This is a short story by Charles Dickens and I must admit that it’s the only thing of his that I’ve ever actually got to the end of. That isn’t saying much because it’s only 40 pages long. It’s a very wee book with quite a lot of illustrations by HM Brock. You can read it here. I first read the story about 20 years ago, I wasn’t feeling at all Christmassy and when I saw this lovely wee book in a second-hand book shop I thought it might help me get into the spirit of it all. Ho Ho Ho! – and all that.
To begin with it did conjure up Victorian images of all the traditional decorations that could be found on a Christmas tree. But Dickens just couldn’t stop himself from adding Christmas ghost stories and dead children! I suppose it might have seemed uplifting to your average Victorian, given the child mortality rate in those days.
I don’t know if my attitude towards reading Dickens has been coloured by the fact that from an early age I knew that he was a bit of a swine to his wife. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a good thing to know a lot about the private lives of authors because it can be really off-putting. Quite a few of them seem to have been bad and dangerous to know – if not actually mad too.
Should I give Dickens another whirl sometime in the future?