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Ten Boys from Dickens   By: (-1939)

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By Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Illustrated by George Alfred Williams



In this small volume there are presented as complete stories the boy lives portrayed in the works of Charles Dickens. The boys are followed only to the threshold of manhood, and in all cases the original text of the story has been kept, except where of necessity a phrase or paragraph has been inserted to connect passages; while the net work of characters with which the boys are surrounded in the books from which they are taken, has been eliminated, except where such characters seem necessary to the development of the story in hand.

Charles Dickens was a loyal champion of all boys, and underlying his pen pictures of them was an earnest desire to remedy evils which he had found existing in London and its suburbs. Poor Jo, who was always being "moved on," David Copperfield, whose early life was a picture of Dickens' own childhood, workhouse reared Oliver, and the miserable wretches at Dotheboy Hall were no mere creations of an author's vivid imagination. They were descriptions of living boys, the victims of tyranny and oppression which Dickens felt he must in some way alleviate. And so he wrote his novels with the histories in them which affected the London public far more deeply, of course, than they affect us, and awakened a storm of indignation and protest.

Schools, work houses, and other public institutions were subjected to a rigorous examination, and in consequence several were closed, while all were greatly improved. Thus, in his sketches of boy life, Dickens accomplished his object.

My aim is to bring these sketches, with all their beauty and pathos, to the notice of the young people of to day. If through this volume any boy or girl should be aroused to a keener interest in the great writer, and should learn to love him and his work, my labour will be richly repaid.














[Illustration: TINY TIM AND HIS FATHER.]

Charles Dickens has given us no picture of Tiny Tim, but at the thought of him comes a vision of a delicate figure, less boy than spirit. We seem to see a face oval in shape and fair in colouring. We see eyes deep set and grey, shaded by lashes as dark as the hair parted from the middle of his low forehead. We see a sunny, patient smile which from time to time lights up his whole face, and a mouth whose firm, strong lines reveal clearly the beauty of character, and the happiness of disposition, which were Tiny Tim's.

He was a rare little chap indeed, and a prime favourite as well. Ask the Crachits old and young, whose smile they most desired, whose applause they most coveted, whose errands they almost fought with one another to run, whose sadness or pain could most affect the family happiness, and with one voice they would answer, "Tim's!"

It was Christmas Day, and in all the suburbs of London there was to be no merrier celebration than at the Crachits. To be sure, Bob Crachit had but fifteen "Bob" himself a week on which to clothe and feed all the little Crachits, but what they lacked in luxuries they made up in affection and contentment, and would not have changed places, one of them, with any king or queen.

While Bob took Tiny Tim to church, preparations for the feast were going on at home. Mrs. Crachit was dressed in a twice turned gown, but brave in ribbons which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence; and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons, while Master Peter Crachit plunged a fork into a saucepan full of potatoes, getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private property, conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth, but rejoiced to find himself so finely dressed, and yearning to show his linen in the fashionable Parks... Continue reading book >>

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