Answer: One of Charles Dickens's best-known characters, Wilkins Micawber is a melodramatic, basically kind-hearted and rather foolish gentleman, a friend of young David Copperfield.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "H" is for History)
Here’s this week’s
Berownial quiz question.
In my study of
history, one institution that always fascinated me was the debtors’ prison.
This setup, a
jail for folks who can’t pay their debts, has been around since ancient times. In 19th-century England, it was a
big deal. It shows how something quite
illogical, something that makes little sense, can stay in existence for centuries.
I mean, look at
it this way. Time-travel with me back to
about 1850; good Queen Victoria is on the throne, which is quite appropriate
since it was the Victorian era.
Let’s say that in
London there’s a chap who is having a rough time, financially. His credit card is maxed out, etc., and he
doesn’t know where his next tuppence is coming from. He is, in short, a debtor.
So in he goes,
into the lockup. What’s illogical, of
course, is that while he was outside he could at least work to pay off his
debt; inside he can do nothing but sit there.
So he does, sometimes for years.
To top things
off, he is charged for his room and board while he is in the cooler – and of
course he can’t pay for that either.
humanitarian gesture the authorities would at times allow the families to join the
debtors, so you’d have a father, the missus, and several little kiddies all
crammed into one small cell.
Charles Dickens knew all about this system.
His father, who had the same last name, was arrested and sent to
debtors’ prison when his son was twelve years old. The disgusting aspect of these jails is often described in Dickens’s
All of which
brings me to one of my favorite fictional characters. I think many of us have met him in real life.
He’s the one who is great with rhetoric;
he’ll stand there and orate about the state of the country and its future, and
he’s eager to tell of the projects he’s working on that are going to make wads of dough, but he’s never been able to hold a steady job or make a tolerable
living. He’s always trying to borrow
money or figuring out ways to avoid creditors.
But, funny thing
is, I sort of like the guy; he’s entertaining and he doesn't pout - he somehow he manages to stay
good-humored. (I have to admit I want
him to stay out of debtors’ prison.)
In addition, he
never gives up hoping. He assures his
wife: “Something will turn up.”
What’s his name?
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)
1 year ago