CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS.
THE name that we have chosen for this
publication expresses, generally, the de- sire we have at heart in originating it.
We aspire to live in the Household affections, and to be numbered among, the Household thoughts, of our readers. We hope to be the comrade and friend of many thousands of people, of both sexes, and of all ages and conditions, on
whose faces we may never look. We seek to bring into innumerable homes, from the stirring world around us, the knowledge of many social wonders, good and evil, that are not calculatd to render any of us less ardently persevering in ourselves, less tolerant of one another, less faithful tn the progress of mankind, less thankful for the privilege of living in
this summer-dawn of time.
No mere utilitarian spirit, no iron bind- ing of the mind to grim realities, will give a harsh tone to our Household Words. In the bosoms of the young and old, of the well-to-do and of the poor, we would tenderly cherish that light of Fancy which is inherent in the human breast, which, according to its nurture, burns with an inspiring flame, or sinks into a sullen glare, but which (or woe betide that day !) tun never be extinguished. To show to all, that in all familiar things, even in those which are repellant on the surface, there is Romance enough, if we will find it out ;
to teach the hardest workers at this whirling wheel of toil, that their lot is not necessarily a moodv, brutal fact, ex- cluded from the sympathies and graces of imagination , to bring the greater and the lesser in degree, together, upon that wide field, and mutually dispose them to a better acquaintance and a kinder un- derstanding-is one main object of our
The mightier inventions of this age are not, to our thinking, all material, but have a kind of souls in their stupen- dous bodies which may find expression in Household Words. The traveller
whom we accompany on his railroad or his steamboat journey, may gain, we hope, some compensation for incidents which these later generations have out- lived, in new associations with the Power that bears him onward ; with the habita- tions and the ways of life of crowds of his fellow creatures among whom he passes like the wind ; even with ihe towering chimneys he may see, spirting out fire and smoke upon the prospect. The swart giants, Slaves of the Lamp of Knowledge, have their thousand and one tales, no less than the Genii of the East,; and these, in all ti fir wild, grotesque, and fanciful aspects, in all their many phases of endurance, in all their many moving lessons of compassion and con- sideration, we design to tell.
Our Household Words will not be
echoes of the present time alone, but of the past too. Neither will they treat of the hopes, the enterprises, triumphs, joys, ind sorrows, of this country only, bul, in some degree, of those of every nation upon earth. For nothing can be a source of real interest in one of them, without concerning all the rest.
We have considered what an ambition it is to be admitted into many homes with affections and confidence ; to be regarded as a friend by children and old people , to be thought of in afflic- tion and in happiness, to people the sick room with airy shapes 'that give delight and hurt not,' and to be asso- ciated with the harmless laughter and
the gentle tears of many hearths. We know the great responsibility of such a privilege, its vast reward ; the pictures that it conjures up, in hours of solitary labour, of a multitude moved by one sympathy, the solemn hopes which it awakens in the labourer's breast, that he may be free from self-reproach in look- ing back at last upon his work, and that his name may be remembered in his race in time to come, and borne by the dear objects of his love with pride. The hand that writes these faltering lines, happily associated with some Household Words before to-day, has known enough of such experiences to enter in an earnest spirit upon this new task, and with an awakened sense of all that it involves.
Some tillers of the field into which we now come, have beeen before us, and some are here whose high usefulness we readily acknowledge, and whose com- pany it is an honour to join. But, there
are others here-Bastards of the Moun- tain, draggled fringe on the Red Cap, Panders to the basest passions of the lowest natures-"whose existence is a notional reproach. And these, we should consider it our highest service to dis- place.
Thus, we begin our career ! The ad- venturer in the old fairy story, climbing towards the summit of a steep eminence on which the object of his search was stationed, was surrounded by a roar of voices, crying to him, from the stones in the way, to turn back. All the voices we hear, cry Go on ! The stones that call to us have sermons in them, as the trees have tongues, as there are books in the running brooks, as there is good in everything ! They, and the Time, cry out to us Go on ! With a fresh heart, a light step, and a hopeful courage, we begin the journey. The road is not so rough that it need daunt our feet : the way is not so steep that we need stop for breath, and, looking faintly down, be stricken motionless. Go on, is all we hear, Go on ! In n glow already, with the air from yonder height upon us, and the inspiriting voices joining in this ac- clamation, we echo back the cry, and go on cheerily.