The Holly Tree Inn.
Henry Matthew Brock
13.3 x 10.5 cm. framed.
Dickens's The Holly-tree Inn, facing page 24.
[Click on image to enlarge it and mouse over text for links.]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.].
We performed Auld Lang Syne the whole day; seeing nothing, out of towns and villages, but the track of stoats, hares, and foxes, and sometimes of birds. At nine o'clock at night, on a Yorkshire moor, a cheerful burst from our horn, and a welcome sound of talking, with a glimmering and moving about of lanterns, roused me from my drowsy state. I found that we were going to change.
They helped me out, and I said to a waiter, whose bare head became as white as King Lear's in a single minute, "What Inn is this?"
"The Holly-Tree, sir," said he.
"Upon my word, I believe," said I, apologetically, to the guard and coachman, "that I must stop here."
Now the landlord, and the landlady, and the ostler, and the post-boy, and all the stable authorities, had already asked the coachman, to the wide-eyed interest of all the rest of the establishment, if he meant to go on. The coachman had already replied, "Yes, he'd take her through it," — meaning by Her the coach, — "if o be as George would stand by him." George was the guard, and he had already sworn that he would stand by him. So the helpers were already getting the horses out. — "The Guest," p. 8.
The illustration now takes us back to the opening of the book, when The narrator, Charley, is forced to stop at the inn for a change of horses. In all likelihood, the inn in question is that in which Charles Dickens and his illustrator, Hablot Knight Browne stayed at Gretna Bridge in 1838, when the pair, dressed as artisans, conducted acts of investigative journalism into various Yorkshire schools, notorious for their callous neglect and mistreatment of their students. The literary consequence of that trip was the picaresque novel Nicholas Nickleby (published serially from April 1838 through October 1839) and this framed tale for the December 1855 extra-Christmas number of Household Words. The compact green carriage with a postillion and just two horses depicted here and again in the next illustration is far smaller than that on the frontispiece or the title-page with both a driver and a guard, and would seem to be a post-chaise or two-person carriage rather than a mail-coach. Without any reference to the facing text, this illustration is situated opposite the first page of "The Boots," even though it refers to the arrival of the young, middle-class narrator of "The Guest." Snow is not yet falling, but it is definitely an atmospheric "snow" sky of intense grey-blue.
Relevant Illustrations from Earlier Editions
Left: Harry French's character study of the kindly Boots when he was a gardener on the Walmers estate and Master Harry, The Holly Tree Inn (1871). Centre: Harry Furniss's realisation of the arrival of the runaway children at the Yorkshire inn, Arrivals at The Holly Tree (1910). Right: Harry Furniss's realisation of the maids at the inn listening at the door of the children's room, Servants at The Holly Tree (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Above: E. A. Abbey's realisation of the scene in which the maid and Cobbs lead the children to their room, "There's Love Lane" (1876). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Edward Dalziel, Harry French, F. A. Fraser, James Mahoney, Townley Green, and Charles Green. The Oxford Illustrated Dickens. Oxford, New York, and Toronto: Oxford U.P., 1956, rpt. 1989.
_____________. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.
_____________. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by E. G. Dalziel. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877.
_____________. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by Townley Green, Charles Green, Fred Walker, F. A. Fraser, Harry French, E. G. Dalziel, and J.Mahoney. The Illustrated Library Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1911. Volume 1.
_____________. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Centenary Edition. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911.
_____________. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. Volume 16.
_____________. The Holly-Tree Inn. Illustrated by Henry Matthew Brock. London: Hodder and Stoughton, n. d. .
_____________. The Uncommercial Traverller and Additional Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Thomas, Deborah A. Dickens and the Short Story. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
Created 31 January 2016