Charles Dickens Quotations Archive.

All skeleton within, all bonnet and cloak without.

  Background.   "All skeleton within, all bonnet and cloak without." is a quotation from A Walk in a Workhouse. A Walk in a Workhouse was an article written by Charles Dickens about a visit to a London workhouse. It was first published on Saturday, 25 May, 1850, in Dickens own magazine Household Words.   Context. Dickens describes elderly women in a workhouse. Taken from the following passage in A Walk in a Workhouse: Among this congregation, were some evil-looking [...]

The crowd were on the tiptoe of expectation.

Background. "The crowd were on the tiptoe of expectation." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters, Chapter 12 (The Prisoners’ Van). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. A crowd, gathered outside London's Bow Street Magistrates Court, eagerly await prisoners disembarking from a van that has brought them to be charged at the Court. Taken from the following passage in The Prisoners’ Van: The [...]

It is too much to judge of the character of a whole people, by the confessions of the very worst members of society.

Background. "It is too much to judge of the character of a whole people, by the confessions of the very worst members of society." is a quote taken from Sunday Under Three Heads, Chapter 3. Under the pseudonym Timothy Sparks, Dickens wrote the pamphlet Sunday Under Three Heads to defend the people’s right to pleasure on their only day of rest, Sunday, in face of plans from religious bodies to prohibit games on Sundays. It was published in July, 1836. [...]

2018-05-09T11:11:48+00:00 Categories: Sunday Under Three Heads|Tags: |

Somehow, we never can resist joining a crowd.

Background. "Somehow, we never can resist joining a crowd." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters, Chapter 6 (The Hospital Patient). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. George Cruickshank illustrated the sketch The Hospital Patient with this drawing of a pickpocket being carted off to the Police Station. After watching a pickpocket being transported to the Police Station, Dickens and company [...]

2018-04-30T12:25:09+00:00 Categories: Sketches by Boz, The Hospital Patient|Tags: , |

The girl started up, with an energy quite preternatural; the fire gleamed in her heavy eyes, and the blood rushed to her pale and sunken cheeks.

Background. "The girl started up, with an energy quite preternatural; the fire gleamed in her heavy eyes, and the blood rushed to her pale and sunken cheeks." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters, Chapter 6 (The Hospital Patient). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. A victim of domestic violence, who is laying dying in a hospital bed, is startled when confronted by [...]

I did it myself—it was nobody’s fault—it was an accident.

Background. "I did it myself—it was nobody’s fault—it was an accident." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters, Chapter 6 (The Hospital Patient). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. A victim of domestic violence, who is laying dying in a hospital bed, claims her injuries were caused by herself when confronted by the perpetrator in front of a Magistrate. Taken from the following [...]

He has frequently been exactly seven-and-sixpence short of independence.

Background.   "He has frequently been exactly seven-and-sixpence short of independence." is a quotation from The Begging-Letter Writer. The Begging-Letter Writer was an article, written by Charles Dickens, about begging letter writers. It was first published in Household Words on 18 March, 1850.   Context. Charles Dickens had been plagued with receiving begging letters after being catapulted to national fame following the success of The Pickwick Papers. The quotation is taken from the following passage of The Begging-Letter Writer: I [...]

2018-05-03T20:50:00+00:00 Categories: The Begging-Letter Writer|Tags: , |

We are quite in a childlike state altogether, representing an infant institution, and not even yet a grown-up company.

Background. "We are quite in a childlike state altogether, representing an infant institution, and not even yet a grown-up company." is a quotation from a 1858 speech given by Charles Dickens at Freemasons’ Hall (Covent Garden), London. The speech, in support of the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, London, was given on 9 February 1858.   Context. Taken from the following part of the speech Dickens gave: Ladies and gentlemen — It is one of my rules [...]

Those who are most distrustful of the advantages of education, are always the first to exclaim against the results of ignorance.

Background. "Those who are most distrustful of the advantages of education, are always the first to exclaim against the results of ignorance." is a quotation from a speech given by Charles Dickens to the Birmingham Polytechnic Institution. The speech, promoting educational improvement and learning, was given on 28 February 1844.   Context. Taken from the following part of the speech Dickens gave: There is, indeed, no difference in the main with respect to the dangers of ignorance and the advantages [...]

2018-04-20T19:56:21+00:00 Categories: Speeches|Tags: |

If there be one thing in existence more miserable than another, it most unquestionably is the being compelled to rise by candlelight.

Background. "If there be one thing in existence more miserable than another, it most unquestionably is the being compelled to rise by candlelight." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Scenes, Chapter 15 (Early Coaches). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Dickens describes that feeling of not wanting to get up before dawn. Taken from the following passage in Early Coaches: If there be [...]

2018-04-27T19:57:51+00:00 Categories: Early Coaches, Sketches by Boz|Tags: |

Carried to their respective abodes in a hackney-coach, and a state of insensibility, compounded of shrub, sherry, and excitement.

Background. "Carried to their respective abodes in a hackney-coach, and a state of insensibility, compounded of shrub, sherry, and excitement." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters. Chapter 4 (Miss Evans and the Eagle). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Description of getting home after a good night out. The quote is taken from the following final passage in the sketch Miss Evans and [...]

Ginger-beer was going off in one place, and practical jokes were going on in another.

Background. "Ginger-beer was going off in one place, and practical jokes were going on in another." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters. Chapter 4 (Miss Evans and the Eagle). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Description of the atmosphere at The Eagle. The quote is taken from the following passage in the sketch Miss Evans and the Eagle: ‘How ev’nly!’ said Miss J’mima [...]

2018-04-17T09:03:19+00:00 Categories: Miss Evans and the Eagle|Tags: , |