Posted on December 24, 2019 at 4:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Nervous about hosting a holiday dinner over the next few days?
We don’t mean to fan the flames of anyone’s anxiety, but should a mishap occur, you’ll be in good company.
Charles Dickens, after all, never even received his final Christmas turkey.
The manager of his reading tours had shipped him a thirty-pound bird as a present in December 1869, but unfortunately, the train carrying it caught on fire.
Upon learning the news, Dickens was first annoyed but ultimately mollified to learn that the burned remains of the bird were sold to townspeople, says Anne McLean, an archive volunteer at the National Railway Museum in York, England.
That same museum recently discovered a letter from Dickens in response to the rail line that lost his Christmas centerpiece, reports the Guardian.
Dickens accepted the Great Western Railway Company’s apology, writing back that “I have no doubt my Christmas fare was destroyed by an unavoidable accident, and that I bore the loss with unbroken good humour towards the Great Western Railway Company.”
The author of A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and many other classic novels died in June 1870, so hopefully he still managed to enjoy Christmas 1869.
You can see Dickens's letter and read more about it in the Guardian.