As a small boy, Charles Dickens worked in a dark, musty London warehouse, pasting labels onto pots of boot polish. He tried not to listen to his grumbling stomach or the rats squeaking on the stairs. His dream was to escape that misery one day and become a fine, educated gentleman. Through his gift for writing, that day did come for Dickens. But he never forgot what it was like to be poor. He wrote stories about London's lower classes-- tales that made people laugh, cry, and work to improve social conditions.