Preparing a talk that I'm giving around 'A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas' by Charles Dickens. Mindful of two quotes.
The first is the description of Scrooge walking the streets of London.
"Along crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance."
The second is of Charles Dickens, recounting a moment before one of his Christmas Carol readings.
"There lay, in an old egg-box, which the mother had begged from a shop, a feeble, wasted, wan, sick child. With his little wasted face, and his little hot worn hands folded over his breast, and his little bright attentive eyes, I can see him now, as I have seen him for several years, looking steadily at us. There he lay in his little frail box, which was not at all a bad emblem of the little body from which he was slowly parting - there he lay quite quiet, quite patient, saying never a word. He seldom cried, the mother said, he seldom complained. He lay there, seeming to wonder what it was all about. God knows, I thought, as I stood looking at him, he had his reasons for wondering - and why, in the name of a gracious God, such things should be."