“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
I had some concerns going in, being aware that this story was originally published in installments, by the weekly publication All the Year Round. I had bumped against another similarly episodic work earlier in my Kindling, Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, and I found it unreadable, to the extent that I bailed after only a few chapters. It was painfully clear that Dumas was being paid by the word, and this reduced the story to grinding on at a painful and tedious pace, with copious descriptions of the tiniest elements. I feared this might be the same, but hoped the fact that Dickens owned and operated All the Year Round, rather than being merely a contributor, would help avoid this falling into the same traps.