This is a continuation of yesterday's entry, because I just discovered something apropos; but I don't want to add it to the bottom of that page as an addendum, because anyone who read the page yesterday might never see it.
Yesterday, I mentioned that, while re-reading the evidence chapters of my book, I was into the section dealing with the short stories written by Mathew's wife Abby, edited and published by him posthumously. This morning, I set myself the task of reading the next section, in which I scrutinize Charles Dickens' handwritten draft of "A Christmas Carol," looking for clues that Mathew and Abby had originally co-authored it.
I was adding in evidence from Mathew's early work, done for two successive New York City newspapers from 1830-1835. But while I was in there, I noticed a passage, a speech given by one of the ghosts. I had already figured out that Abby had written most of these. But as I read this one closely, I realized that it came to a worldly conclusion about death. Specifically, the idea that a man's good deeds live on. I knew that, treating this same subject, Abby probably did write this, but she would have ended with a statement of faith in life after death. Besides, this passage, as a whole, was confusing. It didn't quite make logical sense. I suspected an artless revision, and so I went back to the handwritten draft.
Dickens scribbled through what he had written previously, with a heavy curlicue, throughout this manuscript. It is extremely difficult to decipher what was there before, and this is clearly intentional. At first, I didn't think I'd be able to find what I was looking for--a clear statement of faith, which Dickens had edited out.
Why is this significant? Because there is a very clear demarcation between the man (or woman) of faith, and the worldly skeptic. There is no cross-over. If you have faith, you will express it. If you don't, and it is there in a work you are modifying, you will delete it.
As I began writing my revised commentary on this passage, I was saying that "one can't prove..." Then I saw it. There is a clear statement of faith in life after death, which Dickens edited out, leaving only the portion about "good deeds surviving."*
Again, the importance is that only a worldly skeptic would do this to someone else's work. A man of faith would never end the thought with an affirmation of that faith, then cross it out and leave only the worldly interpretation for his final draft. Conceivably, an author might do that today, out of embarrassment--but certainly not in Victorian times.
The key word, "soul," is clearly visible. You do know, that a thief or a murderer, however clever he thinks he is, will usually slip up somewhere. Dickens was never as clever as Mathew was--and he wasn't as clever as I am, today, either. Only, Mathew was helpless to fight him at the time. I am not helpless, now, except inasmuch as nobody will take me seriously. But we shall see about that.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*This is a different piece of evidence from the one I have mentioned discovering, some few Updates back.
Music opening this page, "Did You Steal My Money,"
by The Who, from the album, Face Dances