Questions tagged [charles-dickens]

For questions relating to the 19th-century English writer Charles Dickens and his books.

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Meaning of "booked by this history" in Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities"

The passenger booked by this history, was on the coach-step, getting in; the two other passengers were close behind him, and about to follow. The preceding passage is from Dickens' A Tale of Two ...
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What does this string ('[they] have stood Miss Shepherd in the stocks for turning in her toes') in David Copperfield mean?

What does the bolded string (in David Copperfield) mean? Why do I secretly give Miss Shepherd twelve Brazil nuts for a present, I wonder? They are not expressive of affection, they are difficult to ...
Carmen Alvarez's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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What does " what time" mean Charles Dickens A tale of two cities Chap 3

What time, the mail-coach lumbered, jolted, rattled, and bumped upon its tedious way, with its three fellow-inscrutables inside. I do not get the use of "What time" in the preceding ...
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What does "… coach and six, or his own coach and sixty" mean? [closed]

So with the three passengers shut up in the narrow compass of one lumbering old mail coach; they were mysteries to one another, as complete as if each had been in his own coach and six, or his own ...
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What is the meaning of "lowest stable non-descript"? [duplicate]

In Chapter 2 of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities I read the following: As to the latter, when every posting-house and ale-house could produce somebody in “the Captain’s” pay, ranging from the ...
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What does the term lowest stable nonedescript mean? [closed]

As to the latter, when every posting-house and ale-house could produce somebody in “the Captain’s” pay, ranging from the landlord to the lowest stable nondescript, it was the likeliest thing upon the ...
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Meaning of 'purpose' in this passage from Dickens

From A Tale of two Cities, chapter 2: Reins and whip and coachman and guard, however, in combination, had read that article of war which forbade a purpose otherwise strongly in favour of the argument,...
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Parsing ‘The time’ from Dicken’s Novel “Little Dorrit”

The time he had reserved in his mind arriving, he sent Mr Tinkler, his valet, to Mrs General’s apartment (which would have absorbed about a third of the area of the Marshalsea), to present his ...
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Little Dorrit Book the second chapter 2

A stiff commissariat officer of sixty, famous as a martinet, had then become enamoured of the gravity with which she drove the proprieties four-in-hand through the cathedral town society, and had ...
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How to analyze the following sentence in A Tale Of Two Cities? [duplicate]

May someone help me understand the syntax of the bold part in the following sentence? From A Tale of Two Cities, Book the Second - I. Five Years Later After bursting open a door of idiotic obstinacy ...
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Meaning of a certain passage from Charles Dickens Little dorrit Chapter 35 [closed]

Good gracious, Arthur—Doyce and Clennam!’ cried that lady, ‘who would have ever thought of seeing such a sight as this and pray excuse a wrapper for upon my word I really never and a faded check too ...
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What do ‘some boastful bass’ and ‘had got him hard and fast’ mean in Dickens?

This passage is from chapter 32 of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, with the phrases I’m curious about set in bold: Occasionally, a vocal strain more sonorous than the generality informed the ...
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What is the meaning of “half as dear and precious to each other as” in this?

'To be to you what you were once to him,' cried the younger, falling on his knee before him; 'to repay your old affection, brother dear, by constant care, solicitude, and love; to be, at your right ...
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What does coat of no cut and no time mean?

This reference to the coat of no cut and no time, the unfortunate gentleman gasped forth, in a scarcely audible voice, and with his clenched pocket-handkerchief raised in the air. What does "...
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What does Dickens' phrase "told forth" mean?

Charles Dickens Little Dorrit Chapter 25 When he had thus disposed of his cards, all being done very quietly and in a suppressed tone, Mr Pancks puffed his way into his own breast-pocket and tugged ...
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How to understand "never can there come fog too thick ..." in Bleak House by Charles Dickens?

I find the following sentence very puzzling. Could someone "translate" it into plain English? The whole context is here: Here Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud ...
Xǔ Yuè's user avatar
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What does "death's head apparition"mean?

To have painted the sordid facts of their lives, and they throughout invoking the death’s head apparition of the family gentility to come and scare their benefactors, would have made Young John a ...
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What does the whole passge from Dickens' Little Dorit chapter 19 mean?

The Father of the Marshalsea glanced at a passing Collegian with whom he was on friendly terms, as who should say, ‘An enfeebled old man, this; but he is my brother, sir, my brother, and the voice of ...
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Meaning of “rubber” in “You might put ME into a Jail, with genteel society and a rubber, and I should never care to come out.”

In David Copperfield, Mrs Markleham: “You might put ME into a Jail, with genteel society and a rubber, and I should never care to come out.” What is the meaning of rubber here?
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What does "setting down father's dinner" mean? What does to "get on as it might on the outer side thereof" mean?

When he grew tall enough to peep through the keyhole of the great lock of the main door, he had divers times set down his father’s dinner, or supper, to get on as it might on the outer side thereof, ...
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What does "light children nursing heavy ones" mean in this paragraph?

Down in to the Yard, by way of the steps, came Daniel Doyce, Mr Meagles, and Clennam. Passing along the Yard, and between the open doors on either hand, all abundantly garnished with light children ...
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What does "heraldic cognisance" mean in this paragraph?

Neither party would listen to the antiquaries who delivered learned lectures in the neighbourhood, showing the Bleeding Heart to have been the heraldic cognisance of the old family to whom the ...
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What does "the Godfather Break of Day was peeping at its namesake" mean?

When he started up, the Godfather Break of Day was peeping at its namesake. He rose, took his shoes in his hand, turned the key in the door with great caution, and crept downstairs. (Little Dorrit by ...
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What does "national" mean in this paragraph?

John Baptist, staring at him with eyes opened to their utmost width, made a number of those national, backhanded shakes of the right forefinger in the air, as if he were resolved on negativing ...
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What is Dickens’ “fly-catcher”?

This is a passage from Dickens’ Little Dorrit, chapter 11. Emphasised words relate to the question below. ‘Ah Heaven, then,’ said she. ‘When the boat came up from Lyons, and brought the news that the ...
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What does “in our children we lived again” mean?

From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens He was full of eloquence. He gave us to understand that in our children we lived again, and that, under the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, any accession ...
Ethan's user avatar
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What's the meaning of "that vagabond was made for the next two days"?

I am currently reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. There is one sentence which has puzzled me. But the Doctor himself was the idol of the whole school: and it must have been a badly ...
Ethan's user avatar
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What does "be won of" mean in "Great Expectations"?

On page 59-60 She threw the cards down on the table when she had won them all, as if she despised them for having been won of me. My guess for the phrase is "as if she despised them for having ...
Juntao Li's user avatar
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1 answer
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I cannot understand the meaning of the following sentence fron Dickens' Notes of America [closed]

The last sentence from the following paragraph from Dickens is ambiguious for me; "He was only twenty-five years old, he said, and had grown recently, for it had been found necessary to make an ...
A. Goudarzi's user avatar
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4 answers
640 views

What does Dickens mean by "servant" in A Christmas Carol? [closed]

In the following quote from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, why does Dickens describe himself as a servant to the reader? What does he mean here? their faithful friend and servant, C.D.
Carly Scott's user avatar
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66 views

Is it obligatory to write the word "as" twice in comparison of equality?

This really baffles me since I've always regarded the "as...as" form as standard but I've heard a lot of people say phrases like "cool as heck" and even "solitary as an oyster&...
Ed Stevens's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
319 views

"Right tol loor rul!" Meaning - Dickens, Dombey and Son

In Dickens's book Dombey and Son, at the start of Chapter 2, Mr. Chick says the following to his wife Louisa Chick right after she made an observation of the death of her sister-in-law: Don’t you ...
Golgotterath's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
538 views

What is the meaning of the sentence "I'll serve you out" from Dickens' Great Expectations?

In Chapter 18, Mr Wopsle is at the Three Jolly Bargemen, giving his audience a theatrical rendition of a murder case as reported in the newspaper: The victim faintly moaned, "I'm done for," and the ...
JoyRLee's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What do "Sech" and "Vich" mean in this sentence?

I am reading a book on life lessons, and the author quotes one of Charles Dickens's characters, Sarah Gamp, from his novel, Martin Chuzzlewit: Sech is life. Vich likeways is the hend of all things....
kimweonill's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

In a Tale of Two Cities, Dickens says "in short, the period was so far like the present period" in the first paragraph of the first chapter [closed]

What does he mean? Does he mean that the periods were very different, or very similar?
strawberries's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
4k views

What does it mean to "have an air of importance"?

What does the phrase in bold mean? This is given in the book "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. The sentence: He was quite bald. His clothes were shabby but he had an air of great importance. ...
user337717's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
107 views

Some words in The Boy at Mugby

I'm trying to read my way through The Boy at Mugby by Charles Dickens. The story is written in an 'accented' language, and there are a few words I'm having trouble making out: (The text excerpts are ...
calm-tedesco's user avatar
40 votes
2 answers
14k views

Why were slum kids called “urchins”?

To the eyes of Mr. Jeremiah Cruncher, sitting on his stool in Fleet Street with his grisly urchin beside him, a vast number and variety of objects in movement were every day presented. A Tale ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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2 votes
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What do the parentheses inside quotation marks mean in this Dickens quote?

Miss Havisham had seen him as soon as I, and was (like everybody else) afraid of him. She made a strong attempt to compose herself, and stammered that he was as punctual as ever. "As punctual as ...
herisson's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
754 views

What are dress-boxes in a theatre?

Here is a sentence from Dickens: On somebody’s motion, we resolved to go downstairs to the dress-boxes, where the ladies were. This is a scene in a theatre, when drunk Copperfield with friends ...
Gherman's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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The meaning of "Not but what it might have been for something else; but it warn't."?

What exactly does this line by Dickens mean? "'Yes, master, and I've never been in it much.' (I had come out of Kingston Jail last on a vagrancy committal. Not but what it might have been for ...
Annie's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
833 views

In "Great Expectations", what does this mean? [closed]

In Chapter 20 of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, what does the phrase I have bolded mean? Nevertheless, a hackney-coachman, who seemed to have as many capes to his greasy great-coat as he ...
H S park's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
585 views

Capitalization of "time"

Another question from the world of Charles Dickens.... In Great Expectations, the police sergeant says the following to Mr. Pumblechook: "Would you give me the Time!" I was surprised at this ...
etymologynerd.com's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
15k views

'To' or 'For'? Usage of prepositions

This is a sentence from Dickens's 'A Tale of Two Cities'. It's from Chapter 11 of Book II. Mr. Stryver accused Sydney of not being agreeable in a women's society and he told Sydney that he felt ...
Li Xinghe's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
234 views

Why is there a "there" when Dickens say "After that there gallop from Temple Bar"?

In Book 1, Chapter 2 of A tale of two cities, Dickens wrote the following: “After that there gallop from Temple Bar, old lady, I won’t trust your fore-legs till I get you on the level,” said this ...
xychang's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is there an opposite of want? [closed]

In Charles Dickens' book "A Christmas Carol", the children of Want and Ignorance crawl out of the Ghost of Christmas Present's robes. My understanding of this kind of "want" is the want of objects for ...
user210953's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "prophetic pins" mean in Dickens's David Copperfield?

This is from the first chapter: My mother was sitting by the fire, but poorly in health, and very low in spirits, looking at it through her tears, and desponding heavily about herself and the ...
Gherman's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
397 views

Meaning of "as much to be pitied as ever I see" ("Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens)

I have some questions about a sentence from Chapter 42 of the novel Great Expectations. Here is an excerpt: “So fur as I could find, there warn’t a soul that see young Abel Magwitch, with us little ...
Li Xiaodong's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
98 views

Bleak House language

I've been reading Bleak House, and I came across this sentence: Still the woman follows, crying, "Stop him, sir, pray stop him!" Allan, not knowing but that he has just robbed her of her money, ...
Vlad Sobol's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
282 views

What's the meaning of 'Min' in The Old Curiosity Shop?

In Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, the word 'min' is used. For example: "is the old min friendly?" As it is only used by one character, Mr Swiveller, one can assume it to be slang and expect it to ...
andalucia's user avatar