** SENT JUST A FEW MONTHS BEFORE HIS DEATH **
English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.
Autograph letter signed (ALS) “Charles Dickens”, one page, 4.5×7, Gad’s Hill Place stationery, February 28, 1870, to Sir Edward Bruce Hamley (1824-1893), in full:
5 Hyde Park Place W[estminster]
Monday Twenty Eighth February 1870
My Dear Colonel Hamley
I shall be delighted to dine with you on at the Army and Navy [Club] on Friday the 11th March.
In very good condition, faint dampstains at corners.
Dickens and Hamley were joined by several others on March 11 – Horatio Walpole, John Lothrop Motley, the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, and Russell Sturgis. One observer who sat next to Dickens, recalled that the author “was remarkably agreeable; his conversation was so affluent, so delightfully alive, so unaffected. When Dickens was in congenial company - and he had the happy faculty of making it congenial to himself – he talked like a demon on delightfulness. At this repast Motley, who was very fond of Dickens, poked a good deal of pleasant fun at him, especially about his American Sketches, pretending to be Mark Tapley; much to Dickens’ joy, who gave it to him back with interest. This was the more diverting as we knew how sensitive Motley usually was as regards America and the Americans, and certainly Dickens had tried him ” (Collins, Dickens: Interviews and Recollections, 1981, 116)
Beyond his military exploits in the Crimean War and in Egypt, Hamley, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the British Army, was also a frequent contributor to literary magazines. His military and literary accomplishments earned him a professorship of military history at Sandhurst. He later sat as an MP in Parliament for Birkenhead as a Conservative.