Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Charles Dickens on Christmas as a Memorial Holiday

We write these words now, many miles distant from the spot at which, year after year, we met on that day, a merry and joyous circle. Many of the hearts that throbbed so gaily then, have ceased to beat; many of the looks that shone so brightly then, have ceased to glow; the hands we grasped, have grown cold; the eyes we sought, have hid their lustre in the grave; and yet the old house, the room, the merry voices and smiling faces, the jest, the laugh, the most minute and trivial circumstance connected with those happy meetings, crowd upon our mind at each recurrence of the season, as if the last assemblage had been but yesterday. Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days, that can recal to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!
Do you know the book from which these wonderful sentences emanate? It's not A Christmas Carol, Dickens' most famous writing on the holiday, but his sublime, funny (sometimes to the point of farce), touching, and ultimately uplifting, The Pickwick Papers (Penguin Classics edition, 1999, p. 361).

Happy Holidays to everyone.

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