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The Pickwick Papers > Pickwick Papers. Chapters 33 - 34

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message 1: by Peter (last edited Mar 24, 2018 10:23AM) (new)

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Chapter 33

Hello Fellow Curiosities

For those of us who have waited for the delightful duo of father and son Weller to reappear here they are. I must say this was, to me, the funniest chapter to date. We get Wellerisms, Sam becomes a poet (?), some Valentine hi jinx, Mr Weller senior exacts his revenge on the red-nosed evangelical, and a Dickensian nod to his own secret past and youth. Buckle up, here we go.

We open the chapter on February 13, the day before the day of love is celebrated. For Pickwick, however, not so much, as his court date with Mrs Bardell falls on Valentine’s day, which takes a bit of the blush off the rose, doesn’t it? He is understandably nervous and spends much of the 13th worrying his attorney with notes and questions. It’s hard to wait for the future, be it promising or potentially disruptive. The opening lines also remind us again of the fact that this novel is an “authentic narrative.” A small, young boy enters the George and Vulture looking for Sam with a message from his father. Dad wants to see his son at the Blue Boar. Don’t you love the names of all the public houses?

Sam gets permission from Mr Pickwick to see his father and off he goes, only to notice what we would call today a Valentine’s card. Next, we find Sam buying some materials from a stationer’s shop. Arriving at the Blue Boar Sam learns that his father will not be back for about 45 minutes and so out comes the art supplies. With great preparation and a mixture of flourish and creativity, Sam settles in on the task of creating a Valentine’s card. Father Weller arrives, and both set to the task of composing the Valentine’s card. I think it fair to say that the intended recipient of the card, a person named Mary, who we briefly met in Ipswich, will never have received such a collaborative Valentine’s card in her life. Superstition dictated that one should never sign such a card with your own name and so the card is signed with the phrase “Your love-sick/Pickwick.” Sam knows a good rhyme. At this point Sam prepares the letter for mailing. It should be noted here that we see the process of writing, and creating an envelope that was discussed earlier.

Thoughts


We have the suggestion that another character may be entering the sphere of Mr. Pickwick and the novel. Love is always in the air with this book. Why might that be?

Weller senior is not a big fan of poetry. In fact, he calls poetry “unnat’ral.” He claims that no man has ever talked poetry “ ‘cept a beadle on ‘boxin day, or at Warren’s blackin.” Here is a reference to the place where Dickens laboured while his family was in jail. I find it interesting how it appears so subtlety. A psychological question for you. Why would Dickens choose such a place from his past and make it a part of our longer narrative? We should keep our eyes open for other occasions when Dickens adds references to his own life.



Weller senior offers us a Wellerism. Here it is: “it’ll be a wery agonizin’ trial to me at my time of life, but I’m pretty tough, that’s vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked wen the farmer said he was adeed he should be obliged to kill him for the London market.” There are other Wellerisms ... happy hunting, and please share them with us.

Next, the Wellers’ turn their attention to Pickwick’s trial. Father Weller’s advice is “never mind the character, and stick to the alleybi.” Mr Weller offers some of his friends to provide an “alleybi” if needed. A second bit of business is raised. Mr Weller also wants to revenge the Red-nosed man who occupies so much of his wife’s time. It just so happens that Sam’s father has two tickets to a temperance meeting tonight where Stiggins will be speaking. This should be fun.

At the Temperance meeting we are treated to a conversation between Weller son and father. Through their eyes we see the confusion, hypocrisy, and sham of the Temperance movement. In a few paragraphs we get to meet a curious bunch of lower and middle class humanity, all of whom are given delightful quirks of personality, occupation, and physical appearance by Dickens. Such passages certainly demonstrate Dickens’s ability to create a host of memorable minor characters. What they have in common is a love of drinking. Dickens is known for many things, but his creation of unique minor characters that delight the reader is high on my list. Each of his minor characters help create a mosaic of interest and colour in the novels.


Thoughts

There are over 300 characters who make an appearance in PP. To what extent would the episodic novel be a good platform for such a high number of characters?

Since there are so many characters, do you think this novel is over-loaded with characters?


Brother Stiggins, Mr Weller senior’s nemesis from the Dorking branch of the Temperance Society, is introduced. He appears to the delighted crowd and looks at them with “a wild eye, and a fixed smile.” But let’s not forget Stiggins’s red nose and seemingly unquenchable thirst. Stiggins gets a bit belligerent with a Mr Humm of the Temperance association. Stiggins is drunk. He begins to berate people around him, claims others are drunk, and ends up striking Brother Tadger off a ladder. This leads to mass confusion, ladies screaming, and even the lights “were quickly put out, and nothing but noise and confusion resounded on all sides.” Mr Weller senior directs Sam to fetch the watchman. Then Weller senior wades into the brawl and delivers “a preliminary tap on the head” to Stiggins. What a fight, what a way to extract revenge on someone and, most of all, what a way to make your reader’s laugh at the spectacle of the Temperance Hall fight! The physical descriptions of each character, the crispness of the observations, and the swarming of the crowd add up to another chapter of reading pleasure.

Thoughts

This chapter relies on the reader to use their imagination a great deal. Great instances of visual humour blend with cleverly drawn characters and settings. Combined, the chapter takes on a life of its own. There does seem to be the rumblings of a coherent plot occurring.
What specific techniques do you find most enjoyable, memorable, annoying?


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Chapter 34

Dickens moves his readers quickly from the drunken brawl at the Temperance Hall to the courthouse. It is tempting to compare the two locations and their similarities and differences. I can’t help but think that such locations were under a Dickensian magnifying glass from his early days working in a lawyer’s office and then his job as a court reporter. Such locations would have provided many situations and presented many different people for Dickens’s vivid imagination. When you think about it, his Sketches By Boz are profiles of places, people, and situations. I wonder if Dickens and Henry Mayhew spent much time together?

You can’t escape food in this novel. The chapter begins with Mr Snodgrass wondering what the foreman in Pickwick’s court appearance had for breakfast. It seems that many
people owe their freedom to what I will call “the stomach court.” We read that if a verdict on a case has not been delivered as dinner approached, a juror’s stomach will take the upper hand and rule the juror’s mind. As Pickwick acclimatizes himself to the court, readers follow his eyes, his emotions, and his worries as he looks about the room. The lawyers parade into the court and we are set for jury selection. The first potential juror is called. Of course, he does not want to be away from his day job. Then next man is a chemist who also wants to dismissed. An interesting exchange occurs between the judge and the chemist. The Judge carries his point. The rule of law, because of its its power and prestige, wins the day. Once I was called for jury duty and can attest to the vast creativity of excuses that were presented to the judge from various potential jurors attempting to avoid their duty. Twice I was called to be a juror in a case before the court, and twice I was rejected, once by the crown and once by the defence. So much for my civic duty.

Thoughts


Can you look under the presented structure of this novel and feel or see how Dickens is enhancing his comments and thus projecting his own personal feelings into this narrative about the court system?


Next, in comes Mrs Bardell. She puts on a stoic face which grasps the attention of those in court. Poor Pickwick, he is definitely out of his element. Mrs Bardell gathers sympathy for her position with a few gestures and feints. We read that at one point that Mrs Bardell kissed her son “in a frantic manner [and then relapsed] into the state of hysterical imbecility.” Nothing like playing to the jurors unless, of course, these actions are the true nature of Mrs Bardell, which would explain why Mr Pickwick is in the courthouse in the first place. Even Pickwick’s lawyer is impressed by her demeanour and comments. And so the facts from Mrs Bardell begin to spill out. Sergeant Buzfuz spins a tale of woe. Mrs Bardell is a widow, her husband dead because he was hit on the head with a quart-pot in a public house cellar. How Mrs Bardell advertised for “a single gentleman.” Mr Pickwick responded to the advertisement. Buzfuz depicts Pickwick as a systematic villain. Buzfuz then informs the court that Pickwick once patted Mrs Bardell’s son on the head and asked her son if he liked playing marbles. The horror! Next the court is told that Pickwick would be absent from his lodgings for long periods of time because he intended to break off from Mrs Bardell. Then the court is told that once Pickwick offered marriage to Mrs Bardell. To clinch this last accusation against Pickwick the court is told that once Pickwick was seen by his old friends holding Mrs Bardell in his arms. A solid case of circumstantial evidence and nonsense. How often does the appearance of some person or action mask a different reality? Play to the crowd could be Mrs Bardell’s plan; worse, is she really like she is portrayed in this chapter?

More is revealed. There appears to be two letters that prove Pickwick loved Bardell. The first letter simply says “Dear Mrs B- Chops and Tomato sauce. Yours, Pickwick.” Here we must pause and think to our own times. It appears that anything can be construed at anytime by anyone, to mean anything. Is it not a habit of most lawyers to make mountains out of molehills? Buzfuz’s name certainly lives up ... or is it down ... to his opening remarks? More bizarre assertions are put forth. Next in the witness box is a Mrs Cluppins who says that she heard the sounds of voices of Mr Pickwick and Mrs Bardell in the front room.

Next, Mr Winkle is examined by Mr Skimpton. Here, Dickens has an amusing interaction between Winkle and the judge. Indeed, the entire courtroom seems to lurch about with a confused little judge, witnesses who are naive, humorous, or quirky, and lawyers whose ideas and skills flame and then falter into little vignettes of character confusion.

Our friend Mr Winkle certainly does not help Pickwick when he tells the court that Mr Pickwick had once been “found in a lady’s sleeping apartment at midnight; which had terminated, he believed, in the breaking off of the projected marriage of the lady in question.” I also thought back a few chapters to where Pickwick was located inside a walled garden at midnight in the inner courtyard of a girl’s school. Is our Pickwick an aging Lothario?

Thoughts

All these midnight adventures with unsuspecting females is certainly akin to a French farce. Curling papers, girls peeking out of doors, Pickwick peering out from behind bed curtains are delightful visual bits of writing. Why and how is it that midnight rambles and innocent miscues on Pickwick’s part sustain their lightness of tone and humour rather than become, in any way, more murky in tone?


Sam Weller is also called to testify. Dickens again resorts to using a play on the pronunciation of “V’s” and “W’s”. From the gallery of the courtroom we hear a mysterious voice cheering Sam on. Amid all the flurry of events in the court, Sam, “perfectly calm and serene,” testifies, or, more accurately, fences with Mrs Bardell’s lawyer. Sam manages to get Buzfuz completely rattled. In frustration, Buzfuz comments that it is impossible to get any information from Sam because of his “impenetrable stupidity.” Sam wins his day in court; sadly, however, Sam cannot save Pickwick from the jury’s verdict of finding for the plaintiff. Poor Pickwick. Both figuratively and literally. £750!

As the chapter draws to a close we see Pickwick telling the firm of Dodson and Fogg that “you may try, and try again ... but not one farthing of costs or damages do you ever get from me, if I spend the rest of my days existence in a debtors prison.”


Thoughts

There are several incidences so far in the novel where we see a flash of anger from Mr. Pickwick. In this chapter we see him defying the law. Most of the time, however, we see him as a benevolent gentleman. To create a good character, to what extent is it necessary for an author to show both their weaknesses as well as their strengths?

With his refusal to pay the fine what would you project to be the next area of focus in the adventures of Mr. Pickwick?

This chapter is yet another of the chapters I would characterize as perfectly suited for the theatre. What theatrical elements did you find?

For those readers who are interested in how Dickens often would reflect the events of the day in a fictional form in a novel, and thus give the novel a more immediate feel, the Bardell letters reflected the court case of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and Caroline Norton. Like the Pickwick letters to Mrs Bardell, the Melbourne-Norton letters were empty of any romantic suggestion. In the novel’s case, however, Pickwick is found guilty. Melbourne was found innocent. The public would have enjoyed reading the parody, even if the public would have wished Pickwick to be found innocent as well.

We have read about half of The Pickwick Papers. If you were casting the novel for a theatrical production who would you select for Pickwick, Sam, Mrs Bardell and other characters?


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The particular picture upon which Sam Weller's eyes were fixed.

Chapter 33

Thomas Nast - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

As he was sauntering away his spare time, and stopped to look at almost every object that met his gaze, it is by no means surprising that Mr. Weller should have paused before a small stationer's and print-seller's window; but without further explanation it does appear surprising that his eyes should have no sooner rested on certain pictures which were exposed for sale therein, than he gave a sudden start, smote his right leg with great vehemence, and exclaimed, with energy, "If it hadn't been for this, I should ha' forgot all about it, till it was too late!"

The particular picture on which Sam Weller's eyes were fixed, as he said this, was a highly-coloured representation of a couple of human hearts skewered together with an arrow, cooking before a cheerful fire, while a male and female cannibal in modern attire, the gentleman being clad in a blue coat and white trousers, and the lady in a deep red pelisse with a parasol of the same, were approaching the meal with hungry eyes, up a serpentine gravel path leading thereunto. [Chapter 33]


Commentary:

A magnificent townhouse — perhaps the Lord Mayor's residence, Mansion House — across the way contrasts the beggars in front and the sign "Good beds" above the window of the stationer's shop, into which Sam (recognisable by his waistcoat) gazes, as a nautical personage (if one may judge from the Sou'wester) looks both at the Valentines in the window and at Sam. The respectable, middle-class couple who have just passed the shop are echoed in the boy and girl (her arm about his shoulder) who are also gazing into the shop window — her poke bonnet is identical to that of the woman moving up the street with her husband. These contrasting figures of romance, the married couple and the boy and girl, achieve the same effect as Phiz's juxtaposing "The Trial" (Feb. 1837) and "The Valentine" (Feb. 1837). A noteworthy detail interpolated by Nast without textual authority is a caricature of Pickwick as a penguin (right), an odd figure to grace the cover of a Valentine indeed. Of Nast's other Valentine's the only one decipherable is the skewered heart immediately above the girl's head.


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The Valentine

Chapter 33

Phiz - 1837

Text Illustrated:

‘Vell, Sammy,’ said the father.

‘Vell, my Prooshan Blue,’ responded the son, laying down his pen. ‘What’s the last bulletin about mother-in-law?’

‘Mrs. Veller passed a very good night, but is uncommon perwerse, and unpleasant this mornin’. Signed upon oath, Tony Veller, Esquire. That’s the last vun as was issued, Sammy,’ replied Mr. Weller, untying his shawl.

‘No better yet?’ inquired Sam.

‘All the symptoms aggerawated,’ replied Mr. Weller, shaking his head. ‘But wot’s that, you’re a-doin’ of? Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, Sammy?’

‘I’ve done now,’ said Sam, with slight embarrassment; ‘I’ve been a-writin’.’

‘So I see,’ replied Mr. Weller. ‘Not to any young ‘ooman, I hope, Sammy?’

‘Why, it’s no use a-sayin’ it ain’t,’ replied Sam; ‘it’s a walentine.’

‘A what!’ exclaimed Mr. Weller, apparently horror-stricken by the word.

‘A walentine,’ replied Sam.

‘Samivel, Samivel,’ said Mr. Weller, in reproachful accents, ‘I didn’t think you’d ha’ done it. Arter the warnin’ you’ve had o’ your father’s wicious propensities; arter all I’ve said to you upon this here wery subject; arter actiwally seein’ and bein’ in the company o’ your own mother-in-law, vich I should ha’ thought wos a moral lesson as no man could never ha’ forgotten to his dyin’ day! I didn’t think you’d ha’ done it, Sammy, I didn’t think you’d ha’ done it!’ These reflections were too much for the good old man. He raised Sam’s tumbler to his lips and drank off its contents.

‘Wot’s the matter now?’ said Sam.

‘Nev’r mind, Sammy,’ replied Mr. Weller, ‘it’ll be a wery agonisin’ trial to me at my time of life, but I’m pretty tough, that’s vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked wen the farmer said he wos afeerd he should be obliged to kill him for the London market.’

‘Wot’ll be a trial?’ inquired Sam.

"To see you married, Sammy — to see you a dilluded wictim, and thinkin' in your innocence that it's all wery capital," replied Mr. Weller. "It's a dreadful trial to a father's feelin's, that 'ere, Sammy —"

"Nonsense," said Sam. "I ain't a-goin' to get married, don't you fret yourself about that; I know you're a judge of these things. Order in your pipe and I'll read you the letter. There!"

We cannot distinctly say whether it was the prospect of the pipe, or the consolatory reflection that a fatal disposition to get married ran in the family, and couldn't be helped, which calmed Mr. Weller's feelings, and caused his grief to subside. We should be rather disposed to say that the result was attained by combining the two sources of consolation, for he repeated the second in a low tone, very frequently; ringing the bell meanwhile, to order in the first. He then divested himself of his upper coat; and lighting the pipe and placing himself in front of the fire with his back towards it, so that he could feel its full heat, and recline against the mantel-piece at the same time, turned towards Sam, and, with a countenance greatly mollified by the softening influence of tobacco, requested him to "fire away."

Sam dipped his pen into the ink to be ready for any corrections, and began with a very theatrical air — "Lovely —"



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With a countenance greatly mollified by the softening influence of tobacco, requested him to "fire away."

Chapter 33

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Commentary:

Of the thirty engravings from the original 1836-37 monthly serialisation of The Pickwick Papers that Phiz elected to redraft for the Chapman and Hall 1873-74 re-publication of the novel in the new Household Edition, the most faithful to the original engraving is "The Valentine" (March 1837). As usual with the new edition, Phiz has re-captioned it with a quotation to underscore the precise moment illustrated, but the juxtaposition of the characters and the principal elements of the setting — the parlour of the Blue Boar in the vicinity of Mansion House (which Nast has worked into the background of his illustration for ch. 33) — are largely unchanged. However, Phiz, with his fondness for a pretty female face and form, has introduced the barmaid who delivers Tony Weller's usual beverage ("a double glass of the inwariable"), even through the quotation points to a moment after she has delivered his "inwariable" and left the room. Significantly, Tony Weller is less corpulent and less a caricature in the 1873 revision, the face and form of Sam Weller are more mature and less diminutive, and the clutter on the mantelpiece has been replaced by a tidy arrangement of public-house memorabilia. Thus, in 1873, Phiz transformed his earlier Regency cartoon for Valentine's Day (actually 13 February 1831, ironically the day immediately preceding the momentous breach-of-promise trial of Bardell vs. Pickwick.

Passage Realised in the Two Phiz Illustrations

‘Vell, Sammy,’ said the father.

‘Vell, my Prooshan Blue,’ responded the son, laying down his pen. ‘What’s the last bulletin about mother-in-law?’

‘Mrs. Veller passed a very good night, but is uncommon perwerse, and unpleasant this mornin’. Signed upon oath, Tony Veller, Esquire. That’s the last vun as was issued, Sammy,’ replied Mr. Weller, untying his shawl.

‘No better yet?’ inquired Sam.

‘All the symptoms aggerawated,’ replied Mr. Weller, shaking his head. ‘But wot’s that, you’re a-doin’ of? Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, Sammy?’

‘I’ve done now,’ said Sam, with slight embarrassment; ‘I’ve been a-writin’.’

‘So I see,’ replied Mr. Weller. ‘Not to any young ‘ooman, I hope, Sammy?’

‘Why, it’s no use a-sayin’ it ain’t,’ replied Sam; ‘it’s a walentine.’

‘A what!’ exclaimed Mr. Weller, apparently horror-stricken by the word.

‘A walentine,’ replied Sam.

‘Samivel, Samivel,’ said Mr. Weller, in reproachful accents, ‘I didn’t think you’d ha’ done it. Arter the warnin’ you’ve had o’ your father’s wicious propensities; arter all I’ve said to you upon this here wery subject; arter actiwally seein’ and bein’ in the company o’ your own mother-in-law, vich I should ha’ thought wos a moral lesson as no man could never ha’ forgotten to his dyin’ day! I didn’t think you’d ha’ done it, Sammy, I didn’t think you’d ha’ done it!’ These reflections were too much for the good old man. He raised Sam’s tumbler to his lips and drank off its contents.

‘Wot’s the matter now?’ said Sam.

‘Nev’r mind, Sammy,’ replied Mr. Weller, ‘it’ll be a wery agonisin’ trial to me at my time of life, but I’m pretty tough, that’s vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked wen the farmer said he wos afeerd he should be obliged to kill him for the London market.’

‘Wot’ll be a trial?’ inquired Sam.

"To see you married, Sammy — to see you a dilluded wictim, and thinkin' in your innocence that it's all wery capital," replied Mr. Weller. "It's a dreadful trial to a father's feelin's, that 'ere, Sammy —"

"Nonsense," said Sam. "I ain't a-goin' to get married, don't you fret yourself about that; I know you're a judge of these things. Order in your pipe and I'll read you the letter. There!"

We cannot distinctly say whether it was the prospect of the pipe, or the consolatory reflection that a fatal disposition to get married ran in the family, and couldn't be helped, which calmed Mr. Weller's feelings, and caused his grief to subside. We should be rather disposed to say that the result was attained by combining the two sources of consolation, for he repeated the second in a low tone, very frequently; ringing the bell meanwhile, to order in the first. He then divested himself of his upper coat; and lighting the pipe and placing himself in front of the fire with his back towards it, so that he could feel its full heat, and recline against the mantel-piece at the same time, turned towards Sam, and, with a countenance greatly mollified by the softening influence of tobacco, requested him to "fire away."

Sam dipped his pen into the ink to be ready for any corrections, and began with a very theatrical air — "Lovely —"



In the original engraving, Phiz exaggerates Tony Weller's stomach (producing a pear-shaped figure that completely blocks the fireplace from the reader's view), rendered Sam (left) a mere homunculus, and had a cat and Tony Weller's coachman's greatcoat occupy the small chair (right), devoting much of his attention and the reader's to the objects on the mantel and the paintings above it: The signs "Guiness Dublin Stout" (centre) and "Cider" (left) complement the tankards, and the various horse-racing and coaching pictures suggest an atmosphere at once "of the turf" and masculine. But Michael Steig sees significance not so much in these background details as in parallels between this illustration and "The Trial" because he interprets the writer's and the illustrator's intention to counterpoint the implications of romance for Pickwick in the latter illustration and his servant in the former, for, as befits their differing ages and social classes, they celebrate Valentine's Day with a distinct difference:

With increasing frequency as the novel advances, Dickens deals with various parallels and antitheses: comic, moral, sentimental, social, and institutional. Thus, the semi-illiterate coachman Tony Weller can give the genteel Pickwick advice about widows based on his own folly and consequent experience. And in "The Valentine" (ch. 33), and "The Trial" (ch. 34) these implicit parallels can be actively "read." The central link between chapters 33 and 34 is a love letter. As a tenant, Pickwick has written innocent notes to Mrs. Bardell which are interpreted through a barrister's (Mr. Buzfuz's) allegory of innuendo to read as though they were love letters. Sam here, as elsewhere in the novel, parodies his master, when, inspired by a comically allegorical valentine in a shop window, he writes a declaration of love to Mary the housemaid. To stress the parallel, Dickens has Sam sign his letter, "Your love-sick/Pickwick", a comment upon the ridiculous position in which Pickwick has found himself with Mrs. Bardell. Once this parallel is recognized, the similar composition in the two etchings suddenly becomes visible.

Although the second etching has many characters, it is, as much as the first, based upon a simple spatial relationship between a central, standing, admonitory figure and, on the left, the object of his exhortations. Sam, writing his letter, receives advice from his father, who gestures with his right hand to support his arguments; in the other illustration, Serjeant Buzfuz holds the "love letter," but he too gestures — toward Pickwick — with his right hand, and though Pickwick's expression is totally different from Sam's, he holds his arms in a similar position. Taken together, these two plates stress the thematic counterpoint of Sam and Pickwick which occurs throughout the novel from the cockney's first appearance: Sam relates to his father with a balanced mixture of love, respect, and independence, and he is invulnerable to the depredations of law, society, or women; Pickwick, having no father, and not fatherly himself is vulnerable to women and the law. [Dickens and Phiz, 34-35]


The clutter above the mantelpiece is resolved into clear images, although in the 1873 woodcut the tops of the pictures are cut off and we see the door to the right that was not revealed in the March 1837 engraving. The cat remains on his chair, and evidently Tony's outer coat (no longer clearly recognizable as such) has been draped over it; more significantly, perhaps, the scene's principal source of light (the fire immediately behind Tony) is not blazing with such intensity as in the 1837 engraving, implying that Sam is in much better control of his emotions and his indicting of the romantic epistle than his hapless master. In the engraving, an adolescent Sam holds up his sheet, and scratches his ear, as if uncertain of the effect of what he has written; in contrast, in the woodcut, a mature Sam (with much the same haircut) seems much more confident about the quality of his epistle. The presence of the attractive "young lady who superintended the domestic arrangements of the Blue Boar" counterpoints Sam's protestation that he has no intention to marry and the less romantic view of sexual relations encapsulated in Tony Weller's down-to-earth observations about his wife, and about the possibility of his son's marrying. Curiously, Phiz chose to retain the fireplace as a backdrop, even though the text specifies that "Sam Weller sat himself down in a box near the stove".


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"Meeting of the Lane Branch of U. G. J. E. T. A."

Chapter 33

Sol Eytinge Jr.

1867

Commentary:

Perhaps owing to personal skepticism about the temperance movement in the United States in the Reconstruction Period — or perhaps simply out of the conviction that Dickens had provided an excellent opportunity for satire, Eytinge has elected to realize a textual moment rather than, as is the case with most of his illustrations, simply describe a pair of characters. The subject is once again the hypocritical Stiggins, whom Sam and Tony Weller contrive to unmask in front of the main Branch of the United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association in chapter 33, with the picture opposite the text realised:

"My friends," said Mr. Humm, holding up his hand in a deprecatory manner, to bespeak the silence of such of the stout old ladies as were yet a line or two behind, — "my friends, a delegate from the Dorking Branch of our society, Brother Stiggins, attends below."

Out came the pocket-handkerchiefs again, in greater force than ever; for Mr. Stiggins was excessively popular among the female constituency of Brick Lane.

"He may approach, I think," said Mr. Humm, looking round him, with a fat smile. "Brother Tadger, let him come forth and greet us."

The little man in the drab shorts who answered to the name of Brother Tadger, bustled down the ladder with great speed, and was immediately afterwards heard tumbling up with the Reverend Mr. Stiggins.

"He's a-comin', Sammy," whispered Mr. Weller, purple in the countenance with suppressed laughter.

"Don't say nothin' to me," replied Sam, "for I can't bear it. He's close to the door. I hear him a-knockin' his head again the lath and plaster now."

As Sam Weller spoke, the little door flew open, and Brother Tadger appeared, closely followed by the Reverend Mr. Stiggins, who no sooner entered, than there was a great clapping of hands, and stamping of feet, and flourishing of handkerchiefs; to all of which manifestations of delight, Brother Stiggins returned no other acknowledgment than staring with a wild eye, and a fixed smile, at the extreme top of the wick of the candle on the table, swaying his body to and fro, meanwhile, in a very unsteady and uncertain manner.

"Are you unwell, Brother Stiggins?" whispered Mr. Anthony Humm.

"I am all right, Sir,' replied Mr. Stiggins, in a tone in which ferocity was blended with an extreme thickness of utterance, — "I am all right, sir."

"Oh, very well," rejoined Mr. Anthony Humm, retreating a few paces.

"I believe no man here has ventured to say that I am not all right, sir?" said Mr. Stiggins.

"Oh, certainly not," said Mr. Humm.

"I should advise him not to, sir, — I should advise him not," said Mr. Stiggins.

By this time the audience were perfectly silent, and waited with some anxiety for the resumption of business.

"Will you address the meeting, brother?" said Mr. Humm, with a smile of invitation.

"No, sir," rejoined Mr. Stiggins; "No, sir. I will not, sir."

The meeting looked at each other with raised eyelids; and a murmur of astonishment ran through the room.

"It's my opinion, sir," said Mr. Stiggins, unbuttoning his coat, and speaking very loudly, — "it's my opinion, sir, that this meeting is drunk, sir. Brother Tadger, sir!" said Mr. Stiggins, suddenly increasing in ferocity, and turning sharp round on the little man in the drab shorts, "you are drunk, sir!"


Although Eytinge has abbreviated the association's title, he has otherwise realized the text faithfully, with the skeletal Stiggins balancing himself by placing his left hand on the table, next to the candle (all the illumination the congregation can afford) as the Association's worthies — Mr. Anthony Humm (center right) and Brother Tadger (up center) and the rest of the congregation (largely female) watch. He does not include the Wellers since it is their perspective he gives us of the proceedings of the "Ebenezer," a term then denoting a working-class, Nonconformist congregation.


message 7: by Kim (new)

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Brother Tadger, Sir, said Mr. Stiggins, suddenly increasing in ferocity, and turning sharp round on the little man in drab shorts, 'You are drunk, sir.'"

Chapter 33

T. Onwhyn and Sam Weller

The Pickwick Illustrations 1837


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The Trial

Chapter 34

Phiz 1837

Commentary:

The episodic novel now develops into the semblance of a plot as the picaresque hero of the various adventures of his "club," Mr. Pickwick, faces his accuser, Mrs. Martha Bardell, in court on the charge of "breach of promise." In the comic libretto for Trial by Jury (March 1875), W. S. Gilbert satirizes this same situation, undoubtedly inspired by Dickens's handling of this peculiarly Victorian charge, prosecuted by the bombastic Buzfuz (whom Dickens based upon an actual barrister, Charles Carpenter Bompas, a Sergeant-at-Law, one of the most eminent advocates of his day, and leader of the Western Circuit).

Breach of Promise: Until 1970 women could, and did, take men to court for breaking off engagements. A contract to marry was as binding in law as any other contract, and therefore the party who broke it was liable for damages. The most famous action for breach of promise in Victorian literature was, of course, that brought by Mrs. Bardell against Mr. Pickwick in Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers.

Whereas in the operetta at the Royalty Theatre, staged three hundred times in its initial two-year run, Gilbert's pallid young guitarist, Edwin, escapes the consequences of this fatuous law, Dickens's elderly Pickwick, found guilty, refuses to pay his fine of seven hundred and fifty pounds in damages, and is sent to prison. The passage from the trial of Bardell v. Pickwick — ironically staged on St. Valentine's Day — thus realized is this:

Serjeant Buzfuz, who had proceeded with such volubility that his face was perfectly crimson, here paused for breath. The silence awoke Mr. Justice Stareleigh, who immediately wrote down something with a pen without any ink in it, and looked unusually profound, to impress the jury with the belief that he always thought most deeply with his eyes shut. Serjeant Buzfuz proceeded —

"Of this man Pickwick I will say little; the subject presents but few attractions; and I, gentlemen, am not the man, nor are you, gentlemen, the men, to delight in the contemplation of revolting heartlessness, and of systematic villainy."

Here Mr. Pickwick, who had been writhing in silence for some time, gave a violent start, as if some vague idea of assaulting [the prosecuting attorney] Serjeant Buzfuz, in the august presence of justice and law, suggested itself to his mind. An admonitory gesture from [Pickwick's solicitor] Perker restrained him, and he listened to the learned gentleman's continuation with a look of indignation, which contrasted forcibly with the admiring faces of Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders. [chapter 34]


And here are those details I'm supposed to be pointing out to you:


The indignant defendant


The smug plaintiff


The eloquent forensic orator, Serjeant Buzfuz


The inattentive bewigged attorneys


The amiable, astute little solicitor, Perker


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An admonitory gesture from Perker restrained him, and he listened to the learned gentleman's continuation with a look of indignation

Chapter 34

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Commentary:

"The Trial," one of the most famous scenes in the original series, Phiz re-captions "An admonitory gesture from Perker restrained him, and he listened to the learnéd gentleman's continuation with a look of indignation" to suggest that Phiz is emphasising the importance of Pickwick's attorney, Perker, the small man just left of centre in the original and the 1873 revision, who counsels a startled Pickwick (in the original, an indignant Pickwick) to hold his tongue, even though so egregiously provoked by Sergeant Bozfuz's characterisation of him as a picture of "revolting heartlessness, and of systematic villainy" (ch. 34, p. 236 in the Household Edition). In this thirty-fourth Household Edition woodcut and in the original, "The Trial" (March 1837), Phiz illustrates Sergeant Buzfuz's trying Pickwick's patience and temper by denigrating the retired merchant as a "serpent" and seducer of widows, although in neither is Mrs. Bardell either remotely attractive or sympathetic.

In each Phiz illustration, Mr. Perker (his attorney's blue bag under his seat on the bench) counsels Pickwick to restrain himself and say nothing. In the 1837 engraving Perker wags his finger at his client; in the 1873 woodcut he is less reproving, touching Pickwick on the arm and putting his left index finger to his lips to signify silence as the better recourse to indignant correction of the baseless accusations. However, despite close similarities between the two Phiz compositions (particularly with respect to the disposition and poses of the various characters, and the total lack of interest shown by most of the attorney) in the 1873 revision, Perker has grown a little in stature and the number of supporting lawyers in the background behind Buzfuz's row has shrunk from twenty to ten, although the number of spectators in the students' box (upper left) has actually grown from ten to twelve, even though the 1873 version does not show the backdrop of columns and ceiling in the London Guildhall. Out of respect for the authority of the Court of Common Pleas, those such as Perker and Pickwick (unlike the be-wigged barristers) remove their hats and place them either on the bench or on the floor (as Dickens specifies for Sam Weller's hat later). The moment realised by both "Trial" illustrations is this:

"Of this man Pickwick I will say little; the subject presents but few attractions; and I, gentlemen, am not the man, nor are you, gentlemen, the men, to delight in the contemplation of revolting heartlessness, and of systematic villainy."

Here Mr. Pickwick, who had been writhing in silence for some time, gave a violent start, as if some vague idea of assaulting Sergeant Buzfuz, in the august presence of justice and law, suggested itself to his mind. An admonitory gesture from Perker restrained him, and he listened to the learned gentleman's continuation with a look of indignation, which contrasted forcibly with the admiring faces of Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders.

"I say systematic villainy, gentlemen," said Sergeant Buzfuz, looking through Mr. Pickwick, and talking at him; "and when I say systematic villainy, let me tell the defendant Pickwick, if he be in court, as I am informed he is, that it would have been more decent in him, more becoming, in better judgment, and in better taste, if he had stopped away. Let me tell him, gentlemen, that any gestures of dissent or disapprobation in which he may indulge in this court will not go down with you; that you will know how to value and how to appreciate them; and let me tell him further, as my Lord will tell you, gentlemen, that a counsel, in the discharge of his duty to his client, is neither to be intimidated nor bullied, nor put down; and that any attempt to do either the one or the other, or the first, or the last, will recoil on the head of the attempter, be he plaintiff or be he defendant, be his name Pickwick, or Noakes, or Stoakes, or Stiles, or Brown, or Thompson."



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No, I don't, my Lord," replied Sam, staring right up into the lantern in the roof of the court.

Chapter 34

Thomas Nast - 1874 Household Edition

Commentary:

The passage which Thomas Nast across the Atlantic chose for realization occurs a little later, when, after Mr. Winkle and Mrs. Cluppins have testified, Sam Weller takes the stand to give evidence regarding the fainting of Mrs. Bardell in Mr. Pickwick's arms. To the modern reader, especially given the precedent of "The Trial" engraving in the original serial program, the choice of Sam as the subject may seem problematic. However, in Dickens's American readings of 1867-68, the very mention of Sam's name caused his audiences to erupt into applause, so beloved was the irrepressible Cockney to Dickens's American followers. Perhaps, then, Nast in choosing Sam Weller's testimony to epitomize the trial visually was recalling the response of contemporary audiences just six years earlier (when Dickens, impersonating Sergeant Buzfuz, intoned, "Call Samuel Weller.") and recounted in the Nation for 12 December 1867 for Dickens's first New York reading in the second tour. Questioned by the Judge as to the spelling of "Weller," since Sam uses the Cockney pronunciation of "V" for "W," Sam indicates it is spelled with a "V," when his father, somewhere at the back of the courtroom, cries out:

Here a voice in the gallery exclaimed aloud, "Quite right too, Samivel, quite right. Put it down a 'we,' Lord, put it down a 'we'."

Who is that, who dares address the court?’ said the little judge, looking up. "Usher."

"Yes, my Lord."

Bring that person here instantly."

"Yes, my Lord."

But as the usher didn’t find the person, he didn’t bring him; and, after a great commotion, all the people who had got up to look for the culprit, sat down again. The little judge turned to the witness as soon as his indignation would allow him to speak, and said —

"Do you know who that was, sir?"

"I rayther suspect it was my father, my lord," replied Sam.

"Do you see him here now?" said the judge.

"No, I don't, my Lord," replied Sam, staring right up into the lantern at the roof of the court.

"If you could have pointed him out, I would have committed him instantly," said the judge. Sam bowed his acknowledgments and turned, with unimpaired cheerfulness of countenance, towards Sergeant Buzfuz.


Rather than looking "remarkably cheerful and lively", Sam plays his role in Nast's full-page illustration without breaking into a smile as he facetiously looks up to see where his father might be; strictly, Sam is telling the truth, for looking up into the Guildhall's lantern he cannot "see" his father in the students' section, and therefore the Judge cannot commit Tony Weller for contempt of court. Sam's striped waistcoat renders him almost as instantly recognizable as Pickwick with his characteristic baldness, stoutness, white waistcoat, and inevitable glasses. Unlike Phiz, Nast represents the assembled barristers by just five heads wearing rather rudimentary wigs — as opposed to Phiz's much more accurate representation of eleven legal wigs in the 1873 woodcut.


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Then having drawn on his gloves with great nicety.

Chapter 34

Thomas Nast

Text Illustrated:

An anxious quarter of a hour elapsed; the jury came back; the judge was fetched in. Mr. Pickwick put on his spectacles, and gazed at the foreman with an agitated countenance and a quickly-beating heart.

‘Gentlemen,’ said the individual in black, ‘are you all agreed upon your verdict?’

‘We are,’ replied the foreman.

‘Do you find for the plaintiff, gentlemen, or for the defendant?’

For the plaintiff.’

‘With what damages, gentlemen?’

‘Seven hundred and fifty pounds.’

Mr. Pickwick took off his spectacles, carefully wiped the glasses, folded them into their case, and put them in his pocket; then, having drawn on his gloves with great nicety, and stared at the foreman all the while, he mechanically followed Mr. Perker and the blue bag out of court.



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The trial of Pickwick


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Kim | 5700 comments Mod

Mr. Pickwick

Peter Jackson

Peter Charles Geoffrey Jackson (4 March 1922, in Brighton – 2 May 2003, in Northwood, London) was a British artist who is noted for his cartoon strip 'London is Stranger Than Fiction' that ran every Wednesday in the London Evening News newspaper. The strip featured quirky and little known historical facts about London in an easy to read illustrated cartoon strip. The strip ran continuously from 1949 until the paper closed for good in 1980.
Jackson showed a talent for illustration from childhood. He attended Hove High School and then Willesden School of Art. He submitted some sketches to the newspaper unsolicited in 1949 and through a lucky coincidence the paper was looking for an artist to do a strip about London at that time. He was hired and the strip become a success, giving rise to books of compilations of his work.

He also authored the "Saul of Tarsus" cartoon, which appeared in the first issues of the Eagle comic and reflected Jackson's religious faith. His work also appeared in the children's educational comics Look and Learn and Treasure .

Jackson also became a notable collector of antiques and documents relating to the history of London. The Ephemera Society, presented Jackson with the Samuel Pepys Medal for his contribution to ephemera studies.



message 14: by Kim (new)

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Sam Weller

Peter Jackson


message 15: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments Peter wrote: "Since there are so many characters, do you think this novel is over-loaded with characters?"

With most other authors, the answer to this question would be a resounding and unequivocal "YES!" But this is Dickens. In fact, your previous comments illustrate why this is not the case for Dickens...

Dickens is known for many things, but his creation of unique minor characters that delight the reader is high on my list. Each of his minor characters help create a mosaic of interest and colour in the novels.

Dickens minor characters are so interesting and well-drawn that most of them are more memorable than some other authors' protagonists.

In fact, [Mr. Weller] calls poetry “unnat’ral.” He claims that no man has ever talked poetry “ ‘cept a beadle on ‘boxin day, or at Warren’s blackin.” Here is a reference to the place where Dickens laboured while his family was in jail. I find it interesting how it appears so subtlety. A psychological question for you. Why would Dickens choose such a place from his past and make it a part of our longer narrative?

Reading this was, frankly, somewhat startling. I can't possibly guess why Dickens would have included Warren's, and I'm particularly curious about why it popped up in a comic diatribe against poetry. A particularly strong memory of someone there berating or making fun of him in rhyme, perhaps? Odd.


message 16: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5700 comments Mod


The Two Wellers

Leonard Raver Hill

Leonard Raven-Hill (10 March 1867 - 31 March 1942) was an English artist, illustrator and cartoonist.

He was born in Bath and educated at Bristol Grammar School and the Devon county school. He studied art at the Lambeth School of Art and then in Paris under MM. Bougereau and Aimé Morot. He began to exhibit at the Salon in 1887 but moved back to London when he was appointed as the art editor of Pick-Me-Up. He also continued to work as a painter and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1889. In 1893 he founded, with Arnold Golsworthy, the humorous and artistic monthly The Butterfly (1893–94, revived in 1899-1900) but began his most prominent association with a publication when his drawings appeared in Punch in December 1895. By 1901 he had joined the staff of Punch as the junior political cartoonist.


He contributed to many other illustrated magazines including The Daily Graphic, Daily Chronicle, The Strand Magazine, The Sketch, Pall Mall Gazette and Windsor Magazine. He also illustrated a number of books including:

East London by Sir Walter Besant (1901)
Cornish Saints and Sinners by J. H. Harris
Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
Stalky and Co by Rudyard Kipling
Kipps by H. G. Wells

Raven-Hill published the impressions of his visit to India on the occasion of the tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales as An Indian Sketch-Book (1903) and his other published sketch-books include Our Battalion (1902) and The Promenaders (1894).

In his later years his eyesight began to fail and Raven-Hill died on 31 March 1942 at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.



message 17: by Kim (new)

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Sergt. Buzfuz

J. Clayton Clarke ("Kyd")

Watercolor

"Damages, gentlemen — heavy damages is the only punishment with which you can visit him; the only recompense you can award my client."




1910

Watercolor reproduced on John Player cigarette ​card no. 13


message 18: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5700 comments Mod




Mr. Justice Stareleigh

J. Clayton Clarke ("Kyd")

1910

Watercolor reproduced on John Player cigarette card no. 14


message 19: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "The Trial

Chapter 34

Phiz 1837

Commentary:

The episodic novel now develops into the semblance of a plot as the picaresque hero of the various adventures of his "club," Mr. Pickwick, faces his a..."


Kim

I really appreciated you separating the individuals. It helped zero in on each without the associated larger picture. These illustrations are delightful, and the associated commentaries very illuminating.


message 20: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "

Mr. Justice Stareleigh

J. Clayton Clarke ("Kyd")

1910

Watercolor reproduced on John Player cigarette card no. 14"


Who knew that cigarette ads would be associated with Dickens. And, of course, they were done by Kyd!


message 21: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "The trial of Pickwick"

I’m so used to the black and white illustrations the colour ones seem oddly out of place.


message 22: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Peter wrote: "Since there are so many characters, do you think this novel is over-loaded with characters?"

With most other authors, the answer to this question would be a resounding and unequivoc..."


Hi Mary Lou

It is curious, isn’t it? Another biographical fact is yet to appear in PP. It is also related to the time Dickens spent working at the Blacking Factory. No spoilers though. : -))

Warren’s Blacking Factory also makes an appearance in Great Expectations.


message 23: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments I so much prefer Phiz's later renditions - so much cleaner and easier on the eyes!

His early Mrs. Bardell reminded me a bit of John Tenniel's illustration of the Duchess from Alice in Wonderland. I wonder if he was a Phiz Follower.

http://alice.wikia.com/wiki/File:Duch...


message 24: by Mary Lou (last edited Mar 27, 2018 07:19PM) (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments Peter wrote: "the Bardell letters reflected the court case of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and Caroline Norton...."

Interesting tidbit, Peter!

If you were casting the novel for a theatrical production who would you select for Pickwick, Sam, Mrs Bardell and other characters?

Fun question! If we could go back in time, I'd definitely put a young Cary Grant in Sam Weller's role. Few could carry off that charm and humor. Otherwise, perhaps a younger Hugh Laurie or Hugh Grant. Robbie Coltrane might make a great Mr. Weller.

Maybe Sebastian Cabot as Pickwick? (I'm really showing my age here!) Stephen Fry could be good. Put some weight on him, and Jim Broadbent might be able to pull it off.

Bill Nighy would probably make a good lawyer, and Geoffrey Palmer as a judge.

Mrs. Bardell, despite her young son, seems older. Julie Walters seems too old for the role, but she's the best I can think of.

Dan Radcliffe has shown glimmers of good comic timing, and might make a fine Tupman or Winkle.

Try as I might, I can't fit Colin Firth in anywhere. :-(


message 25: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "I so much prefer Phiz's later renditions - so much cleaner and easier on the eyes!

His early Mrs. Bardell reminded me a bit of John Tenniel's illustration of the Duchess from Alice in Wonderland. ..."


Hi Mary Lou

Browne and Tenniel were both illustrators for Dickens. You raise a very interesting question. Let me look into it.


message 26: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1140 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Peter wrote: "the Bardell letters reflected the court case of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and Caroline Norton...."

Interesting tidbit, Peter!

If you were casting the novel for a theatrical prod..."


Colin Firth as Tupman. He could have a lot of fun playing up the romantic hero thing.


message 27: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1140 comments Mary Lou wrote: "A particularly strong memory of someone there berating or making fun of him in rhyme, perhaps?"

Or maybe Dickens had poetic aspirations himself, and came up with verses as consolation when he'd lost everything else? Poor kid.


message 28: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments Julie wrote: " Colin Firth as Tupman. He could have a lot of fun playing up the romantic hero thing. ..."

I can see that. :-)


message 29: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Mary Lou wrote: "I so much prefer Phiz's later renditions - so much cleaner and easier on the eyes!

His early Mrs. Bardell reminded me a bit of John Tenniel's illustration of the Duchess from Alic..."


Hi Mary Lou

I’ ve gone through some books on Dickens and his illustrators and it would appear that Hablot Browne and John Tenniel did not have a personal relationship. No doubt they would have been aware of each other’s work, so your question remains intriguing.

From F G Kitton’s “Dickens and his Illustrators” here is a bit of information on Dickens and Tenniel. From it, I think we can see Browne was not (dare I say it?) much in the picture with Tenniel.

“My [Tenniel’s] ‘artistic association’ with Charles Dickens began and ended simply with my poor little contributions towards the illustration of ‘The Haunted Man.” There was no written correspondence between us that I can remember, and I believe I had but one interview with Dickens on the subject, when he gave me hints as to the treatment, &c. &c. &c. Only that and nothing more. ... At all events, after an interval of about forty-five years, it is perhaps scarcely surprising that I should have long since forgotten about them.”

This comment by Tenniel does not touch directly on Browne. Tenniel was very involved as an illustrator for Punch magazine whereas Browne’s energy was mostly with book illustrations. Where their eyes went, of course, is different. I imagine most of the Victorian illustrators kept an eye on their peers.


message 30: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5700 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Kim wrote: "The trial of Pickwick"

I’m so used to the black and white illustrations the colour ones seem oddly out of place."


How's this Peter, you not only get the original Phiz illustration, but you also get it all colored in or "colored enhanced" as they call it. :-)






message 31: by Peter (last edited Mar 28, 2018 01:43PM) (new)

Peter | 3033 comments Mod
Now Kim, you know what I’m going to say, but here it is anyway ...

Hablot Browne rules. For the best experience of a Dickens novel we need to also see how it was originally conceived and then presented to the readers.

Colourization is what it is. Honestly, how many of the glorious old films have been improved by colourization? The whole idea of authenticity is to be authentic.

If someone wants to colourize a Dickens illustration then let IHOP put a placemat out for the kids with a Browne illustration and crayons. Once coloured, the child’s syrup-stained placemat can be thrown out. Ah, now I feel better :-))

Now, before anyone thinks me to harsh, John Tenniel threw his illustrations for Dickens’s The Ghost’s Bargain out in the trash. For interest, Tenniel’s original drawing of The Gryphon for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is now being offered by Peter Harrington’s Rare Books for £50,000.00.


message 32: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments What a loss! Explains why I was unable to find Tenniel's "Haunted Man" illustrations. I would LOVE to have an original Alice pictures. If the gryphon is $50,000, I hate to think what the original of the tea party or some of the other, better known scenes would go for!


message 33: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5700 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Now Kim, you know what I’m going to say, but here it is anyway ...

Hablot Browne rules. For the best experience of a Dickens novel we need to also see how it was originally conceived and then pres..."


Oh, poor, poor person who decided the illustration needed to be in color for some reason. :-)


message 34: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5700 comments Mod
Announcement after Mary Hogarth's death

186, Strand, June 30, 1837.

The author is desirous to take the opportunity afforded him by his resumption of this work, to state once again what he thought had been stated sufficiently emphatically before, namely, that its publication was interrupted by a severe domestic affliction of no ordinary kind; that this was the sole cause of the non-appearance of the present number in the usual course; and that henceforth it will continue to be published with its accustomed regularity.

However superfluous this second notice may appear to many, it is rendered necessary during the past month; which have reached the author's ears from many quarters, and have pained him exceedingly. By one set of intimate acquaintances, especially well informed, he has been killed outright; by another, driven mad; by a third, imprisoned for debt; by a fourth, sent per steamer to the United States; by a fifth, rendered incapable of any mental exertion for evermore - by all, in short, represented as doing anything but seeking in a few weeks' retirement the restoration of that cheerfulness and peace of which a sad bereavement had temporarily deprived him.


Please take notice of how he dated his announcement. :-)


message 35: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5700 comments Mod
Notice to correspondents

We receive every month an immense number of communications, purporting to be suggestions for the Pickwick Papers. We have no doubt that they are forwarded with the kindest intentions; but as it is wholly out of our power to make use of any such hints, and as we really have no time to peruse anonymous letters, we hope the writers will henceforth spare themselves a great deal of unnecessary and useless trouble.


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1140 comments I wonder if anyone would remember Mary Hogarth at all if she hadn't been the cause of a Dickensian work stoppage.

I'm glad he took the time to acknowledge his loss and honor her.


message 37: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments For better or worse, and whether they're aware of it or not, Dickens' readers are reminded of Mary every time they read Lucy Manette, Ada Clare, Florence Dombey, etc. I can only imagine, though, how disappointed readers must have been when the next anxiously awaited installment of Pickwick was delayed. I'm fascinated to hear that readers sent in their fan fiction! I wonder if Dickens' read any of it, and what he thought.


message 38: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
I did not know that PP has about 300 characters but I am not surprised to hear this. After all, lots of characters only make one single appearance and then are heard of no more. In a way, this would predestine PP to be made into a mini-series with the minor characters being played by top-notch stars, some of them starring in only one episode.

I think that perhaps Charles Laughton would have played an admirable Mr. Pickwick, and Judge Stareleigh could have been impersonated by a ferocious Finlay Currie. Stephen Fry has already been suggested as Sam Weller, and if I am not mistaken, this is the Baldrick from the Black Adder series, isn't it? Then let us have Rowan Atkinsen as Mr. Winkle, which he would probably do brilliantly because this character involves a lot of slapstick. Maybe, Tim McInnerny could play Mr. Snodgrass. But seeing how much I had to cudgel my brains to find adequate actors, I am glad that I don't have to cast for films. Was it not Robert Mitchum that played Magwitch in a production that had one of my favourite actresses, Jean Simmons, as Miss Havisham? It's really difficult to imagine how well a good actor can adapt to a role.

As to the question whether too many characters can spoil a novel, I'd say that this may be the case if they are bland and boring but then Dickens characters rarely are.


message 39: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
The chapter about the trial may lend itself very well to a theatrical performance, but there are also some satirical passages that would be difficult to render on the stage, such as the following, which illustrates Dickens's criticism of the legal system:

"Serjeant Buzfuz, who had proceeded with such volubility that his face was perfectly crimson, here paused for breath. The silence awoke Mr. Justice Stareleigh, who immediately wrote down something with a pen without any ink in it, and looked unusually profound, to impress the jury with the belief that he always thought most deeply with his eyes shut."


Mr. Justice Stareleigh strikes me as a worthy representative of Iustitia.


message 40: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
I really wonder what Mr. Pickwick used to do when he was still actively pursuing a profession. Even his lawyer does not give any details here:

"‘I have no objection to admit, my Lord,’ said Serjeant Snubbin, ‘if it will save the examination of another witness, that Mr. Pickwick has retired from business, and is a gentleman of considerable independent property.’"



message 41: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
Have you noticed that it took the jury only a quarter of an hour to come up with a verdict? Maybe, Mr. Perker was right when he said that it is important for the jurymen to have had an ample breakfast before sitting down in court. Apparently, they did not long debate the question whether Mr. Pickwick was innocent or not. Was the case so clear, or were the jurymen so hungry?


message 42: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments Tristram wrote: "I did not know that PP has about 300 characters but I am not surprised to hear this. After all, lots of characters only make one single appearance and then are heard of no more. In a way, this woul..."

Rowan Atkinson is a great choice.


message 43: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1140 comments Tristram wrote: "The chapter about the trial may lend itself very well to a theatrical performance, but there are also some satirical passages that would be difficult to render on the stage, such as the following, ..."

Agreed. This is the kind of passage I show my students to make the case that "show don't tell" isn't always good writing advice. Text on a page is very good at telling, and telling can be beautifully done.


message 44: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I did not know that PP has about 300 characters but I am not surprised to hear this. After all, lots of characters only make one single appearance and then are heard of no more. In..."

And I'm sure he would enjoy playing a Pickwick character!


message 45: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "Tristram wrote: "The chapter about the trial may lend itself very well to a theatrical performance, but there are also some satirical passages that would be difficult to render on the stage, such a..."

"Show, don't tell" is generally good advice, but when it is done so artfully as here you are right in saying that is has a good effect. Saying this, I should also add that generally, I like the intrusive 19th century narrators unless they are moralizing too obviously.


message 46: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
Last night, before falling asleep, I also remembered that I was wrong in saying that it was Robert Mitchum who played Magwitch. I think it was Sir Anthony Hopkins.


message 47: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2308 comments Tristram wrote: "Last night, before falling asleep, I also remembered that I was wrong in saying that it was Robert Mitchum who played Magwitch. I think it was Sir Anthony Hopkins."

That makes more sense. I looked it up and it was Hopkins.


message 48: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
Yes, Mitchum and Simmons - that was in the unforgettable movie "Angel Face", when both of them were a lot younger.


message 49: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1140 comments Tristram wrote: "Julie wrote: "Tristram wrote: "The chapter about the trial may lend itself very well to a theatrical performance, but there are also some satirical passages that would be difficult to render on the..."

I like the intrusive narrators too! It's like a whole additional layer of story.


message 50: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4451 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Julie wrote: "Tristram wrote: "The chapter about the trial may lend itself very well to a theatrical performance, but there are also some satirical passages that would be difficult..."

Trollope does this kind of narrator very well, I think: His narrator does not moralize but rather sounds like an old friend telling you a story. I also like Conrad's way of telling a story; his narrators often throw some bitterly sarcastic remarks into their yarn.


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