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The Cricket on the Hearth

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens
By: (1812-1870)

The tale of John Peerybingle, the good-hearted carrier, and his young wife Mary ('Dot'), interwoven with the story of poor toymaker Caleb Plummer, his beloved blind daughter Bertha, and the harsh old toy merchant Tackleton, who is due to marry May Fielding, a childhood friend of Dot. Comic relief is provided by Tilly Slowboy, the disaster-prone nursemaid of John and Dot's baby, and Boxer, the family dog.

The cricket who chirps on the family hearth assumes fairy form to save the day when disaster looms in the form of a mysterious stranger. Sentimental? Certainly - but this, the third (1845) of Dickens' short Christmas books, is as charming and irresistible as its predecessors A Christmas Carol (1843) and The Chimes (1844).

The novella is subdivided into chapters called 'Chirps', similar to the 'Quarters' of The Chimes or the 'Staves' of A Christmas Carol. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)

First Page:

[Transcriber's note: Italic sections are surrounded by underscores ( ).]

THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH By CHARLES DICKENS

ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE ALFRED WILLIAMS

New York THE PLATT & PECK CO.

Copyright, 1905, by THE BAKER & TAYLOR COMPANY

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 his series of small books, the first of which was the famous "Christmas Carol," the one perfect chrysolite. The success of the book was immediate. Thackeray wrote of it: "Who can listen to objections regarding such a book as this? It seems to me a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it, a personal kindness."

This volume was put forth in a very attractive manner, with illustrations by John Leech, who was the first artist to make these characters live, and his drawings were varied and spirited... Continue reading book >>


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