Dickens's The Haunted Man, p. 63
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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Like all the plates that follow, except the concluding one, it occupies somewhat less than a full page, shares the page with the text. Leech had wanted a subject more congenial to his comedic tastes, and Dickens had proposed that he show this extended family of two adults, the infant Sally ("Moloch"), and the seven male children. As we turn the page, we come upon the scene with Mrs. Tetterby setting the table and the children gathered about in anticipation. Leech conveys an impression of congested space and close living conditions with the small fireplace, insufficient table, inadequate floor space, and room full of small children. This is not the cheery yuletide repast of the Cratchits -- the only food visible here is a small loaf. The placement of this plate is masterful since it occurs at precisely the moment that one finds Mrs. Tetterby setting the table. Despite the confined living conditions and constrained financial circumstances, the mantlepiece's ornaments have a humanizing influence.