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The Pickwick Papers > PP, Chp. 53-57

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Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Dear Curiosities,

It now remains for me to introduce our last thread on Pickwick Papers before we turn to discussing the novel as a whole. Since most conflicts have already been solved, there only remains what might be summarized rather dismissively as skirmishes, and I will be accordingly brief.

After reassuring Arabella and telling her that should Mr. Winkle’s father not reconcile himself to his son’s marriage, he, Mr. Pickwick himself, will take an interest in Mr. Winkle junior’s prospects in life, our hero repairs himself once more to Mr. Perker’s offices in order to settle various matters. Both Mr. Lowton and Mr. Perker are late, but as the latter is later than his clerk, Mr. Lowton is, technically, not late at all. This attitude can, by the way, be seen in high flourish among modern students but some very modern students are already beyond caring at all whether they are late or not.

We learn that Mr. Jingle has now been released from prison and is preparing to go to Demerara, which is in South America, in order to turn over a new leaf as a settler. Mr. Pickwick not only settled his debts and got back his clothes from the pawnbroker, but he also paid for his passage and bought him an outfit, laying out, all in all, about 50 £. Mr. Lowten expresses his disgust with Mr. Trotter, who was offered a good job by Mr. Perker but who instead preferred casting in his lot with his friend Jingle because he is the only friend he ever had. The clerk cannot understand this attitude at all and tells Mr. Pickwick:

”‘Oh, it’s worse than foolish; it’s downright sneaking, you know, […] He says that he’s the only friend he ever had, and he’s attached to him, and all that. Friendship’s a very good thing in its way—we are all very friendly and comfortable at the Stump, for instance, over our grog, where every man pays for himself; but damn hurting yourself for anybody else, you know! No man should have more than two attachments—the first, to number one, and the second to the ladies; that’s what I say—ha! ha!’”


Coming to think of it, maybe this is one of the major points the novel intends to make – the value of friendship and its resulting desire to do something for other people. Looking at Mr. Pickwick, one might surely give a list of examples of what he does for his fellow-creatures.

In the course of the conversation, Mr. Jingle and Mr. Trotter arrive, and one notices how awkward it is for Mr. Pickwick to have Perker mention all the things he did for the two men. Mr. Jingle professes his desire to pay back to Mr. Pickwick the money he laid out in order to show he has become a better man. What do you think – will Jingle and Trotter stick to their new path in life, or will old temptations and habits get the better, or worse, of them?

Mr. Perker, at any rate, remains doubtful, but he says something which may also feature prominently when it comes to identifying the major theme of the novel. Here is what he says to Mr. Pickwick:

”’[Y]our object is equally honourable, whatever the result is. Whether that species of benevolence which is so very cautious and long–sighted that it is seldom exercised at all, lest its owner should be imposed upon, and so wounded in his self–love, be real charity or a worldly counterfeit, I leave to wiser heads than mine to determine. But if those two fellows were to commit a burglary to–morrow, my opinion of this action would be equally high.’”


The chapter ends with a brief appearance of Messrs Dodson and Fogg, at the sight of whom Mr. Pickwick finds it hard to suppress his anger and indignation. It is, however, only when they start claiming the moral highground that he loses his temper and starts giving them a piece of his mind, with Mr. Perker in the background reminding him of how dearly he might have to pay for this emotional relief eventually. It is also very characteristic of Mr. Pickwick, and therefore worth remarking, that in his phillipic against Dodson and Fogg he attempts to sneer but tries to do this “for the first time in his life, and failing most signally in so doing.”

When I said that the chapter concludes with a short visit by Dodson and Fogg, I was not completely right because the last thing to happen in this chapter is another, formidable, knock at Mr. Perker’s office door, but it is not until the next chapter until we get to know who is knocking. It is …


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
… the Fat Boy, who was ordered by Mr. Wardle to keep on knocking lest he fall asleep after the first knock.

The Fat Boy announces that Mr. Wardle is waiting downstairs in order to make a communication to Mr. Pickwick but also to his lawyer Mr. Perker. To cut a long story short, Mr. Wardle divulges to the two other gentlemen that he learnt that his daughter Emily has been courted by Mr. Snodgrass since the Christmas they all spent at Manor Farm, and that the young couple, partly influenced by the example of Winkle and Arabella, partly because Mr. Wardle has given out some signs of considering another young man from the neighbourhood a welcome suitor to his unmarried daughter, started to convince themselves that they are star-crossed lovers whose only chance might lie in running away.

Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Wardle wonder how they could have failed to notice such a development taking place directly under their noses, and they also wonder what they should do. Mr. Perker, however, tells them that he is sure that in their heart of hearts they have already made up their minds.

The scene then changes to the hotel where the Wardles, including Emily, are staying, and we witness a scene in which Mr. Snodgrass and his beloved meet, of course in the presence of Arabella and her new maid, Mary. When the Fat Boy walks in on that scene, the different people present try to coax him into complicity – a scene which is really funny –, and it is, above all, Mary, who manages best. This is probably due to the fact that in a way, the Fat Boy seems to have taken a fancy to her, to a greater degree, however, because of Mary’s offering him something to eat in the kitchen.

The chapter then ends with a reconciliation between Arabella and her brother (who arrives in Mr. Pickwick’s wake), and it also does not take long before Mr. Snodgrass and Emily find that their love is approved by Mr. Wardle and Mr. Pickwick.


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
When it comes to Chapters 55 to 57, I think it is best, or at least not the worst one can do, to sum them up in a few sentences each and to conclude with some general remarks or questions because Dickens just ties up the narrative threads he has spun without introducing anything new.

In Chapter 55 we get a rather lengthy, albeit often very funny, account of how Mr. Weller senior employs Mr. Pell in order to settle and execute his late wife’s will. Mr. Pell may indeed be making the business deal of his life – the narrator states that the fees he collects here enable him to pay his expenses for six months afterwards – but he would not be a legal man unless he tried to make even more money of it. However, Mr. Weller, his son and his friends are too world-wise to allow themselves to be taken in by Mr. Pell, and all in all, the business is settled in a convivial and hearty manner.

I don’t know if you felt like me, but somehow Mr. Pell’s way of referring to his late friend, the Lord Chancellor and of entertaining his audience with conversations that are supposed to have taken place between himself and the legal dignitary – conversations that invariably expose the virtues of Mr. Pell, if truth be told – remind me of a later Dickens character who also indulges in singing her own praise in this imaginative way. Can you guess whom?

Chapter 56 brings together Mr. Weller, Sam and Mr. Pickwick in a conversation in which Weller senior actually wants Mr. Pickwick to take care of his money – am I right when I say that I understood him as wanting Mr. Pickwick to keep it entirely and do with it what he wants? – in order to enable him to stick to his accustomed life as a coachman, which he sees as endangered, through the workings of widows mainly, if he were to keep it for himself. Only with great difficulty can Mr. Pickwick convince him of not giving the whole sum of money away on this whim of his. We also witness how Mr. Winkle senior suddenly appears on the scene in order to make his peace with his son and his new daughter-in-law. Apparently, the old man had second thoughts on the cold and stand-offish way in which he reacted to the news of his son’s marriage, and so no further interference on the part of Mr. Pickwick is needed. What could have resulted in new adventures now resolves itself without any further ado. Was Dickens simply not interested in sending his heroes into yet another adventure, or had he simply lost interest? Or, this may be another possibility, did he have no more room for further Pickwickianades, because the number of instalments was already agreed on before?

Be that as it may, Mr. Pickwick announces his resolution to settle down and to lead the sedentary life that is, according to public opinion, becoming to a man of his years, doing it in the following memorable words:

”‘New scenes have closed upon me; my rambles are at an end.’”


We don’t know whether this is entirely due to the fact that the Pickwick Club is no more – as a consequence of quarrels amongst it other members that were not settled in the Pickwickian sense – or whether his sojourn in prison might not, after all, have left their mark upon Mr. Pickwick and bereft him of his buoyancy. In the last chapter, we even learn that Mr. Pickwick is growing slightly infirm.

And yet, Mr. Pickwick will make a brief reappearance in Master Humphrey’s Clock - apart from being hijacked by all sorts of hack such as Mr. Reynolds, who tried to cash in on the immortal Pickwick.

In the last chapter, the narrator voices a principle that was typical of novel writers at that time, namely:

”It is the fate of most men who mingle with the world, and attain even the prime of life, to make many real friends, and lose them in the course of nature. It is the fate of all authors or chroniclers to create imaginary friends, and lose them in the course of art. Nor is this the full extent of their misfortunes; for they are required to furnish an account of them besides.”


Dickens would adhere to this principle in most of his novels, allowing us to leave his novels with a clear knowledge on what will become of the remaining characters. I am not going to summarize it here as the last chapter is, in itself, a summary. What I find interesting is that the narrator calls his characters “imaginary friends” and likens them to people in the real world. I must say that Mr. Pickwick and most of his friends have become, in the course of reading the novel with you, quite some kind of imaginary friends to me, and that it is with a melancholy feeling that I bid them farewell. I wonder how Dickens’s readers must have felt at the time. Do you think they were already so much into the new story of Oliver Twist that they did not linger over the parting lines of Pickwick Papers, hoping that this would not really be the last they heard of Mr. Pickwick and his friends? After all, Mr. Tupman is still a bachelor, and there may be lots of adventures in store for a man like Mr. Pickwick, who is young at heart …


John (jdourg) | 1120 comments In reading Chapter 57, with Pickwick's rather teary-eyed final speech, I felt distinct foreshadowing with Scrooge in the words frivolous pursuits and wealth.


message 5: by Kim (last edited May 14, 2018 08:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 6381 comments Mod
In the last chapter I read some words that brought tears to my eyes, and not for the reason Dickens meant it:

During our long absence, it has suffered much from internal dissension; and the withdrawal of my name, coupled with this and other circumstances, has occasioned its dissolution. The Pickwick Club exists no longer.

I'm not sure why it affected me that way, most of our Pickwick members have come here with us, but it made me sad anyway.


John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Kim wrote: "In the last chapter I read some words that brought tears to my eyes, and not for the reason Dickens meant it:

During our long absence, it has suffered much from internal dissension; and the withd..."


Every "travel" book I have ever read, including Pickwick, I always got a lump in my throat when the journey ended. Perhaps there is a sadness about a particular journey with companions ending. That is how I seemed to feel.


message 7: by Suki (last edited May 15, 2018 03:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 29 comments I enjoyed the story very much, and I was very sorry to see it come to an end.

Chapter 55 contains what is very likely my favorite scene of all between Weller father and son:

"'Vait a minit, Sammy,' replied Mr Weller, who, having tied his shawl with the aid of a small glass that hung in the window, was now, by dint of the most wonderful exertions, struggling into his upper garments. 'Vait a minit, Sammy; ven you grow as old as your father, you von't get into your veskit quite as easy as you do now, my boy.'

'If I couldn't get into it easier than that, I'm blessed if I'd vear vun at all,' rejoined his son.

'You think so now,' said Mr Weller, with the gravity of age, 'but you'll find that as you get vider, you'll get viser. Vidth and visdom, Sammy, alvays grows together.'"

I really like stories like this that end by telling us how the characters that we've become so attached to fare through life. It looks like a happy ending all around.


Peter | 3444 comments Mod
“My rambles are at an end.”

Interesting, isn’t it? As readers we have been members of the Pickwick Club as well and now we are left to carry on, or perhaps, slow down and rest with Pickwick and Sam as they enter the next stages of their lives.

I do believe that Dickens saw some of his fictional creations as people he does know, and does wish to send off in fine form. Consider the farewells, or would it be fare forwards, of such people as Sydney Carton, David Copperfield and Pip. To me those characters became human in the course of the novel as did Pickwick.

Perhaps that is part of Dickens great strength as a writer - he did not create characters as much as he created people. People that we cheer for, worry about and suffer with. People that we would like to meet.

Hopefully on all our roads there will be a Pickwick and Sam waiting at an Inn and we will spend an evening with them.


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "People that we would like to meet."

Those were very nice words, Peter! Here is exactly where Dickens's major craft lies, I think. By the way, if you could meet one Dickens character, who would it be, and why?


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "In the last chapter I read some words that brought tears to my eyes, and not for the reason Dickens meant it:

During our long absence, it has suffered much from internal dissension; and the withd..."


Same here, Kim! I had a look into the other place and found that it has become a frolicking ground of tumbleweeds by now.


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Kim | 6381 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Same here, Kim! I had a look into the other place.....

I look in occasionally, not in quite a while though. Whenever I do I end up wondering what the great founder of the club had in mind when he came back and destroyed it.


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Kim | 6381 comments Mod


I saw insolent familiarity, Sir," said Mr. Pickwick, turning upon Fogg with a fierceness of gesture which caused that person to retreat

Chapter 53

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Commentary:

In closing the original serial illustrations, Phiz and Dickens provided a frontispiece that shows Sam Weller and Samuel Pickwick in the old gentleman's library, retired from their adventures and seated at a round table on which are books and an ink-stand, decanters and glasses, details suggesting that they (like the purchaser of the final installment and of the volume edition) are enjoying the experience of reading about and reflecting on their adventures. Effective as this frontispiece may be in emphasizing the mutually supportive "Quixote/Panza" relationship of master and man, it does little to tie up the loose ends of the novel's chief plot, the machinations of the lawyers Dodson and Fogg in supporting Mrs. Bardell's breach of promise suit against the protagonist. Indeed, as a volume "frontispiece," it could not give away specifics about the outcome of the chief plot. The force of Nemesis or poetic justice (which a modern reader might term "closure") requires that the conclusion of the episodic novel involve the scurrilous lawyers' receiving some sort of comeuppance, however. And so, without Dickens dictating to him what the four plates for the final sequence of Household Edition chapters (originally, the "double" number of November 1837, comprising chapters 53 through 57) would be, Hablot Knight Browne was free at last to follow his inclination to see that in his final woodcuts the devious legal partners would be recipients of divine (if not human) justice in Perker's inner office at Gray's Inn, where shortly before Jingle and Trotter have been recipients of divine forgiveness.

Thus, in winding up the "Bardell versus Pickwick" plot visually, Phiz reintroduces the figures of Dodson and Fogg, last seen not in "The Trial" of chapter 34 (for they are solicitors rather than barristers, and must utilise the services of a barrister such as the oratorical Serjeant Buzfuz), but in their interview with Pickwick and Sam at their chambers in "You just come avay," said Mr. Weller. "Battledore and Shuttlecock's a wery good game, vhen you an't the shuttlecock and two lawyers the battledores'". The sharp-nosed attorney with the white waistcoat in that earlier illustration, standing behind the other, is probably Dodson, but neither attorney in this later illustration much resembles his earlier counterpart. Previously, in their own offices, operating in full view of their clerks, Dodson (right) and Fogg (centre), are large, even expansive figures full of "cheek" and self-confidence as they goad the inexperienced and naive Pickwick into slandering and even assaulting them as an extension of their "sharp practice" philosophy. As they observe of Pickwick when they meet him in Perker's office after his release from the Fleet, the retired merchant is not so large as before (they are referring to the effects of prison diet, but they might also be commenting upon the effects of suffering on ego); however, now at a considerable disadvantage, with no witnesses biased in their favour to support their narrative of being vilified and even beaten, Dodson (right) and Fogg (immediately in front of him, centre) are physically diminished as they shrink from their indignant victim, his characteristic pose of having one hand under coat tails as he gestures with the other recalling the opening scene of the novel, when he addressed the Pickwickians.

The shading of their thin faces suggests not so much embarrassment as shock and even fear, as Phiz has them retreating into the open doorway. Phiz has chosen to give the umbrella to Dodson, mentioned in the text as belonging to Fogg, and replace it (and Fogg's gloves as theatrical properties) with a lawyer's blue bag, even though he has secured Pickwick's payment in a pocketbook. In other words, no longer directed by the author to remain scrupulously faithful to the details established by the text, apparently Phiz felt free to invent and adjust, his most significant change being the characterisation of the predatory attorneys, whose slapping of the pocket, coyly disclosing the charges, mock forgiveness and affability, and smirking certainly do not suggest that they are abashed by Pickwick's accusations any more than they were in their own office earlier. Perker's gesture implies that he desperately wants them to leave rather than precipitate an altercation, even as Pickwick sternly points them toward the door. Although Perker's clerk, Lowten, is not in evidence, the reader presumes that he is just outside the right margin of the illustration, on the other side of the open door. The passage realised in this dramatic illustration is this:

Then both the partners laughed together — pleasantly and cheerfully, as men who are going to receive money often do.

"We shall make Mr. Pickwick pay for peeping," said Fogg, with considerable native humour, as he unfolded his papers. "The amount of the taxed costs is one hundred and thirty-three, six, four, Mr. Perker."

There was a great comparing of papers, and turning over of leaves, by Fogg and Perker, after this statement of profit and loss. Meanwhile, Dodson said, in an affable manner, to Mr. Pickwick —

"I don't think you are looking quite so stout as when I had the pleasure of seeing you last, Mr. Pickwick."

"Possibly not, sir," replied Mr. Pickwick, who had been flashing forth looks of fierce indignation, without producing the smallest effect on either of the sharp practitioners; "I believe I am not, sir. I have been persecuted and annoyed by scoundrels of late, sir."

Perker coughed violently, and asked Mr. Pickwick whether he wouldn't like to look at the morning paper. To which inquiry Mr. Pickwick returned a most decided negative.

"True," said Dodson, "I dare say you have been annoyed in the Fleet; there are some odd gentry there. Whereabouts were your apartments, Mr. Pickwick?"

"My one room," replied that much-injured gentleman, "was on the Coffee-Room flight."

" Oh, indeed!" said Dodson. "I believe that is a very pleasant part of the establishment."

" Very," replied Mr. Pickwick drily.

There was a coolness about all this, which, to a gentleman of an excitable temperament, had, under the circumstances, rather an exasperating tendency. Mr. Pickwick restrained his wrath by gigantic efforts; but when Perker wrote a cheque for the whole amount, and Fogg deposited it in a small pocket-book, with a triumphant smile playing over his pimply features, which communicated itself likewise to the stern countenance of Dodson, he felt the blood in his cheeks tingling with indignation.

"Now, Mr. Dodson," said Fogg, putting up the pocket-book and drawing on his gloves, "I am at your service."

"Very good," said Dodson, rising; "I am quite ready."

"I am very happy," said Fogg, softened by the cheque, "to have had the pleasure of making Mr. Pickwick's acquaintance. I hope you don't think quite so ill of us, Mr. Pickwick, as when we first had the pleasure of seeing you."

"I hope not," said Dodson, with the high tone of calumniated virtue. "Mr. Pickwick now knows us better, I trust; whatever your opinion of gentlemen of our profession may be, I beg to assure you, sir, that I bear no ill-will or vindictive feeling towards you for the sentiments you thought proper to express in our office in Freeman's Court, Cornhill, on the occasion to which my partner has referred."

"Oh, no, no; nor I," said Fogg, in a most forgiving manner.

"Our conduct, sir," said Dodson, "will speak for itself, and justify itself, I hope, upon every occasion. We have been in the profession some years, Mr. Pickwick, and have been honoured with the confidence of many excellent clients. I wish you good-morning, sir."

"Good-morning, Mr. Pickwick," said Fogg. So saying, he put his umbrella under his arm, drew off his right glove, and extended the hand of reconciliation to that most indignant gentleman; who, thereupon, thrust his hands beneath his coat tails, and eyed the attorney with looks of scornful amazement.

"Lowten!" cried Perker, at this moment. "Open the door."

"Wait one instant," said Mr. Pickwick. "Perker, I will speak."

"My dear sir, pray let the matter rest where it is," said the little attorney, who had been in a state of nervous apprehension during the whole interview; "Mr. Pickwick, I beg —"

"I will not be put down, sir," replied Mr. Pickwick hastily. "Mr. Dodson, you have addressed some remarks to me."

Dodson turned round, bent his head meekly, and smiled.

"Some remarks to me," repeated Mr. Pickwick, almost breathless; "and your partner has tendered me his hand, and you have both assumed a tone of forgiveness and high-mindedness, which is an extent of impudence that I was not prepared for, even in you."

"What, sir!" exclaimed Dodson.

"What, sir!" reiterated Fogg.

"Do you know that I have been the victim of your plots and conspiracies?" continued Mr. Pickwick. "Do you know that I am the man whom you have been imprisoning and robbing? Do you know that you were the attorneys for the plaintiff, in Bardell and Pickwick?"

"Yes, sir, we do know it," replied Dodson.

"Of course we know it, sir," rejoined Fogg, slapping his pocket — perhaps by accident.

"I see that you recollect it with satisfaction," said Mr. Pickwick, attempting to call up a sneer for the first time in his life, and failing most signally in so doing. "Although I have long been anxious to tell you, in plain terms, what my opinion of you is, I should have let even this opportunity pass, in deference to my friend Perker's wishes, but for the unwarrantable tone you have assumed, and your insolent familiarity. I say insolent familiarity, sir," said Mr. Pickwick, turning upon Fogg with a fierceness of gesture which caused that person to retreat towards the door with great expedition.

"Take care, sir," said Dodson, who, though he was the biggest man of the party, had prudently entrenched himself behind Fogg, and was speaking over his head with a very pale face. "Let him assault you, Mr. Fogg; don't return it on any account."

"No, no, I won't return it," said Fogg, falling back a little more as he spoke; to the evident relief of his partner, who by these means was gradually getting into the outer office.

"You are," continued Mr. Pickwick, resuming the thread of his discourse — "you are a well-matched pair of mean, rascally, pettifogging robbers."

"Well," interposed Perker, "is that all?"

"It is all summed up in that," rejoined Mr. Pickwick; "they are mean, rascally, pettifogging robbers."

"There!" said Perker, in a most conciliatory tone. "My dear sirs, he has said all he has to say. Now pray go. Lowten, is that door open?"

Mr. Lowten, with a distant giggle, replied in the affirmative.


Unfortunately, Phiz could not capture the delightful comedy of Pickwick's denunciation of the black-suited rogues or communicate the irony of Pickwick's condemnatory interrogation of the lawyers or their shift in attitude from bantering superiority to fear for their safety. In the imaginative or "anti-reality" world of the nine interpolated tales of the novel, genuine Nemesis is possible, even logical, since these are oral tales with the traditional moral compass of cautionary and instructive short fiction. However, in the novel, the contemporary world of Charles Dickens (although the action is set back some half-a-dozen years from the time of part-publication and initial reading), a denunciation of meanness, baseness, and duplicity rather than a more severe punishment is the best that the middle-class reader, pondering the moral state of contemporary society, can expect — especially when looking for poetic justice that corrects the professional misconduct of lawyers.


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Kim | 6381 comments Mod
Just a thought I had while reading the commentary above, the writer refers to the illustration as being for the novel's chief plot. I didn't think it was the main plot of the story, I don't know what I did think was the main plot, but not the story of Pickwick's troubles with Mrs. Bardell.


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Mary and the Fat Boy

Chapter 54

Phiz - 1837

Commentary:

Although Shakespeare in Twelfth Night described music as "the food of love," in this illustration of Wardle's chubby, omnivorous page (denominated the "Fat Boy") and the charming maid Mary, the food of love is apparently . . . food. That the Fat Boy should suddenly make an amorous advance upon the fetching maid may be another result of his suffering from Kleine-Levin syndrome, an interpretation supported by Dickens's alluding to Joe in chapter 8 as "the infant Lambert," for Daniel Lambert at his death 1809 weighed 739 lbs. Previously seen in one of Phiz's earliest plates for the novel, "The Fat Boy Awake Again" (ch. 8), the chubby servant is now the focus of an illustration as the power of sexual attraction overwhelms his gormandising. Thus, Phiz extends the reader's sympathy to a character formerly a mere stereotype, and makes him worthy of the reader's interest as the writer pulls together the multiple and various threads of the extremely loose picaresque plot.

Text Illustrated:

'He understands us, I see," said Arabella. 'He had better have something to eat, immediately," remarked Emily.

The fat boy almost laughed again when he heard this suggestion. Mary, after a little more whispering, tripped forth from the group, and said:

"I am going to dine with you to-day, sir, if you have no objection."

"This way," said the fat boy eagerly. "There is such a jolly meat-pie!"

With these words, the fat boy led the way downstairs; his pretty companion captivating all the waiters and angering all the chambermaids as she followed him to the eating-room.

There was the meat-pie of which the youth had spoken so feelingly, and there were, moreover, a steak, and a dish of potatoes, and a pot of porter.

"Sit down," said the fat boy. "Oh, my eye, how prime! I am so hungry."

Having apostrophised his eye, in a species of rapture, five or six times, the youth took the head of the little table, and Mary seated herself at the bottom.

"Will you have some of this?" said the fat boy, plunging into the pie up to the very ferules of the knife and fork.

"A little, if you please," replied Mary.

The fat boy assisted Mary to a little, and himself to a great deal, and was just going to begin eating when he suddenly laid down his knife and fork, leaned forward in his chair, and letting his hands, with the knife and fork in them, fall on his knees, said, very slowly —

"I say! How nice you look!"

This was said in an admiring manner, and was, so far, gratifying; but still there was enough of the cannibal in the young gentleman's eyes to render the compliment a double one.

"Dear me, Joseph," said Mary, affecting to blush, "what do you mean?" [chapter 54]


The Fat Boy's libido seems to have been stimulated by the feast as he oggles the comely maid. In Phiz's illustration, the narcoleptic page is suddenly alert to wasp-waisted maid's charms, proof, perhaps, that opposites attract. Captivated by her demeanour as well as her slender form, Joe actually neglects the gigantic pie in the midst of the table, and is even oblivious to the enormous portion he has just cut himself. He does not even the notice the corpulent cook's carrying in a loaded platter (up centre), a detail not given in the text. Phiz's comment or implied visual comment on human nature is encapsulated in the corpulent lady who is providing yet more comestibles for the omnivorous servant: what she is, perhaps, in time ("col temp") Mary herself will become if she participates in satisfying Joe's appetites.

Moreover, Phiz has overturned Mary's chair so that its back points both towards the feast and the entranced Fat Boy. As she moves towards him, she raises her right hand in admonishment. Joe lowers his eating utensils in order to consume visually Mary's shapely beauty, a delicate contrast to his own corpulence.

Details:



The slender Mary



The fat Joe



The cook in the background


message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 6381 comments Mod


I say, how nice you look!

Chapter 54

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

"Sit down," said the fat boy. "Oh, my eye, how prime! I am so hungry."

Having apostrophised his eye, in a species of rapture, five or six times, the youth took the head of the little table, and Mary seated herself at the bottom.

"Will you have some of this?" said the fat boy, plunging into the pie up to the very ferules of the knife and fork.

"A little, if you please," replied Mary.

The fat boy assisted Mary to a little, and himself to a great deal, and was just going to begin eating when he suddenly laid down his knife and fork, leaned forward in his chair, and letting his hands, with the knife and fork in them, fall on his knees, said, very slowly —

"I say! How nice you look!"



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Will you have some of this? said the Fat Boy

Chapter 54

Thomas Nast - 1874 Household Edition

Commentary:

Thomas Nast, with a cartoonist's sense of caricature, found Dickens's "Fat Boy" — Wardle's page, Joe — an irresistible subject, if one may judge by the frequency with which the American visual satirist depicted him: we see him first interrupting Tupman's courtship of Rachael Wardle in "'He knows nothing of what has happened,' he whispered"; he again occurs in the background of "I wish you'd let me bleed you" in the "Pickwick on ice" sequence; he is on the right margin in the background of the scene in which Pickwick falls through the ice at Dingley Dell, "A large mass of ice disappeared"; and finally in "'Will you have some of this?' said the Fat Boy." Consequently, Nast has realised this relatively minor, one-dimensional character a total of four times in fifty-two illustrations. Phiz, on the other hand, included Joe just twice in the original serial — in the June 1836 engraving "The Fat Boy Awake Again" and the November 1837 engraving "Mary and The Fat Boy." In the 1873-74 Chapman and Hall Household Edition, Joe occurs four times: "Mr. Tupman looked round. There was the fat boy"; "Sam looked at the Fat Boy with great astonishment, but without saying a word"; "Before Mr. Pickwick distinctly knew what was the matter, he was surrounded by the whole body, and kissed by every one of them" in the lower right of the Christmas Eve party scene; and "I say, how nice you look". The increased interest in Joe by the Household Edition illustrators, operating independently of one another, probably reflects the reading public's delight in the sardonic character over four decades.

In Nast's illustration, the reader cannot see the Fat Boy's facial expression, merely his enormous girth as he surgically opens the "jolly" meat-pie and Mary holds out her plate, waiting to be served. For Nast, the background is hardly worthy of comment; the only significant objects are the enormous pie and the pewter flagon just behind it. Nast's Mary is a moderately attractive young woman, but nothing compared to the beauty across the table from Joe in Phiz's 1837 and 1873 illustrations. Curiously, Phiz has transformed the plain, somewhat overweight, middle-aged cook in the 1837 engraving (back, centre) to a slender, attractive young woman (left of centre) in the 1873 illustration. Again, the British Household Edition illustrator has reversed the juxtaposition of the figures, with Joe now to left and Mary (seated rather than standing) to the right. Although Phiz has reduced the size of the pie considerably in the later illustration, he has maintained all the supporting details (the objects on the table and the mirror in the background), and added a clock on the mantel, a patterned screen (left rear), and bell-pull (right), thereby enhancing the verisimilitude of the scene, rendering the whole more realistic by posing the figures more naturally. While Nast does not seem to have apprehended the sexual implications of the scene, Phiz has reduced such implications in his later treatment by adjusting Joe's expression: in the 1837 engraving, he seems captivated by the face and figure of the maid, whereas in the 1873 treatment he seems almost asleep, his eyes closed and his cheeks heavy with food, although his knife and fork still point towards Mary in a phallic manner.

Text Illustrated:

'He understands us, I see," said Arabella. 'He had better have something to eat, immediately," remarked Emily.

The fat boy almost laughed again when he heard this suggestion. Mary, after a little more whispering, tripped forth from the group, and said:

"I am going to dine with you to-day, sir, if you have no objection."

"This way," said the fat boy eagerly. "There is such a jolly meat-pie!"

With these words, the fat boy led the way downstairs; his pretty companion captivating all the waiters and angering all the chambermaids as she followed him to the eating-room.

There was the meat-pie of which the youth had spoken so feelingly, and there were, moreover, a steak, and a dish of potatoes, and a pot of porter.

"Sit down," said the fat boy. "Oh, my eye, how prime! I am so hungry."

Having apostrophised his eye, in a species of rapture, five or six times, the youth took the head of the little table, and Mary seated herself at the bottom.

"Will you have some of this?" said the fat boy, plunging into the pie up to the very ferules of the knife and fork.

"A little, if you please," replied Mary.

The fat boy assisted Mary to a little, and himself to a great deal, and was just going to begin eating when he suddenly laid down his knife and fork, leaned forward in his chair, and letting his hands, with the knife and fork in them, fall on his knees, said, very slowly —

"I say! How nice you look!"

This was said in an admiring manner, and was, so far, gratifying; but still there was enough of the cannibal in the young gentleman's eyes to render the compliment a double one.

"Dear me, Joseph," said Mary, affecting to blush, "what do you mean?"



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The Fat Boy

Chapter 54

Sol Eytinge - 1867 Diamond Edition

Commentary:

In this fifteenth full-page character study for the last novel in the compact American publication, Eytinge finally incorporates the "Fat Boy," the somnolent page from Dingley Dell, into his visual sequence, whereas Phiz, with far more opportunities for illustration, had already shown Joe catching Tracy Tupman and Miss Rachael Wardle in a compromising position in the summer-house at Dingley Dell in "The Fat Boy Awake Again".

Text Illustrated:

The object that presented itself to the eyes of the astonished clerk, was a boy — a wonderfully fat boy — habited as a serving lad, standing upright on the mat, with his eyes closed as if in sleep. He had never seen such a fat boy, in or out of a travelling caravan; and this, coupled with the calmness and repose of his appearance, so very different from what was reasonably to have been expected of the inflicter of such knocks, smote him with wonder.

"What’s the matter?" inquired the clerk.

The extraordinary boy replied not a word; but he nodded once, and seemed, to the clerk’s imagination, to snore feebly.

"Where do you come from?" inquired the clerk.

The boy made no sign. He breathed heavily, but in all other respects was motionless.

The clerk repeated the question thrice, and receiving no answer, prepared to shut the door, when the boy suddenly opened his eyes, winked several times, sneezed once, and raised his hand as if to repeat the knocking. Finding the door open, he stared about him with astonishment, and at length fixed his eyes on Mr. Lowten’s face.

"What the devil do you knock in that way for?" inquired the clerk angrily.

"Which way?" said the boy, in a slow and sleepy voice.

"Why, like forty hackney-coachmen," replied the clerk.

"Because master said, I wasn’t to leave off knocking till they opened the door, for fear I should go to sleep," said the boy.

"Well," said the clerk, "what message have you brought?"

"He’s downstairs," rejoined the boy.

‘Who?"

"Master. He wants to know whether you’re at home."


Despite the fact that the printers at Ticknor Fields placed this illustration immediately before the opening of chapter 54, from its content it should be understood to be a realisation of the following passage, when Joe sits down to polish off a gigantic meat pie, as in the original November 1837 Phiz illustration "Mary and The Fat Boy" (plate):

With these words, the fat boy led the way downstairs; his pretty companion captivating all the waiters and angering all the chambermaids as she followed him to the eating-room.

There was the meat-pie of which the youth had spoken so feelingly, and there were, moreover, a steak, and a dish of potatoes, and a pot of porter.

"Sit down," said the fat boy. "Oh, my eye, how prime! I am so hungry."

Having apostrophised his eye, in a species of rapture, five or six times, the youth took the head of the little table, and Mary seated herself at the bottom.

"Will you have some of this?" said the fat boy, plunging into the pie up to the very ferules of the knife and fork.

"A little, if you please,’ replied Mary.

The fat boy assisted Mary to a little, and himself to a great deal, and was just going to begin eating when he suddenly laid down his knife and fork, leaned forward in his chair, and letting his hands, with the knife and fork in them, fall on his knees, said, very slowly —

"I say! How nice you look!"


The subject that Eytinge has chosen, the gormandising of the Fat Boy, Joe. Mr. Wardle's page from Dingley Dell, is precisely that which Dickens and Phiz chose for the original serialisation of the novel in November 1837, "Mary and The Fat Boy" (plate). The psychological dimension of the original illustration — Joe's sexual appetite being stimulated by eating — is lacking because in choosing to foreground Joe and his repast Eytinge has omitted the women who are serving Joe. As Guiliano and Collins point out, "Joe's unexpected and comic attempt to kiss Mary may be attributable to his illness. One of the symptoms of the Kleine-Levin syndrome . . . is a propensity to precocious, amorous overtures" . But Eytinge already has Joe falling asleep, whereas, for example, in The Charles Dickens Edition (1910), Harry Furniss depicts Joe imploring Mary for a kiss, and Mary as demurring.

The woodcut is unusual among the Eytinge series in the amount of contextual material it contains: hams and spices hang behind the table; a sideboard with plates has been sketched in; in the foreground, Joe's hat sits on a sturdy stool; and beside the "jolly" meat pie (nearly half-consumed already) is a clay rather than pewter pitcher of porter. The vessel's roundness mirrors Joe's own, and indicates his capacity for both food and drank, the comestibles in the original Phiz engraving not being nearly as realistic or believable. Another interesting Eytinge detail is his exposing a portion of the boy's shirt, as if the page's uniform simply cannot contain his girth. A somewhat dreamy look on his face suggests that the very act of eating is putting him to sleep as he pauses to consider the next mouthful. In contrast to the pear-shaped body that Phiz has given him, Joe in Eytinge's illustration has heavy arms and legs, and a very thick neck. Our impression of him in "The Fat Boy Awake Again" (the first illustration that was Phiz's in the series after Seymour's suicide) is confined to his general form since Phiz offers no particulars about his face and hair, his focus being the spinster aunt and her middle-aged beau caught in the garden bower. Indeed, Joe seems almost an afterthought since even the manor house in the background receives a more detailed treatment.

In Phiz's 1873 reworking of the illustration for the Household Edition, "Mr. Tupman Looked Round. There was the Fat Boy" (page 49), the illustrator has taken a greater interest in Joe, but has also trimmed a considerable amount of weight off his frame, and has chosen a middle-distance study of the scene that increases the size of the figures and decreases the amount of background, thereby suggesting a greater interest in the three characters. In "I say, how nice you look!"), Phiz interprets Joe as a mere pre-adolescent, and therefore one who would not logically paying court to the comely Mary. The Fat Boy in these 1873 studies seems far more alert than his 1836-37 and 1867 counterparts.


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Mr. Weller and his friends drinking to Mr. Pell

Chapter 55

Phiz - 1837

Commentary:

The forty-fourth plate (among four for the final, double number in November 1837) was Phiz's new frontispiece. Normally the number of plates would have been forty (and, indeed, was in successive nineteen-month serialisations of Dickens's works), but Chapman and Hall had originally contracted the well-known illustrator Robert Seymour for four plates per instalment, with less text from the relatively unknown Charles Dickens, the "Boz" of the "Sketches." The changeover occurred in June 1836, when the instalment ran an additional two pages of text (to 28) and the illustrations reduced to just two, Seymour having committed suicide after completing the May 1836 plates:

We started with a number of twenty-four pages [i. e., 12 leaves] instead of thirty-two [i. e., sixteen leaves], and four illustrations in lieu of a couple. Mr. Seymour's sudden and lamented death before the second number was published, brought about a quick decision upon a point already in agitation; the number became one of thirty-two pages with only two illustrations, and remained so to the end. [Charles Dickens, "Preface," The Household Edition, iv]

In the forty-third plate, Tony Weller is giving up the coaching end of the business and claiming his late wife's estate, but, in "cashing out," he wants to be sure that the lawyers do not get the better of him and his son — and so he brings along a few kindred spirits (fellow coachmen) as witnesses to the proceedings with attorney Solomon Pell, the pallid, little man seated at the left-hand end of the table. Pell, small, complacent, and wearing a dark business suit, contrasts in every respect the other, much more "flashy" revellers, who (with the exception of the slender Sam) seem cast from the same elephantine mould.

Dickens provides Tony Weller's motive for bringing along a posse of coachmen earlier in the chapter:

"As four heads is better than two, Sammy," said Mr. Weller, as they drove along the London Road in the chaise–cart, "and as all this here property [the estate of the late Mrs. Weller] is a wery great temptation to a legal gen'l'm'n, ve'll take a couple o' friends o' mine vith us, as'll be wery soon down upon him if he comes anythin' irreg'lar; two o' them as saw you to the Fleet that day. They're the wery best judges," added Mr. Weller, in a half–whisper — "the wery best judges of a horse, you ever know'd."

"And of a lawyer too?" inquired Sam.

"The man as can form a ackerate judgment of a animal, can form a ackerate judgment of anythin'," replied his father, so dogmatically, that Sam did not attempt to controvert the position.


Four versions of Mr. Weller, Sr. — the original and three facsimiles, of equal girth, height, and all particulars of dress — Sam Weller, and the attorney indulge in a farewell toast to their readership of nineteen months, having consumed a vast quantity of raw Colchester Natives whose shells appear on the table. Although Dickens specifies also "a little bit o' cold beef" none is in evidence. Fortunately, The gargantuan coachmen have chosen to stand, for the fragile chairs in the room could scarcely support their weight.

As in a number of Phiz's other interiors, the room of the public house is lit by twin gas jets in the ceiling above the table. See, in particular, the scene in the snuggery of the Fleet Prison in "The Red-Nosed Man Discourseth" (ch. 45), "Mr. Pickwick and Sam in the Attorney's Office" (ch. 20), and Seymour's initial illustration, "Mr. Pickwick Addresses the Club" (ch. 1).

Although Scottish engineer William Murdoch (1754 — 1839) first produced a device that would replace the oil lamp and the tallow candle sometime between 1792 and 1794, he failed to patent the iron-tubed device for a controlled ignition of coal gas, and his business partners, Boulton and Watt missed their opportunity to establish a monopoly. The use of gas lighting was not fully established when Dickens began his writing career, oil lamps being in common use domestically well into the 1840s, although London Bridge was illuminated by gas in 1813, and municipal gas works had been established in Bristol (1816), Manchester (1817), and Birmingham (1819). Shortly after the publication of Pickwick, young Queen Victoria had gas lighting installed in Buckingham Palace (photograph), and London's busier streets were gas-lit by 1842, when the city employed some 380 lamplighters. As one can see in Seymour's and Phiz's illustrations of 1836-37, interior gas lighting was at this time generally reserved for shops and public buildings because of coal gas's strong ordour and the need for good ventilation since the device consumed a great deal of oxygen. The first major building to employ a gasolier was the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion (photograph), which boasted an enormous, fanciful Chinese flying dragon gasolier in the newly expanded banqueting room (in 1802-3; discussion); a number of smaller, lotus-shaped gasoliers also hang from the ceiling of the the Prince's Music Room.

Compare the 1837 steel engraving to Phiz's 1873 woodcut of the same narrative moment in the first volume of Chapman and Hall's Household Edition: "The mottled-faced gentleman reviewed the company, and slowly lifted his hand."

Text Illustrated:

"What should you say to a drop o' beer, gen'l'm'n?" suggested the mottled–faced man. "And a little bit o' cold beef," said the second coachman.

"Or a oyster," added the third, who was a hoarse gentleman, supported by very round legs.

"Hear, hear!" said Pell; "to congratulate Mr. Weller, on his coming into possession of his property, eh? Ha! ha!"

"I'm quite agreeable, gen'l'm'n," answered Mr. Weller. "Sammy, pull the bell."

Sammy complied; and the porter, cold beef, and oysters being promptly produced, the lunch was done ample justice to. Where everybody took so active a part, it is almost invidious to make a distinction; but if one individual evinced greater powers than another, it was the coachman with the hoarse voice, who took an imperial pint of vinegar with his oysters, without betraying the least emotion.

"Mr. Pell, Sir," said the elder Mr. Weller, stirring a glass of brandy–and–water, of which one was placed before every gentleman when the oyster shells were removed — "Mr. Pell, Sir, it wos my intention to have proposed the funs [funds, gilt-edged, guaranteed British government investments] on this occasion, but Samivel has vispered to me —"

Here Mr. Samuel Weller, who had silently eaten his oysters with tranquil smiles, cried, "Hear!" in a very loud voice.

— "Has vispered to me," resumed his father, "that it vould be better to dewote the liquor to vishin' you success and prosperity, and thankin' you for the manner in which you’ve brought this here business through. Here's your health, sir."

"Hold hard there," interposed the mottled–faced gentleman, with sudden energy; "your eyes on me, gen'l'm'n!"

Saying this, the mottled–faced gentleman rose, as did the other gentlemen. The mottled–faced gentleman reviewed the company, and slowly lifted his hand, upon which every man (including him of the mottled countenance) drew a long breath, and lifted his tumbler to his lips. In one instant, the mottled–faced gentleman depressed his hand again, and every glass was set down empty. It is impossible to describe the thrilling effect produced by this striking ceremony. At once dignified, solemn, and impressive, it combined every element of grandeur.


Details:



The inscrutible Mr. Pell



Sam Weller and the twin-jet coal gas chandelier or "gassolier."


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The mottled-faced gentleman reviewed the company, and slowly lifted his hand!

Chapter 55

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

It was a kind of festive occasion, and the parties were attired accordingly. Mr. Weller's tops were newly cleaned, and his dress was arranged with peculiar care; the mottled-faced gentleman wore at his button-hole a full-sized dahlia with several leaves; and the coats of his two friends were adorned with nosegays of laurel and other evergreens. All three were habited in strict holiday costume; that is to say, they were wrapped up to the chins, and wore as many clothes as possible, which is, and has been, a stage-coachman's idea of full dress ever since stage- coaches were invented.

Mr. Pell was waiting at the usual place of meeting at the appointed time; even he wore a pair of gloves and a clean shirt, much frayed at the collar and wristbands by frequent washings.
'A quarter to two,' said Pell, looking at the parlour clock. 'If we are with Mr. Flasher at a quarter past, we shall just hit the best time.'

'What should you say to a drop o' beer, gen'l'm'n?' suggested the mottled-faced man. 'And a little bit o' cold beef,' said the second coachman.

'Or a oyster,' added the third, who was a hoarse gentleman, supported by very round legs.

'Hear, hear!' said Pell; 'to congratulate Mr. Weller, on his coming into possession of his property, eh? Ha! ha!'

'I'm quite agreeable, gen'l'm'n,' answered Mr. Weller. 'Sammy, pull the bell.'

Sammy complied; and the porter, cold beef, and oysters being promptly produced, the lunch was done ample justice to. Where everybody took so active a part, it is almost invidious to make a distinction; but if one individual evinced greater powers than another, it was the coachman with the hoarse voice, who took an imperial pint of vinegar with his oysters, without betraying the least emotion.

'Mr. Pell, Sir,' said the elder Mr. Weller, stirring a glass of brandy-and-water, of which one was placed before every gentleman when the oyster shells were removed — 'Mr. Pell, Sir, it wos my intention to have proposed the funs on this occasion, but Samivel has vispered to me — '

Here Mr. Samuel Weller, who had silently eaten his oysters with tranquil smiles, cried, 'Hear!' in a very loud voice.

— 'Has vispered to me,' resumed his father, 'that it vould be better to dewote the liquor to vishin' you success and prosperity, and thankin' you for the manner in which you've brought this here business through. Here's your health, sir.'

'Hold hard there,' interposed the mottled-faced gentleman, with sudden energy; 'your eyes on me, gen'l'm'n!'

Saying this, the mottled-faced gentleman rose, as did the other gentlemen. The mottled-faced gentleman reviewed the company, and slowly lifted his hand, upon which every man (including him of the mottled countenance) drew a long breath, and lifted his tumbler to his lips. In one instant, the mottled-faced gentleman depressed his hand again, and every glass was set down empty. It is impossible to describe the thrilling effect produced by this striking ceremony. At once dignified, solemn, and impressive, it combined every element of grandeur.



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Old Weller and The Coachmen

Chapter 55

Sol Eytinge - 1867 Diamond Edition

Commentary:

In this sixteenth full-page character study for the last novel in the compact American publication, Eytinge concludes the picaresque narrative's program of illustration with the likeness of Sam's philosophical father, the hefty coachman and de facto proprietor of the Marquis of Granby public-house through marriage, Tony Weller, but recently a widower for the second time.

Tony invites several members of his profession to bear witness to his dealings with attorney Solomon Pell in the matter of his handling of the probate of the late Mrs. Weller's estate. Eytinge has substituted for Phiz's original drinking party a study of the redoubtable coachman Tony Weller, supported by three of his compatriots, who gather in chapter 55 to celebrate the execution of Susan Weller's will, as in Phiz's original illustration, "Mr. Weller and his friends drinking to Mr. Pell" (plate), November 1837. Although Phiz's treatment of the convivial drinking scene is somewhat cartoonish, with the slender figures of Sam and Pell contrasting the vast rotundity of the jolly coachmen, the original illustrator has imparted a liveliness and sense of camaraderie that Eytinge's illustration lacks, since the 1867 woodcut has omitted both Sam and Pell, the convivial drinking, and the background details.The picture's realisation of Tony Weller is based on the following passage:

It was a kind of festive occasion, and the parties were attired accordingly. Mr. Weller's tops were newly cleaned, and his dress was arranged with peculiar care; the mottled–faced gentleman wore at his button–hole a full–sized dahlia with several leaves; and the coats of his two friends were adorned with nosegays of laurel and other evergreens. All three were habited in strict holiday costume; that is to say, they were wrapped up to the chins, and wore as many clothes as possible, which is, and has been, a stage–coachman’s idea of full dress ever since stage–coaches were invented.

Sol Eytinge's coachmen are more substantial and three-dimensional, but the disfigured, red noses betoken a negative attitude to the tippling in which these larger-than-life figures are wont to indulge. In emphasising the outward and visible sign of Tony Weller's alcoholism, Eytinge has rendered him a mere caricature, rather than Dickens's embodiment of the freedom of the road. Phiz's reworking of the 1837 illustration, "The mottled-faced gentleman reviewed the company, and slowly lifted his hand" (Household Edition) reveals more than the girth of Tony Weller, and treats the gathering of coachmen as more than a mere assemblage of grotesques, retaining the original's sense of bonhomie that Eytinge's woodcut seems to lack. Phiz's characters are animated and smiling as they toast each other's healths with a drop of beer, after which they intend to partake of a luncheon of oysters and cold beef, as befits a traditional, masculine appetite, before walking to the office of Wilkins Flasher, of the Stock Exchange, behind the Bank of England. Eytinge does not communicate the relationship of his figures: "executor, legatee, attorney, and umpires", even though he conveys a satisfactory sense of their physical dimensions and attire:

In pursuance of this notable resolution, the services of the mottled–faced gentleman and of two other very fat coachmen — selected by Mr. Weller, probably, with a view to their width and consequent wisdom — were put into requisition; and this assistance having been secured, the party proceeded to the public–house in Portugal Street, whence a messenger was despatched to the Insolvent Court over the way, requiring Mr. Solomon Pell's immediate attendance.

The messenger fortunately found Mr. Solomon Pell in court, regaling himself, business being rather slack, with a cold collation of an Abernethy biscuit and a saveloy. The message was no sooner whispered in his ear than he thrust them in his pocket among various professional documents, and hurried over the way with such alacrity that he reached the parlour before the messenger had even emancipated himself from the court.

"Gentlemen," said Mr. Pell, touching his hat, "my service to you all. I don’t say it to flatter you, gentlemen, but there are not five other men in the world, that I'd have come out of that court for, to–day."

"So busy, eh?" said Sam.

"Busy!’ replied Pell; "I'm completely sewn up, as my friend the late Lord Chancellor many a time used to say to me, gentlemen, when he came out from hearing appeals in the House of Lords. Poor fellow; he was very susceptible to fatigue; he used to feel those appeals uncommonly. I actually thought more than once that he’d have sunk under 'em; I did, indeed."

Here Mr. Pell shook his head and paused; on which, the elder Mr. Weller, nudging his neighbour, as begging him to mark the attorney's high connections, asked whether the duties in question produced any permanent ill effects on the constitution of his noble friend.



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The words were scarcely out of the old gentleman's lips, when footsteps were heard ascending the stairs

Chapter 56

Phiz - 1874 Household Edition






All I can say is just you keep it until I ask you for it again

Chapter 56

Thomas Nast - 1874 Household Edition (American)


Commentary:

Dodson and Fogg — to say nothing of their client, Mrs. Bardell — disposed of, and Jingle and his mulberry-liveried servant Job Trotter assisted with passage to Demerara in the West Indies, Dickens in chapter 56 turns the reader's attention to the resolution of the novel's romantic plots (i. e., the relationships between Nathaniel Winkle and Arabella Allen; Augustus Snodgrass and Emily Winkle; and Sam Weller and the Ipswich maid, Mary, who thus becomes "Mary Weller," the name of the young woman who was young Charles Dickens's nurse), and the disposition of Tony's Weller's inheritance.

In the American Household Edition, not much interested in these romances, Thomas Nast realises instead the passage in ch. 56 concerning Tony Weller's consigning his estate to Pickwick for investment in the antepenultimate illustration, "All I can say is, just you keep it till I ask you for it again":

"This here money," said Sam, with a little hesitation, "he's anxious to put someveres, vere he knows it'll be safe, and I'm wery anxious too, for if he keeps it, he'll go a-lendin' it to somebody, or inwestin' property in horses, or droppin' his pocket-book down an airy, or makin' a Egyptian mummy of his-self in some vay or another."

"Wery good, Samivel," observed Mr. Weller, in as complacent a manner as if Sam had been passing the highest eulogiums on his prudence and foresight. "Wery good."

"For vich reasons," continued Sam, plucking nervously at the brim of his hat — "for vich reasons, he's drawn it out to-day, and come here vith me to say, leastvays to offer, or in other vords —"

"To say this here," said the elder Mr. Weller impatiently, "that it ain't o' no use to me. I'm a-goin' to vork a coach reg'lar, and ha'n't got noveres to keep it in, unless I vos to pay the guard for takin' care on it, or to put it in vun o' the coach pockets, vich 'ud be a temptation to the insides. If you'll take care on it for me, sir, I shall be wery much obliged to you. P'raps," said Mr. Weller, walking up to Mr. Pickwick and whispering in his ear — "p'raps it'll go a little vay towards the expenses o' that 'ere conwiction. All I say is, just you keep it till I ask you for it again." With these words, Mr. Weller placed the pocket-book in Mr. Pickwick's hands, caught up his hat, and ran out of the room with a celerity scarcely to be expected from so corpulent a subject.

"Stop him, Sam!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick earnestly. "Overtake him; bring him back instantly! Mr. Weller — here — come back!"

Sam saw that his master's injunctions were not to be disobeyed; and, catching his father by the arm as he was descending the stairs, dragged him back by main force.

"My good friend," said Mr. Pickwick, taking the old man by the hand, "your honest confidence overpowers me."
[The American Household Edition]

On the other hand, with a view to resolving in his narrative-pictorial program the many romances in progress at the end of the novel (and given the greater freedom of the Household Edition to address what he must have regarded as a deficiency in the original serial program of illustration), Phiz focuses on the reconciliation of Mr. Winkle and his son Nathaniel, and the old man's acceptance of Arabella as a daughter-in-law, in spite of what he considers to be his son's misconduct:

While this conversation [with the Wellers] was passing in Mr. Pickwick's room, a little old gentleman in a suit of snuff-coloured clothes, followed by a porter carrying a small portmanteau, presented himself below; and, after securing a bed for the night, inquired of the waiter whether one Mrs. Winkle was staying there, to which question the waiter of course responded in the affirmative.

Upon being admitted to her room, the old gentleman, merely designated as "The Unknown," ascertains that she is Mrs. Winkle and that she expects her husband's momentary return. Since he seems charmed by Arabella, the reader anticipates that he has travelled by coach all the way from Birmingham to give the young couple his blessing, although he is a little resentful that his son failed to consult him prior to the wedding:

"It was my fault; all my fault, sir," replied poor Arabella, weeping.

"Nonsense," said the old gentleman; "it was not your fault that he fell in love with you, I suppose? Yes, it was, though," said the old gentleman, looking rather slily at Arabella. "It was your fault. He couldn’t help it."

This little compliment, or the little gentleman's odd way of paying it, or his altered manner — so much kinder than it was, at first — or all three together, forced a smile from Arabella in the midst of her tears.

"Where’s your husband?" inquired the old gentleman, abruptly; stopping a smile which was just coming over his own face.

"I expect him every instant, sir," said Arabella. "I persuaded him to take a walk this morning. He is very low and wretched at not having heard from his father."

"Low, is he?" said the old gentlemen. "Serve him right!"

"He feels it on my account, I am afraid," said Arabella; "and indeed, sir, I feel it deeply on his. I have been the sole means of bringing him to his present condition."

"Don't mind it on his account, my dear," said the old gentleman. "It serves him right. I am glad of it — actually glad of it, as far as he is concerned."

The words were scarcely out of the old gentleman's lips, when footsteps were heard ascending the stairs, which he and Arabella seemed both to recognise at the same moment. The little gentleman turned pale; and, making a strong effort to appear composed, stood up, as Mr. Winkle entered the room.

"Father!" cried Mr. Winkle, recoiling in amazement.

"Yes, sir," replied the little old gentleman. "Well, sir, what have you got to say to me?"
[The British Household Edition]


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Commentary on above illustrations:


Although Nast's final illustrations round out the issue of the Weller investment in a relatively straight-forward manner, with "All I can say is, just you keep it till I ask you for it again" and , while obliquely representing the multiple romances there is only "Mr. Snodgrass", Phiz lets one romantic relationship — that of Nathaniel Winkle and Arabella Allen — stand for all the romantic relationships, including those between Sam and Mary, and between Augustus Snodgrass and Emily Wardle. Even if Dickens places Tracy Tupman outside this magic circle of romance in the bachelor's retirement at Richmond, Nast implies that, after the dissolution of the Pickwick Club, Augustus Snodgrass returns to the isolation of poetic reverie, although the text makes plain that he is merely "occasionally abstracted and melancholy" (American Household Edition, facing the illustration), presumably as he gazes out the window of his cottage at Dingley Dell, the inordinately large waste-paper basket beside him strongly suggesting that the "melancholy" is mere writer's block. Whereas there is little continuity between Nast's Snodgrass and earlier representations of Pickwick's followers, Phiz strengthens the connection between the senior and junior Winkle in this illustration by dressing them identically and making the father's face strongly resemble (with the inevitable signs of aging, such as a receding hairline) the son's, a resemblance which the reader remarks through the juxtaposition of the pair to the right. Between the male figures and Arabella a picture of a cottage dominates the space in the centre, implying a positive domestic and financial outcome for the newlyweds. For the sake of visual continuity, in this final illustration Phiz has endowed Arabella with the same face and expression seen in "Mr. Pickwick could scarcely believe the evidence of his own senses" and the same hairstyle glimpses in "'My dear,' said Mr. Pickwick, looking over the wall, and catching sight of Arabella on the other side. 'Don't be frightened, my dear, 'tis only me'". The hairstyle alone connects the present image of the black-eyed beauty, Arabella Winkle, and the young woman behind one of the Wardle girls in the Christmas Eve party, however.

Quite in keeping with the marriage motif of the concluding chapters, young women appear more frequently in these final plates than in any previous series except the Dingley Dell Christmas woodcuts: no. 48 has two, no. 55 has two, and no. 57, one. Those illustrations with a significant proportion of young women include the frontispiece (no. 1), the election scene (no. 13), the garden party (no. 16), the ladies' seminary (no. 18), Lobbs's discovering Pipkin (no. 19), Pickwick surrounded by the young women at Wardle's (no. 28), Pickwick sliding (no. 30), Tony Weller's first assault of Stiggins (no. 33), and the card room at Bath (no. 35). The mature women in the second prison recognition scene, "Mrs. Bardell screamed violently; Tommy roared; Mrs. Cluppins shrunk within herself; and Mrs. Sanders made off without more ado", dominate the right half of the scene, and equal the number of men. To view the matter another way, male characters dominate the action of all three Pickwick Papers narrative-pictorial sequences: in the original forty-four engravings, women appear as supporting characters in a few scenes (such as Dr. Slammer's Defiance" and "Pickwick in chase of his hat", and in positions of importance in a very few, such as "Mrs. Bardell faints in Mr. Pickwick's arms", and young women enter the program later than Sam Weller, in "Mrs. Leo Hunter's fancy-dress dejeuner", and very rarely &mndash; as in "The Unexpected Breaking Up of the Seminary for Young Ladies" — do women actually dominate a scene. Accordingly, might one conclude that, whatever the appeal of its humour, pathos, and romance, the novel in serial reified the nineteenth-century doctrine of separate spheres, with the external world of business, law, commerce, and politics dominated by men, and the internal world of child-rearing, family, cooking, and domestic activity generally dominated by women.

In the overwhelming number of the 1836-37 series of forty-four illustrations, Seymour and Browne depict the story's male characters as consistently active: travelling, consuming food and especially drink, combative, and constantly having new experiences; in contrast, the female characters are passive, often attractive ornaments to the scene, and they are almost always depicted in domestic situations (many of these being indoors: dances, drawing-rooms, kitchens, dining-rooms, card-rooms, and tap-rooms), in which situations they are usually serving men, either by being spectacles of beauty or by providing food and drink, as in "Mary and the Fat Boy". In most of the original serial confrontations illustrated, the antagonists are male; in social situations, the principals are largely male, although the spectators may be both male and female (if present at altercations, the women are often passively escaping by fainting, as in "The Rival Editors"). Only very late in the original program do young women appear prominently, the turning point being "Mr. Winkle Returns Under extraordinary circumstances". Most notably, attractive women are objects of male courtship and appropriation, as in "The Ghostly Passengers of a Ghost of a Mail". Indeed, in seven of the original forty-four illustrations women of any age or condition are not present at all.

In this respect, the British Household Edition is similar in its construction of women as objects of beauty and purveyors of masculine comforts, but women appear in thirty of the fifty-seven woodcuts, six of which they actually dominate. Perhaps owing to the growing literacy rates among females, then, the British Household Edition of The Pickwick Papers represents something of an advance for women; although the text has, of course, not changed over forty years, the program of illustration has admitted females in great numbers, perhaps a mute but palpable acknowledgement of the importance of the female readership in the latter part of the Victorian period. In Nast's program for Harper and Brothers, women rarely appear in prominent positions, for the American satirist seems to have conceived of the novel as an almost exclusively male story in which women, even if present, consistently play subordinate roles — female characters appear in only one-third of Nast's fifty-two illustrations, in fact. Rarely does Nast show a capacity for depicting physically attractive female characters: women appear in supporting roles in his frontispiece, Tupman's courting Rachael Wardle (no. 13), "Mr. Winkle, take your hands off me. Mr. Pickwick, let me go, sir!" (no. 15), Pickwick's obliquely sounding out Mrs. Bardell about hiring Sam (no. 17), the candidate's kissing infants at Eatanswill (no. 18), Pickwick's in advertent trespass in the bedroom of Peter Magnus's fiancée (no. 27), "What is the meaning of this, sir?" (no. 28), in Muzzle's kitchen (no. 29), "'I suppose you've heard what's going forward, Mr. Weller?' said Mrs. Bardell" (no. 30), Sam's interrupting Stiggins and his mother-in-law at the Marquis of Granby (no. 31), and most notably the four women in Nast's version of the Dingley Dell Christmas party, "It was a pleasant thing to see Mr. Pickwick in the center of this group" (no. 32), in which two young women catch the protagonist under the misteltoe, and "Lord do adun, Mr. Weller" (no. 43). In the background of the ice-sliding (no. 34), and the scene in front of the window of card-shop (no. 37), at church (no. 42), and in the Wellers' visit with Stiggins to the Fleet (no. 46), as in most of the earlier Nast woodcuts, the female characters are minor, so that the overall impression in the American Household Edition is of a middle-class society in which women play a relatively insignificant role. In fact, in less than ten of Nast's illustrations do women appear at all, and, if it is fair to judge by such a woodcut as "'Will you have some of this?' said the Fat Boy" (no. 49), Nast had neither a predilection nor the ability to draft feminine beauty and distinguish female characters, in contrast to Phiz, who throughout his career seems to have enjoyed a fair feminine face and form, and to have been able to draft these effectively.


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Chapter 57

Mr. Snodgrass

Thomas Nast - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

Mr. and Mrs. Snodgrass settled at Dingley Dell, where they purchased and cultivated a small farm, more for occupation than profit. Mr. Snodgrass, being occasionally abstracted and melancholy, is to this day reputed a great poet among his friends and acquaintance, although we do not find that he has ever written anything to encourage the belief. There are many celebrated characters, literary, philosophical, and otherwise, who hold a high reputation on a similar tenure.


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The End

Thomas Nast - 1874 Household Edition

Text Illustrated:

"Mr. Pickwick is somewhat infirm now; but he retains all his former juvenility of spirit, and may still be frequently seen, contemplating the pictures in the Dulwich Gallery, or enjoying a walk about the pleasant neighbourhood on a fine day. He is known by all the poor people about, who never fail to take their hats off, as he passes, with great respect. The children idolise him, and so indeed does the whole neighbourhood. Every year he repairs to a large family merry-making at Mr. Wardle’s; on this, as on all other occasions, he is invariably attended by the faithful Sam, between whom and his master there exists a steady and reciprocal attachment which nothing but death will terminate."

The end.


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Kim | 6381 comments Mod


Portrait of Charles Dickens as Americans Saw Him in 1867-68

Sol Eytinge - 1867 Diamond Edition

Commentary:

The portrait appeared in Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in the Ticknor and Fields (Boston, 1867) Diamond Edition, facing the tite-page.

This 1867 Eytinge portrait of Dickens also appeared as the frontispiece in the juvenile monthly magazine Our Young Folks in January 1868 for the first of the four instalments of A Holiday Romance. The date of 1867 on the title-page of the Diamond Edition of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club suggests that it might have been completed before Dickens arrived in Boston in November of that year, but it is possible that Eytinge consulted Dickens about the illustrations for this volume of the Diamond edition since that volume alone among the originally planned fourteen contains a portrait of Dickens quite probably executed by Eytinge in November or December 1867; it appears to be identical to the one used by Ticknor Fields for the Our Young Folks illustrated version of A Holiday Romance. Consequently, one might conclude that the volume did not go to press until January 1868, although admittedly this earliest novel in the Dickens canon would not be the logical choice for the fourteenth and final volume, considering the continuing popularity of the novel in the United States and therefore its continuing power to attract purchasers.

Although no longer the fashionable London "buck" of 1842, for each of his Boston constitutionals in late 1867 Dickens was as beautifully dressed as he was for the stage. In contrast to the conventional dark-hued suits of Bostonian middle-class males, for his first pedestrian excursion, for example, Dickens wore

Light trousers with a broad stripe down the side, a brown coat bound with wide braid of a darker shade and faced with velvet, a flowered fancy vest . . . necktie secured with a jewelled ring and a loose kimono-like topcoat with wide sleeves and the lapels heavily embroidered, a silk hat, and very light yellow gloves. . . . [cited in Ackroyd, Dickens, 1011]

The Eytinge portrait, however, casts Dickens as a serious and even sombre man whose careworn features belie his actual age of 55, for he looks a good ten years older. This study is not the same as Eytinge's celebrated portrait, which Ticknor and Fields reproduced in 1868 as a souvenir of the American reading tour (included by William Winter in Old Friends. The portrait still reveals animation and a sense of playing to the audience, whereas this "close up" is highly introspective, like the half-awake writer of Buss's "Dickens' Dream." The strain of nearly a decade of keeping up pretences, of being the champion of family values in All the Year Round while carrying on a clandestine affair with young actress Ellen Ternan, whom he met when she was just a teenager acting in The Frozen Deep (1857) is all too evident. Moreover, the toll taken upon his health by the Staplehurst railway accident and by the recent transatlantic voyage may also be reflected in the study of Dickens as a prematurely aged fifty-five year-old.

The Ticknor & Fields Diamond Edition, 1867-68
In its "quality" periodical, The Atlantic Monthly, and in its special commemorative edition of the reading text of "Dr. Marigold" and "The Trial" from "Pickwick" (1868, but registered for copyright in 1867), Ticknor (later, Osgood) and Fields of Boston advertised its forthcoming 14-volume Diamond Edition of Dickens's works, which was to be published at the rate of four volumes per month and at the cost of $1.50 each (for green Morocco cloth; $3.00, half-calf) with 16 full-page illustrations by Sol Eytinge, Jr., in each volume. The additional, sixteenth volume was not a work by Dickens, but a concordance of Dickens's characters and locales:

1. Pickwick Papers
2. Our Mutual Friend
3. David Copperfield
4. Nicholas Nickleby
5. Martin Chuzzlewit
6. Dombey and Son
7. Old Curiosity Shop
8. Little Dorrit
9. Bleak House
10. Burnaby Rudge
11. Oliver Twist, Pictures from Italy, American Notes
12. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations
13. Christmas Books and Sketches by Boz
14. The Uncommercial Traveller and additional Christmas Stories. [published 1 Feb. 1868]


message 26: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Love that portrait. Looks to be pen and ink, perhaps.


message 27: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 6381 comments Mod
Dickens, Science, and the fat boy:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


Peter | 3444 comments Mod
John wrote: "Love that portrait. Looks to be pen and ink, perhaps."

John

Yes. I too find this portrait to be very moving.


Peter | 3444 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Peter wrote: "People that we would like to meet."

Those were very nice words, Peter! Here is exactly where Dickens's major craft lies, I think. By the way, if you could meet one Dickens character,..."


Tristram

Now, that is an intriguing question, one that will yield a different answer from me at different points in my life. Such circumstances as age, life experience, situation, sorrow, and personal joy would all factor in to yield a different answer along my life’s road.

If I was to name just one it would be Dickens’s own favourite child, David Copperfield. My favourite neighbour would be Wemmick. The cannon would be annoying, but I’ve always been fascinated with his creation, and, I would admit, wanted to be like him in his work-private world.

Who would be yours, and all my other Pickwickian friends here on Goodreads?


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Whenever I do I end up wondering what the great founder of the club had in mind when he came back and destroyed it."

Nothing much, I guess.


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Which Dickens character would I like to meet?

Now while I would surely not like to have her attend on me when sick, I would still like to meet Mrs. Gamp and listen to her talking about Mrs. Harris, enjoying her particularly idiosyncratic approach to the English language. After all, she is my favourite Dickensian character.

I would also like to empty a jug of punch, cold or hot, with Mr. Pickwick, and I must confess that spending an evening with Mr. Bob Sawyer and Mr. Benjamin Allen would also be quite a pleasure for me. As would be sitting in a pub with Joe Gargery.

Dickens's heroes would, all in all, be too prim and proper for me.


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John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Tristram wrote: "Which Dickens character would I like to meet?

Now while I would surely not like to have her attend on me when sick, I would still like to meet Mrs. Gamp and listen to her talking about Mrs. Harris..."


That's a tough one. I pondered it for a while and decided for me it would be Magwitch.


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John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Speaking of characters, I heard a TV commentator today compare a prominent American politician to Uriah Heep.


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Julie Kelleher | 1340 comments John wrote: "Speaking of characters, I heard a TV commentator today compare a prominent American politician to Uriah Heep."

There are no shortage of American politicians to be compared to Dickens characters. I remember when Newt Gingrich was running the House of Reps, commentators noted he even had a Dickensian name.

As for Dickens characters to meet, I'd kind of like to visit Wemmick at home. And maybe spend an hour with the fierce Miss Pross. I most appreciate his supporting characters, I think.


message 35: by John (last edited May 16, 2018 04:08PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Julie wrote: "John wrote: "Speaking of characters, I heard a TV commentator today compare a prominent American politician to Uriah Heep."

There are no shortage of American politicians to be compared to Dickens ..."


I do remember that now with regard to Gingrich. I have to agree about the supporting characters. I started thinking of a few and thought "yes!" to each one.

I do remember Mr. Pumblechook. As an "annoying" character, he stuck with me when I first came across him at the age of 17.


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John (jdourg) | 1120 comments I also have at least one fellow Pumblechookian devotee.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/c...


Peter | 3444 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Commentary on above illustrations:


Although Nast's final illustrations round out the issue of the Weller investment in a relatively straight-forward manner, with "All I can say is, just you keep ..."


I found this commentary to be very insightful and helpful in decoding the text. It states the obvious (men eat, drink, travel and sport about) but still it framed the text very well. The illustrations once again act not only as a pictorial reproduction of what the text says but go further. The illustrations give life, dynamics and a visual representation to the words.

I guess it is obvious why Nast made Pickwick, the fat boy and other men so round. Dare we conclude that Santa came from Pickwick, or did Pickwick come from Santa?


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Kim | 6381 comments Mod
Fred Holywell, Scrooge's nephew. That's who I would like to meet, what he said about Christmas was wonderful.


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John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Kim wrote: "Fred Holywell, Scrooge's nephew. That's who I would like to meet, what he said about Christmas was wonderful."

Ah, yes. He was played so wonderfully in the musical adaptation with Albert Finney.

I have to give Albert Finney a shout out for that role. Whether one liked the musical or not (I loved it), Albert Finney was only 34 years old at the time and played old man Scrooge so superbly.


~ Cheryl ~ | 38 comments "Which Dickens character would you like to meet?"

I'm so glad to see Wemmick come up more than once here! I remember being surprised how fond of him I became reading GE. Overall, like Julie, I most appreciate the side characters, rather than the heroes and heroines.

Also, I want to add that I also love the portrait of Dickens that Kim posted above. It has a fascinating quality to it that makes you want to study it.


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
John wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Which Dickens character would I like to meet?

Now while I would surely not like to have her attend on me when sick, I would still like to meet Mrs. Gamp and listen to her talking ..."


I was actually thinking of Magwitch, too, because I remember how much I felt with him and how sorry I was to find Pip so stand-offish at first. But then I thought that maybe, Magwitch would be a bit scary to meet. Just remember the beginning of the book ...


Mary Lou | 2519 comments This has been a delightful thread, and I'm sorry to have come to it so late.

First, you all seem to have already pulled out the things in these final chapters that resonated with me, so I'll just add a resounding, "Ditto!" to your comments.

As to which characters we'd like to meet, wow - how do we narrow down that list? Like Julie, Cheryl, and Tristram, I'd stay away from most of the main characters, with the exception of Mr. Pickwick. His good nature and warmth set the standard for many of the other Dickens characters I'd choose to spend time with -- the Plornish family, John Jarndyce, the Cratchits, Wemmick and the aged parent, the Boffins, and my dear friend Flora Finching. They may not be the most intriguing or interesting folks, but they're good and kind -- without being being petite and sappy! Add Betsey Trotwood to that list; I've always loved her. There are just too many to list.


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Yes, Mary Lou, the aged parent and Wemmick should definitely go on the list. As to Flora, I don't know whether I could listen to her talking for a very long time - and listen for a very long time one would have to, wouldn't one?


Mary Lou | 2519 comments Tristram wrote: "As to Flora, I don't know whether I could listen to her talking for a very long time - and listen for a very long time o..."

I know poor Flora wouldn't be a choice for many people. But I think her more irritating behaviors came from her insecurities and sadness at being around Arthur again, thinking about what might have been, and what he must think of her now. Flora having a cup of tea with me would be an entirely different prospect than her having lunch in the company of her lost love with Mr. F's aunt in tow!


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
And if she proved too much of a talker, one could always stretch one's own tea with something stronger ;-)


Mary Lou | 2519 comments Tristram wrote: "And if she proved too much of a talker, one could always stretch one's own tea with something stronger ;-)"

Always a good option to fall back on. :-)


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Kim | 6381 comments Mod
If I ever manage to get all of you here at Christmas time for an amazing Curiosity party, if you each bring your favorite Dickens character to the party please don't bring Skimpole, I have to draw the line somewhere. :-)


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
For a Christmas Party, I'd be sure to bring Ebenezer Scrooge before they spoiled him!


Peter | 3444 comments Mod
Kim

No worries. I’ll bring Little Nell and Florence Dombey.


Tristram Shandy | 4853 comments Mod
Peter,

You might have to bring those two, because if you brought only one of them, she might not be noticed in the lively company ;-)


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