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" Then, as Christmas is a time in which, of all times in the year, the memory of every remediable sorrow, wrong, and trouble in the world around us, should be active with us, not less than our own experiences for all good, he laid his hand upon the boy, and silently calling Him to witness who laid his hand on children in old time, rebuking, in the majesty of his prophetic knowledge, those who kept them from him, vowed to protect him, teach him, and reclaim him."
No wonder, that, after reading these sweet Christmascarols, the Rev. Mr. Murray thus apostrophized the departed author, and that tens of thousands echo his words:
“Nevermore will the bells ring at Christmas Eve but that to me a note of sadness will mingle with their chimes : for he who taught the world the lesson of the festival ; who, using it as a text, preached as no pulpit ever preached, a sermon of charity and love; the hand that touched the bells of England, and made the whole world melodious with Christian chimes, - is cold and motionless forever. Farewell, gentle spirit! thou wast not perfect until now. Thou didst have thy passions, and thy share of human errors; but death has freed thee. Thou art no longer trammelled. Thou art delivered out of bondage; and thy freed spirit walks in glory. Though dead, thou speakest. Thy voice is
universal in its reach. The ages will be thy audience. Thy memory will be as a growing wreath above thy grave: it will take root in the soil that covers thee, and with the years renew its blossoms and its leaves perennially."
WHAT ARE THE WILD WAVES SAYING ?
The Daily News. — Dombey and Son. – Death of Little Paul.
“ The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” – Ps. xcii. 4.
DHEN Mr. Dickens returned to London
from Italy, he tried the experiment of
of whom he was the chief, and issued on
strength for new novels, and therefore it was well for the world of readers when the novel-writer returned to the vocation for which he was specially fitted ; and during the years 1847 and 1848 appeared “Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son.” This interesting novel was written during a sojourn in Switzerland and France; and the closing paragraph of its preface is a confidential reminiscence which is now tenderly cherished.
“I began this book,” Mr. Dickens says, after an observation upon the character of Mr. Dombey, “by the Lake of Geneva, and went on with it for some months in France. The association between the writing and the place of writing is so strong in my mind, that at this day, although I know every chair in the little midshipman's house, and could swear to every pew in the church in which Florence was married, or to every young gentleman's bedstead in Dr. Blimber's establishment, I yet confusedly imagine Capt. Cuttle as secluding himself from Mrs. Mac Stinger among the mountains of Switzerland. Similarly, when I am reminded by any chance of what it was that the waves were always saying, I wander in my fancy for a whole winter night about the streets of Paris, — as I really did, with a heavy heart, on the night when my little friend and I parted forever.” ”
Mr. Perkins, in his biography of Mr. Dickens, thus
refers to “Dombey and Son,” and says, that, “like · Martin Chuzzlewit,' it has what may be called a distinct moral unity, resulting from the shaping of the characters and the story so as to teach a definite moral lesson. In • Chuzzlewit,' this lesson is the evil of selfishness; and in the combining of this one quality with all the other qualities of so many of the characters, so that it colors both what is good and what is bad in them, very great power and skill are shown. . .,
“ The place of selfishness in • Martin Chuzzlewit’ is occupied by pride in · Dombey and Son;' and although the evil quality is not exhibited in so many phases and persons, yet its power and its unhappy consequences are developed, in the frightful strife between the ill-matched Dombey and his wife, with a gloomy intensity that teaches its lesson most effectively.”
The account which Mr. Dickens gave of the sisterly kindness of Florence Dombey has proved an incentive to many a young heart, as it has felt itself called to assist others in the family circle. This is it :-
“O Saturdays! O happy Saturdays! when Florence always came at noon, and never would, in any weather, stay away, though Mrs. Pipchin snarled and growled and worried her bitterly. Those Saturdays were sabbaths for at least two little Christians among all the Jews, and did the holy sabbath-work of strengthening and knitting up a brother's and a sister's love.