This playbill, which announces a “Grand Benefit in Aid of the
Charles Harcourt Memorial Fund," is of special interest. Charles
Dickens Jr. (Charles Culliford Boz Dickens) is listed as a member of the Executive Committee of the Memorial
Fund. The program concludes with the trial scene Bardell v. Pickwick
from Pickwick Papers, arranged from Charles Dickens’s Reading
Edition by John Hollingshead. Hollingshead had a long
association with Charles Dickens Sr., having been on the staff of Household Words,
the periodical magazine published by Dickens. This performance of
Bardell v. Pickwick ran only once, on Monday morning, December 6,
1880, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Dickens Jr. was in the cast as
a member of the jury. Other notable members of the cast were Ellen Farren
as Sam Weller, and Horace Wigan as Mr. Phunkey.
Charles Harcourt (born Charles Parker Hillier) made his first public appearance on stage at the St. James's Theatre, London, on March 30, 1863. He subsequently had numerous roles at the Drury Lane, Royalty, Strand, Charing Cross, and Globe theatres. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, on October 18, 1880 ( while rehearsing the character of Horatio at the Haymarket Theatre), he fell into the scene dock at the back of the stage, which had inadvertently been left open. The resulting scalp wound was found at an inquest to have led to erysipelas and to his death, on October 27, at the Charing Cross Hospital.