E. G. Dalziel
Framed, 13.8 x 9.1 cm
Facing page 88, in The Illustrated Library Edition of Dickens's Works, Christmas Stories, vol. 2.
The 1865 Christmas framed tale Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions contained the introduction and conclusion by Dickens himself, as well as one of the inset stories, "To Be Taken with a Grain of Salt" (since reprinted in Two Ghost Stories as "The Trial for Murder" — and further extraneous material by his staff-writers at All the Year Round as the stories that her adoptive father writes for the deaf-and-dumb child. Thus, the story as it originally appeared on 12 December 1865 was a collaborative effort by his staffers. [Commentary continued below.]
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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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Sophy's books so brought Sophy's self, that I saw her touching face quite plainly, before I dropped off dozing by the fire. This may be a reason why Sophy, with her deaf-and-dumb child in her arms, seemed to stand silent by me all through my nap. I was on the road, off the road, in all sorts of places, North and South and West and East, Winds liked best and winds liked least, Here and there and gone astray, Over the hills and far away, and still she stood silent by me, with her silent child in her arms. Even when I woke with a start, she seemed to vanish, as if she had stood by me in that very place only a single instant before.
I had started at a real sound, and the sound was on the steps of the cart. It was the light hurried tread of a child, coming clambering up. That tread of a child had once been so familiar to me, that for half a moment I believed I was a-going to see a little ghost.
But the touch of a real child was laid upon the outer handle of the door, and the handle turned, and the door opened a little way, and a real child peeped in. A bright little comely girl with large dark eyes.
Looking full at me, the tiny creature took off her mite of a straw hat, and a quantity of dark curls fell about her face. Then she opened her lips, and said in a pretty voice,
"Ah, my God!" I cries out. "She can speak!"
"Yes, dear grandfather. And I am to ask you whether therew was ever any one that I remind you of?
In a moment Sophy was round my neck, as well as the child . . . .[pages 125-126]
The staff-writers who produced five of Doctor Marigold's "prescriptions" are among the least known writers associated with Dickens and his weekly journals. Irish writer Rosa Mulholland (1841-1921) contributed "Not To Be Taken at Bed-Time"; Dickens's son-in-law, the painter and writer Charles Allston Collins, "To Be Taken at the Dinner-Table"; children's writer Hesba Stretton (the pen name of Sarah Smith, 1832-1911), "Not To Be Taken Lightly"; novelist and journalist Walter Thornbury (1828-1876), "To Be Taken in Water"; and Mrs. Gascoyne (probably novelist Caroline Leigh Smith, 1813-1883), "To Be Taken and Tried." Only the three chapters that Dickens contributed appear in the 1868 Illustrated Library Edition, the British and American Household Editions of the 1870s, and the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition.
The Illustrated Library Edition "anthologized" version of the 1865 novella contained Edward Dalziel's Doctor Marigold. The 1876 American Household Edition of Christmas Stories contained E. A. Abbey's sixties style illustrations for The Christmas Books and plates for a few of the periodical stories, including the charming realisation of the visit by Sophy's daughter, "Grandfather!" . Edward Dalziel was Chapman and Hall's choice of illustrator for its own Household Edition volume the following year; his execution of the illustration And at last, sitting dozing against a muddy cart-wheel, I come upon the poor girl who was deaf and dumb for this chapter, although hardly as dynamic as Furniss's dark plate, does at least (if somewhat unemotionally and statically) explore the physical dimensions of cheap jack and the child, and effectively presents the wagon.
Dalziel's illustration entitled Doctor Marigold in the 1868 Illustrated Library Edition realizes the moment at which protagonist first meets the deaf-and-child who replaces his own child, victim of repeated beatings at the hand of his demented wife, whereas E. A. Abbey's realizes the touching passage in which Dickens describes through the persona of the cheap jack the return from China of Sophy as a wife and mother and her daughter. Since the illustration is positioned well in advance of the actual moment realised, Dalziel has been careful not to spoil the suspense by revealing that the child can hear, or that the moment is one of unalloyed celebration, as is evident in Furniss's illustration of "The Little Visitor." Rather, Dalziel invests the illustration with a stillness and high seriousness worthy of the religious art of Renaissance master Giotto di Bondone, as the young mother's downcast gaze bespeaks some great sadness or secret to which the reader is not privy.
Relevant Illustrated Library Edition (1868) and Household Edition (1876-77) Illustrations
Left: Left: E. A. Abbey's "Grandfather!". Centre: Edward Dalziel's 1877 illustration "And at last, sitting dozing against a muddy cart-wheel, I come upon the poor girl who was deaf and dumb". Right: EHarry Furniss's 1910 plate "Doctor Marigold's Little Visitor". [Click on images to enlarge them.]
A Note on the 1911 Anglo-American Edition
The two volumes containing the Christmas stories do not indicate where they fall in the 36-volume sequence. The "Bibliographical Note" on the verso of the title-page makes reference to the Charles Dickens Edition of 1871, although this text has been augmented by five stories from "Reprinted Pieces" and two others, "What Christmas Is As We Grow Older" and "The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices," "which were not always included in the collected works of the novelist."
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Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Il. Harry Furniss. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. 2 vols.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All The Year Round". Il. Fred Walker, F. A. Fraser, Harry French, E. G. Dalziel, J. Mahony [sic], Townley Green, and Charles Green. Centenary Edition. 36 vols. London: Chapman & Hall; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911. Volume Two.
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Last modified 7 October 2013