Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Messrs. Chapman & Hall write, in correction of sundry erroneous reports, to say that three numbers of “ The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” the novel on which Mr. Dickens was at work when he died, were left complete, in addition to those already published; this being one-half of the story as it was intended to be written. These numbers will be published, and the fragment will remain a fragment. Messrs. Chapman & Hall add, “No other writer could be permitted by us to complete the work which Mr. Dickens has left."

Says “ The New-York Tribune” very truly, “ Ten or twenty millions of people keep a corner in their hearts for Dickens, because he has seen so perfectly the poetry, the beauty, the hundred lessons, which the life of the masses contains; and in all that he has done he has striven for their good. “I have always had, and always shall have,' said he on his first visit to this country, 'an earnest and true desire to contribute, as far as in me lies, to the common stock of healthful cheerfulness and enjoyment. I believe that Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen. I believe that she, and every beautiful object in external nature, claims some sympathy in the poorest man who breaks his scanty loaf of daily bread.' So, in the faith that literature was not for the rich alone, and the noblest work was the work done for the poor, he bent himself bravely to his splendid task.”

6. The

Mr. Dickens died on the 9th of June, 1870. London News” thus gives particulars :

6. He was at Rochester the 7th instant: on Wednesday, he was employed at his literary labors until dinner. When at dinner, he was seized with a violent pain in the head, and fell down, becoming totally unconscious. He was placed on a sofa in the dining-room, as it was not considered advisable to remove him up stairs. Mr. S. Steele of Strood, his local medical adviser, was sent for, and found him laboring under a severe form of apoplexy. Stertopous breathing had taken place; and the extremities very soon became cold. Mr. Steele remained with him until near midnight, when Mr. F. Carr Beard, surgeon, of Welbeck Street, London, an old personal friend of Mr. Dickens, arrived, with Mrs. Collins and Miss Dickens, daughters of the great novelist. Mr. Beard immediately consulted with Mr. Steele; but they had little hope. Mr. Dickens was still unconscious, and remained in that state up to the time of his death. Mr. Beard remained with him all night. Dr. J. Russell Reynolds, the eminent physician of Grosvenor Street, was telegraphed for, and arrived on Thursday afternoon. He agreed with Messrs. Beard and Steele in considering the case a hopeless one from the first. His death took place at half-past six o'clock. Mr. Dickens was well on Wednesday, and wrote a great deal during the day. He had lately had no premonitory symptoms

of an affection of the brain. A post-mortem examination is to be made. A contemporary states, that, when Mr. Dickens sat down to dinner on Wednesday, his sisterin-law, Miss Hogarth, observed an unusual appearance in his face, and became alarmed, and said she feared he was ill, proposing in the same breath to telegraph for medical assistance. Mr. Dickens replied, “No, no, no : I have got the toothache, and shall be better presently.' He then asked that the window might be shut; and almost immediately he lapsed into unconsciousness, from which state he never recovered till the moment of his death. Mr. Charles Dickens, the younger, was telegraphed for on Wednesday evening; but the message did not reach London till Thursday morning. He started instantly for his father's residence, and was present at the death-bed, with two of his sisters, Miss Hogarth, and the medical attendants. The day of his death was, strange to say, the anniversary of the Staplehurst accident, in which, it will be remembered, he was in great peril, and from which some of those nearest to him consider he received a physical shock from which he never really recovered. The friends in the habit of meeting Mr. Dickens privately, recall now the energy with which he depicted that dreadful scene, and how, as the climax of his story came, and its dread interest grew, he would rise from the table, and literally act the parts of the sev, eral sufferers to whom he had lent a helping hand. Now that he is gone, it is remembered with absolute pain,

[graphic]

that one of the first surgeons of the day, who was pres ent when this Staplehurst story was told, soon after its occurrence, remarked, that the worst of these railway accidents was the difficulty of determining the period at which the system could be said to have survived the shock;

and that instances were on record of two or three years having gone by before the life-sufferer knew that. he was seriously hurt.' But the medical testimony as to the immediate cause of Mr. Dickens's death is definite and precise. Apoplexy, an effusion of blood on the brain, - the cause an overstrained system, and the result one which was only staved off twelve months ago, when he was induced to obey his doctor's injunctions, and suspend his readings in public, — has carried him away at a comparatively early age; and all that remains to his sorrowing friends is to recall with affection the many traits which made this great man so lovable.”

The cause of the death of Dickens is attributed by a London correspondent of “ The Scotsman " to the mental labor of writing “ Edwin Drood.” The writer says,

" Since his sudden seizure in the midst of his read ings last year, Mr. Dickens has never been the same

After a little while, he began to go about as before; flitted to and fro in his ardent, restless way; took long walks, after his favorite fashion, starting on the

man.

whim of the moment, at any hour, for anywhere ; and resumed his writing and other labors, but not with the same lightness and vivacity as before. Though a sturdy walker, there had always been something of a limp in his gait; and this now became more marked. He had more need of his stick, and stooped perceptibly. He grew sooner wearied, both in walking and in work, and complained, at times, of a strange supineness of mind, and labored slowness with the pen. Those who had not seen him for some time were most struck on ineeting him, within the last few months, with the sudden whiteness of his hair. From gray, he became all at once white, -just as Mr. Bright did not long since. I saw him a few weeks ago, just before he left town; and his sunburned face seemed set in snow, his beard and hair were bleached so perfectly. Beyond question, I think it was Edwin Drood' that killed him. He went back to work too soon. He had had the idea of the story for some time in his mind, I believe; but, after the first impulse of the start was off, he found the development of the incidents and characters slow and painful. Within the last week or so, he was planning much of this. He seemed to make so little progress, and at the cost of such an effort. Perhaps it was the hot weather, he thought, or he was out of sorts, and would get into better trim by and by. But the disorder was deeper and more fatal. Even before his illness last year, however, he had had warnings of exhaustion. He

« AnteriorContinuar »