With David Copperfield out of the way, Dickens threw himself into the London rehearsals of Ben Johnson's Every Man in His Humour plus a concluding farce, Used Up, slated for three performances at Bulwer's great-house in the third week of November, 1850. Clarkson Stanfield supplied the scenery, Daniel Maclise the costumes. A kind of "heraldic monstrosity," the enchanted castle at Knebworth [north of London] became, appropriately, the headquarters of a project that combined the medieval guild mentality with modern social welfare. Heavily bearded and [already at this time] partly deaf, Bulwer-Lytton was, in Dickens's opinion, "the greatest conversationalist of the age." Inspired at the success of this production, Bulwer agreed to supply Dickens and his amateur company with a farce to be performed both in London and throughout the provinces in aid of "The Guild of Literature and Art." Their intention was to fund a system of annuities to support writers and artists of distinction who had fallen upon hard times. Dickens, anticipating this flood of money and acclaim if Bulwer's five-act historical comedy Not So Bad as We Seem; or, Many Sides to a Character were initially presented to the Queen and her Consort, wrote the Duke of Devonshire asking if his players might use the house for a very select audience in May, 1851. Although Victoria recorded in her diary that she very much enjoyed the whole affair, the Duke of Wellington left after the second act. Again, Bulwer has set the action in the eighteenth century, and combines political intrigue with a love plot. Dickens played the dandy and bon vivant, Lord Wilmot, while John Forster took the role of the unbending self-made man, Mr. Hardman. Dickens subsequently took the production to Bath and Bristol, substituting professional actresses for his amateurs but transporting Paxton's ingenious collapsible stage. The two writers, despite their differences in temperament and even politics as life went on, always remained on intimate terms. March, 1852, Dickens named his tenth and last child after Bulwer, who stood godfather to the boy, his seventh son, whom Dickens nicknamed "Plorn." Previously, in August, 1848, Dickens had sent a letter of condolence from Broadstairs regarding the death of Bulwer's daughter.
and motioned it onto an invisible stand,
and the soothsayer touched the tablet,
a screen descended out of roofs core,
and hovered in the mid space between,
the roof and pristine jeweled floor,
foreboding of what was in store,
this is the state of the ancient world,
at the point of oblivion and demise,
when the decision was taken to terminate,
and the fire rained down from the skies,
and everything went back a million years,
everything started stone age again,
everything that was known at the time,
was denied to the future new men,
the super cities in west and east,
vaporised in seconds to mere dust,
and turned into dead radiation deserts,
whole worlds turned to weeds and rust,
now where the Gobi and Nevada,
hold radiation levels higher than norm,
one questions what was there before,
no one guesses their previous form.
come follow me into the time room,
where everything that was and will be,
is monitored or replayed planned,
and from viewing it all you will see,
just how we all came to be here,
just how suddenly it once all ended,
what actually happened in the past,
against what was originally intended.

and he rose and walked off to the left,
into a room that was subtly steel lined,
they all silently followed him there,
intrigued by the pictures in their minds,
and the room started to descend slowly,
they realised it was a lift in disguise,
it descended for quite a very long time,
and they started to hear distant cries,
and the lift stopped slowly after an age,

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