[London: St. Luke's Hospital, 1860.] Original pale pink wrappers.
First Edition, second and usual issue (with the final paragraph reset in bold type, and with a slight variation in the front cover border design).~Dickens describes the wretched conditions inside St. Luke's Hospital ("established in 1751, for the treatment and care of lunatics"), and in particular the "very sad and touching spectacle" of the annual Christmas Ball there (dancing around the Christmas tree). He actually wrote the original piece in 1852, at which time it appeared in "Household Words." It is here published in book form for the first time, eight years later, when Dickens gave permission for the hospital to use it as a fundraising appeal. The hospital added two items to update the piece: an article about the 1860 Ball from the "Times," plus a brief article "Contrast between 1852 and 1860," in which the hospital asserts that many of the deficiencies cited by Dickens have since been addressed. The initial appeal may not have been too successful, which would explain why the final (appealing) paragraph was set in bold type in this the second and usual issue.~This is a very good-plus copy of this fragile piece: as usual the pink is rather faded, and the wrappers have a general dustiness (but there is very little actual edge-wear). As with most if not all copies, there is a vertical crease -- since for the fundraising appeal they were folded into narrow envelopes. Gimbel B216 (second copy); Carr B465. Item #11645