Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

Born on February 7, 1812.

I used to be a member of the Dickens Fellowship of New York, which each February would have a birthday luncheon for Dickens, complete with a decorated birthday cake. Long before my time there, the story went, a member went to the bakery to pick up the cake and found that she had forgotten her ticket showing that she had ordered it. Seeing the cake ready and waiting, she asked if she could pay for it without the ticket and was refused by the counter attendant, who asked, “What if Charles Dickens comes in looking for his cake?”

Well, it used to get a chuckle at the luncheons.

Dickens wrote two historical novels, A Tale of Two Cities and the rather obscure Barnaby Rudge. The latter is about the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots, and it’s been many years since I read it. I found it rather hard going compared to Dickens’s other novels, to tell the truth, but maybe it’s time for a re-read. In the meantime, there’s a plot summary here if you’re interested.

I’m not as up with the latest Dickensian developments as I used to be, so I was fascinated to find this morning that a place called Dickens World is opening this April in Kent. Together with rides and shopping, Dickens World promises “a series of ‘burlesque’ evening dinner shows . . . created to provide a nightly menu of ‘naughty delights’ in the ‘Free and Easy’ Victorian Music Hall.”

I should do my surfing at night. Thinking of the prospect of rides and naughty delights is going to make it virtually impossible for me to do my day job properly today.

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