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Monday
Jan142013

This Week's Trivia--Dickensian Advice

Having completed a New Years resolution by getting through David Copperfield, I found a quote that makes a great trivia question.  (Actually, I could prepare an entire quiz on the novel—how old was David when his father died, for example--but let's go with this one which seems politically relevant today.

Which character from Dickens, who himself spent time in debtors prison, offers two quotations which seem apt to today’s politicians dealing with budget shortfalls?  In the form of advice to young Copperfield, who said, “Never do tomorrow what you can do today.  Procrastination is the thief of time.  Collar him!”

And also said—you’ll have to forgive the use of English measure of currency but you should get the point, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen, six, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.  The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down up the dreary scene, and in short you are for ever floored.  As I am!”

In other words, which character was warning us not to run up even the smallest debts, let alone trillions and trillions of dollars? 

Would that be?

A—Uriah Heep

B—Mr. Micawber

C—Steerforth

D—Traddles or

E—Mr. Murdstone

 

The answer is B, Mr. Micawber, first name Wilkins.  The advice is from Chapter 12.

The ever ‘umble.  Uriah Heep, of course, ended up in prison, but not as a debtor.

As we learn at the outset of the book, David’s father died six months before he was born.  Want another one?  Which of those five characters died prior to the ending of the novel?  And how?  That would be James Steerforth in a violent sea storm.  Mr. Micawber and his family live happily ever after...in Australia.

God bless us every one.  Whoops!  That’s another story.

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