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tion to a long, and vigorous, and useful life. But Hope will not trim her lamp the less brightly for him and his because of this impulse to their struggling fortunes; and trust me, reader, they deserve her light, and need it sorely.
"He has inscribed this book to one* whose skill will help him, under Providence, in all that human skill can do—to one who never could have recognized in any potentate on earth a higher claim to constant kindness and attention than he has recognized in him."
The book was eventually published at $s., and was found to contain some very creditable writing, both prose and verse. Overs did not live long to enjoy his popularity, for the malady under which he was labouring terminated fatally the following October. The work and its author are now almost forgotten, but the generous conduct displayed towards him by Dickens is well deserving of remembrance.
* Dr. Elliotson.
VISIT TO ITALY.—"THE CHIMES."
N the summer of this year Dickens went to Italy. He started off with his wife, sisterI in-law, five children, courier, nurses, &c, and a carriage, and had a very enjoyable holiday. Previous to his departure, he was entertained at a dinner by his friends, at the "Trafalgar," Greenwich, on 19th June, 1845, Lord Normanby in the chair. The following extracts from his epistles to Jerrold give us many pleasing bits of an autobiographical character, and at least show us how he enjoyed himself:—
"Come, come and see me in Italy—let us smoke a pipe among the vines. I have taken a little house surrounded by them, and no man in the world should be more welcome to it than you."
And in another from Cremona :—
"It was very hearty and good of you, Jerrold, to make that affectionate mention of the 'Carol' in Punch; and, I assure you, it was not lost upon the distant object of your manly regard, but touched him as you wished and meant it should. I wish we had not lost so much time in improving our personal
knowledge of each other. But I have so steadily read you, and so selfishly gratified myself in always expressing the admiration with which your gallant truths inspired me, that I must not call it lost time either."
From the same place, in November:— "You rather entertained the idea once of coming to see .me at Genoa. I shall return straight on the 9th of December, limiting my stay in town to one week. Now, couldn't you come back with me? The journey that way is very cheap, costing little more than £\2, and I am quite sure the gratification to you would be high. I am lodged in quite a wonderful place, and would put you in a painted room as big as a church, and much more comfortable. There are pens and ink upon the premises; orange-trees, gardens, battledores and shuttlecocks, rousing wood fires for the evenings, and a welcome worth having.
Come! Letter from a gentleman in Italy
to Bradbury and Evans in London. Letter from a gentleman in a country gone to sleep, to a gentleman in a country that would go to sleep too, and never wake again, if some people had their way. You can work in Genoa—the house is used to it: it is exactly a week's post. Have that portmanteau looked to; and when we meet, say, 'I am coming!'" The visit to Italy often formed a subject for conversation with Dickens, and only a few weeks before his death, he told Mr. Arthur Locker this anecdote of his experiences there. "Mr. Dickens, on one occasion, visited a certain monastery, and was conducted over the building by a young monk, who, though a native of the country, spoke remarkably fluent English. There was, however, one peculiarity about his pronunciation. He frequently misplaced his v's and w's. 'Have you been in England?' asked Mr. Dickens. 'No,' replied the monk, ' I have learnt my English from this book,' producing 'Pickwick ;' and it further appeared that he had selected Mr. Samuel Weller as the beau ideal of elegant pronunciation."
"The Chimes: a Goblin Story of some Bells that Rang an Old Year out and a New Year in," was published at the end of the year, by Messrs. Chapman and Hall, illustrated by Maclise, Doyle, Leech, and Stanfield. It was of the same size and price as the former Christmas book; but, instead of being illustrated by Mr. Leech alone, several Academicians and other artists had now come forward with their pencils. The great success of the "Christmas Carol," in the preceding year, had directed the attention of other authors to this class of literature, and this Christmas there appeared "The Snow Storm," by Mrs. Gore; "The Last of the Fairies," by G. P. R. James; an Irish Story, by Mr. Lever; and others; but we need hardly say Mr. Dickens distanced them all.
Next to the "Christmas Carol," it is one of the most delightful little books he has written. Old Toby Veck, the patient, drudging ticket-porter, plying his vocation near the old church, listening to the voices of the bells, and gathering encouragement from them, is a beautifully drawn character. Meg, his daughter, a hopeful woman, and Richard, her sweetheart, are truthfully portrayed, as also Will Fern, Sir Joshua Bowley, Mr. Filer, and Alderman Cute. The plot is worked out somewhat after the plan of the "Christmas Carol," consisting mainly of a dream by Toby Veck. Every one ought to be well pleased with the finale, in which Toby disappears from notice in a country dance to the step he is so accustomed to—a Trot.
Thomas Hood, who had written so beautifully of the "Christmas Carol," could not refrain from expressing in print a like admiration for "The Chimes ":—" This," he wrote, "is another of those seasonable books intended by Boz to stir up and awaken the kindly feelings which are generally diffused amongst mankind, but too apt, as old Weller says, to lie 'dormouse' in the human bosom. It is similar in plan to the ' Christmas Carol,' but is scarcely so happy in its subject—it could not be—as that famous Gobbling Story, with its opulence of good cheer, and all the Gargantuan festivity of that hospitable tide. The hero of the tale is one Toby Veck (we wish that surname had been more English in its sound, it seems to want an outlandish De or Van before it), a little old London ticket-porter, —who does not know the original ?—and his humble dwelling down the mews, with his wooden card