Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol date and publisher unknown $25 winecountrybooksnapa at gmail
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
The mention of Marley’s funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story.
– from the full text and images at Project Gutenberg A Christmas Carol
What do they call it when the author’s writings stir our hearts to compassion for the suffering all around us every day? How I love Dickens for his characters and their sufferings, their hopes, their ability to persevere, their wonderful variations of damaged, decent, villainous, hapless!
I went through a dark phase in my late teens/early twenties during which I devoured all of it- Hardy, Dickens, Thackery, the Austens, Lawrence, Forster, Eliot, the rest of the Brontes (having read Jane Eyre when I was 10 or so). Those dark times were also happy somehow, probably because I could hide from the literal and figurative rain, curl up with a cup of tea and my meager student supper and escape into these wonderful books. Their amazing clarity and the beauty of writing regarding human suffering in an era and culture whose face was ornately proper and prosperous, but with a heart dark with decadence, oppression, poverty, exploitation, tragedy, yet bright with amazing observation, compassion and creativity as well, were just the thing.
Dickens’ big heart finally stopped in June 1870, over his uncompleted Mystery of Edwin Drood. I have in my hand an 1870 first edition later binding copy. Bound in the back are advertisements for contemporary consumables plus W.H. Smith’s catalog dated May 1872. [How I used to love going to W.H. Smith! I have never again found a source for reasonably priced fountain pens and ink cartridges in peacock, brown, magenta!]
Due to wear, it isn’t worth what it might be, but it would be a sweet addition to the library of any lover of mysteries, Victoriana or Dickensiana.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Chapman Hall 1870, with May 1872 W.H. Smith catalog bound in back, $200 or best offer