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Sketches by Boz
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Sketches by Boz > Scenes, 10: The River

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Tristram Shandy This Sketch, which was first published in June 1835 in the Evening Chronicle centres on the Thames. However, it is not so much the river itself, which is portrayed here - Dickens will make the Thames almost come to life in Our Mutual Friend - but people's activities on the river. There are sporting activities portrayed - not unlike Mr. Toots's rowing excursions - but also the traffic of steamboats.

Was it not the steam-wharf of the London Bridge where Tom Pinch and his sister made the acquaintance of Mrs. Gamp in Martin Chuzzlewit? The narrator describes the bustle on board these ships and he ends this Sketch with a wonderful conversation that, with the necessary changes made, could even be heard today:

"‘Wonderful thing steam, sir.’ ‘Ah! (a deep-drawn sigh) it is indeed, sir.’ ‘Great power, sir.’ ‘Immense—immense!’ ‘Great deal done by steam, sir.’ ‘Ah! (another sigh at the immensity of the subject, and a knowing shake of the head) you may say that, sir.’ ‘Still in its infancy, they say, sir.’"


message 2: by Hilary (new) - added it

Hilary (agapoyesoun) I do believe you're right, Tristram, about Tom Pinch, his sister and Mrs Gamp!


message 3: by Hilary (new) - added it

Hilary (agapoyesoun) I do believe you're right, Tristram, about Tom Pinch, his sister and Mrs Gamp!


message 4: by Hilary (new) - added it

Hilary (agapoyesoun) I enjoyed this: 'Something has always gone wrong. Either the cork of the salad dressing has come out, or the most anxiously expected member of the party has not come out, or the most disagreeable man in company would come out, ...

Also this: 'The bell stops; the boat starts: people who have been taking leave of their friends on board, are carried away against their will; and people who have been taking leave of their friends on shore, find that they have performed a very needless ceremony, in consequence of their not being carried away at all.


Tristram Shandy Dickens has this eye for detail: Whenever I see someone off at the train, I hate boarding the train with them lest it should suddenly depart.


message 6: by Hilary (new) - added it

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Haha Tristram, what a nightmare!


Tristram Shandy That's why I usually do not see people off at the train at all but in front of the station building. I also hate that time you have to wait with the traveller before the train finally arrives. It's one of the deadest sorts of times.


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