"But it is not impossible that you are a Pig!" retorted Madame Bouclet.
E. G. Dalziel
13.9 by 10.8 cm framed.
Dickens's Christmas Stories, the Chapman and Hall Household Edition, page 121 [See commentary below].
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"Eh! well then, Monsieur Mutuel! What do I know, what can I say? I assure you that he calls himself Monsieur The Englishman."
"Pardon. But I think it is impossible," said Monsieur Mutuel,— a spectacled, snuffy, stooping old gentleman in carpet shoes and a cloth cap with a peaked shade, a loose blue frock-coat reaching to his heels, a large limp white shirt-frill, and cravat to correspond, — that is to say, white was the natural colour of his linen on Sundays, but it toned down with the week.
"It is," repeated Monsieur Mutuel, his amiable old walnut-shell countenance very walnut-shelly indeed as he smiled and blinked in the bright morning sunlight, — "it is, my cherished Madame Bouclet, I think, impossible!"
"Hey!" (with a little vexed cry and a great many tosses of her head.) "But it is not impossible that you are a Pig!" retorted Madame Bouclet, a compact little woman of thirty-five or so. "See then, — look there, — read! 'On the second floor Monsieur L'Anglais.' Is it not so?" ["His Boots," p. 120]
Dickens's later illustrators in anthologized versions of Somebody's Luggage (1862's Extra Christmas Number for All the Year Round) have tended to gravitate towards "His Boots," the second chapter, as the source of their material for visual elaboration because, the original ten chapters having been reduced to the mere four by Dickens himself, it was the selection with the greatest pictorial potential among the limited group which includes "His Leaving It 'til Called for" (Part One), "His Brown-Paper Parcel" (Part Seven), and the concluding "His Wonderful End." In his Chapman and Hall Household Edition illustration for the sentimental tale for Christmas time which celebrates the genial French character, Edward Dalziel focuses on the tale's minor, comic characters who initially perform the role of chorus, Madame Bouclet (the Englishman Langley's landlady) and her quirky lodger, Monsieur Mutuel, whose verbal sparring opens the story. On the other hand, attending to the story's chief relation, that of the orphan Bebelle and the the manly French corporal who unofficially adopts her, Sol Eytinge, Junior, in the 1867 Diamond Edition (which the English illustrators arenot likely to have studied) contrasts the pipe-smoking non-commissioned officer and his diminutive charge. American Household Edition illustrator E. A. Abbey in his 1876 wood-engraving maintains the sentimental strain by realising the moment when the aloof Englishman discovers little Bebelle at the corporal's grave. In contrast, Harry Furniss in the Charles Dickens Library Edition focuses instead on Christopher, the old waiter who serves as the narrator of the frame of Somebody's Luggage (1862). Perhaps the best modelled and most emotionally satisfying illustration for "His Boots" is Charles Green's 1868 wood-engraving of the uniformed Corporal playing with Bebelle in an old street in the "dull old fortified French town" (p. 120 in the British Household Edition), probably the Channel town of Boulogne, where Dickens's sons went to school and with which Dickens would have been familiar from his trips to nearby Condette with his young mistress Ellen Ternan in the early 1860s — precisely when this story was written.
Although Dalziel's Madame Bouclet is somewhat more youthful and more attractive than Dickens's text suggests, his Monsieur Mutuel is as the opening and subsequent paragraphs describe him: a "stooping old gentleman in carpet shoes and a cloth cap with a peaked s hade, a loose blue frock-coat reaching to his heels in oversized trousers," carrying a snuff-box and an umbrella:
The morning walk of Monsieur Mutuel was in the brightest patch that the sun made in the Grande Place of a dull old fortified French town. The manner of his morning walk was with his hands crossed behind him; an umbrella, in figure the express image of himself, always in one hand; a snuffbox in the other. Thus, with the shuffling gait of the Elephant (who really does deal with the very worst trousers-maker employed by the Zoological world, and who appeared to have recommended him to Monsieur Mutuel), the old gentleman sunned himself daily when sun was to be had — of course, at the same time sunning a red ribbon at his button-hole; for was he not an ancient Frenchman? 
Dalziel has added suggestive background details such as a wrought iron railing and wooden window louvers, and a bill of fare (upper right) to establish the exterior of the rooming-house, but emphasizes the figures of the French characters whose amusing verbal battle opens the story. Thus, unlike the previous illustrators, he does not telegraph the trajectory of the plot.
Diamond Edition (1867), Illustrated Library Edition (1868), and Household Edition (1876) Illustrations Relevant to "His Boots"
Later Editions. Left: Sol Eytinge, Junior's "Little Bebelle and The Corporal" (1867). Centre: Charles Green's "Somebody's Luggage" (1868). Right: E. A. Abbey's "Bebelle! My Little one!" (1876). . [Click on images to enlarge them.]
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Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Checkmark and Facts On File, 1998.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books and The Uncommercial Traveller. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 10.
Dickens, Charles. The Uncommercial Traveller and Additional Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. 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. Mahony. The Illustrated Library Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1868, rpt. in the Centenary Edition of Chapman & Hall and Charles Scribner's Sons (1911). 2 vols.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by E. G. Dalziel. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877.
Scenes and characters from the works of Charles Dickens; being eight hundred and sixty-six drawings, by Fred Barnard, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz); J. Mahoney; Charles Green; A. B. Frost; Gordon Thomson; J. McL. Ralston; H. French; E. G. Dalziel; F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes; printed from the original woodblocks engraved for "The Household Edition.". New York: Chapman and Hall, 1908. Copy in the Robarts Library, University of Toronto.
Schlicke, Paul, ed. "Christmas Stories." The Oxford Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999. Pp. 100-101.
Thomas, Deborah A. Dickens and The Short Story. Philadelphia: U. Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
Last modified 29 April 2014