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Dombey And Son



I cannot forego my usual opportunity of saying
farewell to my readers in this greetingplace,
though I have only to acknowledge the unbounded
warmth and earnestness of their sympathy in every
stage of the journey we have just concluded.

If any of them have felt a sorrow in one of the
principal incidents on which this fiction turns, I
hope it may be a sorrow of that sort which endears
the sharers in it, one to another. This is not
unselfish in me. I may claim to have felt it, at least
as much as anybody else; and I would fain be
remembered kindly for my part in the experience.

Twenty-Fourth March, 1848.


I make so bold as to believe that the faculty (or the habit) of
correctly observing the characters of men, is a rare one. I have not
even found, within my experience, that the faculty (or the habit) of
correctly observing so much as the faces of men, is a general one
by any means. The two commonest mistakes in judgement that I
suppose to arise from the former default, are, the confounding of
shyness with arrogance - a very common mistake indeed - and the
not understanding that an obstinate nature exists in a perpetual
struggle with itself.

Mr Dombey undergoes no violent change, either in this book, or
in real life. A sense of his injustice is within him, all along. The
more he represses it, the more unjust he necessarily is. Internal
shame and external circumstances may bring the contest to a close
in a week, or a day; but, it has been a contest for years, and is only
fought out after a long balance of victory.

I began this book by the Lake of Geneva, and went on with it
for some months in France, before pursuing it in England. The
association between the writing and the place of writing is so
curiously strong in my mind, that at this day, although I know, in
my fancy, every stair in the little midshipman's house, and could
swear to every pew in the church in which Florence was married,
or to every young gentleman's bedstead in Doctor Blimber's
establishment, I yet confusedly imagine Captain Cuttle as secluding
himself from Mrs MacStinger among the mountains of Switzerland.
Similarly, when I am reminded by any chance of what it was
that the waves were always saying, my remembrance wanders for
a whole winter night about the streets of Paris - as I restlessly did
with a heavy heart, on the night when I had written the chapter in
which my little friend and I parted company.

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