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Dickens's The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time, The Pears' Centenary Edition, vol. 5, page 67.
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Master Adolphus was also in the newspaper line of life, being employed, by a more thriving firm than his father and Co., to vend newspapers at a railway station, where his chubby little person, like a shabbily-disguised Cupid, and his shrill little voice (he was not much more than ten years old), were as well known as the hoarse panting of the locomotives, running in and out. His juvenility might have been at some loss for a harmless outlet, in this early application to traffic, but for a fortunate discovery he made of a means of entertaining himself, and of dividing the long day into stages of interest, without neglecting business. This ingenious invention, remarkable, like many great discoveries, for its simplicity, consisted in varying the first vowel in the word "paper," and substituting, in its stead, at different periods of the day, all the other vowels in grammatical succession. Thus, before daylight in the winter-time, he went to and fro, in his little oilskin cap and cape, and his big comforter, piercing the heavy air with his cry of "Morn-ing Pa-per!" which, about an hour before noon, changed to "Morn-ing Pepper!" which, at about two, changed to "Morn-ing Pip-per!" which in a couple of hours changed to "Morn-ing Pop-per!" and so declined with the sun into "Eve-ning Pup-per!" to the great relief and comfort of this young gentleman’s spirits. ["Chapter Two: The Gift Diffused," p. 67, 1912 Pears edition]
The caption immediately below the illustration points directly towards the moment realised: "In his little oilskin cap and cape, and his big comforter, piercing the heavy air with his cry of 'Morn-ing Pa-per!'" (65). Although Dickens and Green offer this cameo of the newspaperboy, none of the other series provides such a closeup — Adolphus is just another one of the numerous Tetterby brood. Green's well accoutered newsboy in an oilskin cape is a far cry from his ragamuffin New York counterpart who cries his wares on the deck of the "Screw" as its passengers prepare to disembark in the city's harbour in Fred Barnard's "It is in such enlightened means," said a voice, almost in Martin's ear, "That the bubbling passions of my country find a vent" in the Household Edition of Martin Chuzzlewit, Chapter XV. However, the London newsboy is suitably dressed for a cold day in December. Barnard's picture, published in 1872, likely reflects what a British newspaperboy would be wearing in the warmer months, whereas Green's probably reflects direct observation of what such a boy would wear in the winter. "Newsies" as they were called could indeed be younger than twelve or thirteen, and did indeed develop penetrating calls for their products, holding aloft the top fold to showcase the headlines. Green's picture would have had added interest had he chosen to depict Adolphus actively flogging his papers in the cold December street immediately outside a railway station in the metropolis.
Typically, a newsie would have a bundle of papers under one arm, leaving the other hand free to take customers' change. Adolphus does indeed have a slender bundle of broadsheets under his arm; beside him is a large handbell which Green implies the boy uses to augment his various cries of "Paper!" and "Morning Paper!" and "Evening Paper!" (presumably different editions of the same newspaper). That Green shows the boy in trousers rather than plus-fours suggests that the portrait is of a contemporary newsboy rather than a "newsie" of the 1840s. By the end of the decade demand for daily papers had risen substantially, so that, for example, the London Times daily production was just 18,500 in 1840, 23,000 in 1844, but 40,000 by 1851, demand driven in part by increased numbers of people travelling by rail as the system expanded. According to Lowell T. Frye, in the early 1850s the total circulation of London newspapers was only about 60,000, the Times accounting for lion's share: "by 1855 its circulation exceeded 50,000, more than four times that of its major competitors combined" (805). Although Mr. Tetterby as a licensed newsagent would have also sold The Morning Chronicle, The Evening Chronicle, possibly The Star, and such weeklies as The Illustrated London News (The Daily Telegraph did not commence publication until 1855), almost certainly Adolphus is hawking The Times in its various editions. One can imagine that Dickens's first-hand knowledge of the newspaper business is reflected in this portrait of a newspaper vendor as in 1846, January through March, the author was editor of the Daily News, a popular vehicle for Liberal ideas and political commentary.
Relevant Illustrations from the 1848 novella and the 1872 Household Edition volume
Left: John Leech's depiction of the oldest son as the baby-minder, The Tetterbys. Right: Leech's presentation of the Tetterby newspaper business, Johnny and Moloch (1876). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Fred Barnard's large-scale depiction of a newsboy flogging his wares aboard ship, the entire family, "It is in such enlightened means," said a voice, almost in Martin's ear, "That the bubbling passions of my country find a vent" in the 1872 Household Edition of Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44).[Click on the image to enlarge it.]
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.
Frye, Lowell T. "Times, The." The Victorian Encyclopedia. Ed. Sally Mitchell. New York and London: Garland, 1988. Pp. 805-806.
Last modified 8 July 2015