Tugby turns Meg away from her lodgings
14 x 11.1 cm. exclusive of frame
Dickens's The Chimes, The Pears' Centenary Edition, vol. 2, page 135.
[Click on image to enlarge it and mouse over text for links.]
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.].
It was night: a bleak, dark, cutting night: when, pressing the child close to her for warmth, she arrived outside the house she called her home. She was so faint and giddy, that she saw no one standing in the doorway until she was close upon it, and about to enter. Then, she recognised the master of the house, who had so disposed himself — with his person it was not difficult — as to fill up the whole entry.
"Oh!" he said softly. "You have come back?"
She looked at the child, and shook her head.
"Don't you think you have lived here long enough without paying any rent? Don't you think that, without any money, you've been a pretty constant customer at this shop, now?" said Mr. Tugby.
She repeated the same mute appeal.
"Suppose you try and deal somewhere else," he said. "And suppose you provide yourself with another lodging. Come! Don't you think you could manage it?"
She said in a low voice, that it was very late. To-morrow.
"Now I see what you want," said Tugby; "and what you mean. You know there are two parties in this house about you, and you delight in setting 'em by the ears. I don't want any quarrels; I'm speaking softly to avoid a quarrel; but if you don't go away, I'll speak out loud, and you shall cause words high enough to please you. But you shan't come in. That I am determined."
She put her hair back with her hand, and looked in a sudden manner at the sky, and the dark lowering distance.
"This is the last night of an Old Year, and I won't carry ill-blood and quarrellings and disturbances into a New One, to please you nor anybody else," said Tugby, who was quite a retail Friend and Father. "I wonder you an't ashamed of yourself, to carry such practices into a New Year. If you haven't any business in the world, but to be always giving way, and always making disturbances between man and wife, you'd be better out of it. Go along with you." ["Fourth Quarter," p. 134-136, 1912 edition]
Neither The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and a New Year In (1844) nor either of the Household Editions has no precise equivalent for this scene, when the callous Tugby, activated only by pecuniary concerns, prevents Meg from entering her lodgings above the grocery store, effectively condemning her to freeze outside or seek admission to a shelter. However, in the original volume, Richard Doyle's headpiece for "The Fourth Quarter," Margaret and her Child does prepare the reader for Margaret's suicide. The caption for Tugby turns Meg away from her lodgings, the stuff of working-class melodrama in the Hungry Forties, is a quotation drawn from the facing page: "'Suppose you try and deal somewhere else,' he said. 'And suppose you provide yourself with another lodging. Come! Don't you think you could manage it?'" The illustration emphasizes Meg's hopeless as she stands in the snow-covered street, confronting an implacable Tugby, whose crossed arms signify his determination not to permit her entry. Green emphasizes Meg's role as a mother, placing the infant just right of centre and throwing the adamantine landlord into the left margin. Green has clothed her respectably: she is no street-walker or vagrant, although, embarrassed by her situation and her failure to pay her rent, she looks away, rather than at Tugby directly. Behind her, closed up, is the window of the Tugbys' shop and a darkness which in linear perspective stretches out into the unfriendly night. Green has made this his last full-page illustration to make plain Meg's dilemma and underscore Tugby's inhumanity.
Illustrations from the first edition (1844), the British Household Edition (1878), and the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)
Left: Richard Doyle's scene of Meg's desperate final act, Margaret and Her Child. Right: Harry Furniss's study of Trotty's seeing his daughter and her fiance in a depressed state, Margaret and Richard. [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Above: Fred Barnard's 1878 wood-engraving of Lilian's return to Meg to ask her foregiveness, and melodramatically to die in her arms, "Never more, Meg; never more! Here! Here!" [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Dickens, Charles. The Chimes. Introduction by Clement Shorter. Illustrated by Charles Green. The Pears' Centenary Edition. London: A & F Pears, [?1912].
Dickens, Charles. The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and a New Year In. Illustrated by John Leech, Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield, and Daniel Maclise. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1844.
Dickens, Charles. The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and a New Year In. Illustrated by John Leech, Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield, and Daniel Maclise. (1844). Rpt. in Charles Dickens's Christmas Books, ed. Michael Slater. Hardmondsworth: Penguin, 1971, rpt. 1978. Pp. 137-252.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books. Illustrated byHarry 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.
Last modified 15 April 2015