The kitchen door opened, and in walked Mr. Job Trotter by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne). Household Edition (1874) of Dickens's Pickwick Papers, p. 177. Engraved by W.T.G. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

To illustrate the startled Job Trotter's suddenly encountering Mr. Pickwick's servant, Sam Weller, after deceiving him about his master, Alfred Jingle's intention to run away with a school-girl from Miss Tompkins' seminary, Phiz merely had to redraft his own 1836 illustration for Ch. 25. Thomas Nast, having also the 1836 model before him, elected to realise a slightly later moment in the same scene, when Muzzle and Weller begin to interrogate and berate the hapless Trotter. Nast's rendition is unusual for the illustrations in his series of fifty-two in that it contains a good deal more detail than his others, which usually focus on the figures: significantly, a gridiron hangs above Job's head (as he is being grilled from two different directions), and pots, pans, plate, and the kitchen cooking fire complete Nast's version of the scene. Even Phiz in his 1873 woodcut does not include more detail, although he has better realised the ladies and made Trotter less of a caricature.

Left: Job Trotter encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's kitchen. Right: Mr. Weller Attacks the Executive of Ipswich. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

The original illustration, "Job Trotter encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's kitchen" (December 1836), was oriented so that, counter to Regency stage convention, Job is entering from stage left. Phiz has sketched in the five figures heavily, using fainter etching to throw the kitchen background into less sharp relief, but including all the appurtenances of a servants' hall-cum-kitchen in a nineteenth-century country mansion, with a pot steaming over a roaring blaze (left), four liveried servants (Muzzle doing the honours at the board, Sam seated, the maid standing beside him, and Job Trotter, just entering from the garden), cooking implements (up right), plate on a sideboard, a grandfather clock (suggesting that it is just before noon), and hams and garlic cloves hanging from the ceiling. Steig's Dickens and Phiz notes the importance of emblematic details and juxtapositions in this second December 1836 illustration, and its connection to the previous illustration, when Sam Weller attempts to rescue Pickwick from the constables in "Mr. Weller Attacks the Executive of Ipswich", the first illustration for the December 1836 monthly number:

Sam's temporary victory in this plate is contrasted with his permanent one over Job Trotter in its companion, "Job Trotter encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's kitchen" (ch. 25). Sam and the pretty housemaid are noticed first, then the feasting cook, butler and the former pair are contrasted with Job — his head preposterously big, like certain comic-grotesque figures in Gillray and George Cruikshank — who is isolated from the group by the vertical line formed by the door's edge; Job is also farthest from the hearth. We find as well the third of several animal emblems in the book: a kitten attacks the remains of a meat pie, while its mother prepares to join in. This activity may be a reference to Jingle and Trotter and their attempt to carry off treasures from the Nupkins household, but while fragments of food have been left out for the cats, Job is excluded from the fellowship of the servants' kitchen. [31]

"Job Trotter encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's kitchen," (December 1836) is the basis for both chapter 25 woodcuts in the British and American Household Edition volumes of 1874: "The kitchen door opened, and in walked Mr. Job Trotter," Phiz's redrafted version of the twenty-second illustration in the monthly serial, and Nast's twenty-ninth 1874 American Household Edition illustration:

"Well, now," said Sam by Thomas Nast.

Having deduced that Jingle's latest scheme involves Henrietta, the daughter of Magistrate Nupkins, Sam leaves the serious business of unmasking Jingle to those "above stairs" and begins to make himself comfortable in Mr. Muzzle's kitchen, becoming quite a favourite with the cook and the serving-girl, Mary. Even as his master and the Pickwickians are confronting "Captain Fitz-Marshall" above stairs, quite by conicidence Job Trotter enters the kitchen, but apparently is so stunned by the sight that greets him that he does not make to escape. Sam prevents the hypocritical servant's from exiting, interrogates him, then takes him upstairs to join his master for Nupkins's judgment.

In this eleventh redrafted illustration from the original series (Phiz having revised thirty of the original forty-three 1836-37 engravings as woodcuts for the 1874 Chapman and Hall Household Edition of the novel) "The kitchen door opened, and in walked Mr. Job Trotter," Alfred Jingle's devious servant in mulberry livery, Job Trotter, suddenly finds himself trapped in Muzzle's kitchen by an irate butler and a very knowing Sam Weller. Phiz has corrected his earlier engraving by reversing the scene: Job enters stage right (the viewer's left), the cook is seated in the middle of the scene rather than to one side, and Sam and Mary are to the extreme right (i. e. stage left), far removed from the kitchen door. The problem that Dickens would have detected right away, had he been available for consultation, is that Sam is now too far away from Job to collar him, drag him into the kitchen, and lock the door. In redrafting the 1836 engraving Phiz has also eliminated the roaring fire, the utensils (both presumably off right), and even the cats (replaced by vegetables in a basket and a pot, down right), which Steig feels had symbolic significance. Further, the clock has moved several feet to the left, and now reads (more probably) 12:40 P. M. instead of 11:50 A. M. Although the cook now smiles at Trotter, Muzzle (formerly smiling at Sam and Mary) now scowls at the visitor, whose body language no longer betokens shocked recognition so much as doubt at the reception he will receive since Sam Weller has probably shed considerable light on the "mulberry man's" shady character.

Scenes Realised by the Household Edition illustrations

In the midst of all this jollity and conviviality, a loud ring was heard at the garden gate, to which the young gentleman who took his meals in the wash-house, immediately responded. Mr. Weller was in the height of his attentions to the pretty house-maid; Mr. Muzzle was busy doing the honours of the table; and the cook had just paused to laugh, in the very act of raising a huge morsel to her lips; when the kitchen door opened, and in walked Mr. Job Trotter.

We have said in walked Mr. Job Trotter, but the statement is not distinguished by our usual scrupulous adherence to fact. The door opened and Mr. Trotter appeared. He would have walked in, and was in the very act of doing so, indeed, when catching sight of Mr. Weller, he involuntarily shrank back a pace or two, and stood gazing on the unexpected scene before him, perfectly motionless with amazement and terror.

"Here he is!" said Sam, rising with great glee. "Why we were that wery moment a-speaking o' you. How are you? Where have you been? Come in."

Laying his hand on the mulberry collar of the unresisting Job, Mr. Weller dragged him into the kitchen; and, locking the door, handed the key to Mr. Muzzle, who very coolly buttoned it up in a side pocket.

"Well, here's a game!" cried Sam. "Only think o' my master havin' the pleasure o' meeting yourn upstairs, and me havin' the joy o' meetin' you down here. How are you gettin' on, and how is the chandlery bis'ness likely to do? Well, I am so glad to see you. How happy you look. It's quite a treat to see you; ain't it, Mr. Muzzle?"

"Quite," said Mr. Muzzle.

"So cheerful he is!" said Sam.

"In such good spirits!" said Muzzle. "And so glad to see us — that makes it so much more comfortable," said Sam. "Sit down; sit down."

Mr. Trotter suffered himself to be forced into a chair by the fireside. He cast his small eyes, first on Mr. Weller, and then on Mr. Muzzle, but said nothing.

"Well, now," said Sam, "afore these here ladies, I should jest like to ask you, as a sort of curiosity, whether you don't consider yourself as nice and well-behaved a young gen'l'm'n, as ever used a pink check pocket-handkerchief, and the number four collection?"

"And as was ever a-going to be married to a cook," said that lady indignantly. 'The willin!"

"And leave off his evil ways, and set up in the chandlery line arterwards," said the housemaid. [Chapter 25; p. 175 in the Chapman & Hall Household Edition; p. 152-153 in the Harper & Bros. Household Edition]

Nast in choosing a later moment in the same scene does not have to indicate the precise location of door or realise the flirtatious relationship between Sam and Mary; rather, he makes the three males — Muzzle (left of centre), Job (centre, seated) and Sam (right) — the focus of his composition. In particular, Nast seems to have been engaged by the opportunity to draw three liveried servants, demonstrating his ability to draw uniforms with wide lapels and cuffs, buff waistcoats, smalls and stockings (leggings for Sam, as befits the servant of a traveller). Nast shows a shag-haired Job Trotter (with a strangely distorted visage and resigned posture) both glum and cornered, Muzzle as indignant, and Sam enjoying his role as examiner.

Despite some advances in realistic three-dimensionalism in the Household Edition woodcuts, the subtleties of the 1836 illustration, the carefully realised details, and the delicacy of its figures and furnishings render it superior.

Related Material

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. Formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

References

Dickens, Charles. Pickwick Papers. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874; New York: Harpers, 1874.


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Last modified 7 April 2012