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CORRECTIONS MADE IN THE LATER EDITIONS
OF THE FIRST VOLUME,
A NOTICE written under date of the 23rd December, 1871, appeared with the Tenth Edition. “Such has been the rapidity of the demand for successive impressions of this book, that I have found it impossible, until now, to correct at pages 31, 87, and 97 three errors of statement made in the former editions; and some few other mistakes, not in themselves important, at pages 96, 101, and 102. I take the opportunity of adding, that the mention at p. 83 is not an allusion to the well-known 'Penny' and 'Saturday'magazines, but to weekly periodicals of some years' earlier date resembling them in form. One of them, I have since found from a later mention by Dickens himself, was presumably of a less wholesome and instructive character. 'I used,' he says, 'when I was at school, to take in the Terrific Register, making myself unspeakably miserable, and frightening my very wits out of my head, for the small charge of a penny weekly; which, considering that there was an illustration to every number in which there was always a pool of blood, and at least one body, was cheap.' An obliging correspondent writes to me upon my reference to the Fox-under-the-hill, at p. 62: Will you permit me to say, that the house, shut up and almost ruinous, is still to be found at the bottom of a curious and most precipitous court, the entrance of which is just past Salisbury-street. . . . It was once, I think, the approach to the halfpenny boats. The house is now shut out from the waterside by the Embankment.'" I proceed to state in detail what the changes thus referred to were.
The passage about James Lamert, beginning at the thirteenth line of p. 31, now stands : "His chief ally and encourager in these displays was a youth of some ability, much older than himself, named James Lamert, stepson to his mother's sister and therefore a sort of cousin, who was his great patron and friend in his childish days. Mary, the eldest daughter of Charles Barrow, himself a lieutenant in the navy, had for her first husband a commander in the navy called Allen; on whose death by drowning at Rio Janeiro she had joined her sister, the navypay clerk's
Chatham; in which place she subsequently took for her second husband Doctor Lamert, an army-surgeon, whose son James, even after he had been sent to Sandhurst for his education, continued still to visit Chatham from time to time. He had a turn for private theatricals; and as his father's quarters were in the ordnance-hospital there, a great rambling place otherwise at that time almost uninhabited, he had plenty of room in which to get up his
entertainments." Two other corrections were consequent on this change. At the 21st line of page 38, for “the elder cousin” read “the cousin by marriage;" and at the 31st line of p. 49, “cousin by his mother's side" should be "cousin by his aunt's marriage."
At the 15th line the 41st page, "his bachelor-uncle, fellow-clerk,” &c. should be “the uncle who was at this time fellow-clerk,” &c. At the 11th line of page 54, Charles-court" should be "Clare-court." The allusion to one of his favourite localities at the 23d line of page 62 should stand thus: “a little public-house by the water-side called the Fox-under-the-hill, approached by an underground passage which we once missed in looking for it together.”
The passage at p. 87, having reference to an early friend who had been with him, as I supposed, at his first school, should run thus: “In this however I have since discovered my own mistake: the truth being that it was this gentleman's connection, not with the Wellington-academy, but with a school kept by Mr. Dawson in Hunter-street, Brunswick-square, where the brothers of Dickens were subsequently placed, which led to their early knowledge of each other. I fancy that they were together also, for a short time, at Mr. Molloy's in Newsquare, Lincoln's-inn; but, whether or not this was so, Dickens certainly had not quitted school many months before his father had made sufficient interest with an attorney of Gray's-inn, Mr. Edward Blackmore, to obtain him regular employment in his office.” There is subsequent allusion to the same gentleman (at p. 182) as his "school-companion at Mr. Dawson's in Henrietta-street,” which ought to stand as “having known him when himself a law-clerk in Lincoln's-inn."
At p. 96 I had stated that Mr. John Dickens reported for the Morning Chronicle; and at p. 101 that Mr. Thomas Beard reported for the Morning Herald; whereas Mr. Dickens, though in the gallery for other papers, did not report for the Chronicle, and Mr. Beard did report for that journal; and where (at p. 102) Dickens was spoken of as associated with Mr. Beard in a reporting party, which represented respectively the Chronicle and Herald, the passage ought simply to have described him as “connected with a reporting party, being Lord John Russell's Devonshire contest above-named, and his associate chief being Mr. Beard, entrusted with command for the Chronicle in this particular express.
At p. 97 I had made a mistake about his “first published piece of writing,” in too hastily assuming that he had himself forgotten what the particular piece was. It struck an intelligent and kind correspondent as very unlikely that Dickens should have fallen into error on such a point; and, making personal search for himself (as ought to have done), discovered that what I supposed to be another piece was merely the same under another title. The description of his first printed sketch should therefore be “(Mr. Minns and his Cousin, as he afterwards entitled it, but which appeared in the magazine as A Dinner at Poplar Walk).” There is another mistake at p. 159, of "bandy-legged" instead of “bulkylegged ;” and, at p. 177, of “fresh fields” for “fresh woods."
Those several corrections were made in the Tenth Edition. To the Eleventh these words were prefixed (under date of the 23rd of January, 1872): “Since the above mentioned edition went to press, a published letter has rendered necessary a brief additional note to the remarks made at pp. 155-6.” The remark occurs
my notice of the silly story of Mr. Cruikshank having originated Oliver Twist, and, with the note referred to, now stands in the form subjoined. " Whether all Sir Benjamin's laurels however should fall to the person by whom the tale is told,* or whether any part belongs to the authority alleged for it, is unfortunately not quite clear. There would hardly have been a doubt, if the fable had been confined to the other side of the Atlantic; but it has been reproduced and widely circulated on this side also ; and the distinguished artist whom it calumniates by attributing the invention to him has been left undefended from its slander. Dickens's letter spares me the necessity of characterizing, by the only word which would have been applicable to it, a tale of such incredible and monstrous absurdity as that one of the masterpieces of its author's genius had been merely an illustration of etchings by Mr. Cruikshank !" Note to the words person by whom the tale is told :" ** This question has been partly solved, since my last edition, by Mr. Cruikshank's announcement in the Times, that, though Dr. Mackenzie had 'confused some circumstances with respect to Mr. Dickens looking over some drawings and sketches,' the substance of his information as to who it was that originated Oliver Twist, and all its characters, had been derived from Mr. Cruikshank himself. The worst part of the foregoing fable, therefore, has not Dr. Mackenzie for its author; and Mr. Cruikshank is to be congratulated on the prudence of his rigid silence respecting it as long as Mr. Dickens lived.”
In the Twelfth Edition I mentioned, in the note at p. 149, a little work of which all notice had been previously omitted ; and the close of that note now runs: “He had before written for them, without his name, Sunday under Three Heads; and he added subsequently a volume of Young Couples.” At p. 157, “parish abuses” is corrected in the same edition to “ parish practices;' and at p. 173, "in his later works” to “in his latest works.”
I have received letters from several obliging correspondents, among them three or four who were scholars at the Wellington-house Academy before or after Dickens's time, and one who attended the school with him; but such remark as they suggest will more properly accompany my third and closing volume. PALACE GATE HOUSE, KENSINGTON,
29th of October, 1872.