Preston was an impoverished and bleak place—so much so that charles dickens based his novel Hard Times on the city.
David Copperfield by charles dickens David Copperfield tends not to head the Dickens canon.
The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and charles dickens by Claire Tomalin.
exclamation, 1590s, apparently a substitute for devil; probably altered from Dickon, nickname for Richard and source of the surnames Dickens and Dickenson, but exact derivation and meaning are unknown.
The devil; a devilish person: felt like the dickens/ let the dickens out on Halloween