The Gospel in Dickens
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December 24, 2014


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Why does the well-spoken nephew use 'don't' in the third person? What's Dickens trying to demonstrate here?

"His wealth is of no use to him. He don't do any good with it. He don't make himself comfortable with it. He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking--ha, ha, ha!--that he is ever going to benefit US with it."

Interesting question. You sometimes see that usage in 19th-century literature, but I don't know why. Estella does it in "Great Expectations." And I remember seeing it in Louisa May Alcott's "An Old-Fashioned Girl." Maybe it was just a slangy thing that the educated did along with the uneducated?

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