A bright flash of lightning streamed down and a peal of thunder followed, which shook the crazy building to its centre. “Hear it!” he cried, shrinking back, “Rolling and crashing on as if it echoed through a thousand caverns where the devils were hiding from it!” ~Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, 1837–1839 [a little altered
The clouds were flying fast, the wind was coming up in gusts, banging some neighbouring shutters that had broken loose, twirling the rusty chimney-cowls and weathercocks, and rushing round and round a confined adjacent churchyard as if it had a mind to blow the dead citizens out of their graves. The low thunder, muttering in all quarters of the sky at once, seemed to threaten vengeance for this attempted desecration, and to mutter, “Let them rest! Let them rest!” ~Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, 1855–1857
The heavy rain beat down the tender branches of vine and jessamine, and trampled on them in its fury; and when the lightning gleamed, it showed the tearful leaves shivering and cowering together at the window, and tapping at it urgently, as if beseeching to be sheltered from the dismal night. ~Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1842–1844
Louder and louder the deep thunder rolled, as through the myriad halls of some vast temple in the sky; fiercer and brighter came the lightning; more and more heavily the rain poured down… The eye, partaking of the quickness of the flashing light, saw in its every gleam a multitude of objects which it could not see at steady noon in fifty times that period… in a trembling, vivid, flickering instant, everything was clear and plain: then came a flush of red into the yellow light; a change to blue; a brightness so intense that there was nothing else but light; and then the deepest and profoundest darkness. ~Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1842–1844
It was one of those hot, silent nights, when people sit at windows, listening for the thunder which they know will shortly break; when they recall dismal tales of hurricanes and earthquakes; and of lonely travellers on open plains, and lonely ships at sea struck by lightning. Lightning flashed and quivered on the black horizon even now; and hollow murmurings were in the wind, as though it had been blowing where the thunder rolled, and still was charged with its exhausted echoes… It was very dark; but in the murky sky there were masses of cloud which shone with a lurid light, like monstrous heaps of copper that had been heated in a furnace, and were growing cold. ~Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1842–1844
It had been gradually getting overcast, and now the sky was dark and lowering, save where the glory of the departing sun piled up masses of gold and burning fire, decaying embers of which gleamed here and there through the black veil, and shone redly down upon the earth. The wind began to moan in hollow murmurs, as the sun went down carrying glad day elsewhere; and a train of dull clouds coming up against it, menaced thunder and lightning. Large drops of rain soon began to fall, and, as the storm clouds came sailing onward, others supplied the void they left behind and spread over all the sky. Then was heard the low rumbling of distant thunder, then the lightning quivered, and then the darkness of an hour seemed to have gathered in an instant. ~Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, 1840–1841
The thunder rolled heavily, and the forked lightning seemed to make jagged rents in every part of the vast curtain without… ~Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, 1864–1865
Upon the Saturday we sat here, until we heard thunder muttering in the distance, and felt the large rain-drops rattle through the leaves. The weather had been all the week extremely sultry; but, the storm broke so suddenly. We ran out of the wood and to the keeper’s lodge. We sat watching the storm. It was grand to see how the wind awoke, and bent the trees, and drove the rain before it like a cloud of smoke; and to hear the solemn thunder, and to see the lightning; and, while thinking with awe of the tremendous powers by which our little lives are encompassed, to consider how beneficent they are, and how upon the smallest flower and leaf there was already a freshness poured from all this seeming rage, which seemed to make creation new again. ~Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 1852–1853
They all moved to one of the windows, and looked out into the heavy twilight. The curtains were long and white, and some of the thunder-gusts that whirled into the corner, caught them up to the ceiling, and waved them like spectral wings. “The rain-drops are still falling, large, heavy, and few,” said Doctor Manette. “It comes slowly.”
“It comes surely,” said Carton. They spoke low, as people watching and waiting mostly do; as people in a dark room, watching and waiting for Lightning, always do.
There was a great hurry in the streets, of people speeding away to get shelter before the storm broke. “A multitude of people, and yet a solitude!” said Darnay.
Suddenly there was a rush and roar of rain. A memorable storm of thunder and lightning broke with that sweep of water, and there was not a moment’s interval in crash, and fire, and rain, until after the moon rose at midnight. “What a night it has been! Almost a night,” said Mr. Lorry, “to bring the dead out of their graves.” ~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859 [a little altered
There are times when, the elements being in unusual commotion, those who are bent on daring enterprises, or agitated by great thoughts, whether of good or evil, feel a mysterious sympathy with the tumult of nature, and are roused into corresponding violence. In the midst of thunder, lightning, and storm, many tremendous deeds have been committed; men, self-possessed before, have given a sudden loose to passions they could no longer control. The demons of wrath and despair have striven to emulate those who ride the whirlwind and direct the storm; and man, lashed into madness with the roaring winds and boiling waters, has become for the time as wild and merciless as the elements themselves. ~Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, 1841