Here you are again,

"Here you are again," repeated Mr. Wegg, musing. "And what are you now?" (p. 24)." James Mahoney's sixth Illustration for Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, Household Edition, 1875. Wood engraving by the Dalziels, 10.5 cm high x 13.4 cm wide.

In chapter 5, "Boffin's Bower," the dour, one-legged street vendor of gingerbread, Silas Wegg, talks to himself about the presence of Mr. Boffin in vicinity of Cavendish Square. To construct an image of these distinctive characers, Mahoney has consulted two separated passages in the chapter:

Every morning, at eight o'clock, he [Wegg} stumped to the corner, carrying a chair, a clothes-horse, a pair of trestles, a board, a basket, and an umbrella, all strapped together. Separating these, the board and trestles became a counter; the basket supplied the few small lots of fruit and sweets that he offered for sale upon it, and became a foot-warmer; the unfolded clothes-horse displayed a choice collection of halfpenny ballads, and became a screen; and the stool planted within it became his post for the rest of the day. [22]

With a proprietary interest in any strangers, as if he were the Cavendish Square Beadle, Wegg appraises the peculiarly dressed walker:

The words referred to a broad, round-shouldered, one-sided old fellow in mourning, coming comically ambling towards the corner, dressed in a pea over-coat, and carrying a large stick. He wore thick shoes, and thick leather gaitoers, and thick gloves like a hedger's. [24]

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.]

Bibliography

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. Il. James Mahoney. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall; New York, Harper Brothers, 1875.


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Last modified 11 December 2010