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A Clause for the New Reform Bill

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Authors Wilkie Collins
Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
Monarchy
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 9/10/1858
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume XVIII
Magazine : No. 446
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns5.25
Payment-
Views : 795

Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'A Clause for the New Reform Bill': the paragraph beginning 'When, for instance' (p. 385); the paragraph beginning 'Even the Railways' (p. 386); from 'And let the New Reform Bill' (p. 387) to the conclusion.
Dickens may also have rewritten or added to the following passage: from the beginning to 'right to expect' (p. 385).
In addition, Dickens seems to have had a hand in many other passages.
'A Clause for the New Reform Bill' - a plea to reduce the mummery surrounding royal progresses - was conceived and outlined by Dickens. In a passage omitted from the published version of a letter to Wills (24 September 1858, from Newcastle) - the letter is now in the Huntington Library - Dickens, then on a reading tour, spoke of enclosing some notes regarding an idea about the Queen. Earlier, writing from Leeds (15 September 1858) while traveling on the same tour, he remarked to his daughter Mamie: 'These streets look like a great circus with the season just finished. All sorts of garish triumphal arches were put up for the Queen, and they have got smoky, and have been looked out of countenance by the sun, and are blistered and patchy, and half up and half down, and are hideous to behold. Spiritless men (evidently drunk for some time in the royal honour) are slowly removing them, and on the whole it is more like the clearing away of The Frozen Deep [a play by Wilkie Collins] at Tavistock House [Dickens' residence, where the play had been performed] than anything within your knowledge.' These remarks are versions of Dickens' chief additions to 'A Clause' (see ascriptions in first paragraph above), and are central to the substance and the theme of the essay. It seems likely that Collins, following Dickens' notes, wrote up Dickens' idea about the Queen, and that Dickens later went over the piece and added to it.

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

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