Questions tagged [dickens]

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

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7
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2answers
822 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....
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2answers
62 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?
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2answers
282 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. ...
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0answers
58 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 ...
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2answers
5k 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 ...
2
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1answer
834 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
265 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 ...
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1answer
478 views

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 ...
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1answer
484 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 ...
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1answer
133 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 ...
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2answers
6k 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 ...
2
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1answer
104 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 ...
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4answers
4k 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 ...
2
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1answer
718 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 ...
3
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1answer
154 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 ...
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0answers
82 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, ...
4
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1answer
173 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 ...
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1answer
77 views

“on condition of his getting out of this then, come, and cutting it”

What is the meaning of the highlighted part in this excerpt from Bleak House? “Policeman at last finds it necessary to support the law and seize a vocalist, who is released upon the flight of the ...
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2answers
96 views

Oliver Twist: “who had known better times”

In the first chapter, Oliver asks for more, Oliver is moved to new poorhouse and there is a line which talks about a tall guy. One tall boy, who had known better times, was heard to say that, ...
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2answers
2k views

What does it mean by “to begin my life with the beginning of my life” as in David Copperfield?

Quote from the opening of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens: Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. ...
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1answer
683 views

A sentence from Oliver Twist and its meaning

Saw this in his book a few days, would someone help me find clarity in its meaning? "brass can do better than the gold what has stood the fire" Here is the full context: The man ran upstairs. ...
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of the phrase “treats of” in the title of chapter 1 of Oliver Twist [closed]

The title of chapter 1 of Oliver Twist is as follow: "Treats of the place where Oliver Twist was born...". What is the exact meaning of the plural word "treats"? I assume it means something like "...
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2answers
2k views

Why is Dolge not a Christian name?

(Note: This might be better suited for a different stack site, but since literature closed, I thought this was the closest related site). I've recently been re-reading Great Expectations, and, in ...
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3answers
6k views

What does this “Change” mean in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’?

The word Change doesn't seem to make much sense in this quote from A Christmas Carol. To emphasis the sentence, I kept it in bold-type. MARLEY was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever ...
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1answer
748 views

What does this passage from “Great Expectations” mean?

I was reading Great Expectations the other day, and came across this passage that I couldn't make any sense of whatsoever: Why should I loiter on my road to compare the state of mind in which I had ...
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4answers
1k views

What does “ 'Nation ” stand for in this context?

I was reading the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. In Chapter 2, there are sentences like: “I hope there ain’t, but can’t make so ’Nation sure of that,” said the guard, in gruff ...
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1answer
957 views

Usage of the word “Doggedly”

At the end of chapter 16 of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the author states: After that day, a day rarely passed without her drawing the hammer on her slate, and without Orlick's slouching ...
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1answer
165 views

'furniture of their pockets"

There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, ...
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1answer
978 views

Meaning of “bile” from Great Expectations

In the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the character Joe tells Pip, “Somebody must keep the pot a biling, Pip, or the pot won’t bile, don't you know?” What does the word bile mean in ...
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3answers
1k views

Dickens (a tale of two city, chapter 1): what do “they were awake” and “was to be atheistical and traitorous” refer to?

But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that ...
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4answers
4k views

Dickens: meaning of “preserves” in “preserves of loaves and fishes”

What is the meaning of preserves in the opening passage of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities? There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there ...
7
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1answer
237 views

German way of saying numbers found in Dickens [duplicate]

Reading "Great Expectations", I noticed that numbers (I don't remember if this refers to all numbers, but I'm sure it was used when age was concerned) were given in the German way, namely, for ...
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2answers
386 views

What does this text from The Haunted House by Charles Dickens mean?

"Who is--or who was--the hooded woman with the owl? Do you know?" "Well!" said Ikey, holding up his cap with one hand while he scratched his head with the other, "they say, in general, that she ...
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3answers
238 views

What does 'had been took with fits and held down in 'em' mean?

The following appears in The Haunted House by Charles Dickens. What is the meaning of the bolded phrase? This very concise summary of the facts was all I could learn, except that a young man, as ...
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3answers
679 views

What does 'sanding a doorstep' mean?

What does "sanding a doorstep" mean? Does it mean polishing the doorstep? Or filling it in with sand? I read this expression in Charles Dickens' book, The Haunted House where it says, I found ...
6
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2answers
9k views

What does “a day's work” mean?

What does "a day's work" mean? Does it mean a full day's work? The quote below is taken from Charles Dickens' The Haunted House In the summertime, I often rise very early, and repair to my room ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of these two sentences in David Copperfield?

There are two sentences in David Copperfield that I don't quite understand, with regards to their (possible) figurative meaning. Chapter XIII: [...] a muslin curtain partly undrawn in the middle, ...
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2answers
221 views

What did Dickens mean by the phrase, 'In which heathen state of mind…' in The Haunted House?

If this should meet the eye of the gentleman who favoured me with these disclosures, I trust he will excuse my confessing that the sight of the rising sun, and the contemplation of the magnificent ...
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2answers
211 views

What does a 'lop-sided board' mean in Charles Dickens' “The Haunted House”?

Can someone please help me picture the following situation? A lop-sided board drooped over the garden wall, announcing that it was 'to let on very reasonable terms, well furnished. Charles Dickens,...
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1answer
151 views

Who is Mrs Trimmer in Charles Dickens' novel “The Haunted House”?

Who was Mrs Trimmer in the following excerpt? And Prince Arthur, nephew of King John of England, had described himself as tolerably comfortable in the seventh circle, where he was learning to paint ...
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4answers
34k views

What does “brought up by hand” mean?

In the book Great Expectations, Pip narrates: My sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, was more than twenty years older than I, and had established a great reputation with herself and the neighbours ...
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1answer
1k views

What does this sentence really mean?

“It would be ungenerous to affect not to know that your self-denial is to be referred to your consideration for her father" Chapter 10, A Tale of Two Cities.
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1answer
2k views

Sam Weller in The Pickwick Papers: What accent is Dickens portraying?

In Dickens' Pickwick Papers, there's a character "Sam Weller". Weller's dialogue is written somewhat phonetically, I presume, but I'm struggling to understand what accent Dickens is trying to portray. ...
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4answers
720 views

Meaning of Jo's dialog in Chapter 16 of Bleak House

A portion of chapter 16 of Dickens' Bleak House is shown below. Jo attends closely while the words are being spoken; [...] and nods his ragged head. "I'm fly," says Jo. "But fen larks, you ...
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4answers
10k views

Charles Dickens' “for good and for evil” and “superlative degree of comparison”

Charles Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" starts with the words: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief,...
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2answers
209 views

“..which did what lay in it…” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Ref: “A tale of two cities” by Charles Dickens. What does “..which did what lay in it…” mean in the following sentence? “As the bank passenger – with an arm drawn through the leathern strap, ...
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3answers
2k views

“To have a run upon it” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Ref: A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens What does “To have a run upon it” mean in the following sentence? “Tellson’s bank had a run upon it in the mail”