Mr. Redlaw, Philip, William, and Mrs. William by Charles Green. 1912. 7.6 x 10.5 cm, exclusive of frame. Dickens's The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time, Pears Centenary Edition, in which the plates often have captions that are different from the short titles given at the beginning of the volume in the "List of Illustrations" (p. 15-16). For example, the series editor, Clement Shorter, has included a quotation as a caption underneath the half-page lithograph of Redlaw's dialogue with Philip Swidger in his laboratory: "'It recalls the time when manyof those years ere old and new, then?' he said, observing him attentively, and touching him on the shoulder" (p. 33, from p. 32), to underscore the extraordinary nature of Philip Swidger's memory in an environment hardly conducive to old-fashioned sentiment. Although in many of his thirty-one illustrations Green is responding to and often absorbing both the original wood-engravings of the 1848 scarlet volume and the 1878 British, green-cloth Household Edition engravings by Fred Barnard, in this particular illustration he goes beyond all previous series, including that in the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition's anthology of Christmas Books by Harry Furniss. Here Green extends Dickens's text, elaborating on the scene which juxtaposes the scientific backdrop of the detached protagonist and the familial conviviality of his servants. The binary opposites here include not only family versus individual, working versus upper-middle-class, but also traditional knowledge (six shelves of books) versus the new, experimental knowledge of modern science as exemplified by the burners, glass jars, and tubing.

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.

Passage Realised

The Chemist pushed his plate away, and, rising from the table, walked across the room to where the old man stood looking at a little sprig of holly in his hand.

"It recalls the time when many of those years were old and new, then?" he said, observing him attentively, and touching him on the shoulder. "Does it?"

"Oh many, many!" said Philip, half awaking from his reverie. "I'm eighty-seven!" ["Chapter One: The Gift Bestowed," p. 32, 1912 Pears edition]

Commentary

Whereas American Household Edition illustrator depicts a similar grouping in "I'm eighty-seven!" (1876), and Fred Barnard in the Chapman and Hall Household Edition tightens his focus on Philip Swidger and Professor Redlaw in "Merry and happy, was it?" asked the Chemist in a low voice. "Merry and happy, old man?", Harry Furniss in the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition does not realise the scene at all. And whereas the illustrators of the Household Edition only generalise the backdrop and focus on the figures of Redlaw and Philip Swidger, ignoring the chemical apparatus, Green depicts both the shelves of books (left) and the test tubes and experimental equipment of his earlier plate, Mr. Redlaw in his Laboratory, as if to emphasize Redlaw's unsentimental nature.

Relevant Illustrations from the 1848 and Household Editions

Left: Frank Stone's study of old Philip Swidger and his daughter-in-law, Milly and the Old Man Centre: E. A. Abbey's study in contrasts, the gloomy Redlaw and the comic servants, "I'm eighty-seven!" (1876). Right: Fred Barnard's grouping of Milly, William (looking on knowingly), Philip, and a more sympathetic Redlaw, "Merry and happy, was it?" asked the Chemist in a low voice. "Merry and happy, old man?" (1878). [Click on images to enlarge them.]

References

Cohen, Jane Rabb. "The Illustrators of the Christmas Books, John Leech." Charles Dickens and His original Illustrators. Columbus: University of Ohio Press, 1981. Pp. 141-151.

Dickens, Charles. The Haunted Man; or, The Ghost's Bargain. Illustrated by John Leech, Frank Stone, John Tenniel, and Clarkson Stanfield. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.

___. The Haunted Man. Illustrated by John Leech, Frank Stone, John Tenniel, and Clarkson Stanfield. (1848). Rpt. in Charles Dickens's Christmas Books, ed. Michael Slater. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971, rpt. 1978. Vol. 2, p. 235-362, 365-366.

___. The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time. Illustrated by Charles Green, R. I. London: A & F Pears, 1912.

___. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

___. Christmas Books, illustrated by Fred Barnard. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.

___. Christmas Books, illustrated by A. A. Dixon. London & Glasgow: Collins' Clear-Type Press, 1906.

___. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910.

___. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.

___. The Haunted Man. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Felix Octavius Carr Darley. The Household Edition. New York: James G. Gregory, 1861. Vol. 2, 155-300.


Last modified 29 June 2015