less in 
his wife. Nor could he endure her plaintive reproaches or her passi 
vity. Finally, his very intolerance of her burdened him with guilt, 
as did fathering such numerous progeny on a woman with whom 
he declared himself completely incompatible. 45 

In the uncomfortable position of a buffer between the two, 
Georgina tried alternately to reduce friction and to conceal it. Often 
Catherine tearfully inisted that she wished to leave the house and 
live apart, but Georgina 'remonstrated, reasoned, . . . again and 
again to prevent a separation'. 46 This she had good cause to do, for 
not only would such an event mean public disgrace and all the usual 
miseries of a broken home ; for her it would mean a painful choice, 
either alternative fraught with woeful consequences. 

Even under the delights and diversions of Paris raced the under 
current of vexation. In this perturbed time not even Georgina was 
exempt from her brother-in-law's carping displeasure. During one of 
his London visits he expected word from her about accommodations 
in Paris for Wilkie Collins. Her letter was not forthcoming. Since 
it^was his birthday Dickens must have felt doubly neglected. His 



'The Skeleton . . . in the Cupboard' 43 

failure to get the expected information, he complained to Catherine, 
had made him look rather foolish' in not being able to tell Collins 
'what had been done for him in the way of quarters'. The foreign 
post had just arrived, he went on, and still no letter from Georgina. 
'I cannot conceive what she has been about', he growled. 47 But 
Georgina had written, as he discovered after dinner when two letters 
from her arrived together. 'Take the, Pavilion' he advised her tersely 
in regard to Collins's accommodation. A day later he wrote quite 
casually about his activities, completely ignoring his pique of the 
previous afternoon. 48 

Georgina, acutely sensitive to his moods, would have understood 
his agitation during this period : his feverish exertions in the amateur 
theatricals and the benefit readings, and his fanatical need for the 
long, exhausting walks were clearly a desperate attempt to ignore 
the domestic situation. Some years later he was to write her a letter 
admitting that this had indeed been the case: 1 feel that if I had 
not been reading . . .,' he confessed, 'I never could have borne the 
marriage, and should have excused myself somehow'. 49 

In his hypersensitive state he held his mother-in-law in perennial 
disfavour. When, during the summer of 1854, she decided on sudden 
impulse to take out life insurance, he famed in a letter to Georgina 
at the 'desperation' of Mrs. Hogarth's 'imbecility' and her impracti- 
cality in taking such a step, ridiculously expensive for a sixty-one- 
year-old woman in poor health. 50 The frankness of his remarks 
hints that he guessed what side Geo"gina would take in the event of 
an open rifb. Apparently the crack in ohe Hogarth family solidarity 
had already begun. 

Especially keen was his irritation on visiting the Hogarths at 
Tavistock House while they were making a home there for Charley. 
Unwell and probably never a fastidious housekeeper, Mrs. Hogarth 
had allowed dust to accumulate till it lay an inch thick* on the 
floor. Only when Dickens remonstrated with her did conditions 
improve somewhat. And there were also her unpaid bills at the 
apothecary's for medicines and attendance. Without mentioning 
the matter to any of the family, he settled the account. 51 As the 
time drew near for the Eogarths to leave, Dickens could not 'bear 
the contemplation of their imbecility any more 1 . For some months 
he had been 'dead sick of the Scottish tongue in all its moods and 
tenses'. The sight of his father-in-law at the breakfast table, he 
complained to Wills, had 'undermined' his 'constitution'. 52 

Once the house was his own again, Dickens and the butler 'wal 
lowed in dust for four hours', getting it in order for the return of the 
family from Prance. In the meantime Georgiaa had discovered that 



44: Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 
they would all need new passports and had set about getting them. 
The Tavistock purification rites completed, Dickens reported to his 
wife that he had 'made a very different place of that establish 
ment '53 

It was only natural, indeed inevitable, that the Eogarths' ways 
should have intensified his dissatisfaction with Catherine, to whom 
he transferred some of his resentment. Unreasonably depressed, 
often sleepless, frustrated in his attempts to get on with his work, 
he found no solace in his wife, in whom he seemed to see the placid, 
irresponsible nature of her parents. But repose, even such as theirs, 
he sadly lacked. Yet 'for some men', he wrote to Forster in 1856, 
'there's no such thing in this life', adding with startling frankness, 'I 
find that the skeleton in my domestic closet is beaming a pretty 
big one. . . . ?54 

To Be la Eue the following year Dickens made a similar confes 
sion: 'We put the Skeleton away in the cupboard, and very few 
people, comparatively, know of its existence'. 55 Few did, it was true, 
for the general public still shared the point of view of Mary Howitt 
toward the novelist's home life. Shortly after attending the Twelfth 
Night party at Tavistock House in 1857, she wrote to thank her 
hostess: 1 want to tell you, how inexpressibly beautiful & affecting 
the whole thing was. ... It carried me to such a rich revelation 
altogether of God's best & greatest gifts to humanity the wonderful 
power and talent displayed, & the beauty and grace of all those 
lovely young people, your children.' The climax of this well-meant 
tribute was an ironic note that must have made Catherine wince: 
'I cannot imagine human felicity greater than yours, my heart 
thanked God for you, & still does, & I think of you and yours as 
being supremely crowned with the blessings of God's love. Of course 
I include Miss Hogarth in the lovely family group, where she seems 
like another daughter/ 56 

Under the necessity of keeping the cupboard door shut on the 
skeleton, Dickens found a safe outlet for misery in the memorandum 
book where he had begun in 1855 to keep germinal ideas for his 
stories. 'A misplaced and mis-married man', reads one of the earlier 
entries; 'always, as it were, playing hide and seek with the world 
and never finding what Fortune seems to have hidden when he was 
born 1 . Even more desperate was his cry some pages later- 'WE 
fettered together'. 57 

* * * 

Chafing under the fetters in February, two days after his forty- 
third birthday, Dickens was arrested by a hauntingly familiar hand 
writing as he thumbed through some mail just delivered. It was the 



'The Skeleton . . . in the Cupboard' 45 

hand of Maria Beadnell, now Mrs. Henry L. Winter. Through his 
mind surged tender memories of his early love affair. 'Twenty years 
vanished like a dream, 5 he wrote to her. In a sentimental glow he 
made plans for an early meeting. He would have Mrs. Dickens call 
and invite the Winters to dinner. But before the proposed reunion 
took place, there were more letters. He was ecstatic, eloquent, nos 
talgic. No one could ever know the heartache that youthful separa 
tion from Maria had caused him. What had become of the bundle of 
letters returned at her request? He remembered tying it with a blue 
ribbon to match her gloves. 'I have never been so good a man 
since/ he assured her, 'as I was when you made me wretchedly 
unhappy. I shall never be half so good a fellow any more.' Had she 
recognized glimpses of herself while following the story of Dora in 
Copperfieldt Perhaps she had even laid the book down to reflect, 
'How dearly that boy must have loved me, and how vividly this 
man remembers it!' 58 

But all too quickly came the jarring realization that the image 
treasured these many years in memory did not match the reality. 
Loath to make their first meeting a conventional visit between the 
two families, Dickens and Mrs. Winter arranged, at the latter 7 s sug 
gestion, a prior rendezvous alone. So after a long interval David 
again beheld his Dora. Gone was the apparition he had cherished so 
faithfully the lovely creature in a raspberry-coloured dress trimmed 
in black velvet. In her place a shapeless, simpering middle-aged 
woman, ridiculous in her affected artlessness, unbearable with her 
interminable prattle. All the rapture evoked by Mrs. Winter's first 
note gave way to bitter disillusion. Thereafter he evaded her per 
sistent overtures. If she suggested further meetings, he doubted that 
he could be at home. If she accused him of avoiding her, he pleaded 
his work, insisting that a writer must surrender himself wholly to 
his art. When he answered her importunate correspondence, it was 
with matter-of-fact notes. These, he told her, would of necessity be 
'miraculously few' and laudably short'. 69 And therewith he turned 
the main responsibility for the correspondence over to his sister-in- 
law. It was not the first time that irksome duties had been palmed 
off on Georgina. 

To her, therefore, fell the courtesy of thanking Mrs. Winter for 
her 'most valuable' suggestions just before Walter had sailed for 
India on 20 July 1857. (Now aged sixteen, he had completed his 
training at Wimbledon and had been nominated, through Miss 
Coutts's influence, to a cadetship in the East India Company.) Mrs. 
Winter, to keep affection warm, had written Dickens to urge that the 
young traveller be supplied with flannels and medications. Georgina 



46 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

assured her that this counsel had been of 'essential service 5 , for 
curiously enough, the need for quinine and the like had not occurred 
to e his father, who generally thinks of everything!' She included an 
account of the sad trial of parting, when Walter had broken down 
on taking leave of his mother, his sisters, and her. But Dickens and 
Charley, who had accompanied him to Southampton, had reported 
him not c so much cut up again'. Bather, he had been e set up' by 
the comfortable accommodations of his ship, the captain's person 
ality, and the presence of an old school fellow on board. 'This is all 
very cheering, is it not? and reconciles us very much to the separa 
tion, 5 Georgina assured Mrs. Winter. 'Please God he may keep his 
health and do well!' 60 

A month later the shattered dream image of Maria Beadnell was 
replaced by the tangible charms of a slight, graceful girl who began 
rehearsing for the Manchester performance of The, Frozen Deep. 
Feeling that Georgina and his other feminine amateurs lacked the 
vocal power needed to fill the huge Manchester Free Trade Hall, 
Dickens had found professionals for their parts, engaging at the 
suggestion of Alfred Wigan, manager of the Olympic Theatre, a 
Mrs. Ternan and her daughters, Maria and Ellen. 61 It was the blonde 
Ellen Lawless Ternan, assigned to Georgina's role of Lucy, who 
attracted Dickens and brought the skeleton out of the cupboard. 
Only eighteen, Katey's age, she soon entered upon terms of lifelong 
cordiality with Georgina Hogarth. 



Chapter Five 
'NO OTHER WAY OUT' 



THE Manchester engagement and Dickens's subsequent tour of the 
Lake District with Wilkie Collins gave Georgina an interval of relief 
from the bickering of the fettered pair, an interval in which to think. 
Summering at Gad's Hill, the country place which Dickens had 
bought the previous year, she meanwhile received regular and 
lengthy accounts of the travellers' adventures. But for Catherine no 
letters came not even perfunctory greetings. Her name was not 
included in the closing formula: 'Love to Mamie, Katey, Charley, 
Harry, and the darling Plorn'. The letters were otherwise quite 
Dickensian in their humour and descriptive detail, even in then- 
note of annoyance with Collins : C I am perpetually tidying the rooms 
after him. . . .' Dickens's own fastidious quarters Georgina was 
asked to imagine as 'airy and clean . . . , perfect arrangement, and 
exquisite neatness'. 1 

With Charles back again after his two-week tour, she felt the 
shadow of his dark moods fall once more. Though she had done her 
best to reconcile him to Catherine, she was now beginning to agree 
with hi that harmony was impossible. Earlier that month he had 
unburdened himself to Forster, confessing that with each year the 
marriage became harder to bear for both Catherine and him. He 
assumed his share of the blame: 'There is plenty of fault on my 
side ... in the way of a thousand uncertainties, caprices, and difficul 
ties of disposition. . . .' Again at the end of the month: Tcor 
Catherine and I are not made for each other, and there is no help 
for it'. What a tragedy that he had ever met her and kept her from 
marrying 'another kind of man'! He knew she would be sympathetic 
if he were ill, but with his recovery the old barriers would rise 
between them. . . . Nothing on earth could make her understand 
me, or suit us to each other.' 2 

As if to underscore the hopelessness of their life together, he made 
. the wall between them tangible in October. From the country 
retreat he wrote Anne Brown (now Mrs. Cornelius), for many years 
their trusted servant, instructing her to have his dressing-room con 
verted into a separate bedroom. The opening between it and 



48 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Catherine's room was to be closed off with a plain white door, with 
specially built bookshelves in the recess. A small iron bedstead, 
already ordered for his use, would be delivered before he returned 
to London. He asked Anne to give these alterations no publicity, as 
he preferred not to have them discussed by 'comparative strangers'. 3 
These instructions were carried out while the Hogarths were once 
more living at Tavistock, thus presumably with their knowledge. 4 

But the new sleeping arrangements did not free Dickens from the 
conviction that he and his wife would know only misery as long as 
they lived under one roof. From Catherine came dark suspicions, 
bitter tears, recriminations as she heard her husband's name linked 
with Ellen Ternan's. She could not accept his explanation that this 
was only an older man's innocent attraction to girlish charms. 
Recalling her fury and ugly accusations in Italy thirteen years 
before, Dickens poured out his fresh woes to De la Eue: 'Between 
ourselves, ... I don't get on better in these later times with a certain 
poor lady you know of, than I did in the earlier Peschiere days. 
Much worse. Much worse!' Nor could she get on with the children, 
he added, no, not even with herself. He mocked at her suspicions: 
'She has been excruciatingly jealous of, and has obtained positive 
proof of my being on the most intimate terms with, at least fifteen 
thousand women of various conditions in life, since we left Genoa. 
Please to respect me for this vast experience. 5 Were it not for 
Georgina, he insisted, he and the two girls could not have man 
aged. 'She is the active spirit of the house, and the children dote 
upon her.' 5 

So Georgina continued to preserve the household routine. At 
least there would be order, whatever the subsurface tensions. But 
an oppressive atmosphere hung over Tavistock House. Christmas 
1857 passed without the usual festivities: there were no parties, no 
dinners, no ensuing Twelfth Night theatricals to plan for. The 
shadow 'of change impending' lengthened into spring. In a welter of 
wretchedness Dickens confessed to Wilkie Collins that he could 
neither work nor rest, that he had 'never known a moment's peace 
or content, since the last night of The Frozen Deep'. 6 

In another such escape to his admiring public, then, lay his only 
hope of relief. On the 29th of April, at St. Martin's Hall, he accord 
ingly embarked on a new venture, a series of readings, not for charity, 
but for his own profit. The response was tremendously gratifying. 
But even as he glowed from this public triumph, the private torment 
became intolerable. The rupture had to come at last. 

It was probably precipitated by Catherine's jealousy of Ellen 
Ternan. When a bracelet purchased for Ellen was delivered by 



'No Other Way Out' 49 

mistake at Tavistock House Dickens was known to reward his 
actors with shirt studs and the like, and his actresses with similar 
personal mementoes Catherine exploded. So did her mother. 
Unmindful that her son-in-law had made possible her extended stays 
in luxurious Tavistock, had helped her husband to a position with 
the Daily News, had paid her medical bills, Mrs. Hogarth denounced 
him and demanded that Catherine be given her freedom and a settle 
ment. After a half-hearted effort to avoid a public break, Dickens 
agreed. Forster, as his representative, and Mark Lemon, as Cath 
erine's, were to work out the details. Legal technicalities were to be 
handled by Dickens's friend and solicitor, Frederic Ouvry, and by 
Catherine's solicitor, George F. Smith. 7 

In May Georgina, firm in her determination to remain in the rela 
tionship to which she had already 'sacrificed the best part of her 
youth and life', 8 was constantly stung by the reproaches of her 
parents and her younger sister Helen, who regarded her decision to 
stay with Dickens as an outrage against the bonds of kinship. Worn 
by the long conflict in loyalties, she could hardly have borne these 
weeks had it not been for the heartening devotion of her nieces and 
nephews and of their father, when she saw him at all. (During 
the negotiations he had taken refuge in his living quarters at the 
Household Words office.) 9 The situation eased only a little when Mrs. 
Hogarth took Catherine down to Brighton, where the final document 
of separation was presented for her signature early in June. 10 

While the details were being worked out, Dickens felt that he 
owed an explanation or defence to a few close friends. To Miss 
Coutts he wrote that he and his wife had e been virtually separated a 
long time'. Catherine was the only person, he maintained, with 
whom he could never establish enough common interests for 'com 
municating'. Moreover, the children felt no affection for their 
mother, for she had 'never played with them in their infancy, never 
attracted their confidence as they have grown older. . . .* Even 
Mamie and Katey, for all their tender natures, had 'their hearts shut 
up in her presence as if they were closed by some horrid spring'. 
What had. happened, he firmly believed, could be clear only to 
'Georgina, who has seen it grow from year to year, and who is the 
best, the most unselfish, the most devoted of human Creatures'. But 
Mary Hogarth, who had seen it all begin, had 'understood it ... 
well in the first months of our marriage'. 11 

Most of the explanations showered on Dickens's friends were less 
revealing than this and referred to the trouble only as general incom 
patibility. Certainly a major source of dissatisfaction had been his 
wife's scant interest in supervising her home. (More than supervisory 



50 Georgina Hogarth cmd the Dickens Circle 

duties were not required of her nor, for that matter, of Georgina.) 
Catherine's record of ten confinements and several miscarriages had 
not exempted her from censure on this score, for her lethargy had 
distressed her husband long before she had borne the last of her 
children. It may be that Dickens's natural love for tidy efficiency 
had grown to fanatic proportions in order to counterbalance his 
wife's slipshod ways. Possibly his repeated insistence on domestic 
competence in his heroines (Little Nell, Agnes Wickfield, Esther 
Summerson) was an indirect, though not unconscious, way of 
prodding Catherine to recognize her own lacks. 

A similar covert effort to awaken her to a realization of her short 
comings may be suspected in a letter from Genoa five years before 
the separation. His friend Gibbs's wife, Dickens told her, 'never 
reads, never works, never talks, never gives an order or directs 
anything, has only a taste for the Theatre . . . and buying clothes 3 . 12 

Dickens may have resorted to still another indirect method 
of moulding his wife's character, the kinder and more subtle way of 
flattery, such as one might use with a child. Just affcer the havoc of 
the Tavistock House remodelling, when his impatience with Cath 
erine's clumsy helplessness on the premises had been ill concealed 
by levity, he had written her, 'I am continually thinking of the house 
in the midst of all the bustle, but I trust it with such confidence to 
you that I am quite at my ease about it'. 13 But he was dealing with 
refractory clay, and no method, direct or indirect, served to remould 
it nearer to the heart's desire. 

Besides and it was another irritation to the trim and agile 
husband there was literally too much of that clay! Accustomed to 
the accepted practice of eating for two during her pregnancies, 
Catherine did not drop the habit (a comforting one, no doubt) 
during the brief interims. She had consequently grown fat and 
florid before she was forty, and must have presented a somewhat 
comical figure riding in her carriage, the 'little pill-box on wheels 
which staggers about town with Mrs. Dickens', her husband quipped 
to Leigh Hunt. 14 

Another source of dissatisfaction was Catherine's mediocre intel 
lect. JSTot that Dickens required, or even admired, a bookish or 
highly intellectual woman. Nor would the Inimitable have relished 
matching wits at his own fireside with, for example, a keen and 
caustic Jane Carlyle. He needed, rather, a gentle worshipper, but 
one whose mind would respond with real appreciation to his. Cath 
erine did not fit comfortably into his literary and intellectual circle. 
Of her he could never have felt as he did of Georgina that her 
happiness required her having e the artist kind of life she is used to' 




ELLEN TERXAN 

Enthoven Theatre Collection, Victoria and 

Albert Museum 





CATHERINE DICKENS CHARLES DICKENS 

Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery 



'No Other Way Out 9 51 

about her. She had no qualities to advance him in that group ; hers 
was a 'weak hand that could never help or serve [his] name'. Those 
of his circle who regarded her affectionately were prone to mix a 
pitying indulgence with their kindness for 'poor Mrs. Dickens'.^ 
But no one, certainly not her husband and sister, ever saw her faults 
as other than negative and congenital. 

Meanwhile, as the lawyers worked out the deed of separation which 
would banish Catherine and make her sister mistress of the home, 
Georgina marshalled her reasons for remaining. Though not unaware 
of the cost, she would hardly have debated her decision. Once plastic 
enough to be moulded by Dickens, she was now too firmly set to be 
shaken from the mould by parents, sisters, friends. Moreover, she 
liked it too well. As 'the active spirit of the house', she was exercising 
natural aptitudes developed during a sixteen-year training period. 
Far more than Catherine she was suited to administer the home of a 
distinguished author. Furthermore, she was sincerely attached to 
the children and they to her. They needed her, and no hired gover 
ness or nurse, however devoted and capable, could give them the 
counsel, companionship, and security of permanent affection they 
derived from her. 

And she had to remember the financial aspect. Charles had pro 
vided for her generously, amply repaying her services to him and his 
family. But if she were to withdraw from his house now, he could 
hardly be expected to make a settlement on her as well as on 
Catherine. As for her father, a year's bill for her bonnets and crino 
lines alone would have staggered him. Only four months earlier 
Catherine had confessed to Miss Coutts that he had been unable to 
assist her unemployed brother Edward. 16 Besides, if Georgina were 
to return to the home of her parents, who had relinquished her at 
age fifteen, it would be to enter an atmosphere hostile to Dickens. 
Unthinkable! 

Of course, she might seek to earn her own independent living. But 
how was a spinster of thirty-one, a gentlewoman, to support herself? 
She might, perhaps, become a governess; for such a position her 
experience in teaching the Dickens children to read and write would 
have trained her. Her general background and her proficiency in 
French and simple Italian would also have fitted her for this useful, 
almost menial, place in some household one perhaps inferior to that 
in which she had, except nominally, long been mistress. Another 
unthinkable solution. 

Marriage might provide a blameless exit from the dilemma, but 
at her age a Victorian woman, particularly a penniless one, found 
opportunities limited. To be sure, Egg had once proposed to her and 



52 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

might yet think fondly of her as still in youthful bloom, but it is 
doubtful whether he or any suitor could win her affection now. 
Dickens was her bright particular star. Dazzled by his radiance, 
she had from the beginning chosen her orbit and was henceforth not 
to be moved from it. 

So all the arguments, selfish and unselfish, favoured her remaining. 
Loyalty to the tearful, ineffectual sister facing exile did not deter her. 
Since there are those who judge Georgina Hogarth to have been an 
unnatural traitor to the ties of blood, one may raise the question of 
wh6 would have benefited had she chosen to go with Catherine. Not 
Dickens, or his children, or Georgina herself probably not even 
Catherine, in any lasting or significant way. (Though she would 
undoubtedly have taken comfort at the time in being vindicated by 
all her immediate kin.) It would appear that the sisters, though 
never on unamiable terms, were not really companionable. And 
Catherine's mild psychotic disturbances, which she herself recog 
nized as connected with the conditions of her marriage, 17 made her 
pitiably difficult at times. If Dickens's statement can be credited, 
her mother, her sister Helen, and the younger brother could not have 
lived contentedly with her, nor she with them. It was 'her misery 
to live in some fatal atmosphere which slays every one to whom she 
should be dearest 3 . 18 Restricted to the sphere of Catherine's mental 
and physical lethargy and self-pity, Georgina's active spirit could 
only have wasted into useless discontent, with her sister none the 
happier for the sacrifice. 

In May the strange terms of the legal agreement were completed. 
Catherine was to have 600 a year and a place of her own. Charley 
would live with her, the others with their father, but she was to see 
them whenever she chose. Through her representative, Lemon, then 
through Forster, then Ouvry, the word reached her husband that 
'Mrs. Dickens thankfully accepts the proposal'. 19 

Many another woman, being as blameless a wife and mother 
blameless in any legally admissible sense, that is would have 
demanded the custody of her children. That Catherine did not 
attempt to do so may be further testimony to the emotional torpor 
of which her husband accused her. As she had unprotestingly 
yielded her body for over twenty years, so she now yielded her chil 
dren. As the mactive spirit of the house, perhaps she had neither 
the desire nor the energy to wrest the care of her offspring from the 
capable hands of her sister. But if her love for the children was list 
less, it may also have been generous enough to wish them in better 
hands than her own. 

So it was no objection from Catherine which delayed the signing 



'No Other Way Out' 53 

of the deed of separation. Just as negotiations reached the final 
stage, Dickens was furious to learn that Mrs. Hogarth and her 
daughter Helen had circulated 'smashing slanders' about him. The 
stream of gossip flowing from their original remarks soon divided 
into two main channels: an affair with an actress, an affair with his 
own wife's sister! Thus the Hogarths had unwittingly aimed their 
shafts at a member of their own family. To be sure, they disapproved 
of Georgina's unconventional position in Dickens's home after the 
rift, but their accusations had never gone beyond mere folly and a 
'mistaken sense of duty'. Certainly they had not intended to com 
promise her character in a public scandal. But the Georgina rumour 
spread. Thackeray heard and denied it at the Garrick Club. To his 
mother he ruefully explained how his impulsive denial of the one 
intrigue had only confirmed the other: 'No says I, no such thing 
it's with an actress. . . .' A day or so later he called on Catherine 
Dickens 'poor matron after 22 years of marriage going away out 
of her house!' The visit persuaded him that there was indeed some 

'row' or other involving the sister, but 'nothing against Miss H 

except that she is the cleverer & better woman of the two, has got 
the affections of the children & the father 5 . 20 

To Dickens it was unthinkable that the rumours should go unchal 
lenged. He demanded that Mrs. Hogarth and Helen sign a statement 
retracting their charges. But he did not c in the least suspect' his 
pathetic wife of any connection with the scandal, he told Ouvry, 
adding, 'It would be a pleasure to her (I think) to know that I had 
begun to trust her so far; and I believe that it would do her lasting 
good if you could carry that assurance to her'. 21 To the Hogarths he 
made a threat: no signed retraction, no generous settlement for 
Catherine. With the negotiations thus in jeopardy, George Hogarth 
tried his hand at mediation. In a statement prepared by Catherine's 
lawyer and forwarded to Ouvry, he denied that his family had ever 
had any part in the gossip about Georgina: e l can have no difficulty 
or hesitation in assuring you that the report that I or my wife or 
Daughter have at any time stated or insinuated that any impro 
priety of conduct had taken place between my Daughter Georgia-na 
[sic] and her Brother in Law Mr. Charles Dickens is totally and 
entirely unfounded. 

'It is of course a matter of grief to us that after the unfortunate 
differences which have arisen between my daughter Mrs. Charles 
Dickens and her husband, my daughter Georgiana [sic] should 
remain with his family but while we regret what we regard as & 
mistaken sense of duty we have never for one instant imputed to her 
any improper motive for so doing.' 22 



54 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

But this statement did not satisfy Ouvry. In the first place, no 
one suspected mild George Hogarth of circulating rumours of any 
sort; his signature, therefore, was not required. A proper retraction 
would have carried the signatures of Mrs. Hogarth and Helen, who 
had initiated this scandal. Furthermore, it was Ellen Ternan against 
whom their gossip had really been directed, but the retraction 
ignored that aspect of the case. Last of all, Ouvry pronounced the 
charge against Dickens and Georgina to be of such a 'disgusting and 
horrible nature' that it should not 'be distinctly written down' in any 
statement intended for circulation. 23 (Md-nineteenth- century Eng 
land looked with pecular horror on intimacy with a wife's sister, such 
a relationship still being regarded legally as incest.) 

The only acceptable statement, then, would be a blanket retrac 
tion couched in such general terms as would clear Dickens as well 
as Georgina, Ellen, or any other woman who might be accused. 
Drafted by Ouvry and altered by Dickens, such a statement was for 
warded to Mrs. Hogarth and Helen for their signatures : 'It having 
been stated to us that in reference to the differences which have 
resulted in the separation of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens, certain 
statements have been circulated that such differences are occasioned 
by circumstances deeply affecting the moral character of Mr. Dickens 
and compromising the reputation and good name of others, we 
solemnly declare that we now disbelieve such statements. We know 
that they are not believed by Mrs. Dickens, and we pledge ourselves 
on all occasions to contradict them, as entirely destitute of founda 
tion.' 2 * 

Then Dickens, taking a very high-handed attitude toward the 
signers and Catherine's solicitor as well, refused to assent to the 
latter's proposal of a simultaneous exchange of the Hogarth state 
ment for the deed of separation. Instead, as 'a simple act of justice', 
he demanded the retraction first : *I must have that paper at once. 
I must have it in the course of Monday or not at all'. 25 George Smith 
complied, reasonably pointing out that he had not intended to bar 
gain, but had merely considered it proper to retain the paper till the 
completion of the separation details. 26 

The deed of separation at last delivered to Catherine on 4th June, 
Georgina had to weather Dickens's continued campaign to undo the 
damage to his reputation and hers. His action took the bold course 
of appealing directly to his public with an analysis of the domestic 
crisis and a strong denial of all unsavoury gossip. The statement 
drafted, he sent it to Catherine for her permission to publish, adding, 
'I earnestly hope that all unkindness is over between you and me*. 27 
Catherine obligingly gave her consent. 



'No Other Way Out' 55 

On 7th June, accordingly, The Times, under the heading PEB- 
SOXAL, carried Dickens's account of the separation as an amicable 
settlement of a 'sacredly private' trouble, perfectly understood by 
his own children. He denounced the 'whispered rumours' as 'most 
grossly false, most monstrous, and most cruel', and concluded with 
this warning : * . . . Whosoever repeats one of them after this denial, 
will lie as wilfully and as foully as it is possible for any false witness 
to lie, before Heaven and earth.' 28 The same statement came out 
five days later in his own Household Words. On that same day, 
oddly enough, it was carried in the paid advertisements section of 
the Halifax Guardian, 29 the weekly paper edited long ago by George 
Hogarth. Had Dickens himself inserted it, possibly with the inten 
tion of undermining any sympathy which the community might 
have felt for one of its former prominent families? He had even 
tried to publish his proclamation in Punch, an odd place for such a 
communication, as Editor Mark Lemon and its proprietors, Brad 
bury and Evans, pointed out. Eesenting their refusal to print it, 
Dickens broke off the long intimacy with Lemon and all relations 
with Bradbury and Evans, his own publishers. The latter rupture 
was especially awkward because Evans's daughter Bessie and 
Charley Dickens, who had grown up together, were planning to be 
married. 

The result of the proclamation, printed on both sides of the 
Atlantic, was to arouse wild speculation in circles that had hitherto 
known nothing of Dickens's domestic crisis. Readers were mysti 
fied: What was the 'sacredly private nature' of the trouble? What 
'monstrous lies' had been circulated? Who were the 'innocent per 
sons' compromised? Many doubted the propriety of such a public 
appeal. The idol of the English hearth had violated its standards of 
decorum. 30 

Having addressed the wide world, Dickens did not cease to shower 
his friends with explanations. Defending himself for having publi 
cized his intimate affairs, he wrote Macready : 'The question was not 
myself; but others. ^Foremost among them of all people in the 
world Georgina! Mrs. Dickens's weakness, and her mother's and 
her youngest sister's wickedness, drifted to that, without seeing what 
they would strike against though I had warned them in the 
strongest manner.' 31 To Tagart he expressed the hope that he might 
'live to be good and true to my innocent people who have been 
traduced along with me'. 32 With his Swiss friend Cerjat he took a 
tone of self-pity, of aggrieved tolerance for the 'knaves and fools' who 
had maligned him, philosophically declaring, 'And I hope that my 
books will speak for themselves and me, when I and my faults and 



56 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

virtues, my fortunes and misfortunes are all forgotten'. He con 
cluded with a word on his new domestic arrangements: Mamie 
would keep house, assisted by Katey 'and her Aunt Georgina, who 
is, and always has been, like another sister'. 33 

But far more detailed than any of these accounts was the one he 
sent to his reading manager, Arthur Smith, even before the June 
proclamation. In it Georgina's past and present position was clearly 
defined: 'Nothing has, on many occasions, stood between us and a 
separation but Mrs. Dickens's sister, Georgina Hogarth. From the 
age of fifteen, she has devoted herself to our home and our children. 
She has been their playmate, nurse, instructress, friend, protectress, 
adviser and companion. ... I do not know I cannot by any stretch 
of fancy imagine what would have become of them but for this 
aunt, who has grown up with them, to whom they are devoted, and 
who has sacrificed the best part of her youth and life to them. 3 * 

e . . . Mrs. Dickens has often expressed to her her sense of her 
affectionate care and devotion in the home never more strongly 
than within the last twelve months. 

'For some years past Mrs. Dickens has been in the habit of repre 
senting to me that it would be better for her to go away and live 
apart. ... I have uniformly replied that . . . the children were the 
first consideration, and that I feared they must bind us together "in 
appearance". 

'At length ... it was suggested to me by Forster that even for their 
sakes, it would surely be better to reconstruct and rearrange their 
unhappy home. 3 

In the future, Dickens explained, all the children but his eldest 
son were to live with him, c in the continued companionship of their 
Aunt Georgina, for whom they all have the tenderest affection that 
I have ever seen among young people, and who has a higher claim 
(as I have often declared for many years) upon my affection, respect 
and gratitude than anybody in this world'. 

The statement closed with an avowal of the innocence of Ellen 
Ternan (unnamed), a 'virtuous and spotless creature . . . pure, and 
as good as my own dear daughters*. Attached was a copy of the 
retraction signed by those 'two wicked persons', Mrs. Hogarth and 
Helen. Arthur Smith, was urged to show the entire communication 
*to any one who wishes to do me right, or to any one who may have 
been misled into doing me wrong'. 35 

Smith thereupon felt free to let a New York Tribune reporter see 
the letter. As a result, it was published in the Tribune of 16th 
August, and was soon reprinted in certain London papers. Dickens 
protested at once that he had not sanctioned the publication of this 



'No Other Way Out' 57 

'private repudiation of monstrous scandals' and directed Ouvry so 
to assure Catherine's solicitor. To Georgina, whom he kept posted 
on the whole affair, Dickens shortly sent word that her sister's legal 
representative had written 'a very good note about that published 
letter: saying that he was much obliged by the assurance that I had 
not sanctioned its publication, but that it was quite unnecessary to 
him, as he had been quite certain of that, from the moment when he 
saw it'. 36 Feeling that he had vindicated himself, Dickens thereafter 
referred to this unauthorized publication as 'The Violated Letter'. 
Curiously, the same issue of the Tribune that had printed the letter 
carried an editorial chiding him for continuing to issue public 
denials of the charges against him: 'One more uncalled-for letter 
from Mr. D. will finish him', the piece concluded. 37 

Georgina herself added to the stream of explanations that went 
forth, for to her naturally fell the task of breaking the news of the 
separation to Maria Beadnell Winter. She did so in a letter strikingly 
similar in substance and phrasing to portions of Dickens's unfor 
tunate one to Arthur Smith, a communication which antedated hers 
by six days. 'Believe me,' she pleaded, 'when I assure you that I am 
perfectly convinced that this plan will be for the happiness of all. I 
worked hard to prevent it, as long as I saw any possibility, but 
latterly I have come to the conviction that there was no other way 
out of the domestic misery of this house.' The chief blame she placed 
on Catherine: 'Unhappily ... by some constitutional misfortune & 
incapacity, my sister always from their infancy, threw her children 
upon other people, consequently as they grew up, there was not the 
usual strong tie between them and her in short for many years, 
although we have put a good face upon it, we have been very miser 
able at home. [These remarks are supported by what Katey, as an 
adult, is said to have told a friend: namely, that her mother "was 
heavy and unregardful of her children."] 55 

e My sister has often expressed a desire to go and live away, but 
Charles never agreed to it on the girls* account but latterly he 
thought it must be to their advantage as well as to Ms own and 
Catherine's, to consent to this and re-model their unhappy home/ 

In giving Mrs. Winter a summary of the reorganization of the 
household, Georgina took special care to clarify Charley's position. 
He was going to live with Catherine c at his father's request, and not 
taking any part or showing any preference in doing it. . . .' (This 
was a sore point with Dickens, who had that very day set John 
Leech straight on the matter by sending him Charley's own protest: 
'Don't suppose that ... I was actuated by any feeling of preference 
for my mother to you. God knows I love you dearly, and it will be 



58 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

a hard day for me when I have to part from you and the girls. 5 ) 39 

In explaining the new domestic arrangements, Georgina did not 
assume the honours of Tavistock House for herself. Mamie, as the 
eldest daughter, she made clear, would naturally take 'her mother's 
place as mistress of the house'. Though Mamie and Katey and she 
were to work together, 'all the dignity will be Mary's [Mamie's], 
and she will do the honours modestly gracefully & prettily'. 

Such a drastic change in their household, Georgina admitted, 
would generate wild speculation. ' . . . Charles is too public a man 
to take such a step without exciting a more than usual nine days' 
wonder and we have heard of the most wonderful rumours and 
wicked slanders which have been flying about town. . . .' He wished 
a few of his 'real friends' to know the truth, she concluded, so that 
they might prove their loyalty by silencing lies with facts. 

In making this oblique appeal to Mrs. Winter to take up the 
cudgels for Dickens, Georgina must also have been aware that her 
own unconventional position would call forth public disapproval. 
Even the American press was to condemn her. A typical rebuke 
appeared in Harper's Weekly for 27th July: 'To make the affair still 
more notorious, a young lady, Mrs. Dickens' sister, has undertaken 
to "keep house" for Dickens and his daughters. The whole affair is 
very repugnant to our idea of matrimonial constancy. . . .' And 
Gail Hamilton added this tart comment: 'England is beating her 
obstinate head against marriage with a deceased wife's sister, but 
here it is the living wife's sister superseding the living wife. . . ,' 40 

So the blighted home was still not free from tension in the weeks 
after Catherine had put on her bonnet to walk for the last time down 
the stairs and through the long corridor, where stood the marble 
bust of her youthful bridegroom. Georgina continued to be the butt 
of scandal. As long as the newspapers only reported current opinion 
as such, Dickens had no power to silence them. But when Conn Rae 
Brown, a proprietor of the Glasgow Daily Bulletin, was accused by 
one of his writers of having declared Dickens to be e the outcry of 
London', where it was said that his 'sister-in-law had three children 
by him', then the situation called for prompt legal action. On threat 
of suit from Dickens's solicitors, however, Brown insisted that he 
had been misrepresented, claiming to be a warm and devoted 
admirer of the novelist. He had only 'heard a very malicious report 
in London', he protested, had 'questioned the truth of it', and had 
rejoiced to find it unsupported. Convinced, perhaps, that a lawsuit 
could produce only doubtful results, Dickens appears to have 
dropped the case. At any rate there is no record of any action. 41 

During the turbulent aftermath of the separation, Catherine 



l No Other Way Out* 59 

Dickens withdrew quietly to her new quarters at 70 Gloucester 
Crescent, Regent's Park. Thanking Moss Coutts in May for her kind 
ness, she added in a wavering hand, 'One day though not now I may 
be able to tell you how hardly I have been used'. 42 It may be that 
she did confide in Miss Coutts during that first agitated summer. If 
so, the reversal of her husband's softened attitude toward her during 
the separation negotiations becomes plausible. For in August he 
assumed a deeply injured tone when he wrote of Catherine : c As to 
Mrs. Dickens' s simplicity in speaking of me and my doings, O my 
dear Miss Coutts do I not know that the weak hand that could never 
help or serve my name in the least, has struck at it. ... I want 
to communicate with her no more. I want to forgive and forget 
her/ 43 

He carried out his threat. After the year of their separation he 
wrote Catherine only three times terse, impersonal notes. When 
she addressed letters to him, he turned them over to Georgina, 
declaring, e lt is my fixed purpose ... to hold as little personal com 
munication with her as I possibly can'. As for her daily practical 
and personal problems, he was determined that she must work them 
out alone. 44 He was indeed trying to forget. But to forgive the 
woman he had injured may have been, in the manner of human 
nature, more difficult. 

In spite of rebuffs, Catherine followed the accounts of his new 
books, his reading tours, the dramatic adaptations of his novels. A 
note to her from the manager of the Olympic Theatre shows that 
she was offered a box for the first performance of Damd Copperfidd 
in 1869. And when the adaptation of Dombey and Son was pre 
sented in the Old Globe Theatre three years after Diekens's death, 
she was there, moved to tears. That she continued to read his 
serial publications is borne out by her request to Chapman and Hall 
while Our Mutual Friend was making its appearance: *Will you with 
your usual kindness to me send me my husband's new periodical as 
it comes out each month'. 45 

She bore her banishment with dignity, leaving no record of resent 
ment, no record of jealousy of her sister. Jealous though she had 
been at various times of different women, she seems to have shown 
no resentment toward Georgina, perhaps having the feminine 
instinct to discern how completely unloverlike was her husband's 
attachment to this sister. As for losing the affection of her children 
to Georgina, the first pang if such there was of that loss would 
have passed long since. But she must have felt abandoned. Even 
her faithful maid, Anne Brown Cornelius, who had cared for her for 
sixteen years 'like a poor child', 46 had resigned the charge. And when 



60 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

it appeared that Catherine might have the companionship of a son 
at least, Charley left her first on a business trip to China in 1860, 
then to start a home of his own. And so the last twenty-one years 
of *a certain poor lady 5 (as Dickens had called her in 1857) were 
empty ones, except for invitations from a few sympathetic friends 
and occasional visits from her children, her sister Helen, and, 
beginning in 1870, from Georgina. 



Chapter Six 
'A PLACE TO REPOSE IN' 



WITH gossip rife during that painful summer of 1858, Georgina 
could not avoid apprehension about Diekens's future as a profes 
sional entertainer. Would he be jeered at, derided, hooted from the 
platform? She could find reassurance, though, in the reception his 
St. Martin's Hall audience had given him a few days after the separa 
tion proclamation in Household Words. Bed geranium in buttonhole, 
gloves in hand, he had walked somewhat rigidly on to the stage to 
receive a tumultuous ovation. 1 Under too great a strain, Georgina 
had not dared to be present when he met this challenge. 

She need not have questioned the sequel. Even as scandals multi 
plied to harass him, his provincial audiences thronged the halls dur 
ing the August-November reading tour. Drawn partly by curiosity, 
perhaps, they remained to fall under the spell of a great actor play 
ing many roles, the characters who already lived in their hearts. 
Georgina, summering at Gad's Hill with the children, could tem 
porarily forget her own woes to glory vicariously in Charles's 
triumphs. Reading his ecstatic accounts from Dublin, she learned 
that even the men had wept openly over little Paul Dombey 5 s death. 
And the women had later stormed the platform to collect the crim 
son geranium petals that had showered from his lapel. 2 His equally 
enthusiastic welcome at Manchester three weeks later he chose to 
interpret as 'affectionate recognition of the late trouble. . . .' 3 

Such a heartening reception everywhere was not the only gratifi 
cation. Georgina knew the increasing demands on the household 
budget well enough to understand Charles's elation over his earn 
ings. His August profit alone had been one thousand guineas. 4 The 
audience in industrial Halifax was so responsive that he could have 
read for nothing, he told her, adding reassuringly that he 'didn't do 
exactly that'. The town itself, though, was 'as horrible a place* as 
he had ever seen. But he had found interesting his encounter there 
with a music seller who had once played duets with her father. The 
man had told him much of George Hogarth, Dickens reported, not 
divulging the nature of the information. 5 There was no hint of 
rancour towards his father-in-law, that emotion now being confined 



62 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

to the two Hogarth women, whom he was determined never to 
forgive, 'alive or dead'. 6 

Along with the news of the reading tour Georgina gleaned other 
details of a sort that would henceforth bulk large in Charles's letters 
to her: minute bulletins on his health, vivid bits about people, and, 
always, instructions on the management of affairs at home. She 
must order him a fresh supply of 'Voice Jujubes' and 4 Astringent 
Lozenges'. She must look up the boys' school bill that had somehow 
been neglected. 7 And as she received the regular cheques for her 
household budget, she must see that all obligations were met punc 
tually. Fatigued and hurried though Dickens was while on tour, she 
could always count on his timing the money for her housekeeping 
expenses so that she would have it by Monday. 8 Her personal 
allowance was a separate matter. This was received quarterly. 9 

Interspersed with these practical matters were entertaining pas 
sages, such as the story of how Dickens had tactfully set 'Katey 
quite right' in the matter of an unwanted suitor, Andrew Gordon. 
TTis father, Sheriff Gordon of Midlothian, had, it seemed, shown 
'smirking satisfaction' at the lad's being 'sweet . . . upon a certain 
young lady. . . .' But Dickens had dashed these hopes. . . . The 
difference is so obvious between a boy of 18, and a young woman 
of 19 or 20,' he had told Gordon. 'And I like Andrew so much, and 
should be so heartily grieved if he were to make himself unhappy.' 10 
Auntie doubtless relayed this word to popular Katey, whom she 
chaperoned to balls at Chatham and wherever such attendance was 
required. 

In the autumn Georgina ended her stay in the country. Accom 
panied by her nieces and the two little boys, Harry and Plorn, she 
returned to Tavistock House. (With Charley no longer under that 
roof, Walter in India, and the three middle boys in school 
except during holidays the family had dwindled to four children.) 

Once the crucial year was over, Georgina arranged affairs at Tavis 
tock to accommodate Dickens's new series of London readings and 
his sittings for a portrait by Frith. She and Mamie went with him 
to the studio the first time and stayed the full two and a half hours. 
Both Dickens's friends and the artist would have preferred to see the 
portrait begun several years earlier, before his moustache had 
hidden the sensitive lines of his mouth. They had hoped that the 
'hideous disfigurement' might be only a passing fancy, but when it 
was followed by a chin beard, all felt that the sittings must begin 
at once while there was still some face left to paint. 11 Finished in 
March, the portrait was exhibited that summer at the Royal 
Academy. The demonic pace of Dickens's activities, the steeling of 



'A Place to Repose In' 63 

his heart against Catherine, the strain of facing \vhat followed the 
separation all were mirrored in his painted countenance. The 
beard could not hide the nervous intensity that hurned in the eyes. 
The expression brought an astute comment from Landseer : 'I wish 
he looked less eager and busy, and not so much out of himself or 
beyond himself. I should like to catch him asleep and quiet now 
and then.' 12 Dickens's own reaction was no less discerning: 'It has 
received every conceivable pains at Frith 's hands, and ought on 
his account to be good/ At the same time he noted : 'It is a little too 
much (to my thinking) as if my nest door neighbour were my deadly 
foe, uninsured, and I had just received tidings of his house being 
afire ; otherwise good.' 13 Georgina particularly disliked the portrait. 

One month after the completion of the painting, Dickens's new 
periodical, All the Year Round, appeared to replace Household 
Words, which had been discontinued as a result of the rupture with 
its publishers, Bradbury and Evans. In sympathy with Dickens's 
animosity towards his former publishers (Evans in particular), 
Georgina undoubtedly read with satisfaction his gloating account of 
the clever stratagem by which he had forced the sale of Household 
Wards, only to buy out Bradbury and Evans's one-fourth interest 
himself for a mere 500. Time was never to soften the opinion which 
she had formed of Evans in 1858. In any matter which concerned 
Dickens she could be as inflexible as he. 

And now, this affair settled and the first anniversary of the separa 
tion upon him, Dickens needed to escape from London for the 
summer to concentrate on A Tale of Two Cities, intended for publica 
tion in the weekly numbers of his new periodical. His retreat was 
Gad's Hill, the wholesome, airy haven in rural Kent where Georgina 
had spent the past two summers. It was to be her home for the next 
decade, the richest and most active of her life. Because the family 
had first used it as a summer residence the year before the separa 
tion, Catherine had spent a few months in this rural Eden. At that 
time such a good face was still being put upon the domestic crisis 
that Hans Christian Andersen, visiting Gad's Hill, had seen only 
felicity. Catherine's passive lethargy had impressed him as 'womanly 
repose'. 14 

Dickens had owned the property for three years now. Back in the 
spring of 1856, when Georgina had received his letter announcing 
the purchase, she well knew it to be the fulfilment of a lifelong 
dream. She had often heard the story-book tale : Charles, a little lad 
walking past the impressive red brick mansion on the Old Dover 
Road; his father telling him, 'There, my boy, if you work hard and 
mind your books, you will perhaps one day live in a house like that' ; 



64 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

the successful novelist still thinking affectionately of the house with 
its two ancient cedars of Lebanon across the way. For many years 
he had coveted the place, but it had never been on the market. 
Then had come the miracle. One morning about the middle of 1855 
Wills, his sub-editor, had rushed up to him, exclaiming, e lt is written 
that you were to have that house at Gad's Hill'. Only the previous 
night at a dinner party Wills had learned from a Miss Lynn (the 
authoress known after her marriage as Elizabeth Lynn-Linton) that 
her father, the owner of Gad's Hill Place, had recently died. She 
now wished to dispose of the property. 15 

Though begun at once, negotiations had dragged on for months. 
Before committing himself, Dickens had cautiously set .his architect 
brother-in-law, Henry Austin, to investigating the soundness of the 
house. It was not old, dating from 1779, but required careful inspec 
tion. It also needed considerable equipment and repair. During the 
final haggling over the price, Georgina, then in Paris, had been kept 
informed of negotiations. Knowing Charles's superstition about 
Friday as his lucky day, she must have smiled at his announcement, 
dated 14 March 1856: "This day I have paid the purchase-money 
for Gad's Hi] I Place. After drawing the cheque, I turned round to 
give it to Wills (1790), and said: "Now isn't it an extraordinary 
thing look at the day Friday!" ' 16 

At that time Georgina could not have guessed how much she was 
to love the place, or even that it was to become the family home. In 
spite of his sentiment for the house, Dickens had at first regarded it 
chiefly as an investment. 17 A few months later, however, he had 
become interested in it as a summer retreat, and in 1857 had begun 
the extensive improvements which Georgina was to witness at 
intervals until his death. 

Many of these tedious and costly operations had been carried out 
during the first summer's occupancy. An ample supply of water 
being required by the large household, a deep well had been drilled. 
By means of an ingenious pumping engine, operated by a blind 
folded pony following a circular track, the reservoir to meet the daily 
needs could be filled in twenty minutes. 18 Then the roof had been 
raised to provide more rooms. Dickens had characteristically 
insisted that all remodelling be done 'without pause or postpone 
ment'. The whole business should require only six weeks, he had 
felt. Meanwhile he had begun to collect furnishings. By sending Ms 
servant John to buy them as for himself and permitting him to 
bring them away ignobly, in vans, carts, barrows, trucks, and coster- 
monger's trays', he had cleverly saved a substantial sum. Henry 
Austin had been forewarned that if he should 'meet such a thing 



6 A Place to Repose In' 65 

as a Mahogany dining table or two marble washing-stands, in 
a donkey-cart anywhere, or in a cat's meat cart', he might know 
whose purchase it was. 19 

In that first Gad's Hill summer Frank, Alfred, and Sydney had 
come home from school to stampede in and out with eight-year-old 
Harry. Plorn, only five and still in kilts, had been confined more or 
less to a nursery programme. 'Baby . . . calls "auntie" all over the 
house/ his father had written to Hans Christian Andersen. Of the 
older four he had remarked ruefully to Macready that a trip down 
to Gad's 'for rest . . . means violent cricket with the boys'. 20 

The children had had a chance to watch the fascinating repairs 
for much longer than the six weeks their father had optimistically 
allowed. Endless troubles had developed. First the well had gone 
dry in June and had to be drilled deeper. By August the men had 
still been drilling, at two-pounds-arday wages. Then the drains 
had clogged. The man in charge had pronounced the difficulty to 
be a big pipe meeting a little pipe 'what can't carry it off', with con 
sequent blocking at the elbows. He had advised introducing two 
little cesspools, one at the 'elber', the other at the washers, to receive 
'any sileage as may appear to flow and leave the water free to pass, 
which likeways, if anything should be wrong then, why you only 
takes up a stone or whatever you thinks most proper instead of 
making this here frightful mess'. 21 

By the ensuing June, when Georgina had gone down after Cath 
erine's final departure from Tavistock, Gad's Hi 11 had been in a more 
livable condition. In that most difficult summer she had found balm 
in the country after the estrangement from her family and the expo 
sure to speculative stares from the curious. Dickens had also found 
refuge there. 'The blessed woods and fields', he had written Cerjat, 
'have done me a world of good.' The little estate was, he had told 
Macready, e a place to repose in'. 22 For the boys, of course, repose 
had been the last thing desired. That had been the summer when 
Plorn, promoted to trousers, had joined the lively ranks of the older 
four. Auntie had hoped to delay his debut until his father's return 
from the reading tour, but in September had received permission to 
advance the date: 'My best love to the noble Plornish. If he is quite 
reconciled to the postponement of his trousers, I should like to 
behold his first appearance in them. But, if not, as he is such a good 
fellow, I think it would be a pity to disappoint and try him.' 23 

Though Georgina had received a few sympathetic family friends 
that summer whenever Dickens could spare an interval from London 
before the start of his reading tour, a normal social life did not 
begin until 1859, the following year. Then visitors came and went 



66 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

continually: Wilkie Collins, the Forsters, Mrs. Watson, Lotty White 
(a friend of Mamie and Katey), and others. And though Mamie bore 
the title of hostess, it was Georgina who took over the details of 
hospitality. 

A guest coming by train from London could make the journey, 
less than thirty miles, in about an hour. At the little station of 
Higham-by-Rochester, he might be met by his host's basket carriage 
drawn by the pony Newman Noggs, whose harness bells tinkled 
merrily as he trotted the one-and-a-half miles to the house. Some 
times a 'trim, sparkling, slap-up Irish jaunting-car' , bought in Bel 
fast to 'astonish the Kentish people', would meet the train. (Ill- 
natured gossips, sneering at Dickens's vanity, hinted that the 
painted device on the back was meant for the trumpet of fame.) 24 

As the vehicle topped the rise of Gad's Hill, to the left lay the 
tract of dense shrubbery and magnificent cedars which Dickens called 
his 'wilderness 5 . Straight ahead across the Dover Road stood the 
plain red brick dwelling with its white frame belfry and small white- 
pillared porch. Entering the semicircular driveway, the guest would 
find himself on an ideal little domain of landscaped lawns and 
kitchen gardens, recreation grounds, stables, coach house, pumping- 
room everything needful for use and delight. On the porch Georgina 
and Mamie would be waiting to welcome him. 

In July of 1860, before Gad's Hill was completely furnished as a 
permanent home, Georgina took part in the first important celebra 
tion there, Katey's marriage to Charles Allston Collins, Wilkie's 
brother. Twelve years older than the bride, nervous, conscientious, 
of a slight figure topped by masses of carrot-coloured hair, the groom 
was a .minor Pre-Raphaelite artist and an occasional contributor to 
Household Words and All the Tear Round. He had seen a great deal 
of the Dickenses, dining with them daily during their 1856 sojourn in 
Paris. 25 Though Dickens did not altogether favour the match he 
sensed that Katey was not really in love his vivacious daughter 
looked upon the marriage as a means to independence. Possibly, 
too, she was ill at ease and confused in her loyalties after the separa 
tion. 'Lord, how time and Life steal on!' reflected her father as the 
marriage day approached. It was but yesterday, it seemed, that 
Katey 'always had a scratched knee, and it was but the day before 
yesterday when there was no such creature'. 26 

Georgina was in a whirl with the wedding preparations. And what 
with the exhibition of the bride's gifts, the decorations and provi 
sions for an elaborate wedding breakfast, the trousseau finery, and 
the flowers everywhere, Dickens could scarcely find space in the 
house to sit down and write a letter the day before the wedding. 



'A Place to Repose In' 67 

That night the family was in a state of wonder at the shots being 
fired in the neighbouring village of Higham. It developed that a 
local blacksmith who had erected a triumphal arch for Miss Katey 
to drive beneath on the way to the church, had also thought of the 
gunfire as another suitable way to honour the nuptials. In the 
morning villagers crowded the little Church of St. Mary the Virgin 
for the ceremony and strewed flowers in the path of the bridal 
couple. Mamie, as the elder sister and one of the bridesmaids, may 
have reflected that she should have been the one to marry first. 
There is a story that she was in love at the time, but had docilely 
submitted to her father's objections to the match. 27 

At the house Mamie had made the table one unbroken expanse of 
bridal white. During the ensuing festivity there, Georgina and 
Dickens acted as 'Universal bootleholders 7 . When the time came 
for farewells, Katey wept in her father's arms and Mamie also gave 
way to a flood of tears. By this time the groom's face, understand 
ably, was blanched and drawn. Above the chorus of e God bless 
you's' that followed, boomed Forster's pompous 'Take care of her, 
Charley. You have got a most precious treasure.' In a shower of 
old shoes the couple left for Dover, whence they embarked on a 
Continental journey. 28 

Absent on this family occasion was Katey's mother. Though 
never mentioned, she must have been in everyone's mind. Thoughts 
of her may have added to Dickens's noticeable strain after the wed 
ding breakfast, a state which erupted in an argument with the best 
man, Holman Hunt, over the merits of a painting hanging on the 
wall "The Sphinx' by Roberts. 29 Later that day, after the guests 
had gone, Mamie found her father in the bride's empty room, his 
face buried in the folds of the wedding dress. 'But for me/ he 
sobbed, 'Katey would not have left home.' 30 

Barely recovered from the recent flurry, Georgina prepared for the 
arrival of the Tavistock furniture. Very likely the London home 
had oppressed the family with dark memories. At any rate, it had 
been sold in August and had to be cleared early in September. For 
several weeks she oscillated between town and country, helping with 
the moving, salvaging discarded curtains and coverings, choosing 
what furnishings were to be transferred. 31 Though the work was 
exhausting, it was an antidote to introspection, and she had the 
satisfaction, before long, of seeing Gad's Hill transformed into one 
of the most sumptuous places for miles around. 

The visitor to this house in its heydey entered a large square hall. 
On the right wall hung the huge backdrops painted by Stanfield 
for the Tavistock productions of The Lighthouse and The Frozen 



68 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Deep. On the left rose a handsome staircase, its solid balustrade 
enhanced with colourful painted designs applied by talented Katey. 
Eighteenth- century prints ascended the stair wall, and on the first 
landing an illuminated plaque called attention to the rich literary 
association of the site : 

This House 

GAD'S HILL PLACE 

Stands on the summit of Shakespeare's 

Gad's Hill, ever memorable far its 

Association with 

Sir John Falstaff, in his noble fancy. 
But my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o'clock, 
early at Gad's Hill! There are pilgrims going to Canterbury 
with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat 
purses; I have vizards for you all; you have hopes for 
yourselves. 

Conspicuous in the lower hall was a letter-box big enough to receive 
books and manuscripts. On it the post- collection times were painted 
in large letters. 32 

The room to the right of the entrance was Dickens's library and 
study. Beyond it was the billiard room. On the other side of the 
hall were the recently enlarged drawing-room and the dining-room, 
the latter opening into a greenhouse. Large plate glass inirrors from 
Tavistock reflected the luxurious furnishings, a blend of old and new. 

The two upper floors provided ample quarters for guests, family, 
and servants. But though the house was adequately staffed, visitors 
noticed that servants were not often in evidence except in the 
dining-room and, naturally, their own quarters. As part of her 
responsibility Georgina kept the bedrooms so well equipped that 
attendants need not be summoned to fetch such requirements as 
writing materials or a cup of tea. Each bedroom provided a collec 
tion of books, a large writing-table with a lavish assortment of 
stationery of different sizes and kinds, and complete tea-making 
facilities cups and saucers, a teapot, a filled tea caddy, and milk 
and sugar. In the fireplace hung a well-polished copper kettle. 
There was also a bathroom shower, such as Dickens had installed at 
Tavistock a real luxury, except when the pipes froze during the 
cold Christmas of 1860 and remained 'in a stony state for five or six 



When a guest came to Gad's Hill for the first time, he was taken 
almost at once to the stableyard, where the dogs were properly intro 
duced to him. This was a necessary ceremony, as four large mastiffs 




GAD'S HILL PLACE 
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery 






THE GAD'S HILL DINING-ROOM 
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery 



'A Place to Repose In' 69 

or Newfoundlands Turk, Linda, Bumble, and Sultan were kept 
for protection against the numerous vagrants along the Dover Road. 
Once formally presented to a guest, however, even the fiercest canine 
guard would ever after uphold the hospitality of the premises that 
is, all except Sultan, a ferocious Irish bloodhound who had to be 
shot for attacking a little girl. He had also disgraced himself by an 
unfriendly approach to Mrs. Bouncer, Mamie's little white Pomer 
anian, but had 'only swallowed Bouncer once, and temporarily'. 34 
No less than the human residents, the animal population at Gad's 
Hill enjoyed every comfort. On warm days the larger dogs retreated 
into the cool tunnels thoughtfully provided under the brick wall by 
the coach house. Daily they and Mrs. Bouncer feasted from the 
five plates of dinner prepared for them by the cook. But once, just 
before meal-time, Bumble, a Newfoundland pup, stole into the 
kitchen and finished off all five heaping plates, then fainted dead 
away. Discovered in that condition, he was promptly revived under 
the pump. 35 

In the congenial surroundings of his country home, Dickens could 
temporarily escape occupational strains and private worries. At 
times he surrendered himself completely to the relaxed atmosphere 
of the place. Even his short notes relating to household matters 
were sometimes playful, humorous. One to his clockmaker, for 
example : 'Since my hall clock was sent to your establishment to be 
cleaned it has gone (as indeed it always has) perfectly well, but has 
struck the hours with great reluctance, and after enduring internal 
agonies of a most distressing nature, it has now ceased striking 
altogether. Though a happy release for the clock, this is not con 
venient to the household. If you can send down any confidential 
person with whom the clock can confer, I think it may have some 
thing on its works that it would be glad to make a clean breast of.* 36 
So pleased was Dickens with this whimsy that he virtually repeated 
it six months later in his request to a chimney sweep: 'Since you 
last swept my study chimney it has developed some peculiar eccen 
tricities. Smoke has indeed proceeded from the cowl that surmounts 
it, but it has seemingly been undergoing internal agonies of a most 
distressing nature, and pours forth disastrous volumes of swarthy 
vapour into the apartment wherein I habitually labour. Although 
a comforting relief probably to the chimney, this is not altogether 
convenient to me. If you can send a confidential sub-sweep, with 
whom the chimney can engage in social intercourse, it might be 
induced to disclose the cause of the departure from its normal 
functions.' 37 

Such matters also commanded much of Georgina's attention, as did 



70 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

the supervision of a large staff of indoor and outdoor employees. 
Altogether, the Gad's Hill property comprised some twenty acres to 
be tended. From the flight of steps at the rear of the house, one 
looked over an expense of well-kept lawn to a stone balustrade sal 
vaged from the old bridge at Rochester. A handsome stone wall and 
terrace divided the lawn from a field beyond, which could be 
entered through the heavy iron gates and over a ha-ha. To the left 
were the kitchen gardens, extending to the road in front; to the 
right was the vinery, with croquet grounds between it and the road. 
To staff and maintain such a place called for a sizable budget. 
Furthermore there was the constant round of house guests and 
parties. In planning all such expenditures, Georgina was an expert. 
Schooled in a long apprenticeship under Dickens, she knew exactly 
what bills had been paid, what debts were still outstanding, what 
repairs were pending. During his frequent absences on reading tours 
or editorial business, she assumed complete charge. In his letters 
she found constant business assignments: *. . . a staggering bill of 
Thomas and Homan's [an auction and estate agency in Eochester], 
which just doubles my rough idea of it. Before you pay it, I wish 
you would look to the end of it, and see what they have allowed for 
the change in the cottage bedstead. . . . Pray have this out with 
them and have it clear, before you pay.' 38 

Besides relieving Dickens of such irksome responsibilities, Geor 
gina gave sympathic attention to his personal problems: his attacks 
of illness, his discouragement over unsatisfactory progress on a new 
book, his disappointments in his family on all such matters he 
unburdened himself to her. Small wonder that he wrote to Cerjat 
in 1860, 'Miss Hogarth, always Miss Hogarth, is the guide, phil 
osopher, and friend of all the party. . . .' And to Mrs. Watson the 
following year: 'Georgina is, as usual, the general friend and confi 
dante and factotum of the whole party.' 39 

As chief hostess at Gad's Hill, Georgina set in motion a thought 
fully planned daily routine for visitors. The morning usually passed 
in relaxed fashion. A guest came down for breakfast as he pleased: 
it was on the table from nine to ten-thirty. If he appeared early 
enough he might eat with his host and perhaps accompany him after 
wards on the usual inspection of the house, gardens, meadows, 
kennels, and stables. If the tour allowed a glimpse of the library 
before Dickens began work, the guest would note there the same 
ingenious device that had graced Tavistock House a door lined 
with the familiar dummy book backs to give the appearance of 
shelves. The actual volumes lining the walls displayed the owner's 
engraved bookplate, a crest with a lion holding a Maltese cross in 



'A Place to Repose In' 71 

its dexter paw. Since the family was not entitled to a coat of arms, 
the crest may have signified Dickens's pleasure in the appurtenances 
of gentry. On the desk in the bay window was an array of familiar 
objects : a pair of bronze frogs posed for a rapier duel ; a gilt leaf with 
a rabbit sitting on its haunches; a large paper knife, often held 
during the public readings; and a little decorated cup of fresh 
flowers. 40 

At lunch time plans for the afternoon were suggested. Frequently 
the guests walked through nearby Cobham Park, the owner (Lord 
Darnley) having given Dickens the keys to all the gates. The hardier 
of the male guests took longer jaunts, past neighbouring villages and 
over great stretches of countryside. With their host setting his 
usual pace, they could cover ten miles in a few hours. Sometimes a 
party set out in carriages for a picnic, their appetites whetted by the 
lavish 'hampers and wine baskets blocking the steps of the house' 
as the vehicles were being loaded. On such expeditions their host 
saw to it that no lobster shells or other debris remained to litter the 
wooded site chosen for their lunch. 41 

If, however, an afternoon at home was scheduled, the guests might 
play croquet or bowl on the lawn. Whatever the day's entertain 
ment, they came to dinner confident of an expertly planned menu. 
'His admirable sister-in-law saw to this for him/ said Dickens's 
young friend Percy Fitzgerald, 'and many were the tit-bits we 
enjoyed.' 42 Humour and gaiety flourished at the table and after 
wards in the drawing-room. Sometimes Mamie sat at the piano, 
playing her father's favourites : ballads, national airs, lively dances, 
Mendelssohn, Chopin, Mozart. 43 Often there were guessing and 
memory games. Sometimes the guests listened as Dickens read, 
especially when he wished to have their critical judgement on his 
programme repertoire. Later the men might have a game in the 
billiard-room and sample their host's supply of high-quality cigars. 
(Georgina thought she could recognize certain brands by their 
aroma.) 44 

In spite of the heavy responsibility, Georgina seemed to thrive on 
the constant entertaining at Gad's Hill. No visitor doubted the gen 
uineness of her welcome. One, the Irishman Francis Finlay, editor 
of the Northern Whig, pronounced her 'a really delightful person, 
plain, unassuming, totally unaffected and of singularly pleasant and 
easy manner'. 45 Another house guest, a Frenchman, made to feel at 
home by her fluency in his language, commented admiringly on her 
mastery of idiom. 46 

Of all the conviviality at Gad's Hill, Georgina enjoyed Christmas 
most. Then the house so overflowed that some of the men had to 



72 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

be quartered at the historic Falstaff Inn, across the way or in 'the 
bachelors' cottage' nearby. Unwilling to miss the excitement of all 
the preparations, Dickens usually took the whole week off. Christ 
mas morning the guests found the dining-room hung with holly and 
ivy. Later Georgina hovered admiringly as Mamie decorated the 
table for the main feast. Christmas dinner it was unforgettable! 
Seated round the large mahogany table with the family were the 
house guests and a few near neighbours. With his ready humour 
the host sparked the conversation, keeping the servants in a titter 
whenever they waited on him. The climax of the meal was the 
entry of the flaming Christmas pudding. Holly-trimmed and resting 
on its special dish of repousse china, it was placed before the host to 
the accompaniment of spontaneous applause. And of course the 
dinner could not pass without Dickens's traditional toast: 'Here's to 
us all! God bless us!' His Christmas benediction Georgina recorded 
for ever in her heart : 

Reflect upon your blessings of which every man has many 
not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill 
your glass again, with a merry face and contented heart. Our 
life on it, but your Christmas shall be merry and your New 
Year a happy one! 

So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many 
more whose happiness depends on you! So may each year be 
happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or 
sisterhood debarred their rightful share in what our Creator 
formed for them to enjoy .^ 

New Year's Eve brought another memorable observance. A large 
party always assembled in the drawing-room, passing the time with 
games and conversation until midnight. A few minutes before the 
hour struck, the butler played chimes on the dinner gong, threw 
open the house door, and ushered everyone into the large, square 
hall. With Dickens keeping an eye on his watch, there was a hushed 
wait for the village bells. At the first peal he exclaimed, C A happy 
New Year to us all! God bless us!' Wnat handshaking then, what 
congratulating, what kissing of the old year out and the new one in! 
The ensuing frolic always included a dance, the host sometimes start 
ing off with the cook as his partner. After these exertions there was 
a great demand for lively draughts from the punch bowl, mixed by 
Dickens himself. 48 

While these festivities brightened Gad's Hill, Catherine Dickens 
waited in her London home for the Christmas season to pass, living 
in retrospect, perhaps, the years when she had presided nominally, 



'A Place to Repose Irf 73 

at least over the holiday preparations. Georgina, though, may 
have found the rush of activity a welcome reprieve from similar 
memories of the old time. But in quiet moments her sister's vague 
defencelessness may well have returned to haunt her, even though 
she might have told herself that Catherine in exile was no more 
unhappy, no more pitiable, than Catherine in her marriage indeed, 
less so. For in the stagnant shallows of her life at Gloucester Cres 
cent, she was no longer exposed to the tides of her husband's criti 
cism or her own jealousy and sense of inadequacy. Now she could 
tranquilly indulge her old self-pity. The servants would not point 
out her faults to her or hold her up to ridicule. And she could take 
comfort in the dignity her reticence had given her in the public eye. 

But for all that, Georgina could hardly have avoided some self- 
questioning, the more for being 'one of the most amiable and affec 
tionate of girls'. Besides, she would have harboured the suspicion 
that a few acquaintances might have accused her of cunning 
manoeuvres to usurp her sister's place a thought far more disquiet 
ing than all the wild and scandalous surmises of strangers. Not that 
strangers and their covert stares would have failed to vex her: 
Dickens's face was so well known that he was pointed out wherever 
he went, and anyone seen with him became a secondary target of 
curiosity especially the sister-in-law who had sparked so much 
gossip. Though the first blaze of scandal had died down, the fires 
were never to be entirely extinguished in her lifetime. Should she 
be invited to leave Mamie in charge of the boys and come up to 
London for Sunday dinner with Dickens, or to join his fiftieth birth 
day celebration with three other friends in a public restaurant, 49 she 
could hardly accept with any security against unfavourable notice. 

The estrangement from her own family was another grievous 
aspect of her situation. Whatever stinging reproaches her mother 
had. uttered to her in May of 1858 must have rankled in the years to 
come, particularly if coupled with venomous judgments of Dickens. 
To avoid an emotion too xmcomfortably like hatred of her own 
mother, Georgina would have had to sink all such bitter recollections 
far below the surface of consciousness. 

Another emotion to be suppressed was the sense of thwarted 
womanhood. As long as she had been young enough to fulfil her 
natural destiny, Georgina could have rejected it and contented her 
self with the substitute she had freely chosen. But as the birthdays 
sped by and she sometimes lay sleepless in the summer nights at 
Gad's Hill, she must have felt her feminine birthright irrevocably 
slipping away. There were times, she confessed in later years, when 
she debated the wisdom of her choice and wondered whether her life 



74 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

was 'all a mistake and a waste 5 . 50 Dickens, too, was a prey to 
ambivalent emotions on the subject. 'I doubt if she will ever marry/ 
he confided to Cerjat when she was thirty-three. 'I don't know 
whether to be glad of it or sorry for it.' 51 

But Georgina was far too busy to allow gossip, wounding mem 
ories, or frustrations to prevail for long. She became more and more 
indispensable as Dickens was increasingly absent from home. He 
called on her to send him parcels of books and papers, and even 
expected her to look after the requirements of his wardrobe. If he 
needed his umbrella with the ivory handle, or a replenishment of 
belts, hosiery, waistcoats, trousers ('also any clean things that you 
know or suspect I may require'), she must send them. An order 
for 'two or three white shirts', to be delivered by Frank, called for 
their being carefully 'packed so that he can't tumble them, or he 
certainly will. . . .' On one occasion she received explicit directions 
for a bit of ingenious dry-cleaning: 'In the middle drawer of my 
wardrobe are a dress coat and a pair of dress trousers the upper pair 
(for there are two) lying together. As I dare say both have suffered 
from my beard during the various banquets, will you with the end 
of a clean towel and eau de cologne from my scent case cleanse 
them, by day light, where they are splashed.' 52 

Frequently she had to carry out specific orders for household 
management. An envelope case was needed for the library table in 
the rear of the dining-room. (But perhaps that had already ocurred 
to her, Dickens added, for she thought of everything.) 53 She was also 
subjected to anxious queries about the wine cellar, from which she 
sent Dickens often on short notice replenishments for his London 
office quarters. She was urgently charged to have the stable man 
add a supplementary padlock to the cellar door. Was she positive 
no champagne had been 'abstracted'? Before leaving Gad's Hill, 
Dickens had learned from a neighbour that champagne corks had 
recently been 'flying in the liveliest manner' at a cottage in Higham. 
It was suspected that the Gad's Hill cellar might be the source of 
supply. And indeed, he had been somewhat surprised upon learning 
from her last inventory how little champagne was left. Apparently, 
though, even the additional padlock did not check the pilfering, for 
there was continued concern over dwindling supplies. 54 It was not 
until some years later that he finally hit upon a foolproof plan for 
preventing the thefts. C I have been constantly thinking about that 
cellar-key, and I will tell you how we will keep it,' he announced to 
Georgina. 'Order . . . one of the ordinary little iron cash boxes to 
keep it in. To that cash box have 2 keys, both electrotyped gold. Of 
those keys you shall always wear one, and I will always wear the 



'A Place to Repose In' 75 

other, and the box itself shall be kept, not in your room but in mine, 
in some drawer that we will settle upon. Then, I think, we MUST be 
safe.' 55 

As she acted upon the instructions in Dickens's letters, Georgina 
had always to anticipate his return and have everything in readiness, 
his odds and ends properly disposed of in his room, and a cheerful 
fire blazing. Even when his plans were indefinite she must not fail 
him. { I am not sure whether I can get home tomorrow, or not,' he 
once informed her. 'On the whole I rather think yes. The best way 
will be to proceed as though I were coming, and to be equally pre 
pared for my not coming.' 56 

In complying with all these exacting demands, did Georgina ever 
feel imposed upon? Sixteen months after Dickens's death she was to 
look back on the Gad's Hill years and wonder why she had ever 
allowed petty irritations to fret her, important though they might 
have seemed at the time. 57 The exact source of the irritations she did 
not define, but it is reasonable to assume that some, at least, origin 
ated with the master of Gad's Hill. On the whole, however, she 
seems to have accepted cheerfully, even proudly, his heavy reliance 
on her. Hers was not the position of a paid housekeeper: she was 
hostess of Gad's Hill even more, she was the Galatea a famous man 
had moulded to be his confidante, counsellor, best friend. 

The easy freedom of Dickens's letters to her testifies that there was 
no need for reserve or caution between them. If his humorous reports 
on acquaintances and friends were indiscreetly frank or intimately 
detailed, he knew she would be amused. Long ago on an Italian tour 
with Egg and Wilkie Collins, Dickens had dwelt on Wilkie's tendency 
to deliver interminable smug discourses on art, interspersed with 
doubtful tales of self-glorification. The pi&ce de resistance had been 
the account of his first love adventure, which had 'proceeded', 
Dickens reported, 'to the utmost extremities'. Making some calcula 
tions on this episode (whose details Georgina was spared), WilMe's 
travelling companions had discovered him to have been little more 
than twelve years old 'at this precocious passage in his history'. 58 
(Georgina, brought up in the freedom lingering from the Regency, 
would have seen in this titbit nothing to invite a blush.) Dickens 
also trusted her discretion enough to tell her, for instance, about 
meeting one of their acquaintances at Torquay with 'the most dis 
agreeable woman ... I ever saw in my life. I was afraid it was his 
wife ; but ... it was his sister'. Similarly forthright was his comment 
on that 'wretched Being', that 'medical Donkey 7 , Harrison Tuke. 59 
Nor did he ever need to hesitate in lauding himself to Georgina as, 
for example, when he had overpowdered Macready by reading 



76 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Copperfield. Such a triumph was a real proof of his dramatic genius, 
he admitted, as he reminded her that the old actor was not c too prone 
to praise what comes at all in his own way'. 60 

As for her own letters to him, their tone and substance can be 
gauged only by Dickens's replies, for unfortunately it was his habit 
to destroy, at intervals, all correspondence from anyone whatsoever. 
Clearly, Georgina's letters, like his, were detailed and, at times, 
voluminous. (He had jestingly threatened to subtract from her 
quarterly allowance the heavy postage he had paid on her letters to 
him in Italy in 1853.) 61 Again and again he expressed his delight 
in her 'amusing and interesting letter', her 'capital letter', her des 
cription of Sydney ('excellently told') or of Plorn ('most delight 
ful'). 62 Always he depended on her for word sketches of the children 
and their doings. For though he had deplored the prospect of each 
new infant beyond the first three or four, he was extravagantly fond 
of small children and doted on his own, marking with fond fascina 
tion all their antics and sayings. 

From the tenor of his replies one may gather that Georgina's 
letters seldom, if ever, included such wails of despair and frustration 
as his own inflicted on her. She was obviously of a more even dis 
position than he, and, like Agnes Wickfield, calmly cheerful, though 
endowed, one can be sure, with more verve than the Misses Wickfield 
andSummerson. Certainly she needed all the cheerfulness and moder 
ation she could command not to be unduly agitated by the outbursts 
of woe and exasperation, the alarmed concern over his health that 
stood hand in hand with his comic passages. All too faithfully he sent 
her the verdicts of his friend and physician, Frank Beard. To allay 
her fears he softened the direst of these monotonous bulletins at 
times: 'Frank Beard thinks me decidedly better today'; 'Frank 
Beard is in spirits about me this morning . . .' ; 'Frank Beard was 
again in spirits about me this morning. I have not taken the objec 
tionable medicine since last Friday.' 63 But if he needed nursing, he 
promised to turn to her 'sooner than to anybody on earth'. More 
often, though, doubts intruded: *I hope I am still better. My face 
aches at times, but very little/ 64 

But in the spring of 1862 Georgina herself was in such precarious 
health that Dickens in alarm dropped his preoccupation with him 
self. With Katey married, all the younger boys by now in school, 
social-minded Mamie constantly on the go, and Dickens frequently 
absent from home, Greorgina had more time to herself, probably, 
than in any period since she had entered that active menage at the 
age of fifteen. But the release, ironically, had not brought well- 
being. In May and June she suddenly began to alter distressingly, 



'A Place to Repose In" 77 

losing 'all that clarity and "cheer of spirit" that used to distinguish 
her. . . .' Even the 'distraction and the disturbance ... of a few 
visitors in the house' proved too much for her. 65 As late as Whitsun 
tide, however, she tried to carry on her duties as hostess, even to 
joining guests in an afternoon walk and getting drenched in a pelting 
rain. That night she stayed up to make one in a game of whist. 66 

During the ensuing weeks she declined alarmingly. Finally the 
eminent Dr. Elliotson was called in, the physician of whom Dickens 
had once vowed : 'I know that, under God, there does not live a man 
in whose hands you would have as much reason to hope for a perfect 
restoration to health. ... If my own life . . . were in peril tomorrow, 
I would trust it to him, implicitly.' 67 About the same time, evi 
dently, Dr. Erank Beard was also called in for consultation.** The 
diagnosis, Dickens told Macready, was 'degeneration of the heart 5 . 
In his distress he admitted to his sister Letitia that he was so 'alto 
gether dazed 5 by it that he could not 'remember one word 5 of her 
last letter in fact, was not even certain whether he had ever read 
it. Repeatedly his anxious reports stressed the shocking change in 
Georgina's spirits, the loss of 'alacrity 5 and vivacity: '. . . She is 
very low about herself almost as soon as one has ceased to speak to 
her after brightening her up. 5 It was perhaps well for Georgina that 
she would not have read his July letter to Macready, with its state 
ment that 'I (who know her best, I think) see much in her that fills 
me with uneasiness 5 . His summary of her illness ended in almost the 
tone of an obituary : 'You may imagine with what solicitude Mary 
Katie and I watch the condition of our best and dearest friend the 
most unselfish, zealous, and devoted that ever lived on earth, I 
thoroughly believe. No one can ever know what she has been to us, 
and how she has supplied an empty place and an ever widening gap 
since the girls were mere dolls.' 69 

Three weeks later Georgina was still Very, very poorly. Excruci 
ating pain in the left breast is the last symptom. It seized her at 
dinner yesterday, and she seems ... to grow steadily worse. 5 In 
September she continued 'very weak', though much improved. She 
had rallied to the point of reading the second volume of Wilkie 
Collins's No Name, had taken 'the deepest interest' in it, and had 
enjoyed seeing how strongly Dickens admired it. And, in London 
for a few days, she had gone to a play at the Adelphi with Dickens 
and Leech. 70 Still, the least excitement or exertion took its toll: 
'Georgina being left alone here the other day, was done no good by 
a great consternation among the servants', reported Dickens to 
Letitia Austin. 'On going downstairs, she found Marsh (the stable 
man) seated ... in an arm-chair, and incessantly crying out: "I am 



78 Georgina Hogarth and, the Dickens Circle 

dead". To which the women servants said, with great pathos (and 
with some appearance of reason): "No, you ain't, Marsh!" And to 
which he persisted in replying: "Yes, I am; I am dead!" Some 
neighbouring vagabond was impressed to drive a cart over to 
Rochester and fetch the doctor, who said (the patient and his con- 
dolers being all very anxious that the heart should be the scene of 
affliction): "Stomach."' 71 Whatever the damage to Georgina, it 
obviously did not prevent her from recognizing the comedy of the 
situation. 

As early as July Dickens had conceived the idea of taking her over to 
Paris with Mamie to try the effect of a change of scene in the autumn. 
This time she was not to have the supervisory responsibilities that 
former residence abroad had entailed. 'I am not going to have any 
establishment there/ he told WilMe Collins, 'but intend the dinner 
to be brought in on a man's shoulders (you know the tray) from a 
Restaurant.' As the date of departure approached in October, 
Georgina was alone again for a few days, but Dickens, finding she 
had been left thus, gave up a meeting with Collins in order to return 
to Gad's Hill to keep her company. Besides, he wished to see Dr. 
Beard, who was coming down for his final professional visit on the 
14th. 72 

On the morning of the 16th Dickens went over to Paris alone to 
find living quarters. Georgina and Mamie, with the bright-eyed Mrs. 
Bouncer in tow, followed on Sunday, taking the boat from Folke 
stone, although storm conditions that day had cancelled at least one 
other Channel crossing. The passage proved so turbulent that their 
boat was unable to dock at Boulogne that evening, but ran in to 
Calais instead. There, undaunted, Georgina and her niece dried 
themselves out to spend the night, having telegraphed Dickens, who 
had waited five hours for them on the storm-buffeted pier at Bou 
logne. The next morning they rose to greet him at Calais as if they 
had only 'been passing a mild summer there'. Having feared that 
they might be 'half-dead', he hardly believed his eyes to see them 
'elaborately got up to come to Paris by the next train. . . .' 73 (In a 
letter to Miss Coutts a few days later, he mentioned the gale but 
said nothing of Georgina's reaction to it, or of her health subse 
quently, or even of the reason for the Paris sojourn. ISTor did he 
add her regards in the complimentary close as had been his custom 
before his domestic rupture. Miss Coutts, who pitied Catherine and 
several times sought to persuade him to a reconciliation, would 
hardly have been among Georgina's champions.)?* 

Soon Georgina was comfortably settled in 'a most elegant little 
apartment' which Dickens had found for the three of them. It was 



( A Place to Bepose In' 79 

in their old familiar neighbourhood near the Champs Elysees, where 
'house-rent is awful to mention'. 75 On their second Sunday Bulwer- 
Lytton, devoted to Georgina since her girlhood, came to dine with 
them. A few days later Wills arrived from London, having been 
promised 'a Restaurant Dinner, and Box at the Play 7 . 76 They had 
also the half-rueful amusement of observing poor little Bouncer, 
muzzled in accord with the Parisian police regulations 'a wonderful 
spectacle to behold in the streets, restrained like a raging lion.' 77 

Whatever the exact clinical nature of her ailment, the invalid was 
decidedly better by the end of December. The trio and a freed 
Bouncer returned to Gad's Hill just in time for Christmas Day. 
Though the holidays were 'pervaded by boys' home from school, 
each one 'apparently in fourteen pairs of creaking boots', Dickens 
could report to Mary Boyle on the 27th that 'Georgina continued 
wonderfully well'. 78 

Early in the new year Georgina was alone once more at Gad's 
Hill- Dickens had returned to Paris shortly after Twelfth Night, 
and Mamie was enjoying the gaieties of London. During this time 
Georgina opened all mail addressed to her brother-in-law, forward 
ing whatever was necessary and herself answering any she deemed 
within her province. 79 Apparently, though, Dickens was still taking 
care not to burden her unduly. When he wrote her and Mamie 
on the same day (Mamie having returned home by 1st February), 
it was to his daughter that he entrusted a simple commission of 
the sort that had invariably been in Aunt Georgy's department: 
I enclose a short note for each of the little boys. Give Harry ten 
shillings pocket-money, and Plorn six.' 80 

When, after spending his fifty-first birthday on French soil, he 
was ready to return to England, he wrote Georgina to send his unfor- 
warded mail to his London quarters. If she herself could not be 
there to greet him, he expected to find a note from her. As he sus 
pected that Mamie and Mrs. Bouncer might be on the go again, he 
chose to announce his arrival ('between 11 and 12 on Monday nigU', 
16th February), 'to you who are sure to be at home'. 81 Georgina 
would relay the word to Mamie. 

By April she was 'all but quite well' and almost ready to take up 
the duties of hospitality again or so Dickens assumed when he 
wrote Carlyle that her health now enabled him to look for 'that long- 
delayed visit from you and Mrs. Carlyle this coming summer'. Like 
a refrain this optimistic note kept recurring in his letters. A month 
later he could announce to Cerjat, e l hope that Georgina is almost 
quite well'. 82 Had Doctors Elliotson and Beard been versed in 
psychosomatic illness, they might have suspected that hers was, at 



80 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

least in part, such a case. Certainly the originating undercurrents 
were not lacking. And added to the obvious ones may have been a 
hidden one even more devastating. Georgina must have suspected, 
perhaps known, that in the Ellen Ternan affair Dickens had only 
exchanged one heartache for another. Nelly, though dazzled by the 
older man's fame, nattered by his admiration, mindful of the luxury 
of his attentions, apparently did not respond with the whole-souled 
devotion he craved. Dickens was no libertine. Though drawn to her 
by the surface attractions of youth and fragile beauty, he longed for 
a warm-hearted woman with the courage to glory in a permanent 
relationship with him. Ellen, if she had submitted to his advances 
after the separation, seems to have done so coldly and with a worried 
sense of guilt. 83 Such a capitulation could only have tormented 
Dickens with a still keener sense of his own guilt. 

Georgina, exempting her hero from the restrictions placed on 
ordinary men, had, very likely, entertained idealistic notions of his 
finding happiness at last in high romance a Tristram-and-Iseult 
kind of love worthy of transcendent genius. In nothing less could 
she have found justification for accepting Ellen Ternan. Disillusion 
ment would have dealt a shattering blow. But even as she had 
gained strength and spirits early in 1863, there had come from 
Dickens a disquieting corroboration of such doubts. Attending a 
production of Gounod's Faust while in Paris, he had been much 
moved by the mournful blue light that fell on Marguerite's garden, 
fading the blossoms and withering the leaves after the ill-fated 
maiden had accepted the jewels from her elderly lover. 'I could 
hardly bear the thing,' he confessed; 'it affected me so, and sounded 
in my ears so like a mournful echo of things that lie in my own 
heart.' 84 

During the early summer, when Georgina was finding her way 
back to serenity, she received few guests at Gad's Hill and had no 
large house parties to cope with. In the first week of August, 
though, she lived through an event which could only have renewed 
a five-year-old trouble: her mother died, Catherine immediately 
wrote to Dickens for permission to bury Mrs. Hogarth beside Mary 
in Kensal Green. Answering in a businesslike note from Gad's Hill 
the following day, he gave his consent, but did not include even the 
briefest phrase of conventional sympathy. What Georgina's beha 
viour was at this time is not a matter of record. She could hardly 
have expected a warm welcome from the black-garbed Hogarth elan 
gathered around the grave. She would have had to journey alone to 
Kensal Green, where she might have been exposed to chill stares 
from her own kin and possibly curiosity and slurs from any others 



'A Place to Repose In' 81 

present. In all likelihood she did not risk such a reception. It is 
more credible that she remained at Gad's Hill, busying herself with 
preparations to receive the De la Rues on their arrival from Genoa 
the following week. 85 

It was about this time that she sat for her portrait to R. TL 
Mason, the photographer whom Dickens employed for his own pub 
licity photographs. Having undergone such recent anxiety about 
her health, her brother-in-law and the girls had probably pressed her 
to give them such a token. In September Dickens wrote Mason, 'We 
are all very much pleased with Miss Hogarth's portrait*. 86 By mid- 
December, after a year and a half of semi-invalidism, she was in the 
midst of normal holiday activities again, bustling about to receive 
'a houseful gradually accumulating for Christmas 5 . 87 After 1864 
there are no further references to the mysterious heart malady. Her 
later illnesses, till the onset of the final afflictions of age, seem to have 
been minor. From her recovery until 1870 she continued active at 
Gad's Hill, so active that the loved home was, for her, seldom 'a 
place to repose in'. 



Chapter Seven 
'ENORMOUS DRAGS' 



THOUGH Georgina was to look back on the Gad's Hill years as the 
summit of her lifetime, the period was permeated not only by 
hidden traumas, but also by Dickens J s mundane anxieties. Not the 
least of these was the race to keep ahead of financial demands. The 
drain on his pocketbook came not only from his children, from 
Georgina (who in any event earned her keep), and from Catherine 
(who drew her yearly 600) ; it came as well from two brothers, the 
indigent widow of a third, a sister, and his senile mother. Augustus, 
his youngest brother, had deserted a blind wife and run off to 
America with another woman. 1 From there he appealed to Dickens 
for funds. And Fred, who had required material aid in the early 
years at Doughty Street and Devonshire Terrace, now also applied 
repeatedly for help. 2 

When Alfred, his oldest brother, died in July of 1860, Dickens 
assumed responsibility for the widow, Helen, and her five children, 
bringing them to Gad's Hill immediately after the burial and 
settling them temporarily in a neighbouring farmhouse. When, 
pushing aside his own pressing commitments, he began untangling 
Alfred's financial affairs, he found them in sad condition. 3 Meanwhile 
Gad's Hill was darkened by six 'black figures, little and big, coming 
in and wistfully questioning' him what should be done in this wise 
or that'. Aided by Georgina on at least one occasion, Dickens 
inspected London dwellings with a view to finding a home for the 
bereaved family. By the end of August a suitable house had been 
located on Haverstock Hill, some distance north of Eegent's Park. 
(The landlady, on learning that it was Charles Dickens 'who would 
pay the rent, . . . brightened considerably'.) It was Georgina who 
brought the widow to London, Dickens having given her full per 
mission to manage matters as she thought best in the event of his 
being absent from the office on her arrival. The affair was arranged 
barely in time to avoid a conflict with the dismantling of Tavistock 
House. 4 

Though at first Dickens had praised the widowed Helen as 
'patient, uncomplaining, self denying, and quietly practical*, the 



'Enormous Drags' 83 

strain of carrying her responsibilities along with too many others 
finally told on him. In desperation he turned her over to Georgina. 
'Mrs. Alfred was here on Wednesday/ he complained from the office 
in January 1862, c and I must consult you when I come back 
touching the best means of making known to her that I wish her in 
future to communicate personally with you, or with you and Mary. 
I really can not bear the irritation she causes me, and the strife she 
gets up in my uneasy mind about the whole business. I was com 
pletely disgusted and worn out by her on this last occasion/ 5 

The year after Alfred's death, Henry Austin, the brother-in-law 
who had given advice on the Tavistock and Gad's Hill purchases, 
died, leaving Dickens's sister Letitia to face reduced circumstances. 
As the trustee of the estate, her brother was burdened with the 
settlement of her affairs. Finally, after circulating a petition and 
carrying on a tedious two-and-a-half year correspondence with influ 
ential persons, he lightened his own financial responsibility by 
obtaining a pension of 60 a year for her as the widow of the Secre 
tary to the London Sanitary Commission. 6 While the grant was still 
pending he offered what consolation he could by letter. Upon the 
approach of Letitia's first wedding anniversary after her bereave 
ment, Georgina called his attention to the date so that he might 
send another thoughtful message. 7 (It was mid July of 1862, when 
the alarm over her heart malady was at its height.) In later years 
she continued her interest in Letitia, bolstering her morale and 
reporting on her welfare. 'Georgina's account of you is as cheerful 
and reassuring as I could hope, on the whole,' Dickens wrote his 
sister in 1868. 'I am off to-morrow to face my heavy spell of work. 
Georgy will tell me how you get on.' 8 

Concurrent with other expenses of the decade, Dickens's invalid 
mother, widowed since 1851, was totally dependent on him. Though 
her mind wandered in her last years, she could rally enough to 
recognize the source of her support. Visiting her in 1860, Dickens 
wrote to Georgina that 'the minute she saw me, she plucked up a 
spirit and asked me for "a pound"! 7 She died at the age of seventy- 
four, in a 'frightful' state, six weeks after Mrs. Hogarth. 9 

With all these calls for assistance, it is no wonder that in 1861, on 
receiving a 'begging letter from that Robert Barrow a very bad 
one by the way with an awful affectation of Christian piety in it', 
Dickens complained of being ' chained ... by the enormous drags' 
upon him. '. . , I seem to stop sometimes like a steamer in a storm, 
and deliberate whether I shall go on whirling, or go down/ he 
groaned. 10 

Georgina marked how often he was touched with melancholy in these 



84 Georgina Hogarth cmd the Dickens Circle 

years. Recurring deaths in the family and among friends were nar 
rowing his circle. His valued companion and reading manager, 
Arthur Smith, had died only a few days before Henry Austin. It 
was, he said, 'as if my right arm were gone'. 11 The following year 
Augustus Egg also died, a bachelor, at age forty-seven, having 
only recently attained the rank of Eoyal Academician. Dickens 
mourned 'the dear gentle little fellow' and his pretty house . . . 
to be laid waste and sold 5 , 12 the house which Georgina might have 
graced. 

For Dickens a depressing aspect of such events was his attendance 
at funerals. Georgina knew well his aversion to all the hired trap 
pings of woe inflicted by the undertakers on such occasions. At 
Arthur Smith's funeral, though, this outrage to his feelings had been 
somewhat lessened when, as 'the body was to be taken up and 
carried to the grave, there stepped out, instead of the undertaker's 
men with their hideous paraphernalia, the men who had always 
been with [Smith in his work] ; and they, in their plain, decent, own 
mourning clothes, carried the poor fellow away'. But he had been 
distressed by a service read without feeling or clear articulation. 13 

No less trying were the clouds of relatives and intimates who 
darkened the bereaved homes on such occasions. Georgina, who 
had not gone down to Ealing for Austin's funeral, had missed 
Letitia's first appearance in her widow's cap, of which Dickens 'only 
observed that it had very broad strings to tie it by'. But he sent 
her a full report of the dismal assemblage at the home, a gathering 
not without its humorous aspects : 'The manner in which every body 
sat against the wall, was wonderful. And there was the usual Ghoule- 
like indispensability of cake and wine, and old Mr. Austin had a 
conviction deeply rooted in hrm that everybody wanted coffee (which 
was also there), and in particular that I wanted coffee, and must 
have it administered, whether or no. . . . 

'. . . I suspected (God forgive me!) the young cousin of getting up 
a demonstration now and then. In pouring out the tea he rattled 
the teapot against the cups, and the like, and was more jerky than 
seemed natural. Also he fell into reveries that I thought too sudden 
and profound.' 14 



With the Dickens children widely scattered now, Aunt Georgy was 
active in 'holding them all together and perpetually corresponding 
with the distant ones'. It was mainly through her that their father 
kept in touch with them all, he acknowledged to Cerjat. 15 Unfortu 
nately, she could find in the communications from her nephews 



'Enormous Drags' 85 

little relief, either for their father's melancholy or for his pocket- 
book. 

Charley, it was true, had begun rather well and for a time appeared 
to be established in business. Financed by his father, he had gone 
to China in 1860 to buy tea. Returning early in 1861, he set himself 
up as an Eastern merchant. He would do well if only he could find 
'continuous energy', Dickens told Cerjat. This was an echo of earlier 
concern over his eldest son's staying powers. f All he wants, is a 
habit of perseverance,' Dickens had written Miss Coutts when 
Charley was fourteen. Some two years later another letter to her 
had complained that the boy had inherited from his mother 'an 
indescribable lassitude of character 3 . 16 His later career was to give 
his father cause for still further pessimistic reservations. 

Another unsatisfactory aspect of Charley's situation unsatisfac 
tory only to his father, probably was the marriage to his childhood 
sweetheart, Bessie Evans. Estranged from Bessie's father after the 
separation, Dickens did not attend the wedding. (With Catherine 
present, he would not have done so in any event.) He had not, how 
ever, tried to prevent the marriage, nor did he transfer his antag 
onism to his daughter-in-law. He and Georgina always welcomed 
Charley and Bessie at Gad's Hill, especially at Christmas. Soon 
another generation came with them 'to peep above the table'. 17 

The affairs of Walter, Dickens 's second son, cast a heavy shadow 
over the household. Two years after he had first been sent to India 
as an ensign at age sixteen, he had been promoted to the rank of 
lieutenant in the Forty-second Highlanders. But soon he showed 
signs of following the old familiar pattern set by his paternal uncles 
and Micawberish grandfather. Constantly in debt, he was placed 
low on the list for a captaincy. Charley, while travelling in the 
Orient in 1861, had spent a fortnight with "Mm and had, presumably, 
paid all his accumulated debts. But before long there were more. 
Apparently discouraged about his future in India, Walter considered 
volunteering for home service, but finally heeded paternal advice 
against thus reducing his income. Urged to live within his means, he 
wrote Mamie that there would be no further letters until he was out 
of debt. After a long silence he sent word that he was ill. Months 
later another note stated that he was being sent home on sick leave. 18 
(This was in the autumn of 1863, the season marked by the death of 
both his grandmothers and the optimism over his Aunt Georgy's 
rapidly improving condition.) The next commtmication came from 
the officers' hospital in Calcutta. f lt is my most painful duty to 
inform you of the sudden death of your son Lieut. Walter Landor 
Dickens . . ./ it began. The message was not received until 7th 



86 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

February, 1864, Dickens's fifty-second birthday, 19 though Walter 
had died on 31st December the night Gad's Hill had been seeing 
the New Year in with charades and music and dancing. 

One part of the Calcutta letter, its diagnosis of Walter's fatal ill 
ness, was kept from Georgina because, as Dickens explained to both 
Miss Coutts and Macready, she was suffering from 'the same dis 
order 3 . 20 Walter's death, it was learned, had been caused by 'the 
rupture of an extensive Aneurism of the arch of the Aorta', and had 
been mercifully quick. 'He was talking with other patients in the 
Hospital and became rather excited about the arrangements he pro 
posed for his homeward passage, when a violent fit of coughing came 
on and the Aneurism burst into the left bronchial tube and life 
became extinct in a few seconds by the rush of blood which poured 
from his mouth.' 21 He was buried in the Bhowanipore Cemetery, 
Calcutta. 22 'I could have wished it had pleased God to let him see 
his home again,' his father wrote to Miss Coutts, 'but I think he 
would have died at the door.' 23 

A few months later arrived the all too familiar evidence of reck 
less spending Walter's unpaid accounts. Georgina, still somewhat 
under the strain of illness, saw Dickens harried by conflicting 
demands, but could do nothing. He had been unable to finish the 
tenth number of Our Mutual Friend, he complained to her, because 
he had spent his time settling 'the regimental part of poor Walter's 
wretched affairs utterly incomprehensible, as they always have 
been'. 24 As long as possible he had postponed facing this miserable 
business. From Walter's commanding officer had come a humiliating 
assortment of bills. 'I feel I could not do my duty if I withheld these 
from you,' the officer had written, adding for Dickens's consolation: 
'Let me take this opportunity of saying that the death of your son 
caused us all sincere sorrow; for he was a favourite with us all; and 
not all his difficulties in pecuniary matters, which appear to have 
begun immediately after he came to India, affected or in any way 
diminished our regard for him. And this perhaps is another reason 
why I now trouble you with these affairs.' 25 

Among his possessions Walter had left nothing of value : only a 
small trunk, changes of linen, some prayer books, and a coloured 
photograph of a woman believed to be a member of the family. 26 (It 
may have been his Aunt Georgy's recently taken portrait. There 
would have been time for it to reach him before his death.) Accord 
ing to his captain, everything else had been turned into cash in pre 
paration for the return to England. What could Walter have done 
with his money! The officers' mess, the regimental store, the billiard 
table, the native servants, a merchant or two all remained to be 



'Enormous Drags' 87 

paid. The claims against him, not including the servants' wages for 
39, were in excess of 100. 

But in all this dreary and depressing affair there was one light 
touch a native creditor's request for fourteen rupees and eight 
annas : 

Humble petition of Gunga Bum Cloth 

Most humbly sheweth 

I most humbly beg to write, these few humble lines to your 

greate honour 

Honoured Sir 

Your poor petitioner is want 14 Re 8 ans. from April 1862 

and he havnt payed to me yet and Sir 
I have heard now Dickens is gone to England some days ago 

and Sir now I will get these Ee with your kind 
Should I be so fortunate as to succeed my request for which 
act of generiostey I shall ever pray for your long life and 
prosperity? 1 

Dickens could only hope that Frank, his next son, would fare 
better in India. In the past, though, the boy's record had not been 
heartening. Interested in becoming a doctor, he had been sent to 
Hamburg to learn German. But discouraged by his stammer, he 
had soon abandoned all ambitions for a professional career and 
aspired instead to be a gentleman farmer in Africa, Canada, or 
Australia. Brushing this notion aside, Dickens, with some faint hope 
of getting his son into the Foreign Office, set him to studying 
Italian and reviewing German. But convinced before long that 
Frank showed little promise for this calling, he next considered pre 
paring him for a business partnership with Charley. When that plan 
failed to materialize, Frank was taken into the office of AU the Year 
Round, being thought to have a e natural literary taste and capacity'. 
Finally, this last experiment proving unsatisfactory, his father got 
him an appointment to the Bengal Mounted Police and sent him to 
India in the month after Walter's death, but before the news of it 
had reached England. 28 Just before he embarked Frank celebrated 
his twentieth birthday. 

Seventeen months later Alfred, the next son, set out for Australia. 
Though he was considered a 'good, steady fellow' and had originally 
been prepared for an army career, he could not meet the competition 
for the engineers or the artillery. 29 After a short-lived ambition to 
prepare for the medical profession, he took a London position with 
a large China house. It was after two years of this work that he 
sailed for Melbourne at the age of twenty, with introductions 



88 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

designed to facilitate contacts with some mercantile firm. 30 Behind 
him he left a welter of unpaid bills. Wearily going through the 
itemized statements from the haberdasher and the tailor, his father 
found evidence of appalling extravagance the curse that had 
already run through two generations of the family and now plagued 
the third. Eleven pairs of kid gloves (most of them the finest 
quality), eight silk scarves, three pairs of trousers, a treble milled 
coat and vest, as well as cambric handkerchiefs, cameo and onyx 
scarf pins, a railway rug, two umbrellas (one of brown silk), a silver 
mounted cane, a bottle of scent all charged in a period of eleven 
months! And how were the eight pairs of ladies' gloves to be 
accounted for? 31 Had any father ever been burdened with so many 
irresponsible sons? 

For Sydney, the one following Alfred, there had been high hopes. 
As a child he had always been a great favourite with his father and 
Aunt Georgy. Later, as he prepared for a naval career, he gave 
them cause for pride. Known in training at Portsmouth as 'Young 
Dickens, who can do everything J , he passed his cadet examination 
and came home 'all eyes and gold buttons'. 32 Henceforth he was 
referred to in his family as 'the Admiral*. He was pint size only 
three feet tall when he began his cadetship at age thirteen and, 
Dickens told Georgina, could easily have lived in his sea chest. On 
his training ship, where his enormous popularity impressed his 
father, he was hoisted into his hammock by his mates the first night, 
but promptly leaped out again and insisted on getting in by himself. 33 
In 1861 he got a coveted appointment on the H.M.S. Orlando. The 
next year his father, writing to Cerjat, called the young midshipman 
e a born little sailor* who would 'make his way anywhere'. 34 But soon 
there were ominous signs that Sydney could not resist the family 
tendency toward extravagance. Rumour had it that while his ship 
was harboured at Bermuda he made e prodigious purchases of 
luxuries' guava jelly, rahat-lakoum, bananas, boot-laces much to 
the delight, of course, of the coloured bumboat woman, Mrs. Dinah 
Browne, who invited him to have tea with her on shore, where, in 
her primitive native cabin, she entertained him with 'charming 
coon-songs in a rich . . . contralto voice 5 . 35 Evidently this spending 
orgy was not Sydney's last, for two years later his father, then wind 
ing up Walter's pathetic affairs, wrote lij-m a futile letter of 
admonition. 36 

In sending his sons away one by one, Dickens was greatly con 
cerned that each become independent and self-respecting. Remem 
bering all too painfully his own father's and brothers' improvidence, 
he refused to spoil Ms boys with indulgence. He had demanded 



'Enormous Drags' 89 

much of them as children in the way of punctuality, order, and 
industry more, perhaps, than they could sometimes deliver with 
out undue anxiety. Still, they themselves testified, when grown, 
that their father had been generous, loving, and ever ready to frolic 
with them. And though he stormed at any infraction of domestic 
rules, he was the very next moment like 'sun after a shower'. 37 
From their boyhood he had been convinced that 'the sons of a father 
whose capital can never be the inheritance of his children must 
perhaps above all other young men hew out their own paths 
through the world by sheer hard work'. 38 Georgina, chiefly con 
cerned that her nephews be a comfort to Dickens and a credit to his 
name, fully concurred in this and in whatever he planned for their 
welfare.^ She was, moreover, to continue her warm interest in the 
boys' future after their father's death. 

With five nephews out in the world, Aunt Georgy had only two 
schoolboys at Gad's Hill, Though Harry had begun school at 
Boulogne, he had been withdrawn because Plorn, a shy youngster, 
needed his companionship. The two boys were then sent to the 
nearby Rochester Grammar School. 40 Tlorn's admission that he 
likes the school very much indeed, is the great social triumph of 
modern times,' was Dickens's jubilant response to Georgina J s pro 
gress report on her youngest nephew. 41 From Rochester both boys 
went to Wimbledon. But eleven-year-old Plorn, sensitive and unag- 
gressive, soon pleaded that such a large school was too confusing and 
begged to be transferred. His father attributed the maladjustment 
to the lad's having been a little too long at home with grown 
people'. Upon the advice of De la Rue, Plorn was next placed under 
the Reverend W. 0. Sawyer's instruction at Tunbridge Wells. 42 In 
these two younger boys, for a time, and later in Harry alone, the 
father and aunt found compensation for all the woes inflicted by the 
other five. 

During their vacations Harry and Plorn entertained themselves 
by editing a small weekly newspaper, the Gad's EiU Gazette. It had 
been organized one summer while Alfred and Sydney were still at 
home/3 and in its early stages had been dignified by an office 
equipped with a bell and staffed by an editor, sub-editor, and office 
boy (Harry). Though there was little for this last member to do, he 
was constantly rung for. The first issues were handwritten and dupli 
cated in carbon. Later Wills presented the young journalists with a 
manifold writer, and still later, with a printing press. This latter 
piece of equipment Harry learned to operate at the age of fifteen 
after a period of special training in London. When, according to the 
Gazette, Plorn, 'wearied by the toil of public life ... resigned his 



90 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

post' in August 1864, Harry had the sole responsibility for continu 
ing the little paper: he collected the news, solicited contributions, 
composed the page, wrote the leaders, set the type, and posted the 
copies. At one time there were a hundred subscribers who paid 2d. 
for each issue. 44 The periods of publication coincided with school 
vacations (from late July to late August and between late December 
and early February). This journalistic venture ended about 1867, 
when Harry was preparing for Cambridge. 

He had been only nine years old when his parents separated; 
Plorn, six. Thus Auntie had felt a special tenderness in mothering 
these two in the early Gad's Hill years. Later, as she followed the 
development of the Gazette through all its issues, she found a reward 
in the keen intelligence and reliability of Harry. He was a well- 
balanced lad, too, and became a good cricketer and general outdoors- 
man. Happily, he also had the sense of fun to be expected of his 
father's child, as shown by his schemes to enliven his jtittle journal. 
One such was the series of tilts between editor and readers. 'We are 
sorry to state that we have received complaints from some of our 
subscribers of the printing of the Gad's Hill Gazette/ he editoria 
lized in the issue of 6 August 1864. 'Now if these gentlemen will 
inform us of a mode of printing (applicable to our funds) we shall 
be most happy to try it.' Of the copies printed by manifold writer, 
only one in four was 'the least illegible', he protested. Anyone who 
wished to withdraw his subscription could have his money refunded 
on application to the editor. This elicited from John Leech an 
impassioned defence of the Gazette, with a vehement denunciation 
of all grumblers. 

Dickens, too, entered into the humour of the thing, submitting a 
complaint in one number and a reply in another. For these he 
invented characteristic signatures: Jabez Skinner, The Skinnery, 
Flintshire, was answered by Blackberry Jones. 45 Perhaps he was 
reminded of his own schoolboy attempts at writing and circulating a 
little newspaper at Chatham. At any rate, he endorsed the Gazette 
fully. But when Harry tried his hand at sentimental verse, that was 
another matter. On the death of Turk the bloodhound in 1865 the 
editor had capped the prose announcement of the event with a 
poetic threnody. He next attempted a poem in Tennysonian style 
and ambitiously submitted it to All the Year Round. It was then 
that his father quenched the poetic spark, pointing out that Harry 
was e not destined to become a great poet and had better stick to 
things mundane'. 46 Thereafter the young editor eschewed literary 
embroidery and satisfied himself with reporting Gad's Hill dinners 
'served up in the same magnificent and costly manner as usual', 



'Enormous Drags' 91 

dances, sports, the arrival and departure of visitors, and neighbour 
hood news. 

Georgina's older nephews were not the only children to call forth 
solicitude during the lS60's. Mamie distressed her father because, 
nearing thirty, she had 'not yet started any conveyance on the road 
to matrimony. . . .' But he dared to believe that she still might, 'as 
she is very agreeable and intelligent'. 47 It was hoped that she would 
be attracted to the young Irishman, Percy Fitzgerald (even though 
he was a Catholic), but Dickens w T as finally forced to lament, s . . . I 
am grievously disappointed that Mary can by no means be induced 
to think as highly of him as I do'. 48 Her continued spinsterhood was 
a disappointment that her Aunt Georgina was to deplore frequently 
in later years. 

For all Mamie's agreeable and docile qualities and for all her 
father's indulgence of her, it seems probable that, had she been a 
boy, her lack of decision and practical industry might have evoked 
the same censure Dickens bestowed upon his sons. When she 
revealed herself at times to be as vaguely passive and unpurposeful 
as her mother, he w r as not unknown to cloak his annoyance under 
the same sort of badinage he had used in referring to Catherine. In 
the summer of his first anxiety over Georgina's illness, he had 
addressed such a plaint to Thomas Baylis, to whom Mamie had 
evidently expressed a wish for some ferns to plant at Gad's Hill, 
around which no suitable nook then remained implanted. 'After 
carefully cross-examining my daughter,' her father wrote, 'I do NOT 
believe her to be worthy of the fernery. . . . When I ask her where 
she would have the fernery and what she would do with it, the wit 
ness falters, turns pale, becomes confused, and says: "Perhaps it 
would be better not to have it at all". I am quite confident that the 
constancy of the young person is not to be trusted, and that she had 
better attach her fernery to one of the chateaux in Spain, or one of 
her English castles in the air. None the less do I thank you for your 
more than kind proposal.' Miss Hogarth's illness, he added patheti 
cally, was upsetting to all family plans and 'withers many kinds of 
fern'. 49 

Though he took a tone of amused masculine tolerance towards 
Mamie's yearly cry to join fashionable London society for the 
February-May season, he usually deferred to her wishes somewhat 
protestingly and only from paternal fondness. 50 Mamie, clearly, was 
something of a butterfly. It is perhaps significant that when Dickens 
took her and Georgina to Paris for the latter's health, he did not 
consider setting up an establishment to be supervised by his 
daughter. 



92 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

As for Katey talented, vital, more like Dickens, perhaps, than 
were any of the others he had an uneasy feeling, shared by Georgina, 
that the marriage to Charles Collins had not been entered into whole 
heartedly. As his son-in-law was of excellent character and devoted 
to Katey, Dickens had nothing against him personally, but there was 
grave concern over his health. By 1864 Collins was so unwell that 
he and Katey were forced to try a brief residence on the Continent 
to improve his condition. I have strong apprehensions that he will 
never recover, and that she will be left a young widow/ predicted 
Dickens anxiously. 51 But though Collins 5 s invalidism meant that 
Katey had to live in circumstances far more modest than Mamie's at 
Gad's Hill, she was too proud to add to the "enormous drags' on her 
father by accepting his bounty. 



With all its burdens life at Gad's TTill had also its delights, none 
dearer to Georgina in retrospect than the miniature Swiss chalet. It 
dated from an afternoon in December 1864, when Dickens, returning 
from London, found a mysterious shipment of fifty-eight boxes piled 
up outside the gate. Examining this treasure trove, he learned that 
the crates contained ninety-four pieces of wood to be fitted together 
like the 'joints of a puzzle*. Even blinds and hardware were included. 
This amazing gift was a token of gratitude from Charles Albert 
Fechter, a Parisian actor whom Dickens had induced to make an 
English stage debut. During the ensuing Christmas holidays, when 
heavy snow and exceptionally cold weather prohibited outdoor 
frolics, the master of Gad's Hill and the guests in the bachelor's 
cottage entertained themselves by unpacking the pieces. 52 

As the weather moderated, erection of the little two-story struc 
ture began on the wooded tract across the way. Safely reached 
through a tunnel beneath the busy Dover Boad (one of Dickens's 
earlier ingenious improvements), this secluded plot provided an 
ideal setting for Fechter's gift. Once the brick foundation had been 
laid, the building rose rapidly except for the intricate wooden cut 
out work resembling Swiss embroidery on the outside stairway, 
balcony, and eaves. As soon as Dickens saw the surprising height of 
the upper room, he decided to use it as a summer study. 53 In 
August, when he moved in, he took with him the familiar trivial 
objects from his library desk: the bronze frogs, the rabbit on the 
gilt leaf, the paper knife, and the green cup. Georgina made daily 
trips through the tunnel into the lush wilderness and up the toy 
staircase to renew the flowers in the little china cup. 54 Picturing his 
sylvan retreat, Dickens grew lyrical: 'I have put five mirrors in the 



'Enormous Drags'" 93 

Swiss chalet (where I write) and they reflect and refract in all kinds 
of ways the leaves that are quivering at the windows, and the great 
fields of waving corn, and the sail-dotted river. 3 For distant vision 
he supplemented the mirrors with a telescope. Here, in this delight 
ful study where 'birds and butterflies fly in and out, and the green 
branches shoot in, at the open windows, and the lights and shadows 
of the clouds come and go . . . ,' he was henceforth to spend his 
summer working hours. 55 

Of such solace as the chalet afforded, Dickens had need. He had 
come through a difficult winter in 1865, and Georgina was alarmed 
over his symptoms of decline. His old 'weak side', the left, had been 
troubling him perhaps an inflamed kidney again. And his left foot 
had given him intense pain, though he would not admit gout, insist 
ing that it was only the lingering result of frostbite combined with 
irritation from his leather boot on the long walks through the snow. 56 
Augmenting the physical ills was the unremitting work schedule. 
For such nervous exhaustion even soothing Gad's Hill was not 
always the remedy. So it was that late May and early June saw him 
back in Paris on one of his brief excursions. But even on this holiday 
the manuscript of his current novel went with him. 

Georgina and Mamie were relieved to hear almost at once that 
his general health and vitality were much improved. 57 But on 9th 
June their optimism was dimmed, when they heard the first reports 
of his honifyrng homecoming experience. Having crossed the 
Channel, he had left Folkestone by the boat train. As the locomo 
tive had sped down the slight gradient approaching Staplehurst, the 
engineer had suddenly seen a red warning flag only 550 yards from 
a bridge undergoing repairs. Though he had set the brakes the loco- 
tive had plunged on over the bridge, leaping a forty-foot gap where 
two rails had been removed. Still coupled to it had been the van 
and two coaches. The second of these, in which Dickens had ridden, 
had hung suspended in precarious balance, its front end resting on 
the viaduct, its rear in the marshes below. All the other coaches had 
broken from the train and fallen into the shallow stream. 58 

Waiting anxiously at Gad's Hill to hear the whole story from 
Dickens himself, Georgina and Mamie had many hours in which to 
exercise their imagination. The day after the accident he was still 
at his London office, and not until evening did he come home *to 
quiet their minds'. It was then that they learned how he had been 
the hero of the occasion. At the moment of the crash he had first 
calmed the two women one old, one young in his compartment; 
then, crawling through the window, he had got from a panicky 
guard the key to unlock his compartment and others. He had helped 



94 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

the two women to safety and, sustained by what he admitted to be 
e a constitutional . . . presence of mind', had passed among the 
injured and dying in the wreckage below, trying to revive them with 
brandy from his flask and hatfuls of water from the stream. In the 
midst of bloody faces, deep skull gashes, and general anguish, he 
had been amazingly collected, even climbing back into his compart 
ment to rescue the manuscript of the last number of Our Mutual 
Friend. 5 ^ But home once more, he found himself nervously shattered 
by the ordeal. 

What the public did not know, but what would hardly have been 
kept from Georgina, was that the younger of the two women with 
him had been Ellen Ternan. In the eight years since pretty 'Xelly' 
had played in The Frozen Deep, Dickens had visited her frequently 
in London and had favoured her family with special consideration, 
sending her sister Frances Eleanor to Italy to study music and pro 
moting stage contacts for her sister Maria. 60 Georgina and Mamie 
had received Ellen at Gad's Hill. Katey, however, maintained reser 
vations, and, on being told that Nelly had once joined in cricket 
there, had given it as her opinion that cricket was obviously not a 
game which this pretty actress played. 61 JS"ow, as Dickens sought to 
regain composure after the Staplehurst accident, he directed his 
servant, John Thompson, to have delivered to Miss Ellen a variety 
of little gifts designed to revive a young lady convalescing from 
shock: c . . . a little basket of fresh fruit, a jar of clotted cream from 
Tuckers, and a chicken, a pair of pigeons, or some nice little bird 5 . 62 

For the first few days after the accident Georgina took over much 
of Dickens J s correspondence, writing from his dictation answers to 
the solicitous inquiries of friends who had read the newspaper 
accounts of his lucky escape. He was 'too much shaken to write 
many notes', he told them, or even to add the usual flourish beneath 
his signature. The references to the catastrophe all followed virtu 
ally the same phrasing: 'I am shaken; not by the dragging of the 
carriage, itself, but by the work afterwards in getting out the dying 
and dead, which was horrible 5 . 63 Among the dictated letters was one 
to Maria Beadnell Winter.^ But to Catherine's kind inquiry he 
himself wrote one of the brief stereotypes, apologizing for his 
unsteady hand. 65 

As Dickens, pleading a shaken nervous system and the need to 
work quietly at home, declined invitations, even far into the future, 
Georgina narrowed her own social activities to Gad's Hill. Besides 
Katey and her husband, only a few intimates, such as Frank Beard, 
Percy Fitzgerald, Frederick Lehmann, and Bulwer-Lytton, were 
invited to visit. (To Lehmann, Dickens apologized for Mamie: 'I 



'Enormous Drags' 95 

was vexed that you were put off from coming here by the inscruta 
bility of Mary's arrangements' ; to Lytton he jested that Georgina 
might prove a 'drawback' as she c is so insupportably vain on account 
of being a favourite of yours. . . .') 66 But for all the relaxed atmos 
phere at Gad's Hill that summer, Georgina recognized in the linger 
ing effects of the Staplehurst accident one more drag on Dickens's 
spirits and vitality. 



Chapter Eight 
'SAD WORK, WITHOUT THE HEAD' 



WITH 1866 Georgina entered on a four-and-a-half- year period of 
steadily worsening anxiety. Dickens was alarmingly unwell. Ever 
since the Staplehurst accident he had lacked his old buoyancy and 
tone. Bail travel agonized him. 1 In February even his heart was 
misbehaving. Frank Beard's diagnosis, a 'degeneration of some 
functions of the heart', was if Dickens reported it to his sister-in- 
law accurately couched in the very terms applied to her own case. 
*0f course/ he admitted, 'I am not so foolish as to suppose that all 
my work can have been achieved without some penalty. . . .' 2 The 
report on his condition caused such a flurry of apprehension at Gad's 
Hill that he used it as his excuse to suggest to Beard the calling in 
of Dr. Brinton for consultation. Such a measure, he represented, 
would relieve Beard from bearing any onus in the eyes of the 
Dickens household. 3 Actually, he had already been disposed to seek 
a second opinion when he had given Georgina the diagnosis the pre 
vious week. Though she probably understood him well enough to 
suspect what gratification it gave his ego to have someone always 
ready to worry over him, her concern was none the less acute, her 
sympathies were none the less harrowed, by the perpetual recitals of 
symptoms, fatigue, dejection. 

And now she was particularly concerned because he was deter 
mined to accelerate the pace of the exhausting reading tours. C I have 
just sold myself to the Powers of Evil, for 30 readings/ he announced 
in March. 4 Georgina knew well enough why he had contracted with 
Chappells of Bond Street for the series at 50 a night, all expenses 
paid. None of his ventures was more profitable than the readings, 
none so sure in quick returns. It was not only the multiple expenses 
that drove him to maintain his earnings at a high level ; there was 
also his compulsion to accumulate a reserve against his children's 
probable needs. He should have been awarded a prize, he said 
grimly, for having brought up the largest family ever known with 
the smallest disposition to do anything for themselves'. 5 

During the new reading program me, which covered. England, Scot 
land, and Ireland, Georgina and Mamie lived in a furnished residence 



( Sad Work, without the Head' 97 

in London as was their annual custom during the late winter and 
spring social season. There, by means of his letters, Georgina fol 
lowed Dickens in imagination. 'I slept thoroughly well last night, 
and feel fresh,' she was pleased to read in April at the outset of the 
tour, only to be cast down by the next sentence: 'What to-night's 
work, and every night's work this week, may do contrariwise, 
remains to be seen.' 6 So it went, with nps and downs. But every 
thing she heard about George Dolby, the new reading manager 
appointed by Chappells, endeared to her that large, bald man, forth 
right and competent, but hampered by a stammer particularly 
whenever the name Cambridge, that 'rock ahead in his speech', 
appeared in the itinerary. 7 He was of the best: he shared her utter 
devotion to Dickens. As the tour progressed, she was spared the pro 
vincial newspaper accounts, these being 'generally so poorly written, 
that you may know beforehand all [their] commonplaces'. But from 
her native Edinburgh, where the audience was, 'as usual here, 
remarkably intelligent', she received a copy of The Scotsman with an 
article 'so pretty and , . . so true' that Dickens could not resist 
sending it to her. 8 

For several years now, Georgina had entertained a lurking fear 
that the reading tours might some day be extended to America. As 
early as the spring of 1858 there had come overtures from James T. 
Fields, the Boston publisher and editor. A year later he had rein 
forced his proposal by calling in person at both Tavistock House and 
Gad's Hill. However tempting the promises of a new public and 
huge profits, there were strong arguments, even then, against the 
undertaking. Dickens would have had to leave much behind: the 
children and Georgina, the fascinating alterations at Gad's Hill, his 
newly launched All the Year Round. Besides, he admitted, there 
was 'a private reason rendering a long voyage and absence particu 
larly painful. . . .' 9 Whether this was a reference to Ellen Ternan is, 
of course, conjectural. Fields did not abandon hope, however, but 
brought the matter up yearly thereafter. 

But now, during the spring of 1866, Georgina was lulled into tem 
porary security on receiving from Dickens the heavily underscored 
promise, ' You need have no fear about America*. CJomforted by this 
assurance, she returned to Gad's Hill in June to enter reluctantly on 
a season cumbered by hospitality. With Dickens absent all spring, 
she and Mamie had postponed paying social debts. Now, with his 
sanction, they set out to catch up with the 'accumulated arrears*. 
But Georgina kept one eye on the harried master of the house and 
with Mamie 'would have broken faith all round* had he permitted 
it. 11 



98 Gfeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

August brought thoughts of Catherine Dickens out into the open 
again and gave Georgina a distasteful task. For the first time since 
the Staplehurst accident Catherine had written to her husband. Her 
plea that he call on her was immediately sent on to Georgina with 
instructions : 'I find the enclosed at the office here. If you have no 
objection on your own part, I wish you would reply to it that I have 
asked you to answer it, and that you think it well to tell her at once 
that you are absolutely certain that I will never go to her house, 
and that it is my fixed purpose (without any abatement of kindness 
otherwise), to hold as little personal communication with her as 
I possibly can. . . . 

r~ 'About the house, I can give no opinion. She must decide the 
I question out of her own daily experience of it and domestic 
I knowledge of it. If she has any question to ask me about her 
Lboy, she can either write it to me or to you. 

'This last paragraph marked with a bracket, will be all you have 
to say for me, if you don't like to say the rest. 

'It is pretty clear to me that she very well knows what is amiss, 
and has been put up by somebody to trying to get hold of me.' 12 

In the absence of Catherine's letter one can only fall back on sur 
mises as to the meaning of Dickens's last paragraph and the refer 
ence to 'her boy 5 . The latter could be explained if Catherine, using 
the phrase c my boy', had wished an appointment to dissuade Dickens 
from having Plorn trained for life in Australia. (Letters to Plorn's 
tutor nine and eleven months later show Dickens to have been 
greatly displeased with the 'want of application' and the 'imprac 
tical torpor' of his youngest son in 1866 and 1867). 13 One can only 
believe that Georgina, in transmitting the message to her sister, 
suppressed her reluctance in the interests of obeying orders. 

It was not long until another delicate situation arose. On 3rd 
November, while guests were in the house, Georgina got a disillu 
sioning shock by post. 'If you open this letter in the presence of 
either of the Stone girls, do not be betrayed into any expression of 
surprise/ Dickens began. Hastening on, she learned that Scotland 
Yard, investigating the mysterious theft of eight sovereigns from the 
office cash box, had found the thief to be John Thompson, a family 
servant for twenty-five years, his master's valet on all the reading 
tours, and the attendant currently trusted with the care of the 
editorial office and adjoining living quarters. 'What I am to do 
with, or for, the miserable man, God knows/ moaned Dickens. 14 

It was her task to withhold knowledge of the disgrace from the 
Gad's Hill servants, devising some story to the effect that 'John is 
going into some small business anything of that kind. . . .* In the 



'Sad Work, without the Head' 99 

meantime she was to stay away from the office and tell Mamie to 
do likewise, so that 'no third person . . . who knew him through his 
old long service' should witness John's shame. 15 At once she took 
steps to provide a housekeeper for the office living quarters, writing 
to ask a former servant, Ellen, to fill the post. She was authorized 
to offer the woman e a good sitting room at the bottom of the house, 
three bright airy rooms adjoining each other at the top, coals and 
candles, and a guinea a week'. Dickens specified her duties precisely : 
'to keep the house perfectly clean, to attend to me when I am here, 
and to Wills when he wants anything which seldom extends 
beyond a cup of tea for lunch, or a chop'. 16 

With the shock of John's exposure, the detailed duties in its wake, 
and the presence of house guests, Georgina became a bit mixed up 
in one of her domestic responsibilities. At the peak of the excitement 
over the theft, she had reported the arrival of some French fabrics. 
Dickens's answer, concerned otherwise with his office housekeeping 
requirements, urged that 'the curtains and couch ... be immediately 
got to work upon'. 17 His next communication, though, must have 
sent her into a flutter: 'The remembrance of a passage in your letter, 
yesterday which I forgot at the time makes me so very much 
afraid of your doing something wrong with that French stuff that 
I go the length of sending a boy down with this, express. 

'You write about the sofa not having arrived to be covered and 
about "the great chair" or "the arm chair" being covered. There 
is no chair whatever to be covered in my room. Curtains are to be 
made to the large windows and the two small windows, and the new 
sofa is to be covered. That is all. There is no chair to be covered.' 18 

At this hectic time Georgina already knew that another strenuous 
season of readings was to begin shortly after Christmas. Since the 
forty-two appearances (contracted for with Chappells for 2,500) 
would keep Mm on the road until May, except for the briefest 
intervals, Dickens did not rent the usual furnished house in London 
for the season. Hence Georgina wintered in the country, keeping 
house for Katey and her invalid husband, who had come to Gad's 
Trill for his health. Mamie, perhaps disinclined to a dull immurement 
at home, sought diversion with friends in Hampshire. 19 

The bulletins Georgina received from Dickens during his tour held 
little more brightness than the late winter sky over Gad's Hill. He 
could not sleep. At Liverpool he felt so faint that he had taken to a 
sofa before leaving the hall after a performance. He still suffered 
from the Staplehurst experience, which 'tells more and more, instead 
of (as one might have expected) less and less'. 20 Only now and then 
did the sun shine out over his correspondence, as in the account of 



100 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Harrington of York, both of whom wore 
false hair: it had been 'rather comical to see the two wigs presid 
ing . . . opposite each other'. 21 Having so often protected Dickens 
from Maria Winter, Georgina must have found further amusement 
in his report from Newcastle-on-Tyne. Mr. Winter, having failed in 
business, had gone to Cambridge to study for of all things holy 
orders, had taken his degree at age forty-eight, and was now vicar 
at Alnmouth, near Newcastle. 'No news yet of the Winter family,' 
Dickens wrote. 'I live in a tremble.' Two days later, having escaped 
to Leeds, he sent a second bulletin: 'Thank heaven, there have been 
no signs, either of Mrs. Winter or "dear Mr. W.".' 22 

When he went to Ireland Georgina found a new cause for appre 
hension. There he was travelling in dangerous territory, for it was 
the period of Fenian uprisings. His first letter from Dublin intensi 
fied her uneasiness by mentioning a threatened 'disturbance between 
to-morrow night and Monday night (both inclusive). . . .' But his 
next remark urged her not to fret, for 'I shall not put myself in 
harm's way*. Hard upon this reassurance, however, came the grim 
admission, 'There is no doubt whatever that alarm prevails, and the 
manager of the Hotel, an intelligent German, is very gloomy on the 
subject 5 . 23 Georgina was alternately up and down. No sooner had 
the seeds of anxiety been planted in receptive ground than she was 
charged not to cultivate them. The second letter she received from 
Dublin announced 'no new rumours' and concluded soothingly, 'This 
is merely to keep you at ease on riotous fronts' ; but she could have 
found in a letter to Mamie on the same day apprehensions of a pos 
sible St. Patrick's Day uprising: f . . . Croakers predict that it will 
come off between to-night and Monday night'. 24 

From Ireland also came a reminder of Mamie's regrettable indiffer 
ence to Percy Fitzgerald. Dublin being his young friend's home, 
Dickens wrote of receiving a 'really charming letter from Mrs. Fitz 
gerald, asking me to stay there. She must be a perfectly unaffected 
and genuine lady.' He sent this letter on to Mamie, asking her to 
acknowledge its kind messages to herself and to her aunt. Tercy's 
people are of great consideration here, and universally known,* he 
wrote wistfully to Georgina some days later. 25 

As always, Georgina had her instructions. She was to replenish 
the liquor stocks at the office on her trips to London, so that Dickens 
might refresh himself whenever a break in his reading schedule per 
mitted a brief visit there. He had found her inventory of the cham 
pagne to be correct. She must remember to bring in some orange 
brandy (of her own concocting}, as well as a bottle of the aged 
brandy. Another time she was directed to bring in six pints of the 



'Sad Work, without the Head' 101 

best champagne. There was also confirmation of her objection to the 
exorbitant cost of a dessert service Dickens had ordered. 'But the 
commission has gone too far to be handsomely receded from now,' 
he regretted. 'If I had had the slightest idea of its cost I should as 
soon have thought of buying Strood Turnpike.' 26 

When the readings ended early in May, Georgina relaxed but 
only for a day or two. On the llth she opened a brief note in the 
familiar hand : 'Expenses are so enormous that I begin to feel myself 
drawn towards America, as Darnay in the Tale of Two Cities was 
attracted to the Loadstone Rock, Paris'. 27 She was too well versed 
in the adventures of Charles Darnay, Dickens must have known, to 
take from this analogy anything but the direst forebodings. But at 
the same time she could have discerned in it his characteristic 
dramatization of his own situation. 

It would, of course, be futile for her to try to dissuade him. Once 
he had decided on a course of action, nothing could stop him. And 
who recognized more clearly than she the validity of his argument 
that expenses were enormous and would probably continue so? 
Repeatedly she had listened to his pessimistic predictions that the 
boys would all prove themselves unable to make their own way. 
This very winter Plorn, having shown no 'continuity of purpose' in 
his studies, was being prepared for 'a rough wild life' of sheep- 
farming in Australia, in the hope that he might 'take better to the 
Bush than to Books'. 28 

In her hopeless opposition to the American tour Georgina was 
joined by Forster and Wills. They, too, looked on the venture as a 
grave threat to Dickens's health. To Wills, Dickens minimized his 
physical infirmities and repeated the financial argument. Where but 
in America could he make a profit of 10,000 in five months? *To 
get that sum in a heap so soon is an immense consideration to me 
my wife's income to pay a very expensive position to hold and 
E&y boys with a curse of limpness on them. You don't know what it 
is to look round the table and see reflected from every seat at it ... 
some horribly well remembered expression of inadaptability to any 
thing/ 29 

At the same time he admitted to Wills the existence of a real 
obstacle, one which Georgina possibly appreciated. Writing on 
stationery bearing the monogram E T (Ellen Ternan), he acknow 
ledged the Tatient ... to be the gigantic difficulty. But you know 
I don't like to give in before a difficulty, if it can be beaten/ 30 ('The 
Patient' was his designation for Ellen Ternan after her slight indis 
position following the Staplehurst accident. According to his pocket 
diary she had been ill this very spring and tlrtts again qualified for 



102 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

this title.) Nelly, as he usually called her, was now living in Windsor 
Lodge, Peckham, a villa he had engaged for her. Less than a mile 
away he had rooms at the Five Bells Inn, where he often stayed 
during his London visits. 31 His pocket diary for that year contains 
cryptic entries using the initials T' and N'. Assuming that these are 
abbreviations for Peckham and Nelly, the jottings in this journal 
show that Dickens saw Ellen at frequent intervals. He called on her 
at Peckham, received her at the office, and occasionally took her out 
to the theatre. 32 Presumably his attachment to her was now serious 
enough to be the chief deterrent to the American tour. But only a 
few knew what she meant to him. To a woman friend, a former 
actress, he had written the previous summer, e . . . It would be 
inexpressibly painful to N to think that you knew her history. . . . 
She would not believe that you could see her with my eyes, or know 
her with my mind.' 33 Yet Georgina, too, must have striven to see 
Nelly with Dickens's eyes, know her with his mind. 

Throughout the summer Georgina waited for the final commitment 
on the readings. Then in September Dolby returned from America, 
where he had been gathering facts and figures on which to estimate 
the probable success of the tour. The last weekend of that month 
must have lagged for her. Dickens had gone to Boss-on-Wye for a 
final conference with Dolby and Forster before cabling his decision 
to Boston on Monday morning, and it was not until Tuesday that 
she received his note beginning, 'The telegram is despatched to 
Boston: "Yes. Go ahead." ' Hurrying on, she came to the charac 
teristic 'I am so nervous with travelling and anxiety to decide some 
thing, that I can hardly write'. But at the close she warmed to this 
assurance: *. . . I send you these few words as my dearest and best 
friend'. 34 

Again she became a prey to anxiety, for she knew Dickens was 
unfit for such an undertaking. Throughout August she had been 
receiving disquieting bulletins: 'My foot is bad again, and I can't 
walk'. 'I cannot get a boot on wear a slipper on my left foot. . . .' 
'. . . Send basket to Gravesend to meet me . . . , as I couldn't walk 
a quarter of a mile to-night for five hundred pounds. . . . ?35 The 
trouble, according to Sir Henry Thompson, the eminent surgeon, 
was friction of the shoe on a bunion-like enlargement, complicated by 
erysipelas. 36 Even in early September, before a decision on the tour 
had been reached, she had seen Dickens irritated by rumours that 
he was in a critical state, that physicians were sending him to 
America for 'cessation of literary labour!* Messages of sympathy 
had begun to pour in, followed promptly by his published denials: 
he was no in a critical state, had not consulted eminent surgeons, 



'Sad Work, without the Head' 103 

was not going to America to rest. But none knew so well as Georgina 
how wildly exaggerated was Ms protestation to the Belfast editor 
Finlay that he had never been so well in his life, that he had not, 
in fact, had so much as a headache in twenty years! 37 

In later life Georgina was to keep as her most poignant memory 
of this autumn the farewell banquet the week before Dickens sailed 
for America. For her no other occasion held such proud glory and, 
at the same time, such tender apprehensions. The affair was spon 
taneously got up only two weeks in advance by a committee of ten, 
including Wilkie Collins and Charles Fechter. One hundred celeb 
rities in literature, the arts, and public life were hastily invited to be 
honorary sponsors, and enough additional tickets were sold at a 
guinea each to insure a gathering of over five hundred at Freemasons' 
Hall, London. The one hundred women guests were seated in the 
ladies' gallery overlooking the magnificently decorated dining-hall. 
Georgina, resplendent in her best silks and jewels, and still youthful - 
looking at forty, sat with a little family party Mamie, Katey, and 
Charley's wife, Bessie. Directly in front of her was Dan Godfrey, 
who conducted the Grenadier Guards Band in airs from Mozart, 
Meyerbeer, Verdi, Strauss, and Offenbach and who endeared himself 
to her by his obvious relish for the entire occasion. 38 

It was indeed a brilliant scene below. The twenty arched wall 
panels had been bordered with laurel leaves set on a deep red back 
ground. On each panel gleamed the gold-lettered title of one of 
Dickens's books, the place of honour over the chair being occupied 
by Pickwick. Here also were the Stars and Stripes and the British 
Standard, symbolically united. Mamie, known to one or two of the 
Committee as having considerable skill with floral decorations, had 
been appealed to for help and had responded with a modicum of 
advice: *I am afraid I can't help you much with your pretty floral 
idea. ... I never had anything of the kind to do. The best way of 
making the letters is to get some perforated zinc ones (they are made 
for the purpose) and then nail leaves in places over them.' 39 

As Georgina looked down on the throng awaiting the appearance 
of the guest of honour, she recognized many of his eminent contem 
poraries: Gladstone, Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, Millais, Landseer. 
Some of them she had entertained at Gad's Hill, including Bulwer- 
Lytton, now Lord Lytton, the Chairman of the Dinner Committee. 
But she missed Carlyle and Ruskin. Invited to be a sponsor, 
Carlyle had been unwilling to offer up his digestion on this public 
altar. 'I must beg you to have me excused at present,' he had 
written Charles Kent, Secretary of the Banquet, 'as, by health, 
spirits, etc., plainly unfit/ And Ruskin, only the day before the 



104 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

banquet, had affirmed his deep respect for Dickens, but had charac 
teristically added that he had 'not the least mind to express it 
Dinnerwise'. 40 

At the appointed moment the ladies in the gallery leaned forward 
to watch the entrance of Dickens, escorted by the Committee and 
hailed on all sides. When the time came for her old friend Lord 
Lytton to propose the toast to the guest of honour, Georgina, unfor 
tunately, could hear little of what one spectator was to call a c high- 
falutin' speech. 41 But when Dickens got up to respond ah, that was 
a glorious moment! The diners rose with him, tossing napkins into 
the air and cheering wildly. In the gallery Georgina was enveloped 
in a flurry of scent from waving handkerchiefs and fans. She saw 
her Charles, visibly moved, struggling to compose himself before the 
ovation died down. Then she heard him speak eloquently and grate 
fully of his faith in the American people, closing dramatically: 'If I 
may quote one short sentence from myself, let it imply all that I 
have left unsaid and yet deeply feel; let it, putting a girdle around 
the earth, comprehend both sides of the Atlantic at once in this 
moment. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, "God bless us every one!" ' 
Georgina heard many other speeches that evening, but none so 
memorable. The banquet ended at half-past eleven, but it was much 
later before the ladies of the family could expect Dickens's escort. 
Even as they left the hall, crowds waiting outside in Great Queen's 
Street cheered him in a final farewell. 42 

Although caught up in the excitement of these days, Georgina 
could still discern more than one reason that might keep Charles 
from viewing the trip with elation. Only a few weeks before announc 
ing his decision, on a night when his pocket diary shows him to have 
been alone, he had written her, TLast evening I missed you so much 
that I was obliged to go to the Olympic*. *** To whom would he turn 
in America for sympathy and comfortable companionship? Would 
he not pine for home? Or might he have secret plans for Nelly 
to follow him? 

That he had probably worked out such a scheme is evidenced by 
an office memorandum, together with a November entry in his 
pocket diary. Along with various instructions filed with Wills 
provisions for the conduct of Att the Tear Hound, for Georgina and 
Mamie's cheeking account, for the pension of the old and indigent 
playwright John Poole were directions for communicatnig with 
Ellen Ternan, then at her married sister's villa in Florence. (In 
October 1866, Frances Eleanor Ternan had married Thomas 
Adolphus Trollope, brother of the novelist.) After giving Nelly's 
address, the memorandum continued: *On the day after my 



'Sad Work, without the Head' 105 

arrival out I will. send you a short Telegram at the office. Please 
copy its exact words (as they will have a special meaning for her), 
and post them to her as above by the very next post after receiving 
my telegram. And also let Gad's Hill know and let Forster know 
what the telegram is.' 44 

How Nelly would interpret his telegram was explained in his 
pocket diary. There, among some blank pages at the back, he had 
entered the code they had agreed upon: 

Tel: all well means 

you come 
Tel: safe and well, means 

you don't come 

To Wills. Who sends the Te. on to 
Villa Trollope 
juori la porta S'Niccolo 
Florence.** 

From Dickens's choice of phrase Nelly would know whether or not 
she was to undertake the voyage to America, where she had family 
connections. 46 

That Georgina was aware of the scheme is not improbable, for 
Wills's orders, it will be recalled, included letting 'Gad's TTill know 
. . . what the telegram is'. It is true that the alternative phrasings 
of the prearranged message could be understood for their surface 
meaning alone; but had Dickens intended merely to announce his 
safe arrival, he need not have specified (as his language clearly 
implies) that the exact wording of the telegram be transmitted to 
Gad's Hill and to Forster, to whose care, along with that of Wills, 
Nelly had been entrusted. 

With the packing and the final preparations for the journey, the 
five days following the farewell banquet sped by for Georgina. On 
8th November she joined the little party that accompanied Dickens 
to Liverpool Mamie and Katey, Charley and Wilkie Collins, and a 
few others. They travelled in the Royal Saloon Carriage that the 
London and Northwestern Railway had reserved for them as a 
special honour. All along the way it attracted much attention at 
station stops. The next day the party saw Dickens aboard the Cuba. 
With him went Kelly (Dolby's assistant), a valet, and all the reading 
equipment platform, stand, screen, and gas apparatus. Dolby had 
gone ahead on an earlier sailing. 47 

As the C*uba, made the ten-day passage to Boston, Georgina fol 
lowed it in her thoughts. Her first news, a letter to Mamie from 
Queenstown harbour the third day ont, was cheerful. But it was a 



106 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

long wait for the letters to be mailed from Halifax on the eighteenth. 
Would they tell of a rough voyage? of sleepless nights? of more 
trouble with the poor foot? In due time she had her answers, from 
which she might derive, as she chose, comfort or anxiety. Charles 
had not been seasick. But he had suffered from headaches and had 
'felt faint once or twice'. Also tipping the scale toward the anxious 
side was the news that he usually lay awake at night and that the 
foot it was as she had feared continued in a 'shy condition' and 
somewhat painful. Still this might be, as he hoped, merely the 
result of much walking on deck. 48 

While Georgina waited for the first news to arrive from Boston, 
Ellen Ternan was waiting, too, at her sister's villa in Italy. But she 
was not to be kept in suspense for long. During his first three days 
in America Dickens may have taken counsel with [Fields. Careful 
study of the situation must have convinced him that his plan for 
bringing Nelly over was too bold. At any rate, the telegram received 
in London on 23rd November read, 'Safe and well'. Ellen had her 
coded order: she would not go to America. 

Though Georgina may also have gleaned this information from 
Wills's transcript of the telegram, she had to wait much longer for 
the first personal message to cross the ocean. But when the letter 
came it was heartening, spirited, and hopeful in tone. Dickens 
found himself in fine fettle affcer the voyage, 'so well, that I am con 
stantly chafing at not having begun [the readings] to-night instead 
of this night week'. There had been a great demand for tickets, too, 
though the speculators were on the job, unfortunately. Especially 
reassuring was the glimpse of Mrs. Fields as 'a very nice woman, 
with a rare relish for humour and a most contagious laugh'. 49 Per 
haps she would help dispel his loneliness. And indeed, later letters 
were to show that Annie Fields surpassed even the most extravagant 
expectations. 

With the approach of Christmas Georgina had little heart for 
planning the usual festivities. One thing, though, had to be attended 
to early in December: a cheery letter timed to reach Dickens by the 
25th. He himself made similar calculations, sending his greetings on 
the llth with love to 'all the Christmas circle, not forgetting Chorley, 
to whom give my special remembrance'. 50 (It is not known whether 
Mamie needed this reminder of her duty to invite Henry Chorley, 
music critic and old family friend who traditionally ate his Christmas 
dinner at Gad's Hill. She must have acted somewhat belatedly, 
though, for in January Dickens was to write Georgina: 'I took it for 
granted that Mary would have asked Chorley for Christmas Day, 
and am very glad she ultimately did so. J ) 51 



'Sad Work, without the Head' 107 

To the Gad's Hill party gathered in the holly-decked dining-room, 
the flaming plum pudding and the traditional ceremonies only served 
to render the absence of Dickens more poignant. Nor could Georgina 
console herself that he would be sharing a merry feast across 
the ocean, for his letter made it clear that he would spend his 
Christmas Day travelling from Boston to New York. Before her own 
holiday ended she found time to sit down and dutifully acknowledge 
on his behalf Mary Howitt's greetings and appreciative comments 
on the Christmas number of AH the Year Round. 'We have our 
annual family party assembled/ Georgina wrote: 'it is sad work, 
without the Head! But there is immense comfort in thinking of the 
great success of his undertaking and when once the New Year is 
turned the time passes on so quickly that we may begin to look for 
ward to his return please God! early in June.' She could not 
resist confiding how substantial had been the profits from the ticket 
sales, adding, '. . . It is very hard work to read four times a week 
to enormous crowds in immense Halls and requires the money to 
be made to sweeten the labour!' 52 

Still wondering whether her Christmas message had reached 
America in time, she found it hard to wait patiently for the slow 
trans- Atlantic mail. Her first word after the holiday merely gave 
the annoying news that Dickens had been 'in a grim state of mind' 
on 16th December because heavy snow between Boston and New 
York had held up the mail he had expected by the incoming 
Cunarder. But the letter thus delayed would have antedated her 
Christmas greeting. Yet she could take satisfaction in the news that 
New Yorkers were c a wonderfully fine audience, even better than 
Edinburgh. . . . ?53 

The arrival of Dickens's next news still did not dispel her suspense 
over her Christmas letter, though it brought assurance that her 
delayed earlier one had gladdened his ten-o'clock dinner at the 
Parker House after a 'detestable' train trip from New York. Best 
of all, his health was improved, and Annie Fields had been looking 
after him.. She had added books and other homelike touches to his 
hotel room, even decking it with 'holly (with real red berries) and 
festoons of moss dependent from the looking-glasses and picture 
frames'. And because of his scheduled return to New York on the 
25th, she had served Christmas dinner on the 21st, with a 'plum- 
pudding, brought on blazing, and not to be surpassed in any house 
in England'. Beading all this, Georgina could only concur that Mrs. 
Fields was 'one of the dearest little women in the world'. 54 

Not until sometime around Twelfth Night did Gad's Hill learn 
how dismal Christmas Day had been for the absent 'Head'. But 



108 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

happy miracle! Georgina had, through, sheer luck or careful study 
of steamship schedules, timed her second December letter to arrive 
in Boston on Christmas morning, just before he had taken the train 
for New York. 'I wanted it very much/ he assured Mamie, 'for I 
had a frightful cold (English colds are nothing to those in this 
country), and was exceedingly depressed and miserable.' At dinner 
that night he had 'made some hot gin punch to drink a merry 
Christmas to all at home in j . But he had been Very dull 5 . Nor was 
there any reassurance in what followed: 4 I have been in bed all day 
until two o'clock, and here I am now (at three o'clock) a little better. 
But I am not fit to read, and I must read to-night.' As for the next 
day, it was to have its own woes, apparently: '. . . I shall probably 
be obliged to go across the water to Brooklyn to-morrow to see a 
church, in which it is proposed that I shall read! ! ! Horrible visions 
of being put in the pulpit already beset me. And whether the 
audience will be in pews is another consideration which greatly dis 
turbs my mind.' At the end of the gloomy account, which had been 
addressed to Mamie, was appended a note written the next day: 'I 
managed to read last night, but it was as much as I could do. 
To-day I am so very unwell, that I have sent for a doctor; he has 
just been, and is in doubt whether I shall not have to stop reading 
for a while. . . . J5S 

The performances continued, however; and Georgina soon had a 
letter admitting that reading in the Brooklyn church, Henry Ward 
Beecher's, had proved a gratifying experience after all. There had 
been an 'ernormously full 1 house, including the great Beecher him 
self. The pulpit having given way to the screen and gas apparatus, 
it had been 'a most wonderful place to speak in'. 56 

Georgina was to have the afflictions of an American winter con 
stantly impressed upon her. What with the severe weather and the 
heat from the 'intolerable furnaces', hair and fingernails grew dry 
and brittle. 'There is not a complete nail in the whole British 
suite,' she was shocked to read in January, 'and my hair cracks 
again when I brush it. (I am losing my hair with great rapidity, 
and what I don't lose is getting very grey.)' 57 

Some of the letters reported on the American friends whom she 
had heard about after Charles's first trip across the Atlantic. 
Hawthorne was dead now, but he had a 'striking-looking daughter'. 
Longfellow was living Tinder 'the shadow of that terrible story' of 
seven years ago, when his wife had died of severe burns, in the very 
house where he and his daughters now lived. As for the eldest, his 
grave Alice, it was hard to decide whether she was 'pretty or plain*, 
but 'seeing her eyes looking through a chink, you would say she was 



'Sad Work, without the Head 9 109 

lovely'. Cornelius Felton, the Harvard professor whom Georgina 
had met during his visit to England in 1853, had left two daughters, 
the elder 'a very sensible, frank, pleasant girl of eight and twenty 
perhaps'. 5 * 

In this period, probably more than ever before, Georgina was 
needed to hold the family together and transmit messages between 
Dickens and his sons. 'Tell Plorn, with my love', he wrote, 'that I 
think he will find himself much interested at that college [the Agri 
cultural College, Cirencester], and that it is very likely he may make 
some acquaintances there that will hereafter be pleasant and useful 
to him. ... I am sorry that Harry lost his prize, but I believe it was 
not his fault. Let him know that, with my love. I would have written 
to him by this mail in answer to his, but for other occupation.' She 
was also charged to tell a neighbour, Mrs. Hulkes, that her letter 
had been received and that the violet her boy had enclosed still kept 
its colour. And there was a commission to aid Anne Brown Corne 
lius, whose husband had been forced to give up his work because of 
prolonged ilhiess. Nor was the upkeep of Gad's Hill forgotten. A 
new floor was to be laid in the hall and curtains must be made. 
Georgina and Mamie were to decide between tile and parquet floor 
ing they chose the latter and see that all was 'thoroughly well 
done no half measures'. 59 For the most part, though, Georgina 
received no domestic assignments during the five months of the tour. 
But it is safe to assume that practical affairs at Gad's Hill went on 
smoothly, albeit sadly, 'without the Head'. With his tendency to 
dramatize everything, Dickens probably visualized her as carrying 
on the household routine like Lucie Manette, for whom 'everything 
had its appointed place and its appointed time', even while she 
knew Charles Darnay, 'drawn to the Loadstone Rock', to be in peril 
of his life.* 

All through the winter came a steady procession of letters' with 
their foreign postmarks: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Wash 
ington, Baltimore, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Spring 
field (Massachusetts), Portland (Maine). Such distances to be 
covered! One exuberant little note even hinted that the tour might 
be extended westward: 'I am quite well, thank God, and everything 
is most prosperous. We could not BE DOING BETTER. Dolby's love. 
He is just going off to Chicago to look about him. It is only twelve 
Hundred miles from here!'* 1 Would Charles really jeopardize his 
health by such an extended mdertaking? For several anxious weeks 
Georgina awaited the decision. In February her suspense was 
broken: 'One of the drollest things ... is the intense indignation of 
the West, because I don't go there. Chicago leads the assault with 



110 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

affecting pictures of "my brother's wife and her helpless children", 
etc., etc. 562 

Even on the other side of the Atlantic, Georgina reflected, Charles 
could not escape his family embarrassments. The present furore 
had, in fact, been anticipated even a year before the plans for the 
American tour were complete, when it was learned that Dickens's 
youngest brother, Augustus, had died impoverished in Chicago, 
leaving several children by the woman who had eloped with him. 
Having seen a notice of his death, Wills had sent word to Gad's Hill. 
Thereupon Dickens had replied with some foreboding: "The news of 
Augustus, I think may be taken as true. . . . Poor fellow! a sad 
business altogether! My mind misgives me that it will bring upon 
me a host of disagreeables from America.' 63 Later, in the hectic days 
before sailing, he had given his last-minute attention to the details of 
transferring certain trust funds to Augustus's legal wife in England. 64 

It was distressing to have the matter continue to plague him. In 
March Chicago was still 'in a frenzy 3 at being excluded from the 
reading itinerary. c They have not only discovered that my "brother's 
wife and indigent children" are living neglected there,' Dickens 
wrote Georgina, 'but have (I mean the Chicago papers) circulated a 
notice that a certain actor who imitates me is going to give Readings 
for their benefit'. 65 What the Chicagoans did not know Dickens 
was usually reticent in such matters was that after the death of 
Augustus in 1866, the oldest son, Bertram, received from his Uncle 
Charles the yearly sum of 50. This aid continued during the 
novelist's lifetime. 66 

Throughout the late winter months Georgina found in Charles's 
letters the usual simultaneous low and high spirits. An early account 
of the Chicago troubles was headed pathetically e my Birthday, 1868 
(And my cold worse than ever.) 1 But it also brought the heart 
warming tidings that Washington, D.C., had not ignored the date: 
'The papers here having written about this being my birthday, the 
most exquisite flowers came pouring in at breakfast time from all 
sorts of people. The room is covered with them, made up into beau 
tiful bouquets, and arranged in all manner of green baskets. Pro 
bably I shall find plenty more at the hall to-night. This is considered 
the dullest and most apathetic place in America. My audiences have 
been superb.' 67 Among the birthday offerings, though the letter to 
Georgina neglected to mention it, must have been one from the 
devoted Annie Fields, whose diary for 7th February records : f I have 
sent to Washington to have flowers on his table this morning. I hope 
it will be properly done.' For her it was a notable day: 'The birthday 
of our friend! Dear Charles Dickens!' 68 



Work, without the Head' III 

To no one in America did Georgina feel warmer gratitude than to 
Mrs. Fields, for certainly none showed Charles greater kindness or 
admired him more. From his first reading Annie had been entranced : 
'How we listened till we seemed turned into one eye-ball! How we 
all loved him! How we longed to tell him all kinds of confidences!' 69 
Doubtless the Fieldses did confide in Dickens, as he in them. *He 
appears often troubled by the lack of energy his children show,' 
Annie observed during the first days of his visit, 'and has even 
allowed James to see how deep his unhappiness is in having so many 
children by a wife who was totally uncongenial. He seems to have 
the deepest sympathy for men who are unfitly married and has really 
taken an especial fancy, I think, to John Bigelow, our latest minister 
to Paris who is here, because his wife is such an incubus.' 70 Two 
months later she took up the subject again: 'Such charity! Poor 
man! He must have learned great need for that. He told J. [James 
Fields] yesterday in walking that nine out of ten of the cases of dis 
agreement in marriage came from drink he believed.* 71 (But she 
did not blame alcoholism for the Dickens rift. Another diary entry 
reports how Katey Collins had once confided to a friend that 'her 
mother did not drink but she is heavy and unregardful of her 
children and jealous of her husband'.) 72 

At once perceptive and sympathetic, Mrs, Fields soon sensed the 
eagerness with which Dickens awaited word from home, noted how 
his spirits sank when mail was delayed, how they rose when 'modest 
letters came from Miss Hogarth and all was bright again.' He let 
it be known that his sister-in-law was the heart of his home. 
'Georgina Hogarth he always speaks of in the most affectionate 
terms/ Annie Fields noted, 'such as "she has been a mother to iny 
children", "she keeps the list of the wine cellar, and every few days 
examines to see what we are now in want of"/ 73 

Though cheered by reports of the many kindnesses shown Dickens 
by his American friends, Georgina knew he was still homesick and 
frequently low spirited. 'I am often very heavy and rarely sleep 
much/ he admitted at the end of January. But Dolby and Osgood 
(a member of the Fields publishing firm who assisted with the read 
ing arrangements in America) were planning a 'ridiculous' walking 
match to keep him in good spirits. 74 Begun as a joke, it developed 
into an elaborate affair with Dolby and his American opponent repre 
senting their two nations in a twelve-mile walk on 29th February. 
A letter of 2nd March brought Gad's Hill an account of the contest. 
Big Dolby had begun well, but had fallen behind on the last lap, 
while little Osgood had shot ahead 'at a splitting pace*. Afterwards 
Dickens had treated eighteen guests, including the Fieldses, to a 



112 Oeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

sumptuous dinner at his hotel. In the centre of the table was 'an 
immense basket, overflowing with enormous bell-mouthed lilies ; all 
round the table a bright green border of wreathed creeper, with 
clustering roses at intervals; a rose for every button-hole, and a 
bouquet for every lady'. 75 

When early spring came to Gad's Hill and covered the ground with 
violets and primroses, Georgina gathered a few to enclose in a letter 
to Dickens. The bond forming between her and Annie Fields was 
to be strengthened by this token, for when Dickens received the 
letter he handed the flowers to his hostess, who pressed them 
between the pages of her diary for April, noting that Miss Hogarth 
had declared the loveliness of the English spring to be 'something 
indescribable'. Mrs. Fields also observed that 'dear C. D.'s spirits go 
up as the days pass ; home begins to look very near, but so does our 
separation 5 . 76 

On both sides of the Atlantic the days were counted off on the 
calendar. As April drew near, Georgina had to remember to post her 
final letter in accord with Charles's specific instructions. If it was to 
be received before his departure, it must be timed to catch the 
CuTiarder sailing from Liverpool on 4th April. Before the month was 
far advanced there was further news that seemed to bring the date 
of reunion nearer: 'You will see by the evidence of this piece of 
paper that I am using up my stationery. Scott [the valet] has just 
been making anxious calculations as to our power of holding out in 
the articles of Enchrisma [ointment or hair oil?], Tooth powder, 
etc.' The staff was being paid off, and 'signs of our approaching 
embarcation are all around us We leave on Good Friday/ Bead 
ing this letter, Georgina made a mental note of a family duty she 
must perform shortly: e ... to send a present of 25 to Mrs. Alfred's 
boy, with a letter saying that you have it in charge from me to make 
him that gift, and to tell him that I hope he will strive to do credit 
to his name, and will always remember that it is a trust he holds'. 
Georgina and Mamie were also to reap favours from Dickens's 
benevolent homecoming mood: 'At the same time I may mention 
with my best love to you both, that I want the last cheque you 
draw, to be: "Pay to ourselves Two Hundred Pounds" : being a little 
present of One Hundred Pounds each, from the undersigned 
Inimitable.' 77 

But a disturbing admission cast a shadow over the eagerly awaited 
homeward journey: 'I am far from strong and have no appetite*. 
Also the American catarrh was 'worse than ever!' And at the end 
of the instalment of 2nd April was a notation which Georgina, read 
ing between the lines, could interpret as one of his darker moods of 



{ Sad Work, without the Head' 113 

reminiscence: e l don't forget that this is Forster's birthday, or that 
it is another anniversary'. 78 (It was the thirty-second anniversary 
of his marriage. Secure in not suspecting the future marvels of infra 
red photography, Georgina was later to ink out the second clause of 
this sentence.) Mrs. Fields also sensed Dickens's melancholy on this 
occasion. 'Thursday. Anniversary of C. D.'s marriage day and 
John Forster's birthday,' she noted in her diary. 'C. D. not at all 
well, coughing all the time and in low spirits.' 79 

The New York Press, Georgina had been told, was to give Dickens 
a farewell dinner on 18th April. And now, as the date drew nearer, 
Mamie received disquieting news that her father was unable to 4 eat 
more than half a pound of solid food in the whole four-and-twenty 
hours, if so much'. He had, consequently, established a liquid diet 
routine : 'At seven in the morning, in bed, a tumbler of new cream 
and two tablespoonsful of rum. At twelve, a sherry cobbler and a 
biscuit. At three (dinner time), a pint of champagne. At five 
minutes to eight, an egg beaten up with a glass of sherry. Between 
the parts [of the reading], the strongest beef tea that can be made, 
drunk hot. At a quarter past ten, soup, and anything to drink that 
I can fancy.' 80 

In America the Fieldses shared the Gad's TTill concern over Dickens's 
health during these last days. When his foot became badly swollen 
and painful the night before the press banquet, Annie suffered 
acutely, too. *So long as he was above ground, however, it was a 
necessity he should go/ she wrote in her diary, 'and an hour and a 
half after the time appointed, with his foot sewed up in black silk, 
he made his way to Delmonico's. Poor man!' What disturbed him 
most about this attack was that the American newspapers were 
cabling word of his condition to England, where it would worry his 
family and perhaps Nelly. *Ah! What a mystery these ties of love 
are such pain, such ineffable happiness the only happiness,' 
reflected Mrs. Fields. 81 

On the day of farewell, 22nd April, this emotional woman felt the 
pang of parting too deeply to join her husband and the five friends 
who went to see Dickens off aboard the Russia, sailing from New 
York. *Eose at six this morning, sleep being out of the question/ she 
confided to her diary while alone in her room at the Westminster 
Hotel. 4 I must confess to sitting down in my night-dress in a flood 
of tears.' Two days later she was still sentimentalizing: *He goes to 
the English spring, to his own dear ones, to the tenderness of the 
long tried love'. And she thought much of Georgina. 'My respect 
for Miss Hogarth grows as I reflect upon Dickens. It is not am easy 
service in this world to live near such a man, to love him, to desire 



114 Georgina Hogarth ami the Dickens Circle 

to do for him. He is swift, restless, impatient, with words of fire, 
but he is also and above all, tender, loving, strong for right, charit 
able and patient by moral force. Happy those who live, and bear, 
and do and suffer and above all love him to the end. . . . Miss 
Hogarth has labored for him with remarkable success and for his 
children. But even now he might be lonely, such is his nature. When 
I recall his lonely couch and lonely hours I feel he has had a strange 
lot. May his mistakes be expiated.' 82 

Whatever mistakes Annie had in mind, she had secret knowledge 
of at least one charitable deed to offset them. The housekeeper at 
the Westminster Hotel had told her how Dickens had helped a poor 
Irish chambermaid by giving her 60 to go to California with her 
illegitimate child. The girl had asked the housekeeper not to divulge 
her secret, but the woman could not resist telling Mrs. Fields. 83 

On 2nd May, the day after Dickens had reached Liverpool, Annie 
rhapsodized: 'I cannot help rehearsing in my mind the intense joy 
of his beloved. It is too much to face, even in one's imagination 
and too sacred. Yet I know today to be the day and these hours, h is 
hours. Tomorrow Gad's Hill/ 84 The 'beloved 5 is clearly not a refer 
ence to Georgina or to other members of the family, for, according 
to an earlier entry in Mrs. Fields J s diary, they had been requested 
not to meet Dickens at Liverpool, 85 but would await him at Gad's 
Hill. On 3rd May Annie noted: 'Today Charles Dickens is at home. 
Let us be grateful.' 86 (There is evidence to suggest that the Fieldses 
knew of Nelly Ternan. In December of the second year after 
Dickens's death, Annie, reminded of his rich association with 
Christmas, entrusted some tender meditations to her diary: 'Dear, 
dear Dickens, as the season returns, come back many thoughts of 
Ms standing beside us. ... I heard quite accidently . . . the other 
day of N. T. being in Rome. ... I feel the bond there is between us. 
She must feel it too. I wonder if we shall ever meet/) 87 

There was great rejoicing at Gad's Hill when it was learned that 
the Russia had docked safely at Liverpool. Even the neighbouring 
villagers shared in the excitement, planning to swarm Higham 
Station when Dickens's train came in from London. Georgina and 
Mamie, getting wind of their scheme to take the horse out of the 
shafts and draw the returning hero's carriage home themselves, 
quickly sent Dickens warning. Accordingly he was met at Graves- 
end, five miles away, by basket phaeton. At Gad's Hill the servants, 
not to be outdone by neighbours hanging out flags, draped the house 
*so that every brick of it was hidden'. Had Mamie permitted, they 
would have greeted their master with a clanging of the alarm bell. 
'Linda (the St. Bernard)/ Dickens wrote Mrs. Fields, 'was greatly 



'ad Work, without the Head' 115 

excited; weeping profusely, and throwing herself on her back that 
she might caress my foot with her great fore-paws. 5 Little Mrs. 
Bouncer, too, 'barked in the greatest agitation on being called down 
and asked by Mamie, "Who is this?" and tore round and round 
me. . . .' 88 

More than ever, Georgina realized that Gad's Hill must be an 
anodyne for the intense life Charles was even now planning to 
resume. She had seen to it that the place was lovely, and in perfect 
order' for the homecoming. 89 Keeping it so would be a joyful 
responsibility now, rather than "sad work, without the Head'. 



Chapter Nine 
'OVER FOR EVER' 



IN preparing for the returning traveller, Georgina and her nieces had 
'expected a wreck' and were thus, as Dickens told Macreadv, 'much 
mortified' to have him appear buoyant and rested from the voyage. 
But within a few days there was again justification for their anxiety 
as he plunged into a six-month accumulation of deferred duties at 
the office. To make matters worse, Wills was at home, seriously ill 
and 'forbidden even to write a letter'. His absence, complained 
Dickens to Fields, so overwhelms me with business that I can 
scarcely get through it'. 1 

The chief worry, however, was of a sort that Georgina knew only 
too well. Her oldest nephew, Charley, was in financial trouble again. 
Now thirty-one and with a son and four daughters to support, he 
faced the failure of his paper mill company, a partnership including 
one of his Evans in-laws. In June Georgina was shocked to learn 
that 'the "Company's" affairs are far more hopeless than at first 
appeared, and even as to Charley personally, he owes a Thousand 
pounds!' 2 As bankruptcy proceedings were initiated, Dickens refused 
to become involved; he would not be liable for any claims against 
the company, 'against which and his precious Associates ... I wrote 
him a letter of warning when it first loomed in the Evans atmos 
phere 3 . With only a Vague future' before him, Charley was finally 
taken into All the Year Hound on a temporary basis, to report on 
the contents of the daily mailbag and answer correspondence. 3 

Hardly had Georgina welcomed Dickens home and seen him meet 
these first onslaughts of business than the round of summer hospi 
tality began at Gad's Hill. Mary Boyle and Mrs. Watson, Frank 
Beard, the Macreadys, Ouvry, and others were urged to visit at 
various times. 4 Again Georgina busied herself with planning such 
gastronomic delights as Dickens promised Ouvry: 'We do a little 
thing or two here as cock-a-leekie, curry, Scotch collops, mutton 
a la Don Pedro, and such trifles as relishes with claret which I am 
bent on getting you to come and try. . . .' 5 But for Longfellow, his 
three daughters, and Tom Appleton (his brother-in-law), who came 



'Over for Ever' 117 

to spend the first week-end in July, Georgina exerted herself par 
ticularly, impressing Alice, the eldest daughter, by the lavish variety 
of the cold buffet set before them. 6 Their host saw to it that they 
inspected Georgina's special province: 'kitchens, pantry, wine-cellar, 
pickles, sauces, servants* sitting-room, general household stores, and 
even the Cellar Book of this illustrious establishment' . 7 And in spite 
of the brevity of their stay he crowded in sight-seeing tours to 
Cobham Park and to the Cathedral, the Castle, and other landmarks 
in his beloved Rochester. Later other American guests, the Charles 
Eliot Nortons and Bayard Taylor, were also shown the glories of 
Gad's Hill. 8 

Along with the brisk schedule of diversions, Aunt Georgy kept her 
cherished Plorn much in -mind this summer. Almost seventeen, he 
was now being outfitted to join his brother Alfred in Australia. 
Since at the same time provisions were being made for Harry to enter 
Cambridge, she heard many a groan from the financially burdened 
parent. Yet she knew well the tenderness Dickens bore his youngest, 
a feeling disclosed in the letter he handed the boy on the day of 
leave-taking in September: e l need not tell you that I love you 
dearly, and am very, very sorry in my heart to part with you. But 
this life is half made up of partings, and these pains must be borne.' 
Plorn was exhorted to leave behind the lack of 'steady, constant 
purpose' and henceforth 'persevere in a thorough determination to do 
whatever you have to do as well as you can do it 5 . He was also 
enjoined to guide his life by the teachings of the JSfew Testament, 
packed among his books, and to follow the practice of saying a 
private prayer night and morning : e l have never abandoned it my 
self, and I know the comfort of it'. The letter concluded, *I hope you 
will always be able to say in after life, that you had a kind father*. 9 

On the day of farewell Georgina and Mamie sent Plorn off from 
Gad's TTill in Harry's company. What happened thereafter was 
reported to them later. Plorn had broken down briefly in the railway 
carriage after leaving Higham. He had wept again at Paddington 
Station on being seen off for Plymouth. But it was Dickens, Harry 
noted, who had broken down the more painfully, with utter dis 
regard of onlookers. He had met the boys in London and, having 
had a reminder from Georgina, had supplied Plorn with cigars a 
rather odd gift for a sixteen-year-old, unless intended for bestowal 
on travel acquaintances or possibly on Rusden, the boy's sponsor in 
Australia. 10 To Dolby, himself a father, Dickens poured out Ms 
grief: 'When you come (if you ever do) to send your youngest cMH 
thousands of miles away for an indefinite time, and have a rush into 
your soul of all the many fascinations of tlie last little child you can 



118 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

ever dearly love, you "will have a hard experience of this wrenching 
life'. The ache of parting lingered into October. 'I find myself con 
stantly thinking of Plorn', he wrote Georgina on the llth. 11 

From this sad farewell it was a relief to turn to the more cheering 
prospect of getting Harry ready to enter Trinity Hall, Cambridge. 
Here was the one nephew Georgina could take pride in the only 
one who never disappointed his father, the steady lad with a con 
sistently good academic record. Had he not been promoted to the 
place of Head Censor at Wimbledon? And a few months before, 
during his father's absence in America, he had capably organized and 
directed the affairs of the Higham cricket club, calling its working- 
class members together and addressing them quite as if, at nineteen 
he were himself the squire of Gad's Kill. 12 

But for all his youthful promise, Harry must be warned, Ms father 
felt, against the family pattern of extravagance. 'Now, observe 
attentively,' ran the paternal admonition. ; We must have no 
shadow of debt. Square up everything whatsoever that it has been 
necessary to buy. Let not a farthing be outstanding on any account, 
when we begin with your allowance. Be particular in the minutest 
detail.' The yearly allowance of 250, to cover all expenses, Dickens 
considered a handsome one, especially since he would furnish 
Harry's wines. Already there had been ordered and sent to Cam 
bridge 'three dozen sherry, two dozen port, six bottles of brandy, and 
three dozen light claret'. The father-son relationship was to be built 
on open confidence : 'If ever you find yourself on the verge of any 
perplexity or difficulty, come to me. You will never find me hard 
with you while you are manly and truthful. 3 As Dickens had done 
when Plorn left, he urged upon Harry a study of the New Testament 
'as the one unfailing guide in life'. 13 

Within a few weeks of his matriculation at Michaelmas, Harry 
began to justify the hopes of his father and aunt by winning a 50 
scholarship. T have a great success in the boy-line to announce to 
you,' Dickens hastened to tell Forster, even daring to predict that 
Harry might eventually win a fellowship. 14 But there was not to be 
any spoiling the young man with too much money. As soon as his 
scholarship began, his allowance was reduced by 50. 15 That winter, 
while Dickens was frequently absent from home, it was Georgina who 
received and communicated matters relating to Harry's finances. 16 

In October of 1868 began again the long familiar waiting for 
letters that alternately alarmed and soothed. Dickens was once more 
on tour, giving the series of farewell readings that he had recklessly 
contracted for with Chappells even before sailing for America. 17 
Charged with the major responsibility for the weekly appearance of 



'Over for Ever' 119 

All the Year Round, and not yet fully recovered from his American 
exertions, he had to admit to Georgina at the outset of the tour, */ 
cannot get right internally, and have begun to he as sleepless as 
sick 5 . 18 

Once he called an old family disappointment to her attention as he 
regretted that Mamie would not be attending his nest London read 
ing: I am sorry that Mary will not meet Lynch at St. James's Hall 
on Tuesday night. But I shall be glad to see him there. . . .' 19 It 
was William Wiltshire Lynch, a brigade major at Chatham, whom 
Mamie would not be seeing at the reading.-^ A personable officer 
seven years her senior, he was considered a most eligible suitor by 
the family. But for some reason her brother Harry wondered in 

later years whether it was her strong attachment to her father 

Mamie seemed disinclined to marriage after the thwarted love of her 
early twenties. Already she had shown a disconcerting coolness to 
Percy Fitzgerald; now she was to repeat the pattern with Lynch. 

All that autumn Georgina, no less than Dickens, had been unwell, 
suffering from a form of influenza; 21 but with December she never 
theless turned her attention to seasonal matters. Dickens was read 
ing in Scotland; and, though she expected him home for Christmas, 
she wished to cheer him with some little holiday remembrance appro 
priate to his sojourn in her native city. Accordingly she had a haggis 
and some shortbread delivered to him in Edinburgh. 22 His own 
thoughts, she soon discovered, had followed the same path. Just as 
she calculated that he would be receiving her token, she opened his 
letter reading, C I have ordered for Gad's Hill, a Scotch bun weighing 
14 pounds, 6 sheets of shortbread, and some sweeties 3 . 23 

Meanwhile she and Mamie were making preparations for the usual 
houseful of Christmas company. They expected Dickens home by 
the 22nd, when he would be reading in London at St. James's Hall. 
Mamie, the floral artist, was to meet him at the office at noon that 
day with all her equipment in a little basket, and he would take her 
to the hall to decorate his reading-table with holly according to his 
own specifications : e lf the two front legs were entwined with it, for 
instance, and a border of it ran round the top of the fringe in front, 
with a little sprig by way of bouquet at each corner, it would present 
a seasonable appearance'. 24 

Remembering how lonesome had been the 1867 observance of 
Christmas, Georgina was determined that this year's elaborate pre 
parations should omit nothing. Soon the house filled with guesfcs. 
Only Henry Chorley was absent from his usual plaice at the dinner- 
table, having at the last moment sent word that illness would keep 
him in bed. 25 The day after Christmas, when activity was still by 



120 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

no means relaxed, Dickens announced to Dolby: ' . . . Miss Hogarth 
so clearly wants a change, that I think I will take her to Ireland 
along with the caravan, as she is a good sailor. . . ,' 26 

Shortly before the party embarked for Ireland, Georgina joined 
the audience of approximately a hundred specially invited guests 
gathered at St. James's Hall to help Dickens decide whether to add 
to his repertoire a sensational new reading a selection from Oliver 
Twist, reaching a climax with the murder of Nancy and the death of 
Sikes. Ever since the previous autumn she had been uneasily aware 
that Charles was preparing this programme. Had he not rehearsed 
it with hideous snarls and screams in the meadow beyond the back 
garden at Gad's Hill? Once Charley, having come there on a brief 
business visit, had heard what he took to be violent quarrelling 
perhaps a passing tramp beating his wife unmercifully. Feeling that 
he must interfere, he had stepped to the back door and looked out. 
There, at the other end of the meadow, was his father, 'striding up 
and down, gesticulating wildly, and in the character of Mr. Sikes, 
murdering Nancy, with every circumstance of the most aggravated 
brutality'. Asked to give his opinion of the reading, Charley had 
replied, 'The finest thing I ever heard, but don't do it'. 27 

Indeed, so terrifying was the reading, so overpowering, that even 
Dickens himself hesitated to introduce it to his public. Chappels, 
too, thought the trial performance a wise precaution. At St. James's 
Hall, however, the gruesome rendering was praised extravagantly 
that is after the pallid and trembling audience had been revived by 
a champagne and oyster collation. Exhilarated by the results of his 
experiment, Dickens refused to consider what price he might have 
to pay for frequent repetitions of a reading which made inordinate 
demands on his physical energy. But Edmund Yates and Charley 
realized, as did Georgina, that such exhausting performances could 
virtually set the stage for his own murder. 28 

Inmid- January, Georgina, whose health still calledforth solicitude, 
thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Ireland as one of the reading party. 
It was not long enough to tire her, for by 22nd January, her forty- 
second birthday, she was home again to receive Dickens 's greeting: 
'This is to wish you many happy returns of tomorrow, and to send 
you my deepest love and attachment'. Her friend Dolby, it seemed, 
had grown 'quite "spooney" ' on hearing of the birthday. But her 
condition still gave concern. In spite of Frank Beard's assurance 
that she was recovered now, Dickens took an attitude of caution: 
'I hope the fact stands as he states it. ... Certainly, if you do not 
get quite rid of that disagreeable discomfort, we will have another 
opinion.' 29 



'Over for Ever' 121 

Whatever other benefits the change of scene had accomplished, 
certainly the Irish jaunt had not stilled her fears for Dickens. She 
had witnessed his painful nervous reaction to the perils of railway 
travel when, between Belfast and Kingston, the giant driving wheel 
of their engine had flown to pieces, sending a huge fragment crashing 
down on to the roof of their carriage. 30 And he was taxing his 
physical reserve by reading the murder scene regularly now, exulting 
in its electrifying power over his audiences. The birthday letter had 
boasted e a tremendous house at Clifton last night, and decidedly 
the best murder yet done'. 

At the beginning of February Georgina prepared for Dickens's 
birthday, just two weeks after her own. It was to be a weekend visit, 
his first to Gad's Hill since Christmas. C I shall be able, please God, 
to get down to Gad's by the 2.10 (or whatever it is) train on Satur 
day,' his letter assured her on Thursday. There must be a basket 
carriage and a luggage cart to meet him and his valet at Higham 
Station. 31 The Forsters and Wilkie Collins also arrived to join the 
celebration and drink the health of James and Annie Fields. The 
eagerly awaited May and June visit of these American friends was 
already a favourite topic at Gad's Hill, with Georgina and Mamie 
making hospitable plans for picnics, walks in Cobham Park, and a 
carriage expedition to Canterbury the last to be accompanied by 
red- jacketed postillions in the manner of the old coaching days along 
the Dover Road. 32 

The brief weekend respite over, late February brought news that 
Dickens's left foot was aching again. When Dr. Syme of Edinburgh 
was consulted, he pooh-poohed the idea of gout and confirmed the 
patient's own judgment that too much walking in the snow had 
caused a return of the old distress. 33 In April Georgina winced to 
hear how Charles, groping his way over a dimly lighted stage in 
Liverpool one morning, had tripped over a heavy galvanized wire 
brace. He had cut his shin 'rather smartly' it was his unlucky left 
leg, of course and had been required to 'bind it up surgically'. The 
injury was c a little unfortunate*, he pointed out, 'for it is a bad place 
to heal'. 34 

But any concern Georgina felt over this mishap faded in the light 
of vastly more alarming symptoms recounted two weeks later in a 
letter from Blackpool : 'My weakness and deadness are all on the left 
side, and if I don't look at anything I try to touch with my left hand, 
I don't know where it is. I am in (secret) consultation with Frank 
Beard; he recognizes, in the exact description I have given him, 
indisputable evidences of overwork, which he would wish to treat 
immediately.' 35 Actually, Dr. Beard had seen in Dickens's condition 



122 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

far more than mere strain from over-exertion. Going at once to 
Preston, where his patient was about to give the seventy-fourth 
reading out of the hundred contracted for, he ordered the perform 
ances stopped. Gad's Hill had the first disturbing word of this 
development in a letter dated 22nd April, beginning ironically, 
* Don't be in the least alarmed'. 36 

The arrangements with Chappells were cancelled at once and 
Dickens returned to London, where he continued the supervision of 
All the Year Round, assisted by Charley, who, in the continued 
absence of Wills, was now the acting sub-editor. On 1st May, a few 
days before Georgina came in from the country to meet the Fieldses on 
their arrival in London, Dickens sent her one of his typically exact 
commissions: '. . . I enclose you a key. The key of the top left-hand 
drawer in my large writing-table I think, if you will open that 
drawer FTJUL, OUT you will see lying at the back of it, a banker's pass 
book labelled "Charles Dickens Esqre" fastened with an elastic band 
and clasps and having a line on the label in my writing to the effect 
"Important Memorandum within". I want that book when you 
come. . . ,' 37 

That Georgina was permitted access to and knowledge of Diekens's 
private papers suggests that she was enough in his confidence to 
know whether he intended any provision for her in the event of his 
death. Indeed, leaving her in the dark on this matter, with nothing 
to contemplate but pauperism when the long term of her devoted 
service should end, would have been little short of cruelty. She must 
have had some indication of his concern for her future. And if the 
'Important Memorandum 1 she delivered to the office had anything 
to do with this matter, she may well have suspected it. At any rate, 
Dickens, impelled by his breakdown, drew up his last will on 12th 
May. 

The spring of 1869 was a dark tissue of dismal events, shot through 
with only a few golden threads, such as the Fieldses' visit. There was 
bad news from two of the boys : Sydney persisted in his reckless 
spending and Plorn could not adjust to life in Australia. And two 
deaths Macready's daughter and Sir Joseph OUiffe left a gap in 
the circle of intimates. So, for that matter, did the end of 'poor 
little Noggs', the pony. Georgina, on reporting his decline, had been 
advised 'to have him humanely and promptly killed'. But practical 
concerns perhaps cleared the atmosphere of morbidity. Nothing 
must be allowed to interfere with the thrifty management of Gad's 
Hill. The meadow, for instance, was not to be turned over to the 
Higham cricket club as early as in past years. First a hay crop 
should be harvested. The cricketers had not previously made such 



'Over for Ever' 123 

use of the ground, Dickens reminded Georgina, as would reconcile 
him 'to losing another hay-crop'. 38 

If only all economic affairs could have been handled as satisfac 
torily! But so far all attempts to curb Sydney's extravagance and 
clear up his mounting debts had failed. His latest plea for help was 
painfully familiar. 'I must apply to you I am sorry to say and if 
you won't assist me I'm ruined', began his desperate letter to his 
father. To pay his bills preparatory to leaving Vancouver Island, 
Sydney had drawn heavily on his agents. If their demands were not 
met now, his professional future would be damaged irreparably. 
'You can't understand how ashamed I am to appeal to you again/ 
he admitted. Still, his father must know how Americans spent 
dollars like shillings and how they drank. '. . . That has put me 
into debt/ he confessed. But he was determined to change his ways. 
'If any promises for future amends can be relied on you have mine 
most cordially/ he wrote, 'but for God's sake assist me now, it is a 
lesson I'm not likely to forget if you do and if you do not I can 
never forget. The result of your refusal is terrible to think of/ 39 

But Sydney's good intentions went no further than empty 
promises. No sooner had his father straightened out one set of 
arrears than there were others. Time and again there arrived embar 
rassing reminders from the boy's agents : 'We beg to inform you that 
a bill drawn by your son. . . /* Finally Dickens set himself sternly 
against the spendthrift. Georgina, her heart heavy, felt more poig 
nantly than ever his disappointment in the boys. This last experi 
ence she saw as his hardest to lose faith in the son who had so 
fascinated him as a baby, the 'Ocean Spectre 3 who had looked so 
fixedly out over the sea in childhood, the 'Little Admiral' who had 
come home from training, all eyes and buttons. And now Sydney 
had to be told that he would not be received at Gad's Hill on his 
return to England. It was the last letter his father ever sent him. 41 
Even while Sydney's bills were pouring in, Dickens was writing 
to Australia about Plorn's poor judgment in leaving the situation 
provided for him. Admitting himself 'quite prepared' for the failure 
of this youngest son to settle down 'without a lurch or two', he tried 
to defend the boy as having 'more, au fond, than his brothers'. 
Plorn deserved a 'reasonable trial', for he had 'the makings of a 
character restlessly within him'. 42 

Despite such drags on his spirit Dickens was rallying from the 
April breakdown with his usual resilience. Though Dr. Beard and 
Sir Thomas Watson in consultation had seen him 'on the brink of 
an attack of paralysis of his left side, and possibly of apoplexy', 
Dickens himself soon insisted that freedom from railway travel had 



124 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

returned Kim to normal and that tie must, after an interval, give 
twelve additional readings to ensure Chappells against financial loss. 
At length it was decided that he be allowed this undertaking, but 
only after eight months of rest. The performances must be limited 
to London, as railway journeys were henceforth forbidden. Mean 
while Dickens took care not to tire himself by attending dinners and 
burdensome social affairs, having as he excused himself to one 
hostess 'made Doctorial promises not to do so through the 
summer'. 43 

Gad's Hill hospitality did not cease, however; for the Philadelphia 
editor George W. Childs and his wife were entertained before they 
set sail for home in April. 44 And it was understood, of course, that 
the ban on social activity would not prevent receiving the Fieldses 
royally. By mid-May they were in England, accompanied by Mabel 
Lowell, the poet's daughter. As they were to be shown the London 
sights first, Georgina, Mamie, and Dickens took rooms at St. James's 
Hotel, Piccadilly, until 1st June. From there they shepherded their 
American visitors on rambles through ancient streets, to St. Paul's 
and historic spots. They also managed a Saturday excursion to Bich- 
mond and Windsor Castle. One night, while the ladies entertained 
themselves more genteelly, Dickens took Fields and a few male com 
panions on a slumming expedition with police protection. 'No dress 
coat,' he warned one of the guests, e as it would be a phenomenon in 
the regions we shall visit after dinner.' 45 

Annie Fields and Georgina took to each other at once and began 
a lifelong friendship based on their joint adoration of Dickens. 
Besides, Georgina could not have resisted the comely dark-haired 
American's humorous sparkle and tender sentiment, a truly Dicken- 
sian union of traits which inspired De Wolfe Howe's comment that, 
except in such rare personalities as hers, 'mirth and mercy do not 
always, like righteousness and peace, kiss each other'. 46 Georgina's 
nieces also enjoyed the visitor, as she did them. Mamie struck Mrs. 
Fields as Very lady-like and pretty . . . mild quiet and attentive', 
but less distinctive than her sister, Katey Collins 'more like other 
people 5 . Visiting Katey in her London home, the American was 
entranced: 'She is like a piece of old china with a picture by Sir 
Joshua Reynolds painted upon it and with manners as piquant 
peculiar and taking as such a painting come to life ought to have. 
She wore at our first dinner with her a kind of paradise coloured dress, 
hanging straight as in one of Stothard's engravings, with an antique 
lace and muslin cape just drawn over her beautiful shoulders and 
coming down in straight lines in front leaving her throat and neck 
uncovered. She has red hair which she wears very high on the top 



'Over for Ever' 125 

of her head worn with pearls in a loose coil. Altogether the effect is 
like some rare strange thing, which does not quite wear away in 
spite of her piquancy; for she is clever enough to be a match for the 
best of us I am sure.' 47 

Also pictured in detail was the tasteful small house in which this 
Pre-Raphaelite stunner lived : ' A rug on the wooden floor of her little 
drawing-room, a couch under the window with a crimson shawl upon 
it, a quaint round table by one side of the fire behind which she often 
sits, an antique desk and a tiny piano, with a first-rate landscape 
by Mr. Collins (the father . . .) and a drawing of herself by a Mr. 
Prinsep make the chief features of the little place except the vase 
of magnolias ... on her book table and a number of geraniums in 
pots on a table ... in a corner between couch and fire. Then in the 
dining-room which adjoins is the same wooden floor and another 
bright rug and a bright cloth over the round table and a broad 
window which is left open to let the trees wave across and to hear 
the voices of the birds. And more pictures by Collins and sketches 
everywhere by this distinguished friend or that interesting per 
son. . . .' Such an artistic home, Mrs. Fields pointed out, showed 
how people of good taste managed in England. For Katey had little 
money, but preferred the 'deprivations poverty brings to receiving 
from her father or allowing her husband who is very ill to overwork 
himself'. She seemed much like her father, 'especially in her indomit 
able reserve of temper equal to any emergency'. 48 

Throughout this period of social activity in London, Georgina 
looked forward to showing Annie over her beloved Gad's Hill 
domain. On 2nd June, the date by which the nightingales were due 
to reappear, she and Mamie were back home to welcome the Fieldses, 
Mabel Lowell, and Sol Etynge (illustrator for the American edition 
of Dickens's works published by Ticknor & Fields). The basket car 
riage having been sent to bring the guests from Higham Station, the 
two hostesses hovered in the doorway. Dickens meanwhile walked 
across the road to the wilderness plot to meet the party. There they 
alighted and were conducted past the chalet and through the tunnel 
to the front lawn, where Georgina and Mamie, with Katey and 
Charles Collins, received them. 'We did not go inside the house for 
an hour/ Mrs. Fields recalled, 'but walked about lost in admiration 
over the loveliness of the lawns & ivy and flowers/ After their tea 
out of doors they played 'Meet Aunt Sally' until dinner time. Writ 
ing to her mother, Mrs. Fields rhapsodized on 'the perfection to 
which the art of dining is carried' at Gad's Hill, e the old glass and 
china, the wax candles and quaint devices of spoons and forks, , . . 
The swiftness of the talk, too, is of a new kind, and the shafts of 



126 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

dinner table wit are very keen. 5 With its caned chairs and its many 
pictures, the dining-room had an air of 'thought and refinement 5 . 49 

Annie was no less taken with the upstairs appointments : In each 
room there are delightful books, and everything the mind of man 
can conceive to make one comfortable topped off by a little bouquet 
on each bureau.' Yet she and James did not sleep well. Assigned 
to Dickens' s bedroom, they feared that 'his spirit of wakefulness 5 
had been left behind. For to him, they knew, 'sleepless nights come 
too often, oftener than they would to a free heart'. Still, it was 
'wonderful, the flow of spirits C. D. has for a sad man'. 50 

Mrs. Fields had, of course, been curious about Georgina ever since 
Dickens had hymned her perfections in America. One morning, the 
men having gone to London, the guest studied her hostess closely 
while listening to accounts of life at Gad's Hill and anecdotes of the 
family. { I have the deepest respect for her/ was Annie's diary com 
ment on Georgina that night. 'She has been able to do everything 
for C. D. in his home.' And a letter to her mother spoke of Georgina 
as 'a strong, simple, noble, devoted creature, equal to her position 
which is saying everything'. 51 

For the rest of her life Georgina was to hold in her heart this 
visit from the Fieldses. From this final summer of gaiety at Gad's 
Hill she stored up memories of Dickens in his most exhilarated mood 
as he entertained his guests. What would her brother have said to 
the scarlet-coated outriders who escorted their carriage to Canter 
bury, he who had laughed at Charles's dress coat with its lining of 
red silk and had censured his ostentatious adjustment to a higher 
social caste! 52 All along the Dover Road people had run out to stare. 
And then there was the visit to the marshes of Cooling, immortalized 
in Great Expectations, and the outdoor lunch in, of all places, the 
cemetery where the fictional Pip's little brothers were buried! Here 
on a large flat gravestone Dickens spread the picnic fare. Then, 
struck by the incongruity of feasting in these surroundings, he went 
on to make the situation still more ludicrous. Ducking briefly behind 
the stone wall, he disguised himself with towel and napkin as a 
head waiter, and reappeared to range the plates along the top of the 
wall. From behind this improvised buffet he summoned his guests 
to approach and be served. 53 

When the Fieldses left Gad's Hill Georgina and Annie began a cor 
respondence that continued at intervals until 1913. 'I am sure we 
can never feel as strangers any more to each other!' Georgina wrote 
the first time, a few days after the June visit had ended. Harry had 
just come home from Cambridge with a mathematical scholarship. 
'I have not seen Charles so happy about anything for a long while,' 



'Over for Ever 7 127 

she reported. 'It is a famous beginning, . . . and I hope augurs well 
for his future college career. It will be quite a new sensation, for 
Charles to have one of his sons distinguish himself.' She also included 
a confidential bit about Mamie : 'You should indeed hear a cheerful 
word from me in the event of any progress being made by our nice 
military friend [an allusion to Major Lynch, the officer at nearby 
Chatham], but I am afraid to allow myself to be hopeful about it. 1 
She would not let Mamie know that Mrs. Melds had inquired about 
Lynch ; for, she explained, 'I think harm is done if the interested 
party gets an idea that her friends are talking her over, don't you?' 54 
As her friendship with Annie deepened through the years, Geor- 
gina's closely written pages became increasingly intimate and reveal 
ing. And Mrs. Fields often meditated on her friend, on Dickens's 
daughters, and on life at Gad's Hill. But dimming the joy of her 
first memories was the persistent conviction of an ominous shadow 
over that household. On the second anniversary of her 1869 visit, 
reflecting on a recent entertainment in her own home, she confided 
to her diary that there had been 'more jollity than ever I saw except 
at Dickens's, and alas! I must say it, with more real lightness of 
heart than I ever saw at Gad's Hill. The shadow of somewhere 
already fallen there and there were no young people young hi the 
sense of being innocent of all experience as these are here.' 55 

Annie Fields was as religious in preserving her letters from 
Georgina as, unfortunately, Dickens was ruthless in destroying all 
but business documents. In 1860, just as Tavistock was being per 
manently abandoned, he had sought to wipe out the past by 'bum- 
ing the accumulated letters and papers of twenty years'. Family 
correspondence and communications from such notables as Wash 
ington Irving, Carlyle, Thackeray, Tennyson -all had been cast 
into the flames. Katey, Harry, and little Plorn had carried out 
basket after basket of the precious fuel to the meadow bonfire. Later 
the boys had 'roasted onions on the ashes of the great!' 56 The letter 
burning became a periodic ceremony. In March of 1865 Dickens 
wrote Macready of having made another such 'great fire in my field 
at Gad's Hill, . . .' 57 And he did so again a year before his death, 
according to Georgina, who 'helped him hi the work of destruction. 
He had a great horror of the improper uses often made of letters of 
celebrated people and there had been some flagrant instance of 
this just before he made up his mind to do this.' 58 

Following the Fieldses' departure, the activities at Gad's Hill were 
adjusted to a programme of writing and editing. Dickens was work 
ing on a new novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, for which Charles 
Collins, though ailing, hoped to do the illustrations. With autumn 



128 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

the pace of living had so accelerated that Georgina was catering to 
Diekens's overstrained nerves again : I intend to drop both tea and 
coffee in the morning. Please get some of that Homoepathic Cocoa, 3 
she was instructed, 'and let me have a jug or pot of it containing 2 
large cups alys boiled with milk, and no water on the table at 
breakfast alys'. She had also to keep an eye on further improvements 
to the house: Ask him [Aldridge], whatever he does to the Billiard 
room ceiling, to do something DUBABLE/ she was directed. 59 The 
major remodelling, though, was the conversion of the greenhouse 
into a large conservatory, 'a great ornament and addition to the 
house', Georgina wrote to Annie Fields in November, 'which is now 
getting on pretty fast and will, we hope, be finished before Christ 
mas'. As she and Mamie would be with Charles in London that 
winter, for the farewell readings, it would not be stocked until their 
return in the spring. 60 

In the same letter Georgina revealed her pride in Katey, who had 
been working so industriously at her painting that her teacher, the 
noted Pre-Raphaelite Millais, had praised her efforts, giving her 'the 
strongest encouragement to persevere which delighted her very 
much and pleased her Father too'. But Georgina must have been 
somewhat embarrassed at having to perform a courtesy which her 
nieces, she feared, had neglected: 'I heard . . . that they were 
charmed with the pretty presents you had sent them before you 
left. I don't know whether they have, yet, written to thank you for 
them I know they mean to do so immediately.' 61 It was not the 
last time Aunt Georgy had to apologize for such negligence. 

At the beginning of the busy Christmas week she joined Dickens 
in seeing Fechter off for America. 62 To Annie she wrote merely of 
the actor's being on his way to New York, 'with good prospects, I 
hope'. 63 She refrained from adding that Charles's recent efforts in 
Fechter 's behalf had cost too much valuable time and energy. It was 
only through Dickens that this irritating friend had finally con 
cluded the attractive offer to play in America. Even then it had 
been necessary to coax him to drop his petulance over the engage 
ments as arranged by his American sponsors. In a hysterical 
macaronic letter he had fumed, 'G'est plus que "unfair", C'est 
"ridicule!" et je refuse "emphatically". 364 Writing to Georgina in 
November, Dickens had outlined his strategy: 'Tomorrow I give 
Palmer [the American agent] a little dinner (with only Dolby) in 
Regent Street. He will engage Feckter at 90 a nigM, if Fechter be 
not stark staring mad. I have telegraphed to him and written to 
him, and will settle the engagement at dinner tomorrow, in the 
improbable event of his turning out sane.* 65 So there had finally 



'Over for Ever' 129 

been a meeting of minds, and now Fechter, accompanied by Carlotta 
Leclercq, his leading actress, was on his way across the Atlantic. 
In the future his affairs would furnish considerable gossip for 
Georgina and Annie. 

It was the traditional Christmas at Gad's Hill in 1869, and 
bitterly cold. The usual houseful of guests had assembled: Charley 
and his family, Katey and her husband, Henry Chorley as always, 
and a few other friends. Eut it was not the usual holiday for Geor 
gina. Dickens w r as not well and, for the first Christmas that she 
could remember, did not leave the house. All day she sat with him 
in the library, poulticing his left foot. With it bandaged and hoisted 
on a chair, he managed to appear at dinner. In spite of discomfort 
he kept up the customary cheer of the day. 6S Noting the ravages of 
pain and overwork, Georgina may have asked herself how soon his 
familiar Christmas blessing would become only an echo in her heart. 
After the meal he joined the party in the favourite memory game. 
When his turn came to add to the growing list of names, he pro 
nounced 'Warren's Blacking, 30 Strand' in an odd tone of voice. 
Harry noticed the queer gleam in his father's eye, but it was not 
until two years later that the family, reading the first volume of 
Forster's Life of Charles Dickens, learned of the bitter childhood 
experience in the blacking warehouse. 67 

A few days after the year-end festivities Georgina regretfully 
packed up to leave Gad's Hill, Dickens having leased a London house 
opposite the Marble Arch in order to please Mamie though, he 
admitted ruefully, '. . . she will probably go somewhere else, the 
moment we take possession!' 68 Except for being near him during 
the arduous period of the farewell readings in town, Georgina would 
have much preferred a quiet winter in the country. Already she was 
looking ahead to the return in June, when the handsome new con 
servatory, finished now except for paint and floor tile, would be 
abloom. 69 

January was to be the most tiring month of the readings, she 
wrote Annie, as four evening and two morning performances were 
scheduled; then in February and March, six evenings altogether 
'the LAST of ALL, thank goodness! on the 15th March!' She heartily 
wished they were all over, and deplored Charles's having to wear 
himself out by going to the Birmingham and Midland Institute to 
present the certificates and prizes, just before his first readings. 70 

Katey's husband, Georgina lamented, was now in such failing 
health that he had been forced to give up the illustrations for Edwin 
Drood just when his samples promised so well, too. But he had 
completed the cover, which was considered so good that it would be 



130 Oeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

used. 71 Tliis piece of news may have caused Annie to reflect on what 
she must have suspected on her visit to Gad's Hill Dickens's despair 
over his vital, talented Katey, in yoke with a semi-invalid whose 
ailment precluded any return to health, yet allowed him to linger in 
misery. Later Annie was to receive more light on the situation by 
gossiping with Fechter in America. Dickens, the actor explained, 
'could not understand the prolonged endurance of such an existence 
and in his passionate nature which must snap when it yielded at all, 
it produced disgust'. He would look across the dining-table at his 
son-in-law as if to say, 'Astonishing you should be here today, but 
tomorrow you will be in your chamber never to come out again'. 
This attitude toward his brother aroused Wilkie Collins to such 
resentment that, according to Fechter, he and Dickens became 
estranged. 72 

In February, replying to Annie's best wishes for Dickens's fifty- 
eighth birthday, Georgina wrote on black-bordered stationery. C I 
hope you will not be startled by my mourning paper,' she began, 
'but I think you must have seen that my poor old Father died on 
the 12th of this month therefore you will be prepared for it.' 73 
George Hogarth, aged eighty-six but still active in journalism, had 
fallen downstairs at the Illustrated London News office. Several 
weeks later he died at the Gloucester Crescent home of his daughter 
Helen, now Mrs. Roney, not far from Catherine's residence. 74 In his 
last years he had continued to impress his associates as pleasant, 
genteel, and unassuming. William Michael Eossetti, who had often 
encountered him through journalistic connections, called him an 
affable, simple-mannered elderly gentleman, free from anything 
stiff or self-assertive'. 75 The death notice which appeared in the 
'Obituary of Eminent Persons' column of the Illustrated London 
News for 19 February 1870 confirmed Bossetti's appraisal. Written 
by one 'who has succeeded him in his office on this Journal, and 
who was for many years his colleague elsewhere', it eulogized its 
subject for his 'guileless simplicity of character and never-failing 
geniality of temper 3 . As Hogarth had apparently never acted upon, 
or even shared, the acrimony of his wife and his daughter Helen 
toward Dickens, Georgina could remember him with tenderness, 
observing the mourning amenities without hypocrisy. Ironically, 
though, he could not leave the world clad in the dignity of his own 
repute only: the newspaper notices, as she pointed out, inevitably 
mentioned his connection with Charles Dickens. 76 

The winter in London, Georgina's letter to Annie continued, had 
been 'long, dark and bitter*, and a curious epidemic of measles had 
broken out among adults. Poor Mamie had been a victim, but, 



'Over for Ever' 131 

with only a light case, had suffered chiefly because 'so many 
of her friends were afraid of her and she was shut out from every 
thing for a little while. . . / Now that she was well again, she and 
Katey were going to a fancy ball: 'Mamie is going as Marguerite 
(Faust) she has got a lovely dress and I think it will suit her very 
well'. 77 (Had the Marguerite costume perhaps recalled to Georgina 
the anguished confession she still kept among her letters from 
Dickens?) 

Seasonal ailments had attacked poor little Mrs. Bouncer, too, for 
she coughed terribly with bronchitis. 'I fear she is getting old/ 
Georgina explained, 'and finds the winter very hard to get through!' 
At Gad's Hill, though, the dogs were hardy, and had almost killed 
Georgina with their friendly demonstrations when she went down 
into the country for a few hours to inspect the improvements on the 
house. The conservatory, finished at last, was a delight: 'The 
Florist has orders to fill it and is to begin soon and it is to be full 
of beauty the 1st of June, when we go home. . . / 78 

Again there was encouraging news about Harry. 'He made his 
first speech "on National Education" at the "Union" which is the 
Debating Club at Cambridge . . / Georgina announced. 'A day or 
two afterward a report in the Pall Mall said that at the Union on 
such a night THE speech of the evening was made by Mr. H. Dickens/ 
But happiest and saddest of all her news, Charles's strenuous 
reading career was almost at an end. "Fancy there being only three 
more Readings now!' She was 'thankful that the last of this work 
is approaching' ; still 'there is always something sad about "the 
last" of anything and I think he will feel it melancholy to take 
leave of the public in that relation with them. But he will feel the 
relief after the work is over. Although, on the other hand, he also 
declares that he will feel the absence of he money made by the 
Readings. . . !' 79 

On the very day that Georgina was writing her February letter to 
Annie Fields, that voluminous diarist was reflecting on her English 
friends, recording a conversation which had taken place in her home 
between Fechter and Longfellow. 'Yes, yes,' Fechter had said of 
Dickens, 'all his fame goes for nothing since he has not the one thing. 
He is very unhappy in his children.' What Annie thought on that sub 
ject was also confided to her journal: 'Nobody can say how much 
too much of this the children have to hear. . . . Poor Miss Hogarth 
spends her life hoping to comfort and care for Mm. I never felt more 
keenly her anomalous and unnatural position in the household. Not 
one mentioned her name. They could not dare, I suppose (lest they 
might do her wrong)/ 80 



132 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Being in mourning for her father, Georgina had not gone out in 
February, not even to the readings, but the final three she could not 
miss. 81 On 1st March she heard Copperfield for the last time; on the 
8th, Oliver Twist (the murder scene) ; then, on the loth, the final 
programme, A Christmas Carol and "The Trial' from Pickwick. Long 
before the doors of St. James's Hall were opened, the street outside 
was jammed. To a capacity throng of two thousand it was a stirring 
performance, this farewell of an artist to his public. For many, the 
most memorable moment came at the close, when Dickens returned 
after a tumult of applause to address his audience briefly and per 
sonally. For fifteen years, he told them, he had been cheered by 
their response and stimulated by their support. But now he thought 
it best to confine himself to the literary art which had first brought 
him before the public. Alluding to Edwin Drood, he promised to 
enter their homes again in but two short weeks. He concluded 
dramatically: '. . . From these garish lights I vanish now for ever 
more, with a heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate 
farewell'. 82 

Georgina, who had watched him fighting to keep his composure 
during this moving address, noted that even Major Lynch, generally 
a 'reserved and undemonstrative man', was 'visibly affected'. What 
a pity that Mamie could not share her father's warmth for such a 
perceptive young officer! 83 Another spectator who reacted to the 
entire performance with wide-eyed fascination was Charley's eldest 
child, little Mary Angela, who for the first time saw her grandfather 
on the stage and was puzzled and frightened by all his strange 
voices. 84 

Georgina was greatly relieved, as were all the family and intimate 
friends, to see the readings end. Under tension Dickens had devel 
oped a pulse rate so alarming that Dr. Beard had thought it best to 
attend every performance, asking Charley to be present also, ready 
to dash up the platform steps at the first sign of need: '. . . If 
you see your father falter in the least, you must run and catch him 
and bring Mm off to me, or, by Heaven, he'll die before them all'. 85 
But mingled with the general relief at the safe conclusion of the 
series was a touch of sadness. *. . . There is always a little melan 
choly in the thought of a thing over for ever,' Georgina admitted to 
Annie Fields in May, after the readings had already been 'wafted 
into one of the many Dreams of the past'. 86 

The first week in May found Georgina longing for the country 
home. The gardener and the workmen, she wrote Annie, were 
still engaged in getting everything 'all "polished up" and ready 
for our return on the 1st June'. Mamie, however, did not share her 



'Over for Ever' 133 

feeling, being Very gay out every night and not at all tired of it! 
She will not be so glad when we give up this home and will stay 
on with Katey a good deal until the end of the season.' It was a 
particularly glorious spring for Mamie. She had been invited to 
attend the Queen's drawing-room and a Court ball after her father 
had made his first appearance at Buckingham Palace, having been 
summoned to receive Her Majesty's thanks for some American 
photographs he had sent her at her request. He had found Victoria 
'strangely shy and like a girl in manner . . . ,' reported Georgina, 
'but with a girlish sort of timidity which was very engaging'. He 
had got along well with her, though, and at parting had been pre 
sented with a copy of her published journal, Our Life in the High 
lands, the Queen saying modestly that 'she was really ashamed to 
offer such a book to such a writer'. As it bore the royal autograph, 
Georgina speculated that it should be something of 'a curiosity years 
hence!' But she was convinced that any honour conferred was upon 
the Queen 'which republican sentiment', she felt, Mrs. Fields would 
no doubt share. 87 She herself was not invited to Court when Mamie 
went or ever. Having once been the subject of scandalous public 
rumours, she could hardly have expected to be received at that 
decorous Palace. 

Even more agreeable to Charles than the attention of Queen Vic 
toria, she told Annie, was a tribute from an unknown admirer: a self- 
taught, once humble man whose gratitude touched Dickens as had 
little else in his public career. Shortly after the move to London for 
the reading season, there arrived a letter from this stranger. He 
had begun his rise to wealth, he said, in some minor job with a well- 
to-do Liverpool timber merchant and, being highly industrious and 
conscientious, had ultimately become a partner in the firm. Recently 
he had acquired the whole fortune at the timber merchant's death. 
His phenomenal success he attributed to the 'encouragement and 
cheering influence' of Dickens's books, which he had read regularly 
since childhood. Now his thoughts turned to his 'Benefactor and 
Teacher', whom he begged to accept 500 as a token of 'gratitude 
and veneration'. Struck by the genuine tone of this letter, Dickens 
replied cordially that he was in no need of money, but would grate 
fully accept for himself and his children some table ornament bear 
ing a commemorative inscription. In April there arrived two silver 
pieces, a flower basket and an elaborate epergne. The basket was 
inscribed: 'To Charles Dickens from one who has been cheered and 
stimulated by his writing and held the author amongst his first 
Remembrances when he became prosperous'. According to the 
representative from Hunt & Roskell, where the gift had been 



134 Oeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

purchased, the base of the epergne had originaDy been ornamented 
with figures representing the four seasons. But the donor, 'averse to 
associating the idea of winter in any way with Mr. Dickens', had 
ordered the design altered to leave only the three cheerful seasons'. 
Throughout the negotiations the name of the Liverpool admirer was 
revealed to no one but Dickens, Even Hunt & Roskell did not learn 
his identity, payment being made in cash instead of by cheque. 'Is 
it not an odd and pretty story!' exclaimed Georgina. s * 

But Court recognition and the affection of strangers, as both 
Georgina and Annie knew, went 'for nothing since he has not the one 
thing'. In May reports from Australia caused Dickens to fear that 
Plorn had e been born without a groove'. To Rusden, the boy's 
sponsor, he wrote, e lt cannot be helped. If he cannot, or will not 
find one, I must try again, and die trying.' 89 To Alfred he wrote 
on the same day: C I am doubtful whether Plorn is taking to Aus 
tralia. Can you find out his real mind? I notice that he always writes 
as if his present life were the be-all and the end-all of his emigration, 
and as if I had no idea of you two becoming proprietors, and aspiring 
to the first positions in the colony. . . .' 90 

But the picture was not entirely cheerless, Dickens having had 
good reports on Alfred: ' . . . They did not surprise me, for I had 
unbounded faith in you. For which take my love and blessing. . . . 
This is ... an assurance that I never think of you without hope and 
comfort.' 91 Harry, too, was a comfort, as always. On 4th May his 
Aunt Georgy announced to Annie Fields that he had, on the day of 
the final readings, brought home the happy news of winning 'the 
prize for the Essay, at his college much to his Father's gratifica 
tion'. 92 

The proud new conservatory was another bright note, though by 
the middle of May Georgina heard murmurs of its costing more than 
had been anticipated. Returning from one of her spring trips to 
Gad's Fill, she brought word that the gardener would need more 
geraniums and lavender plants. Thereupon Dickens wrote an 
authorization for their purchase, adding: 'Be careful not to get more 
than are absolutely necessary, as the garden expenses are becoming 
excessively heavy'. 93 

A flare-up of the old foot trouble that spring brought renewed 
awareness of omnipresent tensions. The affliction would *yield to 
nothing but days of fomentations and horizontal rest', Dickens told 
a correspondent on llth May. 94 Georgina worried about some 'little 
risings' on the ailing foot, but was assured that they were merely 
blisters from the constant application of hot poultices. (A testimony, 
perhaps, to her own over-zealous nursing.) Writing her from his 



'Over for Ever 9 135 

office quarters, Dickens reported himself refreshed by a good night's 
sleep, but only because he had taken laudanum. It was this letter 
which Georgina was later to label in his own familiar bright blue ink, 
'THE LAST May 1870'. 

With the end of the month came the return to the loved country 
home. Never had it looked more inviting. In the front garden 
blazed two large beds of scarlet geraniums, Dickens's favourites. 
More brightened the well-stocked conservatory. When Katey came 
down to see this latest addition on the first Sunday in June, her 
father promised, 'POSITIVELY the last improvement'. She recognized 
his little joke; for years every alteration at Gad's Kill had been 
'positively the last'. 95 

Though Georgina had confidently relied on the country to restore 
Dickens's vigour, she was disturbed when her niece called his 
'curious grey colour' to her attention. Perhaps it was his noticeable 
decline that now drew Katey closer to the father whom she had 
always adored, even as she defied him. For on that Sunday night, 
after Georgina and Mamie had retired, 'Lucifer Box' the one who 
had dared to come down late to breakfast in childhood, had married 
to declare her independence, had not hesitated to champion her 
mother stayed downstairs for an intimate talk with him. She 
needed money: should she accept a recent offer to go on the stage? 
Her father advised her not to, promising to make it up to her. Then 
he spoke of his own affairs. He hoped for the success of Edwin 
Droodi, please God, I live to finish it'. Seeing Katey 's startled 
look, he explained, 'I say if, because you know, my dear child, I 
have not been strong lately'. In a low voice he spoke of his past life, 
baring his soul to the child most like him, herself an Inimitable. 
When their talk ended at dawn, Katey understood her father, the 
man who had combated and exposed cruelty all his life, who had 
taught his children to pray that they might never be cruel even to 
'a poor little fly', yet had harboured the tormenting recognition of 
his own inhumanity to an exasperating, defenceless wife, admitting 
'every day more and more, how much I stand in the need of charity 
and mercy*. 96 

When Katey came down to breakfast in the morning, her father 
was already at work in the chalet. Knowing how much he disliked 
partings, she was about to leave for London without bidding him 
farewell. But as she waited on the porch for her carriage, she felt an 
irresistible urge to see him once more. She found him bent over his 
writing. Instead of turning his cheek for the usual light kiss, or dis 
missing her with casual pleasantries, he held out his arms and 
embraced her. Returning to the house, she kept repeating to herself, 



136 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

'I am so glad I went I am so glad 9 . Georgina saw her off, accom 
panied by Mamie, and promised to keep both girls informed of their 
father's health. 97 

Alone with Charles at Gad's Hill, Georgina asked about Edicin 
Drood. The novel was giving him some difficulty; he felt that he 
had revealed too much of the plot in the early part. Yielding to 
her curiosity, she inquired boldly, 'I hope you haven't really killed 
poor Edwin Drood?' He replied gravely, 'I call my book the Mystery, 
not the History, of Edwin Drood'. From this answer she could not 
determine whether he meant the story to remain a mystery for ever, 
or only until the proper time for revealing its secret. 98 

On Tuesday afternoon, 7th June, she rode with him to Cobham 
Park, staying with the carriage when he left it to walk home. After 
dinner that evening she remained in the dining-room with him to 
enjoy the Chinese lanterns which had been hung in the cool, fragrant 
conservatory only that day. He talked about his love for Gad's 
Hill: it was his wish to have his name associated with the place and 
to be buried near it. 99 

The next day Georgina sensed that he was feeling dull. Though 
he went to the chalet as usual, he complained that work was burden 
some. At six, as she joined him for dinner, she noticed that his eyes 
were full of tears. Anxiously she watched him. Finally, alarmed by 
his colour and a change in Ms expression, she asked whether he 
felt ill. 'Yes, very ill for the last hour,' he replied. She suggested 
calling the doctor. 'No,' he insisted with blurred articulation. Then, 
complaining of a toothache, he clasped his jaw and asked to have 
the window shut. 'Come and lie down,' Georgina begged after she 
had closed it. Struggling to his feet, he answered, 'Yes on the 
ground'. His last consciousness of this world was Georgina's voice 
and supporting arm as she tried to help him. After a step or two 
he fell heavily on his left side. Hastily ordering a sofa brought into 
the dining-room, she had the servants place him upon it. Then she 
sent at once for the local doctor and telegraphed Frank Beard. On 
their arrival both men saw that Dickens was beyond help. 100 

When Georgina left his side hours later to receive Mamie and 
Katey, come in response to her summons, her face told them that 
hope had been abandoned. All night she and the girls watched 
beside the stricken man, placing hot bricks at his cold feet. He 
never stirred. The next morning Charley arrived, followed by 
Dr. Russell Reynolds, who found unmistakable symptoms of brain 
haemorrhage. 101 

Throughout the day the hushed watch continued. From the con 
servatory came the spicy aronia of the bright geraniums Dickens 



'Over for Ever' 137 

loved. Through the open windows floated the heavier scent of 
syringa, which for Charley became so inseparably associated with 
this hour that he could never again bear to be near these blossoms. 102 
In the early afternoon Mary Boyle arrived. She found the front 
door open, but dared not enter or ring for fear of disturbing the 
silence, broken only by the chorus of birds. Finally Charley, coming 
out for a breath of air, discovered her and led her into the library. 
Here Georgina clasped her in a comforting embrace. But the visitor, 
feeling that this was not her place, soon left for ever the home where 
she had spent so many happy hours. 103 

Ellen Ternan came also. Who had summoned her to Gad's Hill? 
Katey had hurried in to London that day to break the news to her 
mother, 104 but even in the light of her recent glimpse into her 
father's soul, she would hardly have softened to that extent. It is 
more likely that Georgina took upon herself the responsibility of 
letting Nelly know. 

About six that evening Dickens began to breathe heavily. A 
little past the hour there was a shudder, a deep sigh then silence. 
Thursday, 9th June it was five years to the day since the Staple- 
hurst accident. Because air and light and vivid colour had always 
been a passion with him, the blinds were not drawn according to 
Victorian custom. His body was left in the dining-room with the 
June sun flooding over the flowers that had been carried in from the 
conservatory blue lobelias, musk, his favourite scarlet geran 
iums. 105 'There was something beautiful and appropriate to him in 
his lying dead in that bright room/ Georgina wrote Mrs. Fields, 'sur 
rounded by the Pictures and looking into the Conservatory which 
had delighted him so much in the last two weeks of his life/ 106 

'Almost stupefied with grief/ Harry arrived from Cambridge two 
hours after his father's death. A porter at the railway station had 
broken the news. The next morning came two artists: Millais to 
make a sketch and Thomas Woolner to take a cast of Dickens's face. 
Some months earlier the sculptor, hoping to do a bust of the novelist, 
had been put off until Edwin Drood should be finished: c lt will be 
done by Christmas, and after that I am your humble servant'. Now 
the bust would have to be modelled from a death mask. Millais's 
pencil drawing was later given to Katey, who declared that no one 
else 'could have so perfectly understood the beauty and pathos* of 
her father's face. 107 

Catherine Dickens was not among those who looked for the last 
time upon the silent figure in the dining-room. Even in this hour 
she respected her husband's insistence on an irrevocable separation. 

Dickens had often expressed a wish to be buried near Gad's HMJ, 



138 Georgina Hogarth crnd the Dickens Circle 

either in the village of Shorne, or in St. Nicholas Churchyard, Koch- 
ester, at the foot of the old Castle Keep. Arrangements were made, 
therefore, at Shorne. Meanwhile the Dean and Chapter of Rochester 
Cathedral urged burial there in St. Mary's Chapel, the St. Nicholas 
graveyard across the way having been closed several years earlier by 
order of the Privy Council. Accordingly the Shorne arrangements 
were abandoned and a grave was dug in the Cathedral. 108 But even 
as these preparations were in progress at Rochester, other plans were 
forming in London. Learning of Dickens's death, Bean Stanley 
immediately wrote to Locker-Lampson, his brother-in-law, through 
whom he had recently made the acquaintance of the novelist. He 
was prepared, he stated, to receive a communication from the 
Dickens family respecting burial in Westminster Abbey. Unless 
such formal application was made, he could take no steps. Locker- 
Lampson promptly forwarded this note to Charley Dickens. Three 
days passed without reply. Then there appeared in the London 
Times for Monday, 13th June, a leading editorial urging burial in the 
Abbey as appropriate for a person of Dickens's distinction. At 
eleven o'clock that morning Forster and Charley called on Dean 
Stanley. At first so overcome with grief that he could hardly speak, 
Forster finally regained his composure to explain that he and 
Charley had come in response to the article in The Times. (The note 
sent on by Locker-Lampson had somehow gone astray.) The family 
would defer to public demand for burial in the Abbey, but only on 
condition that the instructions in Dickens's will for a simple, private 
funeral be strictly observed. The Dean agreed, enjoining the utmost 
secrecy to insure such privacy. 

At six o'clock that evening, by only a dim light, the grave was 
dug in Poets' Corner. At midnight came a thundering knock at the 
Dean's door. A reporter from the Daily Telegraph, having heard that 
Dickens's body was being brought to London, wished to know the 
hour of the funeral. 'Dean Stanley has gone to bed/ replied the 
servant, 'and cannot possibly be disturbed.' The reporter left.-zos 

The next morning, 14th June, the Gad's Hill household was astir 
in the pearly dawn. Long before the neighbours had breakfasted, a 
special train took the family from Higham to London, where they 
were met at Oharing Gross Station by a hearse and three coaches, 
f At the utmost, not more than three plain mourning coaches,' the 
will had specified,} There was none of the undertakers' parapher 
nalia which Dickens had always hated: the sable plumes, the tas- 
selled black velvet palls, the hired mutes. And the mourners wore 
only the simple black garb, the will having explicitly forbidden any 
one to appear in 'scarf, cloak, black bow, long hat band, or other 



'Over for Ever' 139 

such, revolting absurdity'. In the first coach rode Mamie, Katey, 
Charley, and Harry, of eight living children the only ones at hand to 
attend the funeral. In the second coach were Georgina, Letitia 
Austin, and Charley's wife ; in the last, Dr. Frank Beard, Charles and 
Wilkie Collins, and Edmund Dickens, a nephew. At nine-thirty, 
with St. Stephen's clock chiming the half hour, the procession 
approached the Abbey. To the tolling of the great bell the coaches 
turned into the Dean's Yard. From there the body was carried 
through the cloisters and into the nave, where the Dean, the two 
canons in residence, and the minor canons met the mourners. Their 
arrival had attracted no attention whatever. The doors were closed 
immediately and the coaches dismissed. 

The little band that gathered about the open grave was strangely 
dwarfed by the vast grey stone building. There was no choir, only 
subdued music from the great organ. And there was no graveside 
eulogy. (Only a few months before, Dickens had excused himself 
from speaking at the unveiling of Leigh Hunt's bust at Kensal 
Green Cemetery: '. . . The idea of ever being the subject of such a 
ceremony myself is so repugnant to my soul, that I must decline to 
officiate.') 110 Attended by none but the Abbey clergy, Dean Stanley 
began the ancient lines of the burial service: 'I am the Resurrection 
and the Life. . . .' The words that echo like a refrain through the 
final chapters of A Tale of Two Cities fell on Georgina's heart with 
the numbing sense of 'a thing over for ever'. 

As the small group filed out, Dean Stanley asked the last of the 
mourners whether the grave might be left open for the public. 'Yes,' 
replied Forster, 'now my work is over, and you may do what you 
like.' From the cool shadows of the vaulted Abbey Georgina passed 
into the brilliant sunshine outside. It was one of the first warm days 
of summer, and beds of red geraniums burned against the green of 
newly planted gardens in Parliament Square. How right that 
Charles's special flowers should grow so near his resting-place, she 
told herself. Returning to the country, her senses drugged by the 
beauties of June, she took 'some solemn comfort' in the thought that 
the 'scents and sounds and sights of nature' were a 'faint fore 
shadowing' of his 'Eternal Peace'. Gad's Hill had never looked love 
lier 'so Cruelly and unkindly cheerful it seemed!' Yet it was fitting, 
she felt, that dear Charles 'should be taken away from the world 
when it was as nearly like heaven as we can ever suppose it to be!' 
But 'how empty the house felt . . .! We seemed for the first time to 
realize fully the blank that was made in life.' 111 



PART TWO 

1870-1917 



Chapter Ten 
6 A DREADFUL WRENCH 9 



THE following Sunday Georgina was compelled to renew the 
emotional strain of the burial by appearing once more at Westmin 
ster Abbey, this time for Dean Stanley's public funeral sermon at 
the evensong hour. Long before the announced time a throng had 
gathered outside, many from the working classes; and shortly after 
the doors were opened every available seat was taken. The organ 
strains of 'Blessed Are the Dead Who Die in the Lord' throbbed 
softly through the nave as the congregation sat in hushed solemnity, 
though not indisposed to steal glances at the literary notables 
present. Carlyle and Tennyson, in particular, drew attention. Then, 
as the service began, came the faint voice of Dean Stanley, hoarse 
from laryngitis and barely audible in that lofty space. It was a 
tense and painful hour: the Dean earnestly trying to project his 
carefully prepared message, the vast congregation straining to hear. 
Only the handful nearest the pulpit could have known that the text 
was from St. Luke, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Just 
as the Great Teacher had demonstrated the instructive power of 
narrative, so Dickens had dedicated his sacred gift to the betterment 
of mankind, said the Dean. And as Christ had used the story of 
Lazarus to impress 'the pungent, pathetic lessons of social life', so 
the novelist had portrayed the wrongs and sufferings of his own 
time. 'By him that veil was rent asunder which parts the various 
classes of society. Through his genius the rich man, faring sumptu 
ously every day, was made to see and feel the presence of the 
Lazarus at his gate/ 1 

South of the gallery in which Georgina sat, was the flower-laden 
pavement in Poets' Corner, where the names of Dr. Johnson, 
Garrick, Sheridan, Handel, and Macaulay formed a guard of honour 
around the newly made grave. Before it had been closed on Thurs 
day night a continual procession had filed by to drop flowers, verses, 
and tokens of every kind upon the panelled oak coffin with its simple 
bold inscription CHARLES DICKENS. Now many had returned to 
pay their public homage. 

An occasional sob broke from the congregation. Valiantly the 



144 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Dean struggled on: 'Many, many are the feet which, have trodden 
and will tread the consecrated ground around that narrow grave; 
many, many are the hearts which both in the Old and in the Xew 
World are drawn towards it, as towards the resting-place of a dear 
personal friend. . . / In conclusion Dean Stanley made public for 
the first time an extract from Diekens's will: 'I commit my soul to 
the mercy of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I 
exhort my dear children humbly to try to guide themselves by the 
teaching of the New Testament in its broad spirit, and to put no 
faith in any man's narrow construction of its letter here and there'. 
It was the 'simple but sufficient faith' in w r hich Dickens had lived and 
died. 

The sermon concluded, the congregation dispersed to the 'Dead 
March 1 from Saul. But the Abbey emptied slowly. Though all three 
doors were open, nearly everyone passed through Poets' Corner. 

Returning to the emptiness of Gad's Hill that evening, Georgina 
began to feel the full impact of her bereavement. At first the shock 
had been l so sudden, so awful' that she had been 'stunned and 
bewildered by it'. She had found it 'impossible to realize . . . 
impossible to think at all'. But even now, in the first agony of 
grief, she took comfort in the knowledge that Charles had died with 
out physical or mental suffering. Again and again she was to give 
expression to that thought. He was in the full vigour of his working 
powers in the full height of his reputation/ she wrote Mary Howitt 
that autumn. 'If he had survived that attack, the doctors assured 
us it could only have been to live a paralysed man. And who that 
loved him could be selfish enough to wish for such prolongation of 
life for that great active spirit?' She derived added comfort from 
'the universal grief and real mourning for his memory such grief 
and mourning as I think were hardly ever given to one man in any 
age or country . . . before. And he deserved it!! for a more Simple 
Generous Kind Great heart never beat, and I should think there has 
seldom been a case in which Death deprived so many people of their 
best, truest and wisest friend' 2 (Active spirit, best and truest friend: 
the very words Dickens had applied to Georgina herself.) 

Because of this universal admiration for dear Charles, she went 
on, there had, of course, been no alternative but to yield to the 
national wish for burial in the Abbey, especially when that could be 
accomplished 'according to his solemn injunctions, with the most 
perfect privacy and simplicity. And it is fine that he should lie 
there/ Personally, though, she would have preferred Rochester. It 
would have been a 'sort of shrine for Kim he loved the place so 
much it was the home of his boyhood and close to the dear home 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 145 

of his last years.' (As a matter of fact, she did not allow his connec 
tion with the ancient city to go unnoticed, for she and Forster, as his 
executors, ordered a commemorative tablet placed on the south 
transept wall in the Cathedral there.) And numerous scenes in 
Dickens's first and last books presented further testimony to his love 
for the place. Indeed, almost the last lines of Edwin Drood were a 
description of Rochester Cathedral : '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 ago grow warm ; and necks of brightness 
dart into the sternest marble corners of the building, fluttering there 
like wings.' Recalling that Dickens had been at work on this last 
chapter within an hour of his stroke, Georgina wondered whether he 
might not have had 'some mysterious feeling of what was impending 
that day. God knows I but the words are comforting, and beautiful 
anyway.' 3 

In the first days after the funeral Georgina, Mamie, and Katey 
responded to a request from Catherine that they call on her. 4 To 
Mary Howitt, always a sympathetic friend, Georgina wrote in Sept 
ember, 'My sister has been, of course, much afflicted and shocked by 
her husband's death'. An awareness of speculation as to her relations 
with Catherine having, no doubt, long weighed on her, she took 
obvious satisfaction in reassuring Mrs. Howitt: 'You will be glad, I 
think, to hear that we all went to her immediately and have seen her 
several times since'. 5 Though the details of this first strange meeting 
can never be known, Catherine might well have displayed proudly 
one of her messages of condolence ; for it was to her, the widow, that 
Queen Victoria had telegraphed from Balmoral, 'Deepest regret at 
the sad news of Charles Dickens's death'. 6 

During the first days of numbing shock, Georgina could spare little 
time, fortunately, for memories and meditation. The immediate 
demands of etiquette could not be neglected, lest her nieces and 
nephews be thought remiss. In her own handwriting, therefore, a 
weary number of formal notes like the following went out to acknow 
ledge condolences: 

Mr. Charles Dickens, Miss Dickens, Mrs. Charles 

Collins, Miss Hogarth and Mr. Henry F. Dickens 

return their sincere thanks for 

Mr. Samuel Lover's 

kind sympathy 
Gad's Hill. 7 



146 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Practical matters also clamoured for attention. In addition to 
winding up Dickens's affairs and comforting his children, Georgina 
faced the stern adjustment to a totally different way of life. 'I have 
a great deal to do but it is a terrible feeling and a new feeling to 
me to have to be busy, with no heart or care about being busy any 
more,' she wrote Mrs. Fields. 'However, the work must be done and 
there are many things to be thought of and attended to. I find 
myself constantly waiting still in my own mind for his advice 
and opinion. He was so universally referred to in his home in these 
matters.' Bleak as Gad's Hill was now without the Head, 'yet we 
all feel that the pang of leaving this place, for ever, will be a reopen 
ing of the wound and, in fact, a beginning of the reality, which we 
can scarcely take in yet 5 . With the property to be sold in August, 
Georgina had to find a home for herself, Harry, and Mamie. 'She 
clings to me just now/ wrote Georgina of her niece. '. . . She thinks 
of nothing but staying quietly with me. So I must consider myself 
bound to her.' 8 Katey, too, had been at Gad's Hill constantly since 
her father's death. But poor Charles Collins did not figure in his 
wife's present plans ; he was in London, staying with Leslie Stephen, 
who had taken pity on him. He looked 'quite broken down and 
miserable not that he is ever cheerful', his host wrote Fields. 9 
Fechter, having returned to America after a brief visit in England, 
also explained Collins's pathetic situation to the Fieldses, whereupon 
Annie reflected in her diary: 'I earnestly hope all will be right with 
[Katey] soon in this particular for Charles is a tender devoted hus 
band and will be more to [her] now than ever before if she can only 
bring herself to go back to him'. It was doubtless the intensity of 
grief, observed Annie, 'which causes her to feel as if she could not 
give Him a thought'. 10 

During these last days at Gad's Hill every corner of the house, 
every foot of its grounds, looking green and pleasant sadly and 
cruelly so', revived some beloved memory. There was one hallowed 
spot, however, that had not been used since Dickens's death the 
dining-room. Georgina and the girls lived in the drawing-room now. 
Almost as sacred as the place where Charles had died was the little 
study in the chalet, where he had written the last lines of Edwin 
Drood. There, on his desk with the little objects dear to his fancy, 
stood the register, still open to 8th June. 11 

Much as Georgina dreaded leaving the home where she had spent 
her happiest years, she anticipated no material want. Charles had 
seen to that. 'We are toonderfuHy provided for I think consider- 
ering that the provision was all made out of one poor hard- worked 
brain,' she wrote a girlhood friend. 12 And indeed, Dickens's will had 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 147 

done handsomely by her, leaving her 8,000, duty free. She was also 
to have most of his personal jewellery, the familiar objects from his 
writing-table and room, and all his private papers. To Mamie was 
bequeathed 1,000, with a yearly annuity of 300 so long as she 
remained unmarried; to Ellen Ternan, another 1,000; to Catherine, 
the life interest on 8,000. Also amply provided for were Katey and 
the boys. A special codicil added only a week before Dickens' s death 
left his share in All the Year Round to Charley, who had just been 
officially appointed sub-editor. Even the servants had been remem 
bered with legacies of 19. 19s. Od. each. With John Forster Georgina 
was named joint executor. As a final tribute Dickens's will left 
her his "grateful blessing as the best and truest friend man ever 
had'. It solemnly enjoined Ms children 'always to remember how 
much they owe to the said Georgina Hogarth, and never to be 
wanting in a grateful and affectionate attachment to her, for they 
know well that she has been, through all the stages of their 
growth and progress, their ever useful self-denying and devoted 
friend'. 13 

However sincere this encomium, there were those who felt that it 
would be misinterpreted. 'Fechter was shocked at the publication 
of the will/ wrote Mrs. Fields in her diary, 'filled as it is with expres 
sions fitted to give colour to the senseless and cruel accusations 
against Miss Hogarth. He thought the money might have been con 
veyed some other way.' 14 Even Wilkie Collins, if he was reported 
correctly, lent some support to the detractors. Commented John 
Bigelow, the American diplomat, in his diary for 24 July 1870: 
'Collins intimates too that Dickens's sister-in-law, to whom he leaves 
all his private papers and whom he pronounces the best friend man 
ever had, was very fond of him. The impression seems to be that 
they were too intimate.' 15 (Collins, cooling toward his friend in the 
late sixties, may have transferred some of his resentment to Geor 
gina. Besides, such conjectures about her and Dickens would have 
been normal to one of his loose morals.) 

After the reading of the will, some two or three days before the 
burial, Georgina had written at once to Frederic Ouvry, the family 
friend and solicitor: 'I am most deeply touched and greatly aston 
ished by the mark of his affection and trust in me which he has left 
in making me one of the executors of his will. I wish he had not 
given me so great a trust and responsibility. If I had ever had the 
least idea of such an intention on his part, I would have begged him 
to reconsider it. But as it is, I can only do my best to show that I 
deserved it from him. 

'Some day, I shall ask you to be so good as to give me an hour of 



148 GeorgiTia Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

your time to explain the will to me and the nature of my duties. 
I have no knowledge whatever of large money transactions or legal 
form, and I would rather have an explanation from you than from 
Mr. Forster good and kind as he is.' 16 

But she need have felt no qualms, for it soon became evident that 
Dickens could not have left his affairs in better hands. She knew 
exactly where to find all valuable papers, what Gad's Hill fields had 
been leased and what rents collected, which bills had been paid and 
which were still outstanding. With her usual promptness and 
thoroughness, she sent Ouvry all documents relating to trusts, agree 
ments, and investments, as well as miscellaneous memoranda found 
in various locked drawers. To these, and a desk of papers at the 
office, she had the keys. Meticulous was her handling of all accounts ; 
Dickens had trained her well. As soon as statements reached Gad's 
Hill, she checked their accuracy before forwarding them to Ouvry 
for payment. *I enclose some bills which came today. They are 
right/ she wrote in many a letter as she sought to drown her grief 
in practical concerns of the moment. But even business details 
occasionally awakened poignant memories : for instance, the bill for 
twenty guineas from the London specialist who, with Frank Beard, 
had attended Dickens in his last illness. e l enclose Dr. Reynolds* 
demand for his fruitless visit', was her terse but emotionally charged 
comment. 17 There was also the matter of reimbursing the authori 
ties of Rochester Cathedral for digging a grave and tolling the bell 
before it had been decided to bury Dickens in the Abbey. To be 
sure, no payment had been asked, but Georgina felt the obligation 
as a point of honour. 18 Among other funeral expenses to come out 
of the estate was a Rochester draper's bill for the mourning worn by 
Letitia Austin and the Gad's TTill servants. 19 Finally there was the 
fee of 100. 105. to the Dean of Westminster. 20 

Few details escaped Georgina. Remembering that Sir Joseph 
Olliffe had, just before his death in 1869, supplied Gad's Hill with 
three dozen bottles of French hock and that Dickens had several 
times intended to ask Lady Olliffe for the bill but had never got 
around to it, Georgina took it upon herself to settle the business. She 
wrote the widow, at length received a statement, and immediately 
forwarded a memorandum to Ouvry: *3 Dozen Hock at 5 francs a 
bottle making in English money, as I calculate, 7. 3s. 4d.'. 21 

What was to be done, she asked another time, about the dues to 
the Higham cricket dub? She eagplaroed that on the day Dickens 
was stricken, 'that dreadful 8th June he subscription list for this 
summer's season was taken to him. He put down his name and his 
family's ... for 5. Os. Od. btd did not give the money.' Should it be 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 149 

paid? 'I think so,' she advised, 'in consideration of his undoubted 
intentions when he put his name on that list and also of his love 
for the neighbourhood. . . ,' 22 

Ouvry had to rely solely on Georgina's information in at least one 
matter the large loan Dickens had made to Fechter, who, though 
a brilliant actor, was a poor financier and often lived in the shadow 
of legal proceedings. During his lease of the Lyceum Theatre he 
had not only incurred great losses but had quarrelled violently with 
his acting manager and treasurer, H, Barnett, from whom he had 
borrowed heavily. Repeatedly put off whenever he tried to collect 
on the loans, and grossly insulted, Barnett had finally threatened to 
cash the securities Fechter had given him. At this juncture Dickens 
had rescued his friend by lending him 1,700, interest free. Ouvry, 
who had handled this transaction, knew that Fechter, though repay 
ing a large part of the sum before leaving for America, had asked for 
an extension of six months on the balance. 23 Had this obligation 
been met? 'My own strong conviction is that Fechter had paid 
everythiTig he owed him, Georgina told Ouvry. She recalled that 
shortly before the end of their last winter in London, Dickens had 
been delighted with a letter from the actor, telling of his American 
success and also enclosing some money. *I always told you Fechter 
would pay,' Dickens had told Georgina, who previously had ex 
pressed some doubts on that score. 'Has he paid all he owed?' she 
had asked. 'EVEBYTEING,' had come the answer. 2 * 

Even the self-complacent John Forster had to turn to his co- 
executor for help on one occasion. Coming to claim the manuscripts 
of Dickens's novels, left him by the will, he discovered that Our 
Mutual Friend was missing. Georgina immediately wrote to the 
Fieldses, inquiring whether Charles had ever made them a gift of the 
missing manuscript. 'If so it is all right, 3 she hastened to explain. 
She merely wanted to clear up the mystery. 25 But the manuscript 
was not with the Fieldses. A month later Forster, seeing it advertised 
at 500, was infuriated, for he assumed it had been stolen. It was 
Charles Collins who luckily remembered what Georgina had tempor 
arily forgotten: that Dickens had presented it to the journalist 
Eneas Sweetland Dallas. '. . . I remember at the time thinking 
what a pity and what a waste it was,' she recalled. 'But Mr. 
Dallas had done some business I forget what which obliged 
Charles. He had also written a notice in the Times . . . which pleased 
him and therefore he made "him this wonderful present.' She 
admitted that Dallas, whose affairs were now 'in a most entangled 
condition', had a right to do what he chose with the manuscript. 
The sale, she had learned, was being handled by Camden Hotten, 



150 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

'not a very reputable Publisher as I dare say you know', she 

remarked to Mrs. Fields. 2G 

Georgina's distrust of Hotten probably stemmed from her brother- 
in-law's own experience and its current sequel. As a letter of 
Dickens to Ouvry shows, the publisher had once asked to use a few 
'copyright trifles' in a work on the novelist as a speaker. Receiving 
neither the permission nor any acknowledgement of his request, he 
had still gone ahead with publication plans. 27 And now, in the 
summer of Dickens's death, he brought out a memoir incorporating 
much of this material, augmented by hastily assembled information. 
Hotten having quoted freely from the letters of Dickens and his 
friends, Georgina was undoubtedly indignant at what she must have 
regarded as an unauthorized production throughout. It was a 
foretaste of the sort of thing she would have to encounter, and 
combat, in the years ahead. 

Ever mindful of economy during her years of handling the house 
hold budget, Georgina could not countenance wastefulness now. To 
Dr. Frank Beard she sent a note, asking him to help her dispose of 
some elastic stockings how often she had forwarded replacements 
while Dickens was on reading tours! C I have got a pair of Elastic 
Stockings of dearest Charles* quite new. They had been sent to me 
from Sparks but a month before his death and I doubt whether he 
ever had them on. His old ones, of which there were eleven pairs 
I have given away to the poor people about here who wear them 
but these seem too good for that.' 28 

On another occasion she was much annoyed when unable to 
return some unworn summer clothing. Shortly after the move from 
London back to Gad's Hill on 1st June, Dickens's tailor had sent a 
light-weight suit and two pairs of lisle trousers to Hyde Park Place, 
their whiter residence. In that 'careless household' these articles 
had lam unheeded for several months. f lf they had been forwarded 
immediately/ complained Georgina to Ouvry, 'I suppose Skinner 
[the tailor] would have taken them back.' Now she would have to 
keep them for Harry, who, being in mourning, could not wear light- 
coloured clothes for some time. 29 

Many were the disbursements she handled in her last days at 
Gad's T^n : the recent remodelling expenses, the servants' wages, the 
nurseryman's bill. This last, she explained, was so enormous because 
their new gardener had followed a very incompetent one. Finding 
everything in a dreadful state, he had done much replanting. *I 
remember Charles saying that he hoped the garden would produce 
something this summer,* she told Onvry, *as he should have enough 
to pay for what had been put into the ground/ 30 Since there had 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 151 

been little cash on hand at the time of Dickens's death 1. 15s. 9dL 
in the house purse and 6. 6s. 3d. in the pocket of his coat 31 she 
made frequent applications to her solicitor for money out of the 
estate. All this she itemized in her account book. 

As exacting and time-consuming as any of her other responsi 
bilities, and more demanding of patience, was her position as family 
co-ordinator. With Sydney in the navy, Prank in India, and 
Alfred and Plorn in Australia, she was constantly writing letters 
first to comfort her bereaved nephews, later to explain matters per 
taining to the estate. When official documents needed signatures, 
she was expected to forward them. When any of the children needed 
money, it was she who approached Ouvry. Harry had worked hard 
at Cambridge and would benefit from a little trip to Belgium and 
Holland. Might he have 25 for travelling expenses? Mamie would 
like to know what income she could expect before the end of the 
year. When would Frederic Chapman pay the children what he 
owed on copyrights? Dickens having regarded this publisher's way 
of doing business as 'scrambling 5 , Georgina echoed his doubts, advis 
ing Ouvry that Chapman was 'one of those people to whom I should 
be disposed to show no quarter'. 32 

With her own affairs, too, she was occupied at intervals. Hereto 
fore the money for her personal and household expenses had always 
been on hand, Dickens's cheques arriving periodically. ISFow, how 
ever, she would have to depend entirely on the judicious use of her 
legacy. 'As soon as you think it advisable,' she wrote Ouvry, 'I 
shall be glad to reinvest my money and get as much as I can for 
it. So that I may know . . . exactly what my income is going to be.' 
Some weeks later she asked whether she ought not to have a divi 
dend that month. 'I seem to be inveterately stupid about my 
money affairs/ she admitted on learning that her principal had not 
yet yielded any interest for her to draw on. She had not realized 
that much of her legacy was still to be transferred to her account. 
Gradually she began to penetrate the mystery of finance. 'After I 
wrote to you the last time, a ray of intelligence on my money matters 
came to my brain,' she announced. f l think I can understand, now, 
that I cannot draw on Messrs. Coutts for the income on my invest 
ments, until sufficient time has elapsed for the investments to return 
money to theirs and therefore I can only count on the ready 
money they have of mine up to the end of this year.' 33 

What would Ouvry think of investing her money in American 
stocks? A friend of Mamie's had recommended Mississippi Bonds at 
six and a half per cent. That, by Georgina's calculations, must 
bring her income to 400 a year (after part of her legacy had been 



152 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

spent on a house). But there must be no transaction, of course, of 
which Ouvry did not haye 'a perfectly good and safe opinion*. His 
advice was strongly against these bonds. 'For personal kindness and 
trouble privately, I owe you what I can never repay/ Georgina 
assured the friend to whom she took all her financial problems. 34 

Another imperative concern : who would inherit her legacy, should 
it not be spent in her lifetime? 'I am constantly haunted by the 
recollection and impression of sudden death which has been so 
awfully brought home to us lately that I want to be provided 
against my own/ There must be a will. But no sooner had she filed 
a document, than an afterthought demanded alterations. 'I made 
it in a hurry . . . when my head was very much confused,' she 
apologized. The 2,000 left to her infant goddaughter, Beatrice, 
should have been equally divided with 'her sister, Mary Angela, 
Charley Dickens' eldest child who is the one I like best and the 
most interesting of his children.' (For was not Mary Angela, nick 
named 'Mekitty', the one who cherished vivid memories of her 
Inimitable grandfather?) Could a codicil take care of the matter? 
And if Charley were named one of the executors of the will, would 
he thereby become his aunt's legal heir and succeed her as adminis 
trator to Dickens's estate? If so, Georgina would much prefer to 
name Ouvry as better qualified to be a 'well judging Trustee' in the 
interests of her nieces and nephews. 'Besides it seems to me that if 
his Father had considered it desirable to make his son one of the 
Executors,' she reflected, *he would have done it. . . ,' 35 

Two months later she had misgivings because only her nieces and 
grandnieces, and not her nephews, had been named her legatees. 'I 
did not feel comfortable or just about the boys who are all of them 
very dear to me both for their Father's sake and their own and 
who are all, I think, fond of me and affectionate to me,' she told 
Ouvry. Now she wished to will each of them200. Even the banished 
'Little Admiral' was to be remembered with the other boys, for 'there 
can be no harm in letting that unfortunate Sydney share equally in 
so small a remembrance as this would be.' That would still leave 
the larger portion to the girls, for whom the money would do more 
good. A letter of final instructions to Mamie had been lodged in a 
casket 'which she must open, if I were to die (and of which she 
knows I always wear the key). ... I have given her directions, first 
of all to burn her Father's letters to me! (which I have tried to do 
since his death myself but find I cannot).' The casket letter also 
specified how her personal effects were to be distributed. 'I have no 
doubt I am as little likely to die, at present as most people and 
very probably shall live far longer than I have any desire to do/ 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 153 

she added, 'but I always feel that I may die at any moment. 
Therefore I want all my small worldly affairs to be in perfect order.' 
She feared that she was becoming a nuisance to her solicitor. 'This 
will, I hope be the last time I shall have to trouble you with any 
alteration of this document!' she promised. 36 

But not for long did her will remain unchanged. Before the end 
of the year Forster, as the heir to Dickens's manuscripts, made 
Georgina a present of The Cricket on the Hearth, requesting only that 
it revert to him in the event of her prior death. Though she drew up 
her own codicil to record this arrangement, the final details had to 
be referred to Ouvry. 37 The frequency with which he was consulted 
about the will thereafter became embarrassing. Many were the 
changes, many the codicils, in the next few years. 

Much in her thoughts, too, Georgina held a sense of duty to 
Dickens's closest friends. Only a few days after the funeral, on 
reading his will herself, she arrived at a new interpretation of the 
clause which bequeathed her 'my personal jewellery* and 'all the 
little familiar objects from my writing-table and my room'. Dickens 
had said, 'She will know what to do with these things' and that she 
did. 'The meaning I attach to it is that he trusts me to distribute 
memorials of his amongst his friends,' she informed Ouvry. She had, 
accordingly, already assigned the jewellery to members of the 
family, keeping a diamond ring for herself. The large collection of 
little objects she planned to itemize, listing beside each one the name 
of a friend 'when I get time and can clear my stunned head 
sufficiently to do it*. Ouvry was invited to make his own selection. 38 

So began another demanding job. Georgina selected relics suitable 
to particular friends, made up many a parcel, and accompanied each 
with a note. To Frank Beard, whom she sent a cigar case and a 
medicine chest, she wrote, 'First of all we think of you in the 
memory of what you did for Tiim at Preston and still more in the 
remembrance of what we all went through together in those last 
hours'. 39 To Ellen Ternan went the pen that had been used to write 
Edwin Drood* Q For Carlyle there was a walking stick which, 
Georgina pointed out, Dickens had used constantly. 'You did not 
meet very often of late years/ she observed, 'but there was no one 
for whom he had a higher reverence and admiration besides a sincere 
personal affection than for yourself/ 41 To the Fieldses she explained, 
'I ... send you what I think you will like all the more from its being 
an utterly valueless and shabby little thing. It is a paper knife 
that he had given to him years ago in Scotland.' 42 Charles Reade 
received a pen tray belonging to the sitting-room at the office, where 
it had been 'constantly under [Dickens's] eye, and associated with 



154 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

his familiar every -day life. You did not meet very often; but I 
have never heard him speak of you except with, the heartiest and 
most cordial expressions of admiration, respect, and personal 
affection.' 43 To Bulwer-Lytton, whom she sent a package of photo 
graphs, she used almost the same phrasing. Including pictures of the 
writing-table in the chalet and in the library, both associated with 
Dickens's last afternoon's occupation, such a parcel of mementoes 
was dispatched also to the Fieldses and other friends. In this manner 
Georgina's distribution continued for many years as she thought of 
other deserving associates or decided to part with some of her own 
prized keepsakes. 

In the early weeks after the funeral much of her tune was given 
over to preparing for the two important sales : one of the pictures 
and art objects, the other of the Gad's Hill property and furnishings. 
The first of these took place on 9th July, in Christie's auction rooms, 
London. Here had been assembled a variety of oil paintings, water 
colours, and household curios, some of them of no great intrinsic 
value. Yet so eagerly were they sought after, so frantic was the bid 
ding for even the merest trifle, that the auctioneer could readily have 
sold the seventy items ten times over. Crowded into the room with 
the usual types of auction frequenters the collector, the connois 
seur, the speculator were many persons from the lower middle class, 
a sort seldom seen here. The event was charged with all the drama, 
suspense, and comedy of a scene from Dickens himself. 'No living 
Englishman for certain, and perhaps no Englishman of the Future, 
will ever see such a sale again/ predicted one reporter. Things went 
for unbelievable prices: 1,000 guineas for Frith's Dolly Varden-, 990 
guineas for Stanfield's Eddy stone Lighthouse (a souvenir of the Tavis- 
tock House theatricals) ; 510 guineas for Webster's DotheboysHall. As 
bidding proceeded on the lesser articles, the auctioneer's porter 
grinned hi amazement at the sums offered: 5 guineas for a little 
match box worth scarcely 5 shillings; 120 for the mounted figure 
of Grip the Raven; 31 guineas for an ordinary little gong. 'He was 
always very fond of gongs/ observed one of the spectators confiden 
tially to a stranger, as if addressing his closest friend. 'Don't you 
remember the weak-eyed man and the gong at Dr. Blinker's?' 44 
(Three days earlier Georgiaa had given Ouvry a chance to acquire a 
gong for himself prior to the public action. 'Charley reminded me 
to-day/ she wrote, 'that there is another gong at the office and in 
fact, the original and more interesting gong of the two. It was at 
Tavistock House, and was used in the Plays. Mr. Homan [the auc 
tioneer] was greatly excited by finding it at the office, and that it was 
to come under his Hammer. Why should you not go in for that 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 155 

gong? and I should think you might arrange with Homan, without 
any difficulty to buy it in, at some fair price arranged between you. 5 ) 45 
The auction over, well might Georgina exclaim, 'What astonishing 
prices the things fetched at the sale yesterday! We are all very 
thankful.' 46 John Forster was equally exuberant. 'The sale has 
been a success far beyond the most exaggerated expectation, 3 he 
wrote Carlyle. *I should have thought 5,000 a fair, even a great 
result: and we have obtained 9,460. The pictures all went at prices 
far beyond their value ; but the other smaller things brought prices 
even more disproportionate ; bits of china obtainable for 10s. or 20s. 
going for 20 and 30 guineas I' 47 

For the sale that followed at Gad's Hill Georgina naturally 
assumed a major responsibility. Painstaking was her inventory of 
all chattels, both at the house and at the office. Dickens's favourite 
cane chairs, sofas, beds, tables all were assembled at Gad's Hill, 
repaired, touched up and polished. In view of the prices brought by 
the bric-a-brac at Christie's, she even salvaged from one of the office 
mantelpieces a little bronze tazza with a broken handle, and had it 
mended and added to the list. Many items besides furniture and 
ornaments figured in the sale inventory. 'What about the cellar full 
of wine?' she asked Ouvry. But the orange brandy, of which there 
was a quantity on hand, she would not sell. 'As you remember,' she 
explained, 'I always made it every year. Charles was very fond of 
it.' This she would distribute among those who would 'care to have 
it as a remembrance of the dear old place and the dear old happy 
days'. But the flowers in the conservatory should they not be sold? 
Within only the past three months they had been added at great 
expense. Surely they should not go as plants in the garden. Had 
the carriage and stable properties been valued, she asked an apprai 
ser, when a 'probate 5 was made of the house? 48 In her zeal to overlook 
nothing of possible value, she acted solely in the interest of her nieces 
and nephews, for none of the proceeds from the sale would go to her. 
Her only part in the estate was the 8,000 legacy. 

Tt was agony!' that period when 'shoals of people came three 
times a week to see the place very often 12 at a time,* Georgina 
wrote Annie Fields. 'Of course we shut ourselves in one room, and 
did not see* them in the house, but we could hear them tramping up 
and down on the stairs and in the rooms, and see them walking about 
the garden often with children and little dogs, making quite a 
pleasure trip of it.' Meanwhile there was the 'gradual dismantling 
of everything, the auctioneers here arranging the furniture to show 
it off, and going about making their catalogue.' 49 Part of Georgina's 
share in this enterprise was to help prepare a bill of sale, replete 



156 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

with lavish description, a diagram of the main floor plan, and photo 
graphs of the house, chalet, and grounds. Under her critical eye 
passed many a proof submitted by the photographer. The completed 
prospectus was an enticing one, setting forth such features as the 
locality in 'a fine healthy part of the county of Kent' and the 
'Doubly Historic' site, 'First as the scene of one of Shakespeare's 
most celebrated pieces of humour, and Secondly, as the abode of the 
greatest English Humourist who has lived since Shakespeare's time/ 
Nor were the tangible assets of the property forgotten: the 'capital 
stables for four horses with patent fittings and hot and cold water 
laid on', 'the paved yard with glass roof, and the 'well of pure water 
of great depth'. 50 

With all in readiness for the sale of the house, scheduled for 5th 
August ^furnishings and wines to be auctioned off on the three days 
following Georgina faced the inevitable parting from the only place 
ever to give full scope to her active spirit. Bracing herself against 
the 'dreadful wrench' she and Mamie were to leave Gad's Hill on 
1st August she handled business details to the final moment. She 
would delay filling in the amount on the last cheque until all house 
keeping bills were in, wages paid, and receipts taken, she told Ouvry. 
Two servants should stay on at Gad's Hill after the sale, she sug 
gested: the gardener to look after the house and the groom to take 
care of the horse that was to be sold. At last, on the eve of departure 
she gave way to her feelings. 'This is a hard, hard day for us!' she 
admitted. 'How very, very much better, it will be when we have 
left this dear home.' 51 

The next morning was an even greater trial, with the farewells to 
neighbours and staff 'and all the poor people crying'. But such 
sympathy 'thai was comfort'. So, too, was the letter from Annie 
Fields in the last post. But even on that final morning, business 
intruded. In her nervous flurry Georgina wrote twice to Ouvry. 
Dispatching a parcel of accounts to him by messenger, she had to 
enclose a brief note explaining the absence of a receipt inadvertently 
packed in her desk, which had already lefb the premises. She con 
cluded pathetically, 'We go away quietly by ourselves this after 
noon. I am sure you think of us, and feel for us today.' 52 

Moments thereafter she suddenly woke to a belated consciousness 
of a lapse of duty. George Woolley, the young under-gardener, had 
not been included with the other legatees! Except for Anne Corne 
lius and her daughter Catherine, not of the Gad's TTill staff, no ser 
vants had been named in the will, which provided merely that the 
legacy of 19. 19#. OdL be given to anyone who was in Dickens's 
employ at the time of his death aad had served at least a year. It 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 157 

was Georgina's task to compile the list of those who qualified and to 
set up trust funds for all minors, two of whom, Catherine Cornelius 
and Isaac Armitage, she had included in her calculations. Young 
Woolley had been about the place since childhood, first as 'ostel 
boy', and for the past two years as the gardener's assistant. Though 
he did not sleep or board in the home, might he not qualify as a 
domestic servant anyhow? 'He is a very good steady respectable 
boy. His mother is a widow, a hard working honest woman, who has 
been our charwoman here, whenever we have wanted one, these 
twelve years/ Georgina wrote in her second letter that morning, the 
twenty-ninth to Ouvry since Dickens's death. 'So it is a dreadful 
blow to the poor mother and the boy, losing us all, of course. And 
19. 195. Qd. would be a small fortune to them. Of course I have not 
said a word to them, but I thought I would put the question to you/ 53 
Finally, all duties finished, Georgina, Mamie, and Katey had the 
house to themselves. Having sent the servants away early that 
morning, the three women spent their last hour 'going into every 
room, and saying goodbye to every dear corner'. So, as Georgina 
wrote Annie, they 'walked about the place alone, and came quietly 
away alone in the afternoon*. And Mamie added her recollection of 
the leave-taking: '. . . We three, who have been best friends & 
companions all our lives, went out of the dear old Home, together'. 54 

Toward the end of the hectic dismantling, Georgina and Mamie 
had hastily taken a Weybridge dwelling, Monument House, to be 
their home until they could find suitable quarters in London. 
Georgina had baulked at the rent, four and a half guineas a week, 
but 'could see nothing cheaper that was fit to live in'. 55 The Wey 
bridge place was attractive, though, Very airy and clean, and 
prettily situated' about a hak mile from the Thames. The locality 
was identified for Annie as 'only about ten miles from Windsor so 
you know the sort of country. ... It is close by all the water- 
meadow country, which you know well, by description, in Our 
Mutual Friend.' Frequently she and Mamie rowed on the river with 
Harry, who was to live with them whenever he was not at Cam 
bridge. For the first few days Katey stayed with them before going 
to Scotland with her husband for a rest. 56 Mrs. Bouncer, aging and 
asthmatic now, was naturally a permanent member of the household. 

In Weybridge Georgina found some measure of peace. The envi 
ronment was what she desired, *a quiet country place which was new 
to us and which had no association with past happiness'. 57 Yet the 
home was not altogether strange, for she and Mamie were using 
furniture, plate, and linens which they had purchased from the 



158 Georgina Hogarth arid the Dickens Circle 

estate, along with what was left of the summer store of candles and 
provisions laid in just before Diekens's death. 58 And three of the 
Gad's Hill servants had come with them: Emma, the maid; Cath 
erine, the cook; and Isaac Armitage, the houseboy. 'It is less 
desolate for us to have all those faithful and kind faces about us in 
our new home', Georgina wrote to Mrs. Armitage, reporting that 
'Isaac is quite well, and cheerful and happy. He is a most good boy, 
and a great comfort to us'. 59 As a matter of fact, Isaac was in 
ecstasy at the prospect of donning livery in his new situation. 60 

Georgina soon had the satisfaction of being allowed to put the 
19. 19s. Qd. legacy in trust for the other servant boy, Woolley. 
Sending his receipt on 12th August, she told Ouvry, 'I had a most 
grateful letter from his mother and himself'. Since the lad was 
exactly as old as Plorn born on the same day she felt certain that 
she would not be likely to forget his coming of age. 61 

Accompanying the heavy duties of London house hunting and 
business and social correspondence were the ever present memories 
of Gad's Hill. 'I think of the place and Charles inseparably, and I 
think of both, day and night,' Georgina confessed to Annie Fields. 
'But I am thankful to do so, both of him living and dead. It is the 
most peaceful, happy remembrance . . . , and I am glad to think that 
he owed the happiest and most quietly happy part of the latter years 
of his life, to the love and interest he felt for that pretty home.' 62 

Mamie also reminisced as she wrote Mrs. Fields of the 'dreadful 
wrench' she and her e dear faithful little Auntie' had undergone in 
leaving the place her father had so loved. And she eulogized him as 
one who 'never had anything to do with a living soul without attach 
ing them to him. If strangers could so love him you can tell what he 
must have been to his own flesh and blood. It is a glorious inherit 
ance to have such blood flowing in one's veins.' Then she added, 
*I am so glad I have never changed my name' 63 a curious remark 
in view of her father's dismay at her remaining Miss Dickens. 

As for Georgina, her reminiscent mood gave way momentarily to 
a less tender one when Gad's Hall Place was sold during her first 
week in Weybridge. She and Forster had hoped it might go for at 
least nine or ten thousand pounds. In fact, they had arranged with 
the auctioneer beforehand to buy it for the estate if the bidding did 
not exceed eight thousand pounds. But their careful scheme came 
to naught, wrote Forster to Carlyle, because of Charley: *Not com 
municating with me in any way beforehand, not knowing there was 
a reserved price, most unwisely and most unbecomingly Charles 
Dickens (representing his father alas! in no one particular but his 
name) showed himself prominently in the crowded sale-room very 




GEORGINA HOGARTH 
Did ens House, Londcn 




MONUMENT HOUSE 

Now Lavender Cottage 
By courtesy of Felix Aylmer 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 159 

probably deterred many from bidding and, from the slow and com 
paratively small offers at first made, believing (this is his own 
account apologetically made to us after) that the property was about 
to be sacrificed, was induced to take up bidding himself bid on, 
quite unconscious that he was bidding only against the auctioneer 
representing us, and had the whole knocked down to him at the 
next bidding above our reserved price. . . I' 64 

Georgina blamed Ouvry somewhat for allowing Charley to take 
this action. The very presence of the oldest son at the sale, she told 
Mrs. Fields, had stopped competition, discouraging prospective 
buyers, who thought he was bidding for the family. How could he 
afford to live at Gad's Bill? Where would he find money to pay the 
estate? If, by October, he could not raise the 8,647 he had offered 
for the property, it would revert to the heirs, but, of course, depre 
ciated in value. If he resold it at a loss, he would have to make up 
to the estate the difference between his bid and the purchase price. 
Should he sell it at a gam here Georgina began to suspect his 
motives. 'Unless he intends that his Brothers and Sisters should 
share hi the profit, I shall always consider it a dishonest transaction,' 
she maintained to Ouvry. What right, she asked, had Charley to 
step in, no matter how low the bids were going? 'Nothing will 
shake my belief that Charley has taken an unfair advantage of his 
Brothers and Sisters in interfering with the sale of Gad's Hill at all' 
she fumed a few days later. It would have been far better for us to 
leave the property unsold for the present and have bought it in, 
for the Estate.' When Ouvry reminded her that Dickens himself, 
according to Wills, had once considered 7,000 a fair price, she argued 
that after its noted owner's death it should bring 'far and above its 
market value'. And she remarked tartly, f We can hardly say it was 
sold very well as we have not got the money for it yet'. It must also 
be borne in mind, she pointed out, that the recent improvements 
1,000 for the conservatory and 500 for alterations to the house 
and stables had greatly enhanced the value of the property. She 
was glad, she admitted in September, that Charley had 'not yet 
secured the house'. She hoped that he would let it go back to the 
heirs, 'for his own sake as much as anything else', for he had made 
a grievous mistake. 65 

Unlike Gad's Kill Place, the furniture and wines sold far in excess 
of estimates. 'I fancied and foretold we would get 2,000 for it, and 
we got 2,200 odd/ Forster reported to Carlyle. Actually, the final 
figure was roughly 2,270. 66 Besides the satisfaction of seeing her 
tedious preparations well rewarded, Georgina had one touching 
testimony of public regard and sympathy. Several days after the 



160 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

sale she recounted to Ouvry the story of a little relic, possibly the 
very tazza she had taken pains to have mended: there had arrived 'a 
pleasant little note from a Mr. Simpson an entire stranger to us, 
who said he had become the purchaser of a little bronze Tazza which 
the auctioneer had mentioned he had been desired to retain for Miss 
Dickens, if possible. Mamie and I had told him we would give 
3. 3s. for it. It was a pretty little thing that used to be at the office. 
We saw in the Telegram that it had sold for 7. 15s. Well, this 
gentleman said he had only one motive in buying it, when he heard 
that Mamie wished to have it. Which was to restore it to her and 
he wrote to ask me if she would accept it and when he should send 
it. Was it not kind of him?' 67 

By the end of August Georgina and Mamie had found a sizeable 
London residence at 81 Gloucester Terrace, Hyde Park. 'We have 
seen so many nasty houses at very little lower rents/ Georgina told 
her solicitor, 'that I certainly do think that the rent of Gloucester 
Terrace (which is a nice house decidedly) is very reasonable.' There 
was, however, one decided drawback; they would have to pay an 
additional premium for the fixtures, many of no conceivable use to 
them. 'Cornices are things we have a particular objection to,' she 
complained. 'We never had one in our house.' And the blinds were 
frightfully dirty and ugly. But she would have Homan; of the 
Rochester auction agency, represent her in arriving at a fan* appraisal 
of all such items. Some weeks later she announced the shocking 
result of this negotiation. 'Mamie and I have had a great blow,' she 
exclaimed on learning that the fixtures had been valued at 71. 16s. 
4 We were horrified as we should have thought half that sum large 
enough.' Even the assurance that Homan had obtained a reduction 
from the 85 originally demanded, did not placate her. 'It is a 
breach!' she insisted. But it would be pointless, she agreed grudg 
ingly, to incur the expense of another valuation. "Therefore we must 
leave it alone.' 68 

In entering upon her own first major transaction, Georgina exer 
cised her usual caution. Would Ouvry be sure that the lease was 
made out to her and Mamie jointly? For her part she found it diffi 
cult to feel exhilarated about housekeeping under her altered circum 
stances. f l hope the house will work out all right and I wish with 
all my heart I could get myself to feel any interest as to whether it 
does or not!* she confided. 'I suppose it will come. Mamie is pleased, 
I hope which is a good thing.' 69 

While the workmen were making the necessary repairs and altera 
tions at 81 Gloucester Terrace, there was a quiet interval of waiting. 
With too much time to think, there came a rush of memories. Some 



'A Dreadful Wrench' 161 

found their way into letters to Annie Fields. One gave the history 
of the little New Testament which Dickens had written for his chil 
dren. Georgina thought its sixteen short chapters, 'chiefly adapted 
from St. Luke's Gospel most beautiful most touching most 
simple, as such a narrative should be 5 . She was sorry that it must 
never be published. Only last year she had asked Dickens' s permis 
sion to make a copy for Charley's children. At the same time she 
had urged to have it printed at least for private circulation. 
Charles had considered the matter for a week or two. *At the end of 
the time he gave it back to me,' Georgina recalled, 'and said he had 
decided never to publish it or even to have it privately printed. He 
said I might make a copy for Bessy, or any one of the children, but 
for no one else, and ... he also begged that we would never lend the 
MS., or a copy of it, to any one to take out of the house. So there 
is no doubt about his strong feeling on the subject, and we must 
obey it. 5 She had given the manuscript to Mamie, considering it 
proper for the oldest daughter to own this precious work. 70 (Being 
one of the private papers left Georgina by the will, it was hers to 
give.) 

As she tried to adjust to her altered circumstances, she was often 
discouraged. *. . . It's every day I feel more and more what a 
blank is left in life!' she lamented. 'It is not the first agony of such a 
grief that is hardest to bear. It is the beginning the old routine of 
life again and going on from day to day and being obliged to live 
and try to take an interest in life for the sake of the people about 
one that is the hard, hard trial and that seems to get worse instead 
of better as time goes on!' How painful had been the awakening, 
'when we all returned to our old routine of life, and had to make 
our plans, and to live our lives, and eat and drink, and see the world 
go on and know that he is gone!' 71 

Though Georgina had earlier told Annie that she meant to recall 
only the cheerful past 'only the remembrance of the happiness for 
all' at Gad's Hill 72 it was inevitable that she should look back self- 
reproachfully on the times when she had doubted her happiness 
there. 'My life has been a curious one and not the ideal of a happy 
woman's existence,' she admitted. f And I have often felt it hard 
and wondered whether it was all a mistake and a waste\ Now I 
feel that with all its difficulties and drawbacks, I would not change 
it I would not have it altered for the brightest and most prosperous 
existence any woman could have had.' This conviction was to be 
her solace in the years ahead almost half a century. c M y comfort 
is now,' she assured Mrs. Fields, 'in the feeling that I would not give 
up a day of the past in which, E$r MYSELF, I live now!' 73 



Chapter Eleven 
'MAKING THE BEST OF IT' 



: WE are going in to our home tomorrow,' Georgina announced to 
Ouvry at the end of October, s as the only way of forcing the work 
people out but it is not nearly ready to receive us and we shall 
be very uncomfortable for some time to come.' 1 Like Dickens during 
numerous renovations, she had begun to chafe as the painters and 
carpenters had fallen behind schedule. And now, the move already 
delayed by a month, she forestalled further dallying by camping 
temporarily in one little room on the kitchen floor. In this way she 
and Mamie would be on hand to supervise and hasten the final stages 
of alteration. At last, by the third week of November, they were 
quite settled. 

Filled with their Gad's Hill furniture, the place looked like home, 
4 pretty and graceful', Georgina wrote her American friend, whom she 
now addressed familiarly for the first time as Annie. She hoped that 
Mamie, who found real pleasure in the new arrangements, might 
soon work at her music they had bought a new piano and get a 
'resource and distraction out of that'. And, though her niece was 
already a spinster at thirty-three, perhaps she would still e make a 
new interest in life for herself. I feel that she wants it very much/ 
her aunt remarked, perhaps uncovering a submerged regret for her 
own celibate existence, 'and that she will, by and bye, miss the 
change in her position, which does not make itself felt, yet, while the 
great grief swallows up all minor losses and troubles'. Referring to 
Major Lynch, who had written her a 'kind, feeling' letter of condol 
ence from his new station in the West Indies, Georgina still deeply 
regretted that nothing had come of his attentions to Mamie: 'That, 
as you know, was a disappointment to me, and I have never been 
able clearly, to understand how it was that it fell to the ground. I 
had a strong suspicion that some mischief was made, which I could 
not make you understand, without entering into a long history.' 2 

Georgina could not whip up much interest in the pleasant new 
surroundings at 81 Gloucester Terrace. 'Some day I hope I may get 
some feeling of home here but as yet, I feel more desolate than I 



. 'Making the Best of It' 163 

have done yet/ she wrote Annie. 'The London streets are so mourn 
ful and haunted to me, and as I walk about them the memories of 
the long past are almost more than I can bear, and I feel too, such 
a yearning for the dear old country home, the country roads and 
walks, as I cannot describe. But it must be borne, and kept to myself.' 
Since Mamie also lived in a void without the 'centre and sunshine 
of the old home life', Georgina felt that she herself must e set the 
example of cheerfulness and of making the best of it. But it is so 
difficult!' Already she dreaded the year-end holidays. 'We shall 
have nothing to do with the festivities of course,' she insisted, 'but 
it will be impossible to avoid seeing the evidence of them all around 
us, and Christmas had always been such a celebration with us, and 
is altogether so inseparably associated with his memory that this 
first one, without him, will be almost too agonizing.' 3 

But she reproached herself for being 'selfish 5 and 'wicked' in 
dwelling thus upon her private woes 'when half the world is in 
sorrow and so many poor families must be desolate this Christmas. 
God knows I think of them all, and sympathize with my whole heart, 
but one must feel the weight of one's own burden.' With the arrival 
of the new year, she hoped, there would come some relief, not only 
for herself, but for the whole world. On the subject of the Franco- 
Prussian War she vented her horror : e ls it not awfull Fresh rumours 
of wars, and troubles which will involve every nation, apparently, 
before this bloody struggle is ended!' How could two Christian 
countries wage this conflict in the season of 'peace and goodwill 
towards men' ? England, too, she observed, had felt the impact of the 
war. 'Our own charities are suffering this winter because people have 
given so much to the sufferers by the war, and they cannot afford 
their usual charities at home. Also a great many people are thrown 
out of employment because the Refugees are being employed. This 
especially applies to Servants, Dress Makers, and even governesses, 
because people like French nurses and teachers for their children, 
and of course Dress Makers like French "hands, and they are to be 
had now for half the money they would take at other times. I think 
this is very bad and wrong.' 4 

But from the international scene her thoughts must return, per 
force, to Charles. She agreed with Annie that Edwin Drood was 
'worthy to be the last work, and to stand out as a sort of monument'. 
She had not found the courage, however, to read it again. *E"or can 
I venture yet, to read any of the dear Books,' she admitted. { I hope 
time will be good enough so far to harden, and heal the wound, as 
to permit that solace. Just now it is agony to read the familiar 
words. It seems to bring him to life } too terribly, and to make the 



164 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

stern reality less endurable.' It was painful enough, she complained, 
to be constantly reminded of 'poor Gad's Hill', now standing 'empty 
and desolate'. Charley had been unable to sell or rent it. 5 

Seldom, however, did she allow thoughts of the past to crowd out 
practical considerations. Finances she had always to wrestle with. 
In fact, she had borrowed fifty pounds from Ouvry during the 
summer and had worried about the debt in the brief interval before 
she had funds to repay it. Now she expressed to him her concern 
over keeping a required balance in the bank. 'If I were living atom, 
I should not have any doubt on the subject/ she declared. 4 You see 
we are starting expensively, certainly more so than I would have 
done for myself, and much more than I care for at all. But I have 
not liked to thwart Mamie in this as to worldly matters. The 
change to her, poor girl, is more trying than to any one, and she has 
expensive tastes, especially as to house and furniture, which I have 
not had the heart to refuse to join her in indulging.' Georgina hoped 
that, once all bills were paid, their joint housekeeping would not 
exceed four or five hundred pounds a year. 'Mamie has plenty of 
sense/ she pointed out, 'and understands . . . the necessity of keep 
ing our household expenses small. Her extravagant tastes are not of 
that kind, and she is quite prepared to acknowledge the necessity of 
our having no company and living altogether within a limit, as far 
as regards what we pay jointly.' About her personal spending Mamie 
could, of course, do as she chose. There was also the question of 
what Harry should contribute to the household budget. So long as 
he was in college he had his own heavy expenses, naturally. But 
when he stayed with them during vacations, what might he reason 
ably be charged for room and board? 'He wouldn't come on any other 
terms/ Georgina explained. 6 In a later letter she thanked Ouvry for 
suggesting a figure, though what it was is not clear from her reply. 

Compared with her active days at Gad's Hill, life at Gloucester 
Terrace was strangely quiet, she found, once her routine was estab 
lished. 'I am up and have no worlc, that you would call work!' she 
wrote Annie in outlining a typical day. But she was not idle. 'In 
the morning I work, and read and write, and do odd "house" matters 
and in the afternoon I generally have business of some kind out of 
doors, and friends to go and see, several Invalid friends, whom I 
have to go to see regularly, at least twice a week, and as people all 
live in such opposite directions in London, it is generally only pos 
sible to make one visit in a day. So life slips away, with very little 
variety. . . .' 7 

A few days before the first lonely Christmas Annie Fields wrote 
that a spiritualistic medium had wmmunicated a message from 



'Making the Best of It 7 165 

Dickens to Longfellow's brother-in-law, Tom Appleton. Georgina 
was indignant. ' . . . I have not the slightest belief in spirit rapping 
mediums, 3 she replied. Not that she discounted the possibility of 
communicating with the departed. 'God knows I think nothing 
impossible in connection with the great mystery, 5 she declared. 'I 
never know whether I wish, or not, that the spirits of our beloved 
Dead should have any knowledge of us, our poor troubles and weak 
nesses, after they are taken to their eternal rest. For their own sakes, 
I think I hope not, as it seems inconsistent with the notion of the 
peace and repose to which we all look forward. . . . But for ourselves 
it is well I think that we should live with the idea that our lives may 
be seen by those we loved and honoured beyond all the world, and 
there is something that makes life more bearable, and worth living 
on, when one can feel that. When I sit in the Grand Old Abbey, 
where I go nearly every Sunday afternoon, to the Service, I like to 
feel that his spirit may be somewhere near me, and I can think of 
him, and of God together, more peacefully and happily with that 
thought. . . .' But she found utterly 'degrading' any communication 
through paid mediums 'performing antics' with their chairs and 
tables. Had Charles wished to reach a friend, she maintained, 'it 
would be possible for him to impress himself directly on that friend, 
not on a woman on the other side of the Atlantic, who is to give the 
message to a slight acquaintance like Mr. Appleton, to be handed 
on to Mr. Forster!' Compounded of details and names appearing in 
published sources, the medium's story was too transparent to dupe 
even the most credulous person. 8 Georgina's position on spiritu 
alism was precisely that of Dickens. 'It is not at all in accordance 
with my reverence for the Great Mystery of Death and the existence 
beyond the grave/ he had written in 1864, c to put them [questions to 
the dead] myself through the interposition of any human creature.' 9 
Whether or not the 'beloved Dead' might be aware of the living, 
for Charles's sake Georgina would never neglect her responsibilities 
to his sons. Shortly after settling at Gloucester Terrace, she became 
increasingly occupied with their affairs. Eor Sydney, still hope 
lessly entangled in a skein of debts, she felt compassion. His bills 
were finally paid out of the estate, but she feared that he had already 
seriously damaged his professional prospects. To Ouvry, who 
handled his business, he wrote contritely, 'I feel exceedingly obliged 
to you for your advice, but no one than myself can better understand 
the "misery of being involved in debt and difficulties 5 . 10 And to his 
Aunt Georgy he presented himself Very miserably and remorse 
fully'. 'We can only hope and trust that he may take a lesson from 
the awful calamity which has fallen, upon him,' she decided. c lt is 



166 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickem Circle 

impossible to judge, until we see him, what reason there is for hope 
or the reverse about him.' In December he arrived in England. 
'Sydney was here yesterday evening, 3 she reported to her solicitor, 
'in a most wretched state, poor boy! and full of good intentions 
which I hope and pray he may keep! He brings a good character as 
a first-rate officer from his last ship (this we have heard, not from 
himself) which is, so far, hopeful/ 11 He was expected to remain in 
England for a month or two. 

Prom the two nephews in Australia came a request that Georgina 
commission a portrait of their father as a gift for G. W. Rusden, their 
Melbourne sponsor. He had been 'more than kind' in helping the 
boys adjust to life in a strange country, she explained to Ouvry in 
justifying the expense of the portrait, 'and their own dear Father 
was deeply grateful to him, and had the highest regard and respect 
for him. Therefore I think this slightest mark of gratitude from 
Alfred and Plorn to him is perfectly right/ 12 This evidence of her 
nephews' thoughtfulness delighted her. 

But there was no concealing that Plorn gave her some anxiety. 
She remembered too well how Charles, only a few weeks before his 
death, had been gravely concerned over this youngest son's indiffer 
ence to making a future for himself in the new country. Understand 
ably, therefore, she searched all letters from Australia for hope that 
Plorn might adjust to the life in this land of opportunity. Since he 
was still a minor, his affairs required her close supervision. 'Perhaps 
it would be dangerous to put him in possession of his income, before 
his age, 3 she observed cautiously. Ouvry must realize how little the 
boys were 'to be trusted with money almost all of them'. Plorn 
should, of course, have a yearly allowance; she suggested 100. 
Learning later that he was in debt, for he had worked without salary 
on a sheep ranch, she felt it stupid of him not to have asked for help 
sooner. All the nephews were 'generally so very ready to mention 
when they want money, that I thought his not applying for it was a 
sure sign he did not want it!' A year later he complained that his 
allowance was too small, utterly inadequate to allow him a holiday. 
e l wrote him that it was his own money we were economizing for 
him/ Georgina reported to Ouvry, e and that the amount of his 
allowance had been carefully considered as being surely sufficient for 
his expenses in the Bush.' If he really needed more, however, he 
must send her a business statement of his specific requirements, for 
she could not present a vague request to Forster, her co-executor. 13 

Frank, the oldest of the four absent nephews, returned from India 
in March of 1871. He had lost his stammer by now and was a hand 
some young officer with a golden moustache. Having been with the 



'Making the Best of It' 167 

Bengal Mounted Police for seven years, he looked forward to ids six 
months' leave. But Aunt Georgy found his eagerly awaited visit 
somewhat disappointing. 'We don't see much of him/ she com 
plained to Annie Fields, 'He seems affectionate and pleased to see 
us when we do, hut I don't think he cares much about any one. 5 Yet 
there was some gratification to be derived from his enthusiasm for 
India. He liked his service and would be quite willing to go back, 
she felt. 14 A hint of unsteadiness, however, portended ill: without 
explanation he had failed to appear for an appointment to go over 
his affairs with Ouvry. 'I hope . . . that he had merely forgotten , . . / 
she wrote apologetically. 15 Before long she was to be sadly disillu 
sioned in Frank. 

But the bitterest disappointment of all was Charley. Unable to 
dispose of Gad's Hill, he sold the Swiss chalet for exhibition all over 
England and possibly hi America. On reading in a newspaper that 
the hallowed little building had already been moved to the Crystal 
Palace for this purpose, Georgina became frantic. 'The notice of 
the chalet is too dreadful/ she exclaimed to Ouvry. And to Annie 
she poured out her vexation: 'I cannot imagine how Charley could 
do such an indecent action. Also, I maintain that he had no right, 
to do it without consulting the family. Legally, of course it was 
his own as he bought the property but morally, he had no business 
to compromise us all . . . because when this dear sacred little place 
where his Father spent his last living day comes to be puffed and 
hawked about, AX.L his family will be held responsible and will be 
disgraced by it.' As soon as she and her nieces could learn the name 
of the purchaser, they hoped to buy the chalet back, should it be 
within their means. If not, they would take 'steps to disavow . . 
all knowledge of, and participation in, this shameful transaction*. 
Should Annie hear any mention of this disgraceful affair, would she 
rise to their defence? 'Please speak as plainly and emphatically as 
you can, on the subject for our sakes. Say that you know that to 
Charley Dickens alone belongs the discredit.' He had, Georgina 
added, decided to live at Gad's Hill himself. 'Of course, that is his 
own business and no one else's/ she admitted, adding doubtfully, 
'I surely hope the experiment may be successful/ 16 

Persistently she urged Ouvry to negotiate with Charley over the 
fate of the chalet. She herself was so disgusted that she refused to 
see her nephew. She directed, further, that her will be rewritten to 
remove his name as one of her executors. 'I do not like the idea of 
having left him any right to interfere in my own small private affairs 
after my death/ she explained. And she reduced her legacies to his 
daughters from 1,000 each to 500. Herself amused by now at the 



168 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

frequent changes in her testament, she remarked, 'I think it appears 
as I was going to spend all my substance on will making^ As for the 
chalet, nothing would induce her to 'let the matter drop, or to he 
contented with anything short of a solemn assurance that the Exhi 
bition of the place is altogether abandoned'. It would he most satis 
factory, of course, for Charley to cancel the sale and so withdraw 
himself from the 'disgraceful transaction'. There could be no objec 
tion, certainly, if the chalet were sold to someone who did not intend 
to exhibit it. If, however, it had to be shown, Forster had suggested 
that it might best be sent to America. 'But this we would much 
rather not do,' Georgina insisted, 'and if we were obliged to do it, 
it would only be a consent accompanied with the strongest private 
protest. But to any exhibition in the United Kingdom we will never 
consent at all. 717 

At one time the situation looked hopeless. A note from Charley's 
lawyer maintained that 'the contract entered into with the Crystal 
Palace Company must be carried out unless some satisfactory 
arrangement be forthwith completed'. This Georgina interpreted as 
a demand that the chalet be bought back for a prohibitive sum. 'It 
would be nonsense for Mamie and Katey and me to offer "compensa 
tion" to the amount of 1,000 ! ! ! as we could not afford it,' she 
exclaimed. 'I foresee no end of family misery arising from that 
wretched business, all for the fault of one, and the most favoured 
and considered one, in the will at all events, of the children! It seems 
very hard and cruel, and gives me such an opinion of Charley as I 
am sorry to be obliged to entertain of any of his Father's children.' 
Mamie had tried to see him at his office. Finding him out, she had 
left a note asking him to call on her. 'He never appeared,' Georgina 
told Ouvry. 'I never thought he would!* But what would have 
been gained by speaking to him? 18 

As for having the heirs publicly repudiate the sale of the chalet, 
she now realized that it would be better to let the matter rest. 'I 
confess I shrink from the idea of any newspaper affair,' she wrote her 
solicitor. 'I think that kind of scandal would be almost as irreverent 
as the transaction.' But she wanted it understood that 'I have no 
feeling about Charley in the matter, nor any desire to save him from 
the stigma which I am sure he richly deserves. My own feeling . . . 
is for the name and beloved memory which I think we should be 
helping to drag through the mud if we allowed ourselves to be led 
into any newspaper controversy amongst ourselves before he has 
been dead twelve months!' But nothing should prevent their 
protesting privately against Charley at every opportunity. 19 

At the point of greatest frustration, negotiations took a sudden 



'Making the Best of It 3 169 

turn. 'The miserable business of the Chalet is completed thank 
God!' Georgina reported to Annie Fields. 'We have carried our 
point, and have saved the dear little place from the profanation to 
which it had been destined by its owner. 3 The whole affair had been 
'MOST painful', she declared, 'really too shameful!* Plans for exhibit 
ing the chalet had been abandoned only because the representative 
of the Crystal Palace Company had pointed out that, unless it were 
furnished with relics, no one would pay an extra shilling to go inside 
when the exterior could be viewed from the grounds. 'I think 
Charley felt that it would be a little "too strong" if he undertook to 
put any sacred memorials inside . . . ,' Georgina concluded, e and he 
agreed to accept the sum we offered.' This was 250, 200 for the 
chalet itself and 50 for the expense Charley had incurred in moving 
it to London. 'You will be glad to know that, directly our dear 
Harry heard of the business, he offered at once to pay his share,' she 
informed Annie. As for Frank and Sydney, they 'have no more 
feeling in the matter than Charley has'. It was hard to believe this 
of Frank, just home after his long absence. What a grief and shock 
it was, after she had eagerly looked forward to his visit! 'We thought 
it right, for their own salces, to ask all the boys/ she explained, 'but 
we begged them to understand that we wanted no one to join who 
did not see the matter in the same light as we do. ... It is a sad 
disappointment to find so many unworthy sons of their great 
Father, isn't it! 520 

After its repurchase, the chalet was given to Lord Darnley, who 
accepted it with 'pride and pleasure' for his private garden at Cob- 
ham, where it would 'be held sacred, and not exposed to being scrib 
bled over, according to the custom of the British Public, as it would 
be, if it were placed in an open part of the Park'. Georgina felt that, 
next to Gad's Hill, there could be no spot more appropriate than 
Cobham, which Charles had loved and haunted so much, and where 
he took his last walk, the day before he was stricken with death*. 21 

In due time she had an answer from the Australian boys to her 
letter about the chalet. 'They both say just what they ought to say 
about it and are most willing to join us in the expense of the 
redemption of the poor little place', she wrote Annie. 'You may 
imagine that this is worth much, more than the money to us, 
although the money help is acceptable, too. It is a comfort that 
three of the six boys share our feeling, and have a proper respect and 
veneration for their Father's memory.' 22 In gratitude to these three 
nephews Georgina changed her will again. She instructed Ouvry to 
add a statement that 'in consequence of the sale and re-purchase of 
the Swiss Chalet in April 1871' she revoked her bequest of 200 to 



170 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

each of the six sons of Dickens and left 400 instead to Alfred, Harry, 
and Plorn. She also willed the manuscript of The Cricket on the 
Hearth to Harry, 'as Mr. Forster has . . . begged me to revoke the 
sentence in my will which turns it back to him or his Executors'. 
Realizing that technicalities would necessarily delay the Australians' 
contribution to the chalet fund, Georgina made herself responsible 
for their sum. ( I have the money ready for you and shall be most 
glad to pay it, and have it done with/ she notified Ouvry. 'As I have 
calculated, our respective share will be 41. 13s. 6d' 23 

Unfeeling though Charley appeared in this chalet affair, his financial 
position makes his conduct understandable. To raise the purchase 
price of Gad's Hill, he had mortgaged the place for 5,000 and 
added another 3,000 from his share of the estate. 24 Burdened with 
the support of a large family, forced to maintain a costly house, and 
faced with diminishing income from a journal that had once nour 
ished because of his father's prestige, he stood on perilous ground. 
In addition, he had found it necessary to buy out Wills's one-eighth 
share in All the Year Round. There had been an altercation, Charley 
insisting on a dual salary as editor and sub-editor, since he was now 
in sole charge. He stipulated, furthermore, that no dividend would 
be paid unless this salary (924) had first been met. Wills objected 
strenuously. 'This,' he fumed, 'after my having presented him, 
through his father, with 600 a year when he was a bankrupt and 
out of employment!* Eegretfully, because he found it 'not con 
venient . . . under the circumstances', Charley paid the 500 asked 
for Wills's one-eighth interest and became, in January of 1871, the 
sole proprietor of the journal as the 'best way to settle the question 
without further trouble'. 25 It was under this pressure that the chalet 
was sold two months later. 

Concurrently with the chalet transaction Georgina was occupied 
with another family affair. This stemmed from her affection for 
Charles's sister Letitia Austin. A widow with only the small pension 
Dickens had obtained for her, she was forced to live frugally. 
Georgina, in one of her numerous will changes, had bequeathed 
Letitia 250, at the same time remarking to Ouvry: 'Mrs. Austin is 
very much my senior, and is not in the best of health. Therefore in 
all human probability I shall survive her. . . . But who can tell! 
I might die any day, although I am strong and she is weak/ A few 
days later she persuaded her nieces and nephews to a scheme for 
helping their Aunt Letitia. A contribution of 125 from each one 
was agreed upon. *It is very much on my mind that the children 
should carry out their intention of giving their Aunt the sum of 
money as soon as they can,* she wrote to Ouvry in urging action. 



'Making the Best of If 171 

'For I feel so keenly that the omission of his only sister's name in his 
will is the one action- of his life which I think unjust and unthought- 
ful on the part of my dearest Charles especially as I know he had a 
great respect and regard for her and that she was the one member 
of his family who had never asked for anything of him, nor had any 
substantial help from him during his life. I can only account for the 
omission of any provision for her by his never taking into account 
that she should survive him.' 26 

The scheme was complicated by Plorn's being a minor. But surely, 
Georgina argued, she and Forster could legally pay his share from 
the estate or make some provision so that Mrs. Austin need not wait 
two years for his contribution. If necessary, she would make herself 
responsible for his share. Apparently, though, she was not required 
to do so. Triumphantly she wrote Ouvry: 'After all, it seems I was 
not so very wrong in my suggestion that the money could be taken 
by some arrangement being made by me and Mr. Forster! But you 
snubbed me in such a severe manner for making that suggestion that 

1 thought there could be no way out of the difficulty except my 
lending the money for two years.' 27 

Before the matter was finally settled, however, she was again dis 
appointed in one of her nephews. Through his lawyers Sydney indi 
cated that he was 'not disposed at present to place this sum in the 
hands of Mrs. Austin' and requested that the cheque for 125 be 
forwarded to him. 'It is too disgusting, 5 Auntie exploded. 'I have 
no words to express what I think. . . .' But she had the satisfaction 
of seeing six of the children make their contributions. 'What a bore 
business is! 3 exclaimed Katey in empowering Ouvry to handle her 
contribution. 'Of course I sanction everything that you have done 
with regard to Aunt Letitia.' To which her husband appended a 
note: f l sanction too and don't consider business a bore!' 28 

As for Sydney, he would not disappoint his Aunt Georgy again. 
Within the year the family received word that he had died on 

2 May 1872 aboard the Malta on his way home for sick leave. Only 
twenty-five, he had succumbed to bronchitis, to which he was sub 
ject. He was buried at sea, according to the doctor in attendance, 
'with all the honours due to him, not only as an officer in the Service 
but also as being the Son of one of the most distinguished men 
in England'. Georgina was grateful that Dickens had been spared 
this shock. In her letter to Annie she recalled that 'poor Sydney's 
life was his Father's most bitter trial and grief for several years 
before his death and I fear we must feel that his being taken away 
early is the most merciful thing that could have happened to him, 
but it is very., very sad to have to feel this'. She would always 



172 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

believe that this nephew's deterioration was somehow connected 
with a hard fall on board ship during his first cruise. A brain con 
cussion, followed by African fever, must have affected him both 
mentally and physically. 'Well, he is gone, taken away, in his youth 
from, further folly and certain misery, she observed philosophically, 
'and is more mercifully and tolerantly judged now, than he could 
ever have been by his fellow creatures, and I am thankful he is at 
rest. Peace be with him.' 29 

She could think tenderly of him now. Because of his diminutive 
size, the young officer had often aroused an amused protectiveness. 
She recalled how Leech, who usually took the boy to dine at the 
Garrick Club after each cruise, had once professed himself horrified 
at the sight of little Sydney eating his dinner with the huge silver 
knife provided. Leech had remonstrated with the waiter, demanding 
smaller knives, 'after which, he and the officer messed with great 
satisfaction, and agreed that things in general were running too large 
in England 5 . 30 And her memories went back to the child at Broadstairs 
who had always cast a far-away look at the ocean. Was it not sad 
and curious, she pondered, that he should now be buried at sea? 31 

His death had come as a great shock to his mother, who, without 
any preparation, had learned of it from the captain's letter. Sydney 
was a favourite of hers and had often been with her during his 
leaves in recent years. Immediately after getting the news, Georgina 
and the girls had gone to comfort her. On learning this, Annie 
Fields could not refrain from comment. Her curiosity brought a 
prompt and forthright response. *As to my sister, it is a subject I 
don't want ever to say much upon,' Georgina stated, 'but I hate all 
false pretences so I must just, once and for all, make a remark upon 
that allusion ... in your letter.* It was not the first time, she 
assured Annie, that they had seen Catherine. They had been visiting 
her occasionally ever since Dickens's death. 'She comes to dine with 
us, and we go to her, from time to time. I cannot say we get much 
pleasure out of it, but it is better it should be so,' Georgina admitted, 
adding that she and the girls always stood by to help in any emer 
gency or sickness. As to the present sorrow, Catherine had felt it 'as 
much as she can feel anything, but she is a very curious person 
unlike anyone else in the world'. Annie probably would not under 
stand: 'Naturally, as you don't know her. Therefore I should feel 
myself to be hypocritical if I did not say these few words. We dined 
with her on Saturday. She was very well, and seemed to be in very 
good spirits again.' 32 

What a contrast between Sydney's sad history and Harry's record 
of achievements! Time and again Georgina applauded the triumphs 



'Making the Best of If 173 

of her favourite nephew. 'He is so bright and pleasant and sensible, 
and feeling besides,' she told Annie, 'that he cheers us up and com 
forts us greatly.' During his last year at Cambridge he worked 
harder than ever. It was hoped that he might fulfil his father's 
expectations and win a fellowship when he took a degree early in 
1872. Harry himself, though, begged Aunt Georgy and Mamie not 
to be e too sanguine' over his prospects, for it was a good year at 
Trinity Hall, with many industrious and clever men in the competi 
tion. 'But at any rate,' Auntie decided, 'I think from what we 
hear of him, we may feel pretty confident now that he will take a 
good and honourable degree, and finish his college career with credit 
to himself and to his name. He is doing his very best, I am certain, 
and the best can do no more.' 33 

When the London Times announced the results of the examina 
tion, Georgina promptly sent the information on to Annie: 'Harry 
is the 29th Wrangler a most excellent and honourable degree'. 
Though he had not won the fellowship he had to be among the 
first twenty for that she was entirely satisfied and felt certain that 
'his dear Father could have been quite contented and pleased with 
him'. Harry himself was somewhat disappointed, but she main 
tained that those who knew the circumstances expressed only 'pride 
and pleasure' in his record. What with the unusual competition, he 
had come out with the 'greatest credit and honour*. After a three- 
month tour of Italy and Germany he would make his home with her 
and Mamie while pursuing his law studies at the Inner Temple. 'I 
am sure you would like him,' Georgina told Annie. 'And I think he 
would remind you of his dear Father in manner, especially. I see 
that more and more as he gets older. I don't think he is like in the 
face, but he has a carriage of his head and a quick turn of it 
which sometimes strikes me as being very like. He has a most 
intense veneration for his Father, and love for his memory, I am 
thankful to say, which I hope will be a blessed influence to Mm 
through his life, and a stimulus to working on steadily to do credit 
to his name.' 34 

Georgina was also much interested in Katey and her painting. 
Now working with models, her niece had improved so much that 
Millais had encouraged her to enter the Winter Exhibition of the 
Water Colour Dudley Gallery in Piccadilly. Her picture, 'Song with 
out Words', had been accepted. A study of a single figure seated at 
the piano, the painting displayed skilful drawing and 'a good deal 
of sentiment'. 35 But the happiness in this achievement was dimmed 
by the failing health of Charles Collins. Since Dickens's death he had 
grown steadily worse and was often in great pain. 'His is a sad 



174 Georgina, Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

existence!' Georgina lamented to Annie in 1871. The following year 
lie seemed to be 'better and worse alternately 5 . His behaviour, too, 
became rather trying. Katey, her finances improved through her 
legacy, had finally persuaded him to rent a larger house in a pleasant 
neighbourhood. But, after the workmen had gone in and she had 
furnished a top room as her studio, he had suddenly insisted that he 
could not bear the thought of moving, and had halted all prepara 
tions. 'And so he goes on,' complained Georgina. c He won't make 
up his mind either to live in it, or to give it up! ... In the mean 
time they are paying two rents, and taxes, the most unsatisfactory 
of all ways of spending money, I think.' Through all this Katey 
had 'behaved quite admirably', though their small abode was highly 
undesirable for 'two such delicate people', since they had to live in 
London the year round now and had 'no country home always open 
to them as she had in her dear Father's life time. She won't let us 
go and shake C.C.! which we would like to do morally at all events 
and I should like some one to do it bodily, too!' Allowances must 
be made for his poor health, Georgina admitted, but in this instance 
he had certainly exceeded the bounds of forbearance. The unsatis 
factory state of affairs continued. 'They still have the two houses on 
their hands!' she exclaimed four months later. How exasperating 
Collins could be! He had even turned down two or three offers for 
the second place. 36 

But on 9 April 1873 the sore trial ended. 'Poor Charley Collins 
is dead,' Georgina wrote Annie. During his last days his condition 
had suddenly entered a new stage, enabling the doctors to diagnose 
as malignant ulcers of the stomach an illness that had long puzzled 
them. Suffering intense pain for many hours, he had at last fallen 
into a short sleep and died peacefully. He was only forty-nine. For 
given, now, were his shortcomings. 'Poor Charley Collins! it is very, 
very sad to think what a suffering life he must have had even more 
than we supposed, for many, many years,' reflected Georgina. 'And 
certainly the gentleness and patience with which he bore his bodily 
suffering were most admirable.* Condoning his recent 'gloom and 
indecision about everything', she held the opinion that his mind as 
well as his body must have been affected. 'Poor fellow! No one who 
knows him can feel anything but that he is mercifully released from 
a sad suffering life.' 37 

For Katey the last ten years had been a 'weary existence'. At the 
end she had gone through 'the great trial, very bravely', refusing 
help and staying at her husband's bedside four days and nights. 
Quite exhausted from sleeplessness and 'brought down to a shadow', 
she was in the country now, the doctor having ordered complete 



'Making the Best of It 9 175 

rest. She felt the loss of her husband 'very sincerely', according to 
her aunt, 'and fully appreciates the great love he had for her 
although it was shown in a very trying manner, of late years, poor 
fellow!' But Katey was still young and would doubtless 'begin life 
again and make fresh interests and ties for herself 5 . More than ever, 
she was determined to work hard at her painting, 'a great resource 
to her 9 . 38 

Interspersed with the accounts of Charles Collins's last months was 
more pleasant news : Alfred, the older of the Australian boys, had 
been married early in 1873. For this nephew Georgina felt a par 
ticular regard because he had thoughtfully inquired of Ouvry 
whether she and Mamie might not welcome some financial aid from 
his share of the estate. Though she had declined the proffered help, 
replying that she had 'no need, thank God! 3 she was, nevertheless, 
deeply touched by his consideration. C I can't help remarking/ she 
had told Ouvry, 'that he is the only one (except Harry) to whom it 
seems to have occurred that Mamie and I have had some little 
difficulty to go through in making our great change.' 39 And now he 
had married the belle of Melbourne, Jessie Devlin, a captain's 
daughter. 'We know all about the young lady as she is a connec 
tion of some kind neighbours of ours at Gad's Hill/ Georgina in 
formed Annie. 'So it is all right in that way. Alfred of course says 
she is "beautiful and accomplished" and we hear, from other sources, 
that she is a very nice pretty girl who is likely to make him a good 
wife. . . . And it is a great comfort to us to think that as he is 
obliged to pass so much of his life in that distant colony he should 
be going to make a home there, to take away the feeling of exile 
which one cannot [help] having for young men who have to work 
so far from home/ Barely twenty-eight, Alfred was doing 'extremely 
well in the money way' with the London and Australian Agency Cor 
poration Limited, so that there was certainly nothing 'improvident 
in his taking this important step in life*. Mamie's 'nice letter from 
her new sister-in-law' strengthened the conviction that his marriage 
was 'the greatest blessing to both' and that the bride, whose photo 
graph showed her to be Very good and pretty', must be a 'perfectly 
nice, unaffected girl'. For Plorn, too, the new domestic arrangement 
would be a good thing, in giving him a home to visit. Auntie was 
grateful that he had finally decided to make a career for himself in 
Australia. 40 



Every summer Georgina pined for the country. For her part she 
would have preferred to live there all year round, though for Mamie's 



176 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

sake she supposed : it would not have been wise ... to have made a 
home anywhere but in London*. But when the August heat came 
during their first summer in town, her niece drooped, 'She never 
knew what it was in her whole life before, to stay in this large hot city 
after the pleasant cheery time is over. . . .' Unable to get away 
from what Dickens had always called 'the great oven', Georgina 
dreamed of walking in Kentish lanes with the cool breath from fresh 
green fields upon her. She sadly missed her accustomed exercise. 
'I have quite lost my walking powers,' she was to complain a 
few years later. But with the expense of the new home and the 
repurchase of the chalet, even a simple rural cottage was beyond 
their means that first summer. 41 In 1872, though, they got away for 
a time through the kindness of Ouvry, who offered them his cottage 
at Maidenhead. 42 The next year they spent most of the summer with 
Katey, who had a great deal of business to see to after her husband's 
death. Once she had disposed of her two houses and put her furni 
ture in storage, only a brief holiday was possible, for which they 
chose Rarnsgate, near Broadstairs. What memories the old seaside 
home recalled when Georgina visited it again! 'The last time we 
were there, I was a young girl, and Mamie a child,' she wrote to 
Annie. Tt seemed so strange and sad to see everything exactly the 
same and to feel myself so utterly different. . . . The first time it 
made me so wretched I could hardly bear it. Every house, every 
stone in the place, seemed to be so vividly associated with Charles, 
and with all my youthful days of carelessness and happiness, that a 
succession of ghosts seemed to rise up in the paths as we walked 
about the place/ 43 



As Geoigina had foretold at the time of Charles Collins's death, 
Katey was young enough to begin life again. Through her art circle 
she met Carlo Perugini, a rising young painter of her own age, and 
within the year was betrothed to him. Italian by birth, he was a 
naturalized citizen and, according to Georgina, spoke English 'as 
well as we do*. Though the family had known for some time of her 
engagement, Katey permitted no announcement until after the anni 
versary of Collins's death, In breaking the news to Annie, Georgina 
characterized Perugini as f a most sensible, good, honourable and 
upright man, and devotedly attached to Katey. Every one likes him 
he is so perfectly unaffected, simple and straightforward.' He 
would be *a good and tender guardian' of his bride's 'future life and 
happiness'. Though he had only what he made by his art, his pic 
tures sold well. f l hope she is going to begin to get some happiness 



'Making the Best of It' 177 

out of her new life/ continued her aunt fervently. Toor girl! she 
had many dreary years in her youth, in her first married life!' 44 

Katey and Carlo were quietly married at St. Paul's Church, in 
Wilton Place, London, on 4 June 1874. 45 'We would not have it 
in the second week, of course,' declared Georgina, for whom nothing 
must conflict with the sacred anniversary of Dickens's death. 
Besides Mamie and Aunt Georgy, only Frank, Harry, and Millais 
attended the ceremony. Radiant in 'the very palest grey silk with 
some "beautiful lace on it, and a pretty little bouquet to match it 
with a long white spotted veil', Katey looked so 'young and bright 
and happy' that it was impossible to think of her as having been 
married before nearly fourteen years earlier. Since Charley Dickens 
was out of town and had received too late the invitation which 
pursued him, Frank gave the bride away. Afterwards the small 
group, augmented by Forster and Ouvry, gathered at Gloucester 
Terrace, where Mamie had 'charmingly' decorated the rooms 'with 
quantities of white flowers everywhere'. After the festive breakfast, 
which featured 'a pretty wedding cake on the Table', the bride 
packed and wrote a few notes while the groom transacted business 
with Ouvry, who had brought some settlements to sign. Carlo 
behaved handsomely, Georgina thought, in insisting that Katey's 
money be set aside for her own use and for their children. Later in 
the afternoon the bridal couple visited the grave in the Abbey, dined 
with Carlo's parents, and left for their honeymoon in Paris. 46 

For the second time Catherine Dickens was not present at her 
daughter's marriage nor at the subsequent breakfast. In her letter 
to Plorn she gave the odd excuse that Katey had wished the cere 
mony to be quite private and that her own presence would have 
made it necessary to add the groom's parents to the guest list. 
Katey had sent her a note, however, and with this Catherine 
professed herself satisfied. 47 

During this happy turn in her niece's life Georgina thought con 
stantly of Dickens. 'This marriage of Katey's would have been a 
great comfort to him/ she told Annie. 'For many years he had been 
much concerned and troubled about the dreary unfortunate fate of 
his bright handsome younger daughter and he had been especially 
occupied in mind about her and had been speaking of her a good 
deal the two or three last days of his life. This blessed change in her 
existence would have greatly eased and brightened him, I know 
and he would have much liked her Husband who would I know have 
appreciated and loved him. 9 What a pity that he had never met 
Carlo, who had an 'intense veneration and love for his memory, 
although he never even saw him'! She felt certain that Katey would 



178 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

often talk about her father and -was perhaps even now, 'in the midst 
of all this new happiness', thinking of 'that awful day and night 
when we three watched him dying'. 48 

While the Peruginis were still abroad, the Fieldses' wedding gift 
arrived, a signed photograph of a painting by their friend William 
Morris Hunt, the American artist. 'What a charming picture!' ex 
claimed Georgina in her note to Annie. 'I cannot tell you how much 
I like it. I have been obliged to sit and look at the sweet graceful girl 
figure and it is so beautifully framed, too. 3 It would make a 
'delightful remembrance' to hang in the couple's 'new artist home'. 
Katey was sure to be pleased and, on her return, would tell Annie 
so. But as the weeks passed without any expression of thanks, 
Georgina explained apologetically, 'She has so many letters she 
'must write that she is putting off writing any, I think. But she is 
none the less grateful to her friends.' Auntie's own enthusiasm over 
the picture seemed somewhat more restrained than in her earlier 
letter: *It is a very nice one; of course the idea is not quite original, 
but it is very sweet.' Finally, after four months, the situation had 
become embarrassing: 'Katey is a very naughty girl not to have 
written to you, and I have not a word to say on her behalf! The only 
thing to be said is that I think she has behaved equally ill to 
every one she knows, almost.' 49 (It is interesting to speculate on the 
reaction of two artists to a framed picture not of their choosing. 
Writing an enthusiastic note of thanks may have posed some 
difficulty.) 

As Georgina rejoiced over the happiness of the newlyweds, a hap 
piness reflected both in Katey's remarkable improvement as an 
artist and in her appearance she looked 'ten years younger' 
there was, again, the old wish that Mamie, too, might still enjoy a 
full, rich life. Earlier, on receiving Annie's announcement of Mabel 
Lowell's marriage, Georgina had replied feelingly, 'I wish, oh how 
I wish! that I were likely to have similar news to send you of my 
girl, but alas! I begin to give up hope of that'. Now, seeing Katey 
blossoming, she declared once more, 'I wish Mamie would make 
such happiness for herself! although I would miss her sadly, still it 
would make her happier if she filled up her life as she ought to have 
done. She would be such a good wife and mother! But I fear she is 
not likely now, to marry.' 50 

In the ensuing months Georgina was again distressed about her 
older niece not only because of Mamie's rather delicate health, but 
also because of her extravagant grief over the death of her aged pet. 
After ailing for several years, Mrs. Bouncer had died within three 
months of her fifteenth birthday. How dreadfully Mamie missed 



'Making the Best of It' 179 

her loyal companion! And Georgina herself mourned for Bouncer. 
'It was not only the death of the little creature/ she explained to 
Annie. c lt was quite extraordinary how it stirred up and re 
awakened the grief and sense of loss which is always present.' She 
recalled how Very, very kind and sweet to her 5 Charles had been. 
On the day of Mrs. Bouncer's death she and her niece had both 
remarked how sad he would have been to see the 'little favourite 
lying, as she did, so meekly dying on Mamie's bed, all those hours! 
and the little dog was so connected with all the eventful years of 
our later lives all the joys and sorrows and with the deepest 
sorrow of all and so associated especially with dear Gad's Hill 
where she used to trot about like a little white shadow after Mamie, 
and walked in the lanes with her dear Master and the big dogs! You 
cannot imagine how it all came back as we sat and watched by the 
little patient grateful creature!' Mamie had padded a box with the 
old cloak and shawl kept for Bouncer's bedding, and had placed 
the tiny body inside with some flowers. A kind Gad's Hill neighbour 
had given her a grave in the prettiest part of his shrubbery. The 
spot was soon marked by a stone with Mamie's inscription: 

This is the Grave of 

Mrs. Bouncer 
The Best, the most loving, the most faithful 

of little Dogs. 

Her happy life was passed with the 
exception of the last 4 years of it 

at her home 
Gad's Hill Place 

Higham 
By Rochester. 

She was born 5th November 1859 
and died 9th August 1874. 51 

It was painful to see Mamie fretting 'about her little companion 
she had made such an occupation of her for years'. But Georgina 
tried to take no notice, explaining to Annie: *I did fully sympathize 
at first, and perfectly understood how much more than the usual 
loss of a dog the death of little Bouncer was to Mamie, but I cannot 
go beyond a certain amount of sympathy for grief over the death of 
an animal, and I have expressed all I have to express on the subject'. 
She was glad that her niece did not intend to have another dog. 52 

Percy Fitzgerald, married now and long removed from the ranks 
of possible suitors, composed twelve stanzas, more light than elegiac 
in tone, celebrating the charms of 'Miss Dickens' Pomeranian*, 



180 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

whose e ears seemed lined with crinoline'. Only the final triplet 
referred to Mrs. Bouncer's demise: 

Alas, so furry, warm, and white, 
From this cold world she took her flight, 
No more on rug, by fireside bright, 
Dear Bouncer sits. 5 * 

Along with her concern over Mamie's health and spirits, Georgina 
had yet another worry the utter ruin, financial and professional, to 
which Frank was recklessly drifting. Having overstayed his leave 
in 1871 from the Bengal Constabulary Force, where he had an 
excellent seven-year record, he had finally given up his appointment. 
A disastrous speculation in indigo lost him a large part of his 
patrimony; the rest he squandered. His aunt reported the situation 
to Ouvry : 'I know very little of Frank and all that I know is most 
sad and hopeless. . , . What he intends to do, I have not the faintest 
idea. It seems of no use making any effort to help him. Both his 
sisters have tried and so have I to put him in the way of getting 
employment but it is in vain. He has appointments made for hi 
with men who seem likely and willing to be of use to him and he 
does not keep them. So it all ends in his giving offence and bring 
ing discredit on those who endeavour to do him good. I think he 
is mad I really do.' Penniless, he disappeared. 54 

After a search of some months Georgina and Mamie located him, 
Very miserable and very penitent and anxious to do any work to 
begin life again'. Mamie appealed to a few of her father's friends for 
help. To George W. Childs, the Philadelphia publisher who had 
visited Gad's Hill in 1868, she wrote that her brother had never 
asked Dickens for a penny or given him any anxiety after leaving 
for India. Even now, though he had squandered his own money 
foolishly, he had taken nothing that did not belong to him. 'He is 
now thirty clever, well educated, a gentleman,' she pointed out. 
*He is fully alive to his folly . . . & is sincerely grieved & ashamed to 
have come to us for help.' Mamie felt certain that Ghilds would do 
whatever he could to find her brother a situation. 55 

A similar appeal to Lord Dufferin, the Governor-General of 
Canada, secured Frank an appointment in the Northwest Mounted 
Police, a post congenial to him, as he liked outdoor work. Georgina 
sent Annie a report on the generosity of Mamie, Katey , Harry, and 
the two Australian boys in advancing the capital to start Frank 
'fully and as a gentleman' on his new life. Katey's new husband, 
too, had been exceedingly kind and helpful: 'He represented what 
the elder brother should have been in the matter, for Charley stood 



'Making the Best of It' 181 

aloof, and declined to help in any way, either with money, or advice 
or trouble of any sort'. Georgina firmly believed that Frank would 
repay his brothers and sisters every penny. 'I daresay it will be 
long before he can send even the first instalment/ she admitted, 'but 
that does not matter, so long as he does it when he can.' In October 
1874 he sailed for Quebec. Toor fellow! the parting was a sad one,' 
his aunt told Annie. 'We all went to see him off at the station. 
Harry went with him to Liverpool, and said he was very much 
"cut up" at last but he was most anxious and thankful to go.' 
Georgina herself was hardly less thankful. 'I cannot tell you what 
a relief it is to have got this place for him.' 56 

Absorbed in the complex affairs of her nieces and nephews, she no 
longer dwelt on the bitterness of her sorrow. (One of the outward 
symbols, the black-bordered writing paper, she had dropped in the 
autumn of 1872. )$ ? But the sense of loss she kept alive. 'Nothing 
will ever fill up that empty place,' she insisted. 'Nor will life ever 
again have any real interest for me.' The past held the only mean 
ingful happiness, and this the years could not take from her. Each 
anniversary of Dickens's birth and death, each Christmas season, 
each family event brought its flood of memories too poignant at 
first, but mellow and tender in later years. At such times she 
admitted Mrs. Fields to the privacy of her deepest emotions. For 
more than any other friend, Annie had also come under Charles's 
magnetic spell and would understand. That she did so was shown 
by the sympathetic timing of her letters by the three anniversaries; 
Dickens's birthday, the day of his death, and Christmas. 

'How strange it is that in such a grief as ours, any one day should 
seem more melancholy than another!* observed Georgina in answer 
to her friend's first birthday letter. 'And yet it certainly is the case 
with a Birthday. ... It shows how our lives are made up of associa 
tion and imagination.' Did Charles know that he was 'held in such 
tender remembrance' by those he had left behind? Here Georgina had 
mixed feelings, 'because if he knows things that would please him, 
there must be knowledge of pain, too, and it is inconsistent with the 
hope of perfect peace, which is my great hope of hereafter, that there 
should be any knowledge of trouble. However! the comfort is, the 
conviction that it is all right, however it may be, and that if he does 
see and knows everything of what he has left behind Mm, it is with 
such a different knowledge! and such a purified sense of the insigni 
ficance of all mortal things, that his peace cannot be troubled by 
any of them.* 58 

In answering the first of the punctual letters timed to arrive by 
9th June, she could not help recalling the Fieldses' visit as among the 



182 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

'last happy days' of her life. But Annie must not think her 'gloomy 
or morbid 5 . 'Indeed I am not I am quite cheerful now and can 
be contented and am willing to take a sort of passive pleasure out of 
life but happiness is over for ever. 5 She was thankful, though, for 
her creed of the 'eternity and immutability of love'. Were it not for 
'that belief, and the certainty that our Beloved Dead are safe and 
blessed, life would be a poor business indeed!' 59 

And it was good to know that among the living, Charles would 
never be forgotten. Was not his stone in the Abbey annually covered 
with tributes from those who 'kept green' his beloved memory? 
Besides the two wreaths that Mamie placed on his grave each 9th 
June one bright and cheerful, the other made up entirely of white 
flowers sent by some kind neighbours at Gad's Hill there were 
always many bouquets, chiefly roses, all brought by different hands. 
Georgina liked to think that the little bunch of 'common looking 
flowers', laid on a corner of the tomb, came from some poor person. 
'I hope I may never live to see that stone without flowers!' she 
declared fervently. On this 'saddest of days' she liked to sit in the 
grand old Abbey, 'so cool and calm*, and thank God that Charles had 
found 'everlasting peace and rest! 5 He had been spared 'decay of 
mind and body for that I thank God every day and hour'. To 
growing old, that 'hardest part of life', he could never have resigned 
himself. 60 

Of the three special days Georgina found Christmas the most 
painful at least in the early years of her bereavement. So com 
pletely had Charles dominated the holiday preparations and festivi 
ties in his household, so inseparably had he always been a part of 
any year-end celebration that December gaiety now without him 
would be mockery. She was always glad to see the 'sad merry 
season' end. 'It can never be anything but a sad anniversary now,' 
she maintained, 'but I hope I shall never allow myself to let it be a 
gloomy one in my own spirit, I mean. 3 On Christmas Day she 
liked to be alone. One year she meditated for an hour or two in the 
vast silence of the Abbey, where the grave in Poets* Corner was 
appropriately decked. In the evening she had a favourite book by 
her fireside. 'This is really the way I believe I would always prefer 
now, to spend the day, whose gay associations are all buried. But 
like all the other memories which hang over that grave, they are all 
tender, beautiful, and full of hope, and I would not forget anything 
if I could.* For Mamie and Harry, though, the season should be 
cheerful. She encouraged, them to leave town for the holidays and 
to enjoy a festive Christmas dinner with their friends. 61 

Even more vividly than the anniversaries did Eorster's Life of 



'Making the Best of It' 183 

Charles Dickens recall the past. As one by one the three volumes 
made their appearance from 1872 to 1874, Georgina felt the f skin of 
the old wound . . . perpetually torn off 5 . Yet she admitted that such 
a work on a major novelist had to be written ; and Forster, because of 
his material, knowledge, and power, was the only person qualified 
to do it. She was pleased to have him read some of the chapters to her 
and Mamie as he wrote. After the first volume was out, she charac 
terized it as 'delicately, skilfully, and lovingly done*. But the pub 
licity it received was 'agonizing'. Because Dickens had died while 
still comparatively young, his biography had to appear while 'so 
many people are living to whom all these private details of his life, 
which must be told, are so sacred, and so painful to have made 
public property 5 . She would be grateful when the book was com 
pleted, 'the painful record made, and become History, and all the 
the newspaper criticism and hard unloving comments . . . over'. Not 
that she ever read the reviews. Against that she had determined 
from the first. All the same, she knew that the comment was there. 
'Well, it is a tribute, in a way, and we must bear it,' she agreed, 
'remembering . . . that he belonged to the whole world, as well as to 
us, and that every one is entitled to speak of him as they please. 
The comfort is that though there will always be some to detract and 
to find unloving faults, I am sure the many will always love and bless 
his memory/ The second volume, with its vivid account of the 
happy times in Italy and Switzerland, brought her girlhood into 
such sharp focus that 'I seemed to awake from a dream to the 
reality of present things, and to a great blank when I closed the 
book'. 62 

The most difficult volume, Georgina realized, had still to be 
written. But Forster had 'such a love for the subject, and a desire 
to present him in the most noble light to the Public, and yet with 
such a consideration for the feelings of living people too' that it 
would be 'ungenerous' not to trust in his treatment of the separa 
tion. There would, of course, be disappointed readers because the 
book would give 'no gratification to scandalous curiosity 3 . Having 
discussed the matter with Forster, she knew that he would be 'wise 
and judicious' in handling the domestic rift. 'What I feel to be hard 
is that proper justice cannot be done to Charles,' she complained, 
'while it is imperative (as, of course it is in her life time) to give no 
picture of his wife, and to make no comment on the peculiarities of 
her character, which, if they could be fairly set against his would I 
think require no comment, and would be an explanation for a great 
deal. But alas! every body except TTim is living, and therefore 
this is impossible and as little must be said as possible, and that 



184 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

is all. I arn always anxious and unhappy about the whole thing, and 
shall be wonder/idly relieved and thankful when the volume is out, 
and the "Nine days" talk, over. Everything passes quickly, in these 
rapid days!' 63 

When the third volume of the Life finally appeared, Georgina was 
convinced that Forster had taken 'the wisest course . . . , and indeed 
the only course possible to him while my sister lives'. He had told 
'just as much and as little as must be said'. Still, there were those 
who would like to probe 'private points' and 'would be only too 
glad to be able to pick a hole in that glorious mantle'. What a relief 
that there were no more volumes to come! Each one had been 'an 
annual tearing open of a wound, and a trial . . . which it is impossible 
to assess'. Though 'no book could do Charles justice or could give 
a living picture of what he was,' this one had been 'admirably done'. 
Presented with 'love, tndh and fidelity', it would be 'better appre 
ciated and understood years hence, when we are all dead. . . .' She 
was thankful that Forster, ailing for some time, had lived to finish 
it." 

Georgina's admiration for the Life was underscored by Mrs. 
Fields, who, after seeing the first volume, recorded her enthusiasm 
in her diary: 'We hardly breathed until we had read every word. I 
think if people will ponder this life of Dickens they will discover a 
greatness in the man which they were before ignorant of. Such 
unending power of work, such universal care for others, such inten 
sity of absorption in whatever was before him, has never been por 
trayed before. Were there a life of Wm Shakespeare we should then 
doubtless see a parallel experience. Both lived many years in one, 
and the lives of both closed before the usual number of days had 
passed allotted to the lives of mortal men. The fun and pathos of 
this book brings his dear presence back to us again with intense 
vividness.' 65 

But on the critical front all was not so serene. Though Georgina 
read none of the reviews, Forster occasionally reported the adverse 
comments he had seen or heard. *I do not think he cares, at all, 
for the ill natnred things that are said about his book/ she told 
Annie, adding that he had 'plenty of appreciation' from those whose 
judgment *he does value'. It is a foregone conclusion that he would 
not have valued the opinion of Wilkie Collins, who had encroached 
in later years upon ids monopoly of Dickens. That Wilkie, for his 
part, bestowed no praise on the work is borne out by John Bigelow's 
diary. During an American reading tour in 1873, when Collins 
visited the diplomat and 'enjoyed his dinner, but his brandy after 
it yet more', he spoke freely to his host about the biography. 'Forster 



"Making the Best of I? 185 

lie thinks more hipped than sick,' Bigelow noted. 'His Life of 
Dickens worries him because of the criticism it has provoked. He 
has presented the selfish aspects of Dickens' character. This seems 
to be in consequence of Eorster's plan to give only his own letters. 
Collins has a great many which Forster proposed to use, if he could 
use them in the same way, but that did not suit Collins and he 
retained them. Collins says he has a letter from Dickens assigning 
his reasons for separating from his wife. He thinks Forster very 
injudicious in publishing what Dickens says about his mother, who 
after all, behaved quite sensibly in insisting that this boy should 
contribute toward the family support by sticking labels on blacking 
bottles so long as that was the best remunerated work he could do. 
Collins said he would not have published these letters. 3 6ft 



Reliving the past, as she did constantly now, Georgina was 
chagrined at having once let trivial matters alloy her happiness at 
times. She should have been 'too thankful 3 to worry about anything. 
*I suppose it is always so in life/ she wrote Annie, 'that we never 
appreciate to the full our greatest blessings and sources of happiness 
until they are taken away from us. However, thank God! I do not 
murmur now. I am peaceful and cheerful and thankful, above all, 
for his everlasting peace and rest.' 67 

With this philosophic calm had come some serious reflections on 
faith. Her belief in the hereafter strengthened through sorrow, she 
held firmly to her creed. 'Like you,' she observed to Mrs. Fields, C I 
have been brought up at least since I was old enough to under 
stand things in a very liberal atmosphere, with more of church 
influence than you, very likely, but always out of the pale of strict 
creeds and dogmas. I scarcely know what I believe! but I know I do 
faithfully and earnestly believe in the Almighty and in our Saviour 
and have a perfect faith and trust in a Hereafter and in the future 
state being blessed and peaceful^ On science and religion, the sub 
ject of many a heated controversy in her time, she also spoke with 
conviction: 'Why Science which simply illustrates and discovers 
more and more every day the beautiful sides and arrangements of 
all things from the beginning which must be from God! should be 
supposed to be incompatible with belief and trust in God is one of 
the things that I never can understand. But it is so and always 
will be so with what are called "Church people" I imagine.' 58 



The Christmas season of 1875 brought a new interest to vary the 



186 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

pattern of holiday quiet and solitude which Georgina had established 
for herself. Katey was expecting a child. On 28th December Auntie 
took up her post at her niece's home for 4 a day of miserable anxiety 
and waiting*. Katey, in her thirty-seventh year now, 'suffered very 
long and very much' before being delivered of 'a splendid Boy', 
Leonard Ralph Dickens Perugini, soon to be called Dickie. Mamie, 
for the fourth time spending the holidays with her favourite friends 
in Hampshire, was happily spared the strain of that day and received 
the news in a telegram. To Annie Fields, of course, went proud bul 
letins from time to time. Katey 's motherhood had followed shortly 
the success of her two paintings at the Suffolk Street gallery : both 
had sold and the larger 'could have sold . . . four or five times over!' 
Georgina was exultant : e l am always thinking HOW proud and pleased 
her Father would have been and how delighted with Katey's little 
Boy!' After several months she fancied a resemblance to Charles. 
'The child even now has a remarkable look of him about the eyes. I 
do so hope it will grow with him! . . . He begins to "take a great 
deal of notice" . . . and has always such a bright smile for Mamie 
and me. . . .' It was a joy to observe Katey in her devotion to him; 
she made a e most excellent and practical little mother'. 69 

But all too brief was her delight. At the age of seven months 
Dickie died of a bowel inflammation. 'I cannot express to you what 
grief it is to Katey,' Georgina told Annie. 'Her love for the child 
was a revelation to herself, of a power of loving which she did not 
know she had in her.' The baby had been everyone's pet a 'fine, 
noble engaging creature with the sweetest nature so patient in 
his suffering! I think he was one of those children who are not meant 
to live. He looks so pretty in Death.' Since he was to be buried at 
Sevenoaks in Kent, the funeral would be delayed a few days. 
'Which I am sorry for,' added Georgina. 'It is such a gloomy time 
for our poor girl.' 70 

In the ensuing year Katey found her painting a blessing 'in help 
ing her out of the desolate state of grief into which she fell afber the 
death of her little Darling*. Her work continued popular and sold 
well at the exhibitions. But Aunt Georgy declared herself anxious 
to have the first anniversary of Dickie's death pass. At least Katey 
would be in the country at Sevenoaks on this occasion 'near the 
pretty little grave, and not in the home where the child died'. 71 

As heartening as Katey's artistic success was the start Harry had 
made in his profession. Called to the bar in November of 1873, 
he took up his work witii enthusiasm. At the end of the month his 
Aunt Georgy reported, 'We have not seen him in his wig and gown, 
as he has not brought them home, but we mean to go one day to 



'Making the Best of It' 187 

Westminster and see him in all his glory! 3 Exactly twelve months 
later she announced proudly that he was 'really getting on capitally', 
having 'done a great deal more in his first year of practice at the 
Bar than is usually the case with young Barristers'. The next 
autumn she again wrote fondly of him, as a 'bright good fellow' who 
always brought 'life and spirits' into her 'quiet home'. Once more 
she dwelt on his resemblance to his father in 'manner and carriage, 
and a sudden turn of his head. . . ,' 72 

But in September of 1876 the happy living arrangement with her 
favourite nephew came to an end with his marriage to Marie Therese 
Louise Roche, granddaughter of Ignaz Moscheles, an artist and 
composer. 'We missed our dear bright good old fellow dreadfully at 
first/ Georgina testified some months later. 'However such partings 
are in the natural order of things very different from bereavements, 
thank Godl and we are reconciled to the loss of Harry by the hope 
that he is going to be very happy in his marriage.' Though she liked 
Marie and for the most part approved of the match, she recognized 
one drawback: the bride was a Catholic and any children would have 
to be brought up in their mother's faith. Recalling Dickens's 
repeated strictures on Roman Catholicism, Georgina declared that 
Harry's father would have found this a 'terrible blow'. (She seemed 
to ignore that Dickens had once hoped to see Mamie wedded to 
Percy Fitzgerald, also a Catholic.) 'But there is no help for it/ she 
concluded, 'so we must make the best of it.' Otherwise the marriage 
should work out well, she felt. Harry's professional success, together 
with Marie's prudent and modest start in housekeeping there would 
be only one servant promised financial stability. 73 

With Harry no longer sharing their household expenses, Georgina 
and Mamie were forced to leave Gloucester Terrace for a smaller 
home. After six years it was a great trial to break up the place to 
which they had become attached. While the search for new quarters 
went on, they lived temporarily in lodgings. 'We want to get part 
of a house, unfurnished, in a nice section/ Georgina explained to 
Annie. But everything they had looked at was either too expensive 
'or very nasty!' She refused to despair, though. Something would 
turn up soon: 'The longer I live, the more I feel that Micawber's is 
the true philosophy!' 74 And in this frame of mind she continued 
until she found the house exactly suited to their needs. 



Chapter Twelve 
'THE MANY FRIENDS WHO LOVED HIM' 



ON leaving Gloucester Terrace at the age of fifty, Georgina became 
a property owner. A search of several months having yielded no 
statable home at a moderate rent, she had almost discarded her 
Micawber philosophy. Then 'one day a kind of inspiration came to 
me that I might use some of my money to buy a nice little house', 
she wrote Annie Fields, 'Mamie paying me half the interest of the 
money every year and I living rent free to represent the other half. 
Ouvry heartily endorsing her plan, she finally decided on 11 Strath- 
more Gardens, Kensington, just below Forster's home. She con 
sidered this an ideal site and felt she had made a good investment. 
Another alteration in her will would leave the property to Mamie, e if 
she outlives me, as I trust most fervently she will!' Should her niece 
marry Auntie had not abandoned hope the house could either be 
let or sold at a profit, for it was in an 'improving* neighbourhood. 
'So I don't feel that I have taken at all a rash step! 1 she maintained. 1 

But she proceeded cautiously in concluding the transaction, for 
she had little confidence in the agent with whom she was dealing. 
'He seems to be such a slippery individual,' she complained to Ouvry. 
'However, I suppose he is not much more than the generality of his 
class.' In any event, she was pleased to learn that the purchase 
money would not be required until the first week in July, after 
most of her large investments had paid their dividends. 2 

While awaiting the completion of alterations before moving into 
the new home, Georgina quietly observed another 9th June. 'This 
year's anniversary . . . was wonderfully like the time seven years 
ago/ she told Annie. 'The weather was so lovely! on the day; and on 
this last day, it was perfect summer so bright and hot, and yet so 
fresh and beautiful. Even in London everything looked so sweet 
and peaceful. ... I like it best so, although the contrast was hard 
and sad in a way, too.' More flowers than ever had decked the grave 
this time. 'Thank God for it! I get every year more and more 
jealous of the tender personal remembrance of him,' she declared, 
e . . . as the years roll on and put him, himsdf, further and further 
away!' 3 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 189 

The seven years had not dimmed her interest in Charles's children. 
What a satisfaction to see Katey achieving new recognition! One 
of her pictures was not only accepted by the Koyal Academy, but 
'passed with Acclamations'. 'Beautifully hung on a place of honour 
in one of the best rooms, 3 it received 'universal praise' and sold on 
the first day to a 'perfect stranger'. 'Ah! how pleased and proud 
her dear Father would have been!' exclaimed Georgina. 'I don't 
know anything that could ever have pleased him more!' Carlo, too, 
was as proud as if the success were his own. His pictures were not 
selling well at this time. It was a bad year for art 'war and rumours 
of more wars are always destructive to all peaceful pursuits', 
painting being a luxury which could be 'cut off with less sacrifice 
than any other'. 4 

There was pleasant news of Harry, too. He and Marie had a baby 
girl, Enid Marie, born in June. f Harry is very proud and delighted 
with his Daughter I need hardly say! It seems absurd to us that 
he should be a Father! He looks so very young, almost a boy still.' 
But there was a hint of dissatisfaction in his aunt's letter to Annie 
because the child had not been a son, to carry on the great name: 
'It is wonderful the number of girls in this family! This is the 10th 
grand-daughter of Charles's and as yet, only the one boy, Charley 
Dickens' "little Charley"; Charley has seven daughters! Alfred in 
Australia has two and now this one of Harry's!' 5 As the months 
passed, Georgina reported that little Enid Marie, looking at first 
like her mother's family, had begun to favour Katey. And Harry 
was getting on well professionally. 'I always feel so proud of Harry', 
she added. 'He is such a worthy representative of his Father, thank 
God! and is growing more like him as he gets older. His wife is very 
nice and good, and quite devoted to her Husband and child.' 6 

By Christmas Georgina was completely settled at 11 Strathmore 
Gardens. Replying to Annie's seasonal greetings, she observed, 'It 
is always delightful and comforting to think how many people all 
over the world! are thinking of what fills our hearts at the Christmas 
season.' What a deep satisfaction to have 'such loving memories' 
shared by Annie, who had been associated with one of Charles's 
last Christmases! This year Georgina had dined quietly with Katey 
and her husband, as had Harry and his wife. Mamie, as usual, had 
been in the country. 7 Her long and frequent absences were soon to 
become a trial. 

The next memorable anniversary, 7th February, was a 'fresh 
Spring Day, with beautiful sunshine, and that indescribable Spring 
feeling a mixture of hope and sadness in the air. . . .* It seemed 
somehow appropriate, Georgina felt, that Charles's birthday should 



190 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

be bright and cheerful: 'He loTed so much all that was bright, and 
fresh and wholesome in the world, that I have, still, a kind of super 
stitious feeling of joy or sorrow, according to the weather on the 
anniversaries of his Birth and Death'. How reassuring that thous 
ands now thought lovingly of him on the day many, like Annie, 
'still with real personal love' I 8 



To all who had loved and admired Charles Dickens, Georgina was 
for ever bound, her devotion to them being in the ratio of theirs to 
him. Even casual acquaintances held her special regard if they had 
valued him or if he had honoured them by his esteem. Determined 
to overlook no one, she made it her business to send out a constant 
stream of greetings, commendations, congratulations, and condol 
ences to all who had so won her favour. Eor many years she main 
tained her contacts with this circle. But long before the close of her 
life she was to survive Dickens by forty-seven years most of 
them had joined 'the beloved memory'. 

One of the first to go was old John Poole, the playwright for whom 
Charles had obtained a government pension in 1850. His death 
brought no sorrow, for he had long lived in mean lodgings, his 
health broken, his mind enfeebled. Georgina could not fail to recall 
how it had been necessary for her to revive her brother-in-law with 
brandy after his visit with Poole in 1869. The old man had been 'so 
dirty, smelt so ill, and scratched himself so horribly', Dickens 
later told Wills, 'that he turned my stomach'. 9 Two years earlier, 
just before the American tour, Poole had entrusted Dickens 
with 25 for funeral expenses. This had been duly noted in the 
memorandum left with Wills. But after Dickens' s death the money 
could not be accounted for. Learning that it had not been turned 
over to Ouvry as she had supposed, Georgina recommended that the 
sum be made up from, the estate. 'Alas I' she added poignantly, c to 
think that that wretched, useless poor old man should be the 
survivor. . . !' 10 

When Poole died in 1872 Charley Dickens was in charge of the 
funeral arrangements. Of the 25 provided, there remained a balance 
of 10 after all expenses were paid. This, Georgina suggested, should 
be used to place a small headstone on the grave in Highgate Ceme 
tery. But even as the cost of such a marker was being investigated 
she made an appalling discovery. *I cannot tell you how shocked I 
was as Mr. Forster was, also, to find that Charley had put old Mr. 
Poole into a common grave!* began her letter to Ouvry. *I feel as if 
we had neglected our duty in leaving the arrangement of the old 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 191 

man's burial entirely to Charley, but he had been in communication 
with him constantly since his Father's death, and he seemed the 
natural person to do it. And who would have supposed he would 
have executed, even so small a trust, in such an indecent manner!' 
Every effort was made to have the body moved to another lot pur 
chased for the purpose, but the cemetery authorities, hampered by 
technicalities, could not grant the necessary permission. Feeling that 
it would be still 'more indecent to make such a stir about the 
matter', Georgina contented herself with seeing a stone placed on 
the recently acquired plot of ground, the inscription giving Poole's 
name, date of death, and age. But in an unmarked pauper's grave 
rested the remains of a man whose chief concern in old age had been 
to provide for his burial. 11 

Another friend whose life ended in loneliness was Henry Chorley, 
the music critic. From 1854 on, when he had responded enthusias 
tically to Dickens's appeal for help in promoting a plan to pension 
needy writers, he had been in close association with the family. A 
frequent guest at Gad's Hill, he seldom missed the Christmas festivi 
ties there. 'I believe he loved my father better tha/n any man in the 
world,' Mamie wrote of him in later years. 12 His tribute to Dickens, 
published in the Athenaeum, was one of the most sincere and 
eloquent utterances that followed the novelist's death. Though 
Georgina acknowledged Chorley's addiction to drink and admitted 
that she could never care much about him 'I mean as a personal 
friend' still she did not deny him a certain regard, 'knowing his 
great affection for Charles and gratitude to him'. 13 

By the terms of this old friend's will, Mamie was left an annuity 
of 200 for life. Another instance of his sentiment for her and Gad's 
Hill came to light upon his death: in the coffin with him lay two 
dried, brown branches. These she had gathered for him, at his 
request, from the two large cedars just before leaving Gad's Hill. 
His wish to have the branches buried with him had apparently been 
communicated to his servant. 14 

A far more personal loss to Georgina was the death of Bulwer- 
Lytton. Her fondness for him had begun more than twenty years 
earlier, at the time of the Knebworth dramatic festival. 'Georgina 
is deeply impressed by the profundity of your occult knowledge/ 
Dickens had written him about this time. 'She thinks that man . . . 
who took you for a wizard knew better than we thought he did.' 15 
The Lytton personality, with its resemblances to Dickens's own, had 
cast something of a spell over Georgina. She had appreciated also 
the constant kindness of this old friend after Charles's death, par 
ticularly his inviting her and Mamie to escape to Knebworth during 



192 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

the oppressive London summers. Her observance of Diekens's 
birthday in 1873 was additionally saddened, therefore, by Lytton's 
death early in January. Ear treatments which had considerably 
improved his hearing of late must have brought on the fatal brain 
abscess, Georgina believed. 'I sincerely loved Lord Lytton,' she 
mourned. 'If I had no other reason to do so, for my own sake (which 
indeed I had, for he shewed a never failing regard for me from the 
time I first knew him when I was quite a girl to the time of his death), 
I should have had a grateful affection for him for the fact of his real, 
earnest admiration for my dearest Charles. He never had a warmer, 
more generous, ungrudging appreciator and admirer as an author 
than he had in Lord Lytton. . . .' Forster, too, she felt, had under 
gone a grievous shock, having given Lytton a place second only to 
Dickens in his heart. 16 

No such shock, certainly, was the passing of Macready three 
months later, for 4 he just died out', after having 'been worse than 
dead for many years'. In the autumn of 1871 Georgina had gone to 
Cheltenham to spend a week with him and his young second wife, 
the former Cecile Spencer. At the time of their marriage in 1860 he 
had been sixty-seven, she thirty-four. On first meeting her, Dickens 
had thought her not 'half so pretty or buxom as poor Mrs. Macready 
dead and gone', but he had none the less made clear in his letter to 
Georgina that the diminutive charmer, very French in manner and 
appearance, had won him by her gaiety as well as by her tact and com 
petence in dealing with her ailing husband and his rather difficult 
children. Her lack of stifihess and pedantry he had also thought 
worthy of remark. 17 (He had doubtless expected someone like her 
sister Lizzie, a severe dragon who had served as governess to 
Macready's lively daughter Benevenuta.) Georgina, only a few 
months older than the bride, had subsequently won her gratitude 
by serving as her social mentor when she was first introduced in 
London as the new Mrs. Macready.-^s On her return from the Mac- 
readys in 1871, Georgina, in one of her faithful reports to Annie 
Fields, extolled the virtues of this 'admirable and devoted second 
wife. She is young enough to be his daughter, and now that he is 
so completely "fallen into the sere, the yellow leaf", the difference 
between their ages seems enormous, and hers is a trying life. But 
she is so fond of him, and so good to his children, and is of such a 
bright and cheerful spirit herself, that she makes the best of it 
all, and is quite an example of the bearing of such a position.' 19 

Georgina had found the aged actor c a sad spectacle of infirmity 
and decay'. But an occasional spark, such as the mention of Dickens 
or the theatre, had fired his old vivacity and intellect at times, and 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 193 

he had enjoyed conversing with her. At the account of Dickens's 
death, however, he had shed many tears, 'such sad tears to be from 
so old a man'. At last he had exclaimed, 'Oh! happy, happy dearest 
Dickens! how much better such a death than such a life as mine is 
now!' So Georgina could feel no regret when his end came only 
the melancholy that accompanied 'the breaking of another link with 
the past' and the thought of 'how touched and affected dearest 
Charles would have been by the death of this friend than whom he 
had none dearer'. 20 

When Macready's reminiscences appeared two years later, she 
relived in them many of her own 'young and happiest days'. But 
she questioned the wisdom of publishing the more private medita 
tions from his voluminous diaries. The religious bits as well as the 
confessions of his struggles to control a furious temper had caused 
some readers to suspect him of cant in writing with a view to publica 
tion. Though she herself was convinced that he had set these 
matters down in deep sincerity, she deplored the public exhibition 
of a human soul. Private material 'written in confidence between 
the man and his own conscience', she firmly believed, 'never should 
be published at all\ zl 

Some five months after Macready had gone, the death of Sir 
Edwin Landseer snapped another link with the past. Once more 
old memories were stirred up, though Georgina admitted having 
regarded him as no more than 'a most agreeable and amusing man 
and a charming companion'. Recalling how the artist had grieved 
over Dickens's death, she gave it as her opinion that 'Edwin was 
fonder of Charles than Charles of him'. 22 

But with Georgina such personal acquaintance was not necessary 
for personal interest, if only there was some Dickens connection, 
however remote. So it was with the novelist Charles Kingsley, in 
whose father's church Dickens and Catherine had been married. In 
the seventies Georgina sometimes went to hear the younger Kingsley 
preach, noting sympathetically how worn and weary he had appeared 
after his American trip. His death several months later at the age 
of fifty-six called up the inevitable comparison with her dear 
Charles: 'It is inscrutable and wonderful that these strong useful 
lives should be cut off in their maturity and so many poor old 
withered branches left hanging on to the very, very last,' she 
meditated in a letter to Mrs. Fields, who had entertained Kingsley 
during his American visit. But Georgina did not question Divine 
Will. '. . . I think every one can find and acknowledge in the case 
of their own bereavement, that it was wise and well . . . that the 
loved one was taken/ she concluded. 'There is always much "evil 



194 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

to come" from which one can thank God He or She is spared! 

I know it has been so in our case.' 23 

The following year, 1876, brought the death of one of the inner 
circle, John Forster. Having worked with him closely as co-executor, 
having followed with mingled eagerness and pain his preparation of 
the Life, having, in fact, turned to him in the past six years for 
advice on numerous personal matters, Georgina had come to regard 
him as a close friend. Much as she had respected his judgment, how- 
ever, their relationship had not been entirely free from friction. 
Especially at first she had now and then, like Dickens, found the 
manner of this 'arbitrary gent' rather irksome. On one of these 
occasions she had bared her annoyance in a letter to Ouvry : 'I think, 
between ourselves, that he sometimes forgets that any one ought to 
have a voice in any of the business [of the estate], except himself'. 24 

But the memory of such irritations had faded with her concern 
over Forster's failing health at first because she feared that the 
Life might not be finished, later solely because of her regard for an 
old friend. In her letters to Annie she detailed his bouts with 
bronchitis, his desolation after Lytton's death, his exhaustion after 
Macready's funeral. 25 After he was gone she felt profoundly the 
dissolving of another bond with the past. 

Again some of the precious relics must change hands. To Carlyle 
went the watch and chain which Dickens had left Forster. And to 
the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington were sent the 
manuscripts of Diekens's works as well as Forster's library and art 
treasures. These Georgina saw displayed at the private view 4 a 
very sad and touching Exhibition!' She was pleased, though, to find 
everything shown to good advantage; protected under glass, the 
manuscripts were secure against careless handling by the public. It 
was best to have them there, to be 'much appreciated and most 
affectionately and eagerly looked at'. Her only regret was that Frith's 
'horrible' portrait of Charles formed part of the Forster collection. 
Having captured the Dickens whom she refused to recognize, it was, 
she fumed, 'odious vulgar and commonplace not in the least like 
. . . and giving no idea of the character at air. What a pity there 
was no good likeness of him in the National Portrait Gallery, which 
should have bought the one by Maclise rather than the Ary Scheffer 
portrait. She recalled the objection by the committee making the 
selection that the Maclise was not like the man most people knew. 
That, she felt, was a 'very foolish' argument. Dickens 'had altered 
so much certainly in his later life', she agreed. 'But what did that 
signify to future ages! as it was an exact portrait of the young man 
of 25/ Forster would have bought it at one time, had he not been 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 195 

restrained from bidding by the definite understanding that the 
National Gallery intended to have it. Tt was a Muddle altogether/ 
she lamented to Annie, adding that the Maclise painting had gone 
to a clergyman in Suffolk. 26 In 1898, however, she was to have the 
satisfaction of seeing it deposited on loan in the National Portrait 
Gallery. 

For Fprster's friend Thomas Carlyle, Georgina had always shared 
Dickens's admiration. Early in her bereavement he had written her 
a letter which she valued above any other consolation received in 
that 'dreary time'. 27 She saw him occasionally after moving to 

London, once at a Christmas dinner with the Forsters in 1873 a rare 

exception to her custom of not dining out on that day of memories. 
Though three weeks past his seventy-eighth birthday, he impressed 
her then as 'just as clear-headed and fresh in mind altogether as ever 
and with very little appearance of the infirmity of age upon him'. 
A few months after Forster's death she remarked, 'Dear old Mr. 
Carlyle is wonderfully well! looking strong and bright and vigorous 
but I suppose he cannot be expected to live many years more'. 28 Two 
years later at age eighty-two he called at her home one March day 
while she was out. 'I am more sorry than I can confess to find that 
I have missed the honour and pleasure of a visit from you, 5 she 
promptly wrote him. When the first edition of The Letters of Charles 
Dickens was issued, she presented him with a copy. 'Offered to Mr. 
Carlyle, with much respect and regardand best wishes for the 
New Year/ read her inscription dated 1 January 1880. 29 Thirteen 
months later, during the week of Dickens's birthday anniversary, 
he died at the age of eighty-five. 

To none of Dickens's friends did Georgina devote more space in 
her correspondence with Annie Fields than to Fechter. In spite of 
his muddled finances, his shabby treatment of his wife, his exasperat 
ing unreliability, both women were at first irresistibly drawn by his 
magnetic personality. Obviously his ardent admiration for Dickens 
was a further recommendation. When, within two months of his 
first arrival in America, he had received the cabled news of his 
friend's death, he had given touching evidence of his devotion by 
cancelling his engagements for a period of self-imposed mourning. 30 
During the dismantling of Gad's Hill he had returned to England 
briefly and offered sympathy, but had wounded Georgina by depart 
ing without a word of farewell 'I did expect a line from him before 
he sailed/ she wrote Annie. 31 

From this point his affairs, both professional and private, became 
chaotic and dishonourable. Though convinced that his troubles were 
entirely of his own making, Georgina could not at first withdraw all 



196 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

sympathy. I can never cease to take an interest in Mm ... in 
remembrance of the strong affection my dearest Charles had for him 
but I confess I am very much disappointed in him/ she told Annie 
in 1871 . Eventually Fechter placed himself beyond all pity when he 
failed to deliver a letter and a parcel of Dickens relics which she had 
entrusted to him for his wife and children. Disturbed because there 
had been no acknowledgment of these remembrances, she asked 
Madame Fechter whether they had reached her. 'Xever!!!' came the 
emphatic reply. Inquiry of a servant revealed that Fechter had 
opened the letter and parcel and had appropriated part of its con 
tents. As a further outrage, he had left behind in his London house 
some of the precious objects Georgina had lovingly tendered him: 
'the cloak . . . which Charles used to wear, and a little table ornament, 
and even the bit of hair!!! ... It is a most extraordinary and dis 
honourable action/ she exploded, 'and I cannot forgive it.' Her 
message of astonished protest, sent Fechter through his daughter, 
went unanswered. 32 

Thereafter Georgina was coldly unsympathetic as reports of big 
decline reached her. And when he neglected to call on her during 
another visit to England, she wrote Annie, ( I cannot say I am 
sorry. ... If he had come here we would have given him a very 
cool reception, and I would have told him the reason, we did so.* 
Both she and Annie had concluded by now that Fechter was no 
gentleman. Looking back, Georgina recollected that the defection 
had begun even while Dickens was alive. I remember the first time 
we were struck by a visible, impression of his deterioration all of us, 
Charles, Mamie, and I was on the day that Fechter came to the 
Hotel to meet you and Mr. Fields. We had not been seeing him for 
some months previously, and I remember we all exclaimed about 
him directly he was gone, and found we had all three been shocked 
in the same way by a revolting change in Ms appearance and 
manner. And Charles was very much vexed about it because it was 
just when Fechter was deciding to go to America and he wished Mm 
to make a favourable impression on you and Mr, Fields.' 33 

Her sympatMes went out to Madame Fechter: 'She is a good 
woman and a good mother. If she was not a good wife, it was from 
some unstdtability between them and from no fault of hers.' Her 
thoughts doubtless reverting to another domestic crisis, Georgina 
dismissed marital difficulties as a subject 'on wMch no outsider has 
ever a right to have, or to express an opinion'. 34 

Her last recorded comment on Fechter came four years before Ms 
end: 'He has made a sad muddle of Ms life altogether. ... I always 
think how sorry Charles would have been.' 35 Alienated from Ms 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 197 

friends, dejected, miserable, the actor died virtually destitute in 
1879 on his little farm in Pennsylvania. 

Another of Dickens's younger friends to go on tour in America 
was Edmund Yates. Capitalizing on his former association with a 
famous novelist, he embarked on a series of literary lectures in 1872, 
when the great age of the lyceum was in full swing in the States. As 
his comments on noted writers were to be supplemented by gossipy 
recollections, particularly on Dickens and Thackeray, Georgina was 
not at all certain that his talks would be c in good taste'. As for her 
self, she was sure she 'would rather not hear them', but she hoped 
Annie might like them, as Yates was 'pleasant and clever and very 
amusing'. Though he was admittedly 'a warm hearted good fellow', 
she considered him c a harum scarum creature . . . , not a man to be 
relied upon at all', one whom Charles had 'helped . . . out of a good 
many scrapes into which his own rashness got him'. (Here she may 
have been thinking of the unhappy Garrick Club affair, which had 
estranged Dickens and Thackeray.) In her opinion he was 'very 
weak, uncertain and easily influenced'. Yet she would 'always retain 
a feeling of affection for any one to whom dear Charles was kind, 
and in whom he showed an interest 5 . Besides, Yates had his own 
good qualities; she judged 'one of his very best points to be his love 
for dear Charles, and gratitude to him, and appreciation of him'. 
After Yates's return to England Georgina received with amazement 
the news that his success had warranted plans for another engage 
ment. 36 

Some years later she and Annie aired their opinion of his weekly 
journal, the World, which Georgina received regularly by courtesy 
of the editor. Portions of it she considered 'very objectionable'. She 
disliked especially 'all that familiar and private gossip' (perhaps 
recalling again how Yates's unflattering article on Thackeray had 
involved Dickens in the Garrick Club affair). Yet she found many 
delightful things also, such as 'the constant quotations and allusions 
to his dear great friend'. And sometimes there were excellent articles. 
Mamie, for instance, had contributed one called 'Ladies under 
Canvas', an account of her two-week camping expedition on the 
Thames in the summer of 1878. 37 

American audiences saw still another of Dickens's younger friends, 
Wilkie Collins, who was, incidentally, also an intimate of Fechter. 
Georgina, herself so often an echo of her brother-in-law, had long 
regarded Wilkie as a feeble copy of the Inimitable. 5 Now again, 
hearing that Collins was about to emulate Charles by giving readings 
from his own books, she was all scorn: T cannot imagine that he is 
fitted for the work in any way,' she maintained, 'nor can I conceive 



198 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

how his books could bear being cut up into portions for Reading. 
They seem to me to depend so entirely upon the excitement and 
interest of the whole plot.' Still, as Annie would undoubtedly meet 
him if he went to America, Georgina recommended him as Very 
agreeable and easy to get along with 1 . At the same time she could 
not resist a mention of his 'conceit and self- satisfaction', warning 
that no one e can think Wilkie a greater man than Wilkie Collins 
thinks himself!' 39 

James T. Fields had already confided to Longfellow that Collins 
'must be a strange fellow and I hope he won't come to America'. 40 
But come he did, in September of 1873. The Fieldses met him in 
November. 'Our first visit with Mr. Wilkie Collins a small man 
with an odd figure and forehead and shoulders much too large for 
the rest of him/ read Annie's diary appraisal. 'His talk was rapid 
and pleasant but not at all inspiring. ... A man who has been feted 
and petted in London society, who has overeaten and overdrunk, 
has been ill, is gouty, and in short is no very wonderful specimen 
of a human being.' 41 

With such negative physical qualifications it is not surprising that 
he suffered from the rigours of the tour. 'His health is always 
wretched,' Georgina replied to Annie's report of his illness. But the 
account of his favourable reception brought disbelief: 'I cannot 
imagine that any reading of his would ever give me the slightest 
pleasure. He seems to my ideas and from my knowledge of his 
acting not to have any single qualification for it! 5 A subsequent 
announcement that he was concluding his tour after the sixth month 
did not surprise her: 'I suppose his readings have not been very 
successful. I never imagined it was possible they could be.' 42 Her 
judgment was borne out by the relatively small earnings from his 
American venture: probably no more than 2,500, as compared to 
Dickens's 20,000 for a similar period. 43 But she regarded Wilkie's 
presumption tolerantly and was later more than willing to accept 
Ms help in editing her brother-in-law's letters. 

With many of Dickens's American Mends she maintained con 
tacts, especially with any who had shown particular kindness on his 
last visit to the States. Chief of these, of course, were the Fieldses. 
But she had also grown fond of Charles Eliot Norton, the editor, 
author, and educator whom Dickens had met through Fields. 
When Norton had brought his wife and five children, his mother, 
and Ms two unmarried sisters, Jane and Grace, to England in 1868, 
lier affection had embraced the entire group. Early in 1872, during 
a brief residence in Germany, Mrs. Norton died following the birth 
of her sixth child. When the bereaved husband and Ms family 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 190 

returned to England, Georgina found them a pleasant furnished 
home just behind her own hi Gloucester Terrace. Thereafter she 
and Mamie saw much of them during their year in London. 'The 
good sweet sisters . . . , devoted to their brother and the poor 
motherless children,' Georgina pronounced 'a touching sight'. So 
fond did she become of Grace Norton that she gave her an inkstand 
which had belonged to Dickens. Her December letter to Annie 
sympathized with the widower's loneliness: { I am sure he feels his 
first Christmas and New Year a terrible trial. I know too well what 
the feeling is after such a grief.' Finding the family depressed again 
in February, the anniversary of Mrs. Norton's death, Georgina drew 
on her own experience once more: C I do not think the freshness of 
grief is the hardest to bear; it is the continuance of living without 
the thing that made life interesting and worth living!' 44 

When the Nortons returned to America in 1873 she entrusted them 
with agiftfor the Fieldses : 'The Photograph [of Dickens] which I have 
put in a little case to stand on your Table is, I think, a remarkably 
good one. It is so quiet, and has not the hard stern look which so 
many of his Photograph portraits have. But better than the 
Photograph you will like what I have put inside the case; if you 
raise the velvet at the back you will find a little lock of hah- cut off 
after his death.' 45 

To Norton, Mamie, ten years his junior, sent a farewell letter 
with a similar token: 'Being a coward in the matter of saying good 
bye today to you dear people, & with the remembrance of my last 
good-bye upon me, I have to write this line, instead of coining to 
see you, & send you in spirit, the same kiss as I gave you then. I 
also send you a Photograph of my beloved Father. At the back of 
the portrait you will find a lock of Ms hair. I cut it myself off his 
beautiful, dead head.' 46 

If it ever occurred to Aunt Georgy to consider Mamie as a possible 
candidate for stepmother to the six little Nortons, she apparently 
kept the thought to herself. She did not allow her interest in the 
family to wane, however, after then* departure. Frequently she dis 
cussed them with Annie. Once she expressed concern for Norton's 
spiritual state. Was it true that he did not believe hi the hereafter? 
If so, she would pity him deeply, for 'the sorrow of this world would 
be indeed unbearable and without alleviation if that hope and 
faith did not lie beyond!' 47 

In 1877, after the death of Jane Norton, Georgina must have seen 
in the position of the remaining sister a parallel to her own. For 
Grace was now, more than ever, indispensable in the home of her 
brother. *Dear Grace Norton does indeed live a life of utter 



200 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

self-devotion and self-forgetfulness,' Georgina agreed with Annie, 
'and I hope and pray that she may have her reward.' Then 
followed a possible reflection on her own circumstances: 'But 
(as a rule)!, confess I have not much faith as to the reward coming 
from love and devotion to other people's children or indeed, alvxiys, 
from one's own. However, there is recompense to a great and sweet 
nature like hers in the mere fact and action of giving her love and 
care.' 48 

In Longfellow and Lowell Georgina also continued her interest. 
She looked forward to reading each new work of Longfellow's and 
shared his joy in his daughter Edith's marriage. With Lowell's 
appointment as minister to Spain she was well pleased, feeling that 
his sympathy for the Spanish people fitted him for that post. Several 
years later, when he was minister to England, she commented on his 
great popularity: 'I don't remember any American minister who was 
more liked hardly any so much'. 49 

Less agreeable were her reflections on Henry Ward Beecher when 
the notorious Til ton v. Beecher trial aired the alleged adultery of 
the celebrated preacher. Like Annie, she earnestly wished to believe 
him innocent. Though only casual acquaintances, he and Dickens 
had engaged in amiable conversation in the vestry of Plymouth 
Church during the readings there enough in itself to tip the scales 
slightly in Beecher's favour. Besides, remembering the unsavoury 
rumours circulated about her Charles in 1858, Georgina naturally 
sympathized with the accused rather than the accuser. Naturally, 
too, she vented her indignation against the English newspapers, 
which had 'taken up the matter and given publicity to all those 
odious details'. 50 She might have reined in her sympathies, however, 
had she known that the matter of Dickens's Christianity had been 
raised as a doubtful issue at one of Beecher's Friday evening prayer 
meetings. 51 

Among her women friends one or two were valued for then* asso 
ciation with the Tavistock House days. There was particular warmth 
for Anne Thackeray, the novelist's daughter, who had been an occa 
sional guest at the children's parties in the early fifties. She had 
married her cousin Richmond Ritchie, young enough to be her son 
a 'novel venture' which Georgina pronounced Very risky', believing 
'even a few years disparity on the wrong side is dangerous because 
a woman is always older than a man, even if they are the same age*. 
Still, she tried to hope that 'poor Anne' had 'made a new life for 
herself' to compensate for her desolation after the death of her 
father and her sister. 52 

But Georgina tooknosuch tolerant view of the ill-assorted marriage 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 201 

between Marian Evans and J. W. Cross in 1880. In an exclama 
tory sputter she gave Annie Fields the sensational details of the 
recent match : 'London or rather I should say literary London! has 
been much convulsed by the extraordinary marriage of "George 
Eliot" aged 62, and supposed to be quite inconsolable for the death 
of G. H. Lewes, with a Mr. Cross, a stock broker, aged 35 tall, fair 
and good looking, and with a special reputation for his Lawn Tennis 
playing! [Rumour had exaggerated; actually, Cross was forty and 
George Eliot only sixty.] Wonders will never cease! especially in the 
matrimonial line! and they were married at St. George's Hanover 
Square! all in the regular way! I should have thought, at all events, 
she would have made her wedding a very quiet and retired one. 
Did you ever see her? She is a singularly ugly woman as ugly for a 
woman as G. H. Lewes was, for a man. I confess I can't reconcile 
myself to these violently unnatural disparities in marriage especi 
ally when the disparity is on the female side.' (As James T. Fields 
was seventeen years older than Annie, Georgina did well to qualify 
her remarks by adding that last clause.) Compared with the Evans- 
Cross match, Anne Ritchie's paled somewhat, for there the differ 
ence in ages had been only eighteen years, with the bride just forty. 
I believe she is the happiest of the happy,' Georgina reported two 
and a half years after she had first felt some doubt about Anne's 
marriage, 'and she has two beautiful children'. 53 

Again there was an expression of disapproval, though of a milder 
sort, when Tennyson accepted a barony in 1883. Though never his 
intimate friend, Dickens had always been his admirer, reading his 
poems as they were published and even asking him to stand god 
father to Alfred. And Tennyson, Georgina remembered, had pre 
sented himself at the Abbey for the funeral sermon for Dickens. 
'What do you think of Tennyson's peerage!' she demanded of Annie 
Fields. '/ think he was better without the title and that, especi 
ally at his age, it is a pity he should make the change.' Then she 
added indulgently, 'But I suppose his sons like it'. 54 She was pro 
bably comparing Tennyson with Dickens, who, repeatedly declaring 
himself against such distinctions, had never accepted a title 
though gossip had it that Victoria had offered him one in the spring 
of 1870, a rumour categorically denied by Forster. 55 



Georgina found a major satisfaction in continuing Dickens's bene 
factions to Anne Brown Cornelius, who was still in financial straits 
because of her husband's illness. This loyal maid and she had both 
entered the Dickens household in 1842 and had spent sixteen years 



202 Georgina Hogarth arid the Dickens Circle 

together in growing confidence before the separation. 56 Though 
Anne had been Catherine's personal maid, she had continued at 
Tavistock House after 1858 and had served the family intermittently 
thereafter. 'My dear good Anne* she had been to Dickens, who had 
valued and rewarded her devotion as he had that of all who adhered 
to him. As long as he lived he had kept the Cornelius family going. 
Later Georgina, Mamie, and Katey had shouldered part of the 
burden. But this encumbrance proving too great to be borne inde 
finitely, outside help was solicited. 'I am going to address you now 
for the first time and I hope the lastl in the character of a beggar!' 
Georgina appealed to Annie Fields in October 1871. She explained 
that she and Mamie hoped to get up a subscription which would 
assist Anne hi the event that her husband did not regain his health. 
Meanwhile they were educating Catherine, the daughter, to be a 
schoolmistress. In a few years she should make substantial contribu 
tions to her parents' support. 'We do not like to leave any stone 
unturned on behalf of poor Anne/ Georgina wrote, 'and, after all, 
our friends can only refuse, and we shall quite understand if they do 
that they have AWWS of their own whose claims must come first.' 
She and Mamie had spent three days in writing to old friends who 
had known Mrs. Cornelius and been served by her. Would Annie 
Fields give what help she could and perhaps approach Longfellow 
for a contribution? e l do not like to intrude upon [him] personally, 3 
explained Georgina. 57 

Many of the friends appealed to responded handsomely. 'You 
talk of your help being "littk"r Georgina expostulated with Annie. 
'I assure you we should have thought very, very much less a most 
liberal subscription and most acceptable addition/ She was grate 
ful, too, for Longfellow's donation of 5. For 'her present exigencies' 
Mrs. Cornelius had been given over 50. But of the nearly 100 'in 
hand' she must not be told just yet: 'We intend to make a little 
investment of this sum and have it to fall back upon when the 
very dark hour comes 7 . 58 

For the next few years Georgina's plan succeeded admirably. 'It 
is always pleasant to know that any good work you have helped in 
has had good results/ read her progress report. Anne had a steady 
income from letting lodgings; her husband was somewhat improved, 
though he would never be able to work again; and Catherine had 
just passed 'a most triumphant examination' before the government 
Inspectors. Already on a small regular salary as pupil-teacher, 
having begun as a third-year student instead of a first, she would 
get pay increases until she was nineteen. Then, if she did well on 
her next government examination at a college, she would qualify at 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 203 

twenty- one for a school of her own. 'She is a good, industrious, 
clever girl, and we can consider that her career is safe unless she 
should fall into bad health, 5 Georgina wrote with assurance. 59 

But in her optimism she had not reckoned with one aspect of 
normal girlhood. Early in 1874 the neat plans were upset. 'This 
morning we heard to our great surprise that the young girl, Kate 
Cornelius ... is going to be married immediately/ Georgina wrote 
Ouvry, who had also contributed generously to the fund for Anne. 
'We knew she was engaged, but she is not 18 yet and we understood 
that there was to be no question of marriage for two years, and we 
strongly advised that there should not be. However it seems our 
advice is not to be taken ; and we can do no more than protest. The 
young man she is going to marry is steady and industrious, so I hope 
it will turn out well.' Since Georgina had in trust the legacy of 
19. 195. Od. which Dickens had left the girl, she asked whether it 
might not be turned over at once. There would be a long wait until 
Catherine came of age, and the money would be well timed now for 
wedding expenses. This, Georgina maintained, was her own idea; 
she had not mentioned it to the parents or the daughter before con 
sulting Ouvry. He agreed to the suggestion, and the young bride, 
happily surprised, found herself with enough cash on hand to buy 
her trousseau and begin housekeeping comfortably. 60 

A further opportunity to serve an old friend came in 1880, when 
Georgina negotiated the sale of a valuable manuscript for Amelia 
Eillonneau of Paris. The sister of Dickens's deceased brother-in-law 
Henry Austin, Mme. FUlonneau was now a widow in reduced circum 
stances. For thirty-four years she had kept the manuscript of the 
Christmas book which Dickens had given her in exchange for the 
manuscript of a play written in his youth. On Amelia's behalf 
Georgina now approached George F. Harvey, a London bookseller, 
for advice: C A lady, a connection of my late Brother-in-law, Mr. 
Charles Dickens, to whom he gave the MS. of the "Battle of Life", 
has written me, today, telling me that owing to very grave pecuniary 
difficulties she is, reluctantly, obliged to make up her mind to try 
to sell the precious MS/ The owner, she continued, did not wish to 
part with it under 200, that being the figure for which the manu 
script of A Christmas Carol had sold. Later Georgina assured Harvey 
that the treasure would be brought from Paris within the month. 
She vouched for its authenticity and guaranteed that no erasures 
had been or would be made. 61 

Meanwhile, with Harvey's approval, she also offered the manu 
script to Dickens's Philadelphia friend, George W. Childs. But 
Childs, having recently acquired the manuscript of Our Mutual 



204 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Friend, was not interested. He advised her to see Scribner's London 
agent, who made such purchases for America. Ultimately, however, 
the manuscript went to Harvey, whose original bid of 100 was not 
exceeded by that of Scribner's agent. To Childs Georgina declared 
herself dissatisfied with the outcome, foreseeing that 'someone who 
wishes to possess the MS. as a curiosity and a relic will some day, 
give the dealer more for it than he gives Mme. Fillonneau.' 62 Her 
prediction proved correct. The manuscript was sold for 150 to 
William Wright of Paris, at whose sale in 1899 it went to Henry 
Sotheran of London for 400. ^ Today it forms part of the Dickens 
Collection at the Pierpont Morgan Library. 

In turning over this treasure to Harvey, Georgina complied with 
his request for information about its history. She recalled that 
Dickens had always written on sheets, or 'slips 5 as he called them, 
which had gone from his hand directly to the printer. 4 An average 
day's work with him was 2-2 of those sides ... of MS./ she 
explained. 'A very, very hard day's work was 4 of them. The sheets 
were returned to him, with the proofs, and it was, usually, his habit 
to collect them and have them bound, with memoranda relating to 
his titles and names, etc., etc., after the publication of his books.' 
Having completed her part of the transaction, she could not restrain 
a tender recommendation : *I hope most earnestly that you may dis 
pose of it well and that it may fall into good and appreciative 
hands.' 64 Many years later the experience gained through these 
negotiations was to suggest to her a more important sale which 
would bring another manuscript to the Pierpont Morgan Library. 



With three women who had figured prominently in Diekens's life 
Georgina maintained occasional contact. Of the three Maria 
Beadnell Winter, Mary Boyle, and Ellen Ternan it was Mrs. 
Winter, least valued by Dickens in his later years, who was the least 
regarded by his sister-in-law. But when Maria died in 1886 Georgina 
dutifully sent condolences to her daughter Ella. 'Accept my truest 
sympathy, my dear Ella/ she wrote after several months' difficulty 
in getting the right address; 'although it is late, it is none the less 
heartfelt. 5 ** 

With Mary Boyle, Dickens's staunch defender, her relations were 
more personal. The two women saw each other at intervals and also 
kept up a correspondence. When Mary was preparing a book of 
reminiscences Georgina came to her aid by suggesting that Annie 
Fields send her some materials. Annie responded with a helpful 
letter and some photographs which, Georgina assured her, 'are a 



'The Many Friends Who Loved Him' 205 

valuable contribution to her Book'. 66 This association continued 
until Mary's death in 1890. 

It was Ellen Ternan whom Georgina evidently held in the warmest 
affection, perhaps more for what Nelly had meant to Dickens than 
for what he had meant to her. The friendship continued even after 
Ellen's marriage Dickens had then been dead six years to George 
W. Robinson, a clergyman who later became headmaster of a 
school in Margate. Here Georgina and Mamie occasionally visited 
her. 6 7 In turn Ellen called at Georgina's home and in the 1880's 
sometimes brought her daughter with her. The daughter still 
remembers Georgina as 'the sweet, kind old lady', one of her mother's 
special friends, who gave them some photographs of herself. s 
Ellen Ternan Robinson died in 1914. Though Georgina frequently 
rallied to defend 'the beloved memory' from one charge or another 
whenever by her own knowledge or belief she could honestly correct 
a misrepresentation, she apparently never made any statement as to 
what the Dickens-Ternan relationship had or had not been. 

The attachment she displayed for women of whom Dickens had 
been fond romantically or otherwise suggests that her own devo 
tion, though fervent to the point of obsession, partook of no jealous 
female possessiveness. Evidently she had always welcomed what 
ever service or solace any other woman offered her idol, feeling no 
compulsion to reserve for herself all rights to minister to him. 
Regardless of sex, age, or condition, 'the many friends who loved 
him 5 were for ever assured of her grateful remembrance.* * 



Chapter Thirteen 
A NEW BOOK FROM THE 'DEAR DEAD HAND' 



IN the spring of 1878 Georgina announced a plan which had gradu 
ally taken form during the past several months. Frequently sug 
gested by friends, though already occurring to her, it was a proposal 
to edit, with Mamie's collaboration, a collection of Charles's letters. 
The scheme may have suggested itself as early as 1871, when Fields 
had reproduced some of Dickens's correspondence in 'Our Whisper 
ing Gallery', then appearing in the Atlantic Monthly. 'The letters are 
as all his letters were charming from their reality and simplicity; 
they are bits of himself, 3 Georgina had observed at the time. Ah, 
me! What a sad dream it seems when one reads these letters so 
full of life and brightness and brave enduring spirit.' Whatever its 
inception, the design was now sufficiently advanced to warrant pub 
licity. 'It will be a sort of supplement to Mr. Forster's "Life," * she 
explained to Mrs. Fields. 'That was exhaustive as a Biography, 
leaving nothing to be said ever more, in my opinion. But I believe 
it was universally felt to be incomplete as a Portrait, because the 
scheme of the Book, as Mr. Forster wrote it, prevented his making 
use of any letters or scarcely any, besides those addressed to him 
self.' A collection of Dickens's correspondence to numerous persons 
and on a variety of subjects should, then, 'supply a want'., Georgina 
was convinced, and 'make a very charming and interesting book'. 
Having decided on this labour of love, she had no illusions about its 
difficulty. 'It will take a long time,' she admitted. 'We are rather 
terrified at the magnitude of the task we have undertaken but, as I 
feel sure it is a right and good thing for us to do, I hope a way will 
be shewn to us to do it wett.* 1 

Undaunted by their lack of editorial experience, Georgina and 
Mamie began the arduous work of assembling the letters. They 
advertised in numerous periodicals for the originals, promising to 
return them with as little delay as possible, just as soon as usable 
extracts had been copied. Fields was asked to insert a similar 
announcement in American newspapers and journals. 2 There was 
also the tiring correspondence with many of Dickens's friends who 
might be willing to lend their letters. Since all this was done with 
no secretarial help, it is not surprising that Georgina, addressing 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 207 

Charles Reade, asked him to excuse her penmanship. I have so 
much writing to do just now/ she complained, 'that my, always, 
illegible hand I fear must trouhle my friends more than usual.' 3 

By June, three months after initiating the project, she felt as if 
she had been writing to every 'public character 1 in the world. In 
England the response had been tremendous, though from America, 
oddly enough, there had come only a fire of applications for Auto 
graphs!' This year, because of all the work on the letters 'so fresh 
and bright and full of life!' the anniversary of Dickens's death 
seemed more poignant than ever. c lt is sometimes difficult even 
now, 5 Georgina wrote Annie, e to realize that the hand that wrote 
them is dust! and the fresh bright heart and brain still for ever.' She 
found her present occupation 'deeply, intensely interesting', though 
'mingled with a great deal of pain 5 , for it meant reliving her whole 
life. There was also the perplexing problem of deciding what to 
incorporate in the edition. 'It will be heart breaking,' she remarked 
more than once, 'to reject any of the letters of public interest . . . 
for all are beautiful and interesting. We feel it will be terribly our 
fault, if the Book is not a very welcome and a very successful one.' 4 
From their own treasured letters, available without the effort of 
collecting, the editors were to choose fifty-seven to Mamie and 
seventy-seven to Georgina, altogether comprising roughly one-sixth 
of the total to be published in the three volumes. 

For months they copied stacks of holographs about nine hundred 
by the time the third volume went to press. Even during the summer 
holiday the work went on, Georgina receiving and transcribing 
manuscripts in Devonshire during August and later at the seaside. 
Mamie took her share of copying along on an outing by the Thames, 
an expedition which brought clucking protests from Aunt Georgy: 
camping out and sleeping in a tent would be likely to endanger her 
niece's delicate health. Visiting the camping party for two days, 
Georgina occupied a bed 'in a charm ing little Inn like a Christian!' 
She had to admit, however, that Mamie was thriving and 'burned 
brown, like a gipsy'. By October both women planned to be back 
in London, when they hoped that all the material for their edition 
would be in. Then the real work would get under way. Publication 
was tentatively set for spring. 5 

In spite of much exacting labour, the days were enriched by the 
associations that had spelled all of life for Georgina. 'Certainly there 
never was so charming a letter writer,' she told Annie. 'There is 
hardly a little note from him in answer to an invitation or something 
of the slightest possible consequence, that has not some little grace 
ful turn or pretty compliment or little joke that makes it unlike 



208 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

all other people's notes and marks it with, his own original stamp. 
Then the letters to various people are so different in style bright, 
earnest, serious, playful really wonderful! Unless we spoil it woe- 
fullyl I do feel we ought to produce a wonderful Book like a new 
one from the dear dead Hand! The life in letters is so wonderful and 
so sadly touching now!' 6 

But from her absorption in the past, harsh realities recalled 
Georgina to the present: serious obstacles all but blocked progress 
on the edition. First, the constant reading and copying of closely 
written letters, many in bright blue ink on the light blue note paper 
Dickens had used for his personal correspondence, had imposed such 
a severe strain on her eyes that periods of rest had become necessary. 
An even more disturbing delay resulted from the prolonged illness of 
Catherine Dickens, dying of cancer, according to the verdict of two 
doctors. 'We have been quite stricken by this sudden announce 
ment,' Georgina wrote Annie, not naming the malady. 'We are 
afraid to shew, to her, too much solicitude for, as yet, . . . she does 
not believe there is anything to be alarmed at, in her condition, and 
she is quite cheerful (which is almost the saddest part of the matter!)' 7 

The case was pathetic indeed. Writing at this time to her brother 
Robert, Catherine gave her own account of her illness: of being 
confined to her sofa except for an occasional drive ; of going down 
to Gad's Hill when well she had frequently visited Charley and his 
family there in the expectation of a beneficial change, only to 
grow worse; of consulting, at her children's request, a second 
physician. c He quite agreed with my own doctor's treatment/ she 
added optimistically, 'and so he gave me fresh hopes of recovering 
although my disorder is a most tedious one.' 8 

Two months later Georgina reported to Annie, 'My poor sister 
suffers very much. She is as gentle and patient as it is possible to be 
and bears her great pain wonderfully. But sometimes it is very, very 
hard to bear. 5 The only relief came from opiates, which insured her 
the 'unspeakable blessing 1 of a restful night. 'It is heart-breaking to 
go to see her/ lamented Georgina, 'and to feel that there is no hope 
of cure!* 9 On one of her earlier visits, according to a friend in 
Katey's confidence, the two sisters had undergone an emotional 
reconciliation in which any lingering bitterness over the past had 
been dispelled. 10 

In letter after letter Georgina described Catherine's fluctuating 
condition: intense suffering alternating with periods of apparent 
improvement. Mamie and Katey began to take turns in watching at 
her bedside, for the doctor had warned that the end would be 
sudden. Though Georgina considered it right for them to fulfil this 



A New Boole from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 209 

duty themselves, 5 she thought the exertion ; a great trial of their 
strength'. The Toor Book 5 , she grieved, had to be put 'sadly to one 
side' now. Under the circumstances work on it was almost impos 
sible, though a friend was helping with some of the copying. Hopes 
for an April publication were dashed. 11 

Only a comparatively small number of Dickens's letters to Cath 
erine had been chosen for the edition. Katey found a packet of 
others, as well as a picture of her father and a lock of his hair, when, 
during one of her sickroom vigils, she was called to her mother's 
bedside and instructed to open a drawer. 'Give these to the British 
Museum,' said Catherine of the letters, 'that the world may know 
that he loved me once.' Twenty years later Katey was to carry out 
this commission, with the proviso that they were not to be made 
public during the lifetime of any of Dickens's children.-* 2 

During her mother's last years Katey, conscience-stricken, tried 
to make up for her earlier neglect. She remembered with shame how 
she and Mamie, as thoughtless young girls in the Tavistock days, 
had taken music lessons across the street from the home of their 
mother in Gloucester Crescent, but had never gone to see her. And 
as a mature woman Katey had made her occasional calls only at the 
insistence of her first husband. 13 It may have been duty more than 
congeniality which brought her to Gloucester Crescent in later years, 
for she seems never to have been irresistibly drawn to her mother as 
to her father, though at times she had taken Catherine's part from 
a sense of justice. Very likely the meek and colourless mother, with 
her lifelong tendency to regard herself as a pitiable object, had 
aroused in the vivid daughter something of the half-guilty impati 
ence of Dickens himself. However that may be, mother and daughter 
agreed never to mention him, the subject being too poignant. Except 
for the transfer of the letters, the pact was broken only once and 
that in Dickens's lifetime. 'Do you think he is sorry for me?' 
Catherine had asked pathetically and characteristically. 14 

Now, as she lingered, a younger brother, Edward Hogarth, and his 
wife were both dying of 'galloping* consumption. 'To see these two 
poor patient gentle Invalids together both dying! and then to go 
from their home to my Sister's, is the most tragic experience I have 
ever gone through in my life and it is all my life just now!' Geor- 
gina observed to Annie. With the years her Hogarth family ties had 
been resumed even with the younger sister Helen, who had so 
aroused Dickens's wrath. In 1874 Helen's little girl, May, had come 
to spend Christmas week with Aunt Georgy, and had been com 
mended as a good and considerate child. 15 

The three Hogarth invalids were not the only ones to prey on 



210 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Georgina's mind during her occupation with the letters. Of Charley, 
too, there had been disturbing news. The pressure of maintaining 
Gad's Hill and supporting a large family on a precarious income, 
together with the physical strain of travelling to work in London, 
had finally impaired his health. e . . . TTis mind is more ill than his 
body,' Georgina contended, 'and I do not think there is a chance of 
one being better, until the other is easier/ Much as his past conduct 
had infuriated her, she was all tenderness to him now in his misfor 
tune. Her heart went out to his 'poor little wife (who is most good, 
helpful and devoted) and his eight children! seven of them girls!' It 
was her fervent prayer that his illness might be 'taken in time 
and that he will pull through'. 16 

Her hope was realized: once Charley had followed his doctor's 
advice and given up Gad's Hill, his health improved. But there were 
harsh adjustments as he and his wife and two of the daughters lived 
temporarily at the office, the other children having been scattered 
among relatives. The oldest, Mekitty (Mary Angela), stayed with 
Georgina and Mamie. 17 It was 'sad and desolate' to think of the 
country house standing empty now while Charley tried for months 
to dispose of it. Finally it was to be sold at auction. Georgina hoped 
that it would fall 'into tender and reverent hands'. A year later, 
however, when another June anniversary reminded her of the happy 
days at Gad's Hill, she exclaimed, 'To think it should have fallen 
into common vulgar hands! but it won't bear thinking of '.J* 

Unceasing seemed the family anxieties and sorrows that hampered 
work on the edition of letters. In February of 1879 the Australian 
mail brought word of an 'entirely unlooked for, and most terrible 
misfortune' the death of Alfred's wife. Thrown from her carriage 
when one of her ponies bolted, she had fractured her skull on the 
curb and died within a few hours. Georgina wondered what poor 
Alfred, once 'so happy and fortunate in his marriage', would do with 
his two motherless little daughters, Kathleen and Violet. He had 
written, three days after his wife's death, 'a perfectly heart broken 
and heart breaking letter all the more touching from its manly 
resignation and tndy religious tone.' This tragedy was a terrible 
blow to Plorn also, for he had always made his home with Alfred 
and Jessie 'whenever he chose in that far away country'.-** 

Not many months after, there was fresh cause for anxiety the 
serious illness of Charley's Mekitty. Just seventeen, she had, 
according to one doctor, a fatal spine disease. Georgina could only 
hope that the diagnosis was wrong, for hitherto this physician had 
been Very stupid' in his treatment and judgments. There was to 
be a consultation with some London specialists, but she could not 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 211 

feel too sanguine. She recalled that Mekitty had stayed at Gad's 
Hill a great deal as a child and that Dickens had been very fond of 
her. The only grandchild who remembered him, she cherished some 
'wonderfully and delightfully reverential 9 reminiscences. 20 

During this troubled period another June anniversary arrived. 
4 We . . . always keep the day in the same way,' Georgina informed 
Annie, 'taking flowers to the Abbey in the morning, and going again 
in the afternoon, so that we spend nearly the whole day there. 3 
Once more the stone was bright with flowers. 'It always gives me a 
peaceful, almost happy feeling, this setting the day apart from all 
the other days in the year! and this year, especially, we are in the 
midst of so much gloom and sadness, that the sort of calm on the 
9th was a relief.' And there was consolation, too, in the assurance 
that Charles had been removed from all the worries visited upon his 
family. 21 

Happily, it developed that Mekitty was not suffering from a fatal 
malady; she gradually recovered her health and spirits. It was com 
forting, furthermore, to see Charley feeling much better, his family 
all living together again in Regent's Park near his mother. His 
Dictionary of London, a cleverly designed guide book, had enjoyed 
great success, Georgina told Annie with pride. (It was to be followed 
later by similar works on Paris, Oxford, Cambridge, and the 
Thames.) The other cheerful news came from Harry, who was happy 
in his family life and had made real strides professionally. He now 
had a 'son and Heir!' born 7 October 1878. f l am glad it is a boy 
this time . . . ,' exclaimed Auntie. 22 Christened Henry Charles 
Dickens, the baby (called Hal) was to be followed by three other sons 
whose names would also terminate in the magical 'Charles Dickens'. 



In spite of constant interruptions, the editing of the letters had 
somehow gone forward. c The work must be done, and shall be done, 
please God!' Georgina had insisted in the early stages of Catherine's 
illness, 'and we must keep ourselves ever strong and as brave as we 
can, to continue [?] all that we may have to do!' 23 Persistently she 
and Mamie selected, copied, and arranged chronologically such cor 
respondence as they could use; added brief explanatory notes only 
when necessary; and, as connecting links between the years, inserted 
prefatory narratives. The one for 1858 and all that followed com 
pletely ignored the separation. As for Georgina's connection with 
recorded events, it was introduced when essential, but was frequently 
omitted when it might well have been considered apropos. For 
example, the account of Dickens's illness on his last Christmas Day 



212 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

did not mention her poulticing Ms foot. ISTor was it brought out 

that she had accompanied him on his final excursion to Cobham 

Park. 

By the end of June 1879 the first volume was ready for the 
printer. *. . . Ah! dear, how thankful we shall be, when it is out' 
Georgina wrote Annie. 'The book will be "our very own" and I need 
not tell you how intensely anxious we are that the "setting" of our 
notes shall do no injustice to the gems which most of the letters 
certainly are.' At least it was a relief to have the 'unqualified 
approval' of their work from Wilkie Collins, who alone had been con 
sulted for editorial advice. His few 'trifling alterations' had been 
Very good ones and easily made 5 . 24 Apparently any former cool 
ness between Wilkie and Georgina was not to affect their present 
relations, for he responded generously whenever she required 
his helpful suggestions. He also offered a few of his Dickens letters 
for the collection. (Many more of them would be printed in 1892 
after his death, the selection to be made by Georgina, whose per 
mission as the only remaining executor was necessary for publica 
tion.) 

Pushing the volumes to completion entailed much more than the 
actual editing. There were in addition the tedious, often exaspera 
ting, negotiations with the publisher, F. Chapman, whose preliminary 
estimate promised Georgina and Mamie a profit of 1,400 on a sale 
of two thousand copies at 2 each. He also made overtures of 
reducing his own commission from the usual twelve and a half per 
cent to ten. When, however, he returned to the higher figure in his 
calculations several months later, Georgina poured out her indigna 
tion to Ouvry, on whose advice she relied heavily throughout the 
negotiations. 'No!' she sputtered, 'I should say F. C. J s terms will 
not suit us at all!' And she threatened to approach Macmillan if she 
and Chapman could not not reach an agreement. 25 

There was also a question about the publisher's solvency. Wilkie 
Collins had suggested a 'private enquiry' to ascertain the facts. The 
results of this investigation were not reassuring. 'I don't feel quite 
easy in my mind, I must confess, . . . and doubt whether it will be 
well for Mamie and me to cast in our lot with a firm whose "pecun 
iary position does not amount to a certainty",' Georgina wrote 
Ouvry. We must stick to immediate cash or not go in with [him] 
c& att,* she insisted. 'But I suppose if he agrees to the ready money 
bargain we cannot draw back, for we cannot appear to doubt his 
credit.' It was a 'worrying and anxious business', she complained. 
'Of course I know quite well that even you cannot insure our coming 
out right if F. C. has no money to pay with!' 26 



A New Book from the 'Dear Lead Hand' 213 

Also perplexing was the decision regarding the retail price of the 
volumes. As opposed to Chapman's suggested 2, Collins and 
Georgina inclined to 1. 10s. This lower figure had the support of 
another publisher, George Bentley, whose opinion had been solicited 
without Chapman's knowledge. After interminable correspondence 
and wearisome consultations Georgina and Chapman finally came 
to terms. While the formal agreement was being drawn up, 
Collins gave Georgina the benefit of his own considerable publication 
experience and suggested some shrewd changes in several of the 
clauses. 27 

The bargaining had been complicated because Georgina and 
Mamie were paying their own production costs. In this their motive 
was a charitable one, prompted solely by a wish to help Charley 
Dickens. To reduce his business expenses, he had decided to print 
All the Tear Round himself, establishing for this purpose the Crystal 
Palace Press with F. M. Evans, his brother-in-law. With this firm 
Georgina and Mamie contracted for the printing of the letters. Here 
again the business details were handled by Ouvry, who generously 
advanced the money for full payment of the bill (730) on delivery 
of the first two thousand copies, so that the editors could realize a 
discount of five per cent on half of the total printing charges. At 
Charley's suggestion further savings were effected with stereotypes 
for subsequent printings. 28 

Not without misgivings, however, did Georgina award the print 
ing contract. She could not forget that Charley's partner was the 
son of the Evans who had grievously offended Dickens at the time 
of the separation. It must be made unmistakably clear, she de 
manded, that, though her business was with the Crystal Palace Press, 
she would deal personally only with her nephew. 'Charley quite 
understands this,' she assured Ouvry. 'Indeed if he would not 
understand it we would not have given him the Book to print. It 
will not be necessary ever I hope, that Mr. Evans should be present 
at our signing of the agreement? I don't mean that we should not 
speak to Mm, as Charley's wife's brother ft we did this in an 
ordinary way but on this business I will not meet with him. It is 
quite painful enough to have his name joined to "Dickens" on the 
page of our Book, and it required all my feeling of a desire to be 
helpful to Charley to make up my mind to that connexion!' 29 

As the publication date neared, there were further negotiations 
with Chapman, who now proposed to pay the editors in three instal 
ments, the last a few weeks after the delivery of the volumes. 1 
suppose we must agree to that?' Georgina asked Ouvry, 'especially 
as I suppose he won't be paid by "the trade" for the first ten weeks?' 



214 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

She and Mamie did not want to be 'female Shylocks*. 'If you will 
write to him . . . saying you agree under protest, to our desire of 
making the concession to him,' she advised, I think it will do? 3 But 
she cautioned Ouvry against arranging to receive payment on 30th 
November, that being a Sunday; it must be the 29th. In the same 
letter she expressed her approval of his suggestion that a copy of the 
Letters be specially bound and sent to the Queen. 30 

A sobering thought, as Georgina waited for the volumes to come 
off the press, was her sister's pathetic condition. Though the end 
had seemed near in January, Catherine had rallied surprisingly and 
was still alive in November. 'My poor sister is very, very ill,* 
Georgina told Ouvry. 'I do not think and indeed I cannot hope 
that she will live long. I am glad to say that she has taken the 
greatest interest and the greatest pleasure in the Book. I really 
think it has been of much joy and comfort to her. Under the sad 
circumstances this has been a real pleasure to Mamie and me.* It 
seemed unfeeling, Georgina admitted, to be writing about business 
at this time. But 'the business must be attended to and she is in 
so bad a state, now, that I feel it all the more necessary and import- 
ant to get all this done while I can'. Of course, Catherine might rally 
again, but not for long. 'God knows it is not to be desired for her 
sake, poor soul!' 31 

For six days more the passive spirit considerately delayed its 
flight. On 21 November 1879 the first two volumes of The Letters 
of Charles Dickens were issued. At eight-thirty the following morning 
Catherine Dickens died. To Georgina she had willed her blue enamel 
snake ring, a present from Count D'Orsay. 32 Though some have 
found the bequest appropriate, Catherine was hardly the sort to 
have made it through any ulterior design. 

In 1881 a third volume of the Letters was ready for the press, 
Dickens's correspondence to Bulwer-Lytton and Austen H. Layard 
having been made available since the earlier printing. Also included 
were two of the less personal letters to Maria Beadnell Winter. 'Do 
you not think those two letters to Mrs. Winter quite wonderful?* 
Georgina asked Annie Fields 'the one about himself and the other 
one after the death of the baby. 3 Absent, for obvious reasons, were 
the reminiscent letters addressed to Maria in February of 1855, in 
which Dickens had revealed himself unabashedly. Even if they had 
been offered for inclusion in this volume, Georgina would hardly 
have published such intimate documents. Her restrained comment 
on Mrs. Winter identified her merely as *a very dear friend and 
companion of Charles Dickens in his youth*. 

In 1882 the three volumes were brought out as two in a cheap 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 215 

edition, with the letters of the third introduced in their chrono 
logical order. 'We have cut and condensed remorselessly,' Georgina 
reported, 'but I hope and think, wisely and well. We have left 
everything that it most interesting. . . .' This edition, she was con 
vinced, would take its 'stand with the other precious books' of 
Dickens. It was, in effect, 'his last Book. We are proud and thankful 
to have produced it,' she exulted to Annie. 3 ^ 

Whether the venture was a financial success is difficult to deter 
mine, since there are no longer any records for this particular publi 
cation at Chapman and Hall. From Georgina's letters it appears 
that the first printing of two thousand copies sold out before the 
actual date of issue. Whether the second printing of three thousand 
did as well is doubtful. And the popular edition of 1882 added 
further production costs. e l hope I shall get a good deal of money 
from the Letters/ Georgina wrote to Annie in December 1882, 'to 
help me to make up that Bill as to which Charley has proved such 
a very hard and tradesmanlike creditor! ... I much prefer to pay 
it and to let Mamie owe her half of it to me, rather than to renew the 
Bill and carry on such very unpleasant relations with Charley and 
his Partner.' 34 It would appear that her generous impulse toward 
her nephew had received a jolt. 



Without previous experience or any actual knowledge of publish 
ing procedures, with only an ardent wish to honour "the beloved 
memory', Georgina and Mamie had brought out the first important 
collection of Dickens's letters. It included general correspondence 
addressed to approximately two hundred persons from 1833 to 8 June 
1870, most of which the Forster biography had not used. The 
selection was aimed, so Georgina told a Birmingham friend, at giving 
'a new and right idea of his great heart and mind' to supplement 
Forster's work, which, however 'faithful* and Very acceptable' as a 
life, 'fails entirely in giving a picture of my dear Brother-in-law; at 
any rate, it gives only one view of him'. 35 There was an unfortunate 
gap in the family letters, for all of Katey's from her father had been 
destroyed in 1873 by the great fire at the Pantechnicon, where most 
of her chattels had been stored following Charles Collins's death. 
From a window at Gloucester Terrace Katey had watched the flames 
with her aunt and sister, not dreaming what building was being 
consumed. 36 So her share in the book had to be limited to an appear 
ance in the dedication: To Kate Perugini, this memorial of her father 
is lovingly inscribed by Tier aunt and sister. From Harry came a most 
useful contribution, a meticulous index for the letters. 



216 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

What editorial practices characterized this work? As Georgina 
and Mamie had from the first chosen to exclude all matter which 
they did not consider to be of a general nature and of justifiable 
public interest, the scope of the edition was necessarily limited. Such 
a policy resulted in alterations of text, deletions of particular pas 
sages, and omission of entire letters. Since many of the manuscripts 
to which the editors had access are still extant, it is often possible to 
check the printed versions against the originals. Such a comparison 
sometimes reveals startling differences. 

A few changes were dictated by Victorian decorum, as in the letter 
to Georgina which refers, in veiled terms, to Dickens's haemorrhoids. 
The original passage reads : * Yesterday morning I was so unwell with 
an internal malady that occasionally at long intervals troubles me 
a little and it was attended with the sudden loss of so much blood 
that I wrote to Frank Beard. . . .' In the Georgina-Mamie edition 
this becomes simply: 'Yesterday morning I was so unwell that I 
wrote to Frank Beard. . . ,' 37 Here, as elsewhere frequently, the 
omission is not indicated by ellipsis periods. Similarly, there is 
nothing to show that Dickens's account of Wilkie Collinses youthful 
love adventure has been expunged from a letter written during the 
Italian jaunt hi 1853. 38 The omission of this passage stems, of course, 
as much from the avoidance of private details about living persons 
as from any ban on indelicacy. Certainly the editors did not insist 
on any extreme prudery of expression. At the close of a letter to 
Macready, for instance, they allowed this message to stand: c Kate 
sends her tender love; so does Georgy, so does Charley, so does 
Mamey, so does Katey, so does Walter, so does the other one who is 
to be born next week'. 39 And the description of an insane Mrs. 
Crowe was left unaltered, except for the omission of her name: 
'Mrs. has gone stark mad and stark naked on the spirit- 
rapping imposition. She was found t'other day in the street, clothed 
only in her chastity, a pocket-handkerchief and a visiting card. She 
had been informed, it appeared, by the spirits, that if she went out 
in that trim she would be invisible.' 40 

As for profanity, the editors had to deal with only the mildest of 
examples, none naming the Deity. Though they once allowed damn 
able to remain, 41 they usually emasculated such expressions by 
means of dashes which seldom concealed the wording of the original, 

'the damndest inn* becoming 'the d dest inn'. The harmless 

deuce, however, they did not permit to retain so much as its initial 
consonant in 'will play the with all public gaieties'. 42 

In such deletions and alterations Georgina and Mamie were only 
following current practice. And they were observing accepted custom 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 217 

in any time by eliminating disparaging comments on their con 
temporaries. The reference to Harriet Martineau as a 'wrong- 
headed woman' and 'such a humbug', the imitations of Dolby's 
stammering, the portrayal of Forster as ridiculously arbitrary and 
egotistic such details had to yield to the canons of good taste. 
Surely the editors would have been unnecessarily tactless to print 
in full Dickens's opinion of one of his amateur actresses: '. . . Miss 
Daly knew best what she was about, yesterday to my unbounded 
amazement. But she is too old for Grace [in a dramatization of The 
Battle of Life], and not pretty enough'. 43 Similarly, in giving 
Dickens's characterization of Cecile Macready as 'exceedingly win 
ning' and 'sensible, gay, pleasant, sweet-tempered; not in the 
faintest degree stiff or pedantic; accessible instantly', the editors, 
averse to deflating a friend, understandably deleted the unfavour 
able comparison of her pulchritude with that of the first Mrs. 
Macready: 'not half so pretty or so buxom'. 44 The same tact 
accounts for their withholding the name of a woman referred to in 
a letter dated from the diminutive Paris apartment occupied by the 

Dickenses in 1856 : e . . . I live in terror of asking to dinner, lest 

she should not be able to get in at the dining-room door. I think (am 
not sure) the dining-room would hold her, if she could be once passed 
in, but I don't see my way to that.' 45 

Reputations also had to be protected, of course. Thus Dickens's 
comments to Georgina on John Blackwood called for excision: 
*. . . I think I told you that I saw him three times in Edinburgh and 
always extremely drunk. Your estimate of him I take to be quite 
correct'. 46 Likewise omitted from a letter to Wilkie Collins was a 
reference to Caroline Graves (Wilkie's mistress), her daughter, and 
the Collins-Graves manage on New Cavendish Street, even though 
couched in such veiled terms that only the initiate could have under 
stood: e l am charmed with the Butler. why was she stopped! 
Ask her flinty mother from me, why, why, didn't she let her convert 
somebody! And here the question arises Did she secretly convert 
the Landlord?*" 

Just as Blackwood and Collins required protection, so Wills and 
Eorster needed to be exonerated. An 1867 letter to Wills was 
inserted, therefore, possibly out of deference to the suggestion which 
he had pencilled across the top: 'This letter so illustrative of one of 
the strong sides of C D J s character powerful will I think ought 
decidedly to be published, in justice to Forster and myself, who dis 
suaded him from America which, killed him eventually'. 48 Accord 
ingly Georgina reproduced those paragraphs in which Dickens had 
answered the opposition of his sub-editor to an American reading 



218 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

tour. Omitted, naturally, were the personal references, like the one 
to Ellen Ternan as 'the Patient'. 

In their insertion or rejection of material, the editors expended 
their zeal chiefly to enhance Dickens's own reputation. Carefully 
pruned were passages which might in any way tarnish the idol that 
they and, for the most part, the world had enshrined. Hence 
references to feasting and drinking were frequently struck out. 
Because Dickens had displayed in his books an obvious relish for 
good eating and the making of gin punch, a minority had repeatedly 
accused him of gluttony and drunkenness. Even after his death 
these aspersions continued. In Boston, for instance, Annie Fields 
was shocked, shortly after his funeral, to hear announced from the 
Tremont Temple pulpit that 'indulgence in drink killed him. Abstin 
ence and rest might have given him two decades more of life. He 
tried these a year ago, and at the same time staved off the threat 
ened attack, but his old habit of life and work returned. His fuel was 
required to keep up the flame.' 49 Such derogatory statements may 
have impelled Fields to assert in 'Our Whispering Gallery' (Atlantic 
Monthly, August 1871) that Dickens had really been extraordinarily 
temperate in his eating and drinking habits. Commenting on this 
'true, delicate, and discriminating* vindication of her idol's char 
acter, Georgina confessed to Annie that Charles had often made her 
angry by his indifference to public opinion and that she had 'some 
times laughingly begged hi not to speak about Ms dinners in a 
joking way he had . . . before certain stupid people who did not 
understand him, and thought it rather wonderful that he should 
attach such importance to his meals'. 50 

Aware of Dickens's reputation for self-indulgence, Georgina ruth 
lessly suppressed all instructions in his letters to her for stocking the 
wine cellar. Why should the public know the extent of his orders of 
sherry, Moselle, champagne, brandy, and gin? Not every mention 
of alcoholic beverages was obliterated, however. When it was a 
matter of showing his conviviality or generous social impulses, the 
references were usually allowed to stand. For example, Dickens had 
once written Wills about witnessing a play by a humble strolling 
company in a schoolroom at Dartford. Having to leave early to 
catch a train, he and Mark Lemon had sent their hotel landlord back 
with the Tnfl.1nn.gg of a celebration for the troupe. The items as listed 
in the letter were printed in full: 

1 bottle superior old port, 

1 do. do. gdden sherry, 

1 do. do. best French brandy, 

1 do. do. 1st quality old Tom gin, 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 219 

1 bottle superior prime Jamaica rum, 

1 do. do. small still Isla whiskey, 

1 kettle boiling water, two pounds finest white lump sugar, 

Our cards, 

1 lemon, 

and 

Our compliments. 51 

Also allowed to remain was the following remark in a letter to 
Wilkie Collins : 'What a pity I am not with, you to make a third at 
the Trois Freres, and drink no end of bottles of Bordeaux, without 
ever getting a touch of redness in my (poet's phrase again) "innocent 
nose".' 52 Any number of similar examples might be supplied. 

Though not in the damaging category of references to liquor, 
financial details were also ruled out. They did not come under the 
heading of what the editors considered legitimate public interest, 
nor did they enhance the dignity of a major literary figure. In fact, 
some of them played into the hands of those detractors who con 
sidered Dickens mercenary. His exuberant reports of enormous 
profits from the reading tours, his explicit comments on the household 
budget and family expenses, his complaints about exorbitant bills 
all such mundane references had to be deleted. That money had 
bulked large in his daily concerns could not be gathered from the 
Georghia-Mamie edition of his letters. 

IsTor would readers know how much Dickens had depended upon 
his sister-in-law. Why should the world be told that he had fre 
quently written to her for shirts, elastic stockings, clean dinner 
jackets, and other changes of apparel? Why give publicity to her 
examining and forwarding his personal correspondence and valuable 
papers? Whose concern was it that he had communicated with her 
regularly about the management of Gad's Hill the hiring and 
reprimanding of servants, the arranging and repairing of furniture, 
the harvesting of hay crops? 

It was not the intention of the editors, however, to suppress the 
picture of Dickens as a private citizen: their Preface made clear that 
the more intimate letters were published 'with the view of showing 
MTTI in his homely, domestic life of showing how in the midst of his 
own constant and arduous work, no household matter was consid 
ered too trivial to claim his care and attention. He would take as 
much pains about the hanging of a picture, the choosing of furniture, 
the superintending any little improvement in the house, as he would 
about the more serious business of his life; thus carrying out to the 
very letter his favourite motto of "What is worth doing at all is 
worth doing well".' One of the letters included from the humble 



220 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Doughty Street days, therefore, shows his detailed concern for the 
practical aspects of a country cottage which he had rented for his 
parents its 'coal-holes, fowl-houses, and meat-safes out of number'; 
the reasonable rent (20 a year) ; and the delightful luck of finding 
an upholsterer with two second-hand carpets for sale. 53 Though full 
of the financial transactions involved in securing and furnishing the 
cottage, the letter stands uncut as an endearing portrait of a great 
man observing necessary frugalities in his youthful beginnings. 
Equally endearing, his editors must have felt, was his plea for 
bright colours in the children's bonnets. 54 

But warily pruned were references to the more private family 
matters: the lack of enterprise in his sons, his burdensome relatives, 
his marriage troubles. Though the natural anxieties of an affectionate 
father are evident in letters to Alfred and Plorn and to G. W. 
Rusden, understandably deleted was the passage in which Dickens, 
three weeks before his death, had reluctantly admitted that his 
youngest son had been 'born without a groove'. Too poignant for 
the public eye was the paternal resignation: 'If he cannot, or will 
not find one, I must try again, and die trying'. 55 Yet, as if to uphold 
Dickens against those who found fault with him for sending a mere 
adolescent so far away, the editors carefully included his own 
defence: that the boy had 'qualified himself for no public examina 
tions in the old country, and could not possibly hold his own against 
any competition for anything to which I could get him nominated'. 56 
But excluded throughout the edition were the more bitter passages 
of disappointment. Missing in a letter to Wills, for example, is the 
mention of 'my boys with a curse of limpness upon them' and their 
'inadaptability to anything'. 57 Allowed to stand, however, were 
playful deprecations of parenthood, such as that addressed to Mrs. 
Cowden Clarke in 1884: 'I loathe domestic hearths. I yearn to be a 
vagabond. Why can't I marry Mary [a character in Used Up]1 Why 
have I seven children not engaged at sixpence a-night apiece, and 
dismissable for ever, if they tumble down, not taken on for an 
indefinite time at a vast expense, and never, no, never, never, 
wearing lighted candles round their heads [as did the fairies in the 
amateur production of The Merry Wives of Windsor]*** 

As far as Georgina was concerned, Forster's Life was the final pub 
lished word on the separation. Dickens's letters to his wife during 
this crisis, his references to Ellen Ternan, his furious statements 
about the Hogarths could only gratify prying curiosity. Besides 
their deletion from the printed text, comments on Ellen were so 
heavily inked out in the originals as to be illegible to the unaided eye. 
Occasionally portions were cut from the letters with scissors. Some, 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 221 

perhaps many, manuscripts were completely destroyed. Georgina 
told Ouvry in 1879 that she had felt no hesitation in burning seven 
or eight of Dickens's early letters referring to the affairs of his father 
or his brother Frederick. (This was part of the correspondence 
addressed to Mitton, a lawyer friend.) A letter dated 21 September 
1842, with 'some remarks about his Father in it, but otherwise . . . 
a pleasant little note', she informed Ouvry, she had 'patched up', 
cutting part away and making two sheets into one. Unwilling to 
subject this manuscript to further snipping, she had resorted, 
according to her own admission, to inking out a passage. 59 

An examination of the ink and the pen strokes in this early can 
cellation, hers without question, makes it possible to recognize the 
same hand in subsequent obliterations. From a comparison of this 
key letter with others, it would appear that Georgina herself 
scratched out all the damaging lines in her own correspondence from 
Dickens, but that two assistants dealt with the remaining holo 
graphs. In ink, in geometric patterns, even in the characteristic 
sputter of the pen, several of the blottings closely resemble those in 
Wilkie Collins's Armadale manuscript. And since Wilkie was 
credited with suggesting a few 'trifling alterations' in the edition, it 
may reasonably be assumed that he helped with some of the can 
cellations.^ Very likely the third hand recognizable in the oblitera 
tions was Mamie's. 

Not all of Georgina's inkings were made for the sake of the 
family's good name. Of those that have yielded up their secrets to 
infra-red photography, one shows her care to preserve the honour 
of a personal friend and fellow Dickens worshipper. *I have also an 
incoherent letter from Mary Boyle or I should say rather gin- 
coherent/ Dickens had written his sister-in-law in 1869. S1 {It was 
not his only joking reference to Mary's letters.) Later Georgina 
heavily crossed out the last clause, even though the letter itself was 
omitted altogether from the published collection. 

That the editors used comparatively little of Dickens's correspond 
ence to his wife has been cited as an instance of Georgina's unfeeling 
attitude toward her sister. It has been stated, furthermore, that 
tender and affectionate passages to and about Catherine were not 
reproduced. Can these charges be substantiated? Though it is true 
that only twenty-three of the letters to Mrs. Dickens were published, 
this is a fairly representative number, considering that Dickens had 
addressed only a few notes to her in the last twelve years of his life. 
Besides, it is the sad truth that in writing to his spouse he had seldom 
appeared as an Inimitable. Georgina was concerned, moreover, to 
use only letters of general interest, a test met by the twenty-three to 



222 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Catherine included in the edition. As for endearments, except for 
the usual affectionate formulas in the salutation and the closing, 
there were few chiefly the playful 'dearest Pig', 'dearest Titmouse 5 , 
and 'darling Tatie' of the courting days. From this period, in which 
the correspondence is particularly flat and monotonous, and seldom 
indicative of a young man in love, only two samples are given. One 
deletes a dull final paragraph explaining why Dickens might not be 
ahle to come to Brompton on Friday and assuring his fiancee that he 
would, in any event, be out early on Saturday. This sort of material, 
utterly devoid of interest, the editors omitted from many a letter to 
anyone whomsoever. 

The other sample is printed without the opening and the closing 
portions roughly two-thirds of the whole. The unpublished final 
passage, a long one of scant interest, contains, it is true, an affection 
ate postscript : 'I wish you were a fixture here I should like to have 
you by me so much'. But it is the deletion of the opening third 
which is more significant in showing the attitude of the editors. 
Throughout the premarital correspondence one note is sounded over 
and over: Dickens's discontent with his 'Tatie's' pettish jealousy of 
his work and her bursts of ill-tempered suspicion whenever his com 
mitments kept her lover away. This is the subject of the omitted 
portion. Whether its inclusion would have won any champions for 
Catherine need hardly be asked: My dearest Life You must not be 
"coss" with what I cannot help. I like the matter of what I have 
done to-day, very much, but the quantity is not sufficient to justify 
my coming out to-night. If the representations I have so often made 
to you, about my working as a duty, and not as a pleasure, be not 
sufficient to keep you in good humour, which you, of all people in 
the World should preserve why then, my dear, you must be out 
of temper, and there is no help for it.' 62 

In all the known correspondence to Catherine during the wedded 
years, only a few expressions of strong affection and approval stand 
out. The most unmistakable of these are kept by the Georgina- 
Mamie edition. A notable instance is the close of a letter written 
after two and a half years of marriage: 'God bless you, my darling. 
I long to be back with you again and to see the sweet Babs. Your 
faithful and most affectionate Husband.' 63 Even the unessential 
though tender bits used as closing formulas for instance, 'Take care 
of yourself, and God bless you' are not sacrificed in the interests of 
compactness. 64 

Nor did Georgina and Mamie delete a rare commendation of 
Catherine for being in a 'methodical, businesslike, and energetic 
state'. But they kept out of print the contrary picture the inept, 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 223 

careless wife who could not even address an envelope properly. 65 In 
making this omission, the editors did a favour, it must be admitted, 
not only to Catherine but to Dickens, who otherwise might have 
been judged as a carping and hypercritical husband. 

As for the accusation that affectionate remarks about Catherine 
are missing in letters to other correspondents, it can only be pointed 
out that, except for the routine courtesy of enclosing her love or her 
compliments, Dickens seldom mentioned his wife. Included, how 
ever, is his praise (to Mitton) of her hardihood and courage on the 
Vesuvius expedition. 66 But an occasional trifle which might present 
her in an unflattering light is ignored : for instance, the remark that 
she is described in a book by Harriet Beecher Stowe, who e is of 
opinion that she is "large" ... I' 67 

As the editors tinkered with their materials, they developed still 
another technique, one naively aimed at improving the originals. 
Sometimes this involved tightening up the loose and rambling 
accounts Dickens had sent Georgina during his reading tours. Thus 
five paragraphs could be reduced to one. 68 Occasionally two or more 
letters of different dates were telescoped as a single entry. Such 
patchwork methods enabled the editors to combine scattered short 
notes or to throw together the more interesting portions of longer 
letters. Needless to say, the reader was kept in ignorance of these 
liberties. 

One highly successful product of this method is a New Year's 
greeting to Wills, dated 2 January 1862, and made up entirely of 
expressions of affectionate good will. It begins: 'My dear Wills, 
Being stationed here for an hour, on my way from Leamington to 
Cheltenham, I write to you. 

Tirstly, to reciprocate all your cordial and affectionate wishes 
for the New Year, and to express my earnest hope that we may 
go on through many years to come, as we have gone on through, 
many years that are gone. And I think we can say that we doubt 
whether any two men can have gone on more happily, and 
smoothly, or with greater trust and confidence in one another. 3 At 
the side of this sentiment in the original Wills had pencilled a 
note to the editors: 'It would gratify me to see this passage in print. 
HWW'. 

They allowed him this gratification and more. Into limbo they 
cast the remaining three paragraphs of the original, made up of odds 
and ends of office business, and attached instead three others con 
cerning a gift which, had Dickens thought of it in time, would have 
made an appropriate New Year's token to his sub-editor. But it 
was not until four months later that he had actually written to 



224 Oeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

announce : c A little packet will come to you from Hunt and Roskell's, 
almost at the same time, I think, as this note. 

'The packet will contain a claret-jug. I hope it is a pretty thing 
in itself for your table, and I know that you and Mrs. Wills will like 
it none the worse hecause it comes from me. 

'It is not made of a perishable material, and is so far expressive 
of our friendship. I have had your name and mine set upon it, 
in token of our many years of mutual reliance and trustfulness. 
It will never be so full of wine as it is today of affectionate 
regard.' 69 

Other examples of the editors' mosaic work may be found here and 
there, the letters to Wills and Collins furnishing the principal oppor 
tunity for their skill. 7 Such liberties sometimes necessitated the 
rewording or the addition of a phrase or sentence. Since Qeorgina 
and Mamie were following a fairly common nineteenth-century prac 
tice, however, they felt no compunctions over methods which must 
have driven many a later student of the same material to the verge 
of madness. 

It is true that the editors now and then inserted a row of asterisks 
to indicate a lengthy deletion, or the customary three ellipsis 
periods for a briefer one, but their practice was sporadic and incon 
sistent. If it grew out of any recognizable policy, it would seem to 
have been one of throwing dust into the reader's eye. That is, a 
row of giant asterisks or a period triplet might conscientiously indi 
cate the omission of such dull and trivial matter as *I walked 
over to Maryport today, to see what letters were there, and to ask 
the Postmaster to send any more he might have over here. I found 
none from you, but hardly supposed I should so soon.' 71 Anyone 
whose curiosity, thus aroused, urged him to look up and examine 
the original would soon find the game not worth the candle. But 
interred without a trace was many a reference to titillate the reader 
and, more important, to reveal what manner of man the writer 
was. Among the more significant of such deletions was Dickens's 
confession of finding in Faust a mournful echo of things that lie in 
my own heart'. 

How was the edition received? If contemporary reviews are any 
indication, the reactions ranged from unqualified praise to mild 
disapproval. The Westminster Review commended the work for 
increasing the readers* 'affectionate regard for Dickens' memory' 
and thanked the editors for having produced 'another book from 
Charles Dickens' hands*. 72 The Athenaeum, sedate organ of critical 
opinion, considered the letters necessary to clear up Forster's Life, 
and observed that no pains had been spared to make the collection 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand 3 225 

complete. 73 By the Saturday Review it was likewise hailed for its 
information about those portions of Dickens's life of which his 
biographer had had little knowledge. 'A sort of irregular biography/ 
the reviewer called it. 74 William Minto, writing for the Fortnightly 
Review, insisted that 'no formal portrait could be half so vivid' 
because the book brings us 'nearer to the man as he was than any 
biographer could have brought us'. 75 For an appraisal in the London 
Times Georgina waited impatiently. 'Of course we want a notice in 
The Times, and it is odd they don't give us one/ she fretted two 
weeks after the release of the first printing. 'I should think The Times 
should hardly be likely to be the only paper that does not notice a 
book with that name!' 76 When the tardy review finally appeared 
within the month, it delighted her by lauding the edition as 'virtually 
a new biography' to supplement the 'strangely incomplete' Life by 
Forster. 77 

Of the negative notices, that in the Atlantic Monthly was perhaps 
the most outspoken. (By this time Fields was no longer connected 
with this journal.) Chiefly it criticized the letters as 'not very dis 
creetly edited' because they brought out Dickens's patronizing atti 
tude toward America and in the main emphasized his 'astonishment 
and exultation at the success of his readings' there. 78 

More moderate in tone was the valid judgment of Matthew Browne 
as pronounced in the Contemporary Review. After pointing out that 
'published collections of private letters are usually disappointing 
things, and these two large volumes . . . constitute no exception', he 
criticized the edition for not giving the reader the key to Dickens's 
'interior life'., for presenting only those features already well known, 
such as his love for the young, facts about his health, and the 
routine of his activities. 'If about half of the collection, as it stands, 
were omitted/ Browne concluded, 'and such of the more private 
letters as could properly be made public, were printed, we should 
receive a much more nearly perfect impression of the man.' 79 This 
cogent criticism gets at the underlying weakness of the work, a 
weakness that stemmed from Georgina's worship of her idol. Intent 
on suppressing many intimate details of Dickens's private life, she 
kept the whole man from emerging in his letters. Her policy 
amounted, virtually, to canonization. It was this protective concern 
that prompted the late Count de Suzannet to characterize the 
edition as 'somewhat disingenuously bowdlerized'. 80 



During her long occupation with the letters, Georgina still felt 
Dickens to be the mainspring of her life. 'Ten years ago!' she 



226 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

exclaimed in June of 1880. 'It seems in one way, impossible, it can 
be so long and in another view, it appears but yesterday! . . . 
Every year only seems to make his presence more actual. I suppose, 
in a degree, it may be accounted for by his passing away as he did 
in the very fullness of Ms life, with no previous decay of mental or 
bodily powers but I can never think of him but as a Being full of 
life, and brightness, and influence over everything and everybody 
about him. I am thankful that it becomes intensified, instead of 
modifying as the years roll on/ 81 

Only that bright memory remained constant, for each year 
wrought changes in the family. The Australian mail in June of 1880 
brought the news of Plorn's coming marriage to Constance Desailly, 
the daughter of a prominent settler. Now that Plorn was in posses 
sion of his inheritance from his mother, he saw no reason to postpone 
the event to the year after her death. 'Why should you, after all?' 
Aunt Georgy reassured him. It was right, she told Annie Fields, that 
he should have a wife and home in the distant country where he had 
his occupation. The announcement set her to reminiscing on the boy 
who had been 'his Father's pet'. 'God bless him dear old Fellow! I 
hope and pray he may be very happy in his marriage/ She wrote to 
Plorn to ask what wedding gift he preferred 'something that will 
last for ever'. To the bride she sent an affectionate welcome into 
the family. 82 

A year later Georgina's letters to Annie began to pour forth con 
solation drawn from her own experience, for in April James Fields 
died. Faithful Annie nevertheless remembered the solemn 9th June 
that her friend would be observing. f l knew you would not forget!' 
Georgina answered. 'On the contrary, I felt sure that as you say, 
you "never remembered so much or so keenly", but I did not expect 
that you would write.' She appreciated fully Annie's 'utter inability 
to go on'. For it was not at first, she knew, 'that the full bitterness 
and realization' of such grief were felt. 'But you will be better, my 
dear Annie! believe me,' she wrote reassuringly. 'I know you will. 
You have a strong, wholesome nature and "Time will be good to 
you" as it always is to those who do not insist on morbid self indul 
gence or sorrow.' And from her own heart she added, 'Of course the 
happiness of your life is over! it would be vain to speak of the possi 
bility of a return to that but you will gain peace. . . / She mar 
velled at Annie's courage in undertaking and completing within the 
year her biographical work on Fields. It must have been a 'blessed 
occupation . . . , although mingled with bitter tears!' 83 But for James 
Fields, no immortal, the two Dickens idolaters refrained from 
establishing the annual rituals of mourning in perpetuity. 



A New Book from the 'Dear Dead Hand' 227 

In 1882 Annie, accompanied by Sarah Orne Jewett, visited Eng 
land. 'Indeed we shall not forget to be glad to see each other!' 
Georgina promised on receiving the news of the proposed trip. And 
after Annie's first call on her at 11 Strathmore Gardens, she sent 
word, f lt was sweet and pleasant to have you although there were 
sad memories revived by seeing your face, with its gentle sorrowful 
expression, in our changed lives!' Annie once more urged Georgina to 
visit her in Boston, an invitation issued many times since Dickens's 
death. But however appealing the prospect of seeing her friend's 
Boston home, Georgina declined again. Of an ocean voyage, she 
admitted, she had no fears, for she was never seasick. But financial 
considerations argued against such a long trip. 84 

While Mrs. Fields was still in England, Georgina wrote her of a 
'heavy trouble and anxiety' that had befallen.. Returning from a 
trip to Boulogne with Harry and his wife more and more she was 
to accompany them on their travels she learned that Mamie was 
in an Edinburgh hospital, recovering from an operation for glau 
coma. Though the patient preferred to have none of her family with 
her, Georgina lived in constant readiness to heed the first call. Hap 
pily, the surgery proved successful, without leaving any serious 
disfigurement of the eye as had at first been feared. 85 

By the end of 1882, the year in which the final volume of the 
Letters was published, Georgina was able to find something of the 
old delight in Christmas again. After church she spent the day with 
Harry and his family. ' We had lunch, and the sweet chicks had their 
Christmas dinner with us/ she wrote Annie, 'and afterwards, they 
had a Christmas Tree with a few more children and some grown up 
"family" added to the party and the little ones were 50 happy that 
it was impossible to help feeling reflected Christmas happiness in being 
with them and in living.' But there was also a hint of perplexity, 
for Mamie's restlessness had put Georgina in a 'wretched state' as to 
her own future living plans. She wished something would force her 
to a decision. 'In short/ she admitted, 'I suppose it is rather the 
Micawber frame of mind hoping and trusting that something will 
"turn up" to show me a clearer path ahead!' Her comfort in this 
perplexity she declared to be the sense of 'the Beloved Bead' remain 
ing in some mystic way 'a sympathy and a help with our poor every 
day troubles'. 86 It was like the touch of the 'dear dead Hand'. 



Chapter Fourteen 
GUARDIAN OF THE 4 BELOVED MEMORY 9 



RULED by the one obsession, Georgina found that 'life slips away, 
with very little variety, but the years seem to pass with wonderful 
quickness!' She was gradually growing a little less active physically, 
a little plumper, a little more inclined to cluck maternally over her 
nieces and nephews and all the grandnieces and grandnephews with 
their teething troubles, whooping cough, and other childhood ills. 1 
And she was growing increasingly crotchety whenever non- 
worshippers dared approach her idol's shrine. After Dickens's death, 
anticipating the volleys of irreverent journalists, critics, and scandal 
mongers, she had built a wall around his name; and she zealously 
devoted the remaining forty-seven years of her life to repairing the 
breaches in this defence. In time her position won public recogni 
tion. Declared a caption under her portrait in Nosh's Magazine: 
'No one living has so wide or intimate a knowledge of Charles 
Dickens, or exercises a more loving guardianship of his memory 7 . 2 

Suspecting that even a trivial detraction from his dignity might 
upset Georgina, Annie Fields had approached her apologetically in 
1871 on the subject of the Atlantic Monthly 'Whispering Gallery', 
which had been devoting considerable space to Dickens, including 
an account of his part in the ludicrous walking match between 
Osgood and Dolby in 1868. 'You need have no fear of "a barrier 
being raised" between us by the "Whispering Gallery"/ Georgina 
had reassured her friend. 'There are some things Mamie and I would 
rather not have had published, as you may imagine. The Walking 
Match, for one thing it was so entirely a joke, that it seems to me 
as if the Public had no business with it. However, it matters little, 
after all, and I am sure the whole thing is done, as you say, in the 
spirit of tenderest love.* 3 

Some two years later, though, while Forster was still living, the 
same periodical offended again, this time gravely; and as a result 
Georgina became involved in a rather embarrassing correspondence 
with the Fieldses. She had been commissioned, she wrote after the 
second volume of the Life had appeared, to inquire about a review 
in February 1873, 'an artide most contemptiious and disparaging of 



Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 229 

Charles not only of Mr. Forster or of his book, pray understand, 
but of Charles himself. Though she had not seen it she never read 
anything of the kind, she protested what Forster had told her of 
its 'tone' filled her with indignation. How could a journal edited by 
Osgood *be allowed to contain any depreciating and disrespectful 
mention' of Dickens? Had he not always spoken of Osgood 'with 
such hearty good will and kindness'? It was unthinkable that the 
publisher who had made many of the arrangements for the American 
reading tour and had travelled everywhere with Charles in 1868, 
could sanction such detraction. Did Fields still have any connection 
with the Atlantic Monthly, or any power over it? Georgina assumed 
not, but Foster would like definite assurance. He wished it under 
stood, furthermore, that he did not object because of any criticism 
disrespectful to himself. It was solely because of what had been 
written about Dickens that he wanted to know where to place the 
responsibility. 'I hope you will be so good as to send me a note in 
answer to this exclusively ',' Georgina suggested, 'that when we 
return to our usual correspondence together this painful subject 
need not be alluded to, at all.' 4 

How offensive was the article that had stirred up this trouble? 
Objecting to the attitude Dickens had expressed towards Americans 
(in letters quoted in the Life), the reviewer had dared to call him 4 a 
high-pressure egotist . . . eager for gain, and dismayed by smaller 
profits than he expected. . . .' He had condemned Dickens's 'fatigu 
ing' exaggeration and deplored his consummate self-absorption. 'A 
man of unquestionable genius, 3 chided the review, e his material, at 
its finest, was never of the finest. The melodramatic was his notion 
of the dramatic, the eloquent was his idea of the poetic ; his humour 
was burlesque ; his pathos never too deep for tears/ There was harsh 
criticism, too, of Forster, the 'jealous and greedy intimate', for quot 
ing principally from the letters to himself, as though he 'did not like 
to connect any other name with Dickens's'. 5 

What Annie wrote in response to Georgina's query has not been 
preserved. Since Fields had given up his connections with the 
Atlantic Monthly before the review appeared, he would, of course, 
have been absolved from blame. But there were ruffled feelings. 'I 
told Mr. Forster just what you said in your letter,' Georgina an 
swered Annie. 'He is sorry that you should have taken his message 
as "an attack" on Mr. Fields, and assures you that he had no intention 
of making an attack.' 6 This had been, assuredly, a delicate situation, 
not to be mentioned in subsequent letters. 

Even as she corresponded with Annie Fields about this matter, 
Georgina was in high dudgeon over another issue. For on 19 



230 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

November 1873, while scanning the theatrical notices in the London 
Times, she had been startled by the following item : 

CHAEING CROSS. Charles Dickens the only farce that was 
ever written by this great humourist, and which is entitled 
The Strange Gentleman mil be revived tonight, and until 
further notice. 

Who could have authorized this performance? Certainly the execu 
tors had never been approached on the matter. The Strange Gentle 
man was an early attempt at dramatic authorship which Dickens 
had been especially concerned to suppress. Written as a practical 
joke for a friend, the comedian John P. Harley, it had not been 
revived since its only appearance at St. James's Theatre in 1836. 
Seven years later, considering it a blot on his career, Dickens had 
averred that he would not have it repeated for a thousand pounds. 7 
And now it was on the boards at Charing Cross! Distressed, Geor 
gina clipped the notice from her paper and sent it to Ouvry, with a 
note urging immediate action. 

The solicitor set to work at once. First he obtained the name of 
the producer, W. H. C. Nation. At the same time he learned that 
the advertisement in The Times, though only just noticed by 
Georgina, had been appearing regularly since 27th October. Then, 
determined not to overlook any technicalities, he inquired of 
Chapman and Hall, the publishers of the farce, whether Dickens had 
disposed of the copyright. 

While Ouvry waited for his answer, Forster, also alerted by 
Georgina, lost no time in launching his own investigation. On 19th 
November he wrote to the producer, challenging his legal rights to 
the burletta. The next day brought an answer from Nation. The 
Strange Gentleman, he wrote, had been placed in his hands by one 
of the late managers of Sadler's Wells Theatre, with the understand 
ing that it had ceased to be Dickens's property. Should this assump 
tion be wrong, the piece would be withdrawn from the bills as soon 
as another could be rehearsed. 'I may add,' he remarked solicitously 
in a postscript, 'that were you to visit the Theatre I think you would 
be pleased with the manner in which the farce is acted, though of 
course this does not affect the question as to whether it ought to be 
acted at all.' 8 Forster forwarded this reasonable letter to Ouvry, 
adding some comments of his own. 'Here is a cool Epistle, just come, 
from the Gentleman question G. H. [Georgina Hogarth] will . . . 
have sent you/ he pontificated. Though damages could probably 
not be collected, 'the fellow must be made to stop the thing'. But the 
estate was not to be committed to 'certain Expenses'. 9 



Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 231 

Georgina also kept prodding Ouvry to bring Nation to terms. 'He 
is in a wrong position altogether and could, I should imagine, be 
easily frightened into withdrawing the piece, without more ado 
supposing no penalties were insisted upon/ she contended shrewdly. 
With 'a little mM and judicious (not peremptory!!) legal intimida 
tion' he could be brought to halt the production, she believed. 10 

Forster lent further encouragement to this suggestion of intimidat 
ing Nation. There was, of course, still the unanswered question as 
to whether the acting rights of the farce belonged to the family. But 
Nation must be made to think that they did. 'Just put a bold face 
upon it as if you had every proof you have not,' Forster urged 
Ouvry, 'and you will see that he will make immediate suppression.' 11 

Forster was right. Threatened with legal action, Nation yielded. 
'In my letter to Mr. John Forster I asked him if he would feel satis 
fied with my withdrawing the farce "The Strange Gentleman" as 
soon as I could get another old farce rehearsed,' he wrote Ouvry, 
'but he has not had the courtesy to send a reply. 5 So, rather than 
risk litigation over a production which had 'proved anything but 
remunerative', Nation had decided at 'much inconvenience' to 
remove 'it at once from the boards'. 12 

It was a real victory for Georgina and Forster. So effectual had 
been their strategy that all performances were cancelled abruptly 
only four days after the notice in The Times had come to their atten 
tion. There had not even been a sufficient interval for a reply from 
Chapman and Hall to Ouvry's query about the copyright. The 
answer would have made little difference, however, for the pub 
lishers' records failed to show whether Dickens had held on to the 
acting rights. It was on questionable legal grounds, therefore, that 
the unauthorized revival of the farce had been quelled. But Geor 
gina had no qualms about the validity of her tactics. All that 
mattered was that Charles's wishes had been respected in the 
theatrical demise of The Strange Gentleman.* 3 

Much less agreeable was the aftermath of an episode occurring 
three years later. At the home of a friend one day Georgina picked 
up the April 1876 issue of Temple Bar. Flipping through its pages, 
she came to an article on Forster, who had then been dead two 
months. She read just enough, she later wrote Annie Fields, 'to be 
more than angry deeply hurt, and wounded not so much by 
what he says of Forster as by the use of Charles's name and even 
of mine. . . ,' 14 The author of this inflammatory piece was R. H. 
Home, a former contributor to Household, Words and at one time 
a friend of Dickens. From 1852 to 1869 he had been an inspector 
of lands in Australia, leaving his wife behind in England. Once 



232 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

on intimate terms with a number of the Dickens circle, he had 
thrown together his recollections for this offending biographical 
sketch. 

It mocked at Forster's 'pompous airs and dictatorial voice' and at 
the 'imposing hauteurs' which had amused even the 'most intimate 
associates'. Dickens, for one, had secretly enjoyed his friend's 
ridiculous posturing and had smiled indulgently at his 'pomp and 
dignity of behaviour'. A case in point was his reaction to the hidden 
bath Forster had devised for the space under his window seat a 
specially constructed tub, neatly lined with zinc. 'A fine thing that 
I flatter myself . . . for a refresher before breakfast/ had been the 
owner's proud boast. But Dickens, amused, had declared privately 
to Home that Forster could never get into his tub : 'If he did, he 
would squeeze every drop of water out of it!' Another time Forster 
had convulsed the Dickens household by demonstrating the steps 
learned a few months earlier in private dancing lessons. Appearing 
in glazed leather shoes whose toes extended at least two inches 
beyond his own, he had waltzed with a younger member of the 
family to impress the seated onlookers. Bent over his small partner, 
his feet 'thrust out in a peculiarly marked style, at every turn', he 
had looked so ludicrous that Dickens, to conceal his astonishment 
and suppress incipient guffaws, had retreated to another room. And 
Georgina, in response to Home's remarks on Forster's antics, had 
exclaimed, 'I really can't tell you, but his absurdities are a constant 
source of amusement to us. I don't know what we should do 
without him,' 

Incensed by the use of Charles's name and her own in this unflat 
tering sketch of a friend, Georgina denounced Home as 'one of the 
most contemptible and disagreeable of mankind'. Because of his 
disgraceful treatment of his wife, whom he had never sent a penny 
during his seventeen years in Australia, Forster and Dickens had 
both refused to see him or correspond with him after his return to 
England. This article, then, must have been intended as his 
revenge. 15 

That 'such a little old, conceited, selfish miserable specimen of a 
man' should have used the name of Dickens in this deplorable 
fashion did not surprise Georgina. 'I often used to tell Charles that 
he was too open with many people and too much in the habit of 
judging other men by himself/ she recalled, ignoring her own verbal 
indiscretions, 'also that he did not remember how small things and 
sayings of his were noted down by those about him to be used 
some day and little jokes which he may have made without the 
smallest unkindness or idea of disloyalty to his friends, in moments 



Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 233 

of confidence, look and sound so different when they are seriously 
and maliciously written down after the death of both men!' 16 

Some years later Georgina was again infuriated, this time by an 
article published in an American newspaper. It was called to her 
attention when Annie Fields, who collected all manner of items for 
her Dickens scrapbook, inadvertently slipped one of her clippings 
into an envelope with her letter. Challenged, Annie promptly 
explained that she had not read the cutting before it got away. This 
newspaper story evoked a heated response. '. . . It annoyed me 
very much and was all a lie!' Georgina insisted as she summarized 
its contents for her friend. 'It was written by some one who professed 
to have had from Charles's own lips! some most extraordinary revela 
tions and confidences as to his (C's) experiences of mesmerism and 
also his (C's) avowal of himself as spiritualist^ What could be more 
absurd than charging Dickens with a belief in spiritualism? 'You 
know what his opinion was of all that imposture!' As for his mesmeric 
demonstrations, they had been fully treated in the letters to Forster 
in the Life. Any departure from the facts as there presented was a 
deliberate distortion of the truth. How preposterous the claim by 
the author of this article that Charles had given him magnetized 
shirt fronts and collars, or had caused a Sheffield woman, under a 
hypnotic spell, to experience 'amazing visions and contortions'! 
Dismissing these fabrications as of 'no real consequence', though 
they had angered her at the time, Georgina appealed to Annie to 
contradict such stories at every opportunity. n 

A ruder jolt was the unauthorized publication in 1883 of some 
early Dickens letters to Thomas Mitton. Since they dealt in part 
with such strictly private matters as the financial embarrassments of 
Charles's father and brother Fred, there were sordid details whose 
circulation distressed her. Why should the general public be given 
more information about this unfortunate chapter in the family 
history than had already been divulged by Forster in the Lifel 
Little had Georgina suspected, while examining these letters four 
years earlier, that they were soon to see print. At that time they 
had just been purchased by Ouvry, a great collector of autographs, 
and she had been asked to go through them. Though hard pressed 
to get on with her edition of the Dickens letters, she had spent many 
hours on this assignment, determining dates wherever possible for 
the undated manuscripts, repairing the torn and mouse-eaten places, 
and arranging the whole chronologically. Seven or eight of the 
strictly private letters she had burned without scruple. Some 
others dealing with the same family affairs she had hesitated to 
destroy, however, because they were especially interesting specimens 



234 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

of Dickens's early correspondence. 'But I trust, if you see there is 
any impropriety in any of these letters being kept, you will destroy 
them/ she had advised Ouvry. 18 

But he had not destroyed any of them. Instead, he had assembled 
them with a number of other letters by and to Dickens, as well as 
some engraved portraits of the family, and had ordered the collec 
tion mounted and bound in dark morocco to form two large quarto 
volumes. Two years later, in June of 1881, he died suddenly. When 
his executors sold his valuable library the following year, the recently 
bound letters were purchased by Sotheran and Company, who in 
turn offered them for sale at two hundred guineas. They went to an 
American, J. W. Bouton. In 1883 selections from this collection 
were printed in the New York Tribune. 19 At this point Georgina 
re-entered the picture. 

'A " Dickens Correspondence" of great interest has just passed 
into the hands of Mr. J. W. Bouton, the well-known publisher of 
Broadway, New York,' she read in the London Times for 27th 
October. The news item announced that these letters would 'throw 
much light upon the early struggles and first literary achievements 
of Dickens' as selections appeared in the Tribune. There was also a 
reference to Georgina's part in arranging and dating the manu 
scripts. 'We shall give the gist of the most interesting of these docu 
ments, or quote the letters themselves/ The Times promised. Thus 
did Georgina learn that some of the strictly personal correspondence 
which she had handled for Ouvry was now being made public. 
Would it appear, then, that she as Dickens's executrix had sanc 
tioned such publication? Stung by this suggestion, she rushed into 
action. 

'I beg emphatically to state that I have nothing whatever to do 
with the publication of these letters, or am in any way connected 
with it/ she declared in an announcement which The Times inserted 
for her on 29th October. 'In my capacity as executrix, I denounce 
the making public in England of this correspondence as an infringe 
ment on my rights; and on behalf of every member of Mr. Charles 
Dickens's family, I wish it also to be well known how utterly repug 
nant to our feelings is the publication of some of these letters.' But 
out of loyalty to her old friend she absolved Ouvry of any blame for 
the unauthorized appearance of the letters. 'He was a man of the 
finest tact and delicacy of feeling/ she maintained, 'and I can only 
imagine that his ill health during the years that preceded his sudden 
death must have prevented him from leaving due instructions as to 
the disposal of his correspondence/ 

And apparently it was true that he had never thought of making 



Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 235 

his collection public. According to Thomas W. Newton, who had 
assisted him with his library and had prepared the Dickens manu 
scripts for binding, the two quarto volumes had been valued solely 
as personal reminiscences of a great author and friend and had never 
been intended for the press. Any letters Ouvry considered fit for 
publication had already appeared in the Georgina-Mamie edition. 

To her belief in him as a friend who had meant well Georgina gave 
further support in a letter to Annie: 'Yes it was indeed, a worry 
and a shock, about Mr. Ouvry's letters! I assure you it made me ill. 
Indeed, I think I have been ... as much vexed for dear Mr. Ouvry's 
memory as for our own share of the annoyance. He was the very 
last man who would ever have dreamed of allowing the publication 
of private letters. He was one of the most delicate, most discreet and 
judicious of men. The only blame I allow to Mm is that he ought, 
certainly, to have made some special disposition in his will as to 
these letters both his own, and some letters that he bought after 
the death of a Mr. Mitton. . . .' This oversight, she assumed, was 
probably the result of his bad heath and failing memory in later 
years. Having made his will in 1876, he had not touched it again 
before his death. 'So I shall always believe that he did intend to 
have made some specific disposal of them and, like many men, put 
it off until his sudden death stopped all his earthly plans!' 20 

But for his executors, one of them his brother, she had only 
reproof. Without looking over the letters, they had simply sold 
them in a lump to a dealer. 'There was nothing in any of these 
which reflected anything but credit to Charles himself ,' she admitted, 
'but the private affairs of his Father and family, which were never 
very creditable, were freely written of ... and we would never have 
sanctioned their publication. 3 Had Ouvry's executors applied to her, 
as they should have done before selling the documents, she would 
have interdicted the sale of the more private ones. Of the rest they 
could have made any disposition they pleased. 'It was a shameful 
carelessness,' she charged. 21 

Ten years later the same old family skeleton was on exhibit again. 
This time it was Percy Fitzgerald who perpetrated the offence. 'I 
was very much surprised and I had better confess at once, VERY 
much annoyed when I saw in yesterday's "Globe" a letter of old 
Mr. Dickens to Chapman & Hall published by you,' Georgina wrote 
him. Had Fred Chapman given Mm this letter? If so, there should 
have been a stipulation not to make it public. 'Quite enough state 
ment has already been made on the subject of Micawber being taken 
from C. D.'s Father,' she complained, 'and if this publication should 
bring forth any more Disagreeable statements, I shall be most sorry 



236 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

and angry. '2 2 The letter in question was one which John Dickens 
had written to Chapman and Hall in 1837, asking for an advance of 
15. 5s. on a bill due his son two months hence. What concern, 
demanded Georgina, could the public possibly have in the matter? 
How incensed Charles had always been when the lives of great men 
and their families had been raked up in this fashion! 

It was not Fitzgerald's last outrage against the Dickens family. In 
April of 1902 Harper's New Monthly Magazine carried his article 
entitled 'Dickens in His Books 5 . Part of it was devoted to an 
analysis of the novelist's affection for Mary Hogarth. It raised the 
question why Mary's 'charms she was more attractive and had 
always secretly loved him did not appeal 3 to Dickens before his 
marriage to Catherine (mistakenly referred to in the discussion as the 
younger sister). Could the answer be found in The Battle of Life? 
Had Mary, knowing Catherine's feeling for Charles, hidden her own 
affections? This speculation, Fitzgerald maintained, was the 'only 
one' that would 'rationally account for Dickens not marrying the girl 
he loved'. 

On this occasion Henry Fielding Dickens rose to the defence of 
his father, doubtless with the concurrence and advice of Aunt 
Georgy. In a devastating letter to Harper's, published by the 
editors with due apology for giving offence to the family, Harry 
took Fitzgerald to task for his errors in fact and his absurd specula 
tion. Mary was not the older sister ; she was only fifteen at the time 
of Dickens's marriage and still in school. At the age of seventeen 
she died. This information Fitzgerald could have found for himself, 
had he 'taken the most ordinary precautions to verify facts', either 
by consulting Forster's Life or, 'better still, by communicating with 
some member of the family, before speculating in public upon 
matters connected entirely 5 with Dickens's private life. His article 
was 'obviously calculated to give an entirely false impression' of the 
novelist's affection for his young sister-in-law. 

It was something of a trial to Georgina, this deserved reprimand 
to Percy Fitzgerald. He was actually a sincere Dickens admirer, 
with -whom she had carried on a warm correspondence through the 
years as occasion dictated. She had condoled with him on the death 
of his father, had congratulated him on an article in the Illustrated 
London News, had appealed to him when she wished to make a gift 
to e an old lady, a very dear friend of ours, Mrs. White . . . living 
in Devonshire', who had 'taken quietly to amusing herself with 
acrostics'. Where, Georgina asked, might she find a book of acrostics 
like Percy's own? In time the well-meaning Fitzgerald, having 
twice been slapped on the wrist, was restored to favour. At the age 



Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 237 

of eighty -four G-eorgina was still corresponding with him, inviting 
him to 'see my small flat' and thanking him for reviving her 
'departed' energy by bringing up Dickensian topics afresh. 23 

In the late 1880's Georgina stood guard like a dragon over the 
treasure of Dickens's honour while F. G. Kitton was collecting 
materials for his Dickens by Pen and Pencil. She carefully watched 
the preparation of the bulky folio, exercising her right as executrix to 
hold back any pictures or letters which she deemed unsuitable for 
general circulation. As the work went to press she diligently read the 
proof sheets. She also directed Kitton to valuable sources of informa 
tion and pointed out inaccuracies in his work. 'But for her aid/ he 
stated in his warm acknowledgement, 'many errors might have 
disfigured these pages.' 24 

Chiefly, she corrected faulty assumptions that had somehow 
gained varied degrees of acceptance, like the identification of Bleak 
House with Fort House at Broadstairs. She blasted the claim that 
Dickens had used this seaside cottage as his original, pointing out 
that he had not written a line of Bleak House there, that the story 
very plainly indicated a locale near St. Albans, Hertfordshire, and 
that the description did 'not in the least resemble' Fort House. 25 
Such 'silly little false statements', she wrote Annie Fields, 'do annoy 
me!' 26 She also corrected the impression that Dickens had acted in 
Planche's A Romantic Idea at Drury Lane on 11 May 1855, under 
the name of George Warwick. That he had not appeared in the play, 
she affirmed, was borne out by Edmund Yates, a member of the 
cast. 27 And she bristled at a statement by a former pupil of Welling 
ton House Academy that Dickens, as a boy, had shown no musical 
ability, his teacher 'declaring it was vain to teach him the piano'. 
She insisted that 'he was very fond of it [music] in after life, and had 
a most excellent ear and a good voice, but I daresay it would have 
been useless to have taught him music at school'. 28 

Her protective zeal further asserted itself in withholding a 
facsimile page from the manuscript of a juvenile dramatic piece, a 
travesty of Othello, which Dickens had written in 1833 for his family 
and friends. She considered the work unworthy of his later stature. 
(Curiously enough, though Kitton was prevented from using the 
manuscript, Robert Langton. had already published a facsimile page 
some years earlier.) 29 

Though Georgina made every effort to keep objectionable material 
out of Kitton' s book, she was not consulted, apparently, during the 
preparation of a supplement, to which a number of Dickens's friends 
contributed reminiscences. KTot subjected to her censorship, some 
of these entries included items which would certainly not have seen 



238 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

print had her consent been asked. There was, for example, an 
account by Arthur Locker of how Dickens had resuscitated the 
nearly drowned John Leech by 'making mesmeric passes', sparks 
shooting from the ends of his fingers. 30 

Piqued by the publicity given such absurd details, Georgina 
dashed off a note to the publisher. C I can only repeat that you and 
Mr. Kitton and I see the subject from totally different points of 
view!' she expostulated, 'and that personalities which you consider 
interesting and which are, I suppose, found interesting to the Public 
are painful to Mr. Dickens' family, because on the whole they 
give an entirely false impression of him!' Though she recognized the 
author's desire to 'show all reverence' and 'do justice', she felt that 
Kitton had been 'too ready to accept contributions from everybodyl 
Whether they really knew anything of Mr. Dickens or whether they 
did notr And she reminded the publisher that the work had so far 
enjoyed the sanction of the family, that she had read the proof and 
'kept a great deal of matter out of the work that was absolutely 
untrue', that she and Katey had contributed various portraits of 
Dickens, and that Mamie had written one of the entries. 31 The tone 
throughout her letter was one of aggrieved astonishment over the 
utter disregard of family feeling. 

It is interesting to speculate on her further shock when she dis 
covered the footnote supplied for a description of a photograph of 
Dickens at Gad's Hill, leaning against a column . . . holding in his 
right hand a glass of wine'. The wine glass, Kitton's note pointed 
out, had been 'omitted in the wood-cut reproduction in Forster's 
Life, and replaced by a book in an enlarged American copy'. 32 

It was to be expected that Georgina would hold inviolable any 
details about Dickens's early romance with Maria Beadnell and his 
later attachment for Ellen Ternan. What consternation, therefore, 
when in 1908 his letters to Maria appeared in an unauthorized publi 
cation by the Boston Bibliophile Society! In 1905, almost twenty 
years after Maria's death, her daughter Ella had sold the precious 
packet of correspondence tied up with a faded blue ribbon. Shocked 
by the printing of these intimate and tender missives, Georgina, with 
the concurrence of Harry, banned the Boston publication in Eng 
land. But one copy passed the customs and came into the hands of 
B. W. Matz, then editor of the Dickensian, who could not under 
stand why Georgina had always opposed his use of any letter to 
Maria in his journal. Even her name had been taboo. After he had 
shown Georgina his copy of the Boston book, she privately recorded 
her recollections of Maria and her husband. This note ultimately 
found its way into print when at long last the Beadnell letters were 



Guardian of the 'Beloved Memory' 239 

brought out in an English, edition in 1934, seventeen years after 
Georgina's death. 

The possibility that Dickens's relations with Ellen Ternan might 
be subjected to prying scrutiny was even more repugnant than the 
publication of his letters to Maria. On learning, therefore, that 
Thomas Wright was collecting materials for a biography of Dickens, 
Georgina appealed to him by letter to preserve certain privacies. 
Though Wright did not publicize the exact contents of this corres 
pondence, she apparently had asked him not to divulge a story 
Canon Benham had told him of Ellen's confessing to intimacies with 
Dickens. 'But there was no need for perturbation/ Wright remarked 
later, maintaining that it would have been cruel to make such revela 
tions at that early date, when his 'conscience would have been a 
greater barrier than Miss Hogarth's letters 5 . 33 

Of all the stories Georgina felt called upon to contradict, that 
linking Dickens's name with the notorious Druce trial was the most 
fantastic. Though the case did not actually reach the courts until 
1907, it had its beginnings in 1896, with a petition for the opening 
of a coffin in one of the vaults of Highgate Cemetery, which, accord 
ing to the records, held the remains of Thomas Charles Druce, a 
London tradesman with whom Dickens had dealt. The burial there 
in 1864, the petition alleged, had been falsified; the coffin would be 
found empty. Druce, it was charged, had in reality been the name 
assumed by William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, fifth Duke of 
Portland, after the mysterious death of his older brother, with whom 
he had quarrelled. Tearing for his own safety, so ran the testimony, 
he had transferred to himself vast properties from his estate at 
Welbeck Abbey and had begun life as a merchant at the Baker 
Street Bazaar in Tottenham Court Road, London. Finally wearying 
of a tradesman's life, he had staged his death as Druce and assumed 
madness as the Duke of Portland, so that he could fall back on the 
plea of insanity if he should ever be accused of murdering his brother. 
Many persons believed this preposterous story and invested in bonds 
(to be repaid in the event of a favourable court decision) to under 
write a suit by Druce's son to have his claims as the sixth Duke of 
Portland legalized and the present incumbent ejected. 34 

One of the key witnesses was a Mrs. Mary Robinson, who testified 
falsely that she had met the elder Druce in 1862. During a period 
of residence in America, according to her statement, she had visited 
Dickens when he read in Boston in 1868. At his suggestion, she 
asserted, she had returned to England and applied to Druce at 
Welbeck Abbey for an appointment as 'outside correspondent*. 
Eventually Druce had hired her to post his letters* From further 



240 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

contacts with Dickens in April of 1870 she had learned that her 
employer was actually the Duke of Portland, that he was s one man 
in two bodies', that his workmen called him 'Resurrection'. To give 
weight to her testimony, she spoke with assurance whenever ques 
tioned about her claim to friendship with Dickens and burst into 
tears at the mention of his death. She had been in Westminster 
Abbey, she said, to hear Dean Stanley preach the funeral sermon. 

Shocked by the references to Dickens in the hearings, Georgina 
asked the newspapers to publish a statement denying that he had 
ever known the Duke of Portland. Nor did the Druce furore subside 
before it had subjected her to an unpleasant encounter. Returning 
by rail to London after a visit at Foxwold, the home of a friend who 
lived near Westerham, Kent, she was approached at Dunton Green 
Junction by a bustling magnate, one of her acquaintances, who 
asked her officiously, 'Well, Miss Hogarth, what about the Druce 
case, eh? Think your friend Charles Dickens knew anything of it?' 
Bridling, Georgina replied emphatically, 4 He was my brother-in-law, 
and these people's stories are all lies 5 . 33 As, in fact, they were. The 
case broke down when it was learned that Mrs. Robinson had come 
from New Zealand in response to an offer of 4,000 to tell her 
fabricated story from the witness stand. 

We were very much annoyed by the Druce Case I and the lies by 
that odious woman!' Georgina wrote an old friend. *I wonder she 
dared! I suppose she thought there were no survivors left of Charles 
Dickens' family!' Now, unfortunately, it would probably be neces 
sary to open the Druce grave. (When it was opened all was in order; 
the coffin held a shrouded figure.) As to Druce, Georgina remem 
bered him well 'as a tradesman*. Dickens had bought considerable 
furniture from him for Gad's Hall; it was excellent merchandise. 'As 
proof of which, I have a great deal of it which came from Gad's Hill 
in my Dining room here in this house, ' she added. Charles had 
always found Druce e a very superior Tradesman* ', but had known 
him 'in no other way!' Nor had her brother-in-law ever seen the 
Duke of Portland or gone to Welbeck Abbey 'in his Zi/e'. 36 So ended 
an affair unique among the carking episodes which beset the guardian 
of 'the beloved memory'. 



Chapter Fifteen 

'HOW THE YEARS MELT INTO 
EACH OTHER!' 



IN her fifties Georgina underwent a period of indecision and depres 
sion. Once the letters had been given to the world, she had time to 
nurse a growing dissatisfaction with her domestic life. When in 
February of 1883 she went alone into the Abbey to keep the annual 
birthday tryst in Poets' Corner, the gravestone in the dismal late 
winter light looked sad and dreary as I felt!' she confessed. But 
she cheered herself by leaving some bright flowers before returning 
to the tensions developing at Strathmore Gardens. Mamie had been 
growing more and more unstable emotionally as she sought in 
changes of scene in alcohol, even some anodyne for the dissatis 
faction which plagued her. After her father's death she had found 
no abiding or dominant interest and purpose in life, though a lurking 
religious element in her nature had begun to turn her in the direction 
of Christian social work. 

It is merciful for me that I have Mamie to love . . . ,' Georgina 
had vowed to Annie Fields in 1874 ; yet in view of her niece's present 
behaviour erratic, puzzling, pathetic it was easier to indulge that 
love at a distance. ^Though Mamie was at home now, it would be 
for one of her short stays only. Before Easter she would be back in 
Edinburgh for another visit to her friends, the Whites. Her pro 
longed intervals of absence kept her aunt in a fret over Tna.inta.i-n.-ing 
a large and expensive home unnecessarily. Georgina calculated that 
her own half of the upkeep came to much more than she would 
spend in a small place suited to herself alone especially as she 
fancied a quiet life in simpler surroundings than would content 
Mamie. 1 

Now that aunt and niece were briefly together once more, the inter 
minable discussions resumed, with nothing settled. 'I have again 
put it to her . . . that she is spending too much money for her share 
of a house she uses so little . . . ,' Georgina confided to Annie, 'and 
I, again, suggested that she should set up her own home as the place 
where she likes best to be, and only come to me as a visitor when 



242 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

she is inclined in some much smaller place that I would take for 
myself alone.' 2 But Mamie remained unwilling, perhaps regarding 
the less elaborate establishment that she could afford to maintain by 
herself as somehow unworthy of her social position. 

Annie, it seems, had sympathetically advanced the idea that 
Dickens would have wanted his sister-in-law to follow her own 
desires. Georgina agreed: 'I feel all you say about our Beloved, who 
are gone, wishing us to do the best for our own welfare and happi 
ness. But you see, in my case, my life is so bound up with this other 
his Daughter whose welfare must also (if it is possible that such 
things can be known and can affect those who are gone from us!) 
be his desire! that I have this peculiar feeling which binds me more 
to Mamie than my feeling for herself, does. Because I must own that, 
though I love her as much as ever, I feel that she has shown, and 
does show, so little consideration for me, that ... I sometimes get so 
angry that I think I will make up my mind to think only of myself! 
and insist on breaking off, and going my own way. Then this other 
thought and love comes in, and, until she wishes it, too! I cannot 
make the separation.' 3 

But by the end of the year the decision was made. With Mamie 
still spending more time in Scotland than in England, it was absurd 
to go on maintaining the costly home. 'I have a board up! which 
looks melancholy! and many people come to see the house,* Georgina 
announced. Her plan was to move into a small flat and keep only 
one maid. Mamie, during her brief London intervals, would also live 
there. In this way the two could cut expenses drastically. A few 
months later, however, Georgina was forced to change her plans: 
6 . . . I have been decided and undecided! and decided againl about 
my house!' She had received an offer for the property, but it had. 
been too low to warrant a move, except into a place so very small 
that there would have been no room at all for Mamie. When for 
the e 100th time' she approached her niece on the desirability of dis 
solving their partnership altogether, there were strong protests 
again. 'And I cannot bring myself to say that I should much prefer 
to live really by myself as I do virtually! 3 Georgina admitted. On 
the advice, therefore, of Ouvry's successor, who agreed that she 
could only lose money by selling out now, she decided to continue 
the old arrangement as a matter of business prudence. And she 
would have the satisfaction of keeping both her maids. For how 
could she have parted with Emma, who had been with her for seven 
teen years? Having come to Gad's Hill just before that lonely 
Christmas when Dickens was in America, she was 4 a link with the 
old days'. 4 



'How the Years Melt into Each Other 7* 243 

The memory of those days became especially vivid in February, as 
always, though, after all, 'one thinks of the dear beloved Dead 
EVEBY day!' But for the first time in the fourteen years, the birthday 
anniversary found her unable to go to the Abbey. A chill fog, the 
worst of the season, had settled over London, and she dared not 
venture out because of an obstinate cold that had hung on since 
Christmas. She tried to regard the matter sensibly, realizing that it 
was 'foolish to risk one's health for a sentiment which is only a satis 
faction to [one's] own self!' But it was sad to think of the stone bare 
of the usual early blossoms, such as brightened Gad's Hill every 
February. 5 

Two more years passed before the domestic question resolved itself 
and aunt and niece went their separate ways. It was depressing to 
note the change in Mamie. Gone now was the daintiness that had 
once marked her, the fragile charm of the Miss Dickens whom Henry 
James had met through the Nortons in 1869 and described as lady 
like (in black silk and black lace) and the image of her father'. 6 Yet 
the loss of her exterior attractions may have had inner compensa 
tions. Possibly in the hope of redeeming a hitherto empty life, she 
had, even before permanently quitting her aunt's roof, set up an 
abode with a clergyman and his wife, in whose company she was 
now to carry on philanthropic enterprises among the poor in Man 
chester. More than likely she was urged on by a sense of continuing 
her father's efforts for social betterment. But Georgina, who had 
previously remonstrated with her on other grounds (as had Katey), 
felt that there was renewed reason to deplore the way Mamie was 
managing her life. The clergyman and his wife, it was suspected, 
were manoeuvring to get her niece's money from her. 7 

An unexpected development soon focused Georgina's thoughts on 
another of Dickens's children, Frank, who had undergone a dozen 
years of frontier hardship with the Mounted Police in Canada. It 
was the period of tense alarm over the Indian uprisings. In 1883, 
following an outbreak of new danger on the Saskatchewan River, he 
had set out, with twenty-five men under his leadership, to establish 
a post at Fort Pitt. The assignment had ended disastrously when, 
outnumbered in a fresh Indian revolt (the Red Rebellion), he and 
his men had been forced to escape by the river. Left behind were 
all the cherished letters from his father, the photographs, and the 
other relics. His spirit broken by this experience and his efficiency 
reduced by growing deafness, he resigned his commission in 1886 
and planned a year's travel in the United States. 8 

By June he was in Moline, Illinois, where he had been asked to 
speak before a dinner gathering of the Friday Club on his experiences 



244 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

in the Red Rebellion. On the appointed day the mercury stood high, 
and Frank, overheated by the horse-and-buggy ride to the meeting 
place, took a long drink of ice water on reaching the table. Immedi 
ately he suffered acute distress. 'It was the water,' he gasped. 
e When I drank it I felt as if I had been stabbed.' Fifteen minutes 
later he died. The seizure was later diagnosed as heart paralysis. 
He was buried at Moline, and his effects were disposed of according 
to instructions from Charley, who, as head of the family, handled the 
necessary correspondence. 

Dead before their time were three of Dickens's sons. For Georgina 
this last loss released another flood of memories tender memories 
of how Walter, Sydney, and Frank had once come to her with their 
childish problems, their early lessons, their evening prayers. But she 
could not let her thoughts dwell on the past, for the immediate con 
cerns of daily living intruded, now that she and Mamie had at last 
dissolved partnership. Taking her valued maid and companion 
Emma with her, she moved into a flat at 70 Wynnstay Gardens, 
Kensington. But she could not feel settled there. Before her lease 
expired, she sublet the place furnished and went to live temporarily 
at Harry's home, 15 Tedworth Square, where Emma came to be with 
her during the day. 'I am very happy here with my dear Harry 
and his kind, sweet wife, and my darling pets/ she told Annie Fields. 
But in this household a new 'pet' appeared every year or so (the two 
and a half years between the fourth and the fifth she called a 
longer interregnum than usual'), and soon Auntie had to give up her 
quarters. 'In October Marie expects another Baby! I am sorry to 
say so I shall have to leave this home, as my room will be required/ 
she wrote in the summer of 1887. She would get rid of her flat on the 
expiration of her lease a year hence and find something more to her 
liking. Happy though her life had been at Harry's, she felt that she 
would be 'for many reasons . . . glad to have a little place of my own. 
again'. 9 

This she managed according to plan, taking a small house at 55 
Oakley Street. From now on her life revolved around Harry and his 
family. Whenever they moved, she did too, selecting a place near 
theirs; when they holidayed at the seaside or travelled on the Con 
tinent, she went with them; when they observed Christmas and 
other special occasions, she always joined the group. To Harry's 
children there were seven in 1889 Aiintie was a stout kind lady 
in a lace cap. The three little girls admired her frilled caps with their 
pretty ribbon bows, sombre-coloured in the daytime, gayer at night. 
Often a bracelet made from one of Dickens's watch chains encircled 
her plump wrist. She loved jewellery, and her fingers twinkled with 



'How ike, Years Melt into Each Other T 245 

masses of rings as she sat knitting long black silk stockings for her 
grandnieces and grandnephews. Like Dickens, she enjoyed invent 
ing nonsensical names for children: Harry's Olive was Olivey- 
Polivey; Elaine, Bobilow-Bobs ; young Hal, Halikins-Balikins; and 
Philip, like his namesake in Great Expectations, Pip. The youngsters 
found her always affectionate and sweet-tempered, unruffled by their 
antics and mishaps. One day five-year-old Olive, carrying a dish to 
the table, spilled custard all over Auntie's pretty clean dress. 
'There, there,' the frightened child was comforted, 'it's nothing, 
nothing at all!' Of no one was Aunt G-eorgy fonder than of their 
mother, often patting her hand and exclaiming, 'Dear Marie!' 10 She 
characterized Harry's wife as 'a most devoted mother' who 'not only 
brings children into the world, but works for them in every way 
incessantly after they come'. 11 

But Georgina's keen interest in the third generation never crowded 
out the past. The children heard her speak constantly of their 
grandfather, who had died before they were born. And for many 
years, until infirmity and old age made such trips inadvisable, the 
family counted on her to be in Poets' Corner for the three special 
anniversaries. The sacred June observance, they were aware, was 
not confined to the 9th alone; Auntie proclaimed the whole week 
'from the 8th, the day he was stricken down, to the 14th, the day 
he was buried', to be the anniversary. 12 

In June of 1887, however, the Abbey was closed to the public 
during the special preparations for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. For 
the first time in seventeen years the two wreaths would not adorn 
the grave on the 9th. The Dean of Westminster would have escorted 
Georgina to Poets' Corner himself, had he not felt that she would 
have been distressed by the 'desecration of the place'. All the stones 
were boarded over. Worst of all was 'the thought of the noise, con 
fusion and disorder going on in that quiet corner' where it was 
usually 'so calm, cool and tranquillizing'. The anniversary that year, 
she noted, came on the very day of the week and brought the same 
'bright and lovely' weather as in 1870. 'How vividly it all comes 
back! every year more and more so,' she wrote Annie, adding that 
she was 'thankful to feel it so!' 13 

In the ensuing autumn and winter she followed with mixed feelings 
Charley's American reading tour. Hard pressed to support his seven 
daughters and one son, Charley had already hit upon the expedient 
of reading from his father's books in England. A successful provin 
cial tour encouraging Mm to continue the venture in the States, he 
sailed in October, accompanied by his wife and their third daughter, 
Sydney Margaret. He began his engagements at Chickering Hall 



246 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

in New York City, before an audience that filled the auditorium and 
part of the stage as well. Reading 'Doctor Marigold' and scenes 
from Pickwick, he created for many of his older listeners the illusion 
of the novelist himself come back. Even so, Ms performance was no 
'servile imitation of his father', one review pointed out. He had 
perfected his own technique. 14 

'I don't profess to like the idea of Charley's reading his Father's 
books and I cannot believe it is anything remarkable in the way 
of reading,' declared Georgina on receiving Annie Fields's favourable 
reports. The whole performance, she felt, could be little more than 
an imitation. 'Still he has a right to do it, if he chooses and if 
people are content to go and hear him and put money in his pocket! 
I can only be very glad,' she admitted. 'For with all those girls, he 
certainly wants as much money as he can get.' And she agreed thao 
it was well for him to make friends in America, 'where his Father's 
name is a support of lovel' But she acknowledged that he would also 
be liked for himself, for he was a 'good fellow'. 15 

Apparently he did enjoy popularity in his own right, for he was 
deluged with invitations. Perhaps his most memorable visit was to 
the home of William Winter, where he drank from the goblet which 
his father had used twenty years earlier in toasting his American 
friends at the farewell party aboard the Russia. In all the years 
since, no lips had dared to profane that glass. 16 

By now the fiasco of Charley's purchase of Gad's Hill, his sale of 
the chalet, and his harsh ness as a creditor seemed remote. In spite 
of her reservations as to his tour, Georgina harboured no personal 
resentment toward this burdened family man only ten years her 
junior, who addressed her familiarly as 'Gina' rather than 'Auntie'. 17 
He had become to her only an even-tempered, likable contemporary, 
not steadfast and thoughtful like Harry, to be sure, but yet the 
object of her good will. The readings, though, were another matter. 
That anyone, even his father's son, should dare to project those 
unique Dickens creations, raising the curtain on what had been 
intended as the final performance in 1870 that came too close to 
desecration] 

With Charley's oldest daughter, Mary Angela, Georgina still 
acknowledged a special bond. Did not Mekitty recall how her grand 
father had spoken with many voices from a lighted London stage? 
Yet when the girl, stagestruek from childhood, proved herself of 
Dickens's own blood by taking up a theatrical career, Auntie with 
held whole-hearted approval. e l do not think myself she will ever do 
anything great/ she predicted when Mekitty appeared at the Prin 
cess Theatre in a minor role in The Silver King. 'She wants physical 



'How the Years Melt into Each Other!' 247 

qualifications, for one thing. She is not at all pretty, although she has 
a pleasant intelligent face.' But the young lady had poise, her great- 
aunt admitted: 'Although she really is nervous, she appears quite at 
home and perfectly self-possessed on the stage which, is a great - 
point. 5 And Mekitty was happy to win a measure of success in the 
career she had chosen. Yet Georgina, for all her connections with 
theatrical folk, both amateur and professional, regretted her grand- 
niece's decision. 'I confess I was very sorry, and so were some others 
of us, when she chose a public life as a profession, but now the thing 
is done, and she is well started, we can do nothing but give her 
encouragement and cheer her on her way, 5 she told Annie Fields. 
For a while Mekitty seemed justified in her choice of vocation. Act 
ing was 'decidedly her "line' 5 ,' Georgina became convinced, for the 
girl took her 'tiny part' in Claudian, a new play in 1883, with e real 
success', and all the papers lauded her. 18 Before long, however, 
Mekitty justified her great aunt's original predictions by abandoning 
the theatre and taking up a literary career. 



On his return from America in June of 1888 Charley resigned his 
editorship of All the Tear Round and became a reader for the 
Macmillan publishing firm, a happy connection in which he con 
tinued until his death. Freed from the harassing details of keeping 
a weekly journal going, he devoted an increasing amount of his time 
to writing, some of his articles making valuable contributions by 
bringing out hitherto unpublished biographical data on his father. 
For at least one of these pieces, 'Charles Dickens as an Editor', which 
appeared in the English Illustrated Magazine for August of 1889, he 
had the co-operation of Georgina, who placed a series of letters at 
his disposal. When Macmillan brought out a new edition of Dickens'-s 
works, he prepared the biographical and bibliographical introduc 
tion for each volume. And for F. G. Kitton he went through the 
entire file of Household Words from 1850 to 1859, identifying his 
father's unsigned articles solely on the basis of their individual 
literary style. (At this time the Office Book, in which Wills had kept 
the names of all the contributors and their contributions, could not 
be found.) Productive in the type of work to which his training 
and temperament suited him, Charley severed all his other connec 
tions, dissolving his partnership with Evans in the printing firm and, 
in 1893, stopping the publication of All the Year Round. For the 
first time in many years he now had the satisfaction of devoting 
himself solely to congenial occupation without administrative 
responsibilities. 19 



248 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

But past tensions were exacting their toll: Charley was still in 
poor health; his complaint, a heart condition, was now serious, Geor 
gina informed Annie Fields. With a 'devoted little wife' and affec 
tionate children, however, he was surrounded by every care in his 
home. 'And beyond our feeling sad at seeing him in such poor 
health,' Georgina explained, 'we have no need to trouble ourselves 
about him, poor fellow!' Macmillan had made his hours and work 
as easy and pleasant as possible, and he was highly regarded. 20 

About Mamie there were more serious misgivings. Though at 
times during the past decade little had been known of her activities, 
there had always been concern over her health, never robust at best. 
Now by the winter of 1896 there was real cause for alarm. She had 
gone into a decline, and though she was in March 'perhaps, a little 
better', her aunt declared that 'she causes us the greatest anxiety 
and sadness. Katey and I go to see her [in Manchester] every three 
weeks or thereabouts now and, of course, are always prepared to 
go oftener, when necessary, or at an hour's notice, at any time.' 21 

It was during these months that Mamie completed a little book 
entitled M y Father as I Recall Him, a work which betrayed in every 
page her worship of the man whom she pronounced 'one apart from 
all other beings'. 22 Unlike Katey, who also set down her daughterly 
tribute, then destroyed the manuscript rather than give the world 
'only half the truth about my father', Mamie, placing idolatry above 
understanding, and hiding the darker half of truth even from herself, 
could hardly have been plagued by such scruples as she prepared her 
book for the press. But shortly before the proofs were to be sent her 
for correction, she became too ill for the task. She lingered into July. 
Then Charley, aged fifty-nine, succumbed to an apoplectic attack 
similar to his father's. On the day of the funeral Mamie died, her 
end hastened by the shock of her brother's death. Like her father 
she had lived to age fifty-eight. 

When Mamie's book appeared the following year, Georgina, a 
double mourner now, could find in it this tribute to herself: 'When 
I write about my aunt, or "Auntie", as no doubt I may often have 
occasion to do, it is of the aunt par excellence, Georgina Hogarth. 
She has been to me ever since I can remember anything, and to all 
of us, the truest, best and dearest friend, companion and counsellor. 
To quote my father's own words: "The best and truest friend man 
ever had".' 23 

That Georgina must have written to Annie Eields about Mamie's 
death is a foregone conclusion; that she also commented on her 
niece's last years is more thaa likely. But after a letter reporting 
Mamie's condition some four months before her end there is a gap 



'How the Years Melt into Each Other!' 249 

in the existing correspondence, as if discretion had prompted the 
destruction of portions of it. The customary replies to Annie's never- 
failing June and Christmas letters are missing for 1896, as is that to 
the February birthday letter for 1897. The answer to Annie's letter 
for June of 1897 refers to Mamie's death, however, in terms that 
show it to be no new subject. Katey, her aunt explained, had been 
rather unwell during the winter: 'It took her a long time to recover 
from the accumulated sadness of the illness and deaths of Charley 
and dear Mamie, following so close on each other. And for months 
she did not seem to rally from the remembrance of it all!' 24 

With Charley's widow, too, Georgina sympathized: 'Poor Bessie 
Dickens is always brave and good, and her girls work very well. It 
is hard for them, I always feel. They have so little enjoyment in 
life! But it is a blessing that they are able to work.' Fortunately, 
an annual Queen's pension of 100 prevented acute financial dis 
tress. They had some assistance from Harry, too, who had turned 
over to his brother's widow part of his inheritance from Mamie.- 2 * 

Mekitty, since abandoning the stage, had enjoyed some success as 
a writer of fiction and articles. On her behalf Georgina appealed to 
Annie Fields. Might it not be possible for this grandniece to contri 
bute a weekly letter to some American newspaper? Or short stories 
to some of the magazines? Mekitty was grateful for Annie's letter of 
introduction to Henry James, who had 'received her most kindly 
and promised not to forget her if he should have an opportunity of 
helping her'. 26 

When Annie suggested the Youth's Companion, indicating the sort 
of contribution that would be acceptable, Georgina passed the word 
on to Mekitty, who, she declared, would 'most certainly' investigate 
this possibility. Since the girl had e to earn her Bread and Butter! 
she and all her sisters, except the one who is, happily, married', no 
opportunity could be neglected. Sydney Margaret, the married one, 
was now the mother of a little daughter 'My great GBEAT niece!' 
marvelled Georgina. 27 

Ten years had passed since the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and now 
the Diamond Jubilee was in preparation as another 9th June 
arrived. This time, though, the Abbey was open to the public, and 
Georgina was gratified to find Dickens's grave laden with more 
flowers than usual. People were remembering that this year was the 
diamond jubilee of Pickwick, too. She found it 'curious to think that 
Pickwick now like Scott's Waverley is "Sixty Years Since"!' She 
reflected, too, on the state of the world, finding 'more difference in 
class and manners in our Country in these last sixty years than in 
centuries before . . . !' A decade earlier the very word jubilee had 



250 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

sickened her; now she shared the elation of 'all London, ... in a 
fever' over the celebration. 'It is strange,' she wrote Annie, 'to go 
along the big thoroughfares. Nothing to be heard but hammering 
or to be seen but the enormous stands erected everywhere. 
Hideous at first, but now beginning to be covered with red cloth.' 
By mid- June she had caught the contagious excitement of the colour 
ful Colonial troops Australian, Canadian, Indian and the babble 
of foreign tongues as she threaded her way through the crush in the 
streets. She was going to sleep at Harry's house in Egerton Place 
the night before the jubilee. Tuesday morning, the 22nd, they would 
all rise early and leave by eight o'clock to reach St. Martin's Church 
yard, where they had seats for the procession. She hoped for 
'Queen's weather', fretting that 'everything would be spoiled if it 
should be a pouring day!' Sympathetically she reflected on the ageing 
Victoria, who, she was sure, must dread the tiring ordeal and would 
'be thankful when the day is overt' 28 

At last the awaited hour arrived and Her Majesty, surmounted 
by a tiny black parasol, rode through cheering throngs to give thanks 
at St. Paul's Cathedral. As the royal carriage entered the Strand, 
the tower of St. Martin's looked down for a moment on two stout 
little septuagenarians, each ruled by a fanatic fidelity, each a 
repository of notable memories. 



'How the years melt into each other!' Georgina had exclaimed 
two decades earlier. 29 They seemed to speed even faster now as she 
watched Harry's children develop. It was indeed 'formidable', as 
she had once remarked of Charley's flock, how such 'little creatures 
mark the progress of time!' 30 Already Hal, Harry's oldest son, had 
left for Cambridge; and the next, Pip, was a midshipman stationed 
in the East Indies, writing 'delightful letters home very constantly'. 31 
It was like reliving the days when Harry had been at Cambridge and 
Sydney at sea. In other ways, too, sharing Harry's family life was 
like repeating her years in his father's home. Once more she was 
going on holidays to France and Switzerland, spending part of each 
summer at the seaside, looking forward to Christmas festivity. Of 
course, travelling was less easy now, for, with her increased weight, 
she moved rather slowly. On the Continent she was perpetually in 
danger of being left behind whenever she alighted from the train 
during station stops. With the engine puffing and whistling its 
starting warning, there was general consternation before she got on 
board. But always she insisted, with irritating deliberateness, 'They 
won't leave without me'. Then would follow that last-minute 



'How the Years Melt into Each Other T 251 

struggle to hoist her safely back into her compartment, with one of 
the party pulling her in, another pushing from behind. 32 

Though Christmas could be cheery once more, Georgina did not 
forget, of course, to visit the Abbey. It will be 28 years since he 
was taken from us!' she wrote in December of 1897. 'Sometimes it 
seems to me like yesterday! and sometimes like a whole life time!' 
On this Christmas Eve she had found the stone brilliant with 
flowers: 'cheering and hopeful' by contrast with the dark, foggy day, 
these tokens meant that 'he is not forgotten, thank God!' 33 

Although sharing now so intimately the life of Harry's family, she 
still preserved her independence by maintaining her own home. Not 
long after her seventy-first birthday she moved into yet smaller 
quarters at 31 Egerton Terrace, in a light and airy district where the 
dwellings had both front and back gardens almost like the open 
areas surrounding the houses in a country town. Though she had 
fewer rooms here than ever before, they were spacious and provided 
accommodations for Emma and the cook, both ageing noticeably 
now. Almost no objects of any intrinsic value remained among the 
furnishings here, but many were the interesting possessions kept for 
sentiment's sake. There was a veritable picture gallery: portraits of 
Dickens; of his children at various stages; of the young Mary 
Hogarth, dead now these sixty years; paintings by Katey. And 
there were the honours and testimonials given Dickens at Edinburgh 
and Birmingham. In Georgina's bedroom stood the old-fashioned 
sofa on which he had died, 34 and somewhere among her private 
papers were his letters, which she had long ago promised herself to 
destroy as soon as she could bear to do so. 

But her tranquillity in the new home was soon upset by a sad 
domestic experience. In January of 1898 her old cook, with her for 
twenty years, had to give up because of ill health. She was replaced 
by an acquaintance of Emma's, and for three weeks all went 
smoothly. Then suddenly the new servant became ill. The doctor 
whom Georgina called, first diagnosed the woman's complaint as 
slight bronchitis and indigestion, but the next day pneumonia devel 
oped. Thereupon Georgina engaged a nurse and sent for the cook's 
niece as well. 'And then I felt I had not the individual responsibility,' 
she explained. But on the third night the woman died, 'quite sen 
sible almost to the last and perfectly peaceful. . . .' Emma was 
greatly distressed and her mistress herself 'a good deal "knocked 
over" by it for some days'. Thereafter Georgina decided to find a 
younger woman to share the work with Emma, who, after thirty 
years of service in the same post, was not as active as she used to 
be. 35 



252 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

In the spring Annie Fields came once more to England, accom 
panied by her most intimate friend, Sarah Orne Jewett. Georgina 
had taken care to beg them to visit her before she left for her 
summer holidays, but, haying absent-mindedly lost the London 
address Annie had sent her, could not communicate with them on 
their arrival. The Americans surprised her, therefore, when they 
drove to Egerton Terrace one warm May afternoon. At the door 
Emma, who remembered Annie, welcomed them to the new home, 
which charmed them with its bright, clean rooms, cool and com 
fortable 'even on the hottest of afternoons. . . .' But at the sight 
of her hostess Annie was somewhat startled, afterwards making the 
diary notation that 'she is growing very old'. The farewell was a sad 
one, for Annie 'felt quite sure that [they] were not likely to see each 
other again'. 36 

Georgina seems not to have shared her friend's premonition that 
there would be no more reunions, for when she answered Annie's 
Christmas letter in December of 1900, her wish for the new year was 
that it might give 'everything that is good and happy and healthy! 
to you dearest Annie and that you may turn your steps to England 
and London some time in the course of it!' 37 But the two were not 
to meet again. 

Given much to reflecting on world events in her later years, 
Georgina also commented in her December letter on the Boer War. 
Like many moral Englishmen who were deploring the past half 
century of hostilities the Crimean War, the Sepoy Rebellion, con 
flicts in China, New Zealand, Africa she wished to 'begin the new 
century at peace with all the world! But,' she added realistically, 
'we are not quite near it yet. However, compared with this time 
last year, we have much reason to be thankful. . . . But this "Guer 
rilla warfare' 3 going on in S. Africa is very terrible. There is so much 
loss of life on both sides and now, for no result that I can see. I 
wish we could take De Wet! then I think there would be an end. He 
is a brave man, but one feels that his holding out is only a cruelty 
to his own country as well as to our poor soldiers!' 38 

But the most notable aspect of the letter was an omission. For the 
first time there was no mention of a Christmas visit to the Abbey. 
Nor was the subject to come up in subsequent Christmas and birth 
day letters. Even more significant, there was to be no more corres 
pondence concerned with the solemn June anniversary. It was as 
if, on the eve of the new century, the two women had agreed that 
the grave in Poets* Corner might be allowed to take care of itself. 
Perhaps during their brief May visit they had actually made such a 
compact. The 'beloved memory' was not receding, however, for 



'How the Years Melt into Each Other /' 253 

Annie's February letter in 1901 evoked mellow meditations from 
Georgina: 'How the years roll away! and how strange it seems to 
think that he would have been 89!!! an old, old man!' As always, she 
was thankful that he had not 'outlived Himself and his Faculties'. 39 
Her thoughts then made the natural transition to Queen Victoria, 
whose end, at the age of eighty-one, had come on the 22nd January, 
Georgina's seventy- fourth birthday. Because, until the very last, the 
Queen 'had not become incapable', hers had been 'a beautiful Death! 
worthy of a splendid full life, such as surely no woman ever had before! ' 
At the time Georgina had been staying in Kent at Foxwold Chase, the 
home of her friend Mrs. Horace Pym, but she and her hostess had come 
to London especially to see the funeral procession. From their places 
close to Victoria Station they had watched the cortege wind slowly 
past a 'deeply touching sight', Georgina recalled. 'The demeanour 
of the people was so impressive, so perfectly still. The small Coffin 
on the gun carriage looked very small and lonely amongst the bril 
liant surroundings of the procession. The King looked very sad, 
very tired and anxious, but very dignified and the German Emperor 
very fine and soldierly. The Queen and the Princesses were quite 
invisible, in closed carriages with their thick black veils.' Georgina 
expressed complete confidence in Edward VII. Forgotten now was 
her disapproval of thirty years earlier when the young Prince had 
been involved in the unsavoury Mordaunt divorce scandal. 'Our 
Heir Apparent has had to figure in a disgraceful business, has he 
not!' she had railed then. 'Hooted up the street* and 'piped at the 
Theatre', he had been given a good lesson for the future, she had 
hoped. Now she perceived in him e sonie fine Royal qualities and 
he certainly inherits much of his Mother's tact and sympathy* . But 
she could not believe there would ever be 'quite the same intense 
feeling of love and loyalty for any other Monarch in our country, 
or in any other as had grown up ... for Queen Victoria! She was 
such a real Woman!' 40 



Chapter Sixteen 
'SUFFICIENTLY REWARDED' 



PEEK APS the dawn of the twentieth century and the passing of the 
Queen brought a sharper awareness of the encroaching years. At 
any rate the winter 'dark and dismal ever since Christmas' com 
bined with her waning health to keep Georgina in a state of depres 
sion. She had a 'constant dull stupid headache and a general sense 
of seediness and a wish to do nothing and go nowhereP Even her 
ideas, she confessed ruefully, appeared 'to be frost bitten and stupe 
fied'. Her doctor had told her that she was suffering from lowered 
vitality, but she felt certain that sunshine and springtime would 
work a cure. 1 

The march of the seasons, however, improved her only a little, 
physically, but when she answered Annie's next Christmas letter she 
was in better spirits. She was reading Sarah Orne Jewett's only his 
torical novel, The Tory Lover, 'with great pleasure and interest'. 
Unlike Henry James, who had advised Miss Jewett to 'go back to 
the dear Country of the Pointed Eirs', 2 Georgina expressed favour 
able reactions only, declaring the book to be 'delightfully written' 
and congratulating the author on the 'excellent notices ... in many 
of our best papers'. She was also enjoying the vicarious excitement 
of her grandniece Enid's wedding preparations. Harry's other two 
daughters having gone with their father to America that year, the 
Fields-Dickens ties had been strengthened further, and Georgina 
could assure Annie that the visitors cherished 'a most vivid and 
charming remembrance of that "lovely day by the sea" which they 
spent with you*. There was, moreover, praise for the United States : 
'I do congratulate you on your Nation! and I am sure you have 
every right and reason to be proud of her!' She had been keeping 
up with political affairs abroad and admired Theordore Roosevelt as 
'a man of remarkable power and liberality 1 two great combinations 
in a Ruler!' 3 

The next year (1902) brought word of the death of her youngest 
nephew, Plorn, from whom she had not heard directly since his note 
of thanks for her wedding gift. Hia life in Australia had been marked 
by business failures, gambling losses, and unpaid debts. Eighteen 
years earlier his frantic appeals had brought a loan of 800 from 



'Sufficiently Rewarded' 255 

Harry, aid which had never been acknowledged. Nor had Plorn 
ever made any payments on principal and interest. He may have 
lost the money, it has been conjectured, by gambling in a desperate 
attempt to bolster up his failing business. 4 

In all this sorry record there is one happy incident worthy of 
retention, one which Plorn's Aunt Georgy would hardly have known. 
Sometime between 1889 and 1894:, when he was a member of the 
Australian legislature, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens was cheered 
for his one memorable speech. It came after a colleague, W. N. 
Willis, had annoyed everyone by his repeated interruptions. 'Mr. 
Speaker,' said Plorn, taking the floor, 'my late honoured father once 
wrote "Barkis is willinV If he had been here tonight, he would have 
said "Willis is barkin'.'" 5 



Early in the century, with the organization of the Dickens Fellow 
ship, Georgina had the gratifying assurance that the 'beloved 
memory 3 would go on. A charter member and at one time a vice- 
president, she continued active in the Fellowship until the year of 
her death. 6 For several terms she served as president of its Needle 
work and Charitable Guild, which she supported with annual con 
tributions.? At the yearly Dickens birthday celebrations she was 
always present in her rustling silks and filmy lace fichu. She was 
especially pleased when, at the 1904 birthday festivity, Harry began 
the public reading of Dickens' s works. That he should do so caused 
her no misgivings. For his readings, unlike Charley's, were not for 
private gain; all profits were turned over to public charity. Besides, 
she thoroughly enjoyed his performances, given without notes and 
with all his father's dramatic verve. She could close her eyes and 
almost believe it was dear Charles's voice coming back across the 
years. 8 

In the Boz Club, an exclusively male body founded in 1900 by 
Percy Fitzgerald, she was an honorary member. Like the Fellow 
ship, with which it had no connection, it met annually on the 
novelist's birthday, its celebration taking the form of a gala dinner, 
to which women were invited in later years. 9 Small wonder if Geor 
gina had discontinued her birthday meditations beside the Abbey 
grave! 'It was most successful,' she wrote Annie Fields after attend 
ing the Boz Club dinner in 1907 with Harry, his wife, their daughters 
Olive and Elaine, and Charley's Mekitty. There had been e a really 
noble speech! a real tribute to the great memory'. Her Harry, too, 
had distinguished himself with a 'charming and very humorous' 
toast to the speaker. 10 



256 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

In the Boz Club, in the Fellowship, in any circle where the 
novelist was honoured, she was becoming a living legend, old Miss 
Hogarth, high priestess of the Dickens cult, a link between past and 
present. She enjoyed the distinction. Forgotten, now, was her once 
'anomalous position' which had behoved friends to avoid public 
mention of her connection with Dickens lest they injure her. And 
yet the old scandal fires were not altogether quenched. They blazed 
up briefly in 1908 in India, of all places when a daring rogue who 
called himself Hector Chprles Bulwer Lytton Dickens applied to the 
Society for the Protection of Children in Calcutta for assistance in 
supporting his son. Posing as the child of Charles Dickens and 
Georgina Hogarth, he told a fantastic story of how, in 1857, he had 
been brought at the age of three to Gad's Hill. Mrs. Dickens had 
made a scene on discovering his identity, then left home for ever, 
to die in 1867. (Here the impostor had not prepared his background 
facts very carefully.) Before going to America on his reading tour, 
the statement continued, Dickens had declared his intention of 
marrying Georgina. As their son, Hector had been amply provided 
for under her name in the will. But after Dickens's death, according 
to the melodramatic account, he and his mother had been turned out 
of Gad's Hill. As a youth he had tried seafaring, then had lived suc 
cessively hi England, India, and Australia, where he had renewed 
his childhood associations with his half-brother Edward (Plorn), 
who, Hector alleged, had freely acknowledged the relationship. Now 
back in India and in financial distress, he appealed for help. With 
his application he submitted letters from prominent Australians who 
referred to him as the son of Charles Dickens. 11 

Notified of this amazing claim, Harry wrote to B. W. Matz, the 
Honorary Secretary of the Dickens Fellowship: *It makes one's 
blood boil to think that my dear revered old aunt should be made 
the subject of such a scandalous story. I sincerely trust that it may 
never reach her ears. 9 To Calcutta he immediately sent a denial 
and supporting evidence. 12 

It transpired that the claimant was actually a Charley Peters, who 
had lived in North Queensland from 1896 to 1905. Highly imagina 
tive, he had fabricated tales not only about his parentage but also 
about his supposed service in the Zulu War. At the time of his mar 
riage in Queensland in 1900, he had assumed the name of Dickens, 
a daring liberty while members of the family were still living to 
repudiate his falsehoods. It is unlikely that Georgina ever learned 
of his audacity. 

* * # 

The years had so thinned the ranks of Dickens's friends that 




o 




'Sufficiently Rewarded' 257 

almost the only persons with whom the elderly Georgina shared 
memories were her juniors. Therefore she valued especially her long 
and happy association with one who was her exact contemporary 
Mrs. Cecile Spencer Macready, the actor's widow. Until World War 
I this old friend called on her almost weekly, often bringing her 
young granddaughter Lisa, who was entranced by the treasure trove 
of souvenirs in her hostess's drawing-rooni and by the reminiscences 
of the two old ladies. They discussed Dickens frequently, Georgina 
always insisting that it was the readings which had killed him. 
Sometimes they spoke of the more remote past: of how the first 
Mrs. Macready, dead for more than half a century, had, in Georgina's 
estimation, demanded too much attention, as though she deserved 
as much recognition as her famous husband; and of how Dickens had 
seen in the actor's pretty first wife a surface resemblance to Mary 
Hogarth. According to Georgina, her friend's predecessor had 
received much of her education from her husband, whose tutelage 
she had accepted with a degree of reluctance, a matter which 
prompted some head-shaking over the teacups in the Egerton Ter 
race drawing-room. If only Macready had married someone like 
Cecile Spencer early in his career, Georgina, assured his grand 
daughter, he might have had a less bitter outlook on life at times. 13 
Like Macready's granddaughter, all the younger visitors and 
correspondents were captivated by the stories old Miss Hogarth told 
about people of her day. Actors, musicians, authors she had 
known many and never forgot points of interest she had learned 
about them, either through personal contacts or hearsay. But she 
could talk also about figures and events of current importance. As 
might be expected from her long association with Dickens, she was 
delighted with the programme of social reform instituted by 
Asquith's government. But like that Prime Minister, she did not 
allow liberalism to include the franchise for women. On this subject 
her views were typically Victorian and Dickensian. She had no 
patience with 'the idiotic Suffragettes'. 14 ^Following a demonstration 
by the Woman's Movement, she charged that 'women are making 
themselves odious and intolerable, and are doing their best to des 
troy the influence which they have, and which they will get more 
and more by the higher and better education which they are having 
more and more every year. . . . Every kind of Employment which is 
women's work, and not man's, I am too thankful they should have 
and the education to be the companions and even instructors of men, 
but I don't see what other "Rights" they have a claim to, that they 
have not got or nearly all. I think . . . "Woman's Disability" con 
sists in her own constitution and temperament!' In stating these 



258 Gfeorgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

views to Annie Fields, an advocate of women's rights, she pleaded, 
'Don't despise me for this avowal! but I hate keeping up any false 
pretences, and I must say what I feel'. 15 

But it was chiefly through her tie with the past that Georgina 
drew her juniors to her. Sometimes she was sought out to answer 
puzzling questions or furnish information to assist biographical 
research. In 1907, for instance, S. M. Ellis, gathering materials for 
his work on Harrison Ainsworth, appealed to her. Though she was 
unable to supply Ellis with much of value, the contact brought 
happy reminiscences of the 1840's, when she and the Dickenses had 
often joined in the gaieties at Kensal Manor House, the Ainsworth 
home. 'There were always dinner-parties succeeded by games and 
music, and very ofben winding up with a dance, in which the three 
young daughters joined,' she recalled. 16 Through Ellis, happily, she 
and the youngest of the three Ainsworth daughters were brought 
together again, and a pleasant correspondence ensured. To this 
friend of early years, Blanche Ainsworth Swanson, she revealed 
growing infirmities: 'I find great difficulty in getting about but 
then, I am very much older than you are! and I have had a great 
deal of illness of late'. Her next letter to Mrs. Swanson announced 
that within the week she would be eighty-one : 'That sounds a form 
idable age! and it seems to me incredible that I shall be so old! I 
don't feel it in my mind at all! 717 

Her mental alertness was particularly notable on Diekensian 
matters: repeatedly she confirmed details referred to her and read 
manuscripts intended for publication, filling the margins with help 
ful notes. 18 Only in rare instances was she forced to admit ignorance 
as when she was asked to identify the Dickens honeymoon cottage 
at Chalk. She had been such a very small child in those days', she 
regretted to Mr. William Miller, that she could recall the place only 
as 'quite an ordinary small house'. 19 Even when they came from 
strangers, such questions were never too bothersome to command 
her attention. In the autumn of 1913, in failing health and suffering 
from a painful eye condition, she received a letter of inquiry signed 
merely 'Leslie Staples'. 'Dear Miss (or Mrs.?) or (Mr.?),' began 
her answer, 'for I don't know who it is I have to thank for your kind 
letter/ Then, having explained her eye affliction, she made a cordial 
suggestion: Terhaps . . . you could come and see me, and I could 
then answer all the questions which you put in your letter to me.' 20 
When the inquirer appeared, she found him to be a lad in his teens, 
a Dickens enthusiast, who had written purely in the hope of getting 
a note in the hand of the legendary Miss Hogarth. (Twenty-six years 
later Mr. Staples was to become the Honorary Secretary of the 



'Sufficiently Rewarded' 259 

Dickens Fellowship ; thirty-one years later, editor of the Dickensian.) 
Others, too, were eager to hear from her and meet her. When 
Katey, as a distinguished matron in her seventies, held her famous 
'at homes' for the Fellowship, her guests regarded visiting with Miss 
Hogarth as a privilege. 21 And Georgina herself never seemed to tire 
of people who wished to talk about her brother-in-law. Unconsci 
ously, she justified her whole life by maintaining the fidelity of her 
devotion. Being a repository of Dickensiana was her major excuse 
for living, her chief boast. 'I suppose I may say I am the "Miss 
Hogarth", 5 she had written once in answer to a query. 'There is no 
other who has the distinction and pride of being the sister-in-law 
and friend of Charles Dickens.' 22 



By 1910 Harry and his wife were keeping a tender watch over 
Auntie. Once able to swing along at Dickens's challenging pace, she 
could no longer walk out alone and, having had a bad fall a year or 
two earlier, felt nervous about going up and down stairs. When she 
made her weekly trips to Katey 's home in Kensington, she could 
alight from the cab only by means of a set of steps placed for her 
descent. And though her hearing was good her eyes troubled her 
because of incipient cataracts. But these, the doctor had assured her, 
would not develop at her age. 23 Fortunately, she could still read if 
she managed the light properly. Not sleeping well, she would on 
occasion sit over a book half the night when one fascinated her as 
much as Annie Fields's edition of the letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, 
who had died in 1909. 'What a delightful creature she was!' Geor 
gina exclaimed to Annie, on receiving the book as a Christmas gift 
in 1911. 'Reading her letters shows her nature so completely and 
makes me still more regret that I had not seen more of her. . . / 24 

In spite of her growing infirmities, Georgina still maintained an 
independent home. To be near Harry, she had moved again, this 
time into a small flat at 64 Kenway Eoad, S.W. Emma being 
retired at last, there was a helpful new maid who saved her every 
possible trouble, even answering all but private correspondence. 
Georgina declared her chief joy in life to be the five little children 
of her grandniece Enid and the frequent visits from Harry's two 
younger girls, Olive and Elaine, grown-up women now. 25 

Upon their mother, 'dear Marie', fell most of the responsibility for 
seeing after the welfare of Aunt Georgy in her decline. For so many 
years had Harry's devoted wife called forth admiring affection that 
Georgina might have been altogether incredulous could her first 
reactions to his marriage have risen to confront her now. Finding 



260 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

in Marie's religion "the worst drawback', she had confided to Annie 
in 1877 that the bride, though 'nice and good' and very likable, was 
'not exactly the girl we would have chosen for our Harry. However 
when does any one, especially one's Mankind, ever marry the person 
you would have chosen!' 26 

Another of Georgina's 'Mankind', her nephew Alfred, had returned 
in 1910 from forty-five years in Australia to lecture on his father's 
life and works. She had not been able to go to hear him, but believed 
what he had to say 'all very nice'. Unfortunately, like three of his 
brothers, Alfred had a bad heart, and physicians had- predicted that 
he could not live many months. But his lectures in England had 
been so successful that 'his head was set on going to America' to 
continue them in spite of the warning. There he made a good impres 
sion and won a number of friends, especially in Boston, from where 
he wrote in November of 1911, 'No wonder my father liked this city 
and people so well. It is a most delightful place, and the people 
themselves are charming.' 27 Among the Bostonians whom Alfred 
was then still expecting to meet was Mrs. Fields. Georgina had 
written to brief her on the tragic accident that had robbed him of his 
first wife many years before, adding, 'I tell you this so that when you 
do see Alfred you will not require him to give you his family History' , 28 
(In the forgetfulness of old age she must not have remembered 
relating this story in detail to Annie back in February of 1879.) 

But the tactful caution was unnecessary. On 2 January 1912, 
three days after she had written her letter, Alfred was suddenly 
stricken in the lobby of the Astor Hotel at the close of his New York 
engagements. He died that evening and was buried in the cemetery 
of Trinity Parish at 155th and Broadway. Among the pall-bearers 
were Andrew Carnegie and Whitelaw Reid. The chief mourners 
were a Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Lawrence, 29 whose identity proved a 
temporary puzzle to Georgina. 

When at the end of the month she wrote again to Annie, thanking 
her for her sympathy and some American newspaper clippings, she 
could not settle down to a few sober reflections on Alfred, 'poor 
fellow', until she had protested: 'I have not the slightest idea who 
Mrs. Lawrence is! Certainly not his Sister he has now only one 
sister living, Kate Perugini. She told me that a Mrs. Lawrence 
wrote her about him saying that she was a cousin of theirs, but I 
don't know how.* Recalling the 1868 ado in Chicago over the indi 
gent orphans of Dickens's black-sheep brother Augustus, she likely 
suspected the mysterious cousin of being a daughter by his common- 
law wife. But she divulged no such inferences to Annie, remarking 
only that Mrs. Lawrence 'and her husband seem to have been very 



'Sufficiently Rewarded' 261 

kind to Alfred during Ms short-lived stay in America and indeed 
every one was'. 30 Later information revealed, however, that Mrs. 
Lawrence, nee Emily Barrow, was a connection of Dickens on the 
maternal side. 31 

Because Alfred's death preceded the centenary of his father's 
birth by little more than a month, the Boz Club dinner was post 
poned until 10th June. When the guests assembled on that date to 
drink the Bishop of London's toast to 'The Immortal Memory of 
Charles Dickens', Georgina was, of course, the oldest of the thirteen 
Dickens relatives present, and in all likelihood, the oldest of the 
entire distinguished gathering. 32 Of the nine children whom she had 
watched grow up, she had outlived all but Katey and Harry, the 
two who, more than any of the others, had transcended or escaped 
the afflictions and incapacities lingering from a childhood in a 
divided home. Of George Hogarth's ten, she alone was left, her 
sister Helen having died in Liverpool in 1890. Only within the last 
year she had been reminded of her own family and the remote past 
when Mr. William Miller had sent her a manuscript song composed 
by her father and set down in his own hand. She had responded 
promptly with a cheque for one pound, declaring herself e glad indeed 
to possess' this family relic. 33 The manuscript was dated January 
1846, the month and year of her nineteenth birthday. 

During the first decade of the new century her letters to Annie 
Fields had grown much less frequent and, because of her failing eye 
sight, far more brief. But in January of 1913 she roused herself to 
reply promptly to Annie's Christmas letter, announcing that she 
had 'returned to Life again thank God!' after 'a very serious surgical 
operation which removed ATX of one Breast!' Though she would be 
eighty-six within the week, she had made a remarkable recovery. 
Writing made her head whirl, she admitted; yet she felt she must 
tell about her grandniece Olive's Doming marriage, 'such an inter 
esting event to us all!' Carried away by her enthusiasm, she gave 
many details of the match, cutting down the account of her own 
condition to the barest statement of fact. 34 

The previous week she had also demonstrated her recall to life by 
attending Katey 's reception for the Fellowship, an effort that had 
brought its reward in the performances of four grandnieces: a vocal 
solo by Harry's Enid; a violin solo by his Elaine, accompanied by 
her sister Olive; and a piano solo by Alfred's older daughter, Kath 
leen. 35 Guests might have observed Auntie in her cap and billowing 
silks as, ensconced in her place of honour, she beamed and tapped 
her foot but a trifle off beat (or so the girls sometimes indulgently 
noted). 



262 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

But a month later she was in no mood for a social occasion not 
even a Dickensian one. 'What a dismal dripping evening!' she wailed 
to Sir Nevil Macready. 'And my head aches most desperately! I 
am going to the Boz Club Dinner, and I wish I wasn't!!' 36 

By this time Annie Fields, though seven years Georgina's junior, 
was also in failing health. On 13 January 1913 she wrote her last 
entry in her diary, which she had kept up at intervals during the past 
decade. 37 If she sent the usual letter the next Christmas, it went 
unanswered or she failed to keep the reply in her thick bundle of 
carefully preserved correspondence. The annual birthday letter 
seems also to have been discontinued at last, a relaxation of what 
Annie must long have felt a solemn responsibility : 'I know you never 
do, and never will, forget' it, Georgina had assured her in 1898. As 
for Christmas of 1914, it is unlikely that there was any exchange of 
letters then, for on the eve of the ensuing Twelfth Night Annie 
Fields died. 

Many years before, with the pathetic last days of Poole, Macready, 
and Landseer fresh in her memory, Georgina had remarked that 
there were c so many poor old withered branches left hanging on to 
the very, very last'. Now she could see herself in the same light. 

Because she survived Dickens by forty-seven years, little remained 
of her legacy toward the end. A series of moves, her medical bills, 
her maids' wages, and all the expenses of living had largely depleted 
the eight thousand pounds. But she found another resource. Late 
in 1906 she had gone one day to the shop of Walter T. Spencer in 
New Oxford Street to get some Dickens first editions for a bazaar 
sponsored by the Needlework and Charitable Guild. In time she 
and this bookseller became 'great cronies' and he began casting an 
eye over the treasures at her home. He sized up the situation sharply 
and decided, on slender evidence, that she might be living beyond 
her means: 'She spent a great deal of money on cut flowers for the 
decoration of her rooms, 5 he observed. Reluctantly she began selling 
off her prized possessions, a few at a time: some of Dickens's less 
private letters, his New Testament, a lock of his hair, his writing 
slope, and the speaking tube which had hung beside his chair at the 
Household Words office. She accompanied each item with a note 
certifying its genuineness. For a while she sent her maid with relics 
to Spencer's shop once or twice a week, occasionally gleaning as 
much as 44) from a single week's transitions.** 

From time to time she dealt also with Maggs of Berkeley Square 
and others. In this manner such items as a small pearl and rosewood 
writing-desk, a glass decanter, a Chelsea ornament, and Dickens's 
carved ivory pipe stop, silver pencil, and rosewood seal left her 



'Sufficiently Rewarded' 263 

hands and eventually found their way into such public repositories 
as the Dickens House, London, and the Berg Collection of the New 
York Public Library. In her final years, when age had somewhat 
clouded her usual shrewdness, dealers less scrupulous than Spencer 
and Maggs sometimes came to look over her possessions. Once Harry 
arrived just in time to rescue some valuable material that was being 
carted off without the family's knowledge. 39 

With no keepsake did Georgina part more painfully and more 
profitably than the manuscript of The Cricket on the Hearth, a gift 
from Forster in 1871. Repeatedly she had refused offers for it, once 
even denying that she owned it. 'I do not possess any manuscripts 
of the late Mr. Charles Dickens/ she had vowed to an agent who had 
approached her in her late eighties. c lf I did I should certainly NOT 
sell them. Still less would I dream of disposing of my private 
letters from him. 5 Nearly a decade later another overture met with 
similar resistance : f I have not the slightest intention of EVER parting 
with my MS. and I have settled its disposal, after my Death, also.' 40 
(She had willed it to Harry. Later, at Spencer's suggestion, she 
planned to leave it to the British Museum.) 

But during the next fifteen years her financial situation altered 
and with it, her decision. She recalled how Spencer, seeing the pre 
cious manuscript lying open on the edge of her bookcase, had once 
offered a thousand pounds for it, should she ever change her mind 
about leaving it to the British Museum. The magnitude of the sum 
had startled her. Now, needing money to pay her doctor bills, she 
sent word to the bookseller, asking whether his offer still held. 
Spencer leaped to conclude the transaction that very day. It took 
place before family and witnesses, as he had cautiously and 
honourably suggested. 4 -* 

Although Georgina, like Dickens, was ever pocketbook conscious, 
she was also, like him, ever generous. Frequently she gave away 
relics that would have commanded a good market price. Chief of 
these was the famous sofa on which Dickens had died. After one of 
her moves into smaller quarters, she had finally, in 1909, presented 
it to the Dickens Museum in Portsmouth. 42 A number of lesser 
chattels she gave to persons who would value them as keepsakes. To 
Bob Cramp, once the handyman at Tavistock House, she sent a 
glazed ware teapot. 43 To her good friend Horace Pym she made a 
birthday present of the pewter tankard that Dickens had used during 
his last days at Gad's Hill. 44 And there were many others who 
received similar tokens. 

Until a year or two before her death she spent frequent periods 
at the Pym residence in Kent, visiting the son, Major C. E. Pym, 



264 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

after the passing of the older generation. 45 But finally her infirmities 
kept her close to home. Yet in 1916 she was still equal to attending 
a public function. When in February Harry presented a lengthy 
recital of selections adapted from Great Expectations, the subsequent 
issue of the DicJcensian noted that 'Miss Hogarth . . . , despite her 
advancing age, followed the recital with undiminished interest, and 
undisguised delight as to the humorous passages'. 46 It was her last 
such appearance. 

By this time she was living with Harry once more. The news of 
World War I enveloped her mind somewhat foggily now; sometimes 
she stood at the window bowing, thinking she was greeting Field 
Marshal Lord Kitchener. 47 In this year, which saw Kitchener's 
death, her grandnephew Major Cedric Charles Dickens, Harry's 
youngest, was also a war casualty. 

But even that autumn she still had periods of unmistakable alert 
ness. In October she received a call from an American book dealer, 
Charles Sessler, founder of the Philadelphia branch of the Dickens 
Fellowship. Only the previous May the Anderson Galleries of New 
York had auctioned off 121 of her letters from Dickens, these having 
originally been acquired for the library of E. W. Coggeshall. Realiz 
ing that any Dickens correspondence still in her hands must soon be 
scattered, Sessler was in England to buy what he could. Though he 
knew that she had long refused to part with the last of her letters 
they were perhaps some of the more intimate and revealing he 
counted on his Fellowship connections and his previous acquaint 
ance with the family to lend him persuasiveness. TTia scheme suc 
ceeded. So brisk-witted could Georgina be in any conversation 
devoted to Dickens that she impressed Sessler as e a well-preserved 
lady with all her faculties unimpaired'. The certificate which she 
wrote out for him, he remarked admiringly, showed her hand to be 
e just as good as it was four years ago'. 48 

Back to Philadelphia Sessler took the ivory field glasses she had 
given Dickens in 1842 on the eve of his first voyage to America. 
Better still, he brought with him seventeen valuable letters sixteen 
addressed to Georgina, one to Mrs. Hogarth on the death of her son 
George in 1841. No sooner had Sessler reached the other side of the 
Atlantic than the Philadelphia Public Ledger for Sunday, 19 Nov 
ember 1916, carried an account of the purchase, a photograph of 
Georgina, the hitherto unpublished letters, and the suppressed por 
tions of some previously printed. These included passages that 
Georgina would once, probably even yet, have been vexed to see 
publicized particularly out of context and assembled into a tell 
tale group in the undignified medium of newsprint. Among the 



'Sufficiently Rewarded' 265 

long-guarded passages to appear now was one written from Berwick - 
on-Tweed in 1861 : '0 it was a dull Sunday without a book! ... I 
took to drinking, so after dark made a jug of whiskey punch and 
drowned the unlucky Headland's remembrance of his failure.' 
Another, written a few years after the separation, was the confes 
sion : I feel that if I had not been reading still, I never could have 
borne the marriage, and should have excused myself somehow 1 . 
Nothing more damaging than these rather mild revelations was to 
be found in the purchase. 

If any of the family heard of the newspaper publication, it is 
unlikely that they distressed Auntie by mentioning it. Encouraged, 
perhaps, by the cheque for the sale of the letters, she decided to 
set up her own establishment again and moved into a tiny cottage 
in Church Street, Chelsea, her last home. After some difficulties 
with a maid who took advantage of her helplessness, she settled 
down to a happy relationship with Polly, the successor, who nursed 
her devotedly. Most of her time she spent in an invalid chair now. 
Like Samuel Rogers, whose old age Dickens had described in a letter 
to Washington Irving, she 'wandered, and lost [herself] like one of 
the Children in the Wood, grown up there and grown down again'. 49 

Mercifully, she never emerged from that other wood in which she 
had always wandered somewhat darkly, seeing herself in all ways 
Charles Dickens's 'best and truest friend'. In stressing only the 
'Being full of life, and brightness, and influence over everything and 
everybody around him', 50 in denying him human frailties, com 
plexities, and all the rich contradictions of his nature, she had 
ignored the power of chiaroscuro. Just as in her own idealized por 
trait, Agnes Wickfield, Dickens had created a two-dimensional paper 
doll figure of a woman, so Georgina Hogarth, by her half -century 
guardianship, had created a hero equally flat. But the facts, con 
torted and muddied by repression, emerged in her lifetime and after, 
to the detriment of her hero's reputation. As the pendulum swung 
from idolatry to detraction, the artist was in danger of being remem 
bered as a roue who had put his middle-aged wife out of her home 
to carry on with a young actress, a social- climbing Cockney who had 
driven himself unmercifully for the sake of money when he was 
already a wealthy man. This distorted picture has been brought 
into proper focus mainly by a sympathetic study of such letters 
and passages as the guardian of the beloved memory refused to 
authorize for publication. !From out of her discard rose the vindica 
tion of the man she idolized. If the idol, that spirit of Christmas 
incarnate, commands the world's smiles and tears (a cliche of 
Dickens comment), the human being at times commands a pathos 



266 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

beyond tears. Having looked into dark corners in his own soul, 
the artist was able to create a Steerforth, a Rosa Dartle, a Bradley 
Headstone. 

Had the ironic consequences of her devotion been apparent to 
Georgina, she might have seen fit to leave in delayed trust for the 
future the complete correspondence and her account of the whole 
man as she knew him. Yet though she was aware of his 'hope that 
my books will speak for themselves and me, when I and my 
faults and virtues, my fortunes and misfortunes are all forgotten', 51 
she also knew that as long as he should be remembered for himself, 
he urgently and humanly wished it to be for his 'virtues' and 
'fortunes' alone. She remembered also his insistence that a public 
man's private soul did not belong to the world, even after his death. 
In acting as she did, she was, in Dickens's judgment and her own, 
his 'best and truest friend'. She recognized no other judgment. 



In her last months Georgina endured not only physical misery 
but an awareness of her increasing confusion ; pathetically, she often 
realized that she was making the wrong responses. Happily, though, 
her mental fog may have spared her the knowledge that her little 
estate was dwindling almost as fast as her strength in that final 
winter. It was a race that she would barely win. 52 Though for years 
she had felt dull and depressed with the onset of the dismal English 
winters, she lived through Christmas 1916, through her ninetieth 
birthday in January, through one more February anniversary, and 
on into the season when, all along the pilgrims' road from London 
past Gad's Hill to Canterbury, the Kentish fields and hedges were 
rioting with bloom. In April, when 'longen folk to goon on pilgrim 
ages', she slipped into unconsciousness. On the 19th she died like 
Dickens, on a Thursday evening. 

She was buried in Mortlake Cemetery, near Charley and his wife, 
in 'a pretty place', wrote Katey the next week, 'which will soon be 
full of sunshine and flowers'. 53 Her death, remarked the editor of the 
Dickensian, had severed c a great tie between the present and the 
past 5 . Eulogizing her as 'kind-hearted, gentle, amiable and attrac 
tive to all with whom she came in contact', he asked in the words 
of Dickens himself, 'What is prettier than an old lady except a 
young lady when her eyes are bright, when her figure is trim and 
compact, when her face is cheerful and calm?' 54 

There was another tribute, an a priori one in Dickens's own hand. 
In his memorandum book, along with other jottings and suggestions 
for stories, is an undated entry sketching the heroine of a projected 



'Sufficiently Rewarded' 267 

novel, never written: 'She sacrificed to children, and sufficiently 
rewarded. From a child herself, always "the children" (of somebody 
else) to engross her. And so it comes to pass that she never has a 
child herself is never married is always devoted "to the children" 
(of somebody else), and they love her and she has always youth 
dependent on her till her death and dies quite happily.' 55 



Notes 

AST italicized superscript numeral in the text indicates that the note embodies 
additional information or discussion. References to individual works give the 
author's surname, the title (shortened wherever feasible), and the page. 
The following abbreviations have been used throughout : 

B H . . . . . Bleak House 

CHE . . . .A Child's History of England 

DC. . . . . David Copperfield 

Dick. .... The Dickensian 

H. D. Let. . . . The Letters of Charles Dickens, ed. Georgina 

Hogarth and Mary [Mamie] Dickens 
Mr. and Mrs. . . . Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens. His Letters to 

Her, ed. Walter Dexter 
Nonesuch .... The Letters of Charles Dickens (Nonesuch 

Edition), ed. Walter Dexter 
T T C . . . . A Tale of Two Cities 

For an explanation of the symbols used to identify manuscript sources, see 
the Bibliography. Dates are abbreviated in the following order : day, month, 
y ear 27/12/87. For the twentieth century the year is given in full: 23/8/1901. 



CHAPTER ONE 

[pp. 3-11] 

1. According to Henry Burnett, Dickens's brother-in-law, the Hogarth home 
stood 'opposite orchards and gardens extending as far as the eye could reach' . 
Cf. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 138. 

2. M. Dickens, My Father, 30-1. 

3. Wright, Charles Dickens, 53. 

4. Dick., XXII (1926), 221. 

5. Ibid., 222. 

6. Lockhart, Life of Scott, in, 198. 

7. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanac, 1924, 149. 

8. Information from the Edinburgh Post Office Directories, 1827-1828 and 
1828-1829. I am indebted to Mr. J. S. Ritchie of the National Library of Scot 
land for consulting these directories for me. 

9. Nat. Lib. of Scot. MS., George Hogarth to Sir Walter Scott, 30/9/30. 

10. Ibid. 

11. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanac, 1924, 149. Mr. 
George W. Almond, who has made an extensive study of Hogarth's association 
with the Guardian, kindly supplied the information about the political issues. 
Mr. Almond is a resident of Halifax. 

12. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanac, 1932, 141. 

13. Ibid., 1924, 149. 

14. DNB, XIX, 722. The Raeburn portrait was hung in Dunheath Castle, 
Caithness. 



270 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

15. For these statistics I am indebted to Mr. George W. Almond. 

16. For a copy of this advertisement I am indebted to Mr. George W. 
Almond. 

17. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanac, 1924, 151. 

18. Nonesuch, I, 40, George Hogarth, 20/1/35. 

19. Berg MS., George Hogarth to Dickens, n.d. Hogarth called the operetta 
to the attention of John Braham, who produced it at his new St. James's 
Theatre, 6th December, 1836. 

20. Mr. and Mrs. [1835], 11-12. 

21. Nonesuch, I, 68, Thomas Barrow, 31/3/36. 

22. Mr. and Mrs., 65 [21/3/36]; 49 [18/12/35]; 60 [6;3/36]. 

23. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, Supp., 10. 

24. Ibid., 11. 

25. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanac, 1924, 156. 

26. Though the number of Hogarth children is sometimes given as fourteen, 
the records show only ten. Cf. Dick., XIII (1917), 122. According to Mr. 
George W. Almond of Halifax, part of the discrepancy may be accounted for 
by the fact that Helen, born in 1833, was listed in the Eegister of Baptism as 
Ellen Isabella. Thus she may have figured thrice in the count as Helen, as 
Ellen, and as Isabella. 

27. In 1911, as Miss Hogarth tried to recall this early period, she wrote 
Mr. William Miller: 'I was a very small child in those days under 9 years 
old and I was not even present at my sister's wedding. I do remember 
spending a day at the Chalk House when they were staying there the year after 
the marriage but I don't recall much about it.' Miller MS., Georgina 
Hogarth to W. Miller, 16/8/1911. 

28. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanac, 1924, 153. 

29. H. D. Let., Ill, Diary Fragment for 1838, 8. 

30. Nonesuch, I, 107, G. Thomson, 8/5/37. 

31. Ibid., I, 113, T. Beard, 16/6/37; 109 [17/5/37]. 

32. H. D. Let., Ill, Diary Fragment for 1838, 8. 

33. The terms under which Dickens rented the furnished house in Osna- 
burgh Street are given in a Hunt. MS., Memorandum of Agreement between 
Charles Dickens and Ann Wheeler, 20/12/41. In later years Georgina Hogarth 
added the following note to this document: 'This agreement was for the small 
furnished House which he took for the children and his brother Frederick, 
for the six months term of his absence, with his wife in America from January 
1842 the Devonshire House being let for the same number of months.' 



CHAPTER TWO 

[pp. 12-23] 

1. C. Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 525. The text of *Guy 
Fawkes' is given in Dick., VHI (1912), 278-9. 

2. Nonesuch, I, 468, C. Sumner, 31/7/42. 

3. H. Dickens, Recollections, 41-2. 

4. M. Dickens, Charles Dickens, 86; Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. 
Fields, 29/9/70. 

5. For the account of Macready's acting in the dagger scene I am indebted 
to his granddaughter, Mrs. Lisa PucMe, who had it from Miss Hogarth. 

6. Nonesuch, I, 495, T. Beard, 18/12[42]. 



Notes 271 

7. Ibid., 491, T. Hood, 30/11/42. 

8. Macready, Diaries, II, 179-180, 12/7/42. 

9. For a contemporary comment on Georgina Hogarth's attitude toward 
Dlckens's genius, see the Thomson-Stark letter, reproduced in K. J. Fielding's 
'Charles Dickens and His Wife', 216. Mr. Fielding has made a convincing 
case for the authenticity of this letter, hitherto considered by many Dicken- 
sians to have been a forgery. 

10. Ibid. 

11. Forster Collection, V and A MS., Carlyle to Forster, 6/6/44. 

12. Nonesuch, I, 487, Miss Coutts, 12/11/42. 

13. Ibid., 507, Forster, 12/2/43. The hotel at which Dickens and his 'two 
petticoats' dined was the Star and Garter. Cf. Dick., VIII (1912), 14-16. 

14. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 76. 

15. Nonesuch, I, 535, Felton, 1/9/43. 

16. Dick. H. MS., Mrs. Dickens to Mrs. Felton, 29/9/43. 

17. The field glasses are now on display at the Dickens House. A card in 
Georgina Hogarth's hand certifies that they were a gift from her to Dickens 
in 1842. 

18. In a letter dated 22 May 1943, Lady Robertson Nicoll wrote the 
editor of the London Times : 'My mother, when a girl, lived in Camden Square, 
and often used to see the Dickens family, then living in Devonshire Terrace. 
My grandmother used to relate laughingly that she always knew when a new 
Dickens baby was coming because Mrs. Dickens would religiously take a walk 
twice a day, passing her window.' 

19. Nonesuch, I, 553, Felton, 2/1/44. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Ibid., 503, L. Hunt, 3/1/43. 

22. Ibid., 564, Jane Carlyle, 27/1/44. 

23. Ibid., 519, C. Smithson, 10/5/43. 

24. Ibid., 560, Maclise, Stanfield, Forster, 17/1/44. 

25. Rosenbach MS., Dickens to Thompson, 15/2/44, as quoted in Johnson, 
Charles Dickens, 494. 

26. Nonesuch, I, 519, Mrs. Hogarth, 8/5/43. 

27. Ibid., 606, Forster, -/[6J/44. 

f~28. Ibid., 545-6, 1/11/43. Only a friendly loan the previous year had 
[averted an overdrawn account at Coutts's. See ibid., 528-9, Mitton, 22/7/43. 

29. C. Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 529. 

30. Nonesuch, I, 609-10, Forster, 16/7/44; 619 [-/8/44]. 

31. Ibid., 611-612, Maclise, 22/7/44; 613-14, Forster, 3/8/44. 

32. Ibid., 649, Miss Coutts, 8/12/44. 

33. Ibid., 626, Forster, 6/10/44; 633, 5/11/44. 

34. Mr. and Mrs., 106-9, 8/11/44. 

35. Nonesuch, I, 647-8, Mrs. Dickens, 2/12/44. 

36. Ibid., 646, 28/11/44. 

37. Ibid., 657-8, Georgina Hogarth, 4/2/45. 

38. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 71. 

39. Nonesuch, I, 646, Mrs. Dickens, 28/11/44. 

40. Ibid., 661, Mitton, 22/2/45. 

41. Ibid. 

42. Ibid., 664, Miss Coutts, 18/3/45; 666, Forster [-/3/45]. 

43. Una Pope-Hennessy, Charles Dickens, 216-17. 

44. Mr. and Mrs., 227, 5/12/53. 



272 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

45. Nonesuch, I, 671-2, Mitton, 14/4/45. 

46. C. Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens 1 , 526-7. 

47. Nonesuch, I, 711, Stanfield [28/10/45]. 

48. Ibid., 480, H. Austin, 25/9/42. 

49. Ibid., 745, Mme. De la Rue, 17/4/46. 

50. Ibid., 773, Forster, 2/8/46. 

51. Ibid., 819, T. J. Thompson, 2/12/46. 

52. Ibid., 805, Jerrold, 24/10/46. 

53. See Carlton, 'Who Was Dickens's French Employer?', for an account of 
Diekens's connection with the Fillonneaus. For Georgina Hogarth's note on 
the exchange of manuscripts see Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 102, n. 2. Though 
Miss Hogarth does not specifically mention The Battle of Life in this note, it is 
identified in one of her letters. Cf. Morgan MS., Georgina Hogarth to F. 
Harvey, 1/6/80. I have not been able to identify the farce whose manuscript 
Dickens destroyed. Might it have been 'Cross Purposes'? Cf. DicJc., XLVI 
(1950), 94-5. 

54. Forster, Life, 453. 

55. Nonesuch, n, 17, Georgina Hogarth [9/3/47]. 

56. Forster, Life, 453. 

57. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 19/4/47. Cited by Johnson, Charles 
Dickens, 614. 

58. Nonesuch, H, 64, Georgina Hogarth, 30/12/47. 

59. Ibid., 69, A. Dickens, 1/1/48. 

60. Ibid., 112, Mrs. Watson, 27/7/48. 

61. Ibid., 113, Lytton, 4/8/48; 112, T. Beard and P. Cunningham, 28/7/48. 

62. Morgan MS., Mrs. Dickens to Miss Coutts, -/1 1/48. This occasion was 
apparently a small family affair, arranged for friends who would not be 
present at the official dinner on 3rd January to celebrate the publication of 
The Haunted Man. Specifically mentioned in Mrs. Dickens's invitation were 
the Mittons, Miss Coutts, and the Browns, whose names do not appear in 
Forster's list of guests attending the 3rd January function. Cf. Forster, 
Life, 527. 

CHAPTER THREE 

[pp. 24-34] 

1. Forster, Life, 527; Nonesuch, H, 141, Capt. Marryat, 3/1/49. 

2. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 2/2/49 (cited in Johnson, Charles 
Dickens, 662-3). 

3. Nonesuch, IT, 143, Tagart, 20/1/49. 

4. D C, Ch. 45. That 'Dora acquires after her marriage more and more of 
a colouring derived' from Catherine Dickens is convincingly argued by Pro 
fessor Johnson. See his Charles Dickens, 688-9. 

5. D C, Ch. 18. 

6. Ibid., Ch. 34. Recognizing Georgina Hogarth as the inspiration for 
Agnes Wickfield, Professor Butt suggests that if 'Dora had been allowed to 
live, Agnes might have maintained her part as "the real heroine", by educating 
Dora, by superintending the household, and by caring for the children, the 
very part which Georgina Hogarth was playing in Dickens's own family*. See 
Dick., XLVI (1950), 129. 

7. D C, Ch. 19. 

8. Nonesuch, II, 195, Cerjat, 29/12/49. 



Notes 273 

9. Ibid., 113, Lytton, 4/8/48. 

10. Cf. Ch. 2, n. 25. 

11. Nonesuch, I, 463, Mrs. Golden, 15/7/42. 

12. Morgan MS., Carlyle to Mrs. Dickens, 24/4/43. 

13. Bliss, Jane Carlyle, 188-9, 5/4/49. 

14. Ibid., 192, 26/5/49. 

15. The Letters of Thackeray, II, 569, Mrs. Brookfield, 24/7/49. 

16. Mr. and Mrs., 133, 16/6/49. 

17. Nonesuch, II, 229, Wills, 29/8/50. 

18. Mr. and Mrs., 146, 3/9/50. 

19. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/6/72. 

20. Lehmann, Memories, 203-4. 

21. Ibid., 207. 

22. New Letters of Thomas Carlyle, I, 188-9; Hewlett, Chorley, I, 194. 

23. DNB; The Art Journal, XXV (1863). 

24. Nonesuch, II, 242-3, Lytton, 3/11/50. 

25. Ibid., 247, Mrs. Watson, 23/11/50. 

26. Johnson, Charles Dickens, 726. 

27. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Mrs. Watson, 9/3/51. 

28. Nonesuch, II, 278, Dr. Wilson, 8/3/51; 279, 11/3/51. 

29. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Mrs. Watson, 9/3/51. 

30. M. Dickens, My Father, 62-3. 

31. CHE, Chs. 28, 35, and 37. 

32. Nonesuch, II, 297, Mrs. Dickens, 15/4/51. 

33. Ibid., 299, Lytton, 18/4/51; Morgan MS., Dickens to Letitia Austin, 
19/4/51. 

34. Morgan MS., Dickens to H. Austin, 17/10/51; Hunt. MS., Dickens to 
Mrs. Watson, 31/10/51 (quoted in Dick., XXXVIII [1924], 162). 

35. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Wills, 9/9/51. 

36. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 30; Andersen, 'A Visit to Charles Dickens'; 
Nonesuch, II, 344, B. Smith, 26/9/51; 342, H. Austin, 7/9/51. The bust, 
executed in 1839 by Angus Fletcher, was presented in 1955 to the Dickens 
House by Miss J. Jowett. See Dick., LII (1955), 5. 

37. Morgan MS., Dickens to H. Austin, 1/10/51. 

38. Nonesuch, n, 353-4, Eeles, 22/10/51. 

39. The George Eliot Letters, H, 17-18, Charles Bray, 17/4/[52]. 

40. Nonesuch, II, 383, Wills, 13/3/52. 

41. Ibid., 383, Howitt, 19/3/52. 

42. B H, Ch. 23. The theory that Georgina Hogarth may have suggested the 
character of Esther Summerson has been advanced by Professor Johnson. 
See his Charles Dickens, 766. 

43. B H, Ch. 3. 

44. Ibid., Chs. 8 and 31. 

45. Ibid., Ch. 37. 

CHAPTER FOUR 

[pp. 35-46] 

1. Tuke, A History of Bedford College, 282. 

2. A. T. Dickens, *My Father and His Friends.* 

3. Nonesuch, n, 398, T. Beard, 29/6/52. 

4. Ibid., I, 686, Stanneld, 15/7/45. 



274 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

5. Ibid., 705-6, T. Thompson, Leech, Eaton, 1/10/45. 

6. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, -/5/4S. 

7. Nonesuch, H, 412-13, Forster, 29/8/52. 

8. C. Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 531. 

9. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 118. 

10. C. Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 532. 

11. Ritchie, Some Unwritten Memoirs, 79. 

12. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 115-17. 

13. C. Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 534. 

14. Ibid., 535. 

15. Nonesuch, II, 815, Macready, 13/12/56. 

16. Budden MS., Georgina Hogarth to Lady Olliffe, 1/12/56. 

17. Hunt, MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Winter, 21/7/57; Johnson, Heart 
of Dickens, 341-2, 20/6/57. 

18. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 120, lists only the last two dates. The additional 
llth July performance is established from Georgina Hogarth's letter to Mrs. 
Winter, Hunt. MS., 21/7/57, and a printed programme for that date in the 
Berg Collection. 

19. Nonesuch, H, 303, Lytton, 28/4/51 ; Adrian MS., Katey Dickens to Miss 
Wilkins, Monday morning [29/6/57]. 

20. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Winter, 21/7/57. 

21. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, Supp., 17. 

22. Nonesuch, II, 521, Georgina Hogarth, 25/11/53. 

23. Ibid., 533, Mrs. Watson, 13/1/54. 

24. Clark Lib. MS., Georgina Hogarth to C. Felton, 2/6/53. 

25. Nonesuch, II, 467-8, Forster, 26/6/53. 

26. Mary Boyle, Her Boole, 237. 

27. Nonesuch, II, 584-5, Austin, 6/9/54. 

28. Ibid., 692-3, Wills, 23/9/55. 

29. Ibid., 697, Collins, 14/10/55. 

30. Ibid., 697, Mrs. Dickens, 16/10/55. 

31. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Mrs. Watson, 10/11/55 (quoted in Dick., XXVIII 
[1942], 166); Nonesuch, H, 699, Wills, 21/10/55. 

32. Nonesuch, H, 736, M. Boyle, 28/1/56. 

33. Ibid., 701, Wills, 24/10/55. 

34. Ibid., 681, Gibson, 18/7/55. 

35. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 320, 5/7/56. 

36. Nonesuch, H, 795, Miss Coutts, 13/8/56. 

37. Ibid., 500, Georgina Hogarth, 25/10/53. 

38. Mr. and Mrs., 184-5, 16/10/53. 

39. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 239, 25/10/53. 

40. Ward, Memories, 87. 

41. DC, Ch. LX. 

42. Professor Butt has referred to Agnes as 6 the Georgina Hogarth of 
David's household'. See Dick., XLVI (1950), 177. 

43. Nonesuch, H, 888, Forster, -/9/57. 

44. D C, Ch. XLH. 

45. Nonesuch, H, 887-8, Forster, -/9/57; Fields Papers, Diary, 24/11/67. 

46. Nonesuch, III, 22, A. Smith [Enclosure], 25/5/58; Mr. and Mrs. 9 
Appendix II, 273-4. 

47. Mr. and Mrs., 245-6, 7/2/56. 

48. Nonesuch, n, 740, Georgina Hogarth, 7/2/56; 741, 8/2/56. 



Notes 275 

49. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 8/1/62. 

50. Nonesuch, II, 569-70, Georgina Hogarth, 22/7/54. 

51. Mr. and Mrs., 249, 9/5/56; 239, 16/12/55; Nonesuch, II, 725, Wills 
10/1/56. 

52. Nonesuch, II, 764, Wills, 27/4/56; 646, Collins, 24/3/55. 

53. Ibid., 769, Georgina Hogarth, 5/5/56; Mr. and Mrs., 249, 9/5/56. 

54. Nonesuch, H, 765, Forster, -/4/56. 

55. Berg MS., Dickens to De la Rue, 23/10/57 (quoted in Johnson, Charles 
Dickens, 909). 

56. Morgan MS., Mary Howitt to Mrs. Dickens, 16/l/[57]. 

57. Berg MS., Dickens's Memorandum Book. See also Nonesuch, III, 794. 

58. Nonesuch, II, 625, Mrs. Winter, 10/2/55; 629, 15/2/55. 

59. Ibid., 649, 3/4/55; 739, 5/2/56. 

60. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Winter, 21/7/57. 

61. Johnson, Charles Dickens, 876. 

CHAPTER FIVE 

[pp. 47-60] 

1. Nonesuch, II, 882, Georgina Hogarth, 12/9/57; 884, 15/9/57. 

2. Ibid., Forster, 878, 5/9/57; 887-8, -/9/57. 

3. Ibid., 890, Anne Cornelius, 11/10/57. 

4. Johnson, Charles Dickens, 912. 

5. Berg MS., Dickens to De la Rue, 23/10/57 (quoted in Johnson, Charles 
Dickens, 909). 

6. Nonesuch, HI, 5, Forster, 30/1/58; 14, Collins, 21/3/58. 

7. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 353, Editor's summary. 

8. Nonesuch, III, 22, Arthur Smith [Enclosure], 25/5/58. 

9. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 355, 9/5/58. 

10. Fielding, 'Dickens and the Hogarth Scandal', 65, 70. 

11. Fielding, 'Dickens to Miss Coutts' (reproduced in Johnson, Heart of 
Dickens, 354-5, 9/5/58). 

12. Nonesuch, II, 503, Mrs. Dickens, 28/10/53. 

13. Ibid., 358, 13/11/51. 

14. Ibid., 605, Hunt, 13/11/54. 

15. A case in point was Miss Coutts. Cf. Fielding, 'Dickens to Miss Coutts*. 

16. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 352, Mrs. Dickens to Miss Coutts, 1/2/58. 

17. Nonesuch, HI, 22, A. Smith [Enclosure], 25/5/58. 

18. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 355, 9/5/58. 

19. See the complete correspondence in Mr. and Mrs., Appendix III, 277-8. 

20. The Letters of Thackeray, IV, 86-7, 131, Mrs. Carmichael- Smyth, -/5/58, 
-/2/59. 

21. Ouvry Papers, Dickens to Ouvry, 26/5/58 (quoted in Fielding, 'Dickens 
and the Hogarth Scandal', 67). 

22. Ibid., Legal Copy, G. Smith to Ouvry, 27/6/58 (quoted in Fielding, 
'Dickens and the Hogarth Scandal', 68). 

23. Ibid., Ouvry to G. Smith, 28/5/58 (quoted in Fielding, 'Dickens and the 
Hogarth Scandal', 69). 

24. Mr. and Mrs., Appendix II, 275-6. It is interesting to compare the 
published statement with the original before Dickens altered it. To the open 
ing sentence of the first draft he added 'and compromising the reputation and 
good name of others'. In the original the second sentence reads: 'We solemnly 



276 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

swear that such statements did not originate with, and have not been circu 
lated by either of us'. Most of this was deleted in the final version. As pub 
lished, the closing sentence is a further modification of the first version : * We 
know that the statements are wholly repudiated by Mrs. Dickens and we 
believe them to be entirely destitute of foundation. We pledge ourselves on all 
occasions to contradict them.' The original draft forms part of the Ouvry Papers. 

25. Ouvry Papers, Dickens to Ouvry, 29/5/58 (quoted in Fielding, 'Dickens 
and the Hogarth Scandal', 70). 

26. Ibid., G. Smith to Ouvry, 31/3/58. 

27. Mr. and Mrs., 258, 4/6/58. 

28. Ibid., Appendix I, 272. 

29. Halifax Guardian, p. 31, Col. 1, 12/6/58. For this information I am 
indebted to Mr. George Almond. 

30. Fitzgerald, Memories, 190. 

31. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 7/6/58. 

32. Nonesuch, HI, 27, Tagart, 14/6/58. 

33. Ibid., 29-30, Cerjat, 7/7/58. 

34. The complete letter, quoted in part in this paragraph and the four that 
follow, is reproduced in Mr. and Mrs., Appendix 31, 273-4; and in Nonesuch, 

m, 22-3. 

35. Nonesuch, in, 21-2, A. Smith, 25/5/58. 

36. Ibid., 54, Georgina Hogarth, 12/9/58. 

37. The New York Tribune, p. 6, col. 6, 16/8/58. 

38. Georgina Hogarth's letter is reproduced in its entirety in Mr. and Mrs., 
Appendix VII, 290-1. My quotations, in this paragraph and the four that 
follow, are an exact transcript of the original (Hunt. MS.) and differ in minor 
details from the printed version. Katey's statement about her mother is 
recorded in Mrs. Fields's diaries. 

39. Nonesuch, HE, 25, Leech, 31/5/58. Charley's enclosure is given hi a 
footnote. 

40. As quoted in Dick., XXXH (1936), 142-3. 

41. Fielding, 'Dickens and Brown*, 103-10. 

42. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 357, 19/5/58. The wavering hand- writing of 
this letter, a Morgan MS., suggests agitation. 

43. Ibid., 361, 22/8/58. 

44. Nonesuch, HI, 479, Georgina Hogarth, 1/8/66. 

45. Morgan MS., Halliday to Mrs. Dickens, 5/10/69; Mrs. Dickens to Chap 
man, 15/4/64. William Farren, in the London Times for 14/5/1933, reports: 
*The last tune I met them [Mrs. Dickens and her sister, presumably Helen] 
was at the production of 'Dombey and Son' at the Old Globe Theatre (1873) 
in an adaptation of Andrew Halliday called Hearts Delight. I sat next to Mrs. 
Dickens in the stalls, and I remember how moved to tears Mrs. Dickens 
became. There was no mistaking her feelings'. 

46. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 355, 9/5/58. 

CHAPTER SIX 

[pp. 61-81] 

1. Yates, Memories, 288. 

2. Nonesuch, m, 44-6, Georgina Hogarth, 25/8/58; 47-8, 29/8/58, 

3. Ibid., 57, Forster, -/9/58. 

4. Ibid., 49, Wills, 2/9/58. 



Notes 277 

5. Ibid., 40, Georgina Hogarth, 20/8/58; 56, 17/9/58. 

6. Mr. and Mrs., 258, 4/6/58. 

7. Nonesuch, HI, 56, Georgina Hogarth, 17/9/58; 51, 7/9/58. 

8. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, Thursday afternoon, 1870; 
Nonesuch, HI, 210, Georgina Hogarth, 2/2/61 ; Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina 
Hogarth, 27/11/61, 3/1/62, 24/1/62. 

9. Berg MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 25/11/53. 

10. Nonesuch, III, 53, Georgina Hogarth, 12/9/58. 

11. Frith, My Autobiography, I, 215-16. 

12. Quoted in Dick., XV (1919), 38. 

13. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 76, n. 

14. Andersen, 'A Visit to Charles Dickens', 185. 

15. Nonesuch, H, 828, Cerjat, 17/1/57. 

16. Ibid., 751, Georgina Hogarth, 14/3/56. 

17. Ibid., 742-3, Miss Coutts, 9/2/56; Morgan MS., Dickens to H. Austin, 
12/8/56. 

18. Information furnished by Miss W. Stewart Burt, Gad's Hill Place, Kent. 

19. Morgan MS., Dickens to H. Austin, 15/2/57. 

20. Nonesuch, II, 875, H. C. Andersen, 2/9/57; 862, Macready, 13/7/57. 

21. Ibid., 869, Forster, -/8/57; Morgan MS., Dickens to H. Austin, 21/7/57. 

22. Nonesuch, HI, 30, Cerjat, 7/7/58; Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 
10/7/57. 

23. Nonesuch, III, 59, Georgina Hogarth, 26/9/58. 

24. Ibid., 48, 29/8/58. In his 'Table Talk', T. P. O'Connor refers to the 
gossip about the painted design. Reported in the Halifax Courier and Guardian 
Historical Almanack, 1924, 156. 

25. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 27/3/56. 

26. Nonesuch, III, 163-4, T. Beard, 12/6/60. 

27. Ibid., 167-8, Mrs. A. Dickens, 19/7/60; Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 
104. 

28. Lehmann, Memories, 94-5; Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 106; None 
such, in, 168, Mrs. A. Dickens, 19/7/60. 

29. Gissing, William Holman Hunt, 157. 

30. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 106. 

31. Nonesuch, HI, 176, Wills, 4/9/60. 

32. The description of Gad's Hill, in this and the following paragraphs, is 
based largely on Dolby, Charles Dickens, 492. 

33. Nonesuch, HI, 208, Cerjat, 1/2/61. 

34. Ibid., 436, P. Fitzgerald, 23/9/65. 

35. Fields Papers, Diary, 15/8/67 (quoted in Howe, Memories of a Hostess, 
139). 

36. Nonesuch, IH, 361-2, Bennett, 14/9/63. 

37. Ibid., 382, A Chimney-sweep, 15/3/64. 

38. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 24/1/62. 

39. Nonesuch, III, 160, Cerjat, 3/5/60; 228, Mrs. Watson, 8/7/61. 

40. Forster, Life, 654. 

41. Dolby, Charles Dickens, 423-5. 

42. Fitzgerald, Memories of Charles Dickens, 16. 

43. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, Supp., 50. 

44. Nonesuch, HI, 198, Captain Morgan, -/12/60. 

45. Quoted in Dick., XXIX (1933), 100. 

46. 'Charles Dickens at Home', 396-7. 



278 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

47. M. Dickens, M\j Father, 45. 

48. Ibid., 40-1; Lucas, Reading, Writing, and JRememberiny, 301). 

49. Nonesuch, III, 197, Georgina Hogarth, 28/12/60; 285, T. Beard, 1/2/62. 

50. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 29/9/70. 

51. Nonesuch, III, 160, Cerjat, 3/5/60. 

52. Ibid., 230, Georgina Hogarth, 31/7/61; 238, 19/9/61; 197, 28/12/60; 
244, 9/10/61 ; Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 9/1/67. 

53. Nonesuch, III, 210, Georgina Hogarth, 2/2/61. 

54. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 18/2/62; 19/2/62. 

55. Ibid., 15/4/69. 

56. Nonesuch, III, 206, Georgina Hogarth, 17/1/61; Hunt. MS., Dickens to 
Georgina Hogarth, 18/7/67. 

57. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 10/10/7L 

58. Ibid., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 25/11/53. 

59. Ibid., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 10/1/62, 3/2/64. 

60. Ibid., 8/1/62. Incomplete in Nonesuch, III, 277. 

61. Ibid., 25/11/53. 

62. Nonesuch, III, 251, Georgina Hogarth, 7/11/61; 40, 20/8/58; Hunt. 
MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 5/11/53. 

63. Nonesuch, III, 203, Georgina Hogarth, 2/1/61, 5/1/61, 7/1/61. 

64. Ibid., 197, 28/12/60; 223, 26/5/61. 

65. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 2/7/62. 

66. Finlay, 'Peeps at Dickens', 100. 

67. Morgan MS., Dickens to Overs, 24/8/41 (quoted in Johnson, Charles 
Dickens, 346). 

68. Dickens 's letter to Baylis (Nonesuch, HI, 298) speaks of 'the doctors'; 
his letter to Macready (Morgan MS.) of the same date speaks of Elliotson. 
Later Georgina Hogarth was known to be under Beard's care. 

69. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 2/7/62; Dickens to Mrs. Austin, 
20/6/62, 3/7/62. 

70. Nonesuch, HI, 301. Collins, 27/7/62; 304-5, 20/9/62. 

71. Ibid., 307, Mrs. Austin, 7/10/62. 

72. Morgan MS., Dickens to Macready, 2/7/62; Nonesuch, in, 298, Bayliss, 
2/7/62; 308, Collins, 8/10/62, 12/10/62. 

73. Nonesuch, HI, 317, Mrs. Austin, 7/11/62. 

74. Sis letters in Johnson, Heart of Dickens, include Georgina Hogarth's 
regards, or even 'love', to Miss Coutts: the first is dated 17/11/51; the last, 
9/4/57. 

75. Nonesuch, III, 317, Mrs. Austin, 7/11/62. 

76. Ibid., 316, Forster, circa 5/11/62; 318, Wills, 11/11/62. 

77. Ibid., 317, Mrs. Austin, 7/11/62. 

78. Ibid., 328-9, Mary Boyle, 27/12/62. 

79. Morgan MS., Georgina Hogarth to unidentified correspondent, 14/1/63. 

80. Nonesuch, IH, 338, Mary Dickens, 1/2/63. 

81. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarfch, 12/2/63. 

82. Nonesuch, IH, 348, Carlyle, 13/4/63; 352, Cerjat, 21/5/63. 

83. Wright, Charles Dickens, 67. 

84. Nonesuch, 2H, 342-3, Macredy, 19/2/63; Hunt. MS., Dickens to Geor 
gina Hogarth, 1/2/63 (quoted in Johnson, Charles Dickens, 1008). 

85. Nonesuch, HE, 350, Collins, 9/8/63. 

86. Ibid., 362, Mason, 19/9/63. 

87. Ibid., 372, W. Hoskyns, 14/12/63. 



Notes 279 

CHAPTER SEVEN 
[pp. 82-95] 

1. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 80. 

2. Grubb, 'Dickens and His Brother Fred', 128. 

3. Nonesuch, III, 169, Forster, 29/7/60; 170, Parkinson, 9/8/60. 

4. Ibid., 173, Mrs. Dickinson, 19/8/60; 174-5, Georgina Hogarth, 21/8/60 
Tuesday evening, Tuesday night). 

5. Ibid., 171, Mrs. Parkinson, 9/8/60; Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina 
3ogarth, 24/1/62. 

6. Nonesuch, in, 247, Bowring, 31/10/61; 254, Earl of Carlisle, 15/11/61; 
VIorgan MS., Dickens to Mrs. Austin, n.d. 

7. Morgan MS., Dickens to Mrs. Austin, 18/7/62. 

8. Ibid., 8/10/68. 

9. Nonesuch, III, 193, Georgina Hogarth, 27/11/60; 362, Wills, 14/9/63. 

10. Ibid., 212, Wills, 11/3/61. 

11. Ibid., 243, Forster, -/10/61. 

12. Ibid., 349, Collins, 22/4/63. 

13. Ibid., 243, Forster, -/10/61; Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 
15/10/61. 

14. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 15/10/61. 

15. Nonesuch, III, 402, Cerjat, 25/10/64. 

16. Ibid., 288, 16/3/62; Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 186; 22/8/51; 254, 
14/1/54. 

17. Nonesuch, III, 402, Cerjat, 25/10/64. 

18. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 375, 12/2/64. 

19. See the Narrative in the H. D. Let., II, 208. 

20. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 376, 12/2/64; Morgan MS., Dickens to 
Macready 10/2/64. 

21. Ouvry Papers, R N. Carter to Dickens, 4/1/64. 

22. Dick., XLIX (1953), 100. 

23. Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 376, 12/2/64. 

24. Hunt MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 12/10/64. 

25. Ouvry Papers, Col. Priestly to Dickens, 16/7/64. 

26. Ibid., Capt. George Cockburn to Maj. Moffatt, 14/1/64. 

27. Ibid., Native Merchant to C. 0., 27/12/63. 

28. Nonesuch, in, 104, Mrs. Watson, 31/5/59; 160, Cerjat, 3/5/60; 209, 
1/2/61; 378, Collins, 24/1/64. 

29. Ibid., 288, Cerjat, 16/3/62; Johnson, Charles Dickens, 995. 

30. Nonesuch, III, 421, Layard, 17/5/65. 

31. Alfred Dickens's itemized bills form part of the Ouvry Papers. 

32. Nonesuch, III, 160, Cerjat, 3/5/60; 178, Mrs. Watson, 14/9/60. 

33. Ibid., 180-1, Georgina Hogarth, 24/9/60; 183, Forster, 4/10/60. 

34. Ibid., 288, Cerjat, 16/3/62. 

35. Cellier and Bridgeman, Gilbert and Sullivan, 250-1. 

36. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 12/10/64. 

37. A. Dickens, 'My Father and His Friends', 641. 

38. Nonesuch, HE, 449, Busden, 27/12/65. 

39. It should be emphasized that the decisions affecting his sons were 
Dickens's own and not the result of any sly suggestions from Georgina Hogarth, 
as has sometimes been charged by her detractors. The assumption that her 



280 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Influence prompted him to get them out of her way is invalidated by irrefut 
able evidence of her affection for them. Besides, her brother-in-law knew 
her too well not to see through any such covert scheme, detecting which, he 
would hardly have held his high opinion of her until the end. 

40. Nonesuch, HI, 153, Bewsher, 14/3/60. 

41. Ibid., 249, Georgina Hogarth, 1/11/61. 

42. Ibid., 350, Brookfield, 17/5/63; 370-1, Sawyer, 6/11/63. 

43. H. F. Dickens, 'The History of the Gad's Hill Gazette', 256. Professor 
Johnson has suggested July 1863 as the probable date for the first issue. Cf. 
his Charles Dickens, 1063, n, 102. 

44. H. F. Dickens, 'The History of the Gad's Hill Gazette , 255-9; Recollec 
tions, 22. 

45. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 187. 

46. H. F. Dickens, Recollections, 23-4. 

47. Nonesuch, HI, 160, Cerjat, 3/5/60. 

48. Ibid., 478, Lytton, 16/7/66. 

49. Ibid., 298, Baylis, 2/7/62. 

50. Ibid., 209, Cerjat, 1/2/61; 288, 16/3/62; 348, Muspratt, 13/4/63. 

51. Ibid., 402, Cerjat, 25/10/64. 

52. Forster, Life, 654; M. Dickens, My Father, 37. 

53. Nonesuch, III, 411, Forster, 7/1/65. 

54. M. A. Dickens, 'A Child's Recollections of Gad's HilT. 

55. Nonesuch, III, 650, Mrs. Fields, 25/5/68. Mention of the telescope 
appears in a letter from Charles Dickens, Jr., to Georgina Hogarth, Ouvry 
Papers, 19/7/70 : 'I am writing to Layard. The telescope out of the chalet isn't 
it you have kept for him? Let me know at Henley.' 

56. Nonesuch, HE, 416, Forster, 3/3/65. 

57. Forster, Life, 700. 

58. T. W. Fill, "The Staplehurst Railway Accident*, 149-50. 

50! Nonesuch, HI, 423, F. Beard, 10/6/65; 425-7, Mitton, 13/6/65. 

60. Hunt, MS., Dickens to Wills, 25/10/58; Nonesuch, IK, 235, Webster, 
9/9/61. 

61. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 128. 

62. Nonesuch, in, 429, J. Thompson, 25/6/65. 

63. Ibid., 424, Lever, 12/6/65; 425, Headland, 12/6/65. 

64. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Mrs. Winter, 14/6/65. Incorrectly addressed to 
Louis Winter in Nonesuch, HE, 427. 

65. Mr. and Mrs., 264, 11/6/65. 

66. Nonesuch, TTT, 431, F. Lehmann, 13/7/65; Lytton, 20/7/65. 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

[pp. 96-115] 

1. Nonesuch, m, 429, Forster, -/[6]/65. 

2. Ibid., 459-460, Georgina Hogarth, 9/2/66. 

3. Ibid., 460, F. Beard, 16/2/66. 

4. Hunt, MS., Dickens to Ouvry, 8/3/66. 

5. Nonesuch, m, 487, W. Collins, 4/10/66. 

6. Ibid., 467, Georgina Hogarth, 17/4/66. 

7. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 6/3/67 (Wednesday night). 



Notes 281 

8. Nonesuch, in, 468, Georgina Hogarth, 19/4/66. 

9. Morgan MS., Dickens to A. Smith, 26/1/59 (incomplete in Nonesuch, 
HE, 89; quoted in Nisbet, Dickens and Ellen Ternan, 54). 

10. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 24/5/66. 

11. Nonesuch, III, 477-8, Lytton, 16/7/66. 
12 Ibid., 479, Georgina Hogarth, 1/8/66. 

13. Ibid., 526, Rev. J. Taylor, 4/5/67; 537, 15/7/67. 

14. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 3/11/66. 

15. Ibid. 

16. Ibid., 5/11/66. 

17. Ibid. 

18. Ibid., 7/11/66. 

19. Nonesuch, in, 513, Mrs. Elliot, 4/3/67. 

20. Ibid., 502, Georgina Hogarth, 21/1/67; 508, 15/2/67. 

21. Hunt, MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 2/3/67. 

22. Ibid., 4/3/67; 6/3/67. . 

23. Berg MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 15/3/67 (incomplete in None 
such* in, 515-6). 

24. Hunt. MS., Charles Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 16/3/67; Nonesuch, 
HI, 516, M. Dickens, 16/3/67. 

25 Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 7/3/67; 16/3/67, 

26. Ibid., 20/3/67; 26/4/67; 4/3/67. 

27. Nonesuch in, 527, Georgina Hogarth, 10/5/67. 

28. Ibid., 526, Rev. J. Taylor, 4/5/67. 

29. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Wills, 6/6/67 (incomplete in Nonesuch, III, 

530). 

30. Ibid. w , , _ 
31 Wright, Charles Dickens, 307. For further discussion of Dickens s rela 
tions with Ellen Ternan see Nisbet, Dickens and Ellen Ternan, and Johnson, 
Charles Dickens, 1005-8. 

32. Berg MS., Diary of Charles Dickens for the Year 1867. 
33*. Nonesuch, IH, 476, Mrs. Elliot, 5/7/66. 

34. Ibid., 555, Georgina Hogarth, 30/9/67. 

35. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 1/8/67; Nonesuch, in, 540, 
Georgina Hogarth, 2/8/67. 

36. Nonesuch, III, 540, Forster, 6/8/67. 

37. Ibid., 544, Fields, 3/9/67; 544, Finlay, 3/9/67. 

38. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 5/8/72. 
39 Ibid., Mary Dickens to Charles Kent, 27/10/67. 

40. Ibid., Carlyle to Charles Kent, 20/10/67; Ruskin to Charles Kent, 
1/11/67. 

41. Yates, Memories, 298; Ellis, The Hardinan Papers, 288. 

42. The Charles Dickens Farewell Dinner. 

43. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 10/8/67. According to Ins 
pocket diary, Dickens was alone on 9 August 1867: 'Ride alone. Olympic , 
reads the entry for that day. On 10th August, however, he was cheered by 
seeing Nelly, according to his diary entry: 'To P at 11 (N)'. 

44. Berg MS., Memoranda to Wills (quoted in Nisbet, Dickens and Ellen 

Ternan, 53). . 

45. Berg MS., Diary of Charles Dickens for the Year 1876 (quoted in Nisbet, 
Dickens and Ellen Ternan, 54; and in Johnson, Charles Dickens, 1006). For 
another interpretation of the code see G. G. Grubb's review of Miss Nisbet s 



282 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

Dickens and Ellen Ternan in Dick., XLIX (June, 1933), 121-9. Also see Felix 
Aylmer's refutation of Grubb's thesis, Dick., LI (March, 1955), 85-6. 

46. Hunt. MS., T. A. Trollope to J. T. Fields, 18/4/73; Nisbet, Dickens and 
Ellen Ternan, 88, n. 6. 

47. Hotten, Charles Dickens, 89. 

48. Nonesuch, m, 566, Mary Dickens, 10/11/67; Georgina Hogarth, 
13/11/67; 567, 16/11/67. 

49. Ibid., 572, Georgina Hogarth, 25/11/67. 

50. Ibid., 581, Mary Dickens, 11/12/67. 

51. Ibid., 595, Georgina Hogarth, 3/1/68. 

52. Walker MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mary Howitt, 25/12/67. 

53. Nonesuch, HI, 583, Georgina Hogarth, 16/12/67. 

54. Ibid., 584, 22/12/67. 

55. Ibid., 588-9, Mary Dickens, 26/12/67. 

56. Ibid., 590, Mary Dickens, 30/12/67; 606, Georgina Hogarth, 21/1/68. 

57. Ibid., 601, Georgina Hogarth, 12/1/68. 

58. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 6/12/67 (incomplete in 
Nonesuch, in, 597, which is misdated 4/1/68). 

59. Nonesuch, in, 595, Georgina Hogarth, 3/1/68; 607, Mary Dickens, 
23/1/68; 633-4, 3/16/68. 

60. T T C, Bk. m, Ch. 5. 

61. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 10/1/68. 

62. Ibid., 27/2/68. 

63. Ibid., Dickens to Wills, 21/10/66 (incomplete in Nonesuch, m, 488). 

64. Ouvry Papers, Re Augustus Dickens, 17/10/67. 

65. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 8/3/68 (incomplete in None 
such, HI, 629). 

66. See Dick., XXXV (1939), 145. 

67. Nonesuch, III, 617, Georgina Hogarth, 7/2/68. 

68. Fields Papers, Diary, 7/2/68. 

69. Ibid., 2/12/67 (quoted in Howe, Memories, 144). 

70. Ibid., 24/11/67. 

71. Ibid., 8/1/68 (incomplete in Howe, Memories, 155). 

72. Ibid., undated entry, early in 1868. 

73. Ibid., 3/3/68; -/4/68; 8/1/68 (quoted in Howe, Memories, 155). 

74. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 29/1/68. 

75. Nonesuch, IH, 628, Mary Dickens, 2/3/68. 

76. Fields Papers, Diary, -/4/68. 

77. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 1 & 2/4/68 (incomplete in 
Nonesuch, HI, 641). 

78. Ibid. 

79. Fields Papers, Diary, 2/4/68 (quoted in Howe, Memories, 171). 

80. Nonesuch, m, 642-3, Mary Dickens, 7/4/68. 

81. Fields Papers, Diary, 19/4/68 (quoted in Howe, Memories, 184). 

82. Ibid., 22/4/68; 24/4/68. 

83. Ibid., 24/4/68. 

84. Ibid., 2/5/68. 

85. Ibid., 24/4/68. 

86. Ibid., 3/5/68. 

87. Ibid., 6/12/71. 

88. Nonesuch, III, 650, Mrs. Fields, 25/5/68. 

89. Ibid. 



Notes 283 



CHAPTER NINE 
[pp. 116-139] 

1. Nonesuch, IH, 654, Macready, 10/6/68; 648, Fitzgerald, 18/5/68- 647 
Fields, 15/5/68. ' ' ' 

2. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 25/6/68. 

3. Ibid., Dickens to Mrs. WiUs, 26/6/68 (incomplete in Nonesuch III 655V 
Nonesuch, III, 669, Wills, 27/9/68. 

4. Nonesuch, HI, 646, Mrs. Weston, 11/5/68; 647, Beard, 14/5/68- 654 
Macready, 10/6/68; 664, Ouvry, 23/8/68. 

5. Ibid., 664, Ouvry, 23/8/68. 

6. Dana, 'Longfellow and Dickens', quoted in Johnson, Charles Dickens, 
1099. 

7. Nonesuch, III, 657, Fields, 7/7/68. 

8. H. D. Let., II, Narrative for 1868, 326. 

9. Nonesuch, III, 667-8, E. Dickens [26/9/68]. 

10. Ibid., 669, Mary Dickens, 26/9/68; H. F. Dickens, Memories of My 
Father, 23. 

11. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Dolby, 29/9/68; Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 
11/10/68. 

12. Nonesuch, III, 620, H. F. Dickens, 11/2/68. 

13. Ibid., 673, 15/10/68. 

14. Ibid., 677, Forster, -/10/68. 

15. Ouvry Papers, H. F. Dickens to Ouvry, 25/4/71. 

16. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 12/12/68. 

17. Nonesuch, III, 568, Forster, 18/11/67. 

18. Ibid., 676, Georgina Hogarth, 29/10/68. 

19. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 16/10/68. 

20. I am indebted to Mr. H. S. Johnston of the Public Record Office and to 
Mr. R. Eldridge of the Society for Army Historical Research for helping me 
identify Lynch, an officer at Chatham from 1866 to 1870. 

21. Hunt, MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 25/10/68; Nonesuch, in, 
676, Georgina Hogarth, 29/10/68. 

22. Nonesuch, III, 688, Georgina Hogarth, 18/12/68. 

23. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 16/12/68. 

24. Nonesuch, HI, 686, Mary Dickens, 15/12/68. 

25. Ibid., 691, Lady Molesworth, 25/12/68. 

26. Ibid., 692, Dolby, 26/12/68. 

27. Charles Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 680-1. 

28. Ibid., 681. 

29. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 21/1/69, 24/1/69. 

30. Dolby, Charles Dickens, 362. 

3L Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 4/2/69. 

32. Nonesuch, in, 705, Fields, 15/2/69. 

33. Ibid., 708, Georgina Hogarth, 26/2/69. 

34. Hunt, MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 8/4/69. 

35. Nonesuch, III, 721, Georgina Hogarth, 21/4/69. 

36. Ibid., 722, Mary Dickens, 22/4/69. 

37. Ibid., 722, Georgina Hogarth, 1/5/69. 

38. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 5/3/69, 7/3/69. 



284 Geargina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

39. Ouvry Papers, S. Dickens to Dickens, 19/3/69. 

40. Among the Ouvry Papers are five such statements for the short period 
of 4 May to 7 June 1869. 

41. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/6/72. 

42. Nonesuch, in, 725-6, G. W. Rusden, 18/5/69. 

43. Forster, Life, 804-5; Nonesuch, HI, 724, Wills and Fitzgerald, 3/5/69; 
Mrs. F. Lehmann, 9/5/69. 

44. H. D. Let., II, 405, Narrative for 1869; Nonesuch, HI, 719, Childs, 
10/4/69. 

45. Nonesuch, HI, 727, Fields, 19/5/69, 25/5/69; 725, Sol Eytinge, 15/5/69. 

46. Howe, Memories of a Hostess, 7. 

47. Fields Papers, Mrs. Fields to Mother and Sarah, -/6/69; to Louisa, 
23/5/69. 

48. Ibid. 

49. Ibid., Diary, 2/6/69; Mrs. Fields to Mother, 4/6/69. 

50. Ibid., Mrs. Fields to Mother, 4/6/69; Diary, -/6/69. 

51. Ibid., Diary, -/6/69; Mrs. Fields to Mother, 4/6/69. 

52. T. P. O'Connor, 'Table Talk', quoted in the Halifax Courier and Guar 
dian Historical Almanack (1924), 155-6. 

53. Fields, 'Our Whispering Gallery', -/1 1/71, 632. 

54. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/6/69. 

55. Fields Papers, Diary, -/6/71. 

56. Nonesuch, HI, 177, Wills, 4/9/60; Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 107. 

57. Nonesuch, HI, 416, Macready, 1/3/65. 

58. Lytton MS., Georgina Hogarth to Lady Lytton, 20/3/1900. 

59. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 12/11/69, 5/11/69. 

60. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 12/11/69. 

61. Ibid. 

62. Ibid., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 20/12/69. 

63. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 28/12/69. 

64. Ouvry Papers, Fechter to Dickens, 12/11/69. 

65. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 12/11/69. 

66. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 21/11/70. 

67. H. F. Dickens, Memories of My Father, 23-4. 

68. Nonesuch, HI, 755, Mrs. F. Elliot, 28/12/69. 

69. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 28/12/69. 

70. Ibid. 

71. Ibid. 

72. Fields Papers, Diary, 30/8/70. For additional details of the estrange 
ment between Dickens and Collins see my note in the Huntington Library 
Quarterly, XVI (February 1953), 211-13. 

73. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 25/2/70. 

74. Halifax Courier and Guardian Historical Almanack (1924), 155. 

75. W. Bossetti, Reminiscences, I, 100. 

76. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 25/2/70. 

77. Ibid. 

78. Ibid. 

79. Ibid. 

80. Fields Papers, Diary, 25/2/70. 

81. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 25/2/70. 

82. Dolby, Charles Dickens, 447; Hotten, Charles Dickens, 95. 

83. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/5/70. 



Notes 285 

84. Mary Angela Dickens, 'My Grandfather', 110. 

85. Charles Dickens, Jr., 'Glimpses of Charles Dickens', 683. 

86. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/5/70. 

87. Ibid. 

88. Ibid. The donor was George Holme, Cavendish House, Prince's Park, 
Liverpool, as is revealed by two letters which Dickens addressed to him on the 
subject of the ornaments (Victoria and Albert Museum MS., 14/3/70, 1/4/70). 
For this information I am indebted to Mrs. Humphry House and Mr. William 
J. Carlton. Miss Gladys Storey informs me that Mrs. Perugini had the silver 
basket in her possession at one time. 

89. Nonesuch, III, 779, Rusden, 20/5/70. 

90. Ibid., 780, A. Dickens, 20/5/70. 

91. Ibid. 

92. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/5/70. 

93. Nonesuch, HI, 776, Brunt, 13/5/70. 

94. Ibid., Mrs. Ward, 11/5/70. 

95. Forster, Life, 656. 

96. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 133-4; M. Dickens, My Father, 118; K. 
Perugini, 'Edwin Drood and the Last Days', 652; Johnson, Heart of Dickens, 
370, 8/4/60. 

97. K. Perugini, 'Edwin Drood and the Last Days', 654. 

98. Pall Mall Magazine, XXXVII (June, 1906), 654. 

99. M. Dickens, My Father, 119-20. 

100. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 139-40; The London Times, 11/6/70. 

101. M. Dickens, My Father, 123; The London Times, 11/6/70. 

102. M. A. Dickens, 'A Child's Recollections', 70-71, 

103. Mary Boyle, Her Book, 242-3. 

104. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 137. 

105. Ibid. 

106. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/7/70. 

107. Dick., IV (1908), 290; Millais, Life and Letters, 31, 33. 

108. H. D. Let., II, 448. 

109. West. A. MS., Dean Stanley's Recollections. The material for this 
paragraph and the two that follow has been adapted largely from these recol 
lections; from Locker-Lampson's My Confidences, 328-9; and from Hotten, 
Charles Dickens, 331-3. For further details on Dean Stanley's recollections see 
my article, 'Charles Dickens and Dean Stanley', Dick., Lit (1956), 152-6. 

110. Nonesuch, IH, 733, E. Oilier, 3/8/69. 

111. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/8/71, 18/6J72. 



CHAPTER TEN 
[pp. 143-161] 

1. My account of the funeral sermon has been adapted from Dean Stanley's 
Recollections, West. A. MS.; Hotten, Charles Dickens, 334-9; and the London 
Illustrated News, Supp., 25/6/70. 

2. Walker MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mary Howitt, 27/9/70. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 5/8/72. 

5. Walker M.S., Georgina Hogarth to Mary Howitt, 27/9/70. 

6. The Athenaeum, 694, 29/11/79. 



286 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

7. Miller MS. 

8. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/7/70. 

9. Ibid., Leslie Stephen to Fields, 31/7/70. 

10. Fields Papers, Diary, 30/8/70. 

11. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 8/7/70 ; Hunt. MS., Georgina 
Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/7/70; Forster, Life, 655, n. 

12. Dick. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Jane, 15/8/70. 

13. Nonesuch, HI, 797, 798-9. 

14. Fields Papers, Diary, 30/8/70. 

15. Bigelow, Retrospections, IV, 383. 

16. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, [12/6/70]. 

17. Ibid. 

18. Ibid., [18/6/70]. 

19. Ibid., [13/7/70]. 

20. Dick. H. MS., The Estate of Charles Dickens, Executors' Account, 
1/8/70. 

21. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 19/9/70. 

22. Ibid., [30/7/70, 31/7/70]. 

23. Ibid., Barnett to Ouvry, 6/1/68; Lewis & Lewis to Fechter, 21/3/68; 
Fechter to Dickens, 19/5/68; Fechter to Ouvry, n.d. 

24. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 1/7/70. 

25. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 4/7/70. 

26. Ibid., 15/8/70. The MS. of Our Mutual Friend is now owned by the 
Pierpont Morgan Library. 

27. Ibid., Dickens to Ouvry, 12/2/70. 

28. Quoted in M. Harrison, Charles Dickens, 251. 

29. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 1/11/70. 

30. Ibid., 14/8/70. 

31. Ibid., Thursday afternoon. 

32. Ibid., [10/8/70]; Hunt. MS., Dickens to Wills, 8/10/59; Ouvry Papers, 
Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 6/9/70. 

33. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 3/9/70, 30/10/70, 6/12/70, 
8/12/70. 

34. Ibid., 8/12/70, 3/12/70, 6/12/70, Thursday. 

35. Ibid., [30/6/70], 2/7/70. 

36. Ibid., 17/9/70, 19/9/70. 

37. Ibid., 5/10/70. 

38. Ibid., [18/6/70]. 

39. Dick. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to F. Beard, 22/6/70. 

40. Wright, Charles Dickens, 66. 

41. Berg MS., Georgina Hogarth to Carlyle, 27/6/70. 

42. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70. 

43. Quoted in C. L. Keade, Charles Reade, 391. 

44. 'At Dickens's Sale', 502-4. 

45. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 6/7/70. 

46. Ibid., [10/7/70], 

47. Harlan MS., Forster to Carlyle, 11/7/70. 

48. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 16/7/70, 25/6/70. 

49. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70. 

50. 'Announcements of Gadshill Place Sale', Victoria and Albert Museum. 

51. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, [30/7/70, 31/7/70]. 

52. Ibid., 1/8/70. 



Notes 287 

53. Ibid. 

54. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70; M. Dickens to 
Mrs. Fields, 1/9/70. 

55. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to F. Ouvry, 23/7/70. 

56. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70, 29/9/70. 

57. Dick. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Jane, 15/8/70. 

58. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 30/8/70, 3/9/70. 

59. Dick. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Armitage, 5/8/70. 

60. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 149. 

61. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 12/8/70. 

62. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70. 

63. Ibid., M. Dickens to Mrs. Fields, 1/9/70. 

64. Harlan MS., Forster to Carlyle, 9/8/70. 

65. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70; Ouvry Papers, 
Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 10/8/70, 12/8/70, 16/8/70, 1/9/70. 

66. Harlan MS., Forster to Carlyle, 29/8/70; Ouvry Papers, Georgina 
Hogarth to Ouvry, [19/8/70]. 

67. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 16/8/70. 

68. Ibid., 24/8/70, 25/8/70, 16/9/70. 

69. Ibid., 30/8/70. 

70. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 29/9/70 (partially repro 
duced in Howe, Memories of a Hostess, 193-5). 

71. Ibid.; Walker MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mary Howitt, 27/9/70. 

72. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/8/70. 

73. Ibid., 29/9/70. 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

[pp. 162-187] 

1. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 30/10/70. 

2. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 21/11/70. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid., 21/11/70, 23/12/70. 

5. Ibid., 21/11/70. 

6. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, n.d. (Friday). 

7. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 17/3/75. 

8. Ibid., 23/12/70. 

9. Nonesuch, IH, 384, Mrs. Mary Nichols, 1/4/64. 

10. Ouvry Papers, S. Dickens to Ouvry, 22/11/70. 

11. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, n.d., 3/12/70. 

12. Ibid., n.d. (Wednesday). 

13. Ibid., 25/3/70, 12/4/71, 21/9/71, 2/10/71, n.d. (Thursday evening). 

14. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 17/3/71, 20/4/71. 

15. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 25/3/71. 

16. Ibid., -/3/71; Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 1/3/71. 

17. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, n.d. (Sunday evening), 
n.d. (Saturday evening). 

18. Ibid., Richardson & Sadler to Ouvry, 15/3/71; Georgina Hogarth to 
Ouvry, 17/3/71. 

19. Ibid., 20/3/71, n.d. (Wednesday morning). 



288 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

20. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 20/4/71; Ouvry Papers 
Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 4/5/71. 

21. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 20/4/71. 

22. Ibid., 10/10/71. 

23. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 4/10/71, n.d. 

24. Harlan MS., Forster to Carlyle, 29/8/70. 

25. Ouvry Papers, C. Dickens, Jr., to Wills, 3/1/71; Wills to C. Dickens 
Jr., 4/1/71. 

26. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, n.d. (Thursday morning), 7/3/71. 

27. Ibid., 3/3/71, 7/3/71, n.d. (Saturday morning). 

28. Ibid., Richardson & Sadler to Ouvry, 3/5/71; Georginia Hogarth t 
Ouvry, 9/5/71; M. Dickens to Ouvry, 9/5/71; Mr. and Mrs. C. Collins to Ouvrj 
11/5/71. 

29. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/6/72. 

30. Ibid., Dickens to Dallas, 12/11/64. 

31. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/6/72. 

32. Ibid., 5/8/72. 

33. Ibid., 20/4/71, 10/10/71. 

34. Ibid., 29/1/72, 16/2/72. 

35. Ibid., 29/1/72. 

36. Ibid., 20/4/71, 5/8/72, 31/12/72. 

37. Ibid., 12/5/73. 

38. Ibid. 

39. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 12/10/71. 

40. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 28/2/73, 30/8/73. 

41. Ibid., 5/6/71, 18/8/71, 2/2/74. 

42. Ouvry Papers. Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 3/8/72. 

43. Ibid., 17/10/73. 

44. Ibid., 13/5/74. 

45. For this information I am indebted to Miss Gladys Storey. 

46. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 13/5/74, 9/6/74. 

47. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 158. 

48. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 9/6/74. 

49. Ibid., 15/6/74, 18/7/74, 24/10/74. 

50. Ibid., 5/6/71, 18/7/74. 

51. Ibid., 24/10/74. 

52. Ibid. 

53. Quoted hi M. Dickens, My Father, following 86. 

54. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 24/10/74; Ouvry Papers 
Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, n.d, (Friday). 

55. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 24/10/74; Morgan MS, 
M. Dickens to Childs, 6/2/74. 

56. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 24/10/74. 

57. Georgina Hogarth's letter of 13/11/72 is the first without the border. 

58. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 1/3/71, 20/2/74. 

59. Ibid., 5/6/71. 

60. Ibid., 20/4/71, 18/6/72, 18/6/73, 9/6/74, 18/7/74, 15/6/75. 

61. Ibid., 31/12/72. 

62. Ibid., 29/1/72, 16/2/72, 31/12/72. 

63. Ibid., 30/8/74. 

64. Ibid., 20/2/74, 28/3/74, 13/5/74. 

65. Fields Papers, Diary, - /1 1/72. 



Notes 289 

66. Bigelow, Retrospections, V, 130. 

67. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 10/10/71. 

68. Ibid., 17/3/75. 

69. Ibid., 30/12/75, 15/5/76. 

70. Ibid., 31/7/76. 

71. Ibid., 23/6/77. 

72. Ibid., 24/11/73, 24/11/74, 1/10/75. 

73. Ibid., 16/1/77. 

74. Ibid. 

CHAPTER TWELVE 

[pp. 188-205] 

1. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 23/5/77. 

2. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 6/5/77. 

3. Hunt, MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 25/6/77. 

4. Ibid., 30/10/77, 22/5/77. 

5. Ibid., 23/6/77. 

6. Ibid., 30/10/77. 

7. Ibid., 15/1/78. 

8. Ibid., 23/2/78. 

9. Nonesuch, HI, 715, Wills, 30/3/69. 

10. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 2/10/70. 

11. Ibid., n.d. (Sunday afternoon), 1/8/72. 

12. Hewlett, Henry Fofhergill Chorley, 273-4. 

13. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 3/5/72. 

14. Ibid. 

15. Nonesuch, II, 271, Lytton, 10/2/51. 

16. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 5/8/72, 21/2/73. 

17. Ibid., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 3/1/62. 

18. For this information I am indebted to Mrs. Lisa Puckle, Macready's 
granddaughter. 

19. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 22/11/71. 

20. Ibid., 22/11/71, 12/5/73, 15/6/75, 1/11/75. 

21. Ibid., 15/6/75, 1/10/75. 

22. Ibid., 17/10/73. 

23. Ibid., 17/3/75. 

24. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 24/8/70. 

25. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 21/2/73, 12/5/73, 5/8/72, 
and elsewhere. 

26. Ibid., 23/6/77. 

27. Harlan MS., Forster to Carlyle, 25/7/70. 

28. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 7/1/74, 15/5/76. 

29. Nat. Lib. of Scot. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Carlyle, 26/3/78, 1/1/80. 

30. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 29/9/70. 

31. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 29/9/70. 

32. Ibid., 1/3/71, 3/4/72. 

33. Ibid., 2/4/73. 

34. Ibid., 29/9/70, 3/5/72. 

35. Ibid., 17/3/75. 

36. Ibid., 13/11/72, 2/4/73. 

37. Ibid., 11/11/78. 



290 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

38. Upon the publication of Hide and Seek in 1854 Georgina Hogarth had 
apparently remonstrated that the story was an imitation of Dickens. Cf. 
Nonesuch, II, 570, Georgina Hogarth, 22/7/54. 

39. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 10/10/71, 30/8/73. 

40. Ibid., Fields to Longfellow, 1/1/73. 

41. Fields Papers, Diary, 6/11/73. 

42. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 24/11/73, 29/2/74. 

43. Robinson, Wilkie Collins, 273. 

44. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 31/12/72, 21/2/73. The 
inkstand given by Georgina Hogarth to Grace Norton was presented to the 
Dickens House in 1929. See Dick., XXV (1929), 141. 

45. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 12/5/73. 

46. Dick. H. MS., M. Dickens to Norton, 9/5/73. 

47. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 24/9/73. 

48. Ibid., 19/6/79. 

49. Ibid., 24/10/74. 

50. Ibid. 

51. Bigelow, Retrospections, IV, 368. 

52. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 30/10/77 

53. Ibid., 22/5/80 

54. Ibid., 14/12/83. 

55. Nonesuch, III, 780, Rusden, 20/5/70; Forster, Life, 829-30. 

56. Berg MS., Dickens to Mrs. Gore, 31/5/58. 

57. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 10/10/71. 

58. Ibid., 5/8/72. 

59. Ibid. 

60. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, n.d. 

61. Morgan MS., Georgina Hogarth to Harvey, 1/6/80, 3/6/80. 

62. Ibid., 13/12/80; Berg MS., Georgina Hogarth to Childs, 14/12/80. 

63. Information supplied by the Pierpont Morgan Library. 

64. Morgan MS., Georgina Hogarth to Harvey, 15/12/80. 

65. Sotheran MS., Georgina Hogarth to Ella Winter, 6/4/87. This letter 
forms part of the 'Dora' Collection owned by Henry Sotheran, Ltd., by whose 
kind permission this excerpt is quoted. 

66. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 22/5/80. 

67. Dick., XXXI (1935), 239. In Georgina Hogarth's letters to Mrs. Fields 
there are occasional references to visits in Margate. 

68. Mrs. Gladys Reece, EUen Ternan Robinson's daughter, responded gen 
erously to my request for her childhood recollections of Georgina Hogarth. 
She also gave me a prized photograph and an autograph of Miss Hogarth. 

69. The quoted portion of the closing sentence is taken from a letter which 
Georgina Hogarth wrote to Thomas Carlyle, 27/6/70, Berg MS. 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

[pp. 206-227] 

1. Hunt. MS., 22/3/78, 10/10/71, 18/8/71, 22/3/78. 

2. Ibid., 22/3/78. 

3. Morgan MS., Georgina Hogarth to Charles Reade, 22/6/78. 

4. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 26/6/78. 

5. Ibid., 26/6/78, 11/8/78. 



Notes 291 

6. Ibid., 11/8/78. 

7. Ibid., 13/10/78, 19/9/78. 

8. Adrian MS., Mrs. C. Dickens to Robert Hogarth, 26/9/78. 

9. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 11/11/78. 

10. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 163. 

11. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 11/11/78, 27/2/79. 

12. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 165. According to G. B. Shaw, at one 
time Katey considered burning the letters. Asked for his opinion, he told her 
'that the sentimental sympathy of the nineteenth century with the man of 
genius tied to a commonplace wife had been rudely upset by a man named 
Ibsen, and that posterity might sympathize much more with the woman who 
was sacrificed to the genius's uxoriousness to the appalling extent of having 
had to bear ten children in sixteen years than with a grievance which, after 
all, amounted only to the fact that she was not a female Charles Dickens'. 
Shaw urged Katey to give the letters to the British Museum, 'there to abide 
the judgment of the future'. Time and Tide, 27/7/1935, 1111-12. 

13. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 131. 

14. Ibid. 

15. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 27/2/79, 23/12/74. 

16. Ibid., 13/10/78, 19/9/78. 

17. Ibid., 11/11/78. 

18. Ibid., 22/5/80. Gad's Hill was sold to Major Budden, who lived there 
from 1879 to 1891. 

19. Ibid., 27/2/79. Alfred's daughters were reared by a sister of his wife 
and eventually came to England. 

20. Ibid., 19/6/79. 

21. Ibid. 

22. Ibid., 13/10/78. 

23. Ibid., 19/9/78. 

24. Ibid., 19/6/79. 

25. Ouvry Papers, F. Chapman to Georgina Hogarth, 13/1/79; Georgina 
Hogarth to Ouvry, 17/7/79. 

26. Ibid., 1/8/79, 2/8/79, 3/8/79. 

27. H. C. Dickens MS., G. Bentley to W. Collins, 28/7/79; W. Collins to 
Georgina Hogarth, 25/7/79. 

28. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 17/11/79; C. Dickens, Jr., 
to Georgina Hogarth, 29/1/79. 

29. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 31/1/79. 

30. Ibid., 13/11/79, 14/11/79. 

31. Ibid., 14/11/79, 16/11/79. 

32. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 164. 

33. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/12/81. A one-volume 
edition of the letters was published hi 1893. 

34. Ibid., 25/12/82. 

35. St. Pan. Pub. Lib. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. G. L. Banks, 11/2/80, 
20/3/80. 

36. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 20/2/74. 

37. Cf . ibid., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 19/2/67, and H. D. Let., H , 279, 

38. Cf. Berg MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 25/11/53, and H. D. Let., 
I, 337. 

39. H. D. Let., I, 99, Macready, 3/1/44. 

40. Ibid., 350, Rev. James White, 7/3/54. 



292 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

41. Ibid., 268, Mrs. Charles Dickens, 13/11/51. 

42. Ibid., 123, 8/11/44; II, 258, Georgina Hogarth, 11/5/66. 

43. Cf. Mr. and Mrs., 121, 19/12/46, and H. D. Let., I, 165. 

44. Cf. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 3/1/62, and H. D. Let., 
n, 172. 

45. H. D. Let., I, 422, W. Collins, 19/1/56. 

46. Cf. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 8/1/62, and H. D. Let., 
II, 173. 

47. Cf. Nonesuch, III, 123, W. Collins, 16/9/59, and H. D. Let., II, 101. 
See also Robinson, Wilkie Collins, 132-3. Robinson dates this letter 30/10/59. 

48. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Wills, 6/6/67. 

49. Sermon of the Reverend Justin D. Fulton, the Boston Herald, 4/7/70. 

50. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/8/71. 

51. H. D. Let., I, 352-3, Wills, 12/4/54. 

52. Ibid., II, 130, Collins, 24/10/60. 

53. Ibid., I, 19-20, Mitton, 6/3/39. 

54. Ibid., 135, Georgina Hogarth, 4/2/45. 

55. Cf. Nonesuch, III, 779, Rusden, 20/5/70, and H. D. Let., IH, 297. 

56. H. D. Let., Ill, 297-8, Rusden, 20/5/70. 

57. Cf. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Wills, 6/6/67, and H. D. Let., II, 290-1. 

58. H. D. Let., HI, 106, Mrs. C. Clarke, 22/7/48. 

59. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 5/5/79. 

60. Professor Gerald G. Grubb first suggested to me the strong probability 
of Wilkie Collins's responsibility for some of the obliterations. A subsequent 
examination of Dickens MSS. in the Huntington Library has lent support to 
Professor Grubb's theory. 

61. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 24/1/69. 

62. Mr. and Mrs., 59-60 [?6/3/36J. 

63. H. D. Let., I, 14, Mrs. C. Dickens, 1/11/38. 

64. Ibid., in, 149, 25/10/53. 

65. Cf. Mr. and Mrs., 208, 14/11/23, and H. D. Let., I, 330. 

66. H. D. Let., I, 139 and 141, Mitton, 17/2/45. 

67. Cf. Nonesuch, II, 570, Georgina Hogarth, 22/7/54, and H. D. Let., I, 
359-60. 

68. Cf. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Georgina Hogarth, 19/4/66, and H. D. Let., 
II, 255. 

69. Cf. Hunt. MS., Dickens to Wills, 2/1/62, 5/4/62, and H. D. Let., II, 171. 

70. The published letter dated 16/11/64 includes one paragraph written 
2/4/64; that for 30/6/67 takes its last paragraphs from one not written until 
3/8/69. Similarly, two letters, 13/6/67 and 3/8/69, have been combined under 
the earlier date. 

71. Cf . Nonesuch, n, 880-1, Georgina Hogarth, 9/9/57, and H. D. Let., II, 28. 

72. Westminster Review, -/4/80, 205-16. 

73. The Athenaeum, 29/11/79, 687-8. 

74. The Saturday Review, 6/12/79, 694. 

75. The Fortnightly Review, 1/12/79, 845-63. 

76. Ouvry Papers, Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 12/12/79. 

77. The London Times, 27/12/79, 9. 

78. The Atlantic Monthly, -/2/80, 280-2. 

79. The Contemporary Review, -/1/80, 77-85. 

80. Dick., XLV (1940), 199. 

81. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 26/6/80. 



Notes 293 

82. Ibid., Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 166-7. 

83. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 23/6/81, 18/12/81 

84. Ibid., 2/5/82, 20/6/82, 27/2/83. 

85. Ibid., 18/10/82, 31/10/82. 

86. Ibid., 25/12/82. 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

[pp. 228-240] 

1. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 17/3/75, 15/1/78, 17/8/83. 

2. Nosh's Magazine, -/9/1911. 

3. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 10/10/71. 

4. Ibid., 20/11/73. 

5. The Atlantic Monthly, -/2/73, 237-9, 

6. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 20/2/74. 

7. Nonesuch, I, 548, R. H. Home, 13/11/43. 

8. Ouvry Papers, Nation to Forster, 20/11/73. 

9. Ibid., Forster to Ouvry, 20/11/73. 

10. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 23/11/73. 

11. Ibid., Forsterto Ouvey, 22/11/73. 

12. Ibid., Nation to Ouvry, 23/11/73. 

13. Except for minor modifications, this discussion of Nation's attempt to 
revive The Strange Gentleman has followed my article in Dick., LI (1955), 
158-60. 

14. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/5/76. 

15. Ibid. 

16. Ibid. 

17. Ibid., 17/8/83. Georgina Hogarth's letter does not identify the author 
of the article nor the newspaper in which it appeared. 

18. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to Ouvry, 15/5/79. 

19. Information concerning the disposition of the Ouvry Letters, as sum 
marized in these paragraphs, is given in a handmade book in the Victoria and 
Albert Museum: Charles Dickens' 's Birthplace and Unpublished Letters, by 
Thomas William Newton, 1844, II, 27ff. I am indebted to Professor Gerald 
G. Grubb for calling this item to my attention. 

20. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 16/2/84. 

21. Ibid. 

22. East. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to P. Fitzgerald, 3/31/93. I am 
indebted to Mr. W. J. Carlton for the transcript of this letter, as well as the 
identification of the John Dickens letter referred to. 

23. East. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to P. Fitzgerald, 19/12/87, 11/12/90, 
6/3/81, 24/3/1911. 

24. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 'Introductory', vi. 

25. Ibid., 61. 

26. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 28/12/1900. 

27. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 169. 

28. Ibid., 128. 

29. Forster, Life, 69, n. 74. 

30. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 173. 

31. Berg MS., Georgina Hogarth to [Sabin, Dexter], 3/3/91. 

32. Kitton, Pen and Pencil, 82. 



294 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

33. Wright, Charles Dickens, 283. 

34. My summary of the Druce case is based on Besterman, The Druce- 
Portland Case. 

35. Anstey, A Long Retrospect, 291. 

36. Adrian MS., Georgina Hogarth to Blanche Swanson, 17/1/1908. 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 

[pp. 241-253] 

1. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 18/7/74, 27/2/83. 

2. Ibid., 27/2/83. ' 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid., 14/12/83, 19/1/88. 

5. Ibid., 16/2/84. 

6. Letters of Henry James, I, 16, Alice James, 10/3/[69j. 

7. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 177. 

8. This paragraph and the one following are a summary of Austerlund, 
'The Visit to Moline Illinois of Capt. Francis Jeffrey Dickens'. 

9. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 13/6/87. 

10. For these details I am indebted to Mrs. Robert Shuckburgh (Olive 
Dickens) and Mrs. Alec Waley (Elaine Dickens). 

11. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 27/2/83 

12. Ibid., 13/6/87. 

13. Ibid., 13/8/87. 

14. 'The First Reading of Charles Dickens', New York Daily Tribune 
28/10/87. 

15. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 19/1/88 

16. Winter, Old Friends, 188. 

17. Ouvry Papers, Charles Dickens, Jr., to Georgina Hogarth, 19/7/70. 

18. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 27/2/83 14/12/83 

19. Hill MS. '//// 

20. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 20/3/96 

21. Ibid., 20/3/96. 

22. M. Dickens, My Father, 8. 

23. Ibid., 15. 

24. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 17/6/97. 

25. Ibid., 17/6/97, 27/12/97; Ouvry Papers, Henry F. Dickens to Jarrett, 
4/8/96. Only the previous year Charley, needing money to pay his creditors, 
had sold his reversing interest in the Dickens estate to Harry. When Mamie's 
assets were divided among the heirs, Charley's share fell to Harry, who was 
happy 'to make some provision for [his] poor brother's widow out of this', 
there being a substantial balance after he had repaid himself the amount given 
originally for the reversible interest. 

26. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 27/12/97, 15/2/98. Mary 
Angela Dickens (Mekitty) was the author of Dickens's Dream Children (illus 
trated by Harold Copping), several magazine articles on her father, and 
popular novels: Cross Currents, 1891; A Mere Cypher, 1893; A Valiant Ignor 
ance, 1894; Prisoners of Silence, 1895; Against the Tide, 1897; On the Edge of a 
Precipice, 1899; The Wastrel, 1901; Unveiled, 1907; The Debtor, 1912. 

27. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/2/98. 



Notes 295 

28. Ibid., 17/6/97. 

29. Ibid., 22/5/77. 

30. Ibid., 16/1/77. 

31. Ibid., 17/6/97. 

32. For these details I am indebted to Mr. Henry Charles Dickens, O.B.E., 
Georgina Hogarth's nephew. 

33. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 27/12/97 

34. Fields Papers, Diary, -/5/98. 

35. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 15/2/98. 

36. Fields Papers, Diary, -/5/98. 

37. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 28/12/1900 

38. Ibid. 

39. Ibid., 23/2/1901. 

40. Ibid., 25/2/70, 23/2/1901. 



CHAPTEB SIXTEEN 

[pp. 254-267] 

1. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 23/2/1901. 

2. Cf. Bishop, 'Henry James Criticizes The Tory Lover\ 

3. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 27/12/1901. 

4. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 166-74. 

5. E. H. Collin, Lost Years, a Backward Glance at Australian Life and 
Manners (quoted in Dick., XLV [1949], 219). 

6. Matz, 'Miss Georgina Hogarth', 122-3. 

7. Mr. William Miller has a note addressed by Georgina Hogarth to Emilie 
M. Miniken, Honorary Secretary of the Needlework and Charitable Guild, 
12/11/1906: 'I enclose my annual small contribution to your guild of needle 
work'. 

8. Information concerning Miss Hogarth's reactions to Henry F. Dickens's 
readings was given me by Mrs. Shuckburgh (Olive Dickens) and Mrs. Waley 
(Elaine Dickens). 

9. For this information I am indebted to Mr. Leslie Staples. 

10. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 11/2/1907. 

11. Dick. H. MS., 'Copy of the Statement of Charley Peters'. 

12. Ibid., H. F. Dickens to B. W. Matz, 1907. 

13. Mrs. Lisa Puckle, Macready's granddaughter, generously provided the 
information introduced in this paragraph. 

14. Adrian MS., Georgina Hogarth to Sir Nevil Macready, 6/2/1913. 

15. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 26/6/78. 

16. Ellis, Ainsworth, II, 37. 

17. Adrian MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Swanson, 8/1/1908, 17/1/1908. 

18. Matz, 'Miss Georgina Hogarth', 122-3. 

19. Miller MS., Georgina Hogarth to W. Miller, 16/8/1911. 

20. Dick. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to L. Staples, 12/9/1913. 

21. Dick., IX (1913), 312. 

22. East. H. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Cattermole (son of G. C. Cattermole), 
8/6/78. 

23. Storey, Dickens and Daughter, 188; Adrian MS., Georgina Hogarth to 
Mrs. Swanson, 17/1/1908. 

24. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 30/12/1911. 



296 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

25. Ibid. 

26. Ibid., 16/1/77. 

27. Quoted in >&&., VII (1911), 283. 

28. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 30/12/1911. 

29. Dick., VIII (1912), 41. 

30. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 31/1/1912. 

31. Dick., VIII (1912), 41. 

32. Ibid., 191. 

33. Miller MS., Georgina Hogarth to W. Miller, 15/4/1911. 

34. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 17/1/1913. 

35. Dick., IX (1913), 46. 

36. Adrian MS., Georgina Hogarth to Sir Kevil Macready, 7/2/1913. 

37. Howe, Memories, 304-5. 

38. Spencer, Forty Years, 98-100. Though Spencer does not give the exact 
year in which he met Miss Hogarth for the first time, all the evidence points to 
1906. On 5th December of that year Miss Hogarth opened the bazaar of the 
Needlework and Charitable Guild, for which she had sought the Dickens first 
editions. See Dick., Ill (1907), 21. 

39. For this information I am indebted to Mr. Henry Charles Dickens, 
O.B.E. 

40. Morgan MS., Georgina Hogarth to an unnamed addressee, n.d. The 
letter was sent from 70 Wynnstay Gardens, where Miss Hogarth lived in the 
late 80's. Ibid., Georgina Hogarth to C. E. Shepherd, 23/6/99. 

41. Spencer, Forty Years, 98-102. To E. D. Brooks of Minneapolis Spencer 
sold the manuscript for just double what he had paid. In 1919 it was pur 
chased for the Pierpont Morgan Libary, where two other manuscripts had 
preceded it The Battle of Life and Our Mutual Friend. 

42. Dick., V (1909), 172. 

43. Ibid., XIV (1918), 67. 

44. Information furnished by Major C. E. Pym, Brasted, Westerham, Kent. 

45. Ibid. 

46. Dick., Xn (1916), 80. 

47. Information supplied by Mr. Henry Charles Dickens, O.B.E. 

48. Philadelphia Public Ledger, 19/11/1916. 

49. Nonesuch, II, 784, Washington Irving, 5/7/56. 

50. Hunt. MS., Georgina Hogarth to Mrs. Fields, 26/6/80. 

51. Nonesuch, HI, 29, Cerjat, 7/7/78. 

52. After her death Georgina Hogarth's effects realized 317. 6*. Zd. Storey, 
Dickens and Daughter, 191. 

53. Miller MS., Mrs. Perugini to W. Miller, 25/4/1917. 

54. Matz, 'Miss Georgina Hogarth', 122. 

55. Berg MS., Dickens's Memorandum Book. This passage has been 
reproduced in published sources, one of the more readily accessible being The 
Recollections oj Sir Henry Dickens, 20. 



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298 Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 

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Francis, John. A Literary Chronicle of Half a Century. London, 1888. 
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the World. New York, 1885. 



Index 



The following title abbreviations are used in parentheses to identify 
characters in Dickens's works : 



BH Bleak House 

CC A Christmas Carol 

DC David Copperfield 

OE Great Expectations 

ADELAIDE, QUEEN, 5 

Adelphi Theatre, 77 

Ainsworth, Harrison, 258 

Albany, N.Y., 109 

Albany Street, No. 19, Edinburgh, 4 

Albaro, 17 

Albert, Prince Consort of England, 
38; visits Boulogne, 39 

All the Year Round, launched, 63; 
66, 87, 90, 97, 104, 107; Charley 
sub-editor of, 116, 119, 122; 
Dickens's share left Charley, 147; 
Charley buys Wills *s share, 170; 
213; Charley resigns editorship of, 
247; discontinued, 247 

Amateur theatricals, Animal Mag 
netism, 29, 37; Every Man in His 
Humour, 20, 28, 29; The Frozen 
Deep, 37, 46; The Lighthouse, 36; 
The Merry Wives of Windsor, 35; 
Mr. Nightingale's Diary, 36; Not 
So Bad as We Seem, 36; Uncle 
John, 37; Used Up, 29 

Andersen, Hans Christian, visits 
Gad's Hill, 63; his opinion of 
Catherine, 63; 65 

Anderson Galleries, New York, 264 

Animal Magnetism (Inchbald), Geor- 
gina's roles in, 29, 37 

Appleton, Tom, 116, 165 

Armadale (W. Collins), 221 

Armitage, Isaac, legacy of, 157; 
Georgina's houseboy, 158 

Armitage, Mrs., 158 

Ashburton, Lady Harriet, 27 

Asquith, Herbert Henry, 257 

Athenaeum, 191, 224 

Atkins, Susan, 18 

Atlantic Monthly, 206, 218, 225; re 
view of Forster's Life, 228-9 



OCS The Old Curiosity Shop 
OMF Our Mutual Friend 
OT Oliver Twist 
TTC A Tale of Two Cities 

Austin, Henry, 21 ; inspects Tavistock 
House, 31, and Gad's Hill, 64; 
death, 83; funeral, 84; 203 

Austin, Letitia (Mrs. Henry Austin), 
21, 31, 77; pensioned, 83; 84, 139, 
148; Georgina's plan for, 170-1 

Avenue des Champs ElysSes, No. 49, 
39 



BAKER STREET BAZAAR, 239 

Ballantyne, James, 4 

Baltimore, Maryland, 109 

Baring's Bank, 39 

Barnett, H., 149 

Barrow, Emily, see Lawrence, Mrs. 
G-. W. 

Barrow, Robert, 83 

Barrow, Thomas, 7 

Battle of Life, The (MS.), presented 
to Mme. Fillonneau, 21; sale of, 
203-4; 217, 236 

Baylis, Thomas, 91 

Beadnell, Maria, 3, 7, 24; publication 
of Dickens's letters to, 238-9; see 
also Winter, Maria Beadnell 

Beard, Dr. Francis Carr, 76; diag 
noses Georgina's illness, 77 ; 79, 94, 
96, 116, 120, 121, 123; at Dickens's 
farewell readings, 132; 139, 148, 
150; receives a Dickens keepsake, 
153; 216 

Beard, Thomas, 8, 10 

Bedford College, 35 

Beecher, Henry Ward, 108, 200 

Belfast, 66, 121 

Bengal Mounted Police, 87 

Benham, Canon, 239 

Bentley, George, 213 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



304 



Bentinck-Scott, William John Cav 
endish (Fifth Duke of Portland), 
239-40 

Berg Collection, the Henry W. and 
Albert A., 263 

Bhowanipore Cemetery, Calcutta, 
Walter's grave in, 86 

Bigelow, John, 111, 147, 184-5 

Birmingham, 35, 38, 129, 215 

Birmingham and Midland Institute, 
129 

Blackpool, Lancashire, 121 

Blackwood, John, 217 

Bleak House, 32, 33; original of, 237 

Boer War, 252 

Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, 27 

Boston, Massachusetts, 10, 102, 105, 
106, 107, 108, 109, 218, 227, 238, 
239, 260 

Boston Bibliophile Society, 238 

Boulogne, France, 39, 40, 78, 89, 227 

Bouncer, see Mrs. Bouncer 

Bouton, J. W., 234 

Boyle, Mary, in theatricals with 
Dickens, 29-30; 39, 79, 116; her 
last visit to Gad's Hill, 137; her 
book, 204; 221 

Boz Club, 255, 256, 261 

Bradbury and Evans, become Dic- 
kens's publishers, 27; 32; hisrupture 
with, 55: forced to sell their inter 
est in Household Words, 63 

Bridget, Mistress (Every Man in His 
Humour], 29 

Brighton, Sussex, 49 

Brinton, Dr., 96 

British Museum, London, 209, 263 

Broadstairs, Kent, 15, 22, 27, 31, 
172; Georgina revisits, 176 

Brooklyn, N.Y., 108, 200 

Brown, Anne, later Mrs. Anne 
Cornelius, 10, 30; see also Corne 
lius, Mrs. Anne 

Brown, Colin Rae, and the Dickens 
scandal, 58 

Brown, Matthew, 225 

Browne, Mrs. Dinah, a bumboat 
woman, 88 

Buckingham Palace, 37, 133 

Buffalo, N.Y., 109 

Bulwer, Edward (Bulwer-Lytton), 
see Lytton 

Bumble, a dog, 69 

Burnett, Henry, 8, 9 

Burns, Robert, 4, 5 



CALAIS, FRANCE, 78 
Calcutta, 86, 256 



California, 114 

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, 90, 97, 

117, 118, 126, 131, 137, 151, 173, 
250 

Canadian Mounted Police, see North 
west Mounted Police 

Canterbury, 121, 126, 266 

Carlyle, Jane Welsh, comments on 
dinner at Devonshire Terrace, 26-7 
50, 79 

Carlyle, Thomas, 14, 26-7, 28, 79; 
not at farewell dinner, 103; at 
Abbey funeral sermon, 143; re 
ceives Dickens keepsake, 153; 159, 
194; Georgina's admiration for, 
195; death, 195 

Carnegie, Andrew, 260 

Catherine, a cook, 158 

Cerjat, William de, 26, 55, 65, 79, 84, 
88 

Cellar Book, Gad's Hill, 117 

Chalk, Kent, 9 

Chalk House (the Dickenses' honey 
moon cottage), 9, 270 n.27 

Champs Elysees, 39, 78 

Chapman, Frederic, 151; Georgina's 
negotiations with, 212-13 

Chapman and Hall, replaced by Brad 
bury and Evans, 27; 59, 215, 230, 
235, 236 

Chappell and Company, 96, 97, 99, 

118, 122, 124 
Charing Cross Station, 138 
Charing Cross Theatre, unauthorized 

performance of The Strange Gentle 
man, 230-1 
Chateau du Moulineaux, Boulogne, 

39 

Chatham, Kent, 9, 62, 90, 119, 127 
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 192 
Chester Place, No. 1, London, 22 
Chicago, indignation with Dickens, 

109-10 
*Chickenstalker*, see Dickens, Francis 

Jeffrey 

Chiekering Hall, New York, 245 
Child's History of England, A 9 dic 
tated to Georgina, 30, 32 
Childs, George, W., 124, 180, 203 
Childs, Mrs. George W., 124 
Chimes, The, 18 
Chopin, Frederic-Francois, 71 
Chorley, Henry Fothergill, 28 ; spends 
ChristmassesatGad'sHill,106; 119, 
129; his tribute to Dickens, 191; 
leaves annuity for Mamie, 191; ti^s 
burial wish, 191 
Christie's auction rooms, 154-5 
Christmas Carol, A, 15, 38, 132, 203 



Index 



305 



Church. Street, Chelsea, 265 

Cirencester, Gloucestershire, 109 

Clarke, Mrs. Cowden, 220 

Claudian (W. G. Wills and Henry 
Hermann), 247 

Clifton, Gloucestershire, 121 

Clutterbuck, Sir Joseph (What Shall 
We Have for Dinner?}, 32 

Clutterbuck, Lady Maria (Used Up 
and What Shall We Have for 
Dinner?), 29, 32, 33 

Cob (Every Man in His Humour), 29 

Cobham Park, 71, 117, 121, 169 

Coggeshall, E. W., 264 

Col de Balme, Switzerland, 21 

Collins, Charles Allston, description 
of, 66; poor health, 92, 129, 173-4; 
105, 125 ; chosen to illustrate Edwin 
Drood, 127; forced to give up 
illustrations, 129; 139; neglected 
after Dickens's death, 146; 149, 
171; strange behaviour of, 174; 
death, 174; 209, 215 

Collins, Kate Macready Dickens (Mrs. 
Charles Collins), 76, 77; too proud 
to ask for financial assistance, 92; 
comments on Ellen Ternan, 94; 
103, 105; comments on her 
mother's negative qualities, 111; 
Mrs. Fields's impression of, 124-5; 
studies with Millais, 128; 129, 131; 
last visit to father, 135-6;, 137, 
139 ; calls on mother after Dickens's 
death, 145; with Georgina and 
Mamie in final days at Gad's Hill, 
146, 157; 168, 171; early achieve 
ments in art, 173; death of C. 
Collins, 174-5; marries Carlo Peru- 
gini, 176-7; loss of father's letters, 
215; see also Dickens, Kate Mac- 
ready, and Perugini, Mrs. Carlo 

Collins, Wilkie, in amateur theatri 
cals, 36; 40; tours Lake District 
with Dickens, 47; 48, 66; his first 
love adventure, 75; 77, 103, 105, 
121; estranged from Dickens, 130; 
at Dickens's funeral, 139; com 
ments on Georgina and Dickens's 
mil, 147; on Forster's Life, 184-5; 
tours America, 197-8; the Fieldses' 
impression of, 198; gives Georgina 
and Mamie editorial advice, 212, 
213; treatment of in Letters, 216, 
217, 219; possible connection with 
cancellations in Letters, 221, 292 
n.60; 224 

Collins, William, 125 

Constance (Animal Magnetism), 29 

Contemporary Review, 225 



Cooling, Kent, 126 

Cornelius, Anne Brown, Dickens 
writes to her about change in 
sleeping quarters, 47-8; he helps 
her financially, 109; 156; Geor- 
gina's fund for, 201-2; see also 
Brown, Anne 

Cornelius, Catherine, 156, 157, 202, 
203 

Corregio, 19 

Coutts, Angela Georgina Burdett, 
later Baroness Burdett -Coutts, 15, 
40, 45; Dickens confides in, 49; 51, 
59; her attitude toward Georgina, 
78; 86 

Coutts's Bank, 151 

Cramp, Bob, a handyman, 263 

Crayford, Lucy (The Frozen Deep), 37 

Cricket on the~Hearth, The (MS.), gift 
to Georgina from Forster, 153; 
willed to Harry, 170; sold, 263, 
296 .41 

Crimean War, 252 

Cross, John W., 201 

Crowe, Mrs., 216 

Crystal Palace Company, 168, 169 

Crystal Palace Press, 213 

Cuba, S.S., 105 



DAILY NEWS, 49 

Daily Telegraph, 138 

Dallas, Eneas Sweetland, 149 

Daly, Miss, 217 

Darnay, Charles (TTC), 101, 109 

Darnley, Lord, 71, 169 

Dartford, Kent, 218 

Dartle, Kosa (DC), 266 

David Copperfield, 24-6, 42, 45, 59, 
132 

David Street, No. 6, Edinburgh, 4 

De la Rue, Smile, 20, 21, 81, 89 

De la Rue, Mme Simile, receives 
mesmeric treatments from Dickens, 
20; Catherine's jealousy of, 20, 21; 
81 

Delmonico's, New York, 113 

Desailly, Constance, later Mrs. Ed 
ward Dickens, 226 

Devlin, Jessie, later Mrs. A. T. 
Dickens, 175 

Devonshire Terrace, No. 1, 10, 11; 
life at, 12; 14, 15; redecoration of, 
20; 21, 22, 24; dinner at, 26-7; 28, 
30, 31, 32 

De Wet, General Christian Rudolph, 
252 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



306 



Dickens, Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson, 
birth, 20 ; at school in Boulogne, 40 ; 
65 ; fails to qualify for Army career, 
87; works in China house, 87; 
leaves for Australia, bills unpaid, 
88; 89, 134, 151; helps repurchase 
Swiss chalet, 169; marriage, 175; 
death of wife, 210; 220; lectures 
in England and America, 260; 
death, 260 

Dickens, Mrs. Alfred D'Orsay Tenny 
son, 210; see also Devlin, Jessie 

Dickens, Alfred Lamert, 82 

Dickens, Augustus, deserts wife and 
goes to America, 82; dies, leaving 
family impoverished, 110; 260 

Dickens, Beatrice, 152 

Dickens, Bertram (son of Augustus), 
110 

Dickens, Catherine Hogarth (Mrs. 
Charles Dickens), courtship, 6-7; 
marriage, 7-8; honeymoon, 9; 
birth of Charley, 9; death of sister 
Mary, 9; miscarriages, 10, 22; 
birth of Mamie, 10; birth of 
Katey, 10; birth of Walter, 10; 
trip to America, 10; hypno 
tized by Dickens, 14; exercises 
during pregnancies, 15, 271 n.lS; 
birth of Frank, 16; inhospitable 
to Susan Atkins, 18; scales Mount 
Vesuvius with Dickens and party, 
19; jealous of Mme de la Rue, 20; 
birth of Alfred, 20; 21; birth of 
Sydney, 22; issues dinner invita 
tions for The Haunted Man, 22-3; 
birth of Harry, 24; her short 
comings mirrored in Dora (DC), 
24; 25, 26; birth of Dora Annie, 
28; sprains ankle at Knebworth, 
29; plays in Used Up, 29; treated 
for nervous disorder, 30; learns of 
Dora Annie's death, 30 ; clumsiness 
during Tavistock remodelling, 31; 
publishes cookbook, 32; birth of 
Edward, 33; 35, 38, 39, 41; 
Dickens's growing incompatibility 
with, 42; 43; Mrs. Hewitt's letter 
on domestic felicity at Tavistock, 
44; gets no letters from Dickens 
during tour of Lake District, 47; 
suspicious of Ellen, 48; learns of 
Ellen's gift from Dickens, 49; gets 
separation document in Brighton, 
49; her negative physical and 
mental qualifications, 49-50; ac 
cepts terms of separation, 52; 
53-8 passim; banishment, 58-9, 276 



n.45; Miss Coutts's sympathy for, 
59, 63, 65; absent from Katey's 
wedding, 67; adjusts to life of 
loneliness, 72-3; 80, 82, 85, 91, 94, 
130; not among Gad's Trill, visitors 
after Dickens's death, 137; re 
ceives calls from her daughters and 
Georgina, 145, 172; provisions for 
in will, 147; shocked by Sydney's 
death, 172; not at Peragini wed 
ding, 177; last illness, 208, 209, 
214; gives her letters from Dickens 
to Katey, 209, 290 n.12; death, 
214; bequest to Georgina, 214; 216; 
selection of Dickens's letters to her 
for Georgina-Mamie edition, 221-3 
Dickens, Major Cedric, 264 
Dickens, Charles Culliford Boz, 
'Charley,' birth, 9; 16; illness at 
King's College School, 21-2; at 
Eton, 35; in Leipzig, 36; plays in 
Tavistock theatricals, 36; works 
in Baring's Bank, 39; 47, 56, 57; 
goes to China, 60; 62 ; Dickens's con 
cern over, 85; marriage, 85; visits 
Walter in India, 86; paper-mill 
partnership with Evans, and bank 
ruptcy, 116; reaction to Dickens's 
murder reading, 120; is made sub 
editor of All the Year Round, 122; 
ordered to watch Dickens during 
final readings, 132; 136, 137, 138, 
139, 145; provision for in Dickens's 
will, 147; 152; buys Gad's Hill, 
158-9; 164; sells Swiss chalet, 167- 
9; buys Wills's share in All the 
Year Round, 170; not at Perugini 
wedding, 177; aloofness during 
Frank's troubles, 180-1; 189; mis 
manages Poole's burial, 190-1; 
forced by illness to give up Gad's 
Hill, 210; publishes guide books, 
211; with Evans, contracts for 
printing of Letters, 213; considered 
hard creditor by Georgina, 215; 
216; arranges for Prank's burial, 
244; reads in America, 245-6; writes 
about father and edits his works, 
247; becomes reader for Macmil- 
lan, 247; develops heart condition, 
248; death, 248; 250, 255 
Dickens, Charles John Huff am, sailor 
impersonation, 3; early contacts 
with Hogarth, 6; courts Catherine, 
6-7; boasts of Catherine's family, 
7 ; early correspondence with Cath 
erine, 7; marriage, 7-8; honey 
moon, 9; birth of Charley, 9; 
moves to 48 Doughty Street, 9; 



Dickens, Charles John Huffam cont. 
birth of Mamie, 10; moves to 1 
Devonshire Terrace, 10; birth of 
Katey, 10; birth of Walter, 10; 
first visit to America, 10; enter 
tains his children, 12 ; writes prayer 
for his children, 13; hypnotizes 
Georgina and Catherine, 14; diffi 
culties of composition, 15; carriage 
rides to Hampstead Heath, 15; 
publication of A Christmas Carol, 
15; birth of Frank, 16; drawn to 
Georgina by her resemblance to 
Mary Hogarth, 16; takes his 
household to Italy, 17; life at 
Palazzo Peschiere, 17; insists on 
hospitality to Susan Atkins, 18; 
scales Mount Vesuvius, 19; anti- 
Catholic sentiments of, 19; associ 
ation with Mme De la Rue, 20; 
produces Every Man in His 
Humour, 20; birth of Alfred, 20; 
takes family to Lausanne, 21; 
residence in Paris, 21; birth of 
Sydney, 22; attends first anniver 
sary of Glasgow Athenaeum, 22; 
dinner for The Haunted Man, 22-3, 
24; birth of Harry, 24; reflects on 
Georgina's marital prospects, 25-6, 
41-2, 74; his indebtedness to her 
reflected in DC, 24-6; attitude to 
ward wife's pregnancies, 26; takes 
family to Isle of Wight, 27; birth 
of Dora Annie, 28; irritated by 
Forster, 28; directs amateur the 
atricals at Knebworth, 28-9; stages 
theatricals at Rockingham Castle, 
29-30; mock flirtation with Mary 
Boyle, 30; sends Catherine to 
Great Malvern, 30; dedicates A 
Child's History to his children, 30 ; 

girchases and remodels Tavistock 
ouse, 31-2; transfers plantings 
from Devonshire Terrace, 31; bust 
of 31, 273 n.36; devises titles for 
dummy book-backs, 32; birth of 
Edward, 33; models Esther Sum- 
merson on Georgina, 33-4; works 
on Frank's stammer, 35; stages 
Tavistock theatricals, 36-7; pre 
sents The Frozen Deep before 
Queen, 37-8; reads A Christmas 
Carol in Birmingham, 38; takes 
family to Boulogne, 39; Paris 
house -hunting with Georgina, 39; 
inspects sons' rooms, 40 ; complains 
about Georgina, 43; irritated by 
Hogarths, 43; transfers irritation 
to Catherine, 44; writes De la Rue 



Index 307 

about domestic situation, 44; con 
fides unhappiness to memorandum 
book, 44; Maria Beadnell Winter 
re-enters his life, 44-5; palms her 
off on Georgina, 45; hires Ellen, 
Maria, and Mrs. Ternan as act 
resses, 46 ; tours Lake District with 
W. Collins, 47; tells Forster, Col 
lins, and De la Rue about domestic 
troubles, 47-8; arranges for sepa 
rate sleeping quarters, 47-8; be 
gins professional readings, 48; 
arranges for the separation, 49; 
lives temporarily at Household 
Words quarters, 49 ; showers friends 
with explanations of separation, 
49-50 ; fails in moulding Catherine, 
50-1; demands retraction from 
Mrs. Hogarth and Helen, 53, 275 
n.24; issues proclamation, 55; 
breaks with Lemon, 55, and with 
Bradbury and Evans, 55; explains 
proclamation to Macready, 55; 
the 'Violated Letter', 56-7; the 
Colin Rae Brown scandal, 58; 
vows to forget and forgive Cather 
ine, 59; first reading after separa 
tion, 61; first provincial reading 
tour, 61-2; sends Georgina bulle 
tins on his health, 62, 76; sits for 
Frith portrait, 62-3; forces sale of 
Household Words, 63; Gad's Hill 
retreat, 63-5, 68-9; Katey's mar 
riage, 66-7; notes to tradesmen, 69; 
growing dependence on Georgina, 
70; his crest, 70-1; objects on 
desk, 71; his Christmas toast, 72; 
73; has Georgina look after his 
personal needs, 74-5; wine-cellar 
thefts at Gad's Hill, 74-5; easy 
freedom of letters to Georgina, 
75-6 ; alarmed over her poor health, 
76-8; feels indebted to her, 77; 
takes her to Paris, 78; spends 
fifty -first birthday in France, 79; 
unsatisfactory relationship with 
Nelly, 80; finds personal echoes in 
Faust, 80; permits Mrs. Hogarth's 
burial in Kensal Green Cemetery, 
80-81; saddled with family bur 
dens, 82-3; turns Mrs. Alfred 
Dickens over to Georgina, 83; 
gets pension for Letitia Austin, 83; 
grieved by death of Smith and 
Egg, 84; attitude toward funerals, 
84; writes Georgina about Austin's 
funeral, 84; not at Charley's 
wedding, 85; Walter's death, 86; 
and settlement of his affairs, 86^7; 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



308 



Dickens, Charles John Huffam cont. 
troubles with Frank, 87; left with 
Alfred's unpaid bills, 88; early 
pride ia Sydney, 88; reasons for 
sending sons away, 88-9, 279 n.39; 
interest in Gad's Hill Gazette, 89- 
90; hopes for match between Fitz 
gerald and Mamie, 91; tolerates 
her shortcomings, 91; concern 
over C. Collins's health, 92 ; arrival 
and erection of Swiss chalet, 92; 
symptoms of physical decline, 93; 
goes to Paris for relaxation, 93; 
Staplehurst Railway accident, 93- 
4; sends Nelly delicacies, 94; 
accelerated pace of reading tours, 
96; reasons for seeking high earn 
ings, 96; rejects early offers from 
America, 97; turns Catherine's 
letter over to Georgina, 98; John 
Thompson's theft, 98-9; dreads 
meeting the Winters, 100; in 
Ireland during Fenian uprisings, 
100; impressed by Percy Fitz 
gerald's family, 100; orders office 
Liquor stock through Georgina, 
100; decides on American reading 
tour, 101; growing attachment for 
Nelly, 102; denies rumours about 
his health, 102-3; farewell dinner, 
103-4; loneliness, 104, 281 .43; 
memoranda to Wills, 104-5; works 
out coded cable for Nelly, 105, 
281 w.45; leaves for America, 
105-6; reports on crossing, 106; 
decides against Nelly's following 
him, 106; Christmas in America, 
107-8; reads in Beecher's church, 
108; suffers from American clim 
ate, 108; rejects Chicago bid for 
readings, 109-10; burdened with 
affairs of Augustus Dickens, 110; 
contributes to support of Augustus' 
children, 110; confides in Fields, 
111; prepares for return to Eng 
land, 112; dark mood on his mar 
riage anniversary, 113; his diet 
during last days in America, 113; 
attends Press banquet, 113; helps 
fallen chambermaid, 114; home 
coming, 114-15; resumes heavy 
duties after American tour, 116; 
depressed by Plorn's departure, 
117-18; sends Harry to Cambridge, 
118; expects fellowship for him, 
118; reduces his allowance after 
the scholarship, 118; begins fare 
well reading tour, 118-22; dis 
appointed in Mamie's attitude 



toward Lynch, 119; sends Christ 
mas package to Gad's Hill, 119; 
asks Mamie to decorate reading 
stand, 119; prepares murder 
reading, 120; continued concern 
over Georgina's health, 120; rail 
way mishap in Ireland, 121; stage 
accident in Liverpool, 121; break 
down at Preston, 122; orders im 
portant memorandum through 
Georgina, 122; loses faith in 
Sydney, 123; does not abandon 
hope for Plorn, 123; arranges for 
series of London farewell readings, 
123-4; burns letters, 127; at work on 
Drood., 127; plans new conserva 
tory, 128; negotiates for Feehter's 
American engagements, 128-9; his 
last Christmas, 129; London resi 
dence for final readings, 129; pos 
sible cause of estrangement from 
W. Collins, 130; last reading, 132; 
audience with Queen, 133; receives 
ornament from anonymous donor, 
133-4, 284-5 n.88; discouraged by 
reports on Plorn, 134; cheered by 
reports on Alfred, 134; his last 
letter to Georgina, 135; his last 
visit with Katey, 135; his fatal 
seizure, 136; death, 137; burial, 
138-9; funeral sermon for, 143-4; 
143-61 passim; his position on 
spiritualism, 165; 188-205 passim, 
206-27 passim, 228-40 passim, 
255-67 passim 

Dickens, Dora Annie, 28, 30 
Dickens, Edmund, 112, 139 
Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton, 
'Plorn', birth, 33; 36, 40,47, 62, 65, 
76, 79; early schooling, 89; brief 
connection with Gad's Hill Gazette, 
89; 98; prepares for Australia, 101; 
109; leaves for Australia, 117; 118, 
127; does not adjust to Australia, 
134; 151; applies for larger allow 
ance, 166; helps repurchase Swiss 
chalet, 169; 171, 175, 210, 220; 
marriage, 226; death, 254; financ 
ial affairs, 254-5; speech in Aus 
tralian legislature, 255; 256 
Dickens, Elaine, later Mrs. Alec 
Waley, 245; visits America, 254; 
255, 259 

Dickens, Elizabeth Evans, 'Bessie' 
(Mrs. Charles Dickens, Jr.), 103, 
139, 161, 245, 248; receives Queen's 
pension, 249 

Dickens, Enid Marie, later Mrs. Ernest 
B. Hawksley, 189, 254, 259, 261 



Index 



309 



Dickens, Francis Jeffrey, 'Frank', 
birth, 16; 21, 26; treated for stam 
mer, 35; in school at Boulogne, 40; 
65, 74; Dickens's efforts to start 
him on career, 87; studies in 
Hamburg, 87; works in office of 
All theY ear Round, 87; appointment 
to Bengal Mounted Police, 87; 151; 
returns from India, 166; refuses to 
help repurchase Swiss chalet, 169; 
at Perugini wedding, 177; financial 
ruin, 180; appointment to North 
west Mounted Police, 180; last 
days in Canada, 243; death, 244 

Dickens, Fred, with Charles and 
Catherine after their marriage, 9; 
applies to Dickens for help, 82; 
221, 233 

Dickens, Hector Charles Bulwer 
Lytton, see Peters, Charley 

Dickens, Helen (Mrs. Alfred Dickens), 
needs Dickens's help, 82-3 ; he turns 
her over to Georgina, 83 

Dickens, Henry Charles, 'Hal', 211, 
245, 250 

Dickens, Henry Fielding, 'Harry*, 
birth, 24; plays in Tom Thumb, 36; 
47, 62, 79; early schooling, 89; 
edits Gad's Hill Gazette, 89-91; his 
early poetic spark, 90; 109, 117; 
head censor at Wimbledon, 118; 
organizes cricket club, 118; enters 
Cambridge, 118; wins scholarships, 
118, 126; allowance reduced, 118; 
on Mamie's spinsterhood, 119; 127; 
first speech at Cambridge, 131; 
wins essay prize, 134; reaches Gad's 
Hill after father's death, 137; 139, 
145, 146, 150, 151; spends vaca 
tions with Georgina and Mamie, 
164; helps repurchase Swiss chalet, 
169; The Cricket on the Hearth 
willed to, 170; at Perugini wedding, 
177; 181, 182; called to Bar, 186; 
marriage, 187; birth of Enid Marie, 
189; biith of Henry Charles, 211; 
indexes Letters, 215, 227; takes 
P. Fitzgerald to task, 236; bans 
Maria Beadnell letters, 238; 245, 
246; helps Bessie Dickens, 249, 
294 w.25; 250; visits America, 254; 
255; reads from Dickens's works, 
255, 264; repudiates the Charley 
Peters imposture, 256; 259, 261, 
263, 264, 265 

Dickens, John, 8, 63, 85, 220, 221, 
235, 236 

Dickens, Mrs. John, 8, 83, 220 



Dickens, Kate Macready, 'Katey', 
birth, 10; 21, 22, 35, 36; sends in 
structions to dressmaker, 38; 46, 
47, 56, 57, 58, 62, 66; marries 
Charles Collins, 67; paints Gad's 
Hill staircase, 68; 127; see also 
Collins, Kate Macready Dickens, 
and Perugini, Kate 

Dickens, Kathleen, 210, 261 

Dickens, Marie Roche (Mrs. Henry 
F. Dickens), Georgina's reaction 
to her religion, 187; her thrift, 187; 
birth of Enid Marie, 189; birth of 
Henry Charles, 211; 245, 255; looks 
after Georgina, 259-60 

Dickens, Mary, 'Mamie', birth, 10; 21, 
22, 35 ; talent for flower arranging, 
40; 46, 47, 49, 56, 58, 62, 66; at 
father's request, rejects an early 
suitor, 67 ; plays father's favourite 
compositions, 71; decorates Gad's 
Hill for Christmas, 72; 76, 79, 83; 
not interested in Percy Fitzgerald, 
91; Dickens's estimate of her, 91; 
94-5; spends winters in London 
during reading tours, 96-7; with 
friends in Hampshire, 99; 100, 103, 
105, 106, 108; prepares for Dick 
ens's return from America, 114-15; 
117; not interested in Major Lynch, 
119, 162; decorates Dickens's 
reading stand, 119; Mrs. Fields's 
impression of, 124; 127, 130; loves 
social gaiety, 133; presented at 
Court, 133; 135, 136; calls on 
mother, 145; provision for in 
father's will, 147; 151, 156; eulo 
gizes father, 158; 163; her extrava 
gant tastes, 164; 168, 173, 175; 
grieves after death of Mrs. Bouncer, 
178-80; tries to help Frank, 180; 
182, 183, 186, 188; frequent 
periods of absence, 189; inherits 
annuity from Chorley, 191; 196; 
contributes to the World, 197; 
takes leave of the Nortons, 199; 
helps Anne Cornelius, 201-2; col 
laborates on Letters, 206-24; camps 
on Thames, 207; undergoes eye 
surgery, 227; 238; deterioration, 
241, 243; joins clergyman and 
wife, 243; declining health, 248; 
completes My Father as I Recall 
Him, 248; death, 248; tribute to 
Georgina, 248; 249 

Dickens, Mary Angela, 'Mekitty*, 
hears Dickens's final reading, 132; 
152, 210; illness, 210-11; begins 
stage career, 246-7; abandons 



310 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



Dickens, Mary Angela cont. 

stage for writing, 247, 249, 294 
n.26; 255 

Dickens, Olive, later Mrs. Robert 
Shuckburgh, 245; visits America, 
254; 255, 259; marriage, 261 

Dickens, Philip Charles, Tip', 245, 
250 

Dickens, Sydney Margaret, later Mrs. 
Thomas B. Whinney, 245, 249 

Dickens, Sydney Smith Haldimand, 
birth, 22; nicknamed 'Hoshen 
Peck', 28; at school in Boulogne, 
40; 65, 76; begins naval career, 88; 
shows signs of extravagance, 88; 
89, 122; deterioration and break 
with father, 123; 151; his muddled 
finances after father's death, 165-6; 
refuses to help with repurchase of 
Swiss chalet, 169, and fund for 
Letitia Austin, 171; death, 171-2; 
244 

Dickens, Violet, 210 

Dickens, Walter Landor, birth, 10; 
21; in school at Wimbledon, 40; 
leaves for India, 45-6; 62; pro 
motion, 85; accumulates debts, 85; 
death, 85 ; settlement of his affairs, 
86-7; 88, 244 

Dickens by Pen and Pencil (Kitton), 
237 

Dickens Fellowship, The, 255, 261 

Dickens House, 263 

Dickens Museum, Portsmouth, 263 

Dickensian, The, 238, 264, 266 

Dictionary of London, A (C. Dickens, 
Jr.), 211 

Dolby, George, Dickens's reading 
manager, 97; speech impediment, 
97; investigates prospects in 
America, 102; precedes Dickens to 
America, 105; 109; plans walking 
match with Osgood, 111; 117, 120, 
128, 228 

Dotty Varden (Frith), 154 

Dombey and Son, 22, 59, 61 

Dora (DC), 25, 45 

D'Orsay, Count Alfred, 20, 214 

Dotheboys Hall (Webster), 154 

Doughty Street, No. 48, Dickens 
moves to, 9; 11, 82, 220 

Dover, Kent, 67 

Dover Road, 63, 66, 92, 126 

Druce, Thomas Charles, 239-40 

Drury Lane Theatre, 237 

Dublin, 61, 100 

Dufferin, Lord, 180 

Dunton Green Junction, 240 



EATTN-Q, MIDDLESEX, 84 

East India Company, 45 

Eddystone Lighthouse (Stanfield), 154 

Edinburgh, 4, 97, 107, 119, 121, 227, 
241, 251 

Edinburgh Courant, 4 

Edinburgh Musical Festival, 4, 5 

Edward VH, 253 

Egerton Place, 250 

Egerton Terrace, No. 31, 251 

Egg, Augustus, growing attachment 
for Georgina, 29; in amateur 
theatricals, 29, 38; designs cos 
tumes for theatricals, 38 ; Dickens's 
praise for, 40-1; 51, 75; death, 84 

Eliot, George (Mary Ann Evans), 
comments on Dickens's library, 32 ; 
marriage, 201 

Ellen, a servant, 99 

Elliotson, Dr. John, 14; consulted 
during Georgina's illness, 77; 79 

Ellis, S. M., 258 

Emma, a maid, 158, 242, 244, 251, 
252, 259 

English Illustrated Magazine, 247 

Eton, Charley in school at, 35 

Etynge, Sol, 125 

Evans, Bessie, later Mrs. Charles 
Dickens, Jr., 55, 85; see also 
Dickens, Elizabeth Evans 

Evans, F. M., 116, 213, 247 

Evening Chronicle, 6 

Every Man in His Humour ( Jonson), 
20, 28, 29, 35 



FALSTAFF, SIB JOHN, 68 

FalstaS Inn, 72 

Farewell dinner, Freemasons' Hall, 
London, 103-4 

Faust (Gounod), 80, 131, 224 

Fechter, Charles Albert, presents 
Swiss chalet, 92; 103; American 
negotiations, 128; comments on 
Dickens to Longfellow, 131; on 
Dickens's will, 147 ; pays back loan 
from Dickens, 149; deterioration, 
195-6; alienates Georgina, 196; 
death, 196-7 

Fechter, Mme, 196 

Felton, Cornelius, 109 

Fenian uprisings, 100 

Fields, James T., tries to lure Dickens 
to America, 97; 106, 116, 121, 122; 
visits Dickens, 124-6; 149, 154, 
196, 201, 225; death, 226; 228, 229 

Fields, Mrs. James T., * Annie', 
Dickens's early impressions of, 
106; his Christmas with, 107; sends 



Index 



311 



'ields, Mrs. James T. cont. 
flowers for Dickens's birthday, 1 10 ; 
reflects on him in diary, 111; notes 
his dependence on Georgina, 111, 
and his dark mood on wedding 
anniversary, 113; reflects on Dic 
kens's return to England, 114, and 
his strange lot, 114, and his re 
union with loved ones, 114; pos 
sible knowledge of EUen, 114; 121, 
122; visits England, begins friend 
ship with Georgina, 124-6; im 
pression of Gad's Hill, 125-6; 
reports sleepless night in Dickens's 
room, 126; impression of Georgina, 
126 ; conscious of shadow over Gad's 
Hill, 127; on Dickens-Collins es 
trangement, 130; feels Georgina's 
anomalous position, 131; 132, 133, 
134, 137; 146-61 passim, 162-89 
passim; on Forster's Life, 184; 189- 
202 passim; impression of W. Col 
lins, 198; 206-27 passim; death of 
Fields, 226; visits Georgina, 227, 
252; 228-35 passim, 241-52 passim, 
255-62 passim; death, 262 

mionneau, Amelia, 21, 203-4 

^inlay, Francis, 71 

^itzgerald, Percy, 71; Dickens's 
interest in, 91; 94; his family, 100; 
119; tribute to Mrs. Bouncer, 179- 
80; 187; rebuked by Georgina and 
Harry, 235-6; Georgina's later 
relations with, 236-7; founds Boz 
Club, 255 

?ive Bells Inn, 102 

Flaster Floby', see Dickens, Charles, 
Jr. 

Florence, Italy, 104 

Folkestone, Kent, 78, 93 

?orster, John, 15, 17; annoys Dic 
kens, 28 ; 47 ; represents Dickens in 
the separation, 49-52; 56, 66, 67; 
opposes American reading tour, 
101; 102, 105, 113, 118, 121, 129; 
arranges for Dickens's burial, 
138-9; co-executor of Dickens's 
will, 147; 149, 153; comments on 
sale at Christie's, 155, and Charley's 
purchase of Gad's Hill, 158-9; 
165, 166, 171, 177; works on the 
Life, 182-4; 188, 190, 192; death, 
194; exhibit of his collection, 194-5; 
201, 206, 215, 217; Atlantic 
Monthly review of the Life, 228-9; 
opposes unauthorized performance 
of The Strange Gentleman, 229-31; 
sketch of in Temple Bar, 231-2; 
233, 236 



Forster, Mrs. John, 66, 121, 195 

Fort House, Broadstairs, not original 
of Bleak House, 237 

Fort Pitt, 243 

Fortnightly Review, 225 

Fortunio and His Seven Gifted Ser 
vants (Planche"), 36 

Foxwold Chase, Kent, 253 

Franco -Prussian War, 163 

Freemasons' Hall, 103 

Frith, William Powell, paints por 
trait of Dickens, 62; 154, 194 

Frozen Deep, The (Collins), Georgina's 
role in, 37; played for Jerrold 
benefits, 37, and before Queen, 
37-8; 46, 67, 94 

Fulham Road, Chelsea, 3 

Furnival's Inn, 9 



GAD'S HTT.T,, 47, 61, 63; negotiations 
for, 64; improvements at, 64-5; 
setting and appearance, 66; in 
terior arrangement, 67-8 ; reception 
of guests at, 70-72; wine-cellar 
thefts at, 74-5; 79-95 passim, 96- 
112 passim; Dickens returns to 
from America, 114-15; 119-39 
passim, 145-58 passim; Charley's 
purchase of, 158-9; 162; desolate 
look of, 164; 179, 180, 182, 191, 
195; Charley's sale of, 210; 211, 
219, 238, 240, 242, 243, 246, 256, 
266 

Gad's Hill Gazette, The, 89-91 

Gallery of Illustration, Regent Street, 
38 

Garrick, David, 143 

Garrick Club, 53, 172 

Garrick Club affair, 197 

Gaskell, Mrs. Elizabeth, 26 

Genoa, 17, 18, 21 

Gibbs, Mrs. Charles, 50 

Girl at the Waterfall, The (Maclise), 
13 

Gladstone, William E., 103 

Glasgow Athenaeum, 22 

Glasgow Daily Bulletin, 58 

Gloucester Crescent, No, 70, Cath 
erine's home after the separation, 
59, 209 

Gloucester Terrace, No. 81, first 
residence of Georgina and Mamie, 
160, 162, 164, 177, 187, 188, 215 

Godfrey, Dan, 103 

Gordon, Andrew, 62 

Gordon, Sheriff, 62 

Grace (The Battle of Life), 217 

Graves, Caroline, 217 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



312 



Gravesend, Kent, 102 

Great Expectations, 126, 245, 264 

'Great International Walking Match, 

The', 111-12, 228 
Great Malvern, Worcestershire, 30 
Grenadier Guards Band, 103 
Guessing and memory games, 71, 129 
Guild of Literature and Art, 36 
Gunga Rum Cloth (Indian merchant), 

87 
Guy Fawkes, 12, 270 n.l 



HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, 106 

Halifax, Yorkshire, 5, 9, 61 

Halifax Guardian, 5-6, 8; carries 
Dickens's proclamation, 55 

Halifax Orchestral Society, 5 

Hamilton, Gail, 58 

Hampstead Heath, 15 

Handel, 143 

Harley, John P., 230 

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 236 

Harper's Weekly, 58 

Harringtons, The, 100 

Harvey, George F., 203-4 

Haunted Man, The, 23, 272 n.Q2, 24 

Haverstock Hill, 82 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 108 

Headstone, Bradley (OMF), 266 

Henry VTH, 30 

Higham-by-Rochester, Kent, 66, 67, 
117, 138 

Higham Cricket Club, 148 

Higham Station, 121, 138 

Highgate Cemetery, 190, 239 

Hogarth, Catherine, courtship, 6-7; 
prepares for marriage, 7-8; 236; 
see also Dickens, Catherine Ho 
garth 

Hogarth, Edward, 51, 209 

Hogarth, Mrs. Edward, 209 

Hogarth, George, connexion with 
Scott, 4; legal and musical back 
ground, 4-5; enters journalism, 5; 
Halifax residence, 5-6; finds work 
in London, 6; early association 
with Dickens, 6; 8, 9; easy-going 
household of, 12; 14, 15, 22, 39; 
irritates Dickens, 43; 48; tries 
mediation during separation negoti 
ations, 53; 61; death, 130; 220 

Hogarth, Mrs. George, 4, 5; prelude 
to later discord with Dickens, 10; 
Dickens's letter to on anniversary 
of Mary's death, 16; 21, 22, 33; 
temporarily in charge of Tavistock, 
39; irritates Dickens with her im- 



practicality, 43 ; neglects Tavistock, 
43; 48; insists on the separation, 
49; takes Catherine to Brighton, 
49; circulates slanders about Dic 
kens, 53; signs retraction, 54; 56, 
62, 73; death, 80-1; 83, 220 
Hogarth, Georgina, earliest memory 
of Dickens, 3 ; leaves Edinburgh at 
age of four, 5; recollections of 
Dickens's courtship and wedding, 
8-9; visits his honeymoon cottage, 
9; early education, 9; plays with 
the Dickens children, 10; joins then- 
household, 10-12; her role with 
the children, 13; poses for Maclise, 
13; member of Dickens's adult 
world, 13-14; hypnotized, 14; early 
admiration for Dickens, 14; 15, 16; 
fills Mary Hogarth's place, 16; 
accompanies family to Italy, 17; 
told to treat Susan Atkins hospit 
ably, 18; scales Mount Vesuvius, 
19; tours Italy, 19-20; with the 
Dickenses in Switzerland, 21, and 
Paris, 21; 22, 23; Dickens's dinner 
companion, 24 ; probable connexion 
with Agnes Wickfield and Sophy 
in Copperfield, 24-6; deterrents to 
marriage, 26; in charge of Broad- 
stairs, 28; in amateur theatricals, 
28-9, 35-8; with Catherine at Mal 
vern, 30; A Child's History of 
England dictated to, 30 ; at Broad- 
stairs during Tavistock remodel 
ling, 31 ; cultivates Dickens's thrift, 
31; assumes charge of Tavistock, 
32, 37; possible model for Esther 
Summerson (BE), 33-4; 35; in 
Tavistock theatricals, 36-7; plays 
before the Queen, 37-8; attends 
Dickens's first readings, 38 ; house 
hunting in Paris, 39 ; in Boulogne, 
39-40; takes walks with Dickens, 
39-40; helps Dickens inspect the 
children's rooms, 40; rejects Augus 
tus Egg, 41; tries to prevent 
domestic rift, 42; Dickens vexed 
with, 43; 44; correspondence with 
Mrs. Winter, 46; first summer at 
Gad's Hill, 47; 48; incurs her 
family's disapproval during the 
separation, 49; reasons for staying 
with Dickens, 51-2; 53, 54, 55; 
writes Mrs. Whiter about the 
separation, 57-8; the Colin Rae 
Brown scandal, 58; corresponds 
with Dickens during first reading 
tour, 61-2; with Dickens at Frith's 
studio, 62; 63, 64; present at 



Index 

rlogarth, Georgina tout. 
Katey's marriage to C. Collins, 66- 
7 ; moves Tavistock furnish ings to 
Gad's Hill, 67 ; helps with manage 
ment of Gad's Hill, 70-1; fluent in 
French, 71; 72, 73; looks after 
Diekens's personal needs, 74-5, 128; 
alerted to wine-cellar thefts, 74-5; 
frets over petty irritations, 75; 
nature of her letters to Dickens, 76; 
her precarious health, 76-8; possible 
cause of her illness, 79-80; death, of 
mother, 80-1; sits for her photo 
graph, 81; 82; shares the burden 
of Helen Dickens, 83; comforts 
Letitia Austin, 83; corresponds 
with scattered nephews, 84; wel 
comes Charley and family to Gad's 
Trill, 85; diagnosis of Walter's 
illness kept from her, 86; 88; con 
curs in Dickens's plans for his sons, 
89, 279 n.39; interested in Harry's 
newspaper, 90; 91, 93; early friend 
ship with Ellen Ternan, 94; writes 
letters for Dickens after Staple- 
hurst accident, 94; a favourite of 
Lytton's, 95; worries about Dick 
ens after Staplehurst, 96; in 
London during reading tours, 96-7; 
fears American reading tour, 97; 
answers Catherine's letter to Dick 
ens, 98; learns of John Thompson's 
theft, 98; misunderstands Dick 
ens's instructions, 99; Katey and 
husband with her at Gad's Hill, 99 ; 
alarmed by Dickens's health bulle 
tins, 99, 100; further instructions 
from Dickens, 100-1; forced to 
accept Dickens's decision on 
America, 101; attends farewell 
dinner, 103:4; her possible know 
ledge of plans for Ellen Ternan, 
105; first reports after Dickens's 
sailing, 106; Christmas without 
him, 107; cheers "Kim with Christ 
mas letter, 108; 109, 110, 111; 
sends him pressed flowers, 112; his 
homecoming gift for her, 112; 
inks out passage referring to his 
wedding anniversary, 113; Mrs. 
Fields's respect for, 113; prepares 
for homecoming, 114-15; round of 
entertainments, 116; Harry's fin 
ances referred to her, 118; 119; 
with Dickens on Irish tour, 120-1 ; 
possible knowledge of provision 
for her, 122; receives Fieldses, 
124-6; on Harry's early success at 
Cambridge, 126-7; on Mamie and 



313 

Lynch, 127, 162; helps Dickens 
destroy letters, 127; apologizes for 
nieces, 128; nurses Dickens, 129; 
in London for final readings, 129; 
death of father, 130; her anomalous 
position, 131; at final reading, 132; 
133; last days with Dickens, 136-7; 
at burial service, 139, and funeral 
sermon, 143-4; reflects on Dickens's 
death and burial, 144; calls on 
Catherine, 145; provisions for in 
the will, 147; takes over duties as 
executrix, 147-51 ; puzzled by own 
finances, 151-2; keeps changing her 
will, 152, 153, 167-8, 169-70, 188; 
cannot destroy Dickens's letters to 
her, 152; distributes keepsakes, 
153-4; sale at Christie's, 154-5; 
prepares for Gad's Hill sale, 155-6; 
last days at Gad's Hill, 155-7; 
temporary stay in Weybridge, 157- 
8; shocked by Charley's purchase 
of Gad's Hill, 158-9; rents 81 
Gloucester Terrace, 160; on Dick 
ens's New Testament, 161; reflects 
on her past, 161; adjusts to Glou 
cester Terrace, 162; reflects on 
Franco -Prussian War, 163; daily 
routine of, 164; rejects report of 
spiritualistic medium, 164-5; on 
Sydney's affairs, 165-6; handles 
Plorn's allowance, 166; early 
doubts about Frank, 166-7; sale 
and repurchase of Swiss chalet, 
167-9; initiates plan for Letitia 
Austin, 170; disappointed in Syd 
ney, 171 ; reminisces after his death, 
171-2; comments on relations with 
Catherine, 172; proud of Harry's 
Cambridge achievements, 172-3 ; 
notes his resemblance to father, 173, 
187, 189; on C. Collins's strange 
behaviour and last days, 173-4; 
revisits Broadstairs, 176; pleased 
with Katey's marriage to Perugini, 
176-7; on the Fieldses' wedding 
gift, 178; on Mamie's spinsterhood, 
178; on death of Mrs. Bouncer, 
178-9; difficulties with Frank, 
180-1; observes Dickens's anni 
versaries, 181, 182, 188, 207, 211, 
241, 243, 251; reflects on afterlife, 
181-2, 185; rejoices in public 
devotion to Dickens, 182; on 
Christmas without Dickens, 182; 
on Forster's Life, 183-4; on Katey's 
child, 186; on Harry's marriage, 
187; last days at Gloucester Ter 
race, 187; leases 11 Strathmore 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



314 



Hogarth, Georgina cont. 

Gardens, 188; on preponderance 
of Dickens's granddaughters, 189; 
proud of Harry's family, 189; in 
dignation over mismanagement of 
Poole's burial, 190-1; on Chorley's 
death, 191; grieves for Lytton, 
191-2; on Maeready's last days and 
diaries, 192-3; on Kingsley's ser 
mons and death, 193; relations 
with Forster, 194; his death, 194; 
disposal of his collection, 194; on 
Frith's portrait of Dickens. 194; 
contacts with Carlyle, 195; on 
Feehter's deterioration, 195-7; on 
Yates, 197; belittles W. Collins J s 
American reading tour, 197-8; re 
lations with the Nortons, 198-9; 
on Norton's spiritual state, 199; on 
Grace Norton's sacrifice, 199-200; 
interest in Longfellow, 200; opin 
ion of Lowell, 200; on Beecher's 
trial, 200; on Anne Ritchie's 
marriage, 200, and George Eliot's 
marriage, 200-1; on Tennyson's 
barony, 201; sends condolences on 
death'of Mrs. Winter, 204; later 
association with Mary Boyle, 204-5, 
and Ellen Ternan, 205; decides to 
edit Dickens's letters, 206, and 
begins collecting them, 206-7; eye 
trouble, 208; work delayed by 
Catherine's illness, 208-9; recon 
ciliation with Catherine, 208, and 
Helen Honey, 209; sympathizes 
with Charley during his troubles, 
210; saddened by desolation of 
Gad's Hill, 210; with Mamie, 
supplies prefatory narratives for 
Letters, 211; negotiates with Chap 
man, 212-13, and Charley and 
Evans, 213; takes pride in finished 
edition, 215; considers Charley a 
hard creditor, 215; editorial prac 
tices, 216-24, 292 w.70; on Dick 
ens's temperance, 218; obliterates 
portions of letters, 220-1; treat 
ment of letters to Catherine, 221- 
3; impatient for review in London 
Times, 225 ; condoles with Annie on 
Fields's death, 226; visited by 
Annie and Miss Jewett, 227, 252; 
declines invitation to visit America, 
227; adopts Micawber philosophy, 
227 ; reactions to publicity on Inter 
national Walking Match, 228, and 
Atlantic Monthly review of For- 
ster's Life, 228-9; acts to halt pro- 
duction of The Strange Gentleman, 



228-31; annoyed by Home's 
article, 231-3, and American clip 
ping on Dickens's mesmerism, 233; 
distressed by publication of Ouvry 
Letters, 233-5; relations with P. 
Fitzgerald, 235-7; helps Kitton 
with publications, 237-8; bans 
Beadnell letters in England, 238-9; 
appeals to Thomas Wright, 239; 
indignant over Druce case, 239-40 ; 
difficulties with Mamie, 241-2, and 
affection for, 242; first failure to 
keep birthday tryst, 243; moves to 
70 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensing 
ton, 244; lives temporarily with 
Harry, 244; moves to 55 Oakley 
Street, 244; her life revolves 
around Harry and family, 244, 
250; nicknames his children, 245; 
prevented by Golden Jubilee from 
going to Abbey, 245; reaction 
to Charley's American tour, 245- 
6; regrets Mekitty's stage career, 
246-7; tribute to Georgina in 
Mamie's book, 248; interested in 
Diamond Jubilee, 249-50; moves to 
31 Egerton Terrace, 251; death of 
cook, 251; follows Boer War, 252; 
discontinues anniversary trips to 
Abbey, 252; watches Queen's funeral 
procession, 253 ; praises the United 
States, 254; active in Dickens 
Fellowship, 255, 256, 295 n.7, and 
Boz Club, 255-6; figures in Charley 
Peters imposture, 256; visits with 
Cecile Macready, 257; reaction 
to suffragettes, 257; considered 
authority on Dickensian matters, 
258-9 ; moves to 64 Kenway Road, 
259; growing infirmity, 259-60, 
and operation, 261; forced to dis 
pose of treasures, 262-3, 264-5; at 
Harry's reading recital, 264; last 
home, Church Street, Chelsea, 265; 
life of dedication to Dickens's 
reputation, 265-6; death, 266; 
Dickens's tribute to, 267. 

Hogarth, Helen, later Mrs. Honey, 
52 ; circulates slanders about Dick 
ens, 53; signs retraction, 54; 56, 
60, 62 

Hogarth, Mary, a favourite of Dick 
ens, 7; joins Dickens and Catherine, 
9; death, 9; 11, 14, 25, 49, 80, 236, 
251, 257 

Hogarth, Bobert, 208 

Hogarth birth records, 270 n. 26 

Homan Real Estate Agency, 70, 
154-5, 160 



Index 



315 



Home, R. H., 231-3 
Honeymoon cottage, see Chalk House 
Hotten, Camden, 149-50 
Household Words, launched, 27; 

carries Dickens's proclamation, 55 ; 

61; discontinued, 63; 66, 231, 247, 

262 

Howe, De Wolfe, 124 
Howitt, Mary, 44, 107, 145 
Howitt, William, 33 
Hulkes, Mrs., 109 
Hullah, John, 6 
Hume, David, 4 
Hunt, Leigh, 50, 139 
Hunt, William Holman, 67 
Hunt, William Morris, 178 
Hunt and Roskell, 134, 224 
Hyde Park Place, 129, 150 

ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, 130, 

236 

Irish jaunting-car, 66 
Irving, Washington, 127, 265 
Iseult, 80 
Ivy Cottage, Bayswater, 29, 41 

JACK STRAW'S CASTLE, 15 

Jaeintha (Animal Magnetism], 37 

James II, 30 

James, Henry, 243, 249, 254 

JeUyby, Mrs. (BE), 34 

Jerrold, Douglas, 37 

Jewett, Sarah Orne, 227, 252, 254, 

259 

Johnson, Sam, 143 
Jones, Blackberry, 90 

KELLY, A VALET, 105 

Kelly's Theatre, Miss, Soho, 20, 25 

Kensal Green Cemetery, 80, 139 

Kensal Manor House, 258 

Kent, Charles, 103 

Kenway Road, S.W., No. 64, 259 

King's College School, 21 

Kingsley, Rev. Charles, 8 

Kingsley, Charles (author), 193 

Kingston, Ireland, 121 

Kitchener of Khartoum, first Earl 

(Horatio Herbert Kitchener), 264 
Kitton, F. G., 237-8, 247 
Knebworth, amateur theatricals at, 

28-9; 191 
Knibbs, Miss (Turning the Tables), 29 

'LADIES TTSTDER CANVAS' (MAMIE 

DICKER), 197 

Landseer, Edwin^ 63, 103, 193, 262 
Langton, Robert, 237 



Lausanne, Switzerland, 21, 26 

Lawrence, Mr. and Mrs. G. W., 260 

Layard, Austen H., 214 

Leclereq, Carlo tta, 129 

Leech, John, 57, 77, 90, 172, 238 

Leeds, Yorkshire, 35 

Lehmann, Frederick, 94 

Leipzig, Saxony, 36 

Lemon, Mark, 36; represents Cather 
ine in the separation, 49, 52; 
Dickens's rupture with, 55; 218 

Lemon, Mrs. Mark, 29 

Letters of Charles Dickens, The 
(Georgina-Mamie ed.), 195; in 
ception of, 206; assembling of, 
206-7; obstacles in editing, 208-11; 
publication negotiations, 212-14; 
issued, 214; third volume, 214; 
cheap edition, 214-15; dedication, 
215; financial success of, 215; scope 
of, 215; editorial practices in, 216- 
24; reception of, 224-5; 227, 241; 
one-volume edition, 291 w.33 

Lewes, G. H., 201 

Life of Charles Dickens, The (Forster), 
129, 182-5, 194, 206, 220, 224, 225, 
228-9, 233, 236, 238 

Lighthvuse, The (W. Collins), Geor- 
gina's role in, 36; 67 

Linda, a dog, 69, 114-15 

Little Nell (OCS), 50 

Liverpool, 99, 112, 114, 121, 181, 261 

Locker-Lampson, Arthur, 138, 238 

Lockhart, J. G., 4 

London and Australian Agency 
Corporation, 175 

London and Northwestern Railway, 
105 

London Times, The, carries Dickens's 
proclamation, 55; 138, 149, 173, 
225, 230, 234 

Longfellow, Allegra, 116 

Longfellow, Alice, 108, 116, 117 

Longfellow, Edith, 116, 200 

Longfellow, Henry W., 108, 116, 131, 
165, 200; contributes to Cornelius 
fund, 202 

Lover, Samuel, 145 

'Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman, 
The', 12 

Lowell, James R., 200 

Lowell, Mabel, 124, 125, 178 

'Lucifer Box', see, Dickens, Kate 
Macready 

Lyceum Theatre, 149 

Lynch, Major William Wiltshire, 119, 
127, 132, 162 

Lynn, Elizabeth, later Mrs. Lynn 
Linton, 64 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



316 

Lytton, Edward Bulwer (Lord Lyt 
ton), 22; amateur theatricals at 
Knebworth, 28-9; resemblances to 
Dickens, 28 ; fondness for Georgina, 
79, 95; 103; proposes toast at fare 
well dinner, 104; gets Dickens 
keepsakes, 154; death, 191-2; 
Georgina's affection for, 192; 194, 
214 



MACATJLAY, THOMAS B., 143 

Macbeth, 13 

Maclise, Daniel, paints Georgina, 13; 
31, 194, 195 

Macmfflan, Alexander, 212, 247, 248 

Maeready, Benevenuta, 192 

Macready, Cecile Spencer, Dickens's 
opinion of, 192; Georgina's friend 
ship with, 192; devotion to hus 
band, 192; 217; Georgina's later 
visits with,, 257 

Macready, Katie, 122 

Macready, Lisa, later Mrs. Puckle, 
257 

Macready, Sir Nevil, 262 

Macready, William, 10; Georgina 
sees >rn in Macbeth, 13; resists 
hypnotism, 14; 65: reaction to 
Dickens's reading, 75-6; 77, 86, 
116, 127; old age and death, 192-3; 
publication of reminiscences, 193; 
216, 262 

Macready, Mrs. William, 10 

Macrone, John, 8 

Maggs Brothers, Berkeley Square, 
262 

Maidenhead, Berkshire, 176 

Malta, S.S., 171 

Malvern, see Great Malvern 

Manchester, 35, 47 

Manchester Free Trade Hall, 46 

Manette, Lucie (TTC), 109 

Marble Arch, 129 

Margate, Kent, 205, 290 ?i.67 

Marguerite (Faust], 80, 131 

Mary (Used Up), 220 

Manyat, Captain Frederick, 24 

Marsh, a stableman, 77-8 

Marshalsea Prison, 8 

Martineau, Harriet, 217 

Mason, B. H., 81 

Matz, B. W., 238, 256 

Melbourne, Australia, 175 

Memorandum Book (Dickens), 44, 
266-7 

Mendelssohn, Felix, 71 

Merry Wives of Windsor, The, 35, 220 

Meyerbeer, Giacomo, 103 



Micawber, John Dickens as, 235 
Midlothian, Sheriff of, see Gordon, 

Sheriff 

Milan, Italy, 18 

'Mild Glo'ster', see Dickens, Mary 
Millais, John E., 103, 128; sketches 

head of Dickens, 137; 173; at 

Perugini wedding, 177 
Miller, William, 258, 261 
Minto, William, 225 
Mitton, Thomas, 22, 221, 223; publi 
cation of Dickens's letters to, 233-5 
Moline, Illinois, 243, 244 
Monument House, Wey bridge, 157 
Mordaunt divorce scandal, 253 
Morning Chronicle, 6 
Mortlake Cemetery, 266 
Moscheles, Ignaz, 187 
Mozart, Wolfgang, 71, 103 
Mr. Nightingale's Diary (Lemon), 36 
Mrs. Bouncer, a dog, 69, 78, 79, 115, 

131, 157; death of, 178-80 
Mulready, William, 41 
My Father as I Recall Him (Mamie 

Dickens), 248 
Mystery of Edwin Drood, The, 127, 

129, 132, 135, 136, 137, 145, 153, 

163 

NANCY (OT), 120 

Naples, Italy, 18 

Nash, Mrs., owner of honeymoon 
cottage, 9 

Nosh's Magazine, 228 

Nation, W. H. C., 230 

National Portrait Gallery, Edin 
burgh, 5 

National Portrait Gallery, London, 
194 

Needlework and Charitable Guild, 
255, 262 

Nelson Street, No. 2, Edinburgh, 4 

Newcastle -on-Tyne, Northumber 
land, 100 

Newman Noggs, a pony, 66, 122 

Newton, Thomas, 235 

New York, 107, 109, 260 

New York Press Dinner, 113 

New York Tribune, 57, 234 

Niece Hawk (Uncle John), 37 

No Name (W. Collins), 77 

Northern Whig, 71 

Northwest Mounted Police, 180-1, 
243 

Norton, Charles E., 117; bereavement 
of, 198; residence in London, 199; 
return to America, 199; 243 

Norton, Mrs. Charles E., 198, 243 

Norton, Grace, 198, 199, 200 



Index 



317 



Norton, Jane, 198, 199 

Not So Bad as We Seem (Lytton), 36 

OAKLEY STREET, No. 55, 244 

Offenbach, Jacques, 103 

Office Book (Household Words), 247 

Old Globe Theatre, 59 

Oliver Twist, 120, 132 

OUiffe, Sir Joseph, 37, 122, 148 

OllrSe, Lady Laura, 37, 39, 148 

Olympic Theatre, 46, 59, 104 

Orlando, H.M.S., 88 

Osgood, James, 111, 228, 229 

Osnaburgh Street, 10, 270 w.33 

Othello, Dickens's travesty of, 237 

Our Life in the Highlands (Queen 
Victoria), 133 

Our Mutual Friend, 59, 86, 94, 149, 
203-4 

'Our Whispering Gallery', 206, 218, 
228 

Ouvry, Frederic, helps with separa 
tion negotiations, 49, 52; 53; drafts 
statement for Hogarths' signatures, 
54; 57, 116; Georgina's dealings 
with, 147-60 passim, 162-80 passim; 
188, 190, 194, 203; helps with 
business details of Letters, 212, 213, 
214, 221; acts to halt performance 
of The Strange Gentleman, 229-31; 
sale and publication of letter 
collection, 233-5 

PADDINGTON STATION, 117 

Palazzo Peschiere, Genoa, 17, 19 

Palmer, American agent, 128 

Pantechnicon, 215 

Paris, Georgina's first residence in, 
21; 39-40, 42, 64, 66, 78, 79, 80, 
91, 93, 101, 111, 177, 203, 204, 217 

Parker House, Boston, 107 

Parliament Square, 139 

Peckham, 102 

Perugini, Carlo, marries Katey Col 
lins, 176-7; birth and death of son, 
186; 189 

Perugini, Katey (Mrs. Carlo Peru 
gini), marriage, 176-7; birth and 
death of son, 186; her painting 
accepted by Royal Academy, 189; 
208* feels remorse over treatment 
of mother, 209; 243; destroys 
manuscript of work on father, 248; 
251; gives 'At Homes' for Fellow 
ship, 259; 260; describes Georgina's 
grave, 266 

Perugini, Leonard Ralph Dickens, 
186 



Peters, Charley, 256 
Philadelphia, Pa., 109, 124, 203, 264 
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 264 
Photography, infra-red, 113, 221 
Pickwick Papers, The, 9, 103, 132, 249 
Pierpont Morgan Library, 204 
Pip (QE), 126 
Planche, 36, 237 

'Plorn', 'Plornish', 'Plornish-ghenter', 
'Plornish-maroon', see Dickens, Ed 
ward Bulwer Lytton 
Plymouth, Devonshire, 117 
Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, KY., 

108, 200 
Poets' Comer, Westminster Abbey, 

138, 139, 143, 182, 241, 245, 252 
Polly, a maid, 265 
Poole, John, 104, 190-1, 262 
Portland, Fifth Duke of, see Ben- 
tinck-Scott, William John Caven 
dish 

Portland, Maine, 109 
Preston, Lancashire, 122, 153 
Prinsep, Val, 125 
Punch, 55 

Pym, Major C. E., 263-4 
Pym, Horace, 263 
Pym, Mrs. Horace, 253 

QUEENSTOWN HABBOTJR, 105 



isr, SIR HENRY, 5 
Ramsgate, Kent, 176 
Raphael, 19 
Raven, a family pet, 12 
Reade, Charles, 153, 207 
Red Rebellion, The, 243 
Reece, Mrs. Gladys E. W., 290 n.68 
Reid, Whitelaw, 260 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 124 
Reynolds, Dr. Russell, 136, 148 
Richmond, Surrey, 15, 124 
Ritchie, Anne Thackeray, 200, 201 
Ritchie, Richmond, 200 
Roberts, David, 67 
Robertson, William, 4 
Robinson, George W., 205 
Robinson, Mrs. Mary, 239-40 
Roche, Louis, 17, 22 
Roche, Marie Therese Louise, see 

Dickens, Mrs. Henry F. 
Rochester, Kent, 70, 89, 144 
Rochester, N.Y., 109 
Rochester Castle, 117 
Rochester Cathedral, 117, 138, 145, 

148 
Rochester Grammar School, 89 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



318 

Roekingham Castle, Northampton, 29 
Rogers, Samuel, 26, 27, 265 
Eomantic Idea, A (Planche), 237 
Rome, 18, 19 
Roney, Mrs. Helen, 130, 209, 261; 

see also Hogarth, Helen 
Roney, May, 209 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 254 
Ross, Georgina, 3 
Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, 102 
Rossetti, William Michael, 130 
Royal Academy, 62 
Rue de Courcelles, No. 48, St. 

Honore, Paris, 21 
Rusden, G. W., 117, 134, 166, 220 
Ruskin, John, 103 
Russell Square, 31 
Russia, S.S., 113, 114, 246 
Ryde, Hampshire, 27 



SADLER'S WELLS THEATRE, 230 

St. Albans, Hertfordshire, 237 

St. George's Church, Hanover Square, 
201 

St. James's Hall, 119, 120, 132 

St. James's Hotel, Piccadilly, 124 

St. James's Theatre, 20, 230 

St. Luke's Church, Chelsea, 7-8 

St. Martin's Churchyard, 250 

St. Martin's Hall, 48, 61 

St. Mary the Virgin, Higham, 67 

St. Nicholas Churchyard, Rochester, 
138 

St. Paul's Cathedral, 250 

St. Paul's Church, Wilton Place, 177 

Saturday fteview, 225 

Sawyer, Rev. W. C., 89 

Scheffer, Ary, 194 

Scott, a valet, 112 

Scott, Sir Walter, 4, 5, 249 

Scotsman, The, Edinburgh, 97 

Scribner's, 204 

Select Scottish Airs, 5 

Separation proclamation, 55 

Sepoy Rebellion, 252 

Sessler, Charles, 264 

Sevenoaks, Kent, 186 

Shakespeare, 184 

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 143 

Shorne, Kent, 138 

Sikes, Bill (OT), 120 

Simpson, Mr., 160 

Sketches of London, in Evening 
Chronicle, 6 

Skimpole, Harold (BH), 34 

Skinner, a tailor, 150 

Skinner, Jabez, The Skinnery, Flint 
shire, 90 



'Skittles', see Dickens, Alfred Tenny 
son D'Orsay 

Smith, Adam, 4 

Smith, Arthur, and the 'Violated 
Letter', 56-7; death and funeral, 84 

Smith, George F., 49, 54 

Society for the Protection of Children, 
Calcutta, 256 

Song without Words (Katev Collins), 
173 

Sophy (DC], 35 

Sotheran, Henry, 204, 234 

Southampton, Hampshire, 46 

Spencer, Cecile, see Macready, Cecile 
Spencer 

Spencer, Lizzie, 192 

Spencer, Walter, 262-3 

Spenlow, Dora (DC), 24, 45 

Sphinx, The (Roberts), 67 

Springfield, Mass., 109 

Stanfield, Clarkson, 37, 67, 154 

Stanlev, Arthur, Dean of Westmin 
ster,^ 138-9, 143-4, 148, 240 

Staplehurst Railway Accident, 93-4, 
95, 96, 99, 101 

Staples, Leslie, 258 

Steerforth (DC), 266 

Stephen, Leslie, 146 

Stone, Frank, 31 

Stothard, Thomas, 124 

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 223 

Strange Gentleman, The, 229-31 

Strathmore Gardens, No. 11, Ken 
sington, 188, 189, 227, 241 

Strauss, Johann, 103 

Street Sketches, published in Morning 
Chronicle, 6 

Suffolk Street Gallery, 186 

Sultan, a dog, 69 

Summerson, Esther (BH), Georgina 
as original of, 33-4; 50, 76 

Sunderland, Durham, 36 

Susan (Mr. Nightingale's Diary), 36 

Suzannet, Le Comte de, 225 

Swanson, Mrs. Blanche Ainsworth, 
258 

Swiss chalet, presentation and erec 
tion of, 92; Dickens's pleasure in, 
92-3; Dickens's last writing in, 
135, 136; sale and repurchase of, 
167-9; placed in Cobham Park, 
169; 246 

Syme, Dr., 121 

Syracuse, N.Y., 109 



TAGABT, REV. EDWARD, 24, 55 
Tale of Two Cities, A, 63, 101, 139 



index 



Tavistock House, inspection and 
purchase of, 31; remodelling of, 
31-2; theatricals at, 36-7; 39, 43, 
48, 49, 50, 58, 62, 65, 70, 82, 127, 
154, 200, 209 

Taylor, Bayard, 117 

Tedworth, Square, No. 15, 244 

Temple Bar, 231 

Tennyson, Alfred, 20, 103, 127, 143, 
201 

Ternan, Ellen Lawless, later Mrs. 
George W. Robinson, hired for 
performance of The Frozen Deep,, 
46; 48, 53, 54, 56; her unsatis 
factory relationship with Dickens, 
80; in Staplehurst accident, 94; 
increasing friendship with Dickens 
and Georgina, 94; a deterrent to 
Dickens's American tour, 97, 101; 
arrangements for during tour, 
104-5; in Italy, 106; not to follow 
Dickens, 106; Mrs. Fields's possible 
knowledge of, 114; at Gad's Hill 
during Dickens's last hours, 137; 
provisions for in will, 147 ; receives 
Dickens relic, 153; marriage, 205; 
friendship with Georgina and 
Mamie, 205; death, 205; 218, 220, 
238-9 

Ternan, Frances Eleanor, 94, 104 

Ternan, Maria, 46 

Ternan, Mrs. Frances Eleanor Jar- 
man, 46 

Thackeray, Anne, 36; see also Ritchie, 
Anne Thackeray 

Thackeray, William Makepeace, 27, 
53, 127, 197 

Thomson, George, friend of Robert 
Burns, 4, 5 

Thomson- Stark Letter, 271 n.9 

Thompson, Sir Henry, 102 

Thompson, John, a servant, 64, 94; 
dismissed for theft, 98-9 

Tib (Every Man in His Humour), 29 

Ticknor and Fields, 125 

Tilton v. Beecher, 200 

Timber, a spaniel, 12, 17, 21, 35 

Tiny Tim (CC), 104 

Titian, 19 

Tom Thumb (Fielding), 36 

Topping, a groom, 12 

Torquay, Devonshire, 75 

Tory Lover, The (Sarah Orne Jewett), 
254 

Tottenham Court Road, London, 239 

Traddles, Tommy (DC), 25 

Tremont Temple, Boston, 218 

Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 118, 173 

Trinity Parish, New York, 260 



Tristram, 80 

Trois Freres, The, 219 

Trollope, Anthony, 103 

Trollope, Thomas, 104 

Tuke, Harrison, 75 

Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 89 

Turk, a dog, 69. 90 

Turning the Tables (Poole), 29 

Twelfth Night Parties, 16, 24, 36 

UNCLE JOHN (Buckstone), 37 
Used Up (Mathews), 29, 32, 220 

VAKCOTTVER ISLAND, 123 

Vatican, 19, 20 

Verdi, Giuseppe, 103 

Vesuvius, Mount, 19, 223 

Victoria, Queen, 3, 12; sees perform 
ance of The Frozen Deep, 37-8; 
Dickens's audience with, 133; 
sends condolences to Catherine, 
145; 201; special copy of Letters 
for, 214; Golden Jubilee, 245; 
Diamond Jubilee, 249-50; death, 
253-4 

Victoria and Alberfr'Museum, 194 

Victoria Hotel, Naples, 18 

Village Coquettes, The, 6, 270 n.19 

'Violated Letter, The', 56-7 

WAEBEN'S BLACKING, 30 Strand, 129 

Warwick, George, 237 

Washington, D.C., 109, 110 

Water Colour Dudley Gallery, 173 

Watson, Hon. Mr. Richard, 29 

Watson, Hon. Mrs. Richard, 29, 66, 
70, 116 

Watson, Sir Thomas, 123 

Watson, W. S., 5 

Waverley (Scott), 249 

Welbeck Abbey, 239, 240 

Wellington House Academy, 237 

Wellington Street, No. 16, head 
quarters for Household Words, 27 

West Indies, 162 

Westminster Abbey, Dickens buried 
in, 139; funeral sermon in, 143-5; 
165, 177, 182, 211, 240, 241, 245, 
251, 252 

Westminster Hotel, New York, 113 

Westminster Review, 224 

Weybridge, Surrey, 157 

What Shall We Have for Dinner? 
(Catherine Dickens), 32-3 

White, Rev. James, 27 

White, Mrs. James, 236, 241 

White, Lotty, 66 

White Rose of York, The, 5 



Georgina Hogarth and the Dickens Circle 



320 



Wickfield, Agnes (DC), parallels with 
Georgina, 24-6, 272 w.6; 33, 42, 50, 
76, 265 

Wigan, Alfred, 46 

William II, Emperor of Germany, 253 

Willis, W. K, 255 

Wills, William Henry, Dickens's sub 
editor, 27, 28, 31, 33; learns Gad's 
Hill is for sale, 64; 79; furnishes 
printing press for Gad's Hill Gazette, 
89 ; 99 ; opposes American reading 
tour, 101; Dickens 's memoranda 
to, 104-5; 110; illness, 116; 159; 
sells share in A TR to Charley, 170 ; 
190, 217, 218, 220; Dickens's 
patchwork letter to, 223-4; 247 

Wilson, Dr. James, 30 

Wimbledon, Surrey, 40, 45, 89, 118 

Windsor Castle, 124 

Windsor Lodge, Peckham, 102 

Winter, Ella, 204, 238 

Winter, Henry Louis, 100 

Winter, Maria Beadnell (Mrs. Henry 
Louis Winter), Dickens's renewed 



association with. 45; palmed off on 
Georgina, 45; suggests supplies for 
Walter's trip, 45-6; 57, 58, 94; 
Dickens dreads meeting her on 
reading tour, 100; death, 204; 
Dickens's letters to in Georgina- 
Mamie edition, 214 

Winter, William, 246 

Woman's Movement, 257 

Woolley, George, 156, 158 

Woolner, Thomas, 137 

World, The (Yates), 197 

Wright, Thomas, 239 

Wright, William, 204 

Wynnstay Gardens, Xo. 70, 244 



YATES, EDIMU^D, 120, 197, 237 
'Young Skull', see Dickens, Walter 

Landor 
Youth's Companion, 249 

ZULU WAS 256 



Printed in Great Britain by 
The Camelot Press Lid., London and Southampton 





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