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The Old Curiosity Shop > TOCS Chapters 56 - 60

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Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Dear Curiosities,

This week we will, alas, not meet Little Nell and her exemplary Grandfather but learn about a disaster happening to Kit. And we also get a fair share of Mr. Swiveller’s thoughts, hopes and adventures. In other words, brace yourselves for a couple of highly entertaining and suspenseful chapters!

At the beginning of Chapter 56 we meet Mr. Swiveller at the office, whose boundaries and whose routine seem to oppress him but also encourage him to new feats of poetry, musing on his bleak life in a rather flowery style. His odd behaviour really made me ask myself whether Mr. Swiveller’s earlier life may not really have been beset with difficulties of all sorts or whether he is just trying to conjure up an illusion in order to excuse his own laziness. Eventually, Mr. Swiveller’s gloomy reflexions are cut short by the arrival of his fellow-Apollo Mr. Chuckster, who happened to be in the vicinity and apparently looks for someone to share his frustrations with. Before a lot of time has elapsed, Mr. Chuckster has told Dick that the single gentleman has recently struck up a friendship with Mr. Abel Garland, which, according to Mr. Chuckster, is quite strange if you consider that instead of being chummy with such a slow-witted person, the single gentleman could also have availed himself of the friendship of Mr. Chuckster, a man whose manners and conversation he could have profited from. Mr. Chuckster goes on by owning up to his faults, amongst which, however, according to his own testimony, Meekness is not to be found. He also says that the single gentleman has become very friendly with the Garlands and, adding insult to injury, with Kit, whom Mr. Chuckster calls Snobby.

What do you think of the narrator’s way of describing a development – the improving relations between the single gentleman and the Garlands – which might have been very awkward to describe in a paragraph or two, through a conversation between to other characters? It reminded me of the way this would have been done by a playwright.

Mr. Chuckster also makes an interesting prophecy, which is based on a very suspicious circumstance we Curiosities will still remember:

”’As to young Snob, sir,’ pursued Mr Chuckster with a prophetic look, ‘you’ll find he’ll turn out bad. In our profession we know something of human nature, and take my word for it, that the feller that came back to work out that shilling, will show himself one of these days in his true colours. He’s a low thief, sir. He must be.’”


Whence comes Mr. Chuckster’s bitterness? Does he feel sidelined by Mr. Abel’s rise into the position of an articled clerk?

Who should now enter the scene but the object of Mr. Chuckster’s bitter prophecy – Christopher Nubbles himself. He is on an errand, having to deliver a letter from Mr. Garland to the single gentleman, and on objecting to leave the epistle in Mr. Swiveller’s hands on the grounds that he is supposed to deliver it up directly into the hands of the addressee, as well as on using a choice of words not exactly to the liking of Mr. Chuckster, there is a something of an argument between the young men, which is cut short, though, by the single gentleman’s voice calling out for Kit.

The next arrivals are Mr. Brass and his sister, who “appeared to have been holding a consultation over their temperate breakfast, upon some matter of great interest and importance.” May this refer to the conspiracy initiated during the tea-party the siblings enjoyed with Mr. Quilp? The new arrivals induce Mr. Chuckster to withdraw, although Mr. Brass is obviously in an effervescent mood, praising the world and coming up with bits of wisdom like this one:

”’[…] It’s a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers. […]’”


As soon as Sampson learns that the single gentleman has a visitor and that that visitor is Kit, he tries to get Dick out of the way by sending him on an errand – even encouraging him to charge the office with the coach-hire, which is very unusual for such a tight-fisted man –, and after Dick’s departure also Miss Sally finds some urgent business drawing her from the office.

In consequence, when Kit comes down, he finds himself alone with Mr. Brass, who is apparently so bent on his work that the arrival of the young man comes as a surprise to him. In the ensuing conversation, Brass shows himself as such a friendly and understanding man that Kit soon wonders how he came to judge the lawyer so harshly. For instance, Brass says something like this:

”’[…] It isn’t the waistcoat that I look at. It is the heart. The checks in the waistcoat are but the wires of the cage. But the heart is the bird. […]’”


Surely, a very poetic and sensitive way of putting the whole thing, which would even have done honour to Mr. Swiveller himself. However, if you remember an earlier scene about a caged bird in which Quilp and Brass and Kit were involved, you might want to see it in quite a different light.

The upshot of the conversation is that Mr. Brass offers Kit a gift of a couple of half-crowns, which, as he says, come from the single gentleman with the express wish that they should benefit Kit. Kit’s distrust being lulled by the preceding conversation, he believes that the money is really from the lodger and takes it gratefully. The little conversation Sampson and Sally have afterwards would probably have caused Kit to shudder.


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Chapter 57 tells us how time goes on at Bevis Mark, and what developments unfold themselves there. The friendship between the Garlands and the single gentleman has improved so much that now often the pony-chaise is found outside the Brasses’ house, with the old couple paying a visit to the lodger.

To tell you the truth, I don’t really know why the Garlands and the single gentleman should strike up a friendship. What have they got in common? What are their shared interests? Or have they just discovered a liking to each other because this way, it’s easier for the narrator to tie up the various plotlines?

Mr. Brass would often go outside and pat the pony because, of course, the animal suffers no one else but Kit to handle it and drive the cart, and this is a good opportunity for Mr. Brass to improve his acquaintance with the young man. In his manner, his words and his behaviour towards everyone, Sampson Brass exudes the mild of human kindness now, and Kit again tells himself “that if ever there was a good man who belied his appearance, that man is Sampson Brass”, who even gives Kit edifying lectures on the value of honesty in business matters. On the occasion of some of Kit’s visits at the office – when he was alone –, Mr. Brass usually sends Dick onto another errand, and also Miss Sally happens to be called forth on other business, and when the lawyer and the young man are among themselves, Brass often presents Kit with more half-crowns alleging that they are gifts of the single gentleman upstairs. Kit takes them without any suspicion, and he often uses them to buy something nice for his mother, his siblings and sometimes even for Barbara – so that it becomes obvious that Kit must have a special source of income.

It is quite obvious that our narration has now adopted another plotline, namely that of Quilp’s revenge on Kit. I wonder when Dickens had the idea of letting the novel go into that direction because, honestly, I think that Quilp’s motivation is rather threadbare. So the young man has insulted him! Big deal! I’d think twice before investing money and time to get back on somebody just because they insulted me. Even for a blackguard, Quilp’s course of action is rather unproductive and irrational. And then there’s another question: If Kit really believes that the money he receives from Sampson is actually from the old gentleman upstairs – then what would be more natural, especially for an honest and outspoken young man like Kit, to mention the gifts and thank him for them? The ruse would very quickly come to light then.

While Sampson is weaving his net around Kit, Dick Swiveller is improving the acquaintance of the little servant, whom he surprises looking at him through a keyhole. I found it very touching how Dick develops an interest in her, because up to now his interest has lain primarily with himself, and even in the Sophy Wackles adventure I had the impression that for all his inconvenience, Dick quite enjoyed his role as the spurned lover in that drama and was not genuinely crestfallen about Sophy becoming Mrs. Cheggs. Even here, Dick’s tendency to fly into the fantastic and comic-romantic gets the better of him in that he dubs the little servant the Marchioness and calls his master the Baron Sampsono Brasso. There are some very moving moments in the encounter that leads to Dick ordering a meal for the Marchioness from an inn next door, and even though he will hardly ever pay for it, it is very generous in Dick to give the Marchioness a treat. For example, when he asks her “’Do you mean to say you were looking through the keyhole for company?’” Can you think of anything half as sad as a lonely person looking at other people through a keyhole and not daring to communicate with them?

Or take this bit of their conversation:

”’Why, how think you are! What do you mean by it?’

‘It ain’t my fault.’”


A very wise sentence follows when the Marchioness tells Dick that she once had a sip of beer, and he exclaims, “’She never tasted it – it can’t be tasted in a sip.’” Indeed, Mr. Swiveller, you are right: It can’t!

There is a little detail that made me wonder whether the Marchioness might not after all be the “love-child” of Quilp and Sally, namely this:

”These preliminaries disposed of, he applied himself to teaching her the game, which she soon learnt tolerably well, being both sharp-witted and cunning.


Her cunning and her sharp-wittedness, where might she have got them unless from …


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Chapter 58 has Dick and the Marchioness continue their game of cards and play several rubbers. In the course of the conversation, Dick realizes that his new friend quite often enjoys society through a keyhole – to use a genteel expression – and he cannot resist the question what Mr. and Miss Brass say about him in his absence. He learns that Miss Sally thinks him a funny guy, yet one that cannot be trusted, but he receives this information unperturbed, finding that it seems to be a common mistake in people not to think him too trustworthy. As to Miss Sally’s doubting Dick’s trustworthiness, one might have recourse to the old adage “Takes one to know one” but still it makes one think about the relationship between these two: Dick has been quite chummy with Sally, treating her in an extremely familiar way and also winning her over to some of his whims, like watching Punches and slacking at work even – and yet, she is distrustful of him. Maybe she is right? To what extent can the Brasses trust their clerk? It seems to me that they are trying to make him an unknowing tool in their plots, which means that he ought rather not to trust them. How much double-play is there on both sides?

Dick also learns from the Marchioness that she was trying to find out where the key to the cupboard with all the food in it is. The little servant must indeed be very desperate, and yet her confession to her readiness to steal something to allay her hunger with will make Dick afraid for her in a little while.

After their little party has come to a close, Dick walks home, deeply engaged in ruminations on the little servant and her character. He is even somehow led into thinking of a “matrimonial fireside”. Where is all this going to lead to? At present, it is going to lead to Mr. Swiveller’s betaking himself into his bed and starting to play the flute, which he does in a dismal way due to a lack of practice, but which dismal way wonderfully accords with his state of mind. Less so with the other lodgers’ desire for a quiet night’s sleep. There was one particular I noticed about Dick here, namely that the looks “complacently at the reflection of a very little scrap of whisker in the looking-glass”. I have the feeling that Dick Swiveller is not the only young man in Dickens’s novel who preens himself on the ghost of a shadow of a moustache – can you think of any other examples?

The next day, Dick gets up and equanimously accepts his landlady’s notice – I wonder how often a similar scene might have occurred – before he goes to work. At Bevis Marks, Sally makes some strange references to a pencil case missing, which leads to the following funny altercation:

”’I say’ – quoth Miss Brass, abruptly breaking silence, ‘you haven’t seen a silver pencil-case this morning, have you?’

‘I didn’t meet many in the street,’ rejoined Mr Swiveller. ‘I saw one – a stout pencil-case of respectable appearance – but as he was in company with an elderly penknife, and a young toothpick with whom he was in earnest conversation, I felt a delicacy in speaking to him.’”


This and the following answers he gives to Sally made me wonder a bit at the bluntness and also rudeness with which he talks to his employer’s sister. Does his friendship with Sally give him this kind of security? In the course of the conversation, it becomes clear that Sally has been missing several little things from the office, and also some smaller sums of money. Swiveller feels very uneasy now, because he thinks that in her distress the Marchioness might have pilfered all these things, and is now done for. He suddenly notices that “rather than receive fifty pounds down, he would have the Marchioness proved innocent.” Is this still the Richard Swiveller who would have married Little Nell for her money?

Eventually, Sally’s brother enters this office, with a new five-pound-note in his hand, and very soon the topic of the missing things is also taken up by him. In the conversation between Brass and his sister – a conversation that is obviously (though not obviously to Dick) staged – Sally soon hints at the possibility that Kit Nubbles might have been the thief, an idea that is roundly and vociferously rejected by the lawyer, who stresses that he would trust Kit in everything. In the course of the conversation, Brass also places the five-pound-note on his desk, among his other papers, and when Dick suggests that it be more advisable not to leave it there, Brass spurns this show of distrust ostentatiously. As though they might have calculated upon it, who should now arrive but young Kit with another message for the gentleman upstairs. At this decisive moment, Mr. Brass remembers that there is another message to be delivered, this time by Dick to one of Brass’s clients, and so Mr. Swiveller is duly dispatched on an errand. How convenient!


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
What happens in Chapter 59 now? We can almost guess, can’t we? When Kit comes downstairs again, the lawyer is already waiting for him, and as usual he engages him in friendly conversation. What is striking, however, is that Mr. Brass insists on Kit taking off his hat and putting it on the desk while they are talking. After a little bit of hesitation – Kit appears in a hurry – the young boy concedes, and Mr. Brass now enters into a conversation on the merits of Kit’s mother, a topic which naturally pleases the boy. All this while

”[a]s Brass spoke, he moved the hat twice or thrice, and shuffled among the papers again, as if in search of something.”


While he is doing this, he offers Kit’s mother the option of looking after some of the flats and houses that Brass is in charge of, which is a very attractive offer for Mrs. Nubbles and, of course, also for Kit. Having made this proposal, Mr. Brass realizes that he has forgotten something and asks Kit to mind the office for a few minutes. When he comes back, Kit hurries out of the office, trying to make up for the lost time, and he bumps into Miss Sally, who also, by chance, of course, arrives. Another chance arrival is Mr. Swiveller – I wonder how Brass managed to plan all these chance arrivals, indeed I do! Miss Sally immediately taunts her brother about his trust in Kit, which leads the lawyer into another panegyric on the subject of Kit’s honesty and how he has again minded the office, when, all of a sudden, he notices – dear me! – that the five-pound-note is gone. Who would have thought it?!

Mr. Swiveller and Mr. Brass now start running after Kit in order to catch up with him, which eventually they do. Kit is indignant when he finds out why they have stopped him in the street, but being convinced of his innocence he agrees to follow them back to the office in order to clear the matter up. Interestingly, on their way to the office, Dick offers Kit to let him run away if only he confesses to him – Dick does so because his role as Kit’s guard does not really suit him but makes him feel awkward. Is this pity, or the feeling that he might well have been in Kit’s shoes in similar circumstances?

At Bevis Marks, a body search performed by Brass and Swiv – mind how that the lawyer takes care that it should be Richard who finds the booty! – soon brings the money to light, as well as a constable into demand.


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
This constable arrives not very later than Chapter 60. The constable, as a man whose daily business is to deal with perpetrators of all sorts, is far less impressed with the crime than the honest lawyer and his gentle sister, and so he “took Kit into custody with a decent indifference”. The officer is not quite so indifferent, however, when he takes a look at Miss Sally, as though he were “in some doubt whether she might not be a griffin or other fabulous monster.” Nevertheless, he says that they should not lose to much time in getting to the office to have Kit charged, and that both the Brasses and well as Mr. Swiveller, who found the money, have to accompany them all. Kit asks the constable whether they cannot go past Mr. Witherden’s office, and for some reason Brass is not averse to this proposal but rather encourages it. Since there is enough time, according to the constable, Kit’s request is granted.

While they are getting onto the hackney-coach and starting their journey, let me ask you a question, or at least share a thought with you: A few chapters ago, we had a nameless doctor tending on Nell, and our narrator managed to deftly draw a sketch of a typical doctor by pointing out certain peculiarities this representative of the medical profession owned. Do you find any peculiarities that are typical of policemen, or representatives of the Law, in our constable here? What is the narrator’s attitude towards this rather minor figure, which nevertheless gets quite some space on the stage of the novel?

It should be remarked that their departure has not been unnoticed by the single gentleman, and that this eminent stranger, sensing that Kit is in deep trouble, immediately betakes himself to the police office. Meanwhile, the hackney-coach is on its way to Mr. Witherden, the notary, but when they pass by the window of an inn, Kit, whose mind is darkened by apprehensions on how his mother and his brothers will react to the news of his being arrested, is faced with another adversity – an adversity which is, admittedly, not very big but particularly disagreeable:

”Absorbed in these painful ruminations, thinking with a drooping heart of his mother and little Jacob, feeling as though even the consciousness of innocence would be insufficient to support him in the presence of his friends if they believed him guilty, and sinking in hope and courage more and more as they drew nearer to the notary's, poor Kit was looking earnestly out of the window, observant of nothing, – when all at once, as though it had been conjured up by magic, he became aware of the face of Quilp.

And what a leer there was upon the face! It was from the open window of a tavern that it looked out; and the dwarf had so spread himself over it, with his elbows on the window-sill and his head resting on both his hands, that what between this attitude and his being swoln with suppressed laughter, he looked puffed and bloated into twice his usual breadth. Mr Brass, on recognising him, immediately stopped the coach. As it came to a halt directly opposite to where he stood, the dwarf pulled off his hat, and saluted the party with a hideous and grotesque politeness. ‘Aha!’ he cried. ‘Where now, Brass? where now? Sally with you too? Sweet Sally! And Dick? Pleasant Dick! And Kit! Honest Kit!’


Here's Quilp again, popping up through a window, seemingly out of nowhere. Just note that Brass makes a point of stopping the coach so as to give his client the best of opportunities to unleash his raillery upon Kit! And mark some of the things Quilp says on learning – well, I’m sure he knew before – of the charge made against Kit: “’Why, he’s an uglier-looking thief than can be seen anywhere for a penny.’” – Does this sound familiar to you? And what does it say about Quilp?

The scene at Mr. Witherden’s office only adds to Kit’s devastation, because he finally notices that Brass has been playing false all the time when the lawyer denies ever having given him any money at all. So, Kit could appear as a liar when he tries to explain his recent munificence by pointing out that the lawyer repeatedly gave him small sums of money saying that he was commissioned to do so by the single gentleman. In fact, in the eyes of the worthy Mr. Chuckster, he does appear as a liar, but this is hardly surprising – and Mr. Chuckster will experience a bout of poetic justice before the interview is over; the Garlands and Mr. Witherden, however, apparently keep their good opinion of and their trust in Kit, although they are at a loss as to how to destroy Brass’s apparently tight case against their friend. All things considered, what has Kit won in going to see Mr. Witherden? And how might Richard Swiveller feel in witnessing the whole scene?

When they finally arrive at the justice-office, there is the single gentleman, but he is not in the position of being able to do a lot for his friend Kit. The chapter ends on a very ghastly note, with “a friendly officer” who tells Kit “that there was no occasion to be cast down, for the sessions would soon be on, and he would, in all likelihood, get his little affair disposed of, and be comfortably transported, in less than a fortnight.”


message 6: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1127 comments I feel like I'm reading a different book altogether here. I expect the Kit and Nell plots will eventually re-converge, but at this point they're so very different they feel like they don't belong in the same book. I'm trying to think whether Oliver Twist ever felt this way, or Nicholas Nickleby. I can't recall that they did, because when those stories switched from world to world or subplot to subplot, they were generally following their title characters around.

I kind of wonder if Dickens was feeling as played-out with the Nell and her Grandfather story as some of the rest of us.


message 7: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1127 comments Tristram wrote: "And how might Richard Swiveller feel in witnessing the whole scene?"

I'm enjoying Dick Swiveller a lot, for two reasons. He's weak, but his initial impulse and approach to life seems to be a kind one--witness his behavior toward the Marchioness (what a great name for her!), and even his willingness to be in love with one lady or another. And secondly, he's unpredictable. I can't figure out which way he's going to swing--swivel?--whether his good impulses or his bad influences (Chuckster, young Trent) will win the day.


Peter | 2982 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Chapter 57 tells us how time goes on at Bevis Mark, and what developments unfold themselves there. The friendship between the Garlands and the single gentleman has improved so much that now often t..."

Yes, it is refreshing to leave Nell for a time. The Brass - Chuckster - Garland story lines give us so many wonderful and quirky people. The Brasses are a rather slimy pair, but I can’t help but enjoy reading about them. Chuckster, like the Brasses, has a very fitting name. And then we have the Garlands. What a relief to come across a positive name.

As Dickens shifts and shuffles these characters for his readers, we realize that more story line threads are still in play. How will Dickens bring them all together?

I was interested in Julie’s comment wondering if Dickens was feeling “played-out” with the Nell and her grandfather story. That is a very interesting question, one I have never thought about. I think the answer is two-fold. First, I think Dickens has still not learned how to control his plots and characters. It seems often that his characters run the plot, not the author. It also suggests to me that Dickens will need to put much more time in outlining his future novels before he writes them.

This he will do. I have just read The Friendly Dickens by Norrie Epstein who points out that Dickens wrote under the name Boz until Dombey and Son. At this point, Epstein suggests, Dickens was ready for the second part of his career, one where he identified himself as the author and his novels were well thought out prior to his writing them.


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Kim | 5598 comments Mod


Kit brings a letter

Chapter 56

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

‘As to young Snob, sir,’ pursued Mr Chuckster with a prophetic look, ‘you’ll find he’ll turn out bad. In our profession we know something of human nature, and take my word for it, that the feller that came back to work out that shilling, will show himself one of these days in his true colours. He’s a low thief, sir. He must be.’

Mr Chuckster being roused, would probably have pursued this subject further, and in more emphatic language, but for a tap at the door, which seeming to announce the arrival of somebody on business, caused him to assume a greater appearance of meekness than was perhaps quite consistent with his late declaration. Mr Swiveller, hearing the same sound, caused his stool to revolve rapidly on one leg until it brought him to his desk, into which, having forgotten in the sudden flurry of his spirits to part with the poker, he thrust it as he cried ‘Come in!’

Who should present himself but that very Kit who had been the theme of Mr Chuckster’s wrath! Never did man pluck up his courage so quickly, or look so fierce, as Mr Chuckster when he found it was he. Mr Swiveller stared at him for a moment, and then leaping from his stool, and drawing out the poker from its place of concealment, performed the broad-sword exercise with all the cuts and guards complete, in a species of frenzy.

‘Is the gentleman at home?’ said Kit, rather astonished by this uncommon reception.

Before Mr Swiveller could make any reply, Mr Chuckster took occasion to enter his indignant protest against this form of inquiry; which he held to be of a disrespectful and snobbish tendency, inasmuch as the inquirer, seeing two gentlemen then and there present, should have spoken of the other gentleman; or rather (for it was not impossible that the object of his search might be of inferior quality) should have mentioned his name, leaving it to his hearers to determine his degree as they thought proper. Mr Chuckster likewise remarked, that he had some reason to believe this form of address was personal to himself, and that he was not a man to be trifled with—as certain snobs (whom he did not more particularly mention or describe) might find to their cost.

‘I mean the gentleman up-stairs,’ said Kit, turning to Richard Swiveller. ‘Is he at home?’

‘Why?’ rejoined Dick.

‘Because if he is, I have a letter for him.’

‘From whom?’ said Dick.

‘From Mr Garland.’

‘Oh!’ said Dick, with extreme politeness. ‘Then you may hand it over, Sir. And if you’re to wait for an answer, Sir, you may wait in the passage, Sir, which is an airy and well-ventilated apartment, sir.’

‘Thank you,’ returned Kit. ‘But I am to give it to himself, if you please.’



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Kim | 5598 comments Mod


Chapter 57

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

‘There!’ said Richard, putting the plate before her. ‘First of all clear that off, and then you’ll see what’s next.’

The small servant needed no second bidding, and the plate was soon empty.

‘Next,’ said Dick, handing the purl, ‘take a pull at that; but moderate your transports, you know, for you’re not used to it. Well, is it good?’

‘Oh! isn’t it?’ said the small servant.

Mr Swiveller appeared gratified beyond all expression by this reply, and took a long draught himself, steadfastly regarding his companion while he did so. These preliminaries disposed of, he applied himself to teaching her the game, which she soon learnt tolerably well, being both sharp-witted and cunning.

‘Now,’ said Mr Swiveller, putting two sixpences into a saucer, and trimming the wretched candle, when the cards had been cut and dealt, ‘those are the stakes. If you win, you get ‘em all. If I win, I get ‘em. To make it seem more real and pleasant, I shall call you the Marchioness, do you hear?’

The small servant nodded.

‘Then, Marchioness,’ said Mr Swiveller, ‘fire away!’

The Marchioness, holding her cards very tight in both hands, considered which to play, and Mr Swiveller, assuming the gay and fashionable air which such society required, took another pull at the tankard, and waited for her lead.


Commentary:

Hablot Knight Browne (with no circumflex over the o, a journalistic addition unaccountably followed by some modern scholars) was born on 11 June 1815, the ninth son in a middle-class family which would ultimately number ten sons and five daughters. His father having died in 1824, the main influence upon the early course of Browne's life seems to have been his brother-in-law, Mr. Elnahan Bicknell, a wealthy, self-made businessman and self-taught collector of modern English art (Turner in particular), who was in later years a neighbour and friend of Ruskin. It was Bicknell who encouraged Browne's artistic talent and arranged for his apprenticeship to the prominent steel engravers, Finden's, as a way of acquiring a trade which would provide a means of self-support for this ninth son in a family of fifteen children (Thomson, p. 19). The biographical sources agree that Hablot was not very happy with the tedious labor of engraving, and although he always described his profession as that of "engraver," not use this technique during his long career and the few steel engravings he designed were executed by others. He did certainly become proficient in etching, for in 1833 he was awarded a medal from the Society of Arts for "John Gilpin's Ride," a rather crude performance which nevertheless shows considerable skill in the drawing of horses and the use of light and shadow to indicate modeling of forms. There are stories of Hablot's truancy (visits to the British Museum) and his penchant for fanciful drawing rather than tedious engraving. Whatever the immediate cause, his indentures were canceled in 1834, two years early by mutual consent, and he set up shop sometime during the next two years with Robert Young, a fellow apprentice at Finden's, as etcher, engraver, and illustrator.

Finden's was engaged in the production of many of the popular engravings of the time, including picturesque views and plates for the annuals, which were intended largely as gift books for young ladies. The subjects of such plates were usually portraits of titled ladies and scenes from Byron or Moore, with the occasional comic scene thrown in. Browne must have been influenced to a degree by his tenure at Finden's, but the only known work tying him even indirectly to his unloved masters is Winkles's Cathedrals (1835-42), the first two volumes of which contained designs by Browne. Winkles had been an apprentice at Finden's, and a number of the line-engraved plates of English and Welsh cathedrals are signed "HKB"; we can perhaps see Browne's characteristic touch in the incidental figures that populate some of the views, but there is really no hint at all of the illustrator about to emerge into public favor, briefly as "N.E.M.O.," and then permanently as "Phiz".

The early life of Charles Dickens, three years Browne's senior, is too familiar to recount here; but a few points about his early writings should be recalled. Dickens' first book-length work, Sketches by Boz, is perhaps more dependent upon its illustrations for appeal than anything else he subsequently wrote; in fact its illustrator, George Cruikshank, was the famous member of the duo, the pseudonymous "Boz" a complete unknown. The original intention of Chapman and Hall for The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was that the author "write up to" a series of comic illustrations on sporting subjects, after the fashion of the Combe-Rowlandson collaboration in the Doctor Syntax books, or the Egan-Cruiksliank brothers' collaboration on Life in London (1821), with four etchings per monthly part forming the basis for the text. Dickens was evidently not even the first choice as an author, but once hired he took over the reins with great assurance and immediately reversed the intended relationship between himself and his artist, Robert Seymour. It is useless to conjecture whether this relegation to secondary status somehow led to Seymour's suicide: the important point is that Dickens, almost accidentally, as it were, created a new art form in his simultaneous composition of the texts for the novel's parts and supervision of its illustrators. But new as the form was, both he, and his most frequent illustrator, Hablot Browne, drew upon a rich set of iconographical traditions.

Iconography is a term used more than a bit loosely by modern literary scholars, possibly because the word icon (understood as equivalent to image) can when translated from the pictorial to the verbal mode encompass such a wide range of literary elements. But however wide this range may be, the word must refer specifically to a system or set of systems for communicating meaning: in literature, a consistent use of elements to convey some set of emotions or ideas. These elements (usually metaphoric or symbolic) may be objects, characters, colors, or landscapes.

Indeed, each of Dickens' novels presents some kind of progress — whether Pickwick's or Copperfield's or Pip's — and while to say this may be little more than to say that they are each some variety of Bildungsroman, most of them are specifically linked to Hogarth via their illustrations, which from the beginning function in a number of ways. First, they offer fixed visual images of the characters, something some modern readers may feel constricting to their reading experience, but which may have served a necessary function in the original serial versions by maintaining continuity over the many months of publication. Further, through inscription and emblem, the illustrations frequently emphasize moral meanings which are understated or even unstated in the text; at times they provide crucial information absent from the text; and finally they offer interpretations of certain aspects of the novel, revealing implications of which the novelist himself may be fully conscious. In the latter respect, the illustrators are Dickens' first critics.

Only Hablot Knight Browne, more familiarly known as Phiz, illustrated the whole of more than one of Dickens' novel in its original form; thus only he can be seen developing as an artist during Dickens' career in ways parallel to the novelist's development. Browne's career as Dickens' illustrator having begun with an emphasis upon emblematic details and progressing through a more ingenious and involved use of such techniques in his middle career, Browne also developed the technique of visual parallelism of structures and gradually reduced the use of emblems in Dickens' later novels, finally relying upon the inventive use of striking tonalities (through the innovative use of what was called the "dark plate," a specially prepared etching resembling the mezzotint).

But by the early 1840s the coming change in illustration was already heralded by the work of at least one popular illustrator, John Leech, whose work superficially resembles Browne's and Cruikshank's but who abandoned the old emblematic modes for a simpler and clearer style. (Citations in the form "Illus. I" refer to illustrations following Chapter Six of this volume.). Leech was never really comfortable in Browne's and Cruikshank's favorite technique, etching. He became known primarily as the designer of straightforward, humorous, wood-engraved cartoons—in our modern sense — for Punch. In turn, Leech's art influenced Punch artists and illustrators including Tenniel, Du Maurier, and Keene, while simultaneously the dominant mode of book illustration by these artists and such others as Marcus Stone, Fred Walker, and John Everett Millais became by the 1860s almost totally divorced from Browne's mode. Thus, wood engraving replaced etching, a quasi-caricatural way of drawing characters became a blander, rather idealized style, and emblem and allusion disappeared almost totally. It is not insignificant that some of these younger artists had pretensions to high art, nor that Millais in particular may have been slumming (though for very good pay) when he did illustrations for Trollope and others.


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<"Then, Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller, "Fire away!"

Chapter 57

Charles Green

Text Illustrated:

‘Now,’ said Mr Swiveller, putting two sixpences into a saucer, and trimming the wretched candle, when the cards had been cut and dealt, ‘those are the stakes. If you win, you get ‘em all. If I win, I get ‘em. To make it seem more real and pleasant, I shall call you the Marchioness, do you hear?’

The small servant nodded.

‘Then, Marchioness,’ said Mr Swiveller, ‘fire away!’

The Marchioness, holding her cards very tight in both hands, considered which to play, and Mr Swiveller, assuming the gay and fashionable air which such society required, took another pull at the tankard, and waited for her lead.



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Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness

Chapter 57

Charles Dana Gibson

Text Illustrated:


‘Now,’ said Mr Swiveller, putting two sixpences into a saucer, and trimming the wretched candle, when the cards had been cut and dealt, ‘those are the stakes. If you win, you get ‘em all. If I win, I get ‘em. To make it seem more real and pleasant, I shall call you the Marchioness, do you hear?’

The small servant nodded.

‘Then, Marchioness,’ said Mr Swiveller, ‘fire away!’

The Marchioness, holding her cards very tight in both hands, considered which to play, and Mr Swiveller, assuming the gay and fashionable air which such society required, took another pull at the tankard, and waited for her lead.


Commentary:

Charles Dana Gibson, (born Sept. 14, 1867, Roxbury, Mass., U.S.—died Dec. 23, 1944, New York, N.Y.), artist and illustrator, whose Gibson girl drawings delineated the American ideal of femininity at the turn of the century.

After studying for a year at the Art Students’ League in New York City, Gibson began contributing to the humorous weekly Life. His Gibson girl drawings, modeled after his wife, followed and had an enormous vogue. Gibson’s facile pen-and-ink style, characterized by a fastidious refinement of line, was widely imitated and copied. His popularity is attested by the fact that Collier’s Weekly paid him $50,000, said at the time to have been the largest amount ever paid to an illustrator, for which Gibson rendered a double-page illustration every week for a year, usually of comic or sentimental situations of the day.

In 1905 he withdrew from illustrative work to devote himself to portraiture in oil, which he had already taken up; but within a few years he again returned to illustration. He also illustrated books, notably The Prisoner of Zenda, and published a number of books of his drawings. London as Seen by C.D. Gibson (1895–97), People of Dickens (1897), and Sketches in Egypt (1899) were editions of travel sketches. The books of his famed satirical drawings of “high society” included The Education of Mr. Pipp (1899), Americans (1900), A Widow and Her Friends (1901), The Social Ladder (1902), and Our Neighbors (1905).


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Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness

Chapter 57

Leonard Raven Hill

Commentary:

Leonard Raven-Hill was an English artist, illustrator and cartoonist.

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

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

East London by Sir Walter Besant (1901)

Cornish Saints and Sinners by J. H. Harris

Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome

Stalky and Co by Rudyard Kipling

Kipps by H. G. Wells

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

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


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The small servant needed no second bidding

Chapter 57

Gordon Browne

Text Illustrated:

‘Could you eat any bread and meat?’ said Dick, taking down his hat. ‘Yes? Ah! I thought so. Did you ever taste beer?’

'I had a sip of it once,’ said the small servant.

‘Here’s a state of things!’ cried Mr Swiveller, raising his eyes to the ceiling. ‘She never tasted it—it can’t be tasted in a sip! Why, how old are you?’

‘I don’t know.’

Mr Swiveller opened his eyes very wide, and appeared thoughtful for a moment; then, bidding the child mind the door until he came back, vanished straightway.

Presently, he returned, followed by the boy from the public-house, who bore in one hand a plate of bread and beef, and in the other a great pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a grateful steam, and was indeed choice purl, made after a particular recipe which Mr Swiveller had imparted to the landlord, at a period when he was deep in his books and desirous to conciliate his friendship. Relieving the boy of his burden at the door, and charging his little companion to fasten it to prevent surprise, Mr Swiveller followed her into the kitchen.

‘There!’ said Richard, putting the plate before her. ‘First of all clear that off, and then you’ll see what’s next.’

The small servant needed no second bidding, and the plate was soon empty.

‘Next,’ said Dick, handing the purl, ‘take a pull at that; but moderate your transports, you know, for you’re not used to it. Well, is it good?’

‘Oh! isn’t it?’ said the small servant.

Mr Swiveller appeared gratified beyond all expression by this reply, and took a long draught himself, steadfastly regarding his companion while he did so. These preliminaries disposed of, he applied himself to teaching her the game, which she soon learnt tolerably well, being both sharp-witted and cunning.


Commentary:

Gordon Frederick Browne (15 April 1858 – 27 May 1932) was an English artist and children's book illustrator in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

He was born in Banstead, the younger son of notable book illustrator Hablot Knight Browne (who as "Phiz" illustrated books by Charles Dickens). He studied art at the Heatherley School of Fine Art and South Kensington Schools and started to receive professional commissions while still at college.

From the 1880s, Browne was one of Britain's most prolific illustrators, his work appearing in newspapers, magazines and many books by children's authors including Frederic William Farrar, G.A. Henty, Juliana Horatia Ewing, Andrew Lang, Talbot Baines Reed, L. T. Meade, Catherine Christian and E. Nesbit.

Browne worked in watercolour and pen and ink. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA). Browne was an early member of the Society of Graphic Art and showed three works at their first exhibition in 1921.

He died in Richmond, London in 1932.


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"Oh, I didn't mean any harm indeed.

Chapter 57

Roland Wheelwright

Text Illustrated:

While these acts and deeds were in progress in and out of the office of Sampson Brass, Richard Swiveller, being often left alone therein, began to find the time hang heavy on his hands. For the better preservation of his cheerfulness therefore, and to prevent his faculties from rusting, he provided himself with a cribbage-board and pack of cards, and accustomed himself to play at cribbage with a dummy, for twenty, thirty, or sometimes even fifty thousand pounds aside, besides many hazardous bets to a considerable amount.

As these games were very silently conducted, notwithstanding the magnitude of the interests involved, Mr Swiveller began to think that on those evenings when Mr and Miss Brass were out (and they often went out now) he heard a kind of snorting or hard-breathing sound in the direction of the door, which it occurred to him, after some reflection, must proceed from the small servant, who always had a cold from damp living. Looking intently that way one night, he plainly distinguished an eye gleaming and glistening at the keyhole; and having now no doubt that his suspicions were correct, he stole softly to the door, and pounced upon her before she was aware of his approach.

‘Oh! I didn’t mean any harm indeed, upon my word I didn’t,’ cried the small servant, struggling like a much larger one. ‘It’s so very dull, down-stairs, Please don’t you tell upon me, please don’t.’

‘Tell upon you!’ said Dick. ‘Do you mean to say you were looking through the keyhole for company?’

‘Yes, upon my word I was,’ replied the small servant.

‘How long have you been cooling your eye there?’ said Dick.

‘Oh ever since you first began to play them cards, and long before.’

Vague recollections of several fantastic exercises with which he had refreshed himself after the fatigues of business, and to all of which, no doubt, the small servant was a party, rather disconcerted Mr Swiveller; but he was not very sensitive on such points, and recovered himself speedily.

‘Well—come in’—he said, after a little consideration. ‘Here—sit down, and I’ll teach you how to play.’

‘Oh! I durstn’t do it,’ rejoined the small servant; ‘Miss Sally ‘ud kill me, if she know’d I come up here.’

‘Have you got a fire down-stairs?’ said Dick.

‘A very little one,’ replied the small servant.

‘Miss Sally couldn’t kill me if she know’d I went down there, so I’ll come,’ said Richard, putting the cards into his pocket. ‘Why, how thin you are! What do you mean by it?’

‘It ain’t my fault.’

‘Could you eat any bread and meat?’ said Dick, taking down his hat. ‘Yes? Ah! I thought so. Did you ever taste beer?’

'I had a sip of it once,’ said the small servant.

‘Here’s a state of things!’ cried Mr Swiveller, raising his eyes to the ceiling. ‘She never tasted it—it can’t be tasted in a sip! Why, how old are you?’

‘I don’t know.’

Mr Swiveller opened his eyes very wide, and appeared thoughtful for a moment; then, bidding the child mind the door until he came back, vanished straightway.


Commentary:

Roland Wheelwright was an Australian-born British painter and illustrator. Using a diffuse pastel palette, he depicted equestrian, historical, and maritime scenes. Born to a family of sheep farmers in 1870 in Ipswich, Australia, Wheelwright moved with his parents to England during the Australian drought of the 1880s. The artist went on to study at St. John's Wood Art School and the Herkomer School of Art in Bushey. While in school, he became acquainted with painters such as Lucy Kemp-Welch while studying under Sir Hubert von Herkomer. Wheelwright died in 1955 in Bushey, United Kingdom.


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Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness

Chapter 57

Frank Reynolds

Commentary:

Frank Reynolds (1876 in London - April 1953) was a British artist. Son of an artist, he studied at Heatherley's School of Art and during the 1890s, he began to contribute to periodicals like Judy, Longbow, Pick-me-up and Playgoer. He made cover illustrations for Sketchy Bits, and made full-page humorous drawings for the Sketch. He was a member of the London Sketch Club, and later also joined the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colour. He became known for his watercolor illustrations for novels by Dickens in 1910-12. A contributor to Punch from 1906, Reynolds joined the staff in 1919 and, a year later, succeeded his brother-in-law, F.H. Townsend, as art editor, a post he retained for over a decade. In 1933, he moved to Thames Ditton, apparently to retire. However, he continued to illustrate throughout the 1930s and into World War II. Among his most popular creations are 'The Bristlewoods'.

Reynolds had a drawing called A provincial theatre company on tour published in The Graphic on 30 November 1901. In 1906, he began contributing to Punch magazine and was regularly published within its pages during World War I, noted for his anti-Kaiser illustrations in Punch. A collection of 199 of his illustrations is in the Punch archives.

He was well known for his many illustrations in several books by Charles Dickens, including David Copperfield (c1911), The Pickwick Papers (c1912) and The Old Curiosity Shop (c1913). He succeeded F. H. Townsend as the Art Editor for Punch.

He was also a prolific watercolor painter and was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colors from 1903. He continued to illustrate in black and white or in colors all his life. In later years Reynolds concentrated on book illustration. This included The Golf Book (1932), Off to the Pictures (1937) and Hamish McDuff (1937). His son, John Reynolds (1909-1935) was also a book illustrator and provided the drawings for 1066 And All That (1930).


His journal contributions included:

London Magazine

The Sketch

Punch (magazine)

Windsor Magazine

The Illustrated London News


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Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness

Chapter 57

Fred Barnard

Two places I've found these illustrations and both places tell me they are by Fred Barnard. I don't believe it, they look nothing like other works by Fred Barnard, but since I can't find anyone else that might have been the artist, Fred Barnard it is.


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Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness

Chapter 57

W. J. Wiegand

Commentary:

W. J. Wiegand was a painter and draughtsman born in 1869 in England. He was an book illustrator, and also a decorative draughtsman on wood. He worked in London for various magazines. Some of his prints are held by the School of Art, Aberystwyth University.


I think I'm out of illustrations of Dick and the Marchioness playing cards. They must have run out of ink.


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Mr. Swiveller playing the flute

Chapter 58

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

Melting from this stern and obdurate, into the tender and pathetic mood, Mr Swiveller groaned a little, walked wildly up and down, and even made a show of tearing his hair, which, however, he thought better of, and wrenched the tassel from his nightcap instead. At last, undressing himself with a gloomy resolution, he got into bed.

Some men in his blighted position would have taken to drinking; but as Mr Swiveller had taken to that before, he only took, on receiving the news that Sophy Wackles was lost to him for ever, to playing the flute; thinking after mature consideration that it was a good, sound, dismal occupation, not only in unison with his own sad thoughts, but calculated to awaken a fellow-feeling in the bosoms of his neighbours. In pursuance of this resolution, he now drew a little table to his bedside, and arranging the light and a small oblong music-book to the best advantage, took his flute from its box, and began to play most mournfully.

The air was ‘Away with melancholy’—a composition, which, when it is played very slowly on the flute, in bed, with the further disadvantage of being performed by a gentleman but imperfectly acquainted with the instrument, who repeats one note a great many times before he can find the next, has not a lively effect. Yet, for half the night, or more, Mr Swiveller, lying sometimes on his back with his eyes upon the ceiling, and sometimes half out of bed to correct himself by the book, played this unhappy tune over and over again; never leaving off, save for a minute or two at a time to take breath and soliloquise about the Marchioness, and then beginning again with renewed vigour. It was not until he had quite exhausted his several subjects of meditation, and had breathed into the flute the whole sentiment of the purl down to its very dregs, and had nearly maddened the people of the house, and at both the next doors, and over the way—that he shut up the music-book, extinguished the candle, and finding himself greatly lightened and relieved in his mind, turned round and fell asleep.

He awoke in the morning, much refreshed; and having taken half an hour’s exercise at the flute, and graciously received a notice to quit from his landlady, who had been in waiting on the stairs for that purpose since the dawn of day, repaired to Bevis Marks; where the beautiful Sally was already at her post, bearing in her looks a radiance, mild as that which beameth from the virgin moon.



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The air was, "Away with Melancholy"

Chapter 58

Charles Green

Text Illustrated:

The air was ‘Away with melancholy’—a composition, which, when it is played very slowly on the flute, in bed, with the further disadvantage of being performed by a gentleman but imperfectly acquainted with the instrument, who repeats one note a great many times before he can find the next, has not a lively effect. Yet, for half the night, or more, Mr Swiveller, lying sometimes on his back with his eyes upon the ceiling, and sometimes half out of bed to correct himself by the book, played this unhappy tune over and over again; never leaving off, save for a minute or two at a time to take breath and soliloquise about the Marchioness, and then beginning again with renewed vigour. It was not until he had quite exhausted his several subjects of meditation, and had breathed into the flute the whole sentiment of the purl down to its very dregs, and had nearly maddened the people of the house, and at both the next doors, and over the way—that he shut up the music-book, extinguished the candle, and finding himself greatly lightened and relieved in his mind, turned round and fell asleep.


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‘Stop!’ cried Sampson, laying his hand on one shoulder, while Mr Swiveller pounced upon the other.

Chapter 59

Dudley Tennant

Text Illustrated:

‘Don’t run after him,’ said Miss Sally, taking more snuff. ‘Don’t run after him on any account. Give him time to get rid of it, you know. It would be cruel to find him out!’

Mr Swiveller and Sampson Brass looked from Miss Sally to each other, in a state of bewilderment, and then, as by one impulse, caught up their hats and rushed out into the street—darting along in the middle of the road, and dashing aside all obstructions, as though they were running for their lives.

It happened that Kit had been running too, though not so fast, and having the start of them by some few minutes, was a good distance ahead. As they were pretty certain of the road he must have taken, however, and kept on at a great pace, they came up with him, at the very moment when he had taken breath, and was breaking into a run again.

‘Stop!’ cried Sampson, laying his hand on one shoulder, while Mr Swiveller pounced upon the other. ‘Not so fast sir. You’re in a hurry?’

‘Yes, I am,’ said Kit, looking from one to the other in great surprise.

‘I—I—can hardly believe it,’ panted Sampson, ‘but something of value is missing from the office. I hope you don’t know what.’

‘Know what! good Heaven, Mr Brass!’ cried Kit, trembling from head to foot; ‘you don’t suppose—’

‘No, no,’ rejoined Brass quickly, ‘I don’t suppose anything. Don’t say I said you did. You’ll come back quietly, I hope?’

‘Of course I will,’ returned Kit. ‘Why not?’

‘To be sure!’ said Brass. ‘Why not? I hope there may turn out to be no why not. If you knew the trouble I’ve been in, this morning, through taking your part, Christopher, you’d be sorry for it.’

‘And I am sure you’ll be sorry for having suspected me sir,’ replied Kit. ‘Come. Let us make haste back.’


Commentary:

Dudley Tennant was born in Hanley, Staffordshire. He was the son of the painter C. Dudley Tennant. After his father died in 1880 he was raised in Everton, Lancashire, by his widowed mother, attending Liverpool School of Art. He began working as an illustrator, artist and landscape painter in the 1890s and later in that decade he moved to London, where he exhibited paintings at both the Royal Academy and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. In the early part of the 20th Century he was a regular illustrator for many books and magazines, including the 'Illustrated London News' and 'The Strand' working in colour, halftone and black and white. His most popular works include the beguiling Poems of Passion and Pleasure, written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912) and a collection of Charles Dickens adaptations, Tales Told to Children by Ethel Lindsay published 1917 – 1921. His illustrative work was very versatile and always sought to capture the essence of the stories and poetry he was illustrating.

He was a member of the Artists International Association and taught at Camberwell School of Art (1930-4), Dulwich College (1934-40), Hammersmith School of Art (1946-53) and Guildford School of Art (1947-52). He died in or near King's Lynn, Norfolk between October and December 1980.


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Quilp's Grotesque Politeness

Chapter 60

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

Still completely stunned by the sudden and terrible change which had taken place in his affairs, Kit sat gazing out of the coach window, almost hoping to see some monstrous phenomenon in the streets which might give him reason to believe he was in a dream. Alas! Everything was too real and familiar: the same succession of turnings, the same houses, the same streams of people running side by side in different directions upon the pavement, the same bustle of carts and carriages in the road, the same well-remembered objects in the shop windows: a regularity in the very noise and hurry which no dream ever mirrored. Dream-like as the story was, it was true. He stood charged with robbery; the note had been found upon him, though he was innocent in thought and deed; and they were carrying him back, a prisoner.

Absorbed in these painful ruminations, thinking with a drooping heart of his mother and little Jacob, feeling as though even the consciousness of innocence would be insufficient to support him in the presence of his friends if they believed him guilty, and sinking in hope and courage more and more as they drew nearer to the notary’s, poor Kit was looking earnestly out of the window, observant of nothing,—when all at once, as though it had been conjured up by magic, he became aware of the face of Quilp.

And what a leer there was upon the face! It was from the open window of a tavern that it looked out; and the dwarf had so spread himself over it, with his elbows on the window-sill and his head resting on both his hands, that what between this attitude and his being swoln with suppressed laughter, he looked puffed and bloated into twice his usual breadth. Mr Brass, on recognising him, immediately stopped the coach. As it came to a halt directly opposite to where he stood, the dwarf pulled off his hat, and saluted the party with a hideous and grotesque politeness.

'Aha!’ he cried. ‘Where now, Brass? where now? Sally with you too? Sweet Sally! And Dick? Pleasant Dick! And Kit! Honest Kit!’

‘He’s extremely cheerful!’ said Brass to the coachman. ‘Very much so! Ah, sir—a sad business! Never believe in honesty any more, sir.’

‘Why not?’ returned the dwarf. ‘Why not, you rogue of a lawyer, why not?’

‘Bank-note lost in our office sir,’ said Brass, shaking his head. ‘Found in his hat sir—he previously left alone there—no mistake at all sir—chain of evidence complete—not a link wanting.’

‘What!’ cried the dwarf, leaning half his body out of window. ‘Kit a thief! Kit a thief! Ha ha ha! Why, he’s an uglier-looking thief than can be seen anywhere for a penny. Eh, Kit—eh? Ha ha ha! Have you taken Kit into custody before he had time and opportunity to beat me! Eh, Kit, eh?’ And with that, he burst into a yell of laughter, manifestly to the great terror of the coachman, and pointed to a dyer’s pole hard by, where a dangling suit of clothes bore some resemblance to a man upon a gibbet.

‘Is it coming to that, Kit!’ cried the dwarf, rubbing his hands violently. ‘Ha ha ha ha! What a disappointment for little Jacob, and for his darling mother! Let him have the Bethel minister to comfort and console him, Brass. Eh, Kit, eh? Drive on coachey, drive on. Bye bye, Kit; all good go with you; keep up your spirits; my love to the Garlands—the dear old lady and gentleman. Say I inquired after ‘em, will you? Blessings on ‘em, on you, and on everybody, Kit. Blessings on all the world!’



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"Marchioness, your health. You will excuse my wearing my hat . . ."

Chapter 58

Felix O. C. Darley

1861

Text Illustrated:

Mr. Swiveller and his partner played several rubbers with varying success, until the loss of three sixpences, the gradual sinking of the purl, and the striking of ten o'clock, combined to render that gentleman mindful of the flight of Time, and the expediency of withdrawing before Mr. Sampson and Miss Sally Brass returned.

"With which object in view, Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller gravely, "I shall ask your ladyship's permission to put the board in my pocket, and to retire from the presence when I have finished this tankard; merely observing, Marchioness, that since life like a river is flowing, I care not how fast it rolls on, ma'am, on, while such purl on the bank still is growing, and such eyes light the waves as they run. Marchioness, your health. You will excuse my wearing my hat, but the palace is damp, and the marble floor is — if I may be allowed the expression — sloppy."

As a precaution against this latter inconvenience, Mr. Swiveller had been sitting for some time with his feet on the hob, in which attitude he now gave utterance to these apologetic observations, and slowly sipped the last choice drops of nectar.



Commentary:

Throughout The Old Curiosity Shop the focal characters are Little Nell and Grandfather Trent, as depicted by Dickens's team of illustrators; however, the runaway comic favorites pair proved to be the cynical clerk Dick Swiveller and the Brasses' servant-girl, whom Dick has wittily dubbed "The Marchioness," the dialogue between the two (realized by Darley) occurring originally in Part 32 (12 December 1840).

The passage from the opening of Chapter 58 of The Old Curiosity Shop, first published on 12 December 1840 as the thirty-second part of the serialized novel in Dickens's own weekly journal Master Humphrey's Clock, involves Fred Trent's friend, Dick Swiveller, and the Street-wise "Marchioness" playing cribbage, as in Phiz's The Marchioness at Cards (Chapter 57), in which neither of the characters is clearly discernible. A more satisfactory portrait of the two occurs in Harold Copping's pair of illustrations, The Marchioness and Dick Swiveller Surprised.

According to Angus Easson in the Penguin edition of the novel (1977), Dickens modeled the servant-girl upon an orphan from the Chatham Workhouse who worked for the Dickenses as a general servant during Charles's childhood during the period when his father, John, worked at the Naval Pay Office in that dockyard town on the Medway. In the novel, the girl's oddness may be accounted for in part by her suggested parentage, in that Dickens hints at her being the daughter of the singularly ugly and unpleasant Sally Brass and the repulsive dwarf and pedophile Fred Quilp (see Easson's article in The Modern Language Review, 65 [1970], 517-518). She is, moreover, denied any sort of childhood play and even adequate nourishment, as evidenced by Phiz's The Small Servant's Dinner (Ch. 36, Part 20, 19 September 1840) and references in the text to stealing small change so she could sate her hunger. Consequently, she is both preternaturally old, having to survive under such stressful circumstances, physically stunted, and emotionally repressed — until she becomes Dick Swiveller's friend and card-playing companion. As opposed to the representations of her and Dick by Phiz and Darley, Copping's illustration distorts both characters somewhat in that the servant-girl is hardly the ill-kempt, neglected child of Dickens's text, and Dick Swiveller appears much younger in Copping's illustration than in both of Darley's, his second study being the 1888 photogravure in which Dick Swiveller menaces Daniel Quilp in the street, Dick Swiveller and Quilp, from 'The Old Curiosity Shop'. Darley's frontispiece captures both the puzzlement of the Marchioness over Dick's theatrical turns of phrase and Dick's feeling completely comfortable in her company. Despite a certain frowziness about the face, Darley's Dick Swiveller is a handsome, well-dressed young man — the perfectly complement to the distinct voice that Dickens has given the character. In the original Phiz illustrations, the Marchioness is identified by her hat, which obscures her face, but in this Darley illustration the reader sees her face clearly.


message 24: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1127 comments Kim wrote: "‘Stop!’ cried Sampson, laying his hand on one shoulder, while Mr Swiveller pounced upon the other.

Chapter 59

Dudley Tennant

Text Illustrated:

‘Don’t run after him,’ said Miss Sally, taking mo..."


Wait, now Kit is 14?


message 25: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1127 comments Kim wrote: "I think I'm out of illustrations of Dick and the Marchioness playing cards. They must have run out of ink."

Oh, but they're so good. I think I like every one of these, except (sorry!) the Phiz, which looks like it is prepping for the "Marchioness is Quilp's daughter" theory to come true.

After looking at all this, I am prepared to forgive Dick quite a lot. Thanks, Kim!


Peter | 2982 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "

Chapter 57

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

‘There!’ said Richard, putting the plate before her. ‘First of all clear that off, and then you’ll see what’s next.’

The small servant needed no second biddi..."


This is an excellent overview of the major 19C illustrators. Thanks for including it Kim.


Peter | 2982 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "The small servant needed no second bidding

Chapter 57

Gordon Browne

Text Illustrated:

‘Could you eat any bread and meat?’ said Dick, taking down his hat. ‘Yes? Ah! I thought so. Did you ever ta..."


Kim

Thank you, as always, for the illustrations. I was especially excited to see this illustration by Gordon Browne. What a fascinating combination. Father and then son illustrating a Dickens novel, albeit at different times.

There are so many different artists/illustrators given this week creating their own interpretations of Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness. It was great to look at them all and compare the presentation of the characters.


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "I kind of wonder if Dickens was feeling as played-out with the Nell and her Grandfather story as some of the rest of us."

I think he rather enjoyed the Nell-and-Grandfather-thread of the story because it gave him the opportunity to employ a more serious style and to try something new - aside from the often satirical or light-hearted voices he had been using up to then. The quasi-religious, allegorical style is something that is missing really in all the other earlier novels, and I have the impression that yound Dickens is taking this very seriously.

At the same time, he must have been struggling hard to find a way of how to re-unite the different subplots. And been as much at a loss as to how to do it as I am as a reader ;-)


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Kim,

I, too, am very obliged to you for posting all those illustrations: It strikes me that there are apparently two schools concerning the Marchioness: One school (Roland Wheelright; Felix Darley, Charles Dana Gibson; Leonard Raven Hill) depicts her as an ordinary child; just consider how Dick catches her "airing her eye at the keyhole". Another school (Phiz, Barnard, Wiegand) gives her a rather elfin-like appearance - long, tapered fingers, lean arms, a lean, often rather oldish face ... this latter school emphasizes the slyness of the little servant who has to look sharp in order to survive and is therefore rather precocious. The other school might rather stress the little servant's vulnerability. One tends to forget it in the course of the story due to the imaginative behaviour of Dick Swiveller, and due to the Marchioness's cunning - but after all, she is a young child, and gets treated in a very beastly way.


Vicki Cline | 21 comments The Dick Swiveller/Marchioness Christmas card in post 18 was really weird. Imagine getting that for Christmas.


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Alissa | 317 comments I like that Dick spent time with the small servant and gave her a good meal. She really needed some kindness. I love the various illustrations of them, especially all the creative ways that Dick poses in a chair.


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Alissa | 317 comments Poor Kit. Always getting falsely accused. Remember how Grandpa accused him at the beginning of the story? I hope his name will be cleared soon!

I agree that Sampson and Sally are slimy, yet interesting, characters. I didn't expect Sampson to be that evil, though, to actually frame Kit. Up until now, Sally seemed like the worse of the two, but Sampson is showing some very ugly colors.

I love the quote, "If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers." In this case, however, the lawyer (Sampson) is bad, and the person (Kit) is good. A bit of irony.


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Alissa wrote: "I like that Dick spent time with the small servant and gave her a good meal. She really needed some kindness. I love the various illustrations of them, especially all the creative ways that Dick po..."

Yes, Alissa, like you I particularly enjoy the scenes in which Dick looks after the Marchioness. They make me feel comfy about life as such.


Peter | 2982 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "This constable arrives not very later than Chapter 60. The constable, as a man whose daily business is to deal with perpetrators of all sorts, is far less impressed with the crime than the honest l..."

Quilp does tend to pop up in many ways and in many places. To me, it is an act of aggression. No one’s home, no one’s office, indeed no one’s privacy is assured. Quilp is an abhorrent person, and he is everywhere. When he crosses a liminal place, society is disrupted.

Yes. Poor Kip. He does manage to end up on the wrong side of too many people.

As I look over the chapter summaries it is evident that we are yet to experience the tighter plot lines of Dickens’s later novels. We seem to have a story/novel of the Brasses, Kit, Dick Swiveller and Quilp. No Nell. It’s like she doesn’t exist ... did I just write that?


message 35: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5598 comments Mod
Oh Peter, how could you?


Peter | 2982 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Oh Peter, how could you?"

Kim

It’s all a clever rouse to make the grumps complacent. When the end of the novel comes round I’ll snap the trap and have everyone agreeing with you and me.

Shhh.... our secret. :-)


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Ha, let's see if that'll work out. Any bets?


message 38: by Ami (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami | 371 comments After the last set of chapters, I was glad to read more about Kit and Dick Swiveller.

These chapters were full of action, and what a turn of events by the end of Chapter 60.

I thought Mr. Chuckster's threat to kill Kit was a bit much...No?


message 39: by Ami (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami | 371 comments Tristram wrote: "Dear Curiosities,

This week we will, alas, not meet Little Nell and her exemplary Grandfather but learn about a disaster happening to Kit. And we also get a fair share of Mr. Swiveller’s thoughts,..."


Whence comes Mr. Chuckster’s bitterness? Does he feel sidelined by Mr. Abel’s rise into the position of an articled clerk?
It's a culmination of Mr. Abel and Kit. It seems he's always being overlooked by those in a position to do and amongst those he doesn't hold in high esteem.

I wonder when Dickens had the idea of letting the novel go into that direction because, honestly, I think that Quilp’s motivation is rather threadbare.
I agree with you, Tristram. Unless this will render some big reveal regarding Kit or even Quilp, for that matter, I'm not sure why Dickens tied these two together?

There is a little detail that made me wonder whether the Marchioness might not after all be the “love-child” of Quilp and Sally,
Which would make him an even worse offender than I had expected, knowingly leaving her there to incur the same treatment he probably received at that age.

Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness share a rather tender scene with one another; perhaps, one of the more believable interactions of the endearing persuasion. I genuinely enjoyed reading this side of him, preferring it to his swindling side.

At present, it is going to lead to Mr. Swiveller’s betaking himself into his bed and starting to play the flute, which he does in a dismal way due to a lack of practice, but which dismal way wonderfully accords with his state of mind. Less so with the other lodgers’ desire for a quiet night’s sleep.
Ha! This was great...playing the same song over and over again, and terribly at that!

By the end of this section, Tristram, I felt as if I was being pulled in too many directions. Between Nell's melodrama and Kit's turn of events, the minor characters are again saving both plot lines for me. The Marchioness adds another little layer, as did Dick Swiveller, the Single Man, the Bachelor*, Sally Brass, and the Schoolmaster. They all have these little memorable quirks, uplifting the storylines when they become stale or overworked.

*Does it mean anything that Kit has "the Single man," in his storyline, and Nell now has "The Bachelor..." Is a bachelor not a single man (not implying they are the same man)?


message 40: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1127 comments Ami wrote: "Does it mean anything that Kit has "the Single man," in his storyline, and Nell now has "The Bachelor..." Is a bachelor not a single man (not implying they are the same man)?"

I find this so odd.


message 41: by Tristram (last edited Apr 14, 2019 03:34AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Ami wrote: "I often wonder if we were to ask someone who enjoys Dickens novels to name their top 5 characters more than one would be a minor character. "

Just wait and see, Ami ;-) It is quite interesting that Dickens never uses names for certain characters but has those formulaic labels, which he often spells with high-case letters. It makes the story harder to follow ... but the cheesy pilgrimage of Little Nell and her Grandfather is already quite hard to follow, anyway ...

And yes, like you I feel torn into different directions: The extreme playfulness of the London scenes - although they can be grim, they are always a bit tongue-in-cheek -, and the heavy-handed drama of Little Nell's fate, they hardly seem to go well together.


message 42: by Ami (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami | 371 comments Tristram wrote: "Ami wrote: "I often wonder if we were to ask someone who enjoys Dickens novels to name their top 5 characters more than one would be a minor character. "

Just wait and see, Ami ;-) It is quite int..."


Oh, so it "is" something? I will keep it mind as I read in these last few chapters.


Tristram Shandy | 4394 comments Mod
Maybe, Ami, and maybe not. Who knows? ;-)


Mary Lou | 2273 comments My favorite illustration of Dick and the Marchioness? Easily, the one by Charles Green in message 11.

As Alissa mentioned, it's fun to see how all the artists showed Dick's posture as they played cards. He's certainly not portrayed as stiff and formal, is he? Hahaha!


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