The Young Man of the Name of Guppy by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne) for Bleak House, p. 283 (ch. 29, "The Young Man"). 4 x 5 3/16 inches. For text illustrated, see below. Image scan and text by George P. Landow. [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.]

Commentary

In this plate Phiz provides us with an idea of the resemblance between Esther Summerson and Lady Dedlock — a resemblance Guppy noticed when he saw the noblewoman's portrait during a tour of Chesney Wold. One should also note that a visitor looking at portraits in a great country house when the famiy is not in residence has an important literary precedent in Austen's Pride and Prejudice, where such a visit also moves the plot along by leading to a new understanding of a chief member of the family.

Text Illustrated

Sir Leicester is reading with infinite gravity and state when the door opens, and the Mercury in powder makes this strange announcement, "The young man, my Lady, of the name of Guppy."

Sir Leicester pauses, stares, repeats in a killing voice, "The young man of the name of Guppy?"

Looking round, he beholds The Young Man of the Name of Guppy, much discomfited and not presenting a very impressive letter of introduction in his manner and appearance.

"Pray," says Sir Leicester to Mercury, "what do you mean by announcing with this abruptness a young man of the name of Guppy?"

"I beg your pardon, Sir Leicester, but my Lady said she would see the young man whenever he called. I was not aware that you were here, Sir Leicester."

With this apology, Mercury directs a scornful and indignant look at The Young Man of the Name of Guppy which plainly says, "What do you come calling here for and getting ME into a row?"

"It's quite right. I gave him those directions," says my Lady. "Let the young man wait."

"By no means, my Lady. Since he has your orders to come, I will not interrupt you." Sir Leicester in his gallantry retires, rather declining to accept a bow from the young man as he goes out and majestically supposing him to be some shoemaker of intrusive appearance. [Project Gutenberg etext (see bibliography below)]

References

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. London: Bradbury & Evans. Bouverie Street, 1853.

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Project Gutenberg etext prepared by Donald Lainson, Toronto, Canada (charlie@idirect.com), with revision and corrections by Thomas Berger and Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D. Seen 9 November 2007.


Victorian Web Overview Victorian Book Illustration Charles Dickens Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)

Last modified 12 November 2007