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The Pickwick Papers > PP, Chp. 35-37

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Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Hello Curiosities,

Don't be surprised to find me posting the recaps today already. The reason is that I will definitely not have any time during the Easter weekend, and I think it's better to post before than after Sunday, in case you should start wondering ...

This week’s instalment will not only bring us one wonderful short story I extremely enjoyed but also take the Pickwickians out of London again, namely to Bath, or Ba–ath, as the Master of Ceremonies pronounces it, and of course, one of Mr. Pickwick’s trusty friends will again make a fool of himself.

On the morning after the trial, which had such an unfavourable outcome for Mr. Pickwick, our worthy friend and his companions as well as the lawyer Mr. Perker have assembled in Mr. Pickwick’s apartment, where Mr. Pickwick once more voices his determination not to pay a single farthing of the sum he was fined. On his question, Mr. Perker informs him that it will probably take two months before this line of action will get him into imprisonment for debt, and Mr. Pickwick is resolved to make the best of his time by deciding to go to Bath.

What do you make of Mr. Pickwick’s decision? Is he really aware of what he is letting himself in for? Will some days in the debtor’s prison break his resolution, or will we see him persevere in his determination to stick to principle? Just consider Mr. Pickwick’s serenity here:

”’Very good,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘Until that time, my dear fellow, let me hear no more of the matter. And now,’ continued Mr. Pickwick, looking round on his friends with a good–humoured smile, and a sparkle in the eye which no spectacles could dim or conceal, ‘the only question is, Where shall we go next?’”


Mr. Perker is quite convinced that a few weeks in Bath will enable Mr. Pickwick to see things in a different light and to make him comply with the requirements of the law, and so he joins the Pickwickians’ praise of Mr. Pickwick’s plan. The next day sees them starting their journey, but it is not a very nice day, weather-wise, at all, which might seem like a bad omen. It is raining very hard, and so the narrator gives the following funny detail about vendors trying to protect their goods from the elements: “the men with the pocket-books made pocket-books of them.”

In the White Horse Cellar, from where the coach for Bath is going to start, our friends make a new acquaintance, namely

”a stern–eyed man of about five–and–forty, who had a bald and glossy forehead, with a good deal of black hair at the sides and back of his head, and large black whiskers. He was buttoned up to the chin in a brown coat; and had a large sealskin travelling–cap, and a greatcoat and cloak, lying on the seat beside him. He looked up from his breakfast as Mr. Pickwick entered, with a fierce and peremptory air, which was very dignified; and, having scrutinised that gentleman and his companions to his entire satisfaction, hummed a tune, in a manner which seemed to say that he rather suspected somebody wanted to take advantage of him, but it wouldn’t do.”


This rather intimidating man is called Mr. Dowler, and he is an ex-officer who has a very telegraphic, or rather impulsive way of speaking. This alone would not bode ill for our friends, but the fact that, as we learn a little later, Mr. Dowler has a wife, whom he loves and is proud of and whom he fell in love with in a coup de foudre, which even made him threaten her previous suitor with the prospect of skinning him alive, all this certainly does bode ill for our Pickwickians, because here we have a very energetic and probably very jealous husband – with a military background – and we have his wife, and we have some experience concerning our Pickwickians. So, listen how Mr. Dowler introduces his wife, and ask yourselves if you don’t fear the worst:

”‘She’s a fine woman,’ said Mr. Dowler. ‘I am proud of her. I have reason.’

‘I hope I shall have the pleasure of judging,’ said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile.

‘You shall,’ replied Dowler. ‘She shall know you. She shall esteem you. I courted her under singular circumstances. I won her through a rash vow. Thus. I saw her; I loved her; I proposed; she refused me.—“You love another?”—“Spare my blushes.”—“I know him.”—“You do.”—“Very good; if he remains here, I’ll skin him.”’

‘Lord bless me!’ exclaimed Mr. Pickwick involuntarily.

‘Did you skin the gentleman, Sir?’ inquired Mr. Winkle, with a very pale face.

‘I wrote him a note, I said it was a painful thing. And so it was.’

‘Certainly,’ interposed Mr. Winkle.

‘I said I had pledged my word as a gentleman to skin him. My character was at stake. I had no alternative. As an officer in His Majesty’s service, I was bound to skin him. I regretted the necessity, but it must be done. He was open to conviction. He saw that the rules of the service were imperative. He fled. I married her. Here’s the coach. That’s her head.’”


The journey towards Bath passes without any special occurrences, and once they have arrived in that venerable town, Mr. Dowler introduces a friend of his to the Pickwickians, Mr. Angelo Cyrus Bantam, who is the master of ceremonies in Bath, and Mr. Bantam, on greeting Mr. Pickwick, acts exactly how you would expect a master of ceremonies to act even if, like me, you have but a very diffuse idea of what a master of ceremonies actually is and does:

”‘Welcome to Ba–ath, Sir. This is indeed an acquisition. Most welcome to Ba–ath, sir. It is long—very long, Mr. Pickwick, since you drank the waters. It appears an age, Mr. Pickwick. Re–markable!’”


The M.C. really treats Mr. Pickwick like an old acquaintance although the latter has never been to Bath before. As a note aside, let me tell you that I found it very funny how Mr. Bantam apparently prolongs the “a” in Bath because when I was in Bath once and joined a tour through the town, our guide also would under all circumstances insert an extra long “aaaaaaaa” into the name of his hometown. Maybe, it’s a kind of shibboleth among Bathians.

Mr. Pickwick is then introduced into Bath society by entering his name into the guest book and by preparing to attend a ball. Sam has to go to Mr. Bantam’s house to receive the tickets for the ball, and here he meets another servant, who at first treats him with some condescension but whom he quickly impresses with his hail-fellow-well-met attitude.

How come that nearly everyone seems to submit to the charms of Sam Weller? What is so special about him? – In this case, maybe it helped that Mr. Bantam’s regard for Sam’s master made the servant extend that kind of sentiment to Sam.

When the Pickwickians are at the ball, not all of them amuse themselves to the same degree. Mr. Pickwick, for instance, first of all is introduced to some people, and in his naïve honesty, he at first fails to express the awe he should feel, for example here:

”‘Anybody! The elite of Ba–ath. Mr. Pickwick, do you see the old lady in the gauze turban?’

‘The fat old lady?’ inquired Mr. Pickwick innocently.

‘Hush, my dear sir—nobody’s fat or old in Ba–ath. That’s the Dowager Lady Snuphanuph.’”


Mr. Pickwick also fails to share Mr. Bantam’s regard for Lord Mutanhed, whose effetely defective pronunciation calls to mind several of Sir Leicester’s relatives as well as Lord Verisopht, whose name also seems to be of the Mutanhed stamp. Later, Mr. Pickwick finds himself ensconced at a card table and confined to playing whist with Lady Snuphanuph, Miss Bolo and Mrs. Colonel Wugsby(all of them “ladies of an ancient and whist-like appearance”, as the narrator wittily points out) – a pastime that is not especially pleasant for Mr. Pickwick in that all three players all too obviously show their disdain for and impatience with his manner of playing cards.

I don’t know about you but I found Dickens’s brief portrayal of the evening entertainment at Bath quite funny even though nothing happens with regard to the overall story line because we see why people actually went to such balls:

”Mr. Pickwick bowed to each of the ladies, and, finding escape impossible, cut. Mr. Pickwick and Miss Bolo against Lady Snuphanuph and Mrs. Colonel Wugsby. As the trump card was turned up, at the commencement of the second deal, two young ladies hurried into the room, and took their stations on either side of Mrs. Colonel Wugsby’s chair, where they waited patiently until the hand was over.

‘Now, Jane,’ said Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, turning to one of the girls, ‘what is it?’ ‘I came to ask, ma, whether I might dance with the youngest Mr. Crawley,’ whispered the prettier and younger of the two.

‘Good God, Jane, how can you think of such things?’ replied the mamma indignantly. ‘Haven’t you repeatedly heard that his father has eight hundred a year, which dies with him? I am ashamed of you. Not on any account.’

‘Ma,’ whispered the other, who was much older than her sister, and very insipid and artificial, ‘Lord Mutanhed has been introduced to me. I said I thought I wasn’t engaged, ma.’

‘You’re a sweet pet, my love,’ replied Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, tapping her daughter’s cheek with her fan, ‘and are always to be trusted. He’s immensely rich, my dear. Bless you!’ With these words Mrs. Colonel Wugsby kissed her eldest daughter most affectionately, and frowning in a warning manner upon the other, sorted her cards.”


This is pretty much what Jane Austen writes about in her novels, isn’t it. To finish this summary, let’s have a funny Wellerism I found:

”’[…] vich I call addin’ insult to injury, as the parrot said ven they not only took him from his native land, but made him talk the English langwidge arterwards.’”



Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Chapter 36 was the most entertaining chapter for me this week because it gives us another short story (or is it really a short story, coming in the guise of historical notes on the origins of Bath) which is so full of satire and absurdity that it also made me swallow the more slapstick part of Mr. Winkle’s adventure with which the chapter is brought to a close.

Mr. Pickwick is resolved to stay in Bath for two months, and during this time he commences to do as most other tourists do:

”He drank a quarter of a pint before breakfast, and then walked up a hill; and another quarter of a pint after breakfast, and then walked down a hill; and, after every fresh quarter of a pint, Mr. Pickwick declared, in the most solemn and emphatic terms, that he felt a great deal better; whereat his friends were very much delighted, though they had not been previously aware that there was anything the matter with him.”


It must indeed have effected a remarkable change in Mr. Pickwick, this new habit of drinking water instead of punch and brandy but still the narrator seems to make fun of the regularity with which life in Bath proceeds, a regularity which may quickly grow into monotony in that you always meet the same set of people at the same set of places at about the same times of day or week. Our narrator gives a detailed overview over this kind of routine, concluding with the sentence:

”A very pleasant routine, with perhaps a slight tinge of sameness.”


I don’t know about you, but this is a double-edged sword for me: While I would enjoy eating at the same hour, sitting in the same place in a restaurant, enjoying the same dish (and reading a different book), the idea of constantly having to meet the same people every day and to have to do smalltalk with them would drive me mad after a week at the very latest. Mr. Pickwick, however, seems to enjoy it, and he even has taken private lodgings again, renting the house from a Mrs. Craddock and thus accommodating not only himself and his servant but also his three friends and the Dowlers, who relieve him of some of the rooms. Is it a good idea to share lodgings with a man like Mr. Dowler? Wait and see.

One evening, Mr. Pickwick finds a manuscript in his room which he realizes is not a private document and therefore peruses, and here is where the fun comes in. It entitled “The True Legend of Prince Bladud” and is to be understood as enlightening its reader on the origins of Bath. The anonymous writer gives two versions, pointing out that the first, which, by the by, is more likely than the second, is a myth, whereas the second version, which is highly unrealistic, even more so than the first, is gospel truth. I really enjoyed both of them from the bottom of my heart since they fit into my department of humour. The first legend tells us of Prince Bladud, who found himself infected with leprosy and therefore lived among swine, as an exile. He strikes up some kind of friendship with one of the pigs and seeing it wallow in the mud, imitates its example, thus discovering the healing power of the spa of Bath. I really like passages like these for their subversiveness:

”Among the herd (so said the legend) was a pig of grave and solemn countenance, with whom the prince had a fellow-feeling --for he too was wise--a pig of thoughtful and reserved demeanour; an animal superior to his fellows, whose grunt was terrible, and whose bite was sharp. The young prince sighed deeply as he looked upon the countenance of the majestic swine; he thought of his royal father, and his eyes were bedewed with tears.”


I wonder whether contemporary readers liked it as much as I. This kind of story-telling and the scathing, evocative humour reminded me of Sterne, or Fielding, two authors Dickens surely read. The narrator denies the truth of this story, but look here:

http://www.mayorofbath.co.uk/history-...

The second version of the story is less realistic, but – with the exception of its ending – more typical of legends: Here we have Prince Bladud suffer from his tyrannical father, King Lud Hudibras, who wants him to marry a particular young lady, whereas his heart is set on another. There are lots of passages in which the narrator makes fun of the nobility and of romantic stories, and these are some of my favourite passages:

”He was, indeed, every inch a king. And there were a good many inches of him, too, for although he was not very tall, he was a remarkable size round, and the inches that he wanted in height, he made up in circumference.”

“With this view, he sent a special embassy, composed of great noblemen who had nothing particular to do, and wanted lucrative employment, to a neighbouring king, and demanded his fair daughter in marriage for his son; stating at the same time that he was anxious to be on the most affectionate terms with his brother and friend, but that if they couldn't agree in arranging this marriage, he should be under the unpleasant necessity of invading his kingdom and putting his eyes out.”

“It is an old prerogative of kings to govern everything but their passions. King Lud flew into a frightful rage, tossed his crown up to the ceiling, and caught it again--for in those days kings kept their crowns on their heads, and not in the Tower […]”


Some of these references make me think of modern day politicians as well, but that’s neither here nor there. I also liked the references to the common people, who had to pay for the Royal Wedding they were all supposed to enjoy:

”Nothing was heard, on all sides, but the sounds of feasting and revelry – except the chinking of money as it was paid in by the people to the collector of the royal treasures, to defray the expenses of the happy ceremony.”


But even Prince Bladud himself is not the hero in shining armour; how can he be when Dickens is in a satirical mood? Look here:

”When Prince Bladud had been shut up in the lofty turret for the greater part of a year, with no better prospect before his bodily eyes than a stone wall, or before his mental vision than prolonged imprisonment, he naturally began to ruminate on a plan of escape, which, after months of preparation, he managed to accomplish; considerately leaving his dinner-knife in the heart of his jailer, lest the poor fellow (who had a family) should be considered privy to his flight, and punished accordingly by the infuriated king.”


The ending of this romantic tale, however, is priceless and probably Dickens had in mind the Grecian myth of Niobe or something like that. I would really like to know what you think about that unlikely twist in the tale.

The remainder of the chapter contains one of the adventures our Pickwickian friends are so likely to slide into, and I am going to deal with it briefly: Mr. Pickwick, after reading the document, decides to retire for the night, whereas Mr. Dowler, in his own room, wants to sit up for his wife, who has joined a party and is still due to return. As the minutes grow into hours, and Mr. Dowler’s limbs grow itchy and then tired, he decides to lay down on the bed – in order to think, mind! However, he also soon falls asleep, and so, when Mrs. Dowler finally arrives in a sedan-chair, accompanied by two bearers and a linkboy – i.e. a boy who carries a torch and sees people home for a fee -, at three o’ clock in the morning, there is nobody there to answer the door, however hard the bearers knock. Finally, they manage to wake up Mr. Winkle, who answers the door in a very sleepy state of mind so that a gust of wind makes the door fall shut. Mr. Winkle is now standing outside in his nightgown. This is an awkward situation in that Mrs. Dowler can see him in that unbecoming attire from the window of the sedan-chair, but in the street, there are also other late home-comers approaching, and Mr. Winkle, choosing the slighter evil, decides that it is better for him to hide in the sedan-chair with Mrs. Dowler, who has already seen him, than to let the other strangers catch a glimpse at him. Therefore, he rushes into the sedan-chair. The noise in the street finally also awakes the other inhabitants of the house, and Mr. Dowler, looking out of the window, gets the impression that somebody tries to elope with his wife. He rushes downstairs in order to wreak his revenge on the culprit, but Mr. Winkle, being a fine sportsman after all, at least in one discipline, manages to outrun him and to barricade himself in his room.

Our narrator then winds up with the following interesting conclusion:

”It is not unlikely that the inquiry may be made, where Mr. Weller was, all this time? We will state where he was, in the next chapter.”


It is now clear that the last chapter of the instalment is not going to pursue the Winkle-Dowler plot but to update us on Mr. Weller’s adventures. What do you think of this clever way of preparing a cliff-hanger?


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
The concluding chapter to this week’s reading pensum takes us back to the morning of the eventful day described in the preceding chapter and it tells us how Sam Weller receives an invitation to a “swarry” – which is more palatable than a soirée – from Mr. Smauker, who is Bantam’s footman. The chapter is not very important with regard to moving on the story-line and it could have been found in Sketches by Boz without a lot of alterations. Personally, I suspect that Dickens wanted to complete his monthly instalment without giving away the sequel to the conflict between Mr. Winkle and Mr. Dowler so that his readers would buy the following instalment.

My surmise is borne out by how Chapter 37 ends, viz. with Mr. Pickwick telling Sam, on the following morning, that Mr. Winkle has left the house and that he, Mr. Pickwick, insists on his immediate return. He entrusts Mr. Weller with the task of bringing Winkle back, even, if needs be, by using brute force, i.e. by knocking the gentleman down. Hmmmm, will Mr. Weller really resort to this ultimate means of persuasion? It is quite interesting that Sam evinces some disdain for Mr. Winkle’s cowardice and that Mr. Pickwick not only refrains from reprimanding Sam but also intimates that Mr. Dowler’s bravery might not be all that hot after all. I do wonder on what observations Mr. Pickwick founds this assessment of Dowler’s prowess.

But let’s return to the “swarry” for now: When Sam meets Mr. Smauker, it is quite funny to observe what airs the Bath footman gives himself in his conversation with Mr. Weller, whose happy-go-lucky attitude clearly seems to embarrass him. Does Smauker already repent his decision of introducing his new friend into his elect circle of fellow-servants? Be that as it may, Smauker does his best to impress Sam when he says,

”‘You’ll see some very handsome uniforms, Mr. Weller, […] and perhaps you’ll find some of the gentlemen rather high at first, you know, but they’ll soon come round.’”


Mr. Weller, however, cannot suppress a smirk, which, however, he kindly hides behind Smauker’s back. As usual, Sam quickly makes himself the life and soul of the party when they arrive at their destination, and not for a moment is he intimidated by the servants’ uniforms but he even makes gentle fun of them, e.g. by calling one of the coachmen, a Mr. Tuckle, “Blazes” on account of his gaudy coat. Mr. Tuckle does not know how to react; he is clearly not quite happy with this apparent lack of respect but decides to put on a good face to it all, seeing how Sam impresses all the other servants with his brashness.

In the course of the meal, Mr. Tuckle vents his resentment on Mr. Harris, a greengrocer, who hosts the assembly and who is in apparent need of their patronage and dare not stand up against this haughty treatment. All the other servants join Mr. Tuckle in his authoritarian behaviour:

”‘I hope, gentlemen,’ said Harris, ‘that you won’t be severe with me, gentlemen. I am very much obliged to you indeed, gentlemen, for your patronage, and also for your recommendations, gentlemen, whenever additional assistance in waiting is required. I hope, gentlemen, I give satisfaction.’

‘No, you don’t, Sir,’ said Mr. Tuckle. ‘Very far from it, Sir.’

‘We consider you an inattentive reskel,’ said the gentleman in the orange plush.

‘And a low thief,’ added the gentleman in the green–foil smalls.

‘And an unreclaimable blaygaird,’ added the gentleman in purple.

The poor greengrocer bowed very humbly while these little epithets were bestowed upon him, in the true spirit of the very smallest tyranny; and when everybody had said something to show his superiority, Mr. Tuckle proceeded to carve the leg of mutton, and to help the company.”


In the course of the conversation, the servants also talk about their work, implying that their uniforms help them impress young ladies and protesting that there are some things – like eating cold meat – that they will refuse to tolerate in their jobs. It’s also quite amusing to see how they pretend to be masters of their own time and how they disguise their dependence. For instance, in his invitation to Sam, Mr. Smauker refers to his employer Mr. Bantam as their “mutual acquaintance”, and when he later has to return to his master, he uses the following words, eliciting immediate ridicule from Sam:

”‘Wy, you don’t mean to say you’re a–goin’ old feller?’ said Sam Weller to his friend, Mr. John Smauker.

‘I must, indeed,’ said Mr. Smauker; ‘I promised Bantam.’

‘Oh, wery well,’ said Sam; ‘that’s another thing. P’raps he’d resign if you disappinted him. You ain’t a–goin’, Blazes?’”


While all this does not seem to bear on the Winkle-Dowler case, I found it very amusing and even more interesting: How did Dickens get to know so much about the life of servants? Did he invent all this, or did he base it on sources and information? To what degree do you see the behaviour of their masters, or even human nature as such, mirrored in the interactions of these servants? And, are Bath servants different from the servants we have met so far in the novel? I hope some of these questions will open up a lively discussion.

Here’s a nice Wellerism to conclude my recap:

”’[…] It’s a great deal more in your way than mine, as the gen’l’m’n on the right side o’ the garden vall said to the man on the wrong un, ven the mad bull vos a–comin’ up the lane.’”



message 4: by Peter (last edited Mar 30, 2018 12:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Hello Curiosities,

Don't be surprised to find me posting the recaps today already. The reason is that I will definitely not have any time during the Easter weekend, and I think it's better to post..."


“A shibboleth of Bathians.” Tristram, what a perfect phrase. This chapter certainly does show us a Bath that is unforgettable. I can’t help but see Dickens with his tongue planted firmly inside his cheek and having a fleeting thought of Jane Austen. The card playing, the posing, the parade of manners ...

Dickens continues to explore the various forms of infatuation, courtship, and marriage. When we read that a man would be quite happy, not to say even hopeful, that he can skin another man in defence of a wife we should be horrified, even if the threat is exaggerated. And yet Dickens writes the scene in such a manner that we are not too sure if it is true or not. Yet another form of love and attachment. The Pickwickians are put into a state of unease. Perhaps readers should be relieved that Mrs Wardell was more prone to fits of overacting and fainting than wielding a skinning knife.


Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Chapter 36 was the most entertaining chapter for me this week because it gives us another short story (or is it really a short story, coming in the guise of historical notes on the origins of Bath)..."

You asked about our reactions to the princely tale of Bladud, and it is a good question. The first part of the story follows the pattern of fairy tales closely, but, as you point out (but not with a pointed dinner knife thankfully) the killing of the gaoler is a disquieting action for a hero. Even for Dickens who enjoys irony, satire and presenting uncommon twists in his work, this killing is curious, and I did not find it funny.

As for the ending, the question of the restorative values of the waters and baths need some explanation, and Blasud’s tears are as good a legend/myth than anything else.

This tale also is of love, and we get yet another twist on the topic of love in the second part of this chapter. It seems that bed-chambers, closing and locking doors, and someone to the late night rescue of a female student or woman never seems to tire either the imagination of Dickens or his readers. This time we have Winkle in his nightdress first inside Mrs Dowler’s carriage and then being pursued through the night streets of Bath by Mr Dowler with a supper-knife.

As well as the presence of love, lovers, and misadventures in this chapter we seem to have an abundance of dinner ware that is used to either stab or attempt to flay someone else.


message 6: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5710 comments Mod


Captain Dowler

Chapter 35

Sol Eytinge Jr.

1867 Diamond Edition

Commentary:

In this eleventh full-page character study for the last novel in the compact American publication, Eytinge focus on a single character whom the Pickwickians encounter on their journeys. "A stern-eyed man of about five and forty, who had a bald and glossy forehead, a good deal of black hair at the sides and back of his head and large black whiskers".

Mr. Dowler is but one in a long line of choleric types who go all the way back to Homer's Polyphemus, and who are well represented in Dickens's early works with such figures as Captain Waters in "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" (31 March 1836), the Pugnacious Cabman (April 1836), and Dr. Slammer earlier in The Pickwick Papers. We meet the type countless times in the Dickens canon, but he is perhaps best represented by the irascible Major Joseph Bagstock in Dombey and Son — also retired from the military and inclined to treat social inferiors with contempt — and the thoroughly unpleasant, black-whiskered Edward Murdstone in David Copperfield.

An interesting wrinkle in the cloth from which Boz cuts him is that, like the Reverend Stiggins, Dowler is essentially a hypocrite in that he rants like a modern Miles Gloriosus, particularly (like Captain Waters in "The Tuggses") in defence of his wife's honour, but runs like Sir John Falstaff when he believes he is in danger. Ironically, in running away to Bristol to avoid confronting Winkle, whom he challenges to a duel, Dowler goes precisely where Winkle has fled. Dickens initially describes Dowler as "strange," then as "fierce," but does not specify anything about him except that his whiskers are "military," so that Eytinge has taken a liberty in interpreting Dowler's costume as that of an officer in the British army of the period. Dowler is the first new character whom Dickens introduces after the trial scene, and his introduction here is perfectly consistent with the novel's picaresque character and episodic structure. The passage realised in this image comes from chapter 35.

The Pickwickians first encounter the gruff-voiced, fierce-visaged Dowler, a former military officer who has gone in for a commercial career, in the travellers' room at The White Horse or White House Cellar, a London coaching office at Arington Street and Piccadilly, where The Ritz Hotel presently stands. This was the starting point for coaches bound for the west of England, including Bath and Bristol. They will have further adventures in Bath's Royal Crescent with the Dowlers when the retired Captain mistakenly believes that Winkle is about to run off with his wife.

"I wonder whereabouts in Bath this coach puts up," said Mr. Pickwick, mildly addressing Mr. Winkle.

"Hum — eh — what's that?" said the strange man.

"I made an observation to my friend, sir," replied Mr. Pickwick, always ready to enter into conversation. "I wondered at what house the Bath coach put up. Perhaps you can inform me."

"Are you going to Bath?" said the strange man.

"I am, sir," replied Mr. Pickwick.

"And those other gentlemen?"

"'They are going also," said Mr. Pickwick.

"Not inside — I'll be damned if you're going inside," said the strange man.

"Not all of us," said Mr. Pickwick.

"No, not all of you," said the strange man emphatically. 'I've taken two places. If they try to squeeze six people into an infernal box that only holds four, I'll take a post-chaise and bring an action. I've paid my fare. It won't do; I told the clerk when I took my places that it wouldn't do. I know these things have been done. I know they are done every day; but I never was done, and I never will be. Those who know me best, best know it; crush me!" Here the fierce gentleman rang the bell with great violence, and told the waiter he'd better bring the toast in five seconds, or he'd know the reason why.

"My good sir," said Mr. Pickwick, "you will allow me to observe that this is a very unnecessary display of excitement. I have only taken places inside for two."

"I am glad to hear it," said the fierce man. "I ithdraw my expressions. I tender an apology. There's my card. Give me your acquaintance."
'With great pleasure, Sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick. "We are to be fellow-travellers, and I hope we shall find each other's society mutually agreeable."

"I hope we shall," said the fierce gentleman. "I know we shall. I like your looks; they please me. Gentlemen, your hands and names. Know me."

Of course, an interchange of friendly salutations followed this gracious speech; and the fierce gentleman immediately proceeded to inform the friends, in the same short, abrupt, jerking sentences, that his name was Dowler; that he was going to Bath on pleasure; that he was formerly in the army; that he had now set up in business as a gentleman; that he lived upon the profits; and that the individual for whom the second place was taken, was a personage no less illustrious than Mrs. Dowler, his lady wife.

"She's a fine woman," said Mr. Dowler. "I am proud of her. I have reason."

"I hope I shall have the pleasure of judging," said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile.

"You shall," replied Dowler. "She shall know you. She shall esteem you. I courted her under singular circumstances. I won her through a rash vow. Thus. I saw her; I loved her; I proposed; she refused me. — "You love another?" — "Spare my blushes." — "I know him." — "You do." — "Very good; if he remains here, I'll skin him."'

"Lord bless me!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick involuntarily.

"Did you skin the gentleman, Sir?" inquired Mr. Winkle, with a very pale face.

"I wrote him a note, I said it was a painful thing. And so it was."

"Certainly," interposed Mr. Winkle.

"I said I had pledged my word as a gentleman to skin him. My character was at stake. I had no alternative. As an officer in His Majesty's service, I was bound to skin him. I regretted the necessity, but it must be done. He was open to conviction. He saw that the rules of the service were imperative. He fled. I married her. Here's the coach. That's her head."



message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

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The Card-room at Bath

Chapter 35

Phiz - 1837

Commentary:

The setting of the novel's twenty-ninth illustration, which first appeared in its twelfth monthly part 12 (March 1837), significant in that Dickens took the name of his protagonist, according to Paul Davis, from that of the Somerset city's chief coach operator and proprietor of the White Hart coaching inn, Moses Pickwick. Bath in Somerset, which had become fashionable when wars with France had kept the British aristocracy from European watering-places, had already declined when Dickens visited Walter Savage Landor there a few years after including it in The Pickwick Papers. Its eighteenth-century population boom had been directly attributable to the publicizing efforts of Richard 'Beau' Nash (1674-1762) who as Master of Ceremonies made the Pump Room (1706, rebuilt in 1795) a tourist destination. The present setting, the Assembly Rooms, designed by neoclassical architect John Wood the Younger, date from 1771. Dickens's Angelo Cyrus Bantam undoubtedly owes something to the great promoter of Bath, Beau Nash.

Having lost his court case, Pickwick resolves the raise his spirits by having a holiday at Bath ("Ba-ath," as Angelo Cyrus Bantam, M. C., of the Assembly Rooms is accustomed to say). At the whist-table Mr. Pickwick plays with the elderly spinster Miss Bolo and the Dowager Lady Snuphanuph, both of whom are regulars at the Assembly Rooms. The younger woman, with her back towards the viewer in Phiz's first illustration for Part 13, is Mrs. Colonel Wugsby. Immediately to the left of the card table, the Master of Ceremonies, quizzing glass in hand, converses with the two Misses Matinter, Bath spinsters trying hard to look younger by dressing in the current fashion. Despite the excellent background details such as the gasolier and gigantic mirrors in rococo frames, Phiz's principal figure, Pickwick himself, does not seem accurately depicted in that he is not particularly nervous as he chooses which card to play:

Poor Mr. Pickwick! he had never played with three thorough- paced female card-players before. They were so desperately sharp, that they quite frightened him. If he played a wrong card, Miss Bolo looked a small armoury of daggers; if he stopped to consider which was the right one, Lady Snuphanuph would throw herself back in her chair, and smile with a mingled glance of impatience and pity to Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, at which Mrs. Colonel Wugsby would shrug up her shoulders, and cough, as much as to say she wondered whether he ever would begin. Then, at the end of every hand, Miss Bolo would inquire with a dismal countenance and reproachful sigh, why Mr. Pickwick had not returned that diamond, or led the club, or roughed the spade, or finessed the heart, or led through the honour, or brought out the ace, or played up to the king, or some such thing; and in reply to all these grave charges, Mr. Pickwick would be wholly unable to plead any justification whatever, having by this time forgotten all about the game. People came and looked on, too, which made Mr. Pickwick nervous. Besides all this, there was a great deal of distracting conversation near the table, between Angelo Bantam and the two Misses Matinter, who, being single and singular, paid great court to the Master of the Ceremonies, in the hope of getting a stray partner now and then. All these things, combined with the noises and interruptions of constant comings in and goings out, made Mr. Pickwick play rather badly; the cards were against him, also. . . . [chapter 35]

Details



The card players



The Assembly Rooms' Rococo mirror



Angelo Cyrus Bantam, M. C. (left)


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"Poor Mr. Pickwick! He had never played with three thorough-paced female card-players before"

Chapter 35

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Commentary:

In his fifty-seven woodcuts produced in 1873 for the new Chapman and Hall Household Edition volume of The Pickwick Papers, Phiz is most successful when adapts the subject of an earlier illustration such as "The card-room at Bath" to the new Sixties style of illustration inaugurated by George Du Maurier and Fred Walker, making the rather old-fashioned, Cruikshankian figures look more substantial and narrowing his perspective to study a few characters in a close-up rather than maintaining a panoramic treatment.

For example, in his thirty-fifth woodcut he transforms the subject from a locale ("The Cardroom at Bath") to a situation, Pickwick's difficulty in leaving up to his card-partner's expectations. The trial Pickwick undergoes is again one in which practical experience rather "book learning" should be his guide. Shifting the emphasis from the assembled company and the magnificent setting of enormous mirrors and gasolier in the original April 1837 engraving, "The Card Room at Bath," Phiz effectively contrasts the composition's two central figures: Pickwick, seated, and puzzling over how to bid; and "Grand Master" Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, the Master of the Ceremonies, still dressed impeccably, now substantial, pillar-like, and serenely self-confident. One could plausibly argue that in the original engraving Phiz had erred in letting the furnishings of the card-room dominate the figures, and that the poses of the figures are somewhat awkward and wooden, and that although Phiz has foregrounded his subjects — Pickwick, the other card-players, Bantam, and the two Bath spinsters the Misses Matinter — he has not brought them forward, so that they are much the same size as the six figures in the second rank (left). The moment realized in both 1837 and 1873 illustrations is this:

Mr. Pickwick bowed to each of the ladies, and, finding escape impossible, cut. Mr. Pickwick and Miss Bolo against Lady Snuphanuph and Mrs. Colonel Wugsby.

As the trump card was turned up, at the commencement of the second deal, two young ladies hurried into the room, and took their stations on either side of Mrs. Colonel Wugsby's chair, where they waited patiently until the hand was over.

"Now, Jane," said Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, turning to one of the girls, "what is it?"

"I came to ask, ma, whether I might dance with the youngest Mr. Crawley," whispered the prettier and younger of the two.

"Good God, Jane, how can you think of such things?" replied the mamma indignantly. "Haven't you repeatedly heard that his father has eight hundred a year, which dies with him? I am ashamed of you. Not on any account."

"Ma," whispered the other, who was much older than her sister, and very insipid and artificial, 'Lord Mutanhed has been introduced to me. I said I thought I wasn't engaged, ma."

"You're a sweet pet, my love," replied Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, tapping her daughter's cheek with her fan, "and are always to be trusted. He's immensely rich, my dear. Bless you!" With these words Mrs. Colonel Wugsby kissed her eldest daughter most affectionately, and frowning in a warning manner upon the other, sorted her cards.

Poor Mr. Pickwick! he had never played with three thorough-paced female card-players before. They were so desperately sharp, that they quite frightened him. If he played a wrong card, Miss Bolo looked a small armoury of daggers; if he stopped to consider which was the right one, Lady Snuphanuph would throw herself back in her chair, and smile with a mingled glance of impatience and pity to Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, at which Mrs. Colonel Wugsby would shrug up her shoulders, and cough, as much as to say she wondered whether he ever would begin.


Whereas the 1837 engraving positions the card-players to the right, occupying much of the foreground, Phiz has shifted them to the left, and placed Bantam (wearing stovepipe trousers and tuxedo in the Victorian fashion and standing straight, rather than bending forward) in the very center of the composition; furthermore, Phiz replaces the 1837 plate's pair of "spinsters" (mentioned specifically in the text) with whom Bantam converses — a middle-aged woman and her less-than-attractive sister — with three beautifully dressed, slender, and elegantly coiffed young women in the 1873 woodcut, thereby contrasting the balding Pickwick and the singularly unattractive, elderly ladies with whom Pickwick is attempting to play whist. The subject (Pickwick at cards) is further emphasized by the fact that Phiz does not show the other players actually holding cards; Pickwick's partner looks sourly upon him, while their opponent intently examines her cards — and the table appears to have shrunk. Unfortunately, in order to retain the gasolier, Phiz has had to reposition it so that it seems to be immediately above the heads of the card-players, rather than some fifteen feet above them, as in the original. Although he has been able to retain the glass sconces, Phiz has had to eliminate the ornately framed Rococo mirrors that add so much character to the original engraving. The shadowy society figures in the background of the 1837 engraving become slightly smaller but much more sharply realized in the 1873 woodcut. However, positions of the card-players relative to one another and their extraordinary hats are precisely the same in both illustrations.


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Having Taken a Short Walk Through The City

Chapter 35

Thomas Nast

1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

‘This is a ball-night,’ said the M.C., again taking Mr. Pickwick’s hand, as he rose to go. ‘The ball-nights in Ba—ath are moments snatched from paradise; rendered bewitching by music, beauty, elegance, fashion, etiquette, and—and—above all, by the absence of tradespeople, who are quite inconsistent with paradise, and who have an amalgamation of themselves at the Guildhall every fortnight, which is, to say the least, remarkable. Good-bye, good-bye!’ and protesting all the way downstairs that he was most satisfied, and most delighted, and most overpowered, and most flattered, Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, M.C., stepped into a very elegant chariot that waited at the door, and rattled off.

At the appointed hour, Mr. Pickwick and his friends, escorted by Dowler, repaired to the Assembly Rooms, and wrote their names down in the book—an instance of condescension at which Angelo Bantam was even more overpowered than before. Tickets of admission to that evening’s assembly were to have been prepared for the whole party, but as they were not ready, Mr. Pickwick undertook, despite all the protestations to the contrary of Angelo Bantam, to send Sam for them at four o’clock in the afternoon, to the M.C.‘s house in Queen Square. Having taken a short walk through the city, and arrived at the unanimous conclusion that Park Street was very much like the perpendicular streets a man sees in a dream, which he cannot get up for the life of him, they returned to the White Hart, and dispatched Sam on the errand to which his master had pledged him.


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Mr. Winkle's Situation when the Door 'blew-to'

Chapter 36

Phiz - 1837

Commentary:

Phiz's stage-managing of the night scene at Bath is masterful, as cross-hatching to the right engulfs that register, obscuring in darkness the block of buildings on Royal Crescent where the Pickwickians are staying. The smoking torch held aloft by the link-boy (left) illuminates the hilarious scene, viewed from above by a curious Mr. Pickwick. In vain does the wind-blown Winkle hold his burnt-down candle aloft as the chairman in the great-coat laughs at his obvious discomfiture. The tempestuous wind blows through all six characters on the ground from left to right, pushing Winkle into the open sedan-chair occupied by Mrs. Dowler.

At 3:00 A. M. Mrs. Dowler, returning to her rooms in the crescent by sedan-chair from a party, has commanded the chief (rotund) chairman and his tall, thin assistant to rap vigorously on the ground-floor door to awaken her husband, but to no avail. Phiz has conflated several moments, so that Pickwick is already looking out of the window, when in fact he only throws up the sash after Mrs. Craddock, misapprehending the situation, awakens Dowler with the cry that Mrs. Dowler is running away with another man — namely Winkle, who has clambered into the chair to avoid a party of ladies seeing him in his nightshirt. The passage realised is this:

Mr. Winkle jumped out of bed, wondering very much what could possibly be the matter, and hastily putting on his stockings and slippers, folded his dressing-gown round him, lighted a flat candle from the rush-light that was burning in the fireplace, and hurried downstairs.

"Here's somebody comin' at last, ma'am," said the short chairman.

'I wish I wos behind him vith a bradawl,' muttered the long one.

"Who's there?" cried Mr. Winkle, undoing the chain.

"Don't stop to ask questions, cast-iron head," replied the long man, with great disgust, taking it for granted that the inquirer was a footman; "but open the door."

"Come, look sharp, timber eyelids," added the other encouragingly.

Mr. Winkle, being half asleep, obeyed the command mechanically, opened the door a little, and peeped out. The first thing he saw, was the red glare of the link-boy's torch. Startled by the sudden fear that the house might be on fire, he hastily threw the door wide open, and holding the candle above his head, stared eagerly before him, not quite certain whether what he saw was a sedan-chair or a fire-engine. At this instant there came a violent gust of wind; the light was blown out; Mr. Winkle felt himself irresistibly impelled on to the steps; and the door blew to, with a loud crash.

"Well, young man, now you have done it!" said the short chairman.

Mr. Winkle, catching sight of a lady's face at the window of the sedan, turned hastily round, plied the knocker with all his might and main, and called frantically upon the chairman to take the chair away again.

"Take it away, take it away," cried Mr. Winkle. "Here's somebody coming out of another house; put me into the chair. Hide me! Do something with me!"

All this time he was shivering with cold; and every time he raised his hand to the knocker, the wind took the dressing-gown in a most unpleasant manner.


Some more details this week:



The mischievous link-boy



the short, fat and tall, thin chairmen



Winkle in skimpy dressing-gown


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"He no sooner heard the horrible threat of the valorous Dowler, than he bounced out of the sedan"

Chapter 36

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

The short man did knock again several times, without producing the smallest effect. The tall man, growing very impatient, then relieved him, and kept on perpetually knocking double-knocks of two loud knocks each, like an insane postman.

At length Mr. Winkle began to dream that he was at a club, and that the members being very refractory, the chairman was obliged to hammer the table a good deal to preserve order; then he had a confused notion of an auction room where there were no bidders, and the auctioneer was buying everything in; and ultimately he began to think it just within the bounds of possibility that somebody might be knocking at the street door. To make quite certain, however, he remained quiet in bed for ten minutes or so, and listened; and when he had counted two or three-and-thirty knocks, he felt quite satisfied, and gave himself a great deal of credit for being so wakeful.

‘Rap rap-rap rap-rap rap-ra, ra, ra, ra, ra, rap!’ went the knocker.

Mr. Winkle jumped out of bed, wondering very much what could possibly be the matter, and hastily putting on his stockings and slippers, folded his dressing-gown round him, lighted a flat candle from the rush-light that was burning in the fireplace, and hurried downstairs.

‘Here’s somebody comin’ at last, ma’am,’ said the short chairman.

‘I wish I wos behind him vith a bradawl,’ muttered the long one.

‘Who’s there?’ cried Mr. Winkle, undoing the chain.

‘Don’t stop to ask questions, cast-iron head,’ replied the long man, with great disgust, taking it for granted that the inquirer was a footman; ‘but open the door.’

‘Come, look sharp, timber eyelids,’ added the other encouragingly.

Mr. Winkle, being half asleep, obeyed the command mechanically, opened the door a little, and peeped out. The first thing he saw, was the red glare of the link-boy’s torch. Startled by the sudden fear that the house might be on fire, he hastily threw the door wide open, and holding the candle above his head, stared eagerly before him, not quite certain whether what he saw was a sedan-chair or a fire-engine. At this instant there came a violent gust of wind; the light was blown out; Mr. Winkle felt himself irresistibly impelled on to the steps; and the door blew to, with a loud crash.

‘Well, young man, now you have done it!’ said the short chairman.

Mr. Winkle, catching sight of a lady’s face at the window of the sedan, turned hastily round, plied the knocker with all his might and main, and called frantically upon the chairman to take the chair away again.

‘Take it away, take it away,’ cried Mr. Winkle. ‘Here’s somebody coming out of another house; put me into the chair. Hide me! Do something with me!’

All this time he was shivering with cold; and every time he raised his hand to the knocker, the wind took the dressing-gown in a most unpleasant manner.

‘The people are coming down the crescent now. There are ladies with ‘em; cover me up with something. Stand before me!’ roared Mr. Winkle. But the chairmen were too much exhausted with laughing to afford him the slightest assistance, and the ladies were every moment approaching nearer and nearer.

Mr. Winkle gave a last hopeless knock; the ladies were only a few doors off. He threw away the extinguished candle, which, all this time he had held above his head, and fairly bolted into the sedan-chair where Mrs. Dowler was.

Now, Mrs. Craddock had heard the knocking and the voices at last; and, only waiting to put something smarter on her head than her nightcap, ran down into the front drawing-room to make sure that it was the right party. Throwing up the window-sash as Mr. Winkle was rushing into the chair, she no sooner caught sight of what was going forward below, than she raised a vehement and dismal shriek, and implored Mr. Dowler to get up directly, for his wife was running away with another gentleman.

Upon this, Mr. Dowler bounced off the bed as abruptly as an India-rubber ball, and rushing into the front room, arrived at one window just as Mr. Pickwick threw up the other, when the first object that met the gaze of both, was Mr. Winkle bolting into the sedan-chair.

‘Watchman,’ shouted Dowler furiously, ‘stop him—hold him—keep him tight—shut him in, till I come down. I’ll cut his throat—give me a knife—from ear to ear, Mrs. Craddock—I will!’ And breaking from the shrieking landlady, and from Mr. Pickwick, the indignant husband seized a small supper-knife, and tore into the street.


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Packed up a few necessaries ready for flight.

Chapter 36

Thomas Nast

Text Illustrated:

Now, Mrs. Craddock had heard the knocking and the voices at last; and, only waiting to put something smarter on her head than her nightcap, ran down into the front drawing-room to make sure that it was the right party. Throwing up the window-sash as Mr. Winkle was rushing into the chair, she no sooner caught sight of what was going forward below, than she raised a vehement and dismal shriek, and implored Mr. Dowler to get up directly, for his wife was running away with another gentleman.

Upon this, Mr. Dowler bounced off the bed as abruptly as an India-rubber ball, and rushing into the front room, arrived at one window just as Mr. Pickwick threw up the other, when the first object that met the gaze of both, was Mr. Winkle bolting into the sedan-chair.

‘Watchman,’ shouted Dowler furiously, ‘stop him—hold him—keep him tight—shut him in, till I come down. I’ll cut his throat—give me a knife—from ear to ear, Mrs. Craddock—I will!’ And breaking from the shrieking landlady, and from Mr. Pickwick, the indignant husband seized a small supper-knife, and tore into the street.

But Mr. Winkle didn’t wait for him. He no sooner heard the horrible threat of the valorous Dowler, than he bounced out of the sedan, quite as quickly as he had bounced in, and throwing off his slippers into the road, took to his heels and tore round the crescent, hotly pursued by Dowler and the watchman. He kept ahead; the door was open as he came round the second time; he rushed in, slammed it in Dowler’s face, mounted to his bedroom, locked the door, piled a wash-hand-stand, chest of drawers, and a table against it, and packed up a few necessaries ready for flight with the first ray of morning.

Dowler came up to the outside of the door; avowed, through the keyhole, his steadfast determination of cutting Mr. Winkle’s throat next day; and, after a great confusion of voices in the drawing-room, amidst which that of Mr. Pickwick was distinctly heard endeavouring to make peace, the inmates dispersed to their several bed-chambers, and all was quiet once more.



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Mr. Tuckle, dressed out with the cocked-hat and stick, danced the frog hornpipe among the shells on the table

Chapter 37

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

Here Sam sat down with a pleasant smile, and his speech having been vociferously applauded, the company broke up.

‘Wy, you don’t mean to say you’re a-goin’ old feller?’ said Sam Weller to his friend, Mr. John Smauker.

‘I must, indeed,’ said Mr. Smauker; ‘I promised Bantam.’

‘Oh, wery well,’ said Sam; ‘that’s another thing. P’raps he’d resign if you disappinted him. You ain’t a-goin’, Blazes?’

‘Yes, I am,’ said the man with the cocked hat.

‘Wot, and leave three-quarters of a bowl of punch behind you!’ said Sam; ‘nonsense, set down agin.’

Mr. Tuckle was not proof against this invitation. He laid aside the cocked hat and stick which he had just taken up, and said he would have one glass, for good fellowship’s sake.

As the gentleman in blue went home the same way as Mr. Tuckle, he was prevailed upon to stop too. When the punch was about half gone, Sam ordered in some oysters from the green-grocer’s shop; and the effect of both was so extremely exhilarating, that Mr. Tuckle, dressed out with the cocked hat and stick, danced the frog hornpipe among the shells on the table, while the gentleman in blue played an accompaniment upon an ingenious musical instrument formed of a hair-comb upon a curl-paper. At last, when the punch was all gone, and the night nearly so, they sallied forth to see each other home.



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The Swarry

Chapter 37

Sol Eytinge Jr.

Diamond Edition 1867

Commentary:

While the Pickwickians are visiting fashionable Bath after the judgment against their leader in the the Bardell lawsuit, a footman named Smauker, making Sam's acquaintance, invites Sam Weller to an evening "swarry" — soirée or dinner — thrown by a group of elegantly dressed but insufferably clannish and condescending footmen in the parlour of the shop of the local greengrocer who depends upon these inveterate snobs for his trade.

Crossing the greengrocer's shop, and putting their hats on the stairs in the little passage behind it, they walked into a small parlour; and here the full splendour of the scene burst upon Mr. Weller's view.

A couple of tables were put together in the middle of the parlour, covered with three or four cloths of different ages and dates of washing, arranged to look as much like one as the circumstances of the case would allow. Upon these were laid knives and forks for six or eight people. Some of the knife handles were green, others red, and a few yellow; and as all the forks were black, the combination of colours was exceedingly striking. Plates for a corresponding number of guests were warming behind the fender; and the guests themselves were warming before it: the chief and most important of whom appeared to be a stoutish gentleman in a bright crimson coat with long tails, vividly red breeches, and a cocked hat, who was standing with his back to the fire, and had apparently just entered, for besides retaining his cocked hat on his head, he carried in his hand a high stick, such as gentlemen of his profession usually elevate in a sloping position over the roofs of carriages.


However, since the joint of mutton is uncovered and the carving-knife already in Tuckle's hand, the moment that Eytinge has realised is this:

The greengrocer and his wife then arranged upon the table a boiled leg of mutton, hot, with caper sauce, turnips, and potatoes. Mr. Tuckle took the chair, and was supported at the other end of the board by the gentleman in orange plush. The greengrocer put on a pair of wash-leather gloves to hand the plates with, and stationed himself behind Mr. Tuckle's chair.

"Harris," said Mr. Tuckle, in a commanding tone.

"Sir," said the greengrocer.

"Have you got your gloves on?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Then take the kiver off."

"Yes, Sir."

The greengrocer did as he was told, with a show of great humility, and obsequiously handed Mr. Tuckle the carving-knife; in doing which, he accidentally gaped.


Eytinge offers an impressionistic rather than strictly realistic treatment of his subject, the evening dinner of the fraternity of Bath footmen in all manner of gorgeous and outlandish livery, excrescences of an outmoded class system. The illustrator does not include the character whose consciousness informs the scene, the rank outsider Sam Weller, but focuses instead upon the footmen's victim and dupe, the hapless grocer (centre). To make his point that there is little to distinguish one footman from another except his outward and visible trappings, Eytinge has given the eight middle-aged, somewhat corpulent men the same essential facial features. Curiously, this nocturnal scene ridiculing privilege and snobbery has not been attempted by Phiz in either edition or Nast in the American Household Edition.


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Are you going to Bath? said the strange man.

Chapter 35

Charles Edmund Brock

Text Illustrated:

One of these boxes was occupied, on this particular occasion, by a stern-eyed man of about five-and-forty, who had a bald and glossy forehead, with a good deal of black hair at the sides and back of his head, and large black whiskers. He was buttoned up to the chin in a brown coat; and had a large sealskin travelling-cap, and a greatcoat and cloak, lying on the seat beside him. He looked up from his breakfast as Mr. Pickwick entered, with a fierce and peremptory air, which was very dignified; and, having scrutinised that gentleman and his companions to his entire satisfaction, hummed a tune, in a manner which seemed to say that he rather suspected somebody wanted to take advantage of him, but it wouldn’t do.

‘Waiter,’ said the gentleman with the whiskers.

‘Sir?’ replied a man with a dirty complexion, and a towel of the same, emerging from the kennel before mentioned.

‘Some more toast.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Buttered toast, mind,’ said the gentleman fiercely.

‘Directly, sir,’ replied the waiter.

The gentleman with the whiskers hummed a tune in the same manner as before, and pending the arrival of the toast, advanced to the front of the fire, and, taking his coat tails under his arms, looked at his boots and ruminated.

‘I wonder whereabouts in Bath this coach puts up,’ said Mr. Pickwick, mildly addressing Mr. Winkle.

‘Hum—eh—what’s that?’ said the strange man.

‘I made an observation to my friend, sir,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, always ready to enter into conversation. ‘I wondered at what house the Bath coach put up. Perhaps you can inform me.’

Are you going to Bath?’ said the strange man.

‘I am, sir,’ replied Mr. Pickwick.

‘And those other gentlemen?’

‘They are going also,’ said Mr. Pickwick.

‘Not inside—I’ll be damned if you’re going inside,’ said the strange man.

‘Not all of us,’ said Mr. Pickwick.


Commentary:

The brother of well-known fin de siècle​ illustrator Henry Matthew Brock (illustrator of the Gresham Imperial edition volume of Great Expectations, 1901-3), Charles Edmund Brock was a widely published English line artist​ and book illustrator, who signed his work "C. E. Brock."​Noted for the quality of his line drawings in the manner of the early Victorian illustrators, he was the eldest of four artist brothers, sons of a specialist reader in oriental languages for Cambridge University Press. With his better known brother, H. M., Charles Edward, and Richard Brock shared a studio, in which they gathered eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artefacts and curios to use in their drawings,​paintings, and book illustrations. ​Having trained in the studio of Henry Wiles, their careers began in the early 1890s at Macmillan. Like his brother, E. C. Brock contributed to Punch, but Charles Edmund was also a recognized painter in oils. Moreover, he illustrated Dickens's Christmas Books — A Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Haunted Man, and The Battle of Life, as well as The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, various novels by Jane Austen, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, Thomas Hood's poems, Lamb's essays, volumes of Greek and Norse myths, and the Bible.


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Mr. Weller and Mrs. Craddock .... 'here's a letter for you'

Chapter 37

Charles Edmund Brock

Text Illustrated:

Mr. Weller,’ said Mrs. Craddock, upon the morning of this very eventful day, ‘here’s a letter for you.’

‘Wery odd that,’ said Sam; ‘I’m afeerd there must be somethin’ the matter, for I don’t recollect any gen’l’m’n in my circle of acquaintance as is capable o’ writin’ one.’

‘Perhaps something uncommon has taken place,’ observed Mrs. Craddock.

‘It must be somethin’ wery uncommon indeed, as could perduce a letter out o’ any friend o’ mine,’ replied Sam, shaking his head dubiously; ‘nothin’ less than a nat’ral conwulsion, as the young gen’l’m’n observed ven he wos took with fits. It can’t be from the gov’ner,’ said Sam, looking at the direction. ‘He always prints, I know, ‘cos he learnt writin’ from the large bills in the booking-offices. It’s a wery strange thing now, where this here letter can ha’ come from.’

As Sam said this, he did what a great many people do when they are uncertain about the writer of a note—looked at the seal, and then at the front, and then at the back, and then at the sides, and then at the superscription; and, as a last resource, thought perhaps he might as well look at the inside, and try to find out from that.



Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Perhaps readers should be relieved that Mrs Wardell was more prone to fits of overacting and fainting than wielding a skinning knife."

I actually wondered that Mrs. Bardell, whom I took to be an honest woman in her heart of hearts, was ready to display such fits of sorrow and grief in the court. It was clear that her lawyers had instructed her to do this, as Mr. Perker aptly points out (not without admiration for his two professional brethren). Can we take this as testimony of the corrupting influence of Dodson and Fogg?


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Captain Dowler

Chapter 35

Sol Eytinge Jr.

1867 Diamond Edition

Commentary:

In this eleventh full-page character study for the last novel in the compact American publication, Eytinge focus on a..."


I can't help it, but Cpt. Dowler here looks to me as I picture old Karamasov from Dostoevsky's last masterpiece.


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John (jdourg) | 1038 comments I don't know if anyone is familiar with Bill Bryson and his book A Walk in the Woods.

It is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, and the trials and travails of the journey. The farther along I go in Pickwick, I find considerable parallels.

For those who have read Bryson's book, I'd say Bryson/Pickwick in some respects had his Weller in Stephen Katz, otherwise just known mostly as Katz in the book.


Mary Lou | 2315 comments Kim wrote: "The Card-room at Bath
Chapter 35
Phiz - 1837"


Holy mackerel! Look at the necks on those women! They must be part giraffe!


Mary Lou | 2315 comments Tristram wrote: "This is pretty much what Jane Austen writes about in her novels, isn’t it...."

I agree that Dickens must certainly have been having a bit of fun with Austen's readers when he wrote this chapter.

Mr. Bantam? Lord Mutanhed? Lord Verisopht? Lady Snuphanuph?
Dickens has outdone himself with those names!


Mary Lou | 2315 comments I admit to sighing heavily when Mr. Pickwick sat down to read yet another tale. I've already forgotten most of it.


Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Mr. Winkle's Situation when the Door 'blew-to'

Chapter 36

Phiz - 1837

Commentary:

Phiz's stage-managing of the night scene at Bath is masterful, as cross-hatching to the right engulfs that regi..."


Kim

Thank you, as always, for these delightful, sometimes bizarre, but always entertaining illustrations. So as not to disappoint you, I will again focus on Phiz. The Winkle “windblown” scene is great, and the fact that you provided close up parts of the illustration really help to intensify Phiz’s relationships to the characters. For such a scene, the facial expressions, the stance of the individual characters and even the clothing is delightdul. And Winkle, in his nightclothes with the candle holder ... does it get much better?


Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "The Swarry

Chapter 37

Sol Eytinge Jr.

Diamond Edition 1867

Commentary:

While the Pickwickians are visiting fashionable Bath after the judgment against their leader in the the Bardell lawsuit, ..."


This scene, the “swarry” was made even more famous as it makes another appearance in Gaskell’s Cranford which was published by Dickens in Household Words. The Dickens-Gaskell relationship was an interesting one and the later publication of Dickens’s Hard Times followed closely by Gaskell’s North and South in Household Words even further heightened their connections.


Mary Lou | 2315 comments Peter wrote: "the “swarry” was made even more famous as it makes another appearance in Gaskell’s Cranford which was published by Dickens in Household Words..."

I haven't read Cranford, but I've seen the adaptation that was on PBS. Is it just a similar gathering, or is it this gathering from another viewpoint, or what? I'm fascinated with the thought that Dickens and Gaskell did a crossover. :-)


message 26: by Peter (last edited Apr 03, 2018 01:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Peter wrote: "the “swarry” was made even more famous as it makes another appearance in Gaskell’s Cranford which was published by Dickens in Household Words..."
F
I haven't read Cranford, but I've se..."


Hi Mary Lou

What happens in Cranford is that a character mentions the Pickwick Papers and how he especially enjoyed reading about Sam and his mention of a “swarry.” This is interesting, of course, because it was Dickens himself who was editing and publishing Gaskell’s novel in parts, and thus Gaskell was complementing Dickens’s earlier novel The Pickwick Papers.

The Dickens-Gaskell relationship is a fascinating one to follow. Dickens was quite eager at times to do some editing and alterations to the MS of Cranford as it was received from Gaskell for publication in its parts. Gaskell, for her part, was not too amused when Dickens tinkered with her copy. In fact, after the parts of Cranford were completed and published in Household Words, Gaskell re-edited many of the parts that Dickens had edited back to what she originally wanted before Cranford was first published in its novel form. All in all, however, these two novelists both learned and profited from their connection with each other.


message 27: by Kim (last edited Apr 07, 2018 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5710 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "I can't help it, but Cpt. Dowler here looks to me as I picture old Karamasov from Dostoevsky's last masterpiece."

Something like this perhaps? I searched for this fast so I can't remember who artists are right now.






Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "This is pretty much what Jane Austen writes about in her novels, isn’t it...."

I agree that Dickens must certainly have been having a bit of fun with Austen's readers when he wrot..."


And Jane Austen's readers well deserve a little bit of fun for a change, considering that they get so little of it from Ms. Austen herself ;-)


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I can't help it, but Cpt. Dowler here looks to me as I picture old Karamasov from Dostoevsky's last masterpiece."

Something like this perhaps? I searched for this fast so I can't ..."


Wow, Kim, the first of those two illustrations is outstanding! Thanks for posting it!


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Mary Lou wrote: "Peter wrote: "the “swarry” was made even more famous as it makes another appearance in Gaskell’s Cranford which was published by Dickens in Household Words..."
F
I haven't read Cra..."


I remember that Dickens wanted Gaskell to insert the word "dark" into the title of what originally was "A Night's Work" because he thought that this would attract more readers. He surely knew how to exploit people's interest for the morbid.


message 31: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Kelleher | 1149 comments Tristram wrote: "Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "This is pretty much what Jane Austen writes about in her novels, isn’t it...."

I agree that Dickens must certainly have been having a bit of fun with Austen's rea..."


Them's fighting words. There's very little in the world more fun than Ms. Austen.

I'm intrigued by the Brock illustration with the woman on the bench--Mrs. Dowler?--looking apprehensive, no doubt about what her husband might be doing next. I found myself wishing Mrs. Dowler were not such a cipher. I'd be very interested in hearing her side of the story about how she was (apparently) contentedly engaged to man #1, until man #2 threatened to skin #1 if he married her, so then she marries #2. Because why? She never liked #1? She's into tough guys? #2 is hard to say no to? She figures she might as well marry some one?

Still, in my opinion, funniest line prize for this installment goes to the unembroidered story: "He fled. I married her. Here's the coach. That's her head."

(As if her head were somehow not attached to the rest of her!)


Mary Lou | 2315 comments Julie wrote: "I found myself wishing Mrs. Dowler were not such a cipher...."

Yes! She is like so many other peripheral Dickens characters whom we get a quick glimpse of, but about whom we'd love to know more! JK Rowling said that in her head she knew all her minor characters' back stories, and I'd be willing to bet that Dickens did as well. Wouldn't you love to hear him tell some of their stories?


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "This is pretty much what Jane Austen writes about in her novels, isn’t it...."

I agree that Dickens must certainly have been having a bit of fun ..."


It is quite interesting that Mr. Dowler points out his wife's head particularly. I take it as a hint that he is a very superficial man, only attracted by his wife's beauty and not so much by her character and intellect because he points out to her head (looking out from the coach window) as if it were a mere portrait. At the same time, the very short sentences underline Mr. Dowler's aggressiveness.


message 34: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Kelleher | 1149 comments Tristram wrote: "Julie wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "This is pretty much what Jane Austen writes about in her novels, isn’t it...."

I agree that Dickens must certainly have been having..."


Yes to the superficiality and aggressiveness, and I am wondering if Pickwick picks up on that and this is why he won't let Winkle get away with being frightened off by Dowler--does Pickwick dislike Dowler? If so, Sam would seem to share the feeling, and also suggests Dowler is maybe all bark and no bite: "‘He should ha’ stopped and fought it out, Sir,’ replied Sam contemptuously. ‘It wouldn’t take much to settle that ‘ere Dowler, Sir.’"

I get a sense that both Pickwick and Sam are taking this personally, if indirectly through Winkle.


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
As to Mr. Pickwick, I think he not only saw through Dowler and does not particularly like him - although it is quite difficult to imagine Mr. Pickwick taking a dislike to somebody who has not grossly offended him -, but he also thinks it dishonourable in a Pickwickian to dodge a confrontation in certain situations. We have often seen Mr. Pickwick roll up his sleeves, or "put up his dukes", i.e. he never shies away from a fight when his indignation is roused, and this is probably the case right now with Dowler making insinuating remarks about a Pickwickian, and this Pickwickian simply absconding.

All in all, it is quite remarkable how aptly Dickens gives a characterization of Dowler by leaving the reader little details to put them together to a more complete picture. He does this quite often in PP. My favourite side character is Peter Magnus, and we not only learn from himself that he dislikes originality, but he also has the coach stop over and over again in order to check whether his luggage is complete. If you put both details together, you may have some hints at a slight obsessive-compulsive disorder. Interestingly, he also confides to Mr. Pickwick that he has been jilted quite a few times, and that's why he is so very nervous (and jealous) with regard to his Intended Miss Witherfield. - The more you think about these characters, the more they make sense.


Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "As to Mr. Pickwick, I think he not only saw through Dowler and does not particularly like him - although it is quite difficult to imagine Mr. Pickwick taking a dislike to somebody who has not gross..."

I agree with your comments and insights Tristram. Pickwick is an honourable man, a Knight errant so to speak. Pickwick is also willing to stand up to bullies, to follow a code of conduct we must respect. Yes, on the surface we may see the Pickwickians as some jolly people rolling around the countryside, but they are also a moral compass for us.


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Yes, on the surface we may see the Pickwickians as some jolly people rolling around the countryside, but they are also a moral compass for us."

So then, in a true Pickwickian spirit, let's raise our glasses of brandy to the noble Samuel Pickwick, Esq. and his friends and followers!


Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Peter wrote: "Yes, on the surface we may see the Pickwickians as some jolly people rolling around the countryside, but they are also a moral compass for us."

So then, in a true Pickwickian spirit,..."


Cheers! :-))


Mary Lou | 2315 comments Tristram wrote: "Peter wrote: "Yes, on the surface we may see the Pickwickians as some jolly people rolling around the countryside, but they are also a moral compass for us."

So then, in a true Pickwickian spirit,..."


And this would be how Pickwick and Seinfeld differ from one another. :-)


Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Yes, Jerry is really like a kid, a very spoiled one at that. And when it comes to George ... ach ...


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