Stuart Mitchner: Bicentenary Update: Dickens Bows Out With a Masterful Chapter

Отправлено 5 июл. 2013 г., 11:43 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 5 июл. 2013 г., 11:43 ]

HEN the el­dest of Charles Dick­ens’s ten chil­dren, 33-year-old Charley, looked in on him less than a week be­fore the au­thor’s death on June 9, 1870, Dick­ens was “writ­ing very earnest­ly” on the last chap­ter of The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood. As Charley took his leave (“I shall be off now”), Dick­ens paid no at­ten­tion and con­tin­ued writ­ing “with the same in­ten­si­ty as be­fore.” Half a life­time of such mo­ments had con­di­tioned the son to ex­pect at least a few words from his fa­ther, but on this oc­ca­sion, as Charley re­calls, he “gave no sign of being aware of my pres­ence. Again, I spoke — loud­er, per­haps this time — and he raised his head and looked at me long and fixed­ly. But I soon found that, al­though his eyes were bent upon me and he seemed to be look­ing at me earnest­ly, he did not see me, and that he was, in fact, un­con­scious for the mo­ment of my very ex­is­tence. He was in dream­land with Edwin Drood and I left him — for the last time.”

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