"Meeting of the Brick Lane Branch of U. G. J. E. T. A.," the tenth full-page illustration by Sol Eytinge, Jr. 7.4 cm high by 9.9 cm wide. The Diamond Edition of Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867). 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.]

Perhaps owing to personal scepticism about the temperance movement in the United States in the Reconstruction Period — or perhaps simply out of the conviction that Dickens had provided an excellent opportunity for satire, Eytinge has elected to realise a textual moment rather than, as is the case with most of his illustrations, simply describe a pair of characters. The subject is once again the hypocritical Stiggins, whom Sam and Tony Weller contrive to unmask in front of the main Branch of the United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association in chapter 33, with the picture opposite the text realised (facing p. 274):

"My friends," said Mr. Humm, holding up his hand in a deprecatory manner, to bespeak the silence of such of the stout old ladies as were yet a line or two behind, — "my friends, a delegate from the Dorking Branch of our society, Brother Stiggins, attends below."

Out came the pocket-handkerchiefs again, in greater force than ever; for Mr. Stiggins was excessively popular among the female constituency of Brick Lane.

"He may approach, I think," said Mr. Humm, looking round him, with a fat smile. "Brother Tadger, let him come forth and greet us."

The little man in the drab shorts who answered to the name of Brother Tadger, bustled down the ladder with great speed, and was immediately afterwards heard tumbling up with the Reverend Mr. Stiggins.

"He's a-comin', Sammy," whispered Mr. Weller, purple in the countenance with suppressed laughter.

"Don't say nothin' to me," replied Sam, "for I can't bear it. He's close to the door. I hear him a-knockin' his head again the lath and plaster now."

As Sam Weller spoke, the little door flew open, and Brother Tadger appeared, closely followed by the Reverend Mr. Stiggins, who no sooner entered, than there was a great clapping of hands, and stamping of feet, and flourishing of handkerchiefs; to all of which manifestations of delight, Brother Stiggins returned no other acknowledgment than staring with a wild eye, and a fixed smile, at the extreme top of the wick of the candle on the table, swaying his body to and fro, meanwhile, in a very unsteady and uncertain manner.

"Are you unwell, Brother Stiggins?" whispered Mr. Anthony Humm.

"I am all right, Sir,' replied Mr. Stiggins, in a tone in which ferocity was blended with an extreme thickness of utterance, — "I am all right, sir."

"Oh, very well," rejoined Mr. Anthony Humm, retreating a few paces.

"I believe no man here has ventured to say that I am not all right, sir?" said Mr. Stiggins.

"Oh, certainly not," said Mr. Humm.

"I should advise him not to, sir, — I should advise him not," said Mr. Stiggins.

By this time the audience were perfectly silent, and waited with some anxiety for the resumption of business.

"Will you address the meeting, brother?" said Mr. Humm, with a smile of invitation.

"No, sir," rejoined Mr. Stiggins; "No, sir. I will not, sir."

The meeting looked at each other with raised eyelids; and a murmur of astonishment ran through the room.

"It's my opinion, sir," said Mr. Stiggins, unbuttoning his coat, and speaking very loudly, — "it's my opinion, sir, that this meeting is drunk, sir. Brother Tadger, sir!" said Mr. Stiggins, suddenly increasing in ferocity, and turning sharp round on the little man in the drab shorts, "you are drunk, sir!" [Chapter 33, pp. 274-275]

Although Eytinge has abbreviated the association's title, he has otherwise realised the text faithfully, with the skeletal Stiggins balancing himself by placing his left hand on the table, next to the candle (all the illumination the congregation can afford) as the Association's worthies — Mr. Anthony Humm (centre right) and Brother Tadger (up centre) and the rest of the congregation (largely female) watch. He does not include the Wellers since it is their perspective he gives us of the proceedings of the "Ebenezer," a term then denoting a working-class, Nonconformist congregation.

Other artists who illustrated this work

References

Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1988.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File and Checkmark Books, 1998.

Dickens, Charles. Pickwick Papers (1836-37). Il. Hablot Knight Browne. The Charles Dickens Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867.

Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Il. Sol Eytinge; engraved by A. V. S. Anthony. Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers (1836-37). Il. Hablot Knight Browne. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1873.

Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers (1836-37). Il. Thomas Nast. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Bros., 1873.

Guiliano, Edward, and Philip Collins, eds. The Annotated Dickens. Vol. 1. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1986.


Victorian Web Victorian Book
Illustration Charles Dickens Sol Eytinge Next

Last modified 20 February 2012