Charles Dickens branded father 'jackass' for squandering money
A letter written by literary giant Charles Dickens in which he describes his own father as a 'jackass' for his recklessness with money is set to go under the hammer.
The great novelist fell out with John Dickens after his father racked up huge debts in a bid to fund an extravagant lifestyle beyond his means.
Mr Dickens senior regularly used his son's fame to borrow money from his publishers and solicitors, often leaving the author picking up the bill.
By 1840, Dickens got so exasperated that he sent his father and mother Elizabeth to live in Devon to keep him out of trouble.
At the time the writer even took out adverts in newspapers to say he would no longer be paying off his father's debts.
But a letter that has now come to light after 172 years shows that John Dickens carried on borrowing money - and Dickens carried on bailing him out.
On August 17, 1842, the Oliver Twist creator wrote to his solicitor Thomas Mitton in reply to letter asking him to pay off some of his father's debt.
Lambasting his father, Dickens wrote: "I think my father is a great Jackass - which is not a novel sentiment with me, by any means.
"I am rather horrified by your statement... I fear... that I have very little money and I did not expect you to come down upon me so soon.'
Signing off, he promises to have dinner with him soon when he will "bring a blank cheque".
"This letter his further evidence of the appalling trouble Dickens had with his father who was very feckless financially," the Daily Mail quoted Michael Slater, a Dickens' expert, as saying.
Despite their strained relationship, Dickens and his father remained on good terms and the novelist even used him as inspiration for the character Mr Micawber in his 1850 work David Copperfield.
The letter has emerged after being put up for sale at auctioneers Bonhams by a private collector.
It is expected to sell for 3,000 pounds at the auction in London on November 13.