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Drooping Buds

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Authors Charles Dickens
Henry Morley
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Children; Childhood; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Child Rearing; Adoption; Child Labor
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Life Sciences (Physiology / Biology / Immunology / Medicine / Pharmacology / Anatomy / Ecology)
London (England)—Description and Travel
Medical care; Nursing; Hospitals; Hospital Care; Surgery; Medicine; Physicians
Other Details
Printed : 3/4/1852
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume V
Magazine : No. 106
Office Book Notes
Views : 4266

Dickens probably wrote the following portion of 'Drooping Buds': from 'O! Baby's dead' (p. 46) to ''Come up, and see!'' (p.47).
Dickens may also have rewritten or added to the following passages: from the beginning to 'mortality among our children' (p. 45); the paragraph beginning 'London, like a fine old oak' (p. 46); the paragraph beginning 'Many stiff bows' (p. 46); from 'We followed' to 'not easily forget it' (p. 47); from 'So large a piece' (p. 48) to the conclusion.
In addition, Dickens seems to have gone over the entire piece very carefully - editing, interpolating, and emending throughout.
Dickens' most fervent contribution to this piece, the paragraph beginning 'O! Baby's dead,' seems to incorporate memories of the deaths of four young persons close to him: the sudden death of his eight-month-old baby, Dora, on 54 April 1851; the wasting death two years earlier of his crippled nephew, Harry Burnett, a prototype of Paul Dombey; the lingering death in 1848 of his consumptive sister, Fanny, mother of Harry; and still earlier, the death in his arms of his adored sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth.
'Drooping Buds' describes a visit to the newly founded Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street. Shortly after 'Drooping Buds' appeared, the Hospital, with Dickens' permission, reprinted the piece as a promotional pamphlet. The title page of the pamphlet did not name the authors but did indicate that the piece was 'From Dickens' Household Words' (see also 'A Curious Dance Round a Curious Tree'). Six years later (9 February 1858), Dickens delivered one of his most brilliant speeches at a dinner held to aid the Hospital, and two months after that (15 April 1858) he read A Christmas Carol to raise additional money for the institution.

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

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