Back to List

Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


The Chimes

Charles Dickens




"'You see, my friend,' pursued the Alderman, 'there's a great deal of nonsense talked about Want--"hard up," you know; that's the phrase, isn't it? ha! ha! ha!--and I intend to Put it Down. There's a certain amount of cant in vogue about Starvation, and I mean to Put it Down. That's all! Lord bless you,' said the Alderman, turning to his friends again, 'you may Put Down anything among this sort of people, if you only know the way to set about it.'
"'And you're making love to her, are you?' said Cute to the young
'Yes,' returned Richard quickly, for he was nettled by the
question. 'And we are going to be married on New Year's Day.'
...'Ah!' cried Filer, with a groan. 'Put THAT down indeed, Alderman, and you'll do something. Married! Married!! The ignorance of the first principles of political economy on the part of these people; their improvidence; their wickedness; is, by Heavens! enough to--Now look at that couple, will you! A man may live to be as old as Methuselah,' said Mr. Filer, 'and may labour all his life for the benefit of such people as those; and may heap up facts on figures, facts on figures, facts on figures, mountains high and dry; and he can no more hope to persuade 'em that they have no right or business to be married, than he can hope to persuade 'em that they have no earthly right or business to be born. And THAT we know they haven't. We reduced it to a mathematical certainty long ago!'" - Charles Dickens

I'm getting some anti-Malthusian vibes from this Dickens.