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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...

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 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 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...


CHAPTER 1. I AM BORN Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was... more...

CHAPTER I—ANCIENT ENGLAND AND THE ROMANS If you look at a Map of the World, you will see, in the left-hand upper corner of the Eastern Hemisphere, two Islands lying in the sea.  They are England and Scotland, and Ireland.  England and Scotland form the greater part of these Islands.  Ireland is the next in size.  The little neighbouring islands, which are so small upon the Map as to be mere dots, are chiefly little bits... 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—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...

FOREWORD The story contained herein was written by Charles Dickens in 1867. It is the first of four stories entitled "Holiday Romance" and was published originally in a children's magazine in America. It purports to be written by a child aged eight. It was republished in England in "All the Year Round" in 1868. For this and four other Christmas pieces Dickens received £1,000. "Holiday Romance" was published in book form by Messrs Chapman... more...