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> Mine Gott! but is dat justice
>Alas! No, Sir, it is the Law of Arrest«.

» But«, said the merchant, turning round to a lawyer, whom the Devil had deserted, and who was now the victim of his profession, »dey tell me, dat in Englant a man be called innoshent till he be proved guilty; but here am I, who, because von carrion of a shailor, who owesh me five hundred pounts, takes an oath that I owe him ten thousand - here am I, on that schoundrel's single oath, clapped up in a prishon. Is this a man's being innoshent till he is proved guilty, Sare?«

» Sir«, said the lawyer primly, »you are thinking of criminal cases; but if a man be unfortunate enough to get into debt, that is quite a different thing: we are harder to poverty than we are to crimelo

»But, mine Gott! is dat justice?

» Justice! pooh! it's the Law of Arrest«, said the lawyer, turning on his heel.

Our merchant was liberated; no one appeared to prove the debt. He flew to a magistrate; he told his case; he implored justice against Captain Jones.

» Captain Jones!« said the magistrate, taking snuff; » Captain Gregory Jones, you mean?

» Ay, mine goot Sare – yesh!«

»He set sail for Calcutta yesterday. He commands the Royal Sally. He must evidently have sworn this debt against you for the purpose of getting rid of your claim, and silencing your mouth till you could catch him no longer. He's a clever fellow is Gregory Jones!«

» De teufel! but, Sare, ish dere no remedy for de poor merchant?

>Remedy! oh, yes - indictment for perjury«.

» But vat use is dat! You say he be gone ten thousand miles off to Calcuttal«

» That's certainly against your indictment!«
» And cannot I get my monish?«
» Not as I see«.
» And I have been arreshted instead of him!«
> You have«.
» Sare, I have only von word to say – is dat justice?

»That I can't say, Mynheer Meyer, but it is certainly the Law of Arrest«, answered the magistrate; and he bowed the merchant out of the room.

CHARLES DICKENS.

1812-1870.

Charles Dickens, den populæreste af de engelske Romanskribenter i den nyere Tid, var født 1812 i Portsea, en Forstad til Portsmouth, hvor hans Fader havde en Bestilling i Marineværftets Kontorer. I sit niende Aar kom han til London, hvorhen Faderen var bleven forflyttet. Denne, hvem Sønnen har tegnet som Mr. Micawber i David Copperfield“, var en Mand af et sorgløst Temperament og beredede ved sin Ligegyldighed Familien mange Viderværdigheder. Han kom selv i Slutteriet, den unge Dickens blev, efterat have gaaet en Stund for Lud og koldt vand, anbragt i en Fætters Blanksværteforretning, og Moderen, som havde gjort et Forsøg paa at forbedre Familiens Omstændigheder ved Oprettelsen af en Skole, flyttede, da dette mislykkedes, med de øvrige Børn til Faderen i Gjældsfængslet Marshalsea i Southwark. I Fætterens Etablissement forblev Dickens indtil sit tolvte Aar, da han for første Gang blev sat i en Skole, „Wellington House Academy“, i en af Londons Forstæder, et meget maadeligt Institut, som han siden beskrev i Household Words under Titelen „Vor Skole“. Han gik i to Aar i dette „Akademi“, og kom derefter som Skriverdreng paa et Sagførerkontor. Imidlertid havde Faderen, der var kommen ud af Slutteriet, begyndt at ernære sig som Bladreferent, og den unge Dickens bestemte sig til at slaa ind paa den samme Vei; for at bøde paa sine mangelfulde Kundskaber besøgte han, mens han lærte Hurtigskriverkunsten, flittigt Læsesalen i det Britiske Museum. Hele denne Udviklingsgang har han skildret i David Copperfields Ungdomshistorie, hvilken i alt Væsentligt er hans egen. Han kunde siden ikke uden Bitterhed tænke tilbage paa sin Barndomstid, men han skyldte den, at han af personlig Erfaring havde lært at kjende de Livsvilkaar, hvis Skildring er hans stærkeste Side, og som gjorde saa stor Lykke hos Publikum.

Efter at have refereret en Tid fra Retterne, kom han i sit nittende Aar paa Galleriet i Parlamentet. De engelske Bladreferenters Virksomhed er altid anstrengende, og var det i meget høiere Grad dengang end nu; men fra dette strenge Arbeide udledede Dickens stadig sit første Held som Skribent. Han var i 1835 kommen i Forbindelse med Udgiveren af det dengang anseede Blad Morning Chronicle, og meddelte til dettes Aftenudgave de smaa humoristiske Skildringer af Livet i London, som siden udkom samlede under Titelen Sketches of London, by Boz. Den Lykke, disse Smaastykker havde gjort, skaffede ham Tilbud fra et Boghandlerfirma om at skrive Text til en Række humoristiske Tegninger, og saaledes fremstod hans bekjendte Pickwick Club (1836-37). Den fremkom, som Dickens' øvrige Arbeider, i Hefter; de første fandt en lunken Modtagelse, men med det Hefte, som indførte , Samiel" (Sam Weller) paa Scenen, indtraadte et afgjort Omslag, og der taltes ikke om andet end Pickwick fra øverst til nederst. Medens han endnu skrev paa Pickwick, begyndte han for en anden Boghandler Romanerne Oliver Twist og Nicholas Nickleby (1839–40), som efterfulgtes af Master Humphrey's Clock (1841). Efter sin Tilbagekomst fra et Besøg i Amerika, hvor han fik en begeistret Modtagelse, udgav han sine Reiseindtryk i American Notes for General Circulation (1842), som fra amerikansk Side fremkaldte et Modskrift, betitlet „Change for American Notes, in Letters from London to New York" (New York, 1843). I 1843 udkom Martin Chuzzlewit, med skarpe Udtalelser om Amerikanerne. I 1844 besøgte han Italien og stiftede ved sin Hjemkomst i 1845 Bladet Daily News, men trak sig snart tilbage fra den jurnalistiske Virksomhed. I 1847–48 adkom Dombey and Son, og i 1850 David Copperfield, som efter mange Kritikeres Mening er hans mest vellykkede Arbeide.

Fra 1850 udgav Dickens det af ham selv grundlagte Ugeskrift Household Words, af belletristisk Indhold, hvori hans senere Romaner bleve offentliggjorte. I dette Tidsskrift udkom ogsaa først hans „Child's History of England“, som hører til hans uheldigste Arbeider. I 1859 blev Household Words afløst af All the Year Round, et Tidsskrift, som fremdeles udkommer under Ledelse af en af Dickens' Sønner.

Dickens forfølger, ligesom Bulwer og næsten alle nyere engelske Romanforfattere, en bestemt Tendents med sine Arbeider. Medens Bulwer fornemmelig tog sit Stof fra de høiere og aristokratiske Kredse, skildrer Dickens det engelske Samfunds Middelklasser og lavere Klasser, især i London. Han fandt her en næsten urørt Mine, som han bearbeidede med stort Talent og stort Held. Hans naturlige Gaver vare betydelige, og der findes udmærkede Ting i hvad han har skrevet, men der fattedes ham tilstrækkelig Kritik og luttret Smag; han driver derfor sine Skildringer altfor ofte paa Spidsen og tegner Karrikaturer istedenfor virkelige Mennesker.

I sine sidste Aar, da den produktive Evne var udtømt hos ham, freiste han omkring og læste op sine egne Værker. Han døde paa sin Eiendom Gadshill i Kent den 9de Juni 1870 og blev bisat i Westminster Abbedi.

I. SKETCHES FROM OUR PARISH

1.

The Beadle.

The parish beadle is one of the most, perhaps the most, important member of the local administration. He is not so well off as the churchwardens, certainly, nor is he so learned as the vestryclerk, nor does he order things quite so much his own way as either of them. But his power is very great, notwithstanding; and the dignity of his office is never impaired by the absence of efforts on his part to maintain it. The beadle of our parish is a splendid fellow. It is quite delightful to hear him, as he explains the state of the existing poor laws to the deaf old women in the board-room-passage on business nights; and to hear what he said to the senior churchwarden, and what the senior churchwarden said to him; and what »we« (the beadle and the other gentlemen), came to the determination of doing. A miserable looking woman is called into the board-room, and represents a case of extreme destitution, affecting herself - a widow, with six small children. >> Where do you live?« inquires one of the Overseers. »I rents a two-pair back, gentlemen, at Mrs. Brown's, Number 3, Little King William's-alley, which has lived there this fifteen year, and knows me to be very hardworking and industrious, and when my poor husband was alive, gentlemen, as died in the hospitala. »Well, well<, interrupts the overseer, taking a note of the address, I'll send Simmons, the beadle, to-morrow morning, to ascertain whether your story is correct; and if so, I suppose you must have an order into the House Simmons, go to this woman's the first thing to-morrow morning, will you?« Simmons bows assent, and ushers the woman out. Her previous admiration of the board« (who all sit behind great books, and with their hats on) fades into nothing before her respect for her lace-trimmed conductor; and her account of what has passed inside, increases — if that be possible – the marks of respect, shown by the assembled crowd, to that solemn functionary. As to taking out a summons, it 's quite a hopeless case if Simmons attends it, on behalf of the parish. He knows all the titles of the Lord Mayor by heart; states the case without a single stammer: and it is even reported that on one occasion he ventured to make a joke, which the Lord Mayor's head footman (who happened to be present) afterwards told an intimate friend, confidentially, was almost equal to one of Mr. Hobler's.

See him again on Sunday in his state-coat and cocked hat, with a large-headed staff for show in his left hand, and a small cane for use in his right. How pompously he marshals the children into their places! and how demurely the little urchins look at him askance as he surveys them when they are all seated, with a glare of the eye peculiar te beadles! The churchwardens and overseers being duly installed in their curtained pews, he seats himself on a mahogany bracket, erected expressly for him at the top of the aisle, and divides his attention between his prayer-book and the boys. Suddenly, just at the commencement of the communion service, when the whole congregation is hushed into a profound silence, broken only by the voice of the officiating clergyman, a penny is heard to ring on the stone floor of the aisle with astounding clearness. Observe the generalship of the beadle. His involuntary look of horror is instantly changed into one of perfect indifference, as if he were the only person present who had not heard the noise. The artifice succeeds. After putting forth his right leg now and then, as a feeler, the victim who dropped the money ventures to make one or two distinct dives after it; and the beadle, gliding softly round, salutes his little round head, when it again appears above the seat, with divers double knocks, administered with the cane before noticed, to the intense delight of three young men in an adjacent pew, who cough violently at intervals until the conclusion of the sermon.

2.

Election for The Beadle. A great event has recently occurred in our parish. A contest of paramount interest has just terminated; a parochial convulsion has taken place. It has been succeeded by a glorious triumph, which the country or at least the parish it is all the same will long remember. We

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