The Flower

Being gay was illegal in Dickens's lifetime, so he could not write about characters who were openly LGBT+ but he does occasionally create little hints, which could indicate an awareness of, and even a comfort with, LGBT+ people.

In 1833, William Bankes MP was caught after hours with a guard in Green Park, London. Both Bankes and the guardsman were described as having been surprised with their breeches and braces unbuttoned at 10pm. 

Because Bankes was so well known, and because he was defended by the Duke of Wellington, his trial gained huge press attention. Bankes would eventually flee the UK, and would die years later in exile. 

Meanwhile, in 1846, Dickens began Dombey & Son, containing a character called Major Bagstock. Major Bagstock is an amusing character, though older and a bit full of himself. He reveals that as a young soldier, he wasn't known as Bagstock;

A man never heard of Bagstock, ma'am in those days, he heard of the Flower...

'Flower' was also the name of the young soldier who had been all over the press for his liaison with William Bankes. 

Major Bagstock is not married, states himself as uninterested in being married, and though he enjoys the idea of women being in love with him, he never pursues a romance. 

Is all of this a coincidence, or was Dickens including a covert hint that his character was gay, without explicitly saying so? 

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