Doctor Marigold by Charles Dickens


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Doctor Marigold, by Charles Dickens

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Doctor Marigold

Author: Charles Dickens

Release Date: April 3, 2005 [eBook #1415]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1894 Chapman and Hall "Christmas Stories" edition by
David Price, email


I am a Cheap Jack, and my own father's name was Willum Marigold. It was
in his lifetime supposed by some that his name was William, but my own
father always consistently said, No, it was Willum. On which point I
content myself with looking at the argument this way: If a man is not
allowed to know his own name in a free country, how much is he allowed to
know in a land of slavery? As to looking at the argument through the
medium of the Register, Willum Marigold come into the world before
Registers come up much,--and went out of it too. They wouldn't have been
greatly in his line neither, if they had chanced to come up before him.

I was born on the Queen's highway, but it was the King's at that time. A
doctor was fetched to my own mother by my own father, when it took place
on a common; and in consequence of his being a very kind gentleman, and
accepting no fee but a tea-tray, I was named Doctor, out of gratitude and
compliment to him. There you have me. Doctor Marigold.

I am at present a middle-aged man of a broadish build, in cords,
leggings, and a sleeved waistcoat the strings of which is always gone
behind. Repair them how you will, they go like fiddle-strings. You have
been to the theatre, and you have seen one of the wiolin-players screw up
his wiolin, after listening to it as if it had been whispering the secret
to him that it feared it was out of order, and then you have heard it
snap. That's as exactly similar to my waistcoat as a waistcoat and a
wiolin can be like one another.

I am partial to a white hat, and I like a shawl round my neck wore loose
and easy. Sitting down is my favourite posture. If I have a taste in
point of personal jewelry, it is mother-of-pearl buttons. There you have
me again, as large as life.

The doctor having accepted a tea-tray, you'll guess that my father was a
Cheap Jack before me. You are right. He was. It was a pretty tray. It
represented a large lady going along a serpentining up-hill gravel-walk,
to attend a little church. Two swans had likewise come astray with the
same intentions. When I call her a large lady, I don't mean in point of
breadth, for there she fell below my views, but she more than made it up
in heighth; her heighth and slimness was--in short THE heighth of both.

I often saw that tray, after I was the innocently smiling cause (or more
likely screeching one) of the doctor's standing it up on a table against
the wall in his consulting-room. Whenever my own father and mother were
in that part of the country, I used to put my head (I have heard my own
mother say it was flaxen curls at that time, though you wouldn't know an
old hearth-broom from it now till you come to the handle, and found it
wasn't me) in at the doctor's door, and the doctor was always glad to see
me, and said, "Aha, my brother practitioner! Come in, little M.D. How
are your inclinations as to sixpence?"

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