It is thought that David’s disappointment in his marriage to Dora is based on Charles Dickens own marital disappointment.
In April 1836, Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of George Hogarth, editor of the Evening Chronicle.
They initially set up house in Bloomsbury, and Catherine bore her husband ten children. However as the years passed, Dickens considered his wife to be an inadequate housekeeper and mother. The couple formally separated in 1858.
Doctor Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was responsible for compiling the Dictionary of the English Language (1755), which was published after nine years of extensive and mostly solo work.
To the modern reader, the evolution of this relationship might seem unsavoury, almost as if Dr. Strong had groomed and moulded Annie to become his bride.
However prior to and through the 1800s, it was not uncommon for a younger woman to wed an older gentleman. There were of course obvious financial considerations, and the older gentleman will often have been a friend of the family.