Haunted Man 1

Chapter Three: "The Gift Reversed"

John Tenniel

1848

Full-page illustration for Dickens's The Haunted Man. p. 135

In Tenniel's sixth and last plate, the feminine forces of light (which have been identified with Milly in the printed text) sweep upward from the horizon, gathering in numbers and intensity as the vaguely apprehended forces of the night (identified by the stars, upper right) retreat. Below, on a headland a lighthouse stands upon a rock (recalling Stanfield's "The Lighthouse," which Tenniel may have seen in the early proofs) above a small cove where the waves, such billowing breakers earlier, gently break. The plate promises an end to the storm, and implies that the Phantom's "gift" will be reversed, just as Redlaw prays it will at the close of Chapter Two. The enclosed text asserts that night is still in the ascendant, and the result of the contest between light and darkness is still "remote and doubtful" (136). This moment will not be realised in the print for a number of pages — "Soon, now, the distant line on the horizon brightened, the darkness faded" (Penguin 328) — as we move in the text to the exterior of the Tetterbys' shop, with its leafless, potted plant suggestive of anything but the optimistic mood that Plate 13 has established.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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