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Story Archives

The New Year

Friday Dev

By Charles Dickens

Next to Christmas-day, the most pleasant annual epoch in existence is the advent of the New Year. There are a lachrymose set of people who usher in the New Year with watching and fasting, as if they were bound to attend as chief mourners at the obsequies of the old one. 

Now, we cannot but think it a great deal more complimentary, both to the old year that has rolled away, and to the New Year that is just beginning to dawn upon us, to see the old fellow out, and the new one in, with gaiety and glee.

There must have been some few occurrences in the past year to which we can look back, with a smile of cheerful recollection, if not with a feeling of heartfelt thankfulness. And we are bound by every rule of justice and equity to give the New Year credit for being a good one, until he proves himself unworthy the confidence we repose in him.

This is our view of the matter; and entertaining it, notwithstanding our respect for the old year, one of the few remaining moments of whose existence passes away with every word we write, here we are, seated by our fireside on this last night of the old year, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six [1836], penning this article with as jovial a face as if nothing extraordinary had happened, or was about to happen, to disturb our good humour.

 

What are you thinking about this New Year?

Do you begin each year assuming it will be a good one?

 

Charles Dickens was an English novelist and essayist. Early in his career, he wrote and published a series of short journalistic pieces about life in and around London. The pieces were collected and published as Sketches By Boz in 1937; this piece is taken from that collection.