A few months ago I posted A list of all Charles Dickens’ opening lines for the simple reason of it not being done before anywhere on the internet and readers voted on their favourite opening line. It seemed appreciated, and showed some interesting correlation between the point in his life when the novels were written and how the sentences were structured.
Some people enjoyed that and requested that I do the same with some Charles Dickens last sentences, so here it is!
Apart from the above, there are two obvious uses for this:
- You can pretend you’ve read every Dickens novel at a pretentious party you’re attending by frequently quoting them.
- If Mr. Gove successfully forces an English-literature-only curriculum, this may be a useful revision tool.
Other than that, reading this would be spoiling all the novels and is an utterly dreadful thing. If you’re now getting cold feet about the morality of what you’re about to read, scroll no further, go buy the complete collection, and read them all.
Scroll to the bottom for the last lines poll
Charles Dickens’ Last sentences
Every year, he repairs to a large family merry-making at Mr. Wardle’s; on this, as on all other occasions, he is invariably attended by the faithful Sam, between whom and his master there exists a steady and reciprocal attachment which nothing but death will terminate.
The Pickwick Papers (Monthly serial: April 1836 to November 1837)
I believe it none the less because that nook is in a Church, and she was weak and erring.
Oliver Twist (Monthly serial: February 1837 to April 1839)
Through all the spring and summer-time, garlands of fresh flowers, wreathed by infant hands, rested on the stone; and, when the children came thereto change them lest they should wither and be pleasant to him no longer, their eyes filled with tears, and they spoke low and softly of their poor dead cousin.
Nicholas Nickelby (Monthly serial: April 1838 to October 1839)
Such are the changes which a few years bring about, and so do things pass away, like a tale that is told!
The Old Curiosity Shop (Weekly serial: April 1840 to February 1841)
From that period (although he was supposed to be much affected by the death of Mr. Willet senior), he constantly practised and improved himself in the vulgar tongue; and, as he was a mere infant for a raven when Barnaby was grey, he has very probably gone on talking to the present time.
Barnaby Rudge (Weekly Serial: February 1841 to November 1841)
And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!
A Christmas Carol (1843)
As it resounds within thee and without, the noble music, rolling around ye both, shuts out the grosser prospect of an earthly parting, and uplifts ye both to Heaven!
Martin Chuzzlewit (Monthly serial: January 1843 to July 1844)
So may each year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share, in what our Great Creator formed them to enjoy.
The Chimes (1844)
A Cricket sings upon the Hearth; a broken child’s-toy lies upon the ground; and nothing else remains.
The Cricket on the Hearth (1845)
But, as I have observed that time confuses facts occasionally, I hardly know what weight to give to his authority.
The Battle of Life (1846)
LORD KEEP MY MEMORY GREEN.
The Haunted Man (1848)
He only answers ‘Little Florence! Little Florence!’ and smooths away the curls that shade her earnest eyes.
Dombey and Son (Monthly serial: October 1846 to April 1848)
Oh Agnes, oh my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!
David Copperfield (Monthly serial: May 1849 to November 1850)
But I know that my dearest little pets are very pretty, and that my darling is very beautiful, and that my husband is very handsome, and that my guardian has the brightest and most benevolent face that ever was seen; and that they can very well do without much beauty in me-even supposing-
Bleak House (Monthly serial: March 1852 to September 1853)
We shall sit with lighter bosoms on the hearth, to see the ashes of our fires turn grey and cold.
Hard Times (Weekly serial: April 1854 to August 1854)
They went quietly down into the roaring streets, inseparable and blessed; and as they passed along in sunshine and shade, the noisy and the eager, and the arrogant and the froward and the vain, fretted, and chafed, and made their usual uproar.
Little Dorrit (Monthly serial: December 1855 to June 1857)
‘It is a far far better thing I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.’
A Tale of two Cities (Weekly serial: April 1859 to November 1859
I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.
Great Expectations (Weekly serial:December 1860 to August 1861)
When the company disperse- by which time Mr. and Mrs. Veneering have had quite as much as they want of the honour, and the guests have had quite as much as they want of the other honour- Mortimer sees Twemlow home, shakes hands with him cordially at parting, and fares to the Temple, gaily.
Our Mutual Friend (Monthly serial: May 1864 to November 1865)
Before sitting down to it, he opens his corner cupboard door; takes his bit of chalk from its shelf; adds one thick line to the score, extending from the top of the cupboard door to the bottom; and then falls to with an appetite.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Monthly serial: April 1870 to September 1870. Incomplete.)
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed them. Please vote on your favourite last sentence below, so when people ask what his best novel was I can tell them while occasionally quoting last lines, which I know because I’ve read all of his books.