A Charles Dickens Journal
1839

DtDy
JANUARY
 
05 Sa Daughter Mary is christened.  
07 Mo Party to celebrate Mary's christening and Charley's second birthday.  
12 Sa From the 12th to the 17th CD is in Manchester with Ainsworth and Forster.  
21 Tu Writes to Richard Bentley to ask for a six month postponement of publication of "Barnaby Rudge"  
25 Fr Bentley replies to CD's request to postpone "Barnaby Rudge".  
26 Sa CD sends an angry letter back to Bentley.  
Writes to Forster complaining that others profit more from his work than he does.  
28 Mo Spends the day with Ainsworth and Forster making new arrangements with Bentley. He decides to resign the editorship of the Miscellany  
30 We Ainsworth, Forster, Barham, Beard and John Dickens dine at CD's home.  
31 Th Wrote a letter to W. L. Sammons, informing him that he was no longer editor of Bentley's Miscellany but the paper that he had sent was referred to his successor. CD also refused to advise Sammons on his prospects as an author.  
FEBRUARY
04 Mo Dines at Ainsworth's with Forster, Barham, Blanchard, Jerdan, Cruikshank and Leigh Hunt.  
05 Tu Dines with Rev'd William Harness  
07 Th Writes letter to J.P. Harley, who was playing Trinculo in Shakespeare's Tempest at Covent Garden Theatre, to join his birthday party that evening after his performance.  
For his 27th birthday, Ainsworth, Blanchard, Forster, Browne, Mitton, his parents, Henry and Fanny Burnett all come to dinner.  
09 Sa After some legal business he goes to the Zoological Gardens; reads Southey's The Curse of Kehama.  
CD learns of the loans that have been extended to his father by Chapman and Hall over the past two years.  
27 We Signs an agreement with Bentley releasing him as editor of the Miscellany and giving him until the end of the year to deliver "Barnaby Rudge".  
MARCH
04 Mo Visits Exeter from the 4th to the 11th, looking for a home for his parents. Rents Mile-End Cottage, Alphington.  
06 We CD writes to Thomas Mitton, describing the Alphington cottage and how he was furnishing it for his parents.  
13 We Elected to the committee of the Royal Literary Fund.  
26 Tu CD writes "a long and stiff" letter to his friend Ainsworth, who has succeeded him as editor of the Miscellany, about Forster's mistreatment at Bentley's hands.  
30 Sa Presides at a dinner of the Shakespeare Club given in Macready's honor.  
APRIL
16 Tu CD and Forster see Macready in King Lear  
29 Mo CD's godfather, Christopher Huffam, dies.  
30 Tu Rents Elm Cottage, Petersham, (until Aug 31) and spends the summer there.  
MAY
"Here there were the same generous pastimes as in the preceding summer at Twickenham ... he was ... ardent at quoits and bowls, pursued battledore and bagatelle with relentless activity, and even leaped the bar against such vigorous athletes as Beard and Maclise, keeping it up long beyond the stage where his competitors had retired panting. He also attended the Petersham races almost daily, and worked himself far harder than the horses."  
JUNE
01 Sa Takes his family to Broadstairs.  
Daniel Maclise has been comissioned by Chapman and Hall to paint a portrait of CD, from which an engraving is to be made for use as a frontispiece for Nicholas Nickleby, so Maclise spends a good deal of the month at Petersham.  
05 We Writes to Cattermole, describing what he has been reading.  
06 Sa CD witnessed the hanging execution of Courvoisier, a Swiss valet who had murdered his master, at Newgate Prison, which helped to make him a vigorous opponent of capital punishment.  
08 Sa CD, Forster and Maclise attend a rehearsal of Macready's Henry V.  
?? Mo Writes to William Longman to decline a dinner invitation for Friday.  
?? Fr "...a family dinner at home--uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins--an annual gathering..."  
19 We Dines at Sydney Smith's.  
JULY
13 Th (CD gives the date in error on the letter. Must have been Th the 11th or Sa 13th.)
Writes letter to Laman Blanchard confirming that he will be a 'steward' at a dinner for Macready on the 20th.
 
14 Su Sends 'rough notes of proposals for the New Work' (Master Humphrey's Clock) to Forster.  
16 Tu Attends a performance of Henry V - the last performance at Covent Garden under Macready's management.  
20 Sa Speaks at a dinner in honour of Macready.  
21 Sa Writes to Macready to tell him that he will dedicate Nicholas Nickleby to him.  
25 Th By this date an agreement has been reached with Chapman and Hall for publication of his work, but it was to take effect March 31, 1840, and was not signed until almost that date.  
26 Fr Writes to Macready accepting the request to be godfather to Macready's son. CD requests him to be godfather to their next child.  
AUGUST
07 We Visits the Macready's at their Elstree home and is godfather at the christening of their son Henry.  
SEPTEMBER
02 Mo CD and Catherine travel by steamer to Ramsgate. Finding no lodgings they spend the night at the Royal Hotel.  
03 Tu CD and Catherine travel to Broadstairs, where they begin four weeks holiday in a rented house with "a beautiful sea view" (40 Albion Street, now part of the Albion Hotel). They are joined that day by their children.  
04 We From his diary: "...thinking of the end of Nickleby". Diary entries consist of the word "Work" on the 5th, 6th and 7th and from the 9th to the 20th.  
15 Su Writes the preface to Nicholas Nickleby.  
20 Fr From Diary: "finished Nickleby...at 2 o'clock." Sends final portion off to the publisher.  
21 Sa Spends the day in London with Forster correcting proofs of the last number of Nicholas Nickleby: Dines with Forster.  
22 Su Forster goes to Broadstairs with CD. Remains there until the 26th.  
Dickens becomes seriously involved in exercise and takes extensive daily walks.  
26 Th The poet Samuel Rogers calls on CD.  
27 Fr Dines with Rogers  
29 Su Travels with Rogers to Dover.  
30 Mo The final number of Nicholas Nickleby appears.  
OCTOBER
01 Tu The Dickens Family returns to London.  
03 Th Writes to Cruikshank that he is working on Barnaby Rudge  
05 Sa CD gives a dinner to celebrate the completion of Nicholas Nickleby.  
08 Tu Dines with Forster, Jerdan, Maclise and Macready.  
23 We Nicholas Nickleby is first published in one volume.  
25 Fr CD sent a presentation copy of Nicholas Nickleby to Macready. The novel is dedicated to him.  
29 Tu His second daughter, Kate Macready Dickens is born.  
NOVEMBER
14 Th CD writes to Macready "come and see my new house when we have it to right", hopefully by Christmas Day.  
19 Tu Writes to James Hall that he is "...in the agonies of house-letting, house-taking"  
He has only the first two chapters of Barnaby Rudge written and the deadline for the first installment is drawing near.  
He takes a twelve year lease on 1 Devonshire Terrace, near Regent's Park.  
DECEMBER
06 Fr CD is admitted as a student of the Middle Temple.  
07 Sa Presides at a dinner of the Shakespeare Club  
Moves his family into 1 Devonshire Terrace, York Gate, Regent's Park.  
14 Sa CD becomes annoyed when Bentley advertises that in the Morning Herald that Barnaby Rudge is preparing for publication.  
?? CD moves his family into 1 Devonshire Terrace  
27 Fr Writes to publisher Edward Chapman asking him to be the second signer of a bond in his name at the Middle Temple. It has already been signed by Serjeant Talfourd.  


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