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The Chimes (1844)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Christmas Books of Charles Dickens (2)

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5233233,362 (3.22)76
Anbsp;follow-up to A Christmas Carol, this is the story ofnbsp;a poor ticket porter whose outlook is changed from despair to hope by the spirits of the chimes on New Year's Eve As Trotty's working day as a lowly messenger draws to a close, his daughter, Meg, arrives with her fiancé Richard in tow, and they proudly announce their wedding for the following day. This is cause for celebration, although their happiness is tempered by the comments of an alderman and other well-off citizens on the rights of the poor to marry. During the night, Trotty hears the chimes of a church bell and ventures out to climb the belltower. At the top he is greeted by goblins who tell him that he died during the climb and must now spend his time watching his friends and family live out their lives. What he witnesses makes for grim viewing, and Totty finds himselfnbsp;attempting to rescue his daughter from the brink of destruction.nbsp;He wakes as if from a dream to the bells chiming out the beginning of a new year, and finds that no time has passed and it is New Year's Day. But as he sees his daughter cheerfully preparing for her wedding day, he is baffled as to whether this is just a dream within a dream. Tackling familiar themes of redemption, social injustice, and family,nbsp;this is a story of hope and contemplation and is a moving festive read well worth discovering.… (more)

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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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  arpignotti | Sep 5, 2020 |
Not, perhaps, a good book, The Chimes is, nevertheless, a beautifully-written one. The 10th of Dickens' major works, and the second of his Christmas novellas (written over five successive Christmases), The Chimes picks up the themes of A Christmas Carol: a plea for the poor, a tale of how humans cast as the "low" of society are forced into certain roles, and ultimately a message of hope. A short read, The Chimes is affecting in its own, peculiarly Victorian way, and worth reading for the soft beauty of its writing, and its clear moral message. But that's about all there is to say. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
Although the art-type J. G. Ferguson edition of Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens containas both 'The Chimes' and "A Christmas Carol,' I'm not going to bother to review the very famous latter. 'The Chimes: a Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In' is the story of a ticker-porter named Toby 'Trotty' Veck. He's poor, but honest. He waits around for someone to pay him to take items elsewhere. He is very familiar with a nearby church whose bells ring out the chimes of the title.

Trotty is hanging around, waiting, when his pretty young daughter, Meg, brings him a special treat: tripe for his dinner. Trotty is a widower and Meg is all he has. Meg and her blacksmith beloved, Richard, plan to marry on New Year's Day. Trotty has almost finished his meal when Alderman Cute, accompanied by a Mr. Filer and a red-faced gentleman whose name is never given. They are depressingly like some politicians today. Mr. Filer makes Trotty nervous by blathering about how uneconomical a dish tripe is. He actually claims that unboiled tripe of the number of animals butchered would feed a garrison of 500 men for five months of 31 days, including February. He has the gall to tell Totty that he robs widows and orphans by eating tripe. The red-faced gentleman goes on and on about the good old days. These men even suggest that Meg and Richard had better not get married.

Trotty Veck is given a letter to take to a Member of Parliament, Sir Joseph Bowley. Sir Joseph likes to call himself the poor man's friend and father, but by listening to him the reader can tell he's no such thing. The letter is about a laboring man under suspicion named Will Fern. Alderman Cute thinks he should be put down. (I'm not sure if that means imprisoned or hanged.)

On his way home, Trotty happens to meet Will Fern, who is on his way to Alderman Cute. Trotty warns him off before inviting Will and his orphaned nine-year-old niece, Lillian, to his house to eat and rest. Lillian and Meg are very taken with each other. The reader will not be surprised to figure out that Will Fern is a good man, no matter what Alderman Cute thinks. Will is looking for Lillian's mother's friend to leave her with.

Trotty goes to check on the church's bell tower because the chimes are louder than they usually are. The door isn't locked. He goes up all the way to the bells and swoons. Then follow the goblins, which is a spooky enough sight.

The story takes a turn for the even more depressing and Trotty witnesses a bleak future for Meg, Richard, and Lillian. Richard and Meg haven't married. Richard is a drunkard. Meg makes a meager living embroidering. Lillian, it's hinted, has turned to prostitution. Will Fern, let out of jail after nine years, gives a heart-felt speech to the Sir Joseph & Lady Bowley, Alderman Cute, Mr. Filer, and the red-faced gentleman. There's also a scene about Trotty's grocer, Mrs. Chickenstalker, married to Sir Joseph's porter, Mr. Tugby.

This story is even darker than 'A Christmas Carol'. How is Dickens to bring some New Year hope into it all? ( )
  JalenV | Feb 10, 2020 |
The Chimes is a more difficult read than a Christmas Carol for modern readers, especially before Dickens gets to Toby Veck’s story. Even then, it’s a tough read because he and his daughter have a hard hard life and they are treated most cruelly by those who purport to treat the poor well. Still, fine Dickens and a good life lesson. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Dec 31, 2019 |
This is Charles Dickens's second Christmas book, published in 1844, following on the heels of the groundbreaking A Christmas Carol the previous year. This is, of course, nowhere near as well known, and when I read The Chimes for the first time seven years ago, I understood why as I thought it lacked any of the charm and deep impact of its predecessor (it's also a New Year's Eve story, rather than a Christmas one). I think more highly of The Chimes now. Its depiction of grinding poverty and class division is more starkly portrayed, and much of the time it is true that it lacks the popular warmth of the more famous story. It contains the same theme of redemption, that of Trotty Veck, though he is no Scrooge, and the worst that can be said of him is that he was naive and gullible. Things turn right just at the end after some harrowing experiences. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Dec 27, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionscalculated
Armitage, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coburn, Frederick SimpsonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doyle, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feld, LeoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzpatrick, LindaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leech, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maclise, DanielIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stanfield, ClarksonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagenknecht, EdwardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There are not many people - and as it is desirable that a story-teller and a story-reader should establish a mutual understanding as soon as possible, I beg it to be noticed that I confine this observation neither to young people nor to little people, but extend it to all conditions of people: little and big, young and old: yet growing up, or already growing down again - there are not, I say, many people who would care to sleep in a church.
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Anbsp;follow-up to A Christmas Carol, this is the story ofnbsp;a poor ticket porter whose outlook is changed from despair to hope by the spirits of the chimes on New Year's Eve As Trotty's working day as a lowly messenger draws to a close, his daughter, Meg, arrives with her fiancé Richard in tow, and they proudly announce their wedding for the following day. This is cause for celebration, although their happiness is tempered by the comments of an alderman and other well-off citizens on the rights of the poor to marry. During the night, Trotty hears the chimes of a church bell and ventures out to climb the belltower. At the top he is greeted by goblins who tell him that he died during the climb and must now spend his time watching his friends and family live out their lives. What he witnesses makes for grim viewing, and Totty finds himselfnbsp;attempting to rescue his daughter from the brink of destruction.nbsp;He wakes as if from a dream to the bells chiming out the beginning of a new year, and finds that no time has passed and it is New Year's Day. But as he sees his daughter cheerfully preparing for her wedding day, he is baffled as to whether this is just a dream within a dream. Tackling familiar themes of redemption, social injustice, and family,nbsp;this is a story of hope and contemplation and is a moving festive read well worth discovering.

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This classic story is the second in a series of five Christmas books Dickens was commissioned to write - beginning with A Christmas Carol. A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world - until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity. Though much different from and certainly a bit darker than A Christmas Carol, the moral message of The Chimes is equally poignant - touting the importance of compassion, goodwill, and the love of friends and family.
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