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July 18, 2016


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Since I just finished Pickwick:

“Mr. Winkle was then examined by Mr. Skimpin, who, being a promising young man of two or three-and-forty, was of course anxious to confuse a witness who was notoriously predisposed in favour of the other side, as much as he could.

'Now, Sir,' said Mr. Skimpin, 'have the goodness to let his Lordship know what your name is, will you?' and Mr. Skimpin inclined his head on one side to listen with great sharpness to the answer, and glanced at the jury meanwhile, as if to imply that he rather expected Mr. Winkle's natural taste for perjury would induce him to give some name which did not belong to him.

'Winkle,' replied the witness.

'What's your Christian name, Sir?' angrily inquired the little judge.

'Nathaniel, Sir.'

'Daniel—any other name?'

'Nathaniel, sir—my Lord, I mean.'

'Nathaniel Daniel, or Daniel Nathaniel?'

'No, my Lord, only Nathaniel—not Daniel at all.'

'What did you tell me it was Daniel for, then, sir?' inquired the judge.

'I didn't, my Lord,' replied Mr. Winkle.

'You did, Sir,' replied the judge, with a severe frown. 'How could I have got Daniel on my notes, unless you told me so, Sir?”

"The Pickwick Papers"

The most important thing in life is to stop saying 'I wish' and start saying 'I will.' Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Let me confess exactly, with what feelings I looked forward to Joe's coming.

Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties; no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money. My greatest reassurance was, that he was coming to Barnard's Inn, not to Hammersmith, and consequently would not fall in Bentley Drummle's way. I had little objection to his being seen by Herbert or his father, for both of whom I had a respect; but I had the sharpest sensitiveness as to his being seen by Drummle, whom I held in contempt.

So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.

"Great Expectations"

That's a fun one, Gregg. :-)

Simonetta -- that actually isn't in David Copperfield. (If you ever want to confirm a quote, you can usually find the entire text online. I checked at I wouldn't mention it, except that there are always fake Dickens quotes circulating on the Internet, and I don't want the site to perpetuate that.

You're welcome to submit a different quote if you like! :-)

I apologize. I clearly missed the point with the first quote I submitted. Please allow me to try again.

"A brilliant morning shines on the old city. Its antiquities and ruins are surpassingly beautiful, with a lusty ivy gleaming in the sun, and the rich trees waving in the balmy air. Changes of glorious light from moving boughs, songs of birds, scents from gardens, woods, and fields - or, rather, from the one great garden of the whole cultivated island in its yielding time - penetrate into the Cathedral, subdue its earthy odour, and preach the Resurrection and the Life."

- The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Quite all right, Jerry -- any Dickens quote that inspires you or means something significant to you is fine! I love both the quotes you picked.

"Me and my brother were then the victims of his feury since which we have suffered very much which leads us to the arrowing belief that we have received some injury in our insides, especially as no marks of violence are visible externally. I am screaming out loud all the time I write and so is my brother which takes off my attention rather and I hope will excuse mistakes."

--Fanny Squeers writing in "Nicholas Nickleby."

Never did I laugh so hard as when that was delivered in the BBC version so many years ago. I have never forgotten it since. Is that uplifting enough?

Totally! :-)

From "Dombey and Son":

'Walter,' she said, looking full upon him with her affectionate eyes, 'like you, I hope for better things. I will pray for them, and believe that they will arrive.'

I agree with Christopher about Fanny Squeers' unintentionally hilarious letter in Nickleby. I love the opening line:

"My pa requests me to write to you. The doctors considering it doubtful whether he will ever recuvver the use of his legs which prevents his holding a pen."

the scene at the opening of Bleak House when young Esther Summerson tells her doll that she "would strive as I grew up to be industrious, contented, and kind-hearted, and to do some good to some one, and win some love to myself if I could".

this is inspiring because it is Esther's birthday and her Godmother had just told her it would have been better if Esther had never been born :-(

instead of sinking under this, Esther displays this inner strength and resolve to be a good & loving human!

After a while they played at forfeits; for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.
A Christmas Carol

"I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape."
Great Expectations

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