Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Dickens in Lancaster

Dickens visited Lancaster in 1857 on his way back from a walking holiday in the Lake District with his friend Wilkie Collins. They stayed at the Kings Arms, where the bride cake they were given after dinner gave Dickens nightmares.
'Mr Goodchild concedes Lancaster to be a pleasant place. A place dropped in the midst of a charming landscape, a place with a fine ancient fragment of castle, a place of lovely walks, a place possessing staid old houses richly fitted with old Honduras mahogany, which has grown so dark with time that it seems to have got something of a retrospective mirror-quality into itself, and to show the visitor, in the depth of its grain, through all its polish, the hue of the wretched slaves who groaned long ago under old Lancaster merchants. And Mr Goodchild adds that the stones of Lancaster do sometimes whisper, even yet, of rich men passed away-upon whose great prosperity some of these old doorways frowned sullen in the brightest weather-that their slave-gain turned to curses, as the Arabian Wizard's money returned to leaves, and that no good ever came of it, even unto the third and fourth generations, until it was wasted and gone.' (Chapter 3, 'The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices')

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