DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Novelist.
Autograph Letter Signed to Messrs Seagrove & Company, 1 page 8vo with blank leaf inlaid to remains of an album leaf, Gad's Hill Place, 28 July 1866. Asking them to supply whatever his son, Sydney Smith Dickens, with whatever he needed for his naval outfit.
'Please to supply my son Mr Sydney Smith Dickens R.N. with such articles as he find necessary for his present outfit, and to charge the same to me.'
Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens (1847-1872) was the fifth son of Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine. He was born in London but received much of his education at Mr Gibson's boarding school in Boulogne along with his brothers Alfred and Henry. He joined the royal navy as a cadet in 1860 at the age of 14, rather to his father's satisfaction. His naval career was not distinguished: he was punished for misconduct and fell heavily into debt, so much so that his father refused to help him and in a letter to Alfred at one time stated that he wished him dead. Sydney fell ill at sea in 1872 and died on the voyage home.
Dickens had ordered a suit for his son from Messrs Skinner & Co of 50 Jermyn Street on 20 March this year (Letters, XI, p. 174 and note), and in August asked his publishers Chapman and Hall to send him books (to HMS 'Bristol') via Messrs Seagrove & Co. Only one letter from CD to Seagrove's is published (Letters, II, p. 297, where a footnote identifies Edward Augustus Seagrove as a royal naval and military outfitter of The Hard, Portsea). The present letter is apparently unpublished.