Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy by Charles Dickens


 Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy is one of Charles Dickens’s Christmas stories. It was first published in his All the Year Round magazine’s Extra Christmas Number (12 December 1864).

Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy is a sequel to Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings. In Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings, Mrs. Lirriper starts to take in lodgers to make ends meet and also to pay off her drink loving husband’s debts after he perishes in an accident. Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings describes some of her experiences as a lodge keeper. Her story continues in Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy.

In Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy, little Jemmy is growing up as Mrs. Lirriper and Major Jackman continue to dote upon him. Mrs. Lirriper has a little trouble with her brother-in-law, Joshua Lirriper, her life long rivalry with Miss Wozenham finally comes to an end and a neighbourhood fire brings people closer together. Amidst all this a dying man leaves a legacy for Mrs. Lirriper and the family travels to Paris to meet him.

Mrs. Lirriper is a nice and kind lady. She is competent enough to run the lodge and make a living but is also at times rather tender hearted. Another key character of the book Major Jackman is a hot tempered but good hearted man. It seems as though without his support Mrs. Lirriper wouldn’t have made it through some of her troubles. They make quite a formidable team together.

Little Jemmy is no longer a child. The character is a bit bland though.

Just as she did in Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings, Mrs. Lirriper continues addressing the reader as ‘My Dear’ and I continue to find it comforting.

This book is even more light-hearted than its predecessor, Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings. Even the fire at Mr. Buffle’s house is not a matter of great distress (as Mrs. Lirriper puts it they were ‘fully insured’).

I liked that Mrs. Lirriper and Miss Wozenham finally made up after years of misunderstanding. Also, the major’s animosity with Mr. Buffle and the discord within Mr. Buffle’s family starts and gets resolved within this book. In a way, Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy is all about forgiving people for their past mistakes and laying old ghosts to rest.

Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy is a worthy conclusion to the story of Mrs. Lirriper.  The hopefulness of the first book comes to fruition in the second one. Recommended.

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