This echoes a plot detail in Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), in which Fanny Squeers, the daughter of the schoolmaster, falls unrequitedly in love with the protagonist.
Charles Dickens was a tireless crusader for the rights of children, and he campaigned for humane, quality education. He exposed the practises of some of the harshest schools through satire. Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839) was just one example.
According to Dickens’ descendent, Lucinda Hawksley, Dickens did much to effect practical change in the schooling system, and even managed to precipitate the closure of a number of schools in Yorkshire.
It is The Speaker's role to bring order to often loud and unruly debates between opposing politicans in the British Parliament's lower chamber. For the speaker to become giddy, the uproar would have to be especially fierce.
Alms houses provided charitable housing for the elderly poor. They were established in Britain in the 10th century. They still exist, albeit in altered form.