Martin meets Tigg at the Pawnbroker's.
14.5cm highby 10cm wide vignetted
Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, Vol. 7 of Charles Dickens Library Edition, situated in Chapter 13, "Showing What Became of Martin and His Desperate Resolve, After He Left Mr. Pecksniff's House; What Persons He Encountered; What Anxieties He Suffered; and What News He Heard," facing p. 225.
[Click on image to enlarge it.]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
[You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
He passed more Golden Balls than all the jugglers in Europe have juggled with, in the course of their united performances, before he could determine in favour of any particular shop where those symbols were displayed. In the end he came back to one of the first he had seen, and entering by a side-door in a court, where the three balls, with the legend "Money Lent,"were repeated in a ghastly transparency, passed into one of a series of little closets, or private boxes, erected for the accommodation of the more bashful and uninitiated customers. He bolted himself in; pulled out his watch; and laid it on the counter.
"Upon my life and soul!"said a low voice in the next box to the shopman who was in treaty with him, "you must make it more; you must make it a trifle more, you must indeed! You must dispense with one half-quarter of an ounce in weighing out your pound of flesh, my best of friends, and make it two-and-six."
Martin drew back involuntarily, for he knew the voice at once.
You're always full of your chaff,' said the shopman, rolling up the article (which looked like a shirt) quite as a matter of course, and nibbing his pen upon the counter. [. . ..]
"You may put down what you please, my friend," quoth Mr Tigg. "The fact is still the same. The apartments for the under-butler and the fifth footman being of a most confounded low and vulgar kind at thirty-eight, Mayfair, I have been compelled, in my regard for the feelings which do them so much honour, to take on lease for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years, renewable at the option of the tenant, the elegant and commodious family mansion, number fifteen-hundred-and-forty-two Park Lane. Make it two-and-six, and come and see me!"
The shopman was so highly entertained by this piece of humour that Mr. Tigg himself could not repress some little show of exultation. It vented itself, in part, in a desire to see how the occupant of the next box received his pleasantry; to ascertain which he glanced round the partition, and immediately, by the gaslight, recognized Martin.
"I wish I may die,"said Mr.Tigg, stretching out his body so far that his head was as much in Martin's little cell as Martin's own head was, "but this is one of the most tremendous meetings in Ancient or Modern History! How are you? What is the news from the agricultural districts? How are our friends the P.'s? Ha, ha! David, pay particular attention to this gentleman immediately, as a friend of mine, I beg."
"Here! Please to give me the most you can for this,"said Martin, handing the watch to the shopman. "I want money sorely." [. . . .]
"I can lend you three pounds on this, if you like,"said the shopman to Martin, confidentially. "It is very old-fashioned. I couldn't say more."
"And devilish handsome, too," cried Mr. Tigg. "Two-twelve-six for the watch, and seven-and-six for personal regard. I am gratified; it may be weakness, but I am. Three pounds will do. We take it. The name of my friend is Smivey: Chicken Smivey, of Holborn, twenty-six-and-a-half B: lodger."Here he winked at Martin again, to apprise him that all the forms and ceremonies prescribed by law were now complied with, and nothing remained but the receipt for the money.
In point of fact, this proved to be the case, for Martin, who had no resource but to take what was offered him, signified his acquiescence by a nod of his head, and presently came out with the cash in his pocket. He was joined in the entry by Mr. Tigg, who warmly congratulated him, as he took his arm and accompanied him into the street, on the successful issue of the negotiation.— Chapter 13, "Showing What Became of Martin and His Desperate Resolve, After He Left Mr. Pecksniff's House; What Persons He Encountered; What Anxieties He Suffered; and What News He Heard," facing p. 232.
Commentary: Coincidental Meeting at Uncle's
Even on his way to America, Dickensian coincidence plays a role in Martin's life as he encounters the decommissioned, disgraced officer Montague Tigg with his characteristic swagger and humorous bombast, who will shortly reinvent himself as the financier Tigg Montague. The node of all orbits for the indigent and desperate is the sign of the three balls, the pawnbroker's in London, an interior scene realistically described in the June 1843 steel-engraving Martin Meets an Acquaintance at the House of a Mutual Relation (Chapter 13). In the Household Edition, however, Fred Barnard dramatizes the conclusion of the dialogue outside the pawnbroker's shop, after the completion of their respective transactions. The shop itself (especially in Phiz's version) and the manner in which negotiations are conducted in the cubicles recalls the shabby-genteel world of Sketches by Boz, Dickens's breakout work, a collection of essays, observations, and short stories about life in London's lower-middle class neighbourhoods. We have met Tigg before, of course, with his characteristic military swagger, his catch-phrase "upon my soul," and a pleading, persuasive manner reminiscent of that of Wilkins Micawber in David Copperfield:
They were both very busy on the afternoon succeeding the family's departure — Martin with the grammar–school, and Tom in balancing certain receipts of rents, and deducting Mr. Pecksniff's commission from the same; in which abstruse employment he was much distracted by a habit his new friend had of whistling aloud while he was drawing — when they were not a little startled by the unexpected obtrusion into that sanctuary of genius, of a human head which, although a shaggy and somewhat alarming head in appearance, smiled affably upon them from the doorway, in a manner that was at once waggish, conciliatory, and expressive of approbation.
"I am not industrious myself, gents both," said the head, "but I know how to appreciate that quality in others. I wish I may turn grey and ugly, if it isn't in my opinion, next to genius, one of the very charmingest qualities of the human mind. Upon my soul, I am grateful to my friend Pecksniff for helping me to the contemplation of such a delicious picture as you present. You remind me of Whittington, afterwards thrice Lord Mayor of London. I give you my unsullied word of honour, that you very strongly remind me of that historical character. You are a pair of Whittingtons, gents, without the cat; which is a most agreeable and blessed exception to me, for I am not attached to the feline species. My name is Tigg; how do you do?" — Chapter 7, "In Which Mr. Chevy Slyme Asserts the Independence of his Spirit, and The Blue Dragon Loses a Limb," p. 106.
Furniss's version of the slinky vagabond and cadger is decidedly more slender and angular than previous iterations, but here are the same frogged military jacket, Satanic moustache and goatee, eye-glass and top-hat. Martin recoils within his respectable greatcoat about even being seen in a pawnbroker's. Behind the figures is a corpulent, middle-aged woman of masculine visage (Furniss's invention — since she is holding a gigantic hatbox, this might well be our first glimpse of Mrs. Gamp) about to enter one of the cubicles. In fact, he is fortunate in having an expert to guide him through this particular maze of Vanity Fair. Phiz's more dynamic view of the pawnbroker's shows us the business side of the operation as two different shopmen deal with Tigg and Martin simultaneously, whereas Furniss leaves the business end in obscurity and focuses on the two contrasting customers.
Relevant Illustrations, 1843-1872
Left: Hablot Knight Browne's Martin Meets an Acquaintance at the House of a Mutual Relation (Chapter 13, June 1843). Centre: Felix Octavius Carr Darley's volume one frontispiece showing the initial meeting of two different frauds, Pecksniff and "a perfectly strange gentleman of still stranger appearance," And was straightway led downstairs (1863). Right: Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s Montague Tigg and Chevy Slyme (1867). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Above: Fred Barnard's realisation of the accidental meeting at the pawnbroker's, Stuck his hands in his skirt-pocket and swaggered round the corner (1872). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Above: Fred Barnard's realisation of the Tigg's popping by Pecksniff's office earlier, "You're a pair of Whittingtons, gents, without the cat; . . . . My name is Tigg; how do you do?"(1872). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.
Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.
Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1844.
Dickens, Charles. Martin Chuzzlewit. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1863. Vols. 1 to 4.
Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1872. Vol. 2.
Dickens, Charles. Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 7.
Guerard, Albert J. "Martin Chuzzlewit: The Novel as Comic Entertainment." The Triumph of the Novel: Dickens, Dostoevsky, Faulkner. Chicago & London: U. Chicago P., 1976. Pp. 235-260.
Hammerton, J. A. "Chapter 19: Little Dorrit." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 17. Pp. 398-427.
Kyd [Clayton J. Clarke]. Characters from Dickens. Nottingham: John Player & Sons, 1910.
"Martin Chuzzlewit — Fifty-nine Illustrations by Fred Barnard." Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, Being Eight Hundred and Sixty-six Drawings by Fred Barnard, Gordon Thomson, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), J. McL. Ralston, J. Mahoney, H. French, Charles Green, E. G. Dalziel, A. B. Frost, F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1907.
Steig, Michael. Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington and London: Indiana U. P., 1978.
_____. "Martin Chuzzlewit's Progress by Dickens and Phiz." Dickens Studies Annual 2 (1972): 119-149.
Vann, J. Don. Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: Modern Language Association, 1985.
Last modified 24January 2016