"Proof" is a strange bird--a rigorous researcher in any field is always reluctant to claim it prematurely. It often turns out there is one more caveat, one more wrinkle. I learned that from videotaping legal depositions for several years--the first lawyer convinces you his side is right; but then when the opposing lawyer gets his turn, he convinces you that he's right!
Sociopathic people like Edgar Allan Poe, and Charles Dickens, cover their tracks very, very carefully. You probably know that Dickens destroyed all his correspondence between himself and Ellen Ternan, the young actress that historians are pretty-much sure he had an affair with. His "Violated Letter" says it all. It convicts him as a sociopath, in my estimation, if we accept that he did have that affair.
And literary sociopaths are plagiarists.
Likewise with Francis A. Durivage--except that Durivage got caught red-handed, stealing from his editor. So with what I shared in the previous entry, I can prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Durivage stole a large body of work from Mathew Franklin Whittier. I can prove, by circumstantial evidence and style comparison, that most of the work in "The Three Brides, Love in a Cottage, and Other Tales," was written by Mathew. I can also show that Mathew would return to his earlier work, and re-use elements he had been particularly fond of. Having a very large body of his work, now digitized, I can triangulate style clues. I can tell you how many pieces he used the deliberate misspelling "arter," or "natur," in, and I can give you the exact dates of publication.
Therefore, logically, I can now demonstrate that there are three pieces in that book, published by Durivage, which have very clear style elements and phrases matching "A Christmas Carol." I haven't made a comprehensive point-for-point analysis, but just look at the closing paragraph of "The New Year's Bells," compared with the closing paragraph of "A Christmas Carol." (Actually, it is now the next-to-last closing paragraph of the "Carol," but I feel strongly that it was originally the last one.)
Israel was as good as his word, and never relapsed into his old habits. The widow and the orphan children were provided for by his bounty; he gave liberally to every object of charity. Hospitals, schools, and colleges were the recipients of his bounty; and when he died, in the fulness of years, the blessings of old and young followed him to his last resting-place in the old churchyard where he had dreamed the mysterious dream, and been awakened to a better life by the pealing of the NEW YEAR'S BELLS.
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
Incidentally, I know this last is Mathew's prose, becaues it reflects his thought-processes, and I still have the same higher mind. I know precisely the context out of which he was writing, and if I wasn't addressing a skeptical audience here, I could break it down and show you, with supporting excerpts drawn from Mathew's other works. Mathew is an unknown genius accustomed to being marginalized; but he knows that only those with "ears to hear" will understand his deeper messages. The others, he might as well entertain with humor. This, of course, is precisely what he does with his known series, "Ethan Spike," and in so many of his other works--being a humorist, by trade. Many times, as I've said, he embedded inside jokes into his works, knowing that no-one else would get them (that is, until I came along). That is what he is saying in this closing paragraph of "A Christmas Carol." But it is all wrong for Charles Dickens. Dickens was famous by this time. Far from being marginalized, he was celebrated world-wide. Some things, however, are obvious proof to me, but not for those who can't see them.
The point is, Mathew has stepped into his character. This is not Ebenezer Scrooge talking to us about his conversion. This is Mathew Franklin Whittier talking to us about his career, after "...but he let them laugh..."
Meanwhile, a quick glance at Dickens' handwritten manuscript (you can find it online) shows that the first sentence of this passage originally began "He," rather than "Scrooge." But we don't know that this was the first draft, after he copied it over from Mathew and Abby's original manuscript. For all we know, the first line was identical.
This by itself isn't necessarily compelling--but I caught several of these while I was inserting the relevant stories into the Appendix of my sequel. I think by the time you have four or five, it's pretty clear that this isn't coincidence. What, then, is the explanation?
The normal explanation is that Mathew Franklin Whittier imitated the "Carol." We know he admired Dickens, because he is signing as "Dickens, Jr." in the 1846/47 Boston newspaper, "The Odd Fellow." But Mathew never imitated anyone this closely, stealing actual phrases, unless he announced it. That might not have been true in his very early years. I found one poem he wrote to his future wife, Abby, which seems clearly based on a poem by Coleridge, and that isn't announced as such. But I think Abby's influence on him was such that after they were married, he was always extremely careful to give full attribution when he piggy-backed on anyone else's work. They married in 1836, and the "Carol" was published in 1843. So logically, I think we can dismiss the idea that Mathew imitated the "Carol" in these stories.
The next explanation--and the only other one that I can see--is that these were preliminary efforts, and that when he and Abby co-wrote the "Carol," they were drawing upon these earlier sketches. So much so (and I have explained the circumstances, previously), that they lifted entire dialogue and character elements out of them. "Israel Wurm," the lawyer, becomes "Ebenezer Scrooge," the businessman. "New Year's bells" becomes a "Christmas carol." "Quillpen" the clerk, becomes "Bob Cratchit" (i.e., "crat-chit"), the clerk.
Another plausible explanation is that it was these stories that Mathew gave to Charles Dickens, and from which Dickens fashioned "A Christmas Carol." You know, like the way mediums are said by skeptics to be using ESP, instead of actually contacting the dead. The "damage control" explanation.
But this is impossible, because of Abby's sermons. Dickens, a skeptic in matters of Spiritualism and religion, did not write the ghost's speeches. Nor did Mathew. Nor are they seen in anything Mathew wrote. These were Abby's contribution; hence, Dickens did not write the "Carol" from scratch, borrowing elements from stories that Mathew had given him during his Boston tour.
Let's look at an excerpt from what I take to be Abby's own Christmas story. Mathew must have arranged to have this published in the Jan. 1, 1853 edition of the "Carpet-Bag," because by this time, the "Weekly Museum," which he had earlier published the series in, had changed hands. He must have been waiting to get it in the Christmas edition, and he wasn't able to.* Here, a boy has run away from home, to go to sea, because of an argument with his intractable father (all loosely based on Mathew's own childhood, and not the first time Abby has used this plot in her stories). One Christmas eve, an old soothsayer knocks on the door using the old brass lion knocker(!), and is permitted to sit by the fire. Being a palm-reader, she tells the fortune of each family member with astounding accuracy, until she gets to the father:
At length Mr. Harlowe presented his hand for examination. Gazing upon it a moment intently, with a voice choked by emotion, she said--"here is violence and strife--the line of life is crossed by threads of bitterness and wo and the whole of its deep course is marked by traces of grief. Tears, tears are here, and the lines of penitence and anguish of soul are strangely interwoven with the strong lines of resolution. I see that a deep sorrow is yours--the result of fierce passion, repented of and subdued--is it not so?
She fixed her eyes suddenly upon Mr. Harlowe's face. It was pallid as death, and the tears stood in his eye. "Yes," answered he, and trembled as he spoke, "God knows my sin and God knows my repentance. Secret tears have been my portion for years, and, oh, what would I not give if the memory of my wrong might be wiped away."
He bowed his head upon his hands and sobbed in the anguish of his spirit, and Mrs. Harlowe wept in sympathy with her husband whose deep grief she had thus discovered, which had long been concealed beneath the calm exterior of philosophical resignation.
"Woman," he cried at last, "what is the future of this picture? Is there no balm in store for my wounded spirit?" He grasped her hand forcibly, as if he would have wrung from it an answer to his question.
"Yes," said she, with deep emotion, "there is a future of peace and happiness in store for you and the sun of your declining years shall be radiant with serene splendor, and, thank God, who has given me power to verify my prophecy--"Father! mother! behold your son!"
He threw off his ragged habiliments as he spoke, removed the gray and matted hair from his brow and the patches from his cheeks, and stood before the company in the noble form--matured in manly strength and beauty--of Frank Harlowe.
Abby's contribution is precisely the occult mixed with religion and spirituality--such as one might find in her father's native Guadeloupe, or her mother's native Scotland. Precisely as one sees, for example, in the speech by Marley's Ghost, in "A Christmas Carol." Genuine metaphysics, genuine occult practices, and intense, sincere religious devotion.**
The only explanation remaining to us is that Mathew handed Dickens a finished manuscript the year after Abby's death, in Boston. Dickens simply went over it and made arbitrary changes, "poofing" it out and dumbing it down for public consumption--to make of it a "Ghost Story of Christmas" (as he subtitled it), so as to save him from the looming spectre of debt.
If you look very closely at the handwritten manuscript--and all the pages are available in Flash format online, so you can zoom in very closely--you will see that many, if not most, of his changes are arbitrary. What was originally crisp writing is stretched out with superfluous words. Or, a perfectly good word is replaced by another meaning the same thing. It appears as though he was simply putting his own stamp on it, the way my ex-brother-in-law is said to have licked the biscuits and put them back, to mark them for himself. Dickens used a very heavy corkscrew pencilling motion to cross out the previous words, where he made changes. Everything is in his own hand, of course. But for some reason, he did not want posterity to see what was there, before. However, you can still make out some of it.
Of course, I scrutinized the manuscript to find a "smoking gun," and I finally found one (it's presented in my first book). There was a sentence which, originally, was a clear statement of belief in life after death, and which includes the word "soul." Dickens scribbled out the word "soul," so that the sentence no-longer affirms that belief.
No-one who had actually written this deeply-spiritual story, could ever have done that. It's proof-positive for anyone who thinks it through, logically. Look at the opening of the story--it's clearly written by someone who believes in life after death, and is affirming same at the outset. It is not written by a skeptic, taking on the role of a believer (which Dickens would have to be doing, had he written it).
Dickens' authorship is illogical on the face of it. He could not possibly have written "A Christmas Carol," any more than Edgar Allan Poe could possibly have written "The Raven" in the manner he claims to have done, in "The Philosophy of Composition."
It's all based on reputation. And I am now in a position to prove, to a reasonable degree of certainty, to any fair-minded, rational person, that Mathew co-wrote the "Carol," and wrote "The Raven."
How come I was able to figure this out, when not a single scholar, from 1843 to the present day, has done so? Because I remembered it, and then I set about trying to prove it in the historical record. That, also, as I showed you last time, I can prove.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
* (I have gone over Mathew's intimate connection with this paper, and his personal friendship with its editor, many times previously.) In December of 1853, Abby's Christmas story was published in the "Pocket Carpet-Bag," a diminutive monthly version, as the very last edition of the Carpet-Bag venture. Only one copy seems to have survived at the American Antiquarian Society, and the back cover is missing, so it's not clear if this was the only story in the entire "Holiday Gift Edition," or whether the pages after this story had been torn out. I would guess that Mathew paid for it to be printed out of his own pocket, as a tribute to Abby.
**In each story where she depicts the occult--and there are several--she includes a normal explanation, probably to guard against possible reprisals.
Music opening this page: "Venus Isle," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, Venus Isle