Dickens' Stories About Children Every Child Can Read
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Title: Dickens' Stories About Children Every Child Can Read
Author: Charles Dickens
Editor: Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
Release Date: May 3, 2010 [eBook #32241]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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EVERY CHILD CAN READ
REV. JESSE LYMAN HURLBUT, D.D.
EVERY CHILD'S LIBRARY
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.
The John C. Winston Co.
Charles Dickens was one of the greatest amongthe many story-writers of "the Victorian age;"that is, the middle and latter part of the NineteenthCentury, when Victoria was Queen ofGreat Britain. Perhaps he was the greatest ofthem all for now, a generation after he passedaway, more people read the stories of Dickensthan those by any other author of that period.In those wonderful writings are found many picturesof child-life connected with the plan of thenovels or stories. These child-stories have beentaken out of their connections and are told bythemselves in this volume. By and by you willread for yourselves, "The Christmas Carol,""The Chimes," "David Copperfield," "The OldCuriosity Shop," and the other great books bythat fascinating writer, who saw people whomnobody else ever saw, and made them real. Whenyou read those books you will meet again thesecharming children, and will remember them asthe friends of your childhood.
|Trotty Veck and Meg. From "The Chimes"||9|
|Tiny Tim. From "Christmas Carol"||24|
|The Runaway Couple. From "The Holly-Tree Inn"||34|
|Little Dorrit. From "Little Dorrit"||49|
|The Toy-Maker and His Blind Daughter. From "Cricket on the Hearth"||68|
|Little Nell. From "The Old Curiosity Shop"||86|
|Little David Copperfield. From "David Copperfield"||123|
|Jenny Wren. From "Our Mutual Friend"||178|
|Pip's Adventure. From "Great Expectations"||185|
|Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness||219|
|Mr. Wardle's Servant Joe||233|
|The Brave and Honest Boy, Oliver Twist||248|
|"They Broke in Like a Grace, My Dear."||13|
|"Mr. Clennam Followed Her Home."||65|
|Little Nell and Her Grandfather||86|
|David Copperfield and Little Em'ly||131|
|Seated on the Crystal Carpet Were Two Girls||179|
|"Keep Still, You Little Imp, or I'll Cut Your Throat."||185|
|"Mr. Tupman, We are Observed!"||240|
TROTTY VECK AND HIS DAUGHTER MEG.
One cold day, near the end of the year, Toby hadbeen waiting a long time for a job, trotting up anddown in his usual place before the church, andtrying hard to keep himself warm, when the bellschimed twelve o'clock, which made Toby think ofdinner.
"There's nothing," he remarked, carefullyfeeling his nose to make sure it was still there,"more regular in coming round than dinner-time,and nothing less regular in coming round than dinner.That's the great difference between 'em."He went on talking to himself, trotting up anddown, and never noticing who was coming nearto him.
"Why, father, father," said a pleasant voice,and Toby turned to find his daughter's sweet,bright eyes close to his.
"Why, pet," said he, kissing her and squeezingher blooming face between his hands, "what'sto-do? I didn't expect you to-day, Meg."
"Neither did I expect to come, father," saidMeg, nodding and smiling. "But here I am!And not alone, not alone!"
"Why you don't mean to say," observed Trotty,looking curiously at the covered basket shecarried, "that you——"
"Smell it, father dear," said Meg. "Onlysmell it!"
Trotty was going to lift up the cover at once,in a great hurry, when she gaily interposed her hand.
"No, no, no," said Meg, with the glee of a child."Lengthen it out a little. Let me just lift up thecorner; just a lit-tle, ti-ny cor-ner, you know,"said Meg, suiting the action to the word with theutmost gentleness, and speaking very softly, asif she were afraid of being overheard by somethinginside the basket. "There, now; what'sthat?"
Toby took the shortest possible sniff at the edgeof the basket, and cried out in rapture:
"Why, it's hot," he said.
But to Meg's great delight he could not guesswhat it was that smelt so good.
"Polonies? Trotters? Liver? Pigs' feet?Sausages?" he tried one after the other. At lasthe exclaimed in triumph. "Why, what am Ia-thinking of? It's tripe."
And it was.
"And so," said Meg, "I'll lay the cloth at once,father; for I have brought the tripe in a basin, andtied the basin up in a pocket-handkerchief; andif I like to be proud for once, and spread that fora cloth, and call it a cloth, there's nobody to preventme, is there father?"
"Not that I know of, my dear," said Toby; "butthey're always a-bringing up some new law orother."
"And according to what I was reading you inthe paper the other day, father, what the judgesaid, you know, we poor people are supposed toknow them all. Ha, ha! What a mistake! Mygoodness me, how clever they think us!"
"Yes, my dear," cried Trotty; "and they'd bevery fond of any one of us that did know 'em all.He'd grow fat upon the work he'd get, that man,and be popular with the gentlefolks in his neighborhood.Very much so!"
"He'd eat his dinner with an appetite, whoeverhe was, if it smelt like this," said Meg cheerfully."Make haste, for there's a hot potato besides, andhalf a pint of fresh-drawn beer in a bottle. Wherewill you dine, father—on the post or on the steps?Dear, dear, how grand we are! Two places tochoose from!"
"The steps to-day, my pet," said Trotty."Steps in dry weather, post in wet. There'sgreater conveniency in the steps at all times,because of the sitting down; but they're rheumaticin the damp."
"Then, here," said Meg, clapping her handsafter a moment's bustle; "here it is all ready!And beautiful it looks! Come, father. Come!"
And just as Toby was about to sit down tohis dinner on the door-steps of a big house closeby, the chimes rang out again, and Toby tookoff his hat and said, "Amen."
"Amen to the bells, father?"
"They broke in like a grace, my dear," saidTrotty; "they'd say a good one if they could, I'msure. Many's the kind thing they say to me.How often have I heard them bells say, 'TobyVeck, keep a good heart, Toby!' A milliontimes? More!"
"Well, I never!" cried Meg.
"When things is very bad, then it's 'TobyVeck, Toby Veck, job coming soon, Toby!'"
"And it comes—at last, father," said Meg,with a touch of sadness in her pleasant voice.
"Always," answered Toby. "Never fails."
While this discourse was holding, Trotty madeno pause in his attack upon the savory meatbefore him, but cut and ate, and cut and drank,and cut and chewed, and dodged about from tripeto hot potato, and from hot potato back again totripe, with an unfailing relish. But happeningnow to look all round the street—in case anybodyshould be beckoning from any door or window fora porter—his eyes, in coming back again, sawMeg sitting opposite him, with her arms folded,and only busy in watching his dinner with a smileof happiness.
"Why, Lord forgive me!" said Trotty, droppinghis knife and fork. "My dove! Meg! why didn'tyou tell me what a beast I was?"
"Sitting here," said Trotty, in a sorrowfulmanner, "cramming, and stuffing, and gorgingmyself, and you before me there, never so muchas breaking your precious fast, nor wanting to,when——"
"But I have broken it, father," interposed hisdaughter, laughing, "all to bits. I have had mydinner."
"Nonsense," said Trotty. "Two dinners in oneday! It ain't possible! You might as well tellme that two New Year's days will come together,or that I have had a gold head all my life, andnever changed it."
"I have had my dinner, father, for all that,"said Meg, coming nearer to him. "And if youwill go on with yours, I'll tell you how and where,and how your dinner came to be brought and—andsomething else besides."
Toby still appeared not to believe her; but shelooked into his face with her clear eyes, and,laying her hand upon his shoulder, motioned himto go on while the meat was hot. So Trottytook up his knife and fork again and went to work,but much more slowly than before, and shakinghis head, as if he were not at all pleased withhimself.
"I had my dinner, father," said Meg, after alittle hesitation, "with—with Richard. Hisdinner-time was early; and as he brought hisdinner with him when he came to see me, we—wehad it together, father."
Trotty took a little beer and smacked his lips.Then he said "Oh!" because she waited.
"And Richard says, father—" Meg resumed,then stopped.
"What does Richard say, Meg?" asked Toby.
"Richard says, father—" Another stoppage.
"Richard's a long time saying it," said Toby.
"He says, then, father," Meg continued, liftingup her eyes at last, and speaking in a tremble,but quite plainly, "another year is nearly gone,and where is the use of waiting on from year toyear, when it is so unlikely we shall ever be betteroff than we are now? He says we are poor now,father, and we shall be poor then; but we areyoung now, and years will make us old before weknow it. He says that if we wait, people as pooras we are, until we see our way quite clearly, theway will be a narrow one indeed—the commonway—the grave, father."
A bolder man than Trotty Veck must needshave drawn upon his boldness largely to deny it.Trotty held his peace.
"And how hard, father, to grow old