Tetterby Taking Down the Shutters
12 x 6.5 cm, exclusive of frame
Dickens's The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time, The Pears' Centenary Edition, vol.5, page 126.
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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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The Tetterbys were up, and doing. Mr. Tetterby took down the shutters of the shop, and, strip by strip, revealed the treasures of the window to the eyes, so proof against their seductions, of Jerusalem Buildings. Adolphus had been out so long already, that he was halfway on to "Morning Pepper." Five small Tetterbys, whose ten round eyes were much inflamed by soap and friction, were in the tortures of a cool wash in the back kitchen; Mrs. Tetterby presiding. [Chapter Three: "The Gift Reversed," p. 125]
The caption immediately below the illustration points directly towards the moment realised: "And, strip by strip, revealed the treasures of the window" (p. 126, adapted from the bottom of p. 125). The bare caption does not reveal, however, the full situation, namely that, in contrast to Mr. Tetterbys' calmly putting up the shutters of his newsagent's shop in the morning, Johnny is staggering about in the street behind his father under the weight of his baby sister and her wrappings. Whereas Leech depicts this initial situation with cartoon-like humour and some detail, showing the shop front and Johnny both, as well as Mr. Tetterby, Harry Furniss's The Tetterbys' Baby, depicts the child abuse that results from Mrs. Tetterby's loss of compassionand tender memories as a consequence of exposure to Redlaw's Phantom. Thus, as a realist Charles Green has opted for a prosaic scene which is neither, in the Leech manner, amusing, nor, in the Furniss manner, dramatic. Green's treatment accurately conveys the newspapers pasted into the panes of the shop window, showing once again a tranquil surface that is about to be disrupted by the baleful influence of the doppelganger.
Relevant Illustrations from the 1848 and 1910 Editions
Left: John Leech's cartoon-like study of Augustus Tetterby, Johnny, and "Moloch" in the street, Johnny and Moloch (1848). Right: Harry Furniss's realisation of Mrs. Tetterby's harsh treatment of Johnny, The Tetterbys' Baby (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.
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 7 September 2015