By Rosie Moore

People who write have a tendency to include feelings, happenings, and thoughts that occurred during their lifetimes and I’m sure Charles Dickens was a great forebear of that tendency. Born in 1812 in Portsmouth, London, he was an English writer and social critic, creating some of the world’s best fictional characters. He is regarded as the best novelist of the Victorian era.

His father, John, was a naval clerk, who dreamed of striking it rich. His mother aspired to be a teacher and school director. Despite his parents’ best efforts they remained poor and his father had a dangerous habit of living beyond the family’s mean.

Eventually, his father was sent to prison for debt. So Charles left school and went to work at Warren’s Blacking Warehouse where he earned six shillings a week pasting labels on pots of boot blacking. The strenuous and often harsh working conditions made a lasting impression on Dickens and later influenced his fiction and essays, becoming the foundation of his interest in the reform of socio-economic and labour conditions, the rigors of which he  believed were unfairly done by the poor.

His 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol” remains popular and “Oliver Twist” and “Great Expectations” are also frequently adapted. “A Tale of Two cities” is his best-known work of historical fiction.

Despite his lack of education, he  edited a weekly journal for over twenty years, wrote fifteen novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured extensively and campaigned for years for children’s rights, education and other social reforms.

In 1836 he married Catharine Hogwart and they had ten children. He passed away in 1870 after a series of strokes and was laid to rest at the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.

I am so thankful that such a prestigious author regaled us with his famous writings, especially during this holiday season. Remember these quotes?

“Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires and a touch that never hurts.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”  And this one is my favorite:

“The English are, as far as I know, the hardest worked people on whom the sun shines. Be content, if in their wretched intervals of leisure, they read for amusement and do no worse.”

Truer words have never been spoken and certainly can be applied to people of today. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thought for the day: You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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