DICKENS, Charles, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Novelist.
Autograph Letter Signed to the actress [Frances Maria] Kelly in Moscow Road, Bayswater, 2 pages 8vo (conjoint leaves) with envelope, Devonshire Terrace, 4 December 1849.
Playfully advising her to close on an arrangement with 'the Glasgow people' [presumably theatrical], observing that '"a wilful man must have his way" - and of course a wilful woman must', informing her that he is in the busy part of the month and that if she calls when he is unable to see her his 'other half' will, and commenting in general on his manner to her ('... If I sometimes affect a sternness foreign to my nature, it is because I feel it a duty when I see you wandering up and down all sorts of No Thoroughfares, to say plainly, "My Dear Miss Kelly, that is no thoroughfare, and I should be false to you and myself if I affected to believe that it's an open street.')
 Frances Maria Kelly (1790-1882) retired as an actress at Drury Lane in 1835 and under the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire built her own theatre, the Royalty in Dean Street, Soho, where Dickens started his amateur dramatics. On first meeting her he described her as 'one whose truthful observation of nature and uncommon art in portraying it, have often afforded me the highest delight.' Forster was less taken with her and remarked that working with her was 'made useless ... by her mere whims and fancies' and that 'she was not more delightful on the stage than impracticable when off.' In 1845 Dickens organised a benefit performance for her.
 See The Letters of Charles Dickens [Pilgrim Edition] where the editors make reference to the proverb 'A wilfu' man will hae his way.'
[No: 24702]


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