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by George Dolby
George Dolby (?-1900) was the manager of Charles Dickens' highly successful reading tours in England and America between 1866 and 1870. He published this memoir of Dickens in 1885. Dickens was a keen amateur actor and had many friends involved with the theatre. He had begun public readings from his works in 1853 for charity, but in 1858 his first for-profit tour, lasting three months, covered much of England, Scotland and Ireland, and netted over GBP10,000. Without props or costumes, he brought his most popular characters to life, and continued to undertake lengthy and exhausting tours until shortly before his death (which some believed had been hastened by his exertions on stage). Dolby's account covers only the period of his own connection with Dickens, but he describes in detail the constant travel which the tours entailed, the people they encountered, and the enthusiastic response with which Dickens was everywhere received.