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Out of Town

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Travel-writing i
Subjects Great Britain—Description and Travel
Travel; Tourism; Hotels; Resorts; Seaside Resorts—Fiction; Passports;
Other Details
Printed : 29/9/1855
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume XII
Magazine : No. 288
Office Book Notes
Views : 751

Dickens and his family were resident in Folkestone at 3 Albion Villas, 'a very pleasant little house overlooking the sea' (Pilgrim, Vol. VII, p. 675), from mid-July until mid-October, when they moved to Paris for seven months.

He here describes the town using the name of its main hotel, the Pavilion (built 1843; the hotel now occupying the site is the third one to be built there). Dickens sent the landlord, James G. Breach, a proof of the article and reported to Wills that Breach was 'in the Seventh Heaven of Delight and wants 500 copies of the No.'; these should be sent to him gratis as 'he was so extraordinarily kind to me when I was ill, that I am glad of the opportunity of being able to make the little present' (Pilgrim, Vol. VII, p. 705).

Literary allusions

  • 'the last man': playful allusion to Thomas Campbell's poem 'The Last Man' or to Mary Shelley's novel with this title (1826).


Edwin S. and Mary S. Harkness Collection, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library (Astor, Lennox and Tilden Foundations). This shows a few variants from the printed text (the reference to the burial-ground on p. 327 was evidently added in proof, for example) and a cancelled incomplete continuation of the second paragraph of the essay, as follows:

I remember that I passed into another city which was not deserted but over-peopled, and where there was a suffocating heat and closeness. Smoke hung upon it, and the ways were paved with ashes. I went at night into a place where two hundred men, each representing many and corresponding with many, were met together in very grave, very earnest discussion. Said one of them to the rest 'My friends, from this paper you learn, on his own avowal, how a Prison-magistrate sent two of our order—two of us—to jail, for what? For

[In the Dent edition, this leads into 'Out of Town': 'Sitting, on a bright September morning...]

Author: Michael Slater; © J. M. Dent/Orion Publishing Group, Dickens' Journalism Volume III: 'Gone Astray' and Other Papers from Household Words, 1851-1859, 1998.

DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

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