She sits upon her stone, and takes no heed of him (p. 65). James Mahoney's eleventh illustration for Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, Household Edition, 1875. Wood engraving by the Dalziels, 10.5 cm high x 13.4 cm wide.

The second Chapman and Hall woodcut for chapter ten concerns the relationship between two confidence artists who have been so persuasive that they have deceived each other, each marrying the other for a fortune neither possesses. After their marriage, facilitated by the Veneerings, the couple are on honeymoon on the Isle of Wight. In "about a fortnight" after their wedding, the couple confront the unwelcome truth about the hollowness of a relationship based on a misapprehension of "property" as they walk along the Shanklin sands:

Finally, she sits down crying on a block of stone, and is in all the known and unknown humours of her sex at once. Pending her changes, those aforesaid marks in his face have come and gone, now here now there, like white stops of a pipe on which the diabolical performer has played a tune. Also, his livid lips are parted at last, as if he were breathless with running. Yet he is not.

"Now, get up, Mrs. Lammle, and let us speak reasonably."

She sits upon her stone, and takes no heed of him. [64]

Mahoney's treatment of the couple and setting of the scene most closely resemble that of Marcus Stone in "The Happy Pair", the second illustration for the July, 1864, number in the British serialisation. Whereas Sol Eytinge in the Harper's New Monthly Magazine sequence chose to depict the conspiring couple after their honeymoon, and clearly revealed their facial expressions in "Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Lammle", James Mahoney has elected to avoid such clarity, leaving the construction of their facial expressions up to the viewer. While Mahoney achieves a certain verisimilitude in the rocky cliffs in the background, his focus is clearly the postures of the Lammles; on the other hand, although Marcus Stone has created an admirable seascape, with the Channel breakers and shipping in the backdrop convincingly rendered, his disaffected couple are not particularly interesting. The moment Stone realizes is somewhat earlier, for Sophronia is still holding her parasol; Mahoney has chosen the moment when she gives into despair and self-pity.

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. Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Illustrated Household Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Field; Lee & Shepard; New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1870.

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. Il. Marcus Stone. Volume 14 of the Authentic Edition. London: Chapman and Hall; New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1901.

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 20 December 2010