The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens - Страница 1 из 807


The Old Curiosity Shop
By Charles Dickens
CHAPTER 1
Night is generally my time for walking. In the summer I often leave
home early in the morning, and roam about fields and lanes all day, or
even escape for days or weeks together; but, saving in the country, I
seldom go out until after dark, though, Heaven be thanked, I love its
light and feel the cheerfulness it sheds upon the earth, as much as any
creature living.
I have fallen insensibly into this habit, both because it favours my
infirmity and because it affords me greater opportunity of speculating
on the characters and occupations of those who fill the streets. The
glare and hurry of broad noon are not adapted to idle pursuits like
mine; a glimpse of passing faces caught by the light of a street-lamp
or a shop window is often better for my purpose than their full
revelation in the daylight; and, if I must add the truth, night is
kinder in this respect than day, which too often destroys an air-built
castle at the moment of its completion, without the least ceremony or
remorse.
That constant pacing to and fro, that never-ending restlessness, that
incessant tread of feet wearing the rough stones smooth and glossy--is
it not a wonder how the dwellers in narrows ways can bear to hear it!
Think of a sick man in such a place as Saint Martin's Court, listening
to the footsteps, and in the midst of pain and weariness obliged,
despite himself (as though it were a task he must perform) to detect
the child's step from the man's, the slipshod beggar from the booted


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