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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1526
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens (1812–70)
QUOTATION: A prison taint was on everything there. The imprisoned air, the imprisoned light, the imprisoned damps, the imprisoned men, were all deteriorated by confinement. As the captive men were faded and haggard, so the iron was rusty, the stone was slimy, the wood was rotten, the air was faint, the light was dim. Like a well, like a vault, like a tomb, the prison had no knowledge of the brightness outside; and would have kept its polluted atmosphere intact, in one of the spice islands of the Indian Ocean.
ATTRIBUTION: CHARLES DICKENS, Little Dorrit, ed. Harvey P. Sucksmith, book 1, chapter 1, pp. 2, 5 (1979). First published 1855–1857.