"Christmas stories" by Charles Dickens

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of “the true principles of waitering”, or the accounts of how the waiters father came back to his mother in broad daylight, “in itself an act of madness on the part of a waiter,” and how he expired repeating continually “two and six is three and four is nine.” That waiters explanatory soliloquy might easily have opened an excellent novel, as Martin Chuzzlewit is opened by the clever nonsense about the genealogy of the Chuzzlewits or as Bleak House opened by a satiric account of the damp, dim life of a law court. Yet Dickens practically abandoned the scheme of Somebodys Luggage; he only wrote two sketches out of those obviously intended. He may almost be said to have only written a brilliant introduction to another mans book.

Yet it is exactly in such broken outbreaks that his greatness appears. If a man has flung away bad ideas he has shown his sense, but he has flung away good ideas he has shown his genius. He has proved that he actually has that over-pressure of pure creativeness which we see in nature itself, “that of a hundred seeds, she often brings but one to bear.” Dickens had to be Malthusian about his spiritual children. Critics have called Keats and other who died young “the great Might-have-beens of literary history.” Dickens certainly was not merely a great Might-have-been. Dickens, to say the least of him, was a great Was. Yet this fails fully to express the richness of his talent; for the truth is that he was a great Was and also a great Might-have-been. He said what he had to say. Wild pictures, possible stories, tantalizing and attractive trains of thought, perspectives of adventure, crowded so continually upon his mind that at the end there was a vast mass of them left over, ideas that he literally had not the opportunity to develop, tales that he literally had not the time to tell. This is shown clearly in his private notes and letters, which are full of schemes singularly striking and suggestive, schemes which he never carried out. It is indicated even more clearly by these Christmas stories, collected out of a chaotic opulence of Household Words and All the Year Round. He wrote short stories actually because he had no time to write long story; many of his long stories, so to speak, broke off short. This is where he differs from most who are called the Might-have-beens of literature. Marlowe and Chatterton failed because of their weakness. Dickens failed because of his force. Examine for example this case of the waiter in Somebodys Luggage. Dickens obviously knew enough about that waiter to have made him a running spring to joy throughout a whole novel; as a beadle in Oliver Twist, or the undertaker in Martin Chuzzlewit. Every touch of him tingles with truth, from the vague gallantry with which he asks, “Wouldst thou know, fair reader (if of the adorable female sex)” to the official severity with which he takes the chambermaid down, “as many pegs as is desirable for the future comfort to all parties.” If Dickens has developed this character at full length in a book he would have preserved for ever in literature a type of great humour and great value, and a type which may only too soon be disappearing from English history. He would have eternalized the English waiter. He still exists in some sounds old taverns and decent country inns, but there is no one left really capable of singing his praises. I know that Mr. Bernard Shaw has done something of the sort in the delightfully whimsical account of William in You Never Can Tell. But nothing will persuade me that Mr. Bernard Shaw can really understand the English waiter. He can never have ordered wine from his for instance. And though the English waiter is by the nature of things solemn about everything, he can never reach the true height and ecstasy of his solemnity except about wine. What the real English waiter would do or say if Mr. Shaw asked him for a vegetarian meal it can not be predicted. We can guess that for the first time in his life he would laugh a horrible sight. Dickens waiter is described by one who is not merely witty, truthful, and observant, like Mr. Bernard Shaw, but one who really knew the atmosphere of inns, one who knew and even liked the smell of beef, and beer, and brandy. Hence there is richness in Dickens portrait which doesnt exist in Mr. Shaws. Mr. Shaws waiter is an opportunist in politics. Dickens waiter is ready to stand up seriously for “the true principle of waitering,” just as Dickens was ready to stand up for the true principles pf Liberalism. Shaws waiter is agnostic; his motto is “You never can tell.” Dickens waiter is dogmatist; his motto is “You can tell; I will tell you.” And the true old-fashioned English waiter had really this grave and even moral attitude; he was the servant of the customers as the priest is the servant of the faithful, but scarcely in any less dignified sense. Surely it is not mere patriotic partially that makes one lament the disappearance of this careful and honorable figure crowded out by meaner men at meaner wages, by the German waiter who has learnt five languages in the course of running away from his own, or the Italian waiter who regards those he serves with a darkling contempt which must certainly be that either of a dynamiter or an exiled prince. The human and hospitable English waiter is vanishing. Dickens might perhaps have saved him, as he saved Christmas.

It is taken this case of waiter in Dickens and equally important counterpart in England as an example of the sincere and genial sketches scattered about these short stories. But there are many others, and one at least demands special mention; this is Mrs. Lirriper, the London landlady. Not only did Dickens never do anything better in a literary sense, but he never performed more perfectly his main moral function, that of insisting through laughter and flippancy upon the virtue of Christian charity. There has been much broad farce against the lodging-house keeper: he alone could have written broad farce in her favor. Ti is fashionable to represent the landlady as a tyrant; it is too much forgotten that if she is one if the oppressors she is at least as much one of the oppressed. If she is bad-tempered it is often for the same reasons that make all women bad-tempered; if she is grasping it is often because when a husband makes generosity a vice it is often necessary that a wife should make avarice a virtue. This entire Dickens suggested very soundly and in a few strokes in the more remote character Miss Wozenham. But in Mrs. Lirriper he went further and did not fare worse. In Mrs., Lirriper he suggested quite truly how huge a mass of real good humor, of grand unconscious patience, of unfailing courtesy and constant and difficult benevolence is concealed behind many a lodging-house door and compact in the red-faced person of many a preposterous landlady. Any one could easily excuse the ill-humor of the poor. But great masses of the poor have not even any ill-humor to be excused. Their cheeriness is startling enough to be the foundation of a miracle play; and certainly is startling enough to be foundation of a romance. Yet there is no any romance in which it is expressed except this one. “Mrs. Lirriper `s Lodgings” is one of the Christmas stories written by Charles Dickens. The main character of the story is Mrs. Lirriper, an old lady, gives the furnished rooms of her house for rent. She furnished her old house as good as she could to make it more comfortable for inhabitants and for herself. This is how he earns for living. Every person living in her house is kind to her because of her behavior with them. Story begins with the Mrs. Lirriper`s description of her daily life, her neighbors, her relatives and the lodgers. She talks about the persons one by one, tells of the good and bad sides of their characters. She calls Jamie her grand-son. But in reality he is not. His mother died of sickness and Jamie was left by his father too, and was grown up by Mrs. Lirriper having no idea that she is not his real grandmother. Here we recognize the inner goodness of this lady, her kind heart and nobility.

She hates Mrs.Wozenham who lives in the same street and who also gives for rent her furnished rooms. They have disliking to each other. But, in spite of that, Mrs. Lirriper helps her in Miss.Wozenham `s hard situation and discovers her real internal life, that she is not negative person at all and even shy for bad behavior of herself. In general, main hero of this story is not rude, bad-tempered. She is always ready to be useful at any moment to men even she can not agree with or she does not like them. For example, her late husband `s brother always make troubles, disturbs her, asks money, but despite all that, when he was caught by policemen Mrs. Lirriper was even crying and doing her best to make policemen to let him out. Or another example can prove what is said above, that Mrs. Lirriper met her neighbors, whom she completely disliked, with great hospitality when their house fired. They all were very grateful to Mrs. Lirriper for saving their lives and accepting them with kindness and pity.

Charles Dickens describing Mrs. Lirriper shows us the ideal picture of simple, pleasant, kind-hearted person. She always finds good characters in everyone whether she likes him or not. Her geniality takes her even out of borders, to France. Mrs. Lirriper goes there to recognize the dying person who is going to leave his heritage to her. But when she finds out that this man - at death is little Jamie `s father, who left him, she forgives him seeing his regret in his mirrowlike eyes, and leaves him to be judged by God.

The entire story long, Charles Dickens opens all good nature of that woman Mrs. Lirriper. The idea of the story “Mrs. Lirriper `s Lodgings” is kindness, goodne