“St James Hall. Mr. Charles Dickens Farwell Readings 4pp program. Messrs. Chappell & Co beg to announce that, knowing it to be the determination of Mr. Dickens finally to retire from Publish Readings soon after his return from America, they entered into arrangements with him while he was still in the United States, for a final FAREWELL SERIES OF READINGS in this country.”
“The First Course in London will commence in St James Hall on Tuesday Evening Next, October 6th, 1868 when he will read his “Doctor Marigold,” and “The Trail from Pickwick” and will be continued as follows viz: Tuesday, October 20th, 1868 “David Copperfield,” and “Mrs. Gamp” Tuesday, November 3rd, 1868 “Nicholas Nickleby” and “Boots at the Holly Tree Inn” Tuesday, November 17th, 1868 “The Story of Little Dombey and Mr. Bob Sawyer’s Party” Tuesday, December 1st, 1868, “Christmas Carol” and Mr. Chops the Dwarf’.”
“It is Scarcely necessary for Messrs. Chappell & Co to add that any announcement made in connexion with these Farwell Readings will be strictly adhered to, and considered final: and that on no consideration whatever will Mr. Dickens be induced to appoint an extra night in any place in which he shall have been once announced to read for the last time.”
“Sofa Stalls. (of which there will be a limited number only) 7s. Stalls, 5s. Balcony 3s. Admission ONE SHILLING.”
It is believed that these readings were a significant strain to Dickens’ health and contributed to his death in 1870.
In the last 10 years, two copies of his Second Course readings have come up for sale. This First Course reading program goes into much more detail and also states the books he is going to read from, as well as mentioning his return from his last trip to the United States.
No copies have appeared at auction in recent years. Extremely scarce and important.