Oh, Tom! Tell Me the Truth!

"Oh, Tom! Tell Me the Truth!" by Charles S. Reinhart. 1870. 13.2 cm wide by 10.3 cm high (horizontally mounted, with text above and below on a page 24 cm high by 16.2 cm wide). This plate illustrates Book Two, Chapter Eight, "Explosion," in Charles Dickens's Hard Times, which appeared in American Household Edition, 1870. Page 190.

Commentary by Philip V. Allingham

Louisa, in the posture of the fallen woman from melodrama, pleads with Tom (whom she gives a knowing look) to tell her the truth about the bank robbery. The time, as the blackness of the sky with just a hint of light on the horizon, is the wee hours of the morning; as the text below comments, "It was too dark for either to see the other's face" (190), but we, God-like viewers and readers, can see Louisa's reasonably well. Hair down and dressed (apparently) in a nightgown and "loose robe" (189), she is keeling beside the bed, almost in prayer, her hands clutching Tom's right hand, rather than, as in the text, disposing her arms about his neck, "his face to hers." Thus, Reinhart has censored slightly the text he is illustrating, shying away from depicting the intensity of Louisa's love for her brother. On the other hand, her dressing gown is anything but "loose" around the bodice.

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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Last modified 22 September 2002