The Farewell Reading at St. James’s Hall, 15 March 1870:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, – It would be worse than idle – for it would be hypocritical and unfeeling – if I were to disguise that I close this episode in my life with feelings of very considerable pain. For some fifteen years, in this hall and in many kindred places, I have had the honour of presenting my own cherished ideas before you for your recognition, and, in closely observing your reception of them, have enjoyed an amount of artistic delight and instruction which, perhaps, is given to few men to know. In this task, and in every other I have ever undertaken, as a faithful servant of the public, always imbued with a sense of duty to them, and always striving to do his best, I have been uniformly cheered by the readiest response, the most generous sympathy, and the most stimulating support. Nevertheless, I have thought it well, at the full flood-tide of your favour, to retire upon those older associations between us, which date from much further back than these, and henceforth to devote myself exclusively to the art that first brought us together. Ladies and gentlemen, in but two short weeks from this time I hope that you may enter, in your own homes, on a new series of readings, at which my assistance will be indispensable; but from these garish lights I vanish now for evermore, with a heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell.”

This is interesting.

“The relatively scant information about Dickens’s early life which was available to the general public during the novelist’s lifetime seems to have been scrupulously edited by Dickens himself. This obituary therefore makes no mention of his father’s shameful financial embarrassments and confinement in the Marshalsea Prison, of Dickens’s fragmented education and, above all, of his acute misery when he was employed as a twelve-year-old drudge at Warren’s Blacking. These facts were not exposed until Dickens’s friend John Forster published them in the first volume of his Life of Charles Dickens in 1872. Detailed revelations about the break-up of the novelist’s marriage to Catherine Hogarth and his subsequent intense relationship with the young actress Ellen Ternan were not made until the second third of the twentieth century…”