In 1824, a 12-year-old boy was taken from school and sent to work in a blacking warehouse to help support his impoverished family.
Most people who know anything about Charles Dickens know that fact. It’s taught to students almost as soon as they’re taught his name. What we sometimes forget that during his lifetime, almost no one knew it. Dickens could never think of that time without feelings of grief and shame—feelings so strong that he is said to have told nobody but his good friend John Forster.