The story – we might almost say legend – of how Dickens came to make the character of Riah in Our Mutual Friend a benign figure and a deliberate revision of Fagin, underworld denizen of Oliver Twist, is well known. In 1860, an Anglo-Jewish couple, J. P. and Eliza Davis, bought Charles Dickens's London home, Tavistock House. Dickens remarked to his personal secretary, William Wills, that he could not recall any “money-making dealings . . . that have been so satisfactory, considerate, and trusting” (Johnson 487). This expression of relief and slight surprise that the sale of his property to a Jewish family was without complication followed on Dickens's suspicion, crudely expressed earlier in the negotiations, that the “Jew Money-Lender” (as he referred to J. P. Davis) would not come through on the deal (Stone 243). But, though the Davises proved surprisingly cooperative in this phase of the transaction as far as Dickens was concerned, Mrs. Davis did ultimately have a complaint to register with the great writer and delivered it politely in a letter three years later. It was not about the house or the terms of purchase but rather about the character of Fagin, created by Dickens in 1837, some twenty-six years earlier. English Jews, she told him, had taken offense at this portrayal of one of their people and believed Dickens had done them a “great wrong” by offering the greedy, thieving, child-corrupting, sausage-eating criminal as representative of their “scattered nation” (Lane 98). Still, she added, while the author lived he might conceivably “justify himself or atone” for this deed. Apparently contrite and unaware of feeling any of the prejudices his portrait of the London fence might convey, Dickens declared in a letter back to Mrs. Davis that he had only “friendly feelings” for the Jews. His contrition did not end there. For the novel he was then beginning to write, Dickens would create a beneficent Jewish character, Riah, friend to the river dredger's daughter, Lizzie Hexam, and her misshapen companion, the dolls’ dressmaker, Jenny Wren. As the late-nineteenth century Anglo-Jewish poet and novelist Amy Levy put it, Dickens “trie[d] to compensate for his having affixed the label ‘Jew’ to one of his bad fairies by creating the good fairy Riah” (Levy 176).