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The Old Curiosity Shop > TOCS Chapters 61-65

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message 1: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Chapter the Sixty-first

Hello fellow Curiosities


Say it ain’t so! Kit in jail?

For Kit, the worst part is not being in jail but the thought that the Garlands, Barbara, the pony, and his mother might think him guilty. Worst of all, Kit thought that Nell, “the child - the bright star of the simple fellow’s life - she, who always came back to him like a beautiful dream - who had made the poorest part of his existence, the happiest and best” would think less of him. The first night in jail was long, but Kit “slept too, and dreamed - always of being at liberty.” Let’s unpack these first few paragraphs.


Thoughts


There has been earlier suggestions that Nell can be seen as a representative of a Christ-like figure. Here, Nell is referred to as “the bright star” of his life. Does this, in any way, help develop the idea of Nell’s function in the novel?

We also have reference to dreams, and that Nell was the agent for Kit’s “beautiful dream.” Throughout the novel we have seen events, circumstances, characters and dreams that were portrayed as nightmarish in content or experience. Here, we have Nell as an agent for “beautiful” dreams. To what extent is it possible to say that Dickens is turning the horrors and nightmares of the earlier chapters into settings and circumstances that are much more benign and positive?

In what ways does this change in the nature and content of dreams suggest there is a change in the plot of the novel altering?

The above question is not meant to suggest that being in jail is, in any way, an enjoyable experience. Throughout the remainder of this chapter, however, we see Dickens marshalling the characters of good to rally behind Kit and the honesty of his character. By doing so, Dickens is also subtlety pointing out that the forces of evil and discord are being confronted.

In the morning Kit’s mother with the baby, Barbara’s mother with her umbrella, and Little Jacob all appear at the jail. Naturally, there is much sobbing. There is an interesting touch in the chapter where the turnkey, who is reading a newspaper, tells the group that sobbing will not help, and that there are many in Kit’s predicament. Dickens tells us that the turnkey “was not naturally cruel or heard-hearted.” The turnkey looked upon “felony as a kind of disorder, like scarlet fever.” Here, I think, we again see how the world of disorder comes into direct conflict with the goodness that exists in the world but too often goes unnoticed. Kit’s mother tells Kit that she will always believe him. More tears. Kit’s mother has brought him food and wants to see him eat. More tears.

As Kit is going back to his cell he is given some beer and a note. The note says “Drink of this cup. You’ll find there’s a spell in its every drop ‘gainst the ills of mortality.” The note is signed R.S. Kit realizes that the beer is from Richard Swiveller.


Thoughts


This has been a weepy chapter and Nell is not even in it. To what extent do you think the tears in this chapter were overdone? Why/why not?

What does the gift of beer from Dick Swiveller suggest or signify to you?

OK. This might be really far-fetched, but I am among forgiving friends. In this chapter Kit receives both food and drink. Can you suggest any further significance beyond the fact that he was simply being nourished by family and friends.


message 2: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Chapter the Sixty-second


I found this a very bizarre and surreal chapter. Let’s start with the beginning paragraph which is comprised of one long periodic sentence. Just image if we were presented this sentence without any punctuation. Within this one sentence we are presented with much to contemplate. First, we find ourselves at Quilp’s wharf looking at his counting-house which looks “inflamed and red”. The colour red will continue to be threaded throughout this chapter. We approach the counting-house and see it through the eyes of Sampson Brass. Dickens refers to Quilp as Brass’s “esteemed client” who is “probably waiting with his accustomed patience and sweetness of temper” for Brass. What delicious irony. As readers we know that Brass is quite aware of Quilp’s mercurial temper. As Dickens has Brass move towards Quilp’s “fair domain” there is a mood of foreboding created. As readers, we know any encounter with Quilp will be anything but “fair.” Dickens begins the second paragraph with Brass murmuring the phrase “[a] treacherous place to pick one’s steps in of a dark night.” In one paragraph, which is only one sentence long, and followed by a rapid change in perception and tone, Dickens has offered his readers a wonderful example of the craft of writing.

Brass hears “a kind of chant ... a monotonous repetition of one sentence” with a burst of laughter that follows each completed phrase coming from within the counting-house. The chant is an invocation against Kit. If we as readers are ever to like Brass it will be that to himself Brass mutters that he wishes Quilp “was deaf ... was blind ... was dead.” Before knocking on the door, however, Brass dons a mask of subservient congeniality and greets Quilp with the phrase “[h]ow do you do to-night, sir?” Brass enters the counting-house and sees “a great, google-eyed, blunt-nosed figure-head of some old ship ... looking like a goblin or hideous idol whom [Quilp] worshipped. This figure was so large that it had been “sawn short off at the waist” and yet it still reached “from floor to ceiling.” The reader is told that Sampson Brass had “never seen anything in the smallest degree resembling this substantial phantom.” Quilp says that the figurehead is a representation of Kit and Quilp hits the figurehead with a rusty iron bar “until ... perspiration streamed down his face with the violence of the action.”


Thoughts


I have always enjoyed Dickens’s style and the first sentence of this chapter is a case in point. As you reflect on this week’s chapters did you find any other feature of his writing particularity interesting?

In the first paragraph there is the mention of the word red. What do you associate that colour with? Let’s follow the colour and its connotations as we move through this chapter. What did you discover?

We have frequently mentioned the fairytale and enchanted nature of this novel. We have the invocation of a chant by Quilp, the grotesquely large figure of a wooden sailor sawn off at the waist, the description of this figure as a “phantom” and the bizarre aggressiveness of Quilp who beats this figure so hard that “perspiration” streams down his face. What emotions and mood do you think Dickens was attempting to create with the beginning paragraphs of the chapter? How successful was he?

How is this scene reminiscent of the format of a fairy tale? Dickens makes it evident that Sampson Brass does not like Quilp, and would, in fact, be quite happy if Quilp was dead. Still, Brass assumes a mask of congeniality when he is in Quilp’s presence. How can we explain this apparent conflict of feelings?

The purpose of Brass’s visit is to both deliver information to Quilp and receive further instructions from his client. Brass tells Quilp the lodger has not returned to Bevis Marks but is stopping with the Garland family. Quilp tells Brass that he is to discharge Swiveller since his value as a connection to Nell, her grandfather, and Nell’s brother who) has “been obliged to fly ... for some knavery, and has found his way abroad.” We further learn that Quilp’s logic is that Nell and her grandfather must have money or why would a man of substance like Brass’s lodger is “scouring the country far and wide?”. What we do learn is that Quilp seems to hate the Trent’s “for family reasons.” Why is Dickens being so vague?

There is an interesting paragraph where Brass says to Quilp that “I often think, sir, if it had only pleased Providence to bring you and Sarah together in earlier life, what blessed results would have flowed from such a union ... You esteem her, sir?” To which Quilp replies “I love her.”



Thoughts


Deep breath. Now, do the above remarks of Sampson Brass mean he is unaware of the liaison between Sally and Quilp? Do they mean that no liaison ever did occur? Do his remarks mean that their little servant is clearly not a love child of Sally? Is Quilp’s comment that he loves Sally purely humour, sarcasm, or could it be sincere? How do you interpret the comments of Brass and Quilp?


When Brass leaves Quilp’s counting house he is warned that he needs to be careful as the path is strewn with timber with rusty nails pointing upward and a dog who has bitten a man, a woman and killed a child in recent days. Quilp then extinguishes the only available light to help Brass as he leaves. As the chapter ends both Sampson Brass and the reader are still in the dark as to many of the motives, ideas, and the character of Quilp.


Thoughts


This is a rather uneasy and nightmarish chapter. What has it added to the plot of the novel? What questions do you still have that were not answered in this chapter?


message 3: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Chapter the Sixty-third

A short chapter


In the beginning of this chapter we find ourselves with Kit once again. He pleads Not Guilty to the charges. Five pounds may not seem like a lot of money, but when we recall that Kit’s yearly wages with the Garlands was not much more, it is a princely sum. The case begins and it is little surprise that Dickens portrays both the proceedings and the lawyers with less than enthusiasm or respect. Both Sampson and Sally Brass speak against Kit. Swiveller is of no help. Even Garland’s defence of Kit falls short of the mark. Kit is found guilty. Kit’s mother is devastated by the verdict but Kit remains hopeful that his innocence will be proven somehow. Meanwhile, Kit’s mother faints and Dick Swiveller comes to her rescue and brings her back home and remains until she has recovered. Swiveller suspects that Brass has not been truthful and so he seeks his pay. It is curious, to state the obvious, that Brass asks if Swiveller has change for a five-pound note. With that, Brass fires Swiveller with his usual bravado of meaningless verbiage. Swiveller leaves Bevis Marks with the intention of helping Kit and his mother but within twenty four hours comes down with a raging fever. And so this very brief chapter ends with our friend Richard Swiveller having five pounds in his pocket and a raging fever in his head.


Thoughts


What do you make of such a short chapter?

What might be the purpose of including such a short chapter?

To what extent do you find the different length of the chapters disruptive to your reading experience?


message 4: by Peter (last edited Apr 13, 2019 05:25AM) (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Chapter the Sixty-fourth


The previous chapter was of interest but this chapter is much longer and chock full of interest, revelation, and symbolic interest. Let’s get to it shall we?


Our friend Richard Swiveller has been ill for three weeks. He has lost weight and is weak. When he awakes he is still experiencing some delirium. Struggling to emerge into sensibility, he raises himself in his bed “and holding the curtain open with one hand, [looks] out.” Yes, he is still in his rooms. Dick notices that his formally messy room has been transformed into one that is both clean and neat. The room is fresh and there, within his room, is the Marchioness playing cribbage at a table. Is Dick hallucinating? Dick is astounded and can only conclude that he was dreaming and that he has awoken by mistake “into an Arabian Night instead of a London one.” Dick convinces himself that it is, in fact, an Arabian Night world, and yet it is the Marchioness, and she is his room, and he is being tended to by the Marchioness. Dick comments to himself that “It’s an Arabian Night, that’s what it is.” Dick raises his sleeping curtain a second time. Seeing Dick awake, the Marchioness both laughs, cries and claps her hands to which Dick comments “Arabian Night ... they always clap their hands ... .”

As Dick looks around he is astonished to find how well both he and his rooms have been tended. The Marchioness tells Dick she has run away from the Brasses who are unaware where she now is. In answer to how she knew where Dick lived she confesses to listening at the office keyhole and heard his landlady inquiring about who would look after Dick. The Brass’s refused any responsibility so the Marchioness escaped from Brass’s office, found her way to Dick’s rooms, and claimed to be his sister in order to gain access to him, and thus look after Dick during his illness. Her method of escape is reminiscent of Nell’s. It turns out that Sally Brass locked the Marchioness into an underground room each night but she had found a key that unlocked the door. This allowed the Marchioness to wander freely about Bevis Marks at night without the Brass’s knowledge. During this time of partial freedom she tells Dick that “[i]f you make believe very much, it is quite nice.”

Thoughts

The presence and importance of fairy tales has been mentioned frequently before in our discussions. In this chapter Dickens draws a very clear parallel between the Arabian Night’s and the text of TOCS. The Marchioness has escaped from her subterranean captivity and her captors and rescued her hero from death. Blended with this are echoes of previous events in the novel where Dickens has Nell escape from her captivity by stealing a key from Quilp. To what extent do you see the events of this chapter reflect elements of a fairy tale? Do you think there is any particular reason that the Marchioness’s actions of stealing keys, opening locks and fleeing a location in order to save another person echo the actions of Nell and the rescue of her grandfather?

This chapter brings Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness together once again. What might be Dickens’s purpose?

With the escape of the Marchioness and the firing of Dick, and thus their exit from Bevis Marks, we now have the plot further sorting itself out and aligning the forces of evil and good more clearly. Are there any other indications that this chapter is evidence of Dickens preparing for the grand finale of the novel?

When the Marchioness says to Dick that “[i]f you make believe very much, it is quite nice” to what extent do you see this phrase as Dickens clearly pointing to the fairy tale aura of the novel?

On two occasions in this chapter Dickens mentions that Dick pulls the curtains of his bed aside. To me, this is reminiscent of a curtain rising for a theatrical performance, or the beginning of a Punch and Judy show. With the opening of the curtains Dick enters the world much like6 The Arabian Nights. Does this interpretation seem logical to you?

In this chapter we also learn that Kit is sentenced to be transported but we also find out that the Marchioness overheard Samuel and Sally Brass as they conspired to entrap Kit in the theft of the money. Upon hearing this Dick wants to immediately inform the Ables, but there is a problem. The Marchioness has sold all his clothes to pay for his medicines. With this lightning of the tone of the chapter Dick gives the Marchioness the address of Mr Able and off she goes to deliver the news of the Brass conspiracy against Kit. The chapter ends on a humorous note with Dick realizing that he truly has no clothes, and if there should be a fire his only way to cover himself modestly will be to use an umbrella. What would Mrs Gamp think, Tristram?


Thoughts


Did you find Dickens’s decision to blend both serious elements of the plot with one of broad humour? Why/why not?

Keys, keyholes, escapes from Quilp and his confederates ... is the plot repeating itself too much?

Dickens seems to have a habit of making a character very ill and them bringing them back to life. We saw the technique with Rose Maylie in OT, Mulberry Hawk in NN and the grandfather and now Dick Swiveller in TOCS. Can you think of any other examples in the first novels we have reads? I think there are one or two more.


message 5: by Peter (last edited Apr 13, 2019 05:26AM) (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Chapter the Sixty-fifth


In this chapter we continue to enjoy the company of the Marchioness as she slips and slides her way through the streets of London in search of Mr Abel. The Marchioness’s travels through the mysteries and dangers of London is similar to Nell’s journey through the English countryside. The difference is that the Marchioness knows her destination. As she waits outside the Notary’s place for Mr Abel she spots a very lively and rather undisciplined pony coming down the street. It is Whiskers the pony. Apparently without the loving attention of Kit the pony has reverted to its unmanageable self. The chaise trots off with Mr Abel with the Marchioness in hot pursuit. In time, she manages to catch hold of the chaise but she loses one of her shoes during the chase. She explains that Kit is innocent and that fact can be proved. With the mention of Kit’s name Mr Abel willingly heads the chaise towards Dick’s rooms. They arrive at Dick’s rooms and Mr Abel entrusts Whiskers “to the charge of a man who was lingering hard by in expectation of the job.” Ah, shades of how Kit first came to the notice of the Abel family.


Thoughts


The pace of our story is quickening. We now have links among Richard Swiveller, the Marchioness, and the Abel’s. What other ways is Dickens beginning to draw the various loose threads together?

Did you notice how the somewhat uncontrollable pony Whiskers became very cooperative when he knew his friend and handler Kit was involved in his movements? What does this signify?

In terms of micro history it is interesting to note how there was someone available to tend to Whiskers while Abel was busy with Dick. The job of tending to horse or carriages for others was a common source of income for the poor in the Victorian Era. Can you recall an earlier novel of Dickens where the tending of a horse occurred?



The Marchioness, under Dick’s instruction, tells the story of how Kit was tricked by the Brass’s. Upon hearing the Marchioness’s story Abel immediately sets off with Whiskers “at full gallop” to seek further aid and support. Meanwhile, Dick turns his attention to the Marchioness and realizing she must be hungry and thirsty says to her “I am sure you must be tired. Do have a mug of beer, for I am sure you must be tired ... . It will do me as much good to see you take it as if I might drink it myself.” And with that Dick falls asleep after wishing the Marchioness a good night.


Thoughts


There has been in these chapters a massive change in the character of Dick Swiveller. First, is it a change that is believable? If so why, if not, why not? Why do you think Dickens is changing Dick’s persona?

The Marchioness’s chasing of the chaise is broadly humorous. Why do you think Dickens used humour in this chapter?


Reflections


In these chapters we have left Nell in the country and found ourselves in London. The focus in London has been Kip’s legal predicament, more revelations about the Brass’s, the further development of the Marchioness’s character and a noticeable shift in Dick Swiveller’s character from an irresponsible but loveable drunk to a responsible and concerned man.

The fairy tale motif continues with lurid appearances of the ogre Quilp, the escape from a dungeon-like basement by a young innocent, impoverished girl, the hallucinatory dreams of Dick Swiveller and his repeated references to The Arabian Nights. The Marchioness’s escape from the Brass’s has resonance with Nell’s escape from Quilp and we see the reference to the Marchioness as being young. Two young girls, both oppressed and threatened by older, Ogre-like men seem to be more than just chance.

Added to this is a further suggestion of the novel’s Christian echoes.

Who is the mysterious bachelor, why has Dick’s character undergone such a transformation, when will Kit be free, and when will we return to the country and see what is up with Nell? Stay tuned.


message 6: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-first

In this chapter Kit receives both food and drink. Can you suggest any further significance beyond the fact that he was simply being nourished by family and friends. ..."


I hadn't thought of it until you brought it up, but it does seem to reference the last supper, or holy communion. Oh, dear... that doesn't bode well for our "bright star," does it...


message 7: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-second
I found this a very bizarre and surreal chapter. ..."


For me, it was a disappointing chapter. Apparently Fred's gotten himself into some trouble and has fled Britain. He's gone the way of Richie Cunningham's brother, Chuck, on Happy Days -- vanishing without a trace from the story line. I can't help but think that Dickens had plans for him that changed over time, but TOCS was his fourth novel -- surely he could have handled this better than an off-hand remark from Quilp! I wonder if any of the letters he wrote or received addressed the Fred problem. As an author, I think I would have been embarrassed by this.

(I like to think that Fred and Nell's mother was Fanny Scrooge, and that Fred eventually straightened up and married for love. ;-) We still have a hundred pages to go... keeping my fingers crossed for this revelation! Hahaha!)


message 8: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-second

Now, do the above remarks of Sampson Brass mean he is unaware of the liaison between Sally and Quilp? Do they mean that no liaison ever did occur? Do his remarks mean that their little servant is clearly not a love child of Sally? Is Quilp’s comment that he loves Sally purely humour, sarcasm, or could it be sincere? How do you interpret the comments of Brass and Quilp?..."


As I've not read TOCS before, I only have the comments in our discussion to go by when it comes to a former liaison between Quilp and Sally, though it certainly does seem to point that way. If the Marchioness is truly their offspring, it is miraculous to me that she should be such a sympathetic, likable character. Just another revelation (and explanation) to look forward to in the days to come. I don't think Quilp really loves anyone but himself, but I suppose it's possible that he lusts after Sally, or that she was unattainable and, therefore, has become an obsession.


message 9: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments One last comment on chapter 62 (which confirms my opinion that this novel is less of a fairy tale, and more a carnival fun-house/house of horrors)...

I still don't know why Quilp has it in for Kit. He's gone to the trouble of framing the poor kid, and has obtained this naval figurehead in which he sees Kit's likeness, delighting in beating the crap out of it. WHY? What have I missed?? Another to add to the growing list of loose ends I hope Dickens will tie up in these last few chapters.


message 10: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-fifth
Two young girls, both oppressed and threatened by older, Ogre-like men seem to be more than just chance...."


There does seem to be a duality between Nell and the Marchioness (whose name I wish we knew). I can't quite figure out where Dickens is going with it, though.

I'm glad to see Abel back on the front burner, though he hasn't (yet) played the major role I thought he'd have when we first met him. Again... had Dickens tackled this story as a more mature author, perhaps he would have done something a bit more interesting with Abel -- made him a cohort of Fred's perhaps, or had us discover that he was in league with Quilp all along. Another disappointment, but at least he didn't just vanish from the book.


message 11: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-second
I found this a very bizarre and surreal chapter. ..."

For me, it was a disappointing chapter. Apparently Fred's gotten himself into some trouble and has fled..."


Hi Mary Lou

Wow! Chuck Cunningham. I’ ve made a note to myself to make sure we are on the same team for TV trivia if the Curiosities ever meet. I draw a total blank. Fred may return later, then again, he may not. Stay tuned.

I also hope your daughter’s (?) move went well and you are settling back into your previous routines.

I like your comment about how this novel’s plot might have varied if Dickens approached it and his characters as a more mature and experienced writer. I’ve never thought about that in regards to any of the earlier novels. What possibilities and changes? Great concept to contemplate.

Isn’t the naval figurehead episode both bizarre and wonderful at the same time? Bizarre and yet revealing because here again, like the oversized chairs and the taunting of tied-up dogs, we see Quilp as aggressive and cruel and wanting to disrupt the normal balance and harmony of society. His poking into other people’s windows and doors and other liminal spaces I read as his disrupting of normal society.

As for his revealing himself I think his illogical hatred of Kit could well be based on his enormous dislike of a decent person. Like little Nell, Quilp seems to find decent people revolting. A bit of “fair is foul and foul is fair” playing out in the novel. Quilp is a disrupter.

Now, to push the argument farther ... Kit’s Christian name is Christopher ... Christ. How far over the edge is it to see Quilp as the Ogre, the hated devil who wants to disrupt and even destroy all that is good. What a natural target Kit is.


message 12: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
I might be able to come up with another explanation why Quilp should want to go to such lengths and expenses as to put Kit in jail on a fake charge: Dickens was running out of material, and while he had the Little Nell story going, he knew that he could not just keep silent on all the other characters they had left behind. He already used feeble legerdemain to get Fred out of the story, but as to Quilp, Kit and all the others, he had to keep them running. And so, why not make Quilp feel, on a whim, that he hates Kit and accordingly wants to play a nasty trick on him? This plot device is as well-founded as most of the others in TOCS.

The narrator makes sure to underline that Quilp has a grudge against Kit because the boy threatened him for his behaviour towards his mother, and earlier on, because he insulted Quilp in his conversation with Tom Scott. So, he is acting from sheer vindictiveness. - Apart from that, he feels that without Kit, he would have better access to the single gentleman and maybe win his trust. But what for??? And why shoud it be Kit that is standing in Quilp's way? Looked at with a sober mind, these reasons for Quilp's plot against Kit are very threadbare.

All in all, it seems to me that in TOCS Dickens was travelling on a shoestring.


message 13: by Mary Lou (last edited Apr 14, 2019 04:24AM) (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Tristram wrote: "He already used feeble legerdemain to get Fred out of the story..."

And there's my new vocabulary word for the day!

I tend to agree with you, Tristram, but will withhold final judgement until we reach the end.

PS to Peter - yes, my daughter and her family made it to Germany and are now experiencing culture shock over the large size of the butter, the small size of the refrigerator, and the total lack of closets! It will be an interesting time for them. :-) I'm settling back into my comfortable routine and, while I miss the kids, I'm looking forward to a quiet Sunday with a book or two and a good nap later on.

I'll gladly be your go-to person on our trivia team for 60s and 70s pop culture, music, and US history. I hope you can cover sports, science, and math!


message 14: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "He already used feeble legerdemain to get Fred out of the story..."

And there's my new vocabulary word for the day!

I tend to agree with you, Tristram, but will withhold final j..."


Hi Mary Lou

When we do get together to play trivia I must confess I will disappoint you. Sports will be fine (especially hockey) but math and science ... sorry : - ((


message 15: by Tristram (last edited Apr 14, 2019 10:38AM) (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Mary Lou,

I hope your daughter and your son-in-law will have a good time in Germany! As to the butter, don‘t they buy it in 200 gramm packets? The refrigerators are smaller, but they often come with a deep-freeze. We have two refrigerators, one in the kitchen, the other one in the utility room.

My wife, who is from Argentina, also misses closets, and she found it strange that in Germany most people have special shoes for indoors and do leave their street shoes outside in the hall. In my childhood it was still common to walk into people‘s homes with your shoes on, but in the course of the last few years or even decades, it has become less so.

What I miss most when I am abroad is good German bread. In Argentina, for instance, you mainly get white bread, which is good at the beginning, but which makes me yearn for darker bread after a couple of days. And good beer, of course. There is good beer in England and in Ireland, but in most other countries I was forced to drink wine given the poor quality of the beer :-)

It‘s interesting to hear about what your family think unusual or noteworthy about my native country. If you need any help, don‘t hesitate to contact me, please!


message 16: by Ami (last edited Apr 14, 2019 02:24PM) (new)

Ami | 372 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-first

Hello fellow Curiosities


Say it ain’t so! Kit in jail?

For Kit, the worst part is not being in jail but the thought that the Garlands, Barbara, the pony, and his mother..."


Kit has been in awe of Nell since the beginning, he's showed honor and reverence for her, clearly seeing her as a guiding light. Nell taught him how to read and write, she gave him hope for a better future, as Jesus did with his Disciples. We start off with a feel for the allegory aspect for the novel; but, as we read further along, Dickens continues anointing Nell with more Christ-like characteristics and more trials and tribulations for her and those closest to her. The dream sequence, I believe, cements the influence of the metaphysical characteristics in the novel...an escape for hope.


message 17: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Ami wrote: "Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-first

Hello fellow Curiosities


Say it ain’t so! Kit in jail?

For Kit, the worst part is not being in jail but the thought that the Garlands, Barbara, the pony, ..."


Ami

You mention how Kit sees Nell as a “guiding light.” Yes. And perhaps more yet to come ...


message 18: by Ami (last edited Apr 14, 2019 02:45PM) (new)

Ami | 372 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-second


I found this a very bizarre and surreal chapter. Let’s start with the beginning paragraph which is comprised of one long periodic sentence. Just image if we were presente..."


Mary Lou wrote: "Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-second
I found this a very bizarre and surreal chapter. ..."

For me, it was a disappointing chapter. Apparently Fred's gotten himself into some trouble and has fled..."


Thank you, Mary Lou! This was my discovery in Chapter 62, that Fred found himself in trouble and escaped to somewhere abroad. I was hoping I read incorrectly. If in fact, after all the high drama regarding Grandfather's fortune, that Fred has indeed gone abroad...what a way to write him out of the narrative. I understand this is a common motif in Victorian Literature; but, I still feel cheated by it.

When Brass leaves Quilp’s counting house he is warned that he needs to be careful as the path is strewn with timber with rusty nails pointing upward and a dog who has bitten a man, a woman and killed a child in recent days. Quilp then extinguishes the only available light to help Brass as he leaves. As the chapter ends both Sampson Brass and the reader are still in the dark as to many of the motives, ideas, and the character of Quilp.
I found that interaction to be rather cryptic. The would be behavior of that dog sounded awfully like Quilp, in both action and temperament.


message 19: by Julie (last edited Apr 14, 2019 03:45PM) (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1149 comments OK, I'm not reading the descriptions and commentary yet because I haven't gone past chapter 61, but I just came on to say I was putting off reading the book this week because I'm not looking forward to the story coming back to some deeply sincere graveyard, but Dick's gift to Kit is such a gift to the reader as well that I'm happy I kept going.


message 20: by Ami (last edited Apr 14, 2019 03:40PM) (new)

Ami | 372 comments Julie wrote: "OK, I'm not reading the descriptions and commentary yet because I haven't gone past chapter 61, but I just came on to say I was putting off reading the book this week because I'm not looking forwar..."

Dick Swiveller has swiveled his way into my heart in these last few sections of our reading. I wasn't a fan in the beginning, but his treatment of the Marchioness and now Kit...yeah, I'm a fan. No graveyards, as of yet, Julie...at least not through Chapter 64! :)


message 21: by Ami (last edited Apr 14, 2019 04:00PM) (new)

Ami | 372 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-fourth


The previous chapter was of interest but this chapter is much longer and chock full of interest, revelation, and symbolic interest. Let’s get to it shall we?


Our friend..."


I loved this chapter...I loved that the Marchioness had left the employ of the Brass's; I loved that this girl was resourceful enough to find her way into Swivelller's apartment, sell his clothes, including those he was wearing, to buy items that would help him get better; I loved that she was involved in helping him right Kit's wrong, and I loved that little bit of humor regarding Swiveller's current bare predicament. However, there was one detail that gave me pause. I was under the impression the Marchioness was a little girl; and, by little, I'm thinking eight or nine years old...is she not? If she is this young, I'm glad she's no longer living with the abusive Sally Brass; but, isn't it odd for her to take it upon herself to strip Dick Swiveller of the clothing on his person? Dick, when he first sat with her and taught her how to play cribbage, how she was still on his mind after he had left her, worried for her, seemed to be coming from his paternal instinct. Was Dickens, perhaps, using Dick and the Marchioness's relationship as a foil to that of Nell and Grandfather?

Did you find Dickens’s decision to blend both serious elements of the plot with one of broad humour?
I find his ability to blend the two to be a lot more successful than his ability to blend the allegorical and fairy tale aspects. Dickens delves deep in the melodrama and serious nature of life all too well; adding the humor enables the aforementioned to be better digested, and it's important to laugh when things get too serious.


message 22: by Ami (last edited Apr 15, 2019 05:17AM) (new)

Ami | 372 comments Peter wrote: "Chapter the Sixty-fifth


In this chapter we continue to enjoy the company of the Marchioness as she slips and slides her way through the streets of London in search of Mr Abel. The Marchioness’s t..."


There has been in these chapters a massive change in the character of Dick Swiveller. First, is it a change that is believable? If so why, if not, why not? Why do you think Dickens is changing Dick’s persona?
Was it a massive change, or were the details all there to begin with? See, i've never been a fan of the guy; but, I do remember instances where I would find myself endeared by his behavior and thoughts. For instance when we first meet him, he's a bumbling inhebreated fool; within a couple of pages he's vulnerable and pining over Sophie Wackles; later, he's feeling remorse over his would be participation in Fred/Quilp's scheme; he feels further remorse for entrusting Quip with his secrets; then, most recently, his interaction with the little devil living with the Brass's. His goodness has always been there, it was just hiding underneath all his social lubrication, verbosity, gesticulations, and other repetitious behaviors.

Now, I understand why you and Tristram would ask me about Dick Swiveller when I would comment about him, most often in a negative light. LOL! I get it...now. He was always a good guy, just a little misguided, that's all.


message 23: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1149 comments Ami wrote: "His goodness has always been there, it was just hiding underneath all his social lubrication, verbosity, gesticulations, and other repetitious behaviors.."

That's true, although there's so much of the latter that I thought he was going to give up helping out when he got fired, not pick up a fever. I can't think why he might have changed. Apart from the Marchioness, he hasn't really been keeping better company, and I don't think he was truly all that broken up about losing Sophie. Maybe the enormity of the bad behavior around him is just adding up to a level where he can't ignore it; especially when blameless Kit is right there visibly suffering as a result.


message 24: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1149 comments Mary Lou wrote: "I hadn't thought of it until you brought it up, but it does seem to reference the last supper, or holy communion. Oh, dear... that doesn't bode well for our "bright star," does it..."

I noticed Kit is worried about what Barbara will think of his imprisonment. It does seem like Nell is beginning to live on an entirely different level for him than the other, more human, imperfect people in his life. Which does bode well for Barbara if she'd like to step into a human role for him.

Anybody have any sense of why Barbara's mother shows up at prison to visit, but not Barbara?


message 25: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1149 comments This was a fun set of chapters altogether I thought (apart from losing Fred so indirectly--and I took Fred's departure as him getting transported for some crime). And Quilp does seem to be hitting new lows of demonic every time he shows up. The part about drinking the boiling water! I am glad he made Brass drink it, too. I shouldn't be, but I am.


message 26: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "Anybody have any sense of why Barbara's mother shows up at prison to visit, but not Barbara?"

It struck me as remarkable, too, and then I said to myself that maybe they wanted to spare Kit the embarrassment of Barbara‘s presence under such circumstances. On the other hand, in order to show that they had not given him up as a culprit, Barbara‘s mother accompanied Mrs. Nubbles into the prison. After all, somebody had to hold the baby. Plus, maybe, Barbara‘s mother was a little bit curious into the bargain?


message 27: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4465 comments Mod
I am a little bit afraid that with his newly-won moral austerity, Dick will turn into a more boring character, giving up his poetry and his carefree habits. Luckily, this change occurs towards the end of the novel.


message 28: by Ami (new)

Ami | 372 comments Julie wrote: "Ami wrote: "His goodness has always been there, it was just hiding underneath all his social lubrication, verbosity, gesticulations, and other repetitious behaviors.."

That's true, although there'..."


Julie wrote: "Mary Lou wrote: "I hadn't thought of it until you brought it up, but it does seem to reference the last supper, or holy communion. Oh, dear... that doesn't bode well for our "bright star," does it...."

I thought the mother was there to show moral support for Mrs.Nubbles, now that they’re fast friends. I didn’t give much thought to Barbara’s absence; but, now that you bring it up, I do wonder if she was either debilitated by the news, overwrought with emotion, or maybe just at work?

Apart from the Marchioness, he hasn't really been keeping better company, and I don't think he was truly all that broken up about losing Sophie. Maybe the enormity of the bad behavior around him is just adding up to a level where he can't ignore it;
If it was any one thing, I would attribute his want to help Kit to the Marchioness. Perhaps, seeing her as an innocent who is treated poorly by the Brass’s led him to some perspective regarding Kit?


message 29: by Ami (new)

Ami | 372 comments Tristram wrote: "I am a little bit afraid that with his newly-won moral austerity, Dick will turn into a more boring character, giving up his poetry and his carefree habits. Luckily, this change occurs towards the ..."

Oh, yeah? You think the late night melodious serenading of his neighbors is coming to an end? ;P


message 30: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Tristram wrote: "I am a little bit afraid that with his newly-won moral austerity, Dick will turn into a more boring character, giving up his poetry and his carefree habits. Luckily, this change occurs towards the ..."

I think the turning point for Dick's maturation was witnessing the Marchioness getting beaten. That would be a sobering thing, surely. Fear not, Tristram -- I think Dick will always be a charmer, but everyone's got to grow up at some point. I like to believe it won't change his nature. Like Ami, I didn't understand others' fondness for Dick early on - he seemed not only immature, but selfish. Now I see him differently. Unlike Ami, I'm not sure if it was there all along, or if Dickens slightly shifted things where Dick was concerned. Like Julie, my concerns about Dick were all put the rest when he sent Kit the bottle of beer. :-)


message 31: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Ami wrote: "I was under the impression the Marchioness was a little girl; and, by little, I'm thinking eight or nine years old...is she not?..."

Her age was never given -- just her size! If you trust Kyd's portrayal, she looks like an old woman, complete with sagging breasts! Other illustrations we've seen have her ranging from young girl on up. I think only Dickens knows for sure. But her escape and subsequent care of Dick would imply that she's probably at least an older teen, don't you think?


message 32: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2315 comments Julie wrote: "It does seem like Nell is beginning to live on an entirely different level for him than the other, more human, imperfect people in his life. Which does bode well for Barbara if she'd like to step into a human role for him. ...."

Oh, I hope so! But Kit needs to put Nell behind him. It wouldn't be fair for Barbara to live in Nell's shadow for the rest of her life. But Kit's character is such that I think he'd never intentionally hold Nell up to Barbara in a cruel way. As he matures, I think he'll grow to appreciate Barbara's attributes, and realize that a life with a flawless angel might be not have been realistic.


message 33: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "I am a little bit afraid that with his newly-won moral austerity, Dick will turn into a more boring character, giving up his poetry and his carefree habits. Luckily, this change occurs towards the ..."

Do you ever like the likable characters? I can't think of one right now.


message 34: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Ami wrote: "I was under the impression the Marchioness was a little girl; and, by little, I'm thinking eight or nine years old...is she not?..."

Her age was never given -- just her size! If you trust Kyd's portrayal..."


Mary Lou, never ever trust Kyd's portrayal for anything. :-)


message 35: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
The age of the Marchioness may be revealed in a later chapter. As to why we don’t get it earlier, or by now, I don’t know. :-)


message 36: by Ami (last edited Apr 15, 2019 09:38AM) (new)

Ami | 372 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Ami wrote: "I was under the impression the Marchioness was a little girl; and, by little, I'm thinking eight or nine years old...is she not?..."

Her age was never given -- just her size! If you tr..."


Mary Lou, yes I would like to think she was in her teens...considering? I believe I may be having the same problem with the Marchioness as I was having with Nell... the references describing her as a child and little, though she may be much older.

Dick calling her a Marchioness should have been a dead giveaway, I don’t think it would be appropriate to refer to a child as one, would it? ;)


message 37: by Kim (new)

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I wonder, would the book have been a better book if Dickens would have spent more time with his secondary characters? By secondary I mean anyone who isn't Nell, Grandfather Trent, or Quilp. Perhaps we could have been told why Mrs. Quilp married him. Did her mother force her to? Where did she grow up, where is her father, did he die when she was a child, were they wealthy then, but no longer? Perhaps she could have loved someone her mother didn't approve of so she packed up, took her daughter to London and married her to Quilp. What happened to Kit's father, where was his mother from? What happened to Nell's parents?Was Quilp made fun of as a child and did that have an influence on his behavior or was he just always awful? Could Dick have gone to see that Aunt of his who would not give him any more money, a story could be made of Dick's family. I could go on and on.


message 38: by Ami (new)

Ami | 372 comments Kim wrote: "I wonder, would the book have been a better book if Dickens would have spent more time with his secondary characters? By secondary I mean anyone who isn't Nell, Grandfather Trent, or Quilp. Perhaps..."

Flipping the script! I like that idea and am finding these minor characters, as little as we know about them, to be so much more interesting.


message 39: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3040 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "I wonder, would the book have been a better book if Dickens would have spent more time with his secondary characters? By secondary I mean anyone who isn't Nell, Grandfather Trent, or Quilp. Perhaps..."

Oh my. Just consider how long the novel would be. Then again, it would be interesting, and we are the Curiosities.


message 40: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod


Kit in jail

Chapter 61

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

But when little Jacob saw his brother, and, thrusting his arms between the rails to hug him, found that he came no nearer, but still stood afar off with his head resting on the arm by which he held to one of the bars, he began to cry most piteously; whereupon, Kit’s mother and Barbara’s mother, who had restrained themselves as much as possible, burst out sobbing and weeping afresh. Poor Kit could not help joining them, and not one of them could speak a word. During this melancholy pause, the turnkey read his newspaper with a waggish look (he had evidently got among the facetious paragraphs) until, happening to take his eyes off for an instant, as if to get by dint of contemplation at the very marrow of some joke of a deeper sort than the rest, it appeared to occur to him, for the first time, that somebody was crying.

‘Now, ladies, ladies,’ he said, looking round with surprise, ‘I’d advise you not to waste time like this. It’s allowanced here, you know. You mustn’t let that child make that noise either. It’s against all rules.’

‘I’m his poor mother, sir,’—sobbed Mrs Nubbles, curtseying humbly, ‘and this is his brother, sir. Oh dear me, dear me!’

‘Well!’ replied the turnkey, folding his paper on his knee, so as to get with greater convenience at the top of the next column. ‘It can’t be helped you know. He ain’t the only one in the same fix. You mustn’t make a noise about it!’

With that he went on reading. The man was not unnaturally cruel or hard-hearted. He had come to look upon felony as a kind of disorder, like the scarlet fever or erysipelas: some people had it—some hadn’t—just as it might be.

‘Oh! my darling Kit,’ said his mother, whom Barbara’s mother had charitably relieved of the baby, ‘that I should see my poor boy here!’

‘You don’t believe that I did what they accuse me of, mother dear?’ cried Kit, in a choking voice.

‘I believe it!’ exclaimed the poor woman, ‘I that never knew you tell a lie, or do a bad action from your cradle—that have never had a moment’s sorrow on your account, except it was the poor meals that you have taken with such good humour and content, that I forgot how little there was, when I thought how kind and thoughtful you were, though you were but a child!—I believe it of the son that’s been a comfort to me from the hour of his birth until this time, and that I never laid down one night in anger with! I believe it of you Kit!—’

‘Why then, thank God!’ said Kit, clutching the bars with an earnestness that shook them, ‘and I can bear it, mother! Come what may, I shall always have one drop of happiness in my heart when I think that you said that.’

At this the poor woman fell a-crying again, and Barbara’s mother too. And little Jacob, whose disjointed thoughts had by this time resolved themselves into a pretty distinct impression that Kit couldn’t go out for a walk if he wanted, and that there were no birds, lions, tigers or other natural curiosities behind those bars—nothing indeed, but a caged brother—added his tears to theirs with as little noise as possible.

Kit’s mother, drying her eyes (and moistening them, poor soul, more than she dried them), now took from the ground a small basket, and submissively addressed herself to the turnkey, saying, would he please to listen to her for a minute? The turnkey, being in the very crisis and passion of a joke, motioned to her with his hand to keep silent one minute longer, for her life. Nor did he remove his hand into its former posture, but kept it in the same warning attitude until he had finished the paragraph, when he paused for a few seconds, with a smile upon his face, as who should say ‘this editor is a comical blade—a funny dog,’ and then asked her what she wanted.



message 41: by Kim (last edited Apr 15, 2019 01:57PM) (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod


Revenge is sweet

Chapter 62

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

All this time, Sampson was rubbing his hands, and staring, with ludicrous surprise and dismay, at a great, goggle-eyed, blunt-nosed figure-head of some old ship, which was reared up against the wall in a corner near the stove, looking like a goblin or hideous idol whom the dwarf worshipped. A mass of timber on its head, carved into the dim and distant semblance of a cocked hat, together with a representation of a star on the left breast and epaulettes on the shoulders, denoted that it was intended for the effigy of some famous admiral; but, without those helps, any observer might have supposed it the authentic portrait of a distinguished merman, or great sea-monster. Being originally much too large for the apartment which it was now employed to decorate, it had been sawn short off at the waist. Even in this state it reached from floor to ceiling; and thrusting itself forward, with that excessively wide-awake aspect, and air of somewhat obtrusive politeness, by which figure-heads are usually characterised, seemed to reduce everything else to mere pigmy proportions.

‘Do you know it?’ said the dwarf, watching Sampson’s eyes. ‘Do you see the likeness?’

‘Eh?’ said Brass, holding his head on one side, and throwing it a little back, as connoisseurs do. ‘Now I look at it again, I fancy I see a—yes, there certainly is something in the smile that reminds me of—and yet upon my word I—’

Now, the fact was, that Sampson, having never seen anything in the smallest degree resembling this substantial phantom, was much perplexed; being uncertain whether Mr Quilp considered it like himself, and had therefore bought it for a family portrait; or whether he was pleased to consider it as the likeness of some enemy. He was not very long in doubt; for, while he was surveying it with that knowing look which people assume when they are contemplating for the first time portraits which they ought to recognise but don’t, the dwarf threw down the newspaper from which he had been chanting the words already quoted, and seizing a rusty iron bar, which he used in lieu of poker, dealt the figure such a stroke on the nose that it rocked again.

‘Is it like Kit—is it his picture, his image, his very self?’ cried the dwarf, aiming a shower of blows at the insensible countenance, and covering it with deep dimples. ‘Is it the exact model and counterpart of the dog—is it—is it—is it?’ And with every repetition of the question, he battered the great image, until the perspiration streamed down his face with the violence of the exercise.


Commentary:

In the Introduction to a recent collection of essays on The Old Curiosity Shop we read that Little Nell, Quilp "and the novel as a whole, are often interpreted as allegorical, mythic, or fairy-tale like, rather than realistic" (Darrow). As far back as 1911 G. K. Chesterton wrote that "Quilp might be a gargoyle. He might be some sort of devilish doorknocker," characterizing the Brasses in similar fashion and concluding: "About all this group of bad figures in The Old Curiosity Shop there is a sort of diablerie". It is rare to find Quilp's name not preceded by "demonic," "devilish," "diabolic," or some similar epithet. According to Lewis Horne, who invokes Northrop Frye's theory of the archetype, Quilp's is "a universe of supreme wickedness," his London waterfront habitat (which is deliberately and clearly located on the south bank of the Thames) a "realm of demonic monstrosities," a primordial and hellish chaos of river mud and ooze (Horne). Others have taken a more broadly psychological approach, seeing Quilp as a sadist who "embodies a continual seething rage against human kind" (Steig), a figure who, for Robert Polhemus, is "like a walking, speaking, metaphorical and allegorical compendium of Freud's theories and examples of infantile sexuality" (Polhemus).

Whether the approach is archetypal or psychological Quilp's cultural and historical significance is ignored. In the history of the criticism of The Old Curiosity Shop, apart from the obligatory nod to the Chartist riots in chapter 45, there seems to be a refusal to see Quilp in the context of the 1830s when much of the action of the novel takes place: W. H. Auden comments that Quilp and Nell are mythic figures whose "existence ... [is] ... not defined by their social and historical context" (qtd. by Horne); Steven Marcus that "society does not exist in any significant sense: the concentrated duality of Nell and Quilp has almost obliterated that middle ground"; Dennis Walder that it would be "a mistake to read The Old Curiosity Shop as if it were a realistic social novel".

If Dickens's purpose in Bleak House, as he stated in the 1853 Preface, was to dwell upon "the romantic side of familiar things," perhaps it is time for critics to dwell upon the familiar side of romantic things in The Old Curiosity Shop. A refreshing exception to the trend to abstract the novel from its time is an essay by Paul Schlicke. In "Embracing the New Spirit of the Age: Dickens and the Evolution of The Old Curiosity Shop," Schlicke reads the novel as expressing certain anxieties characteristic of that crucial decade of change and instability, the 1830s. Little Nell is young and inexperienced and so was the new Queen; the grandfather is a gambler and gambling "was a national disgrace"; travelling show people like Mrs. Jarley and Codlin and Short are under threat since popular entertainment was in a state of decline; and "the popular unrest and threat of revolution which gripped the country", namely Chartism, is to be found in chapter 45. Yet despite this topicality Quilp still remains "an archetypal image, at once a brilliantly realized grotesque character and a fantastic projection of all Nell's fears. In the character of Quilp, Dickens gives contemporary anxiety mythic dimension".


message 42: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod




Is it like Kit - is it his picture, his image, his very self?

Chapter 62

Charles Green

Text Illustrated:

‘Is it like Kit—is it his picture, his image, his very self?’ cried the dwarf, aiming a shower of blows at the insensible countenance, and covering it with deep dimples. ‘Is it the exact model and counterpart of the dog—is it—is it—is it?’ And with every repetition of the question, he battered the great image, until the perspiration streamed down his face with the violence of the exercise.


message 43: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod


Is it like Kit - is it his picture, his image, his very self?

Chapter 62

Frank Reynolds

Text Illustrated:

Now, the fact was, that Sampson, having never seen anything in the smallest degree resembling this substantial phantom, was much perplexed; being uncertain whether Mr Quilp considered it like himself, and had therefore bought it for a family portrait; or whether he was pleased to consider it as the likeness of some enemy. He was not very long in doubt; for, while he was surveying it with that knowing look which people assume when they are contemplating for the first time portraits which they ought to recognise but don’t, the dwarf threw down the newspaper from which he had been chanting the words already quoted, and seizing a rusty iron bar, which he used in lieu of poker, dealt the figure such a stroke on the nose that it rocked again.


message 44: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod


Quilp and Sampson Brass

Chapter 62

Kyd


message 45: by Kim (new)

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Mr. Swiveller to the Rescue

Chapter 63

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

Kit’s mother, poor woman, is waiting at the grate below stairs, accompanied by Barbara’s mother (who, honest soul! never does anything but cry, and hold the baby), and a sad interview ensues. The newspaper-reading turnkey has told them all. He don’t think it will be transportation for life, because there’s time to prove the good character yet, and that is sure to serve him. He wonders what he did it for. ‘He never did it!’ cries Kit’s mother. ‘Well,’ says the turnkey, ‘I won’t contradict you. It’s all one, now, whether he did it or not.’

Kit’s mother can reach his hand through the bars, and she clasps it— God, and those to whom he has given such tenderness, only know in how much agony. Kit bids her keep a good heart, and, under pretence of having the children lifted up to kiss him, prays Barbara’s mother in a whisper to take her home.

‘Some friend will rise up for us, mother,’ cried Kit, ‘I am sure. If not now, before long. My innocence will come out, mother, and I shall be brought back again; I feel confidence in that. You must teach little Jacob and the baby how all this was, for if they thought I had ever been dishonest, when they grew old enough to understand, it would break my heart to know it, if I was thousands of miles away.—Oh! is there no good gentleman here, who will take care of her!’

The hand slips out of his, for the poor creature sinks down upon the earth, insensible. Richard Swiveller comes hastily up, elbows the bystanders out of the way, takes her (after some trouble) in one arm after the manner of theatrical ravishers, and, nodding to Kit, and commanding Barbara’s mother to follow, for he has a coach waiting, bears her swiftly off.



message 46: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5710 comments Mod


There she sat, intent upon her game.

Chapter 64

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

He was rambling in imagination on these terraces, and had quite lost himself among them indeed, when he heard the cough once more. The walks shrunk into stripes again at the sound, and raising himself a little in the bed, and holding the curtain open with one hand, he looked out.

The same room certainly, and still by candlelight; but with what unbounded astonishment did he see all those bottles, and basins, and articles of linen airing by the fire, and such-like furniture of a sick chamber—all very clean and neat, but all quite different from anything he had left there, when he went to bed! The atmosphere, too, filled with a cool smell of herbs and vinegar; the floor newly sprinkled; the—the what? The Marchioness?

Yes; playing cribbage with herself at the table. There she sat, intent upon her game, coughing now and then in a subdued manner as if she feared to disturb him—shuffling the cards, cutting, dealing, playing, counting, pegging—going through all the mysteries of cribbage as if she had been in full practice from her cradle! Mr Swiveller contemplated these things for a short time, and suffering the curtain to fall into its former position, laid his head on the pillow again.


Commentary:

To enumerate all the works illustrated by "Phiz" would be a next to impossible task, for "their name is legion." No artist was so popular or so prolific as a book-illustrator, with the exception, perhaps, of George Cruikshank. It may fairly be questioned whether the works of Charles Dickens, with which the name of "Phiz" is most intimately associated in our minds, would have achieved such notoriety without the aid of the etching needle so ably wielded. Mr. John Hollingshead, in his essay on Dickens, says:--

"The greater the value of a book as a literary production, the more will the circle of its influence usually be narrowed. The very shape, aspect,and garments of the ideal creatures who move through its pages, even when drawn by the pen of the first master of fiction in the land, will be faint and confused to the blunter perception of the general reader,unless aided by the attendant pencil of the illustrative artist. For the sharp, clear images of Mr. Pickwick, with the spectacles, gaiters, and low crowned hat--of Sam Weller, with the striped waistcoat and heartful leer--of Mr. Winkle, with the sporting costume and the foolish expression--more persons are indebted to the caricaturist, than to the faultless descriptive passages of the great creative mind that called the amusing puppets into existence."

It was not the fame of Dickens only that was enhanced by "Phiz," for the numerous illustrations in the works of Charles Lever, Harrison Ainsworth, the brothers Mayhew, and a host of minor novelists were executed by his unwearied hand. It was Dickens, however, who introduced him to public notice, in a pamphlet, now very scarce, entitled "Sunday Under Three Heads", embellished with four delicately executed engravings drawn by "H. K. B."

Master Humphrey's Clock, written in 1840-1, includes the stories of the Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge which have been happily termed "two unequalled twin fictions upou one stem." The illustrations were drawn on wood by H. K. Browne and George Cattermole, and the former
created, pictorially, Little Nell, Mrs. Jarley, Quilp, Dick Swiveller, the Marchioness, Sally Brass, and her brother Sampson. " Phiz " revelled in wild fun in the vignettes relating to the devilries of Mr. Daniel Quilp and the humours of Codlin and Short, and of Mrs. Jarley's waxwork show and his "Marchioness" was a distinct comic creation, but in Quilp's weird waterscape, he sketched a vista of riparian scenery which, in its desolate breadth and loneliness,has not since, perhaps, been equalled, save in the amazing suggestive Thames etchings of Mr. James Whistler. To be sure, Hablot Browne was stimulated to excellence during the continuance of the Old Curiosity Shop by the friendly rivalry of the famous water-colour painter, George Cattermole, who drew the charming vignettes of the quaint old cottages and school-house and church of the village where "Little Nell" came to live with the schoolmaster.


message 47: by Kim (new)

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The Marchioness jumped up quickly, and clapped her hands.

Chapter 64

Charles Green

Text Illustrated:

‘It’s an Arabian Night; that’s what it is,’ said Richard. ‘I’m in Damascus or Grand Cairo. The Marchioness is a Genie, and having had a wager with another Genie about who is the handsomest young man alive, and the worthiest to be the husband of the Princess of China, has brought me away, room and all, to compare us together. Perhaps,’ said Mr Swiveller, turning languidly round on his pillow, and looking on that side of his bed which was next the wall, ‘the Princess may be still—No, she’s gone.’

Not feeling quite satisfied with this explanation, as, even taking it to be the correct one, it still involved a little mystery and doubt, Mr Swiveller raised the curtain again, determined to take the first favourable opportunity of addressing his companion. An occasion presented itself. The Marchioness dealt, turned up a knave, and omitted to take the usual advantage; upon which Mr Swiveller called out as loud as he could—‘Two for his heels!’

The Marchioness jumped up quickly and clapped her hands. ‘Arabian Night, certainly,’ thought Mr Swiveller; ‘they always clap their hands instead of ringing the bell. Now for the two thousand black slaves, with jars of jewels on their heads!’

It appeared, however, that she had only clapped her hands for joy; for directly afterward she began to laugh, and then to cry; declaring, not in choice Arabic but in familiar English, that she was ‘so glad, she didn’t know what to do.’

‘Marchioness,’ said Mr Swiveller, thoughtfully, ‘be pleased to draw nearer. First of all, will you have the goodness to inform me where I shall find my voice; and secondly, what has become of my flesh?’

The Marchioness only shook her head mournfully, and cried again; whereupon Mr Swiveller (being very weak) felt his own eyes affected likewise.

‘I begin to infer, from your manner, and these appearances, Marchioness,’ said Richard after a pause, and smiling with a trembling lip, ‘that I have been ill.’

‘You just have!’ replied the small servant, wiping her eyes. ‘And haven’t you been a talking nonsense!’

‘Oh!’ said Dick. ‘Very ill, Marchioness, have I been?’

‘Dead, all but,’ replied the small servant. ‘I never thought you’d get better. Thank Heaven you have!’

Mr Swiveller was silent for a long while. By and bye, he began to talk again, inquiring how long he had been there.

‘Three weeks to-morrow,’ replied the servant.

‘Three what?’ said Dick.

‘Weeks,’ returned the Marchioness emphatically; ‘three long, slow weeks.’

The bare thought of having been in such extremity, caused Richard to fall into another silence, and to lie flat down again, at his full length. The Marchioness, having arranged the bed-clothes more comfortably, and felt that his hands and forehead were quite cool—a discovery that filled her with delight—cried a little more, and then applied herself to getting tea ready, and making some thin dry toast.



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Dick Swiveller's Surprise

Chapter 64

Harold Copping


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The Marchioness plays cribbage with herself.

Illustration for Dickens Pictures published in 1890

I don't know the artist


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The Marchioness in the Chaise

Chapter 65

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

She had nothing for it now, therefore, but to run after the chaise, and to call to Mr Abel to stop. Being out of breath when she came up with it, she was unable to make him hear. The case was desperate; for the pony was quickening his pace. The Marchioness hung on behind for a few moments, and, feeling that she could go no farther, and must soon yield, clambered by a vigorous effort into the hinder seat, and in so doing lost one of the shoes for ever.

Mr Abel being in a thoughtful frame of mind, and having quite enough to do to keep the pony going, went jogging on without looking round: little dreaming of the strange figure that was close behind him, until the Marchioness, having in some degree recovered her breath, and the loss of her shoe, and the novelty of her position, uttered close into his ear, the words—‘I say, Sir’—

He turned his head quickly enough then, and stopping the pony, cried, with some trepidation, ‘God bless me, what is this!’

‘Don’t be frightened, Sir,’ replied the still panting messenger. ‘Oh I’ve run such a way after you!’

‘What do you want with me?’ said Mr Abel. ‘How did you come here?’

‘I got in behind,’ replied the Marchioness. ‘Oh please drive on, sir—don’t stop—and go towards the City, will you? And oh do please make haste, because it’s of consequence. There’s somebody wants to see you there. He sent me to say would you come directly, and that he knowed all about Kit, and could save him yet, and prove his innocence.’



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