Trotty's Delight on Waking up
7.3 x 5 cm. vignetted
Dickens's The Chimes, The Pears' Centenary Edition, vol. 2, page 141.
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You never in all your life saw anything like Trotty after this. I don't care where you have lived or what you have seen; you never in all your life saw anything at all approaching him! He sat down in his chair and beat his knees and cried; he sat down in his chair and beat his knees and laughed; he sat down in his chair and beat his knees and laughed and cried together; he got out of his chair and hugged Meg; he got out of his chair and hugged Richard; he got out of his chair and hugged them both at once; he kept running up to Meg, and squeezing her fresh face between his hands and kissing it, going from her backwards not to lose sight of it, and running up again like a figure in a magic lantern; and whatever he did, he was constantly sitting himself down in his chair, and never stopping in it for one single moment; being — that's the truth — beside himself with joy.
["Fourth Quarter," p. 141, 1912 edition]
No other version of The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and a New Year In (1844) has the precise equivalent for this scene. However, John Leech's final illustration, The New Year's Dance, does show Trotty thoroughly enjoying his daughter's wedding dance, made doubly sweet by his knowledge of what very different future might have attended her. And Harry Furniss's final illustration of Trotty's dreaming a thoroughly happy ending, Trotty's Dream, likewise contains the drummer, the dancing Lilian, and Mrs. Chickenstalker dancing with Toby Veck, the community dance signifying the restoration of harmony and the community's celebration of fertility, Dickens's defiance of the Malthusian principle of prolonged abstinence ("moral restraint") as a means of checking the rampant growth of the proletarian population.
Thus, Trotty's Malthusian dream has made Dickens's argument against the contention of Malthus and the Benthamites that the only hope for humanity against the cataclysmic rise in population that was inevitable was delayed procreation amongst the masses — otherwise, humanity would increase exponentially, its sources of sustenance only arithmetically (the thesis of the Reverend Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798), in the second edition of which (1803) he posited the solution of delaying marriages as long as possible among the lower orders.
Illustrations from the first edition (1844) and the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)
Left: John Leech's scene of Meg's wedding celebration, The New Year's Dance. Right: Harry Furniss's study of Trotty's dreaming of his daughter, her fiance, and himself in happier circumstances, Trotty's Dream. [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 16 April 2015