A lonely old man in early nineteenth-century London hits upon the idea of inviting acquaintances over to read their manuscripts together. The friends gather one night a week between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and with the formation of their fictional literary club, Charles Dickens launched Master Humphrey's Clock, a weekly periodical that he published from 1840 to 1841. Recounted with the author's customary flair for humor and pathos, the tales range from the confessions of a child murderer and an account of a rebel's secret burial to lighthearted exchanges between a pair of talking statues. This collection marked Dickens' establishment of characters from his forthcoming novels The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge. He also reintroduced popular personalities from The Pickwick Papers, adding Mr. Pickwick, Sam Weller, and Mr. Weller to the narrators. Generations of readers have delighted in the warmth and humanity of these lesser-known tales by a master storyteller.