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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...

INTRODUCTION The combined qualities of the realist and the idealist which Dickens possessed to a remarkable degree, together with his naturally jovial attitude toward life in general, seem to have given him a remarkably happy feeling toward Christmas, though the privations and hardships of his boyhood could have allowed him but little real experience with this day of days. Dickens gave his first formal expression to his Christmas thoughts in... 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—BARBOX BROTHERS I. “Guard!  What place is this?” “Mugby Junction, sir.” “A windy place!” “Yes, it mostly is, sir.” “And looks comfortless indeed!” “Yes, it generally does, sir.” “Is it a rainy night still?” “Pours, sir.” “Open the door.  I’ll get out.” “You’ll have, sir,” said the... 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...


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...

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...

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...