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Charles Dickens Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes from Charles Dickens
  1. #1
    And what an example of the power of dress young Oliver Twist was!
  2. #2
    “The broken heart. You think you will die, but you just keep living, day after day after terrible day.
  3. #3
    “Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.”
  4. #4
    “Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”
  5. #5
    “Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies.”
  6. #6
    “‘There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. . . . And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!‘”
  7. #7
    “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”
  8. #8
    “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
  9. #9
    There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness.
  10. #10
    ″‘It is required of every man,’ the Ghost returned, ‘that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!‘”
  11. #11
    ″‘You are fettered,’ said Scrooge, trembling. ‘Tell me why?’
    ‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?‘”
  12. #12
    “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.”
  13. #13
    “While there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.”
  14. #14
    “Scattered wits take a long time in picking up.”
  15. #15
    “She had curiously thoughtful and attentive eyes; eyes that were very pretty and very good.”
  16. #16
    “Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.”
  17. #17
    “There was something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery.”
  18. #18
    “Life is made of so many partings welded together.”
  19. #19
    “No varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself.”
  1. #20
    “I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.”
  2. #21
    “I am what you designed me to be. I am your blade. You cannot now complain if you also feel the hurt.”
  3. #22
    “So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.”
  4. #23
    “Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!”
  5. #24
    “Then tell the Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.”
  6. #25
    It was the popular theme for jests; it was the best cure for headache, it infallibly prevented the hair from turning grey, it imparted a particular delicacy to the complexion, it was the National Razor which shaved close: who kissed La Guillotine, looked through the little window and sneezed into the sack. It was the sign of the regeneration of the human race. It superseded the Cross. Models of it were worn on breasts from which the Cross was discarded, and it was bowed down to and believed in where the Cross was denied.
  7. #26
    “I have sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by and by into our lives.”
  8. #27
    I would ask you to believe that he has a heart he very, very seldom reveals, and that there are deep wounds in it. My dear, I have seen it bleeding.
  9. #28
    Good never come of such evil, a happier end was not in nature to so unhappy a beginning.
  10. #29
    When the time comes, let loose a tiger and a devil; but wait for the time with the tiger and the devil chained -not shown- yet always ready.
  11. #30
    Detestation of the high is the involuntary homage of the low.
  12. #31
    So does a whole world, with all its greatnesses and littlenesses, lie in a twinkling star. And as mere human knowledge can split a ray of light and analyse the manner of its composition, so, sublimer intelligences may read in the feeble shining of this earth of ours, every thought and act, every vice and virtue, of every responsible creature on it.
  13. #32
    Perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily off and on.
  14. #33
    He knew enough of the world to know that there is nothing in it better than the faithful service of the heart.
  15. #34
    A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!
  16. #35
    A multitude of people and yet a solitude.
  17. #36
    But, tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. Bumble’s soul; his heart was waterproof.
  18. #37
    “Family not only need to consist of merely those whom we share blood, but also for those whom we’d give blood.”
  19. #38
    “A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.”
  1. #39
    “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”
  2. #40
    “No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.”
  3. #41
    “There is a wisdom of the head, and... there is a wisdom of the heart.”
  4. #42
    “You are in every line I have ever read.”
  5. #43
    “There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
  6. #44
    I confess I have yet to learn that a lesson of the purest good may not be drawn from the vilest evil.
  7. #45
    “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
  8. #46
    “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
  9. #47
    “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
  10. #48
    “Bah,” said Scrooge, “Humbug.”
  11. #49
    “And O there are days in this life, worth life and worth death.”
  12. #50
    It is a common thing for the countenances of the dead, even in that fixed and rigid state, to subside into the long-forgotten expression of sleeping infancy, and settle into the very look of early life; so calm, so peaceful, do they grow again, that those who knew them in their happy childhood, kneel by the coffin’s side in awe, and see the Angel even upon earth.
  13. #51
    The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.
  14. #52
    “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
  15. #53
    “You have been the last dream of my soul.”
  16. #54
    The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.
  17. #55
    “Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh.”
  18. #56
    Dignity, and even holiness too, sometimes, are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine.
  19. #57
    People like us don’t go out at night cause people like them see us for what we are.
  1. #58
    Although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I have not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed it up for ever on my best affections. Deep affliction has only made them stronger; it ought, I think, for it should refine our nature.
  2. #59
    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
  3. #60
    “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.”
  4. #61
    He looked like death; not death as it shows in shroud and coffin, but in the guise it wears when life has just departed; when a young and gentle spirit has, but an instant, fled to Heaven, and the gross air of the world has not had time to breathe upon the changing dust it hallowed.
    author
    Charles Dickens
    book
    Oliver Twist
    character
    Oliver
    concept
    Death
  5. #62
    “I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
  6. #63
    “Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”
  7. #64
    “But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time . . . as a good time . . . the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave . . . ”
  8. #65
    “My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!”
  9. #66
    “‘There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!‘”
  10. #67
    “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.”
  11. #68
    “Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”
  12. #69
    “My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.”
  13. #70
    “Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
  14. #71
    “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”
  15. #72
    “It is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded.”
  16. #73
    “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
  17. #74
    A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.
  18. #75
    ″‘There are some upon this earth of yours,’ returned the Spirit, ‘who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.‘”
  19. #76
    There is no remorse so deep as that which is unavailing; if we would be spared its tortures, let us remember this, in time.
  1. #77
    “Marley was dead.”
  2. #78
    Sudden shifts and changes are no bad preparation for political life.
  3. #79
    “Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”
  4. #80
    “I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”
  5. #81
    Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you.
  6. #82
    I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
  7. #83
    The cloud of caring for nothing, which overshadowed him with such a fatal darkness, was very rarely pierced by the light within him.
  8. #84
    “The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous, for there were more children there, than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could count; and, unlike the celebrated herd in the poem, they were not forty children conducting themselves like one, but every child was conducting itself like forty.”
  9. #85
    “This is the even-handed dealing of the world!” he said. “There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!”
  10. #86
    Nothing that we do, is done in vain. I believe, with all my soul, that we shall see triumph.
  11. #87
    “We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.”
  12. #88
    “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
  13. #89
    Vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is the rule.
  14. #90
    “It’s not my business,” Scrooge returned. “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly.”
  15. #91
    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
  16. #92
    Death may beget life, but oppression can beget nothing other than itself.
  17. #93
    “No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused!”
  18. #94
    “You might, from your appearance, be the wife of Lucifer,” said Miss Pross, in her breathing. “Nevertheless, you shall not get the better of me. I am an Englishwoman.”
  19. #95
    “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
  1. #96
    “Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”
  2. #97
    “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
  3. #98
    “Mr. Scrooge!” said Bob; “I’ll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!”
    “The Founder of the Feast indeed!” cried Mrs. Cratchit, reddening. “I wish I had him here. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it.”
  4. #99
    “He’s a comical old fellow,” said Scrooge’s nephew, “that’s the truth: and not so pleasant as he might be. However, his offences carry their own punishment, and I have nothing to say against him.”
  5. #100
    “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”
  6. #101
    “You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?”
  7. #102
    “He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares long, long, forgotten!”
  8. #103
    “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”
  9. #104
    “He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk—that anything—could give him so much happiness.”
  10. #105
    “God bless us every one!”
  11. #106
    “A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!”
  12. #107
    “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!”
  13. #108
    “Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.”
  14. #109
    “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
  15. #110
    “Moths, and all sorts of ugly creatures, hover about a lighted candle. Can the candle help it?”
  16. #111
    “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.”
  17. #112
    “There is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair.”
  18. #113
    “Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
  19. #114
    “In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”
  1. #115
    “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”
  2. #116
    “There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.”
  3. #117
    Don’t be afraid! We won’t make an author of you, while there’s an honest trade to be learnt, or brick-making to turn to.
  4. #118
    ″[A]nd it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”
  5. #119
    “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry.”
  6. #120
    “Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man.”
  7. #121
    “A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. “But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.”
  8. #122
    “Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”
  9. #123
    “His wealth is of no use to him. He don’t do any good with it. . . . I am sorry for him; I couldn’t be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers by his ill whims! Himself, always.”
  10. #124
    “It should be Christmas Day, I am sure,” said she, “on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know he is, Robert! Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow! . . . I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s . . . not for his. Long life to him! A merry Christmas and a happy new year! He’ll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt!”
  11. #125
    “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”
  12. #126
    “Give me a moment, because I like to cry for joy. It’s so delicious, John dear, to cry for joy.”
  13. #127
    “Do the wise thing and the kind thing too, and make the best of us and not the worst.”
  14. #128
    It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper, so cry away.
  15. #129
    “They are Man’s . . . And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
  16. #130
    “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”
  17. #131
    “I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”
  18. #132
    “As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
  19. #133
    “I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”
  20. #134
    ″‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!‘”
  21. #135
    “But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
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