The Cricket on the Hearth - Charles Dickens Dickens at his most melodramatic. The villain is clearly The Villain, all but twirling his mustache to wed the young girl who obviously doesn't love him. There is a heroine thought to have committed a moral crime, a hero wronged, a good/saintly girl with a handicap (blindness), etc. etc. Melodrama in all ways, and because it's a short story we don't get much character development, so we don't really see any of these as complete, three dimensional beings. As in most melodrama, there is indeed a happy ending. So there's that, I suppose.I'd put this down as worth reading only because it's Dickens, if you need a reminder that in some ways he wasn't always better than his contemporary writers. If you find this shockingly dull then I must assure you that there is a LOT of this sort of short story filling up various magazines of the times. They're not reprinted for a reason (the dullness/predictability), and you get the sense that most authors churned this sort of thing out to pay the bills.