Reading Dickens’ The Chimes for the first time, I found it the perfect companion piece to A Christmas Carol. Where Scrooge is whisked through time by his ghosts on the eve of Christmas, Trotty in The Chimes is taken on a similar journey on the brink of the New Year. He witnesses some disturbing visions of a bleak, and very possible, future suffered by those closest to him. Dickens makes his message clear throughout the story that none of us are immune to such futures, and that all should take heed to “correct, improve, and soften them”.
“The voice of Time,” said the Phantom, “cries to man, Advance! Time IS for his advancement and improvement; for his greater worth, his greater happiness, his better life; his progress onward to that goal within its knowledge and its view, and set there, in the period when Time and He began. Ages of darkness, wickedness, and violence, have come and gone: millions uncountable, have suffered, lived and died: to point the way Before him. Who seeks to turn him back, or stay him on his course, arrests a mighty engine which will strike the meddler dead; and be the fiercer and the wilder, ever, for its momentary check!”
How’s that for a New Year message? Mine’s a more modest Happy New Year!
I’ll be taking a break for a few days, but look out soon for The Thirteenth Tale, Ian Fleming, H.P. Lovecraft and my return to the world of the meme … thanks for reading and commenting!