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William Owen

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Owen, William I Owen (Junr.) I, 1837–1886, Foreign Office clerk; only son of Sir Richard Owen. Attended Westminster School, thereafter studied in Germany. In 1869 appointed to Foreign Office clerkship; held the position to time of his death. Died by drowning, in Kingston, Surrey.


As a visitor at the home of Owen's parents, Dickens was acquainted with William Owen. In various of his letters to the parents, Dickens included regards to the son; on the occasion of the young man's marriage in 1867, Dickens sent his congratulations to the father (R. S. Owen, Life of Richard Owen, II, 174–75). 
      While a student in Germany, Owen on one occasion wrote a short descriptive sketch of his fellow-diners at the table d'hôte where he took his mid-day meal. He sent the sketch to his father, who showed it to Dickens. "Dickens was so struck by it," wrote the father to F. G. Kitten, "that he requested to have it for a Number of the Household Words .... My son was rather angry with me for parting with the MS., and positively declined to accept the fee to 'Contributors.' Mr. Dickens presented him with a complete series of the Volumes of the Household Words up to the date of the Number including ... ' A German Table d'Hote'" (Kitton, Charles Dickens by Pen and Pencil, suppl., p. 37). The Office Book records payment of £2.2.0 cash.
                                                       Record of Old Westminsters; Foreign Office List, 1870 and later dates

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971 

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