Sat. Sep 18th, 2021


On Saturday evening, Mr Charles Dickens read his Christmas Carol for the benefit of the Sheffield Mechanics’ Institution, before a crowded audience, in the large hall of the institution. Mr Dickens, more than a year ago, promised to give a reading, and came over expressly from Paris to redeem his promise. The audience received Mr Dickens with the utmost enthusiasm, and gave frequent tokens of their appreciation during the reading of the carol.

At the conclusion of the reading, W Fisher, Esq the ex-mayor, proposed that the audience should express their thanks by a hearty round of applause, and loud and protracted cheering followed. – The mayor (W Fawcett, Esq) then, in suitable terms, presented to Mr Dickens, on behalf of a few gentlemen in Sheffield, a very handsome table service of cutlery, a pair of razors, and a pair of fish carvers. – Mr Dickens replied:

Mr Mayor, I beg to assure you and those gentlemen who are associated with you in this kind gift, that I accept with heartfelt delight and cordial gratitude such beautiful specimens of the work of your famous town. The kind expressions with which you accompanied this presentation, and the response which they received from the assembly will never be obliterated from my memory. You have heard my voice so much to-night, that, out of pure forbearance, I will not say more than to assure you that these things (the cutlery, &c) shall be heirlooms in my family; and that they will be prized by those who love me as testifying, not only of the work of Sheffield hands, but of the warmth and generosity of Sheffield hearts – (Applause.)

Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, that to the earnestness of my aim and desire to do right to my readers, and to leave our imaginative and popular literature more closely associated than I found it at once with the private homes and public rights of the English people, I shall ever be faithful in the course which has won your approval. – (Loud applause.) Allow me to take a reluctant leave, wishing you, one and all, many a merry Christmas and many happy new years. – (Loud cheers.)

Mr Dickens then withdrew, amid enthusiastic cheering. He left Sheffield by mail train the same evening, wishing to spend Christmas-day with his family in Paris.

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