Charles Dickens: the first gaslighter

Being married to the Victorian author Charles Dickens was definitely not the best of times.

Long-hidden letters reveal that Dickens tried to put his sane wife in a mental institution.

Edward Dutton Cook, Catherine's next-door neighbour, wrote this to a journalist: "She had borne 10 children and had lost many of her good looks, was growing old, in fact. He even tried to shut her up in a lunatic asylum, poor thing!" Dr Thomas Harrington Tuke, superintendent of Manor House Asylum, stood up to Dickens, refusing to section his wife.

The friendship cooled after that with Dickens bad-mouthing him. John Bowen, a professor of 19th century literature at the University of York in the United Kingdom, recently uncovered 98 letters that were kept at Harvard University but never transcribed or analysed.

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Biographers and academics had heard Dickens' side of the marital breakdown, but not hers. Bowen says: "In some ways it is a 'me too' story about the power of elite men to coerce women. It is also a gaslighting story, manipulating someone into doubting their own sanity. And it is also a story about professionals standing up against the rich and powerful."

Bottle drive jackpot

"Seeing the article on the bottle drive reminded me of when I was a cub and my brothers were scouts in the mid 70s in Tokoroa," writes Darryn. "We were doing a bottle drive (one of four each year) and my dad knocked on one bloke's door and asked if he had any bottles. The home owner said 'yeah, a few out back in the garage' ... five hours and many trailer loads later the garage was cleared — a good 200 crates and around 2500 bottles I reckon. It was the most successful fundraiser that year."

(Via Bad Newspaper)
(Via Bad Newspaper)

Train announcement misses its connection

"Had a really great trip on the train yesterday," writes Lyn. "Had to laugh at the Homai stop when the nice automated voice said "Next stop Homai. Stop here for Institute for the Blind. To open the door please wait till the green button flashes, then press."