Friday, 3 January 2014

Charles Dickens – a Christmas Carol 1843

This is one of those books that you think you know about from various films. Where you know the basic story. And when you read it you are struck by the power of Dickens’ language that makes such a difference.

 “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” (Dickens, 1843, p.293).

“Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle, in which effort, not being a man of strong imagination, he failed.” (Dickens, 1843, p.294).

“think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” (Dickens, 1843, p.295).

“Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means if usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunities missed.” (Dickens, 1843, p.302).

““You fear the world too much,” she answered gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?”” (Dickens, 1843, p.313).

“His wealth is of no use to him. He don’t do any good with it.” (Dickens, 1843, p.325).

“Oh cold, cold, rigid dreadful Death, set up thine altar here, and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion! But of the loved, revered, and honoured head, thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes, or make one feature odious. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released; it is not that the heart and pulse are still; but that the hand was open, generous, and true; the heart brave, warm, and tender; and the pulse a man’s. Strike, Shadow strike! And see his good deeds springing from the wound, to sow the world with life immortal!” (Dickens, 1843, p.335).

“Yes! And the bedpost was his own, the bed was his own, the room was his own and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!” (Dickens, 1843, p.340).

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