Saturday, September 18, 1999
Fellow Belleekers !! (lettre # 3.6)
** NEW ADDRESS !! **
PLEASE NOTE : As of the time you read this, I will be in
the process, if NOT already completely, of moving to :
16142 N.E. 15th. Street
PLEASE update any of your records accordingly to reflect
this change AND DON'T worry, if you want to drop by for
a visit, it's ONLY 900 paces, my pace is like ONE yard,
from my previous residence !!
** Belleek Millennium Convention **
** Washington, D.C.**
** September 24th.thru 26th. 1999 !! **
By the time you all read this, the convention will be
HISTORY !! I will TRY to publish another newslettre
directly following, what promises to be this spectacular
happening in Belleek history !!
** Belleek Collectors' Fair, etc. **
Remember, to mark your calendars for the 4th. Annual
Belleek Collectors' Fair scheduled on Saturday, March
11, 2000 from 8AM till 'closing' (down or up) in
Portland Oregon !! Contact Lori or Ben Harlan
@ (425) 828-4247 for more details !! Last year was
** CHICAGO SUMMER ANTIQUE SHOW **
It's OVER (for this year) !! And what an event !!
We had more Belleekers than last, but it would STILL
be nice to see more friendly faces in the crowd !!
And for those of you out here on the West coast, you
TOTALLY miss those dealers that ONLY show East of the
Mississippi !! All in all, it was a spectacular show
with LOTS of REALLY FINE Belleek !!
** THE BUST OF CHARLES DICKENS **
DICKENS, Charles John Huffam (1812-70).
On a pier in New York Harbor in 1841 a crowd watched a
tall sailing ship from England being towed to the
pierhead. There was no ocean communication cable as yet
and the ship brought the latest news. A question was
yelled from the pier to the ship: "Is Little Nell dead?"
Little Nell was the heroine in a serial called 'Old
Curiosity Shop' . The latest installment was on the
ship, and the people were eager to learn how the story
came out. The author who could stir people to such
excitement was Charles Dickens, then a young man of 29.
The next year, on his visit to America, he received a
reception second only to that of Lafayette in 1824.
Six years before, with his 'Pickwick Papers', he had
become the world's most celebrated writer.
Charles Dickens was born on Feb. 7, 1812, in Portsmouth.
His father, John Dickens, was a minor clerk in the navy
offices, a friendly man with a large family (Charles
was the second of eight children) and only a moderate
income. The family drifted from one poor home in London
to another, each shabbier than the last. Presently John
Dickens and his family ended up in the Marshalsea
Prison for debt. Meanwhile young Charles worked in a
ramshackle warehouse, lived in a garret, visited his
family in prison on Sundays, and felt that his life
was shattered before it had begun. For a fictionalized
account of his early life, read 'David Copperfield'.
Then a timely inheritance restored the family to
something like comfortable means, and Charles had a few
quiet years at a private school.
Later he immortalized his father, for whom he always
had a great love, as Mr. Micawber. When his own rising
fortune and fame gave him control of a great newspaper,
he put his father on the staff to preside over the
dispatches and bought him a small country house.
Dickens' mother, unsympathetic and unconscious of his
genius, meant less to him; she begrudged his leaving
work to go to school. He made her immortal as Mrs.
A few years of secondary school was Dickens' only basic
education. His real education came from his reading and
observation and daily experience. Except for the
English novels of the 18th century, he knew little of
great literature. Of history and foreign politics, he
knew practically nothing. His novels all deal with his
own day and environment, except for his two historical
novels - 'A Tale of Two Cities' and 'Barnaby Rudge' -
and these were set in the recent past of the French
Revolution and the Gordon Riots.
The qualities that made up Dickens' genius did not
depend on formal education for development. Dickens had
a reporter's eye for the details of daily life and a
mimic's ear for the subtleties of common speech.
Further, he had the artist's ability to select what he
needed from these raw materials of observation and to
shape them into works of enduring merit.
By teaching himself shorthand, Dickens secured the
position of court reporter in the old Doctors' Commons,
a survival from Elizabethan days that handled marriage,
divorce, wills, and other "ghostly" causes. This
experience gave Dickens a peculiar dislike of law that
never left him; forever after it seemed either comic as
in "Bardell vs. Pickwick" or terrible with tragedy as
in 'Bleak House'. Dickens moved up in 1831 to the
Reporters' Gallery of the "old - the unburned and
unreformed - House of Commons." He also went to other
cities and towns to report election speeches,
transcribing his notes on the palm of his hand "by the
light of a dark lantern in a post-chaise and four."
This experience gave him a detailed and sometimes
cynical view of government. To him the voters were
often represented by the Eatanswill Election in
'Pickwick', parliamentary government by Doodle and
Foodle and Coodle ('Our Mutual Friend'), and civil
service by the Circumlocution Office (' Little Dorrit ').
Thus equipped, Charles Dickens set out to conquer the
world. The stage was his first dream. Night after night
for two or three years he sat entranced with the
melodrama of the London theaters - lurid with love,
battle, treachery, and blue fire, in which a heroic
young man would knock over 16 smugglers like ninepins.
Melodrama put a stamp on Dickens for life. His
characters, if they get excited, drop into the ranting
language of the old Adelphi Theatre. On the other hand,
Dickens' intense concentration on acting helped to give
him that weird, almost hypnotic, power that he showed
in the public reading of his works.
However, fate led him to a different career. He had a
passion for creative writing, and he has told of his
great joy, of his eyes dimmed with tears when a
manuscript sent anonymously to an editor appeared in
print. So he began writing sketches under the name of
"Boz," the family nickname of a younger brother. To
"Boz" came sudden and great success. The publishers,
Chapman and Hall, had a plan for some serial pictures
of cockney sportsmen, a Nimrod club, having all sorts
of misadventures. The humor of the period turned very
much on such horseplay. An artist named Seymour had
drawn one or two pictures. They asked young "Boz" to
write a set of stories to go with the pictures. Knowing
nothing of sport, Dickens suggested changing the
activities of the Nimrod club from sport to travel.
When the publishers agreed, then, says Dickens,
"I thought of Mr. Pickwick," which is all that has
ever been known of the origin and genesis of one of
the greatest characters in humorous literature. The
young author was to receive 14 guineas (about $70) for
each monthly installment.
The very week that the 'Pickwick Papers' began their
monthly appearance, in April 1836, Dickens married
Catherine Hogarth, one of the three pretty daughters
of a newspaper associate. The young couple moved into
rooms in Furnival's Inn. They did not realize that one
day they would separate with bitter words because they
believed they had made a love match. Dickens looked on
Catherine, beautiful and silent, and saw nothing but
the reflection of himself. Catherine looked at Charles
and did not realize that genius and egotism often lie
close together. Dickens indeed was not so much in love
with Catherine as in love with love.
At first the 'Pickwick Papers' failed to sell more than
a few hundred copies a month. Then the serial introduced
the character of Mr. Sam Weller, polishing boots at the
White Hart Inn. The narrative took off on the wings of
imagination, down English lanes, past gabled inns, and
along the highways as varied and as cheery as a flying
coach at a gallop, and the world was at the author's
feet. The phenomenal 'Pickwick Papers' and the books
that followed steadily lifted young "Boz" to the height
of success, from poverty to wealth, from obscurity to
fame, all in a few brief years. The great novels of
this period were 'Oliver Twist' (published in 1838),
'Nicholas Nickleby' (1839), 'Old Curiosity Shop' (1841),
and 'Barnaby Rudge' (1841).
Dickens now looked around for other worlds to conquer.
America had welcomed his books from the start, in part
because the lack of international copyright permitted
American publishers to print them without paying him.
Dickens, in his youth a radical who hated Toryism and
aristocracy, longed to study America and its freedom at
first hand. Leaving their four children at home, he
landed with his wife in Boston in January 1842. The
town blazed with excitement; society was thrilled;
there were dinners, receptions, adulation. Young
Dickens, dressed in a bright velvet waistcoat, reveled
in his new and adoring audience and wrote home of the
freedom of America and the comforts of the workers.
H.W. Longfellow, William Ellery Channing, and others of
the New England elite joined in the welcome. Young Dr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes was one of those who helped to
Dickens found in Boston friendships that he never lost,
even when bitterness and disillusion altered his view
of America. From Boston he went to New York and a "Boz"
ball of 3,000 people; to Philadelphia and a huge public
reception; then to Baltimore and to Washington, where
he met President John Tyler and the Congress; then to
Richmond, which offered him a taste of Southern culture.
Such was the triumphant progress of the young author,
only a few years before a member of the shabby-genteel
class of London.
Always ready to raise his voice in defense of a cause
he believed in, Dickens spoke everywhere of the need
for an international copyright agreement that would
protect the rights of both American and British writers.
He felt that it was unfair and unjust that American
publishers should print and sell his books without
permission from him and without paying him any
Dickens did not speak of himself as the sole victim of
this practice. He pointed out that all British authors
were equally victimized; he also acknowledged that
American authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe, suffered
from the pirating of their works in England.
The newspapers in America attacked these forthright
statements and accused Dickens of bad taste and of
abusing American hospitality. In time Dickens' rosy
view of America faded. The proof of his disillusion and
disgust is revealed in his 'American Notes' (published
in 1842), his letters to friends, and 'Martin
Chuzzlewit' (1844). From Dickens' viewpoint, Americans
all seemed to chew tobacco. They kept slaves, whom he
never stopped to compare with the factory slaves of
England. American government seemed all plunder and
roguery. Then he went West, traveling as far as Cairo,
Ill. His vision of the West contained nothing but foul
and reeking canal boats, swamps, bullfrogs, and tobacco
Dickens lacked the eye to see the pageant of America,
the great epic of the settlements of the West; the eye
to compare the canal boat with the raft and the scow of
earlier settlers. He became peevish, impatient of small
discomforts, resenting the fact that hotelkeepers dared
to talk to him. He spent two weeks in Canada, consoled
there by the presence of friends at the English
garrison in Montreal. Then he returned home to
discredit America with his pen.
The years that followed Dickens' return from America -
the middle period of his life - were filled with more
activity, fame, and success. In 1851 he took a fine
residence at Tavistock Square and lived in great style.
His friends were the leading authors, artists, and
actors of the day. Later on, his purchase of a country
house at Gad's Hill fulfilled an ambition of his
childhood. His books, appearing in monthly serial
parts, enjoyed a popularity that slackened only to
rise again. It is generally thought that 'David
Copperfield', written as a serial in 1848 and 1849,
when he was at the height of his powers, is the
greatest of his novels. Contrasted with the 'Pickwick
Papers', it shows the transition of Dickens' genius
from the exuberance of youth to the somber acceptance
of middle age. One of his books, 'Dombey and Son', is
a sort of epic of great sorrow. Dickens' books
indeed appealed to his generation of readers as much
for their tears as for their laughter.
Book writing did not entirely satisfy Dickens' ego. The
onetime reporter wanted to be a newspaper editor.
Dickens felt the need to reform all England. The way
to do it, he felt, was to control and edit a great
daily newspaper, where he should preside like Jupiter
handing out lightning. Enthusiastic friends subscribed
£100,000 and founded the Daily News. In January 1846
Dickens threw himself eagerly into the editorial chair
of the fledgling publication and threw himself out
again in 19 days. He found that in the newspaper
business the lightning hits in two directions. So in
1850 he founded instead a weekly journal, Household
Words, and carried on with it and a later magazine,
All the Year Round (1859), until his death. Several of
his own stories, 'Christmas Stories', 'A Tale of Two
Cities', 'Great Expectations', and others ran in his
Another activity, and this a special delight to him,
was amateur theatricals that carried on Dickens' love
of the stage. He himself had incomparable dramatic
power. With it he had a great talent for management and
an energy and enthusiasm that carried all before it.
On May 16, 1851, at a performance that was given at the
duke of Devonshire's London house for a charity, the
young Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort and the
duke of Wellington were in the audience. The queen came
to a later performance in 1857 and graciously
"commanded Mr. Dickens' presence" - an invitation of
great honor - after the show. Mr. Dickens being in
"farce" dress asked to be excused from appearing, thus
defying all royal precedents.
To theatricals he soon added public lectures and
readings from his works. This activity began after he
had read one of his famous Christmas stories to a group
of friends who received it enthusiastically. He made a
number of successful tours in England, Scotland, and
Ireland - from 1858 to 1859, 1861 to 1863, 1866 to 1867,
and 1869 to 1870.
Dickens separated from his wife in 1858. Georgina
Hogarth, his wife's younger sister, had lived with the
couple since 1842. She remained with Dickens until his
death. His will provided for both women. Dickens sought
relief from a public curious about his personal life in
the excitement of work. He made a second American tour
in 1867 to 1868. It was an overwhelming success but
extremely fatiguing. At home again, he resumed
lecturing. His last appearance was in March 1870.
In retirement he struggled with his last task, 'The
Mystery of Edwin Drood', a tale of night and storm and
murder. The book was still unfinished on June 9, 1870,
when Dickens died.
In the opinion of many, Dickens is England's greatest
creative writer. The names and natures of his characters
are unforgettable. His humor is unsurpassable, not only
in the laughter that lies on the surface, but in the
warmth of human kindliness below. His books are still
being read all over the world. 'A Christmas Carol',
conceived and written in a few weeks in 1843, is the
ultimate, enduring Christmas myth of modern literature.
A RARE view of The Bust of Charles Dickens
along with a metal sculpture
of a Daffodil ??
Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street
Bellevue, WA 98008-2711
Telephone : 1 (425) 746-6363
Message : 1 (425) 746-6363
FAX : 1 (425) 746-6363
E-mail : email@example.com
Web-site : The Beauty and Romance of Irish Belleek (or) :