Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings 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 1863).
After Mrs. Lirriper’s drink loving husband perishes in an accident, Mrs. Lirriper starts to take in lodgers to make ends meet and also to pay off Mr. Lirriper’s debts. Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings describes some of her experiences as a lodge keeper. Her troubles with the domestic help, her rivalry with another lodge owner Miss Wozenham and her enduring friendship with her long time lodger Major Jackman, are all told in an engaging way.
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 a typical Dickens creation. A cherubic child with golden curls and rosy cheeks. A tad stereotypical.
Mrs. Edson’s story is the typical Victorian melodramatic tale of the innocent virtuous young woman and her ruination at the hands of a charming but ultimately wicked man. I don’t much care for Victorian melodramas in general. But Mrs. Lirriper’s and Major Jackman’s love and compassion towards the ill-fated woman is heart-warming.
I liked how Mrs. Lirriper keeps addressing the reader as ‘My Dear’, as though she knows us all and is having an ordinary conversation with us. It is sort of comforting somehow.
Sad events do take place but overall the tone of the story is pretty hopeful. It is a sweet little story which should satisfy any reader who has a taste for the classics and is looking for a light read. Recommended.
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