Hard Times – Charles Dickens – 12-13 June 2002

Wednesday, June 12, 2002, 11:57 am, Vancouver, BC

Still pondering what business to undertake, but still not really getting anywhere. Walked to Second Beach before dinner. Spent the evening working on poetry. Cycled to ScienceWorld first thing this morning; breezy, warm day.

Resumed reading Dickens’s Hard Times. I find the dialect a little trying. The beginning of Chapter XI has this:

So many hundred Hands in this Mill; so many hundred horse Steam Power. It is known, to the force of a single pound weight, what the engine will do; but, not all the calculators of the National Debt can tell me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for patriotism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtue into vice, or the reverse, at any single moment in the soul of one of these its quiet servants, with the composed faces and the regulated actions. There is no mystery in it; there is an unfathomable mystery in the meanest of them, for ever. (p. 68)

Completely true. And there is this remarkable, so well written sentence that concludes Chapter XIII:

As the shining stars were to the heavy candle in the window, so was Rachael, in the rugged fancy of this man, to the common experiences of his life. (p. 88)

Hard Times, opening page of the manuscript (Courtesy: www.vam.ac.uk)

Hard Times, opening page of the manuscript (Courtesy: http://www.vam.ac.uk)

Thursday, June 13, 2002, 1:49 pm, Vancouver, BC

Also finally finished shredding the old tax files. Ran first thing this morning. And this in Hard Times:

… and the moment shot away into the plumbless depths of the past, to mingle with all the lost opportunities that are drowned there. (p. 97)

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