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I. The Period It was the best of times,it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom,it was the age of foolishness,it was the epoch of belief,it was the epoch of incredulity,it was the season of Light,it was the season of Darkness,it was the spring of hope,it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the... 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...

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. 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...

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...

Chapter 1 ON THE LOOK OUT In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in. The figures in this boat were those of a strong man with ragged grizzled hair and a sun-browned face, and a dark girl of... more...

GOING INTO SOCIETY At one period of its reverses, the House fell into the occupation of a Showman.  He was found registered as its occupier, on the parish books of the time when he rented the House, and there was therefore no need of any clue to his name.  But, he himself was less easy to be found; for, he had led a wandering life, and settled people had lost sight of him, and people who plumed themselves on being respectable were shy... more...

TROTTY VECK AND HIS DAUGHTER MEG. "TROTTY" seems a strange name for an old man, but it was given to Toby Veck because of his always going at a trot to do his errands; for he was a ticket porter or messenger and his office was to take letters and messages for people who were in too great a hurry to send them by post, which in those days was neither so cheap nor so quick as it is now. He did not earn very much, and had to be out in all weathers... 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 dead about a door-nail. I... more...