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THE WRECK I was apprenticed to the Sea when I was twelve years old, and I have encountered a great deal of rough weather, both literal and metaphorical.  It has always been my opinion since I first possessed such a thing as an opinion, that the man who knows only one subject is next tiresome to the man who knows no subject.  Therefore, in the course of my life I have taught myself whatever I could, and although I am not an educated... more...

CHAPTER I TREATS OF THE PLACE WHERE OLIVER TWIST WAS BORNAND OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BIRTH Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat,... more...

CHAPTER I. THE PICKWICKIANS The first ray of light which illumines the gloom, and converts into a dazzling brilliancy that obscurity in which the earlier history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would appear to be involved, is derived from the perusal of the following entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick Club, which the editor of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his readers, as a proof of the careful... more...

CHAPTER I—THE DAWN An ancient English Cathedral Tower?  How can the ancient English Cathedral tower be here!  The well-known massive gray square tower of its old Cathedral?  How can that be here!  There is no spike of rusty iron in the air, between the eye and it, from any point of the real prospect.  What is the spike that intervenes, and who has set it up?  Maybe it is set up by the Sultan’s orders for the... more...

MARLEY’S GHOST. Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly... more...


CHAPTER I—PICKING UP SOOT AND CINDERS “And why Tom Tiddler’s ground?” said the Traveller. “Because he scatters halfpence to Tramps and such-like,” returned the Landlord, “and of course they pick ’em up.  And this being done on his own land (which it is his own land, you observe, and were his family’s before him), why it is but regarding the halfpence as gold and silver, and turning the... more...

CHAPTER I—IN THE OLD CITY OF ROCHESTER Strictly speaking, there were only six Poor Travellers; but, being a Traveller myself, though an idle one, and being withal as poor as I hope to be, I brought the number up to seven.  This word of explanation is due at once, for what says the inscription over the quaint old door? RICHARD WATTS, Esq.by his Will, dated 22 Aug. 1579,founded this Charityfor Six poor Travellers,who not being... more...

FIRST BRANCH—MYSELF I have kept one secret in the course of my life.  I am a bashful man.  Nobody would suppose it, nobody ever does suppose it, nobody ever did suppose it, but I am naturally a bashful man.  This is the secret which I have never breathed until now. I might greatly move the reader by some account of the innumerable places I have not been to, the innumerable people I have not called upon or received, the... more...

CHARLES DICKENS Charles John Huffham Dickens, the master story-teller, was born in Landport, England, February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in one of the offices of the Navy, and he was one of eight children. When he was four years old, his father moved to the town of Chatham, near the old city of Rochester. Round about are chalk hills, green lanes, forests and marshes, and amid such scenes the little Charles's genius first began to show... more...

CHAPTER I—HIS LEAVING IT TILL CALLED FOR The writer of these humble lines being a Waiter, and having come of a family of Waiters, and owning at the present time five brothers who are all Waiters, and likewise an only sister who is a Waitress, would wish to offer a few words respecting his calling; first having the pleasure of hereby in a friendly manner offering the Dedication of the same unto Joseph, much respected Head Waiter at the... more...