"Christmas stories" by Charles Dickens

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Cheap Jack, asserts himself with vigom, and is very amusing. This is the style of the man who is exhibited before us in many such amusing attitudes and Mr. Dickens, displaying his characteristics, has the opportunity of indulging in his broadest humor.

At the same time, however, he shows the more serious aspect of the man s character. We all know the story clown who had to crack his jokes in the saw - dust while his wife was dying in the room hard by. Cheap Jack in his fashion has to amuse the crowd that comes to buy his wares while his child is dying in his arms.

The situation here is an old one, but Mr. Dickens has touched it with new feeling and set it before us in the tenderest light. It is not certainly by these lighter efforts that Charles Dickens ought to be judged.

The two characteristics to which he owes his reputation are beyond all doubt his sentiment, and his share of that humor which really forms a part of sentiment, though it is often considered as independent of it. As a sentimentalist, Charles Dickens in his best moments has not often been surpassed in English literature. His bizarre and grotesque literary taste, and the curious light under which he sees almost all the common things and the common events of life, drag him down, in his intervals of weakness into the mere.

But, with all his failings and vulgarities, Charles Dickens at his best is a very great author, and a consummate sentimentalist. His attempts to portray or to caricature or to satirize the upper classes of society has always been ludicrous failures. When Charles Dickens enters the drawing-room his genius deserts him, and hurries down the kitchen stairs into more congenial company.

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