The Cricket on the Hearth; a Fairy Tale of Home is a novella by Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
Best read as a fairy tale rather than realistic fiction, Cricket has been criticized for its sentimentality but contemporary readers were attracted to its depiction of the Victorian ideal of the happy home.
John Peerybingle, a carrier, lives with his wife Dot (who is much younger than he), their baby, their nanny Tilly Slowboy, and a mysterious lodger. A cricket constantly chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family, at one point assuming a human voice to warn John that his suspicions that Dot is having an affair with the lodger are wrong.
The life of the Peerybingles frequently intersects with that of Caleb Plummer, a poor toymaker employed by the miser Mr. Tackleton. Caleb has a blind daughter Bertha and a son Edward, who travelled to South America and seemingly never returned.
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