x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The life lessons of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, who would be 140 if he were alive today, wrote vastly popular novels, plays, short stories and poems. He was a champion of the poor and for socio-economic reform in Victorian England. The wisdom below is drawn from his novella A Christmas Carol.

Laugh. "It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour."

Stay flexible. "Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort, who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two, and being usually equal to the time-of-day, express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter; between which opposite extremes, no doubt, there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects."

Family enriches you. "They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But, they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time."

Delight in simple pleasures. "He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted the 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."

Be charitable."'At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge'," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir'."