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Page 241

CHAPTER XII
THE VICTORIAN ERA

THE four novelists of the Victorian Age whose writings are looked upon as modern classics are Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, "George Eliot," and George Meredith.
Charles Dickens, 1812-1820. The first nine years of Charles Dickens's life were very happy ; but his father's salary was cut down, and before long he was imprisoned for debt. The rest of the family established themselves in the prison, and there the little boy spent his Sundays. Through the week he was left to work all day in a cellar and spend his nights in an attic. It is no wonder that throughout his life he had deep sympathy for lonely children. After a while came a few years of prosperity, and the boy was sent to school. His father became a parliamentary reporter for one of the papers ; and when Charles was seventeen, he set out to learn shorthand. He was wise enough to realize that a good reporter must know

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