History records that on June 9, 1870, Charles Dickens died of a cerebral haemorrhage. History, however, is wrong. June 9, 1870, is the day on which Emile de la Rue murdered Charles Dickens. During a stay in Genoa in 1844-45, Charles Dickens, an accomplished mesmerist, used his mesmeric abilities to treat a young Englishwoman, Augusta de la Rue, attempting to cure a years' long malady of hers that included facial spasms and phantom-filled dreams. During her trances she revealed to Dickens a horrible truth she had long suppressed about her husband. Dickens, at that time, was helpless to act on the devastating admission, but twenty-five years later Emile de la Rue shows up in London, and Dickens finally seeks justice. De La Rue cannot let this happen and stops at nothing to keep Dickens from revealing his secret.
Then it happens.
Georgina watches him struggle with something
sweeping over him. He speaks incoherently and indistinctly.
She rises from her chair and goes to help him, saying he
should lie down, but he is struggling, wavering, and he is
too heavy for her.
“Yes,” he says. “On the ground.” He collapses.
Doctors are summoned, one local, Doctor Steele;
one a friend, Dr. Frank Beard, who arrives from London;
and one a noted physician also from London, Dr. Russell
Reynolds, who arrives the next day. The prognosis of each
is the same. He cannot live. Dickens lingers some twentyfour
hours lying on a sofa brought into the dining room
where he collapsed, his loud, heavy breathing no doubt
chilling those who gather at his side hoping to see his eyes
open, hoping to detect some movement, anything to indicate
his return to them.
At six o’clock in the evening on the day after his
collapse, Dickens’ breathing quiets. As the gathered
mourners watch, a tear wells up in Dickens’ right eye and
rolls gently down his cheek. He heaves a deep sigh and
breathes no more.
And so history proclaims that on Thursday, June 9,
1870, England’s greatest novelist died of a cerebral
hemorrhage. History is wrong. June 9, 1870 is the day on
which Emile de la Rue murdered Charles Dickens.