Judy: Or, The London Serio-Comic Journal (30 October 1867).by J. Proctor from
Although Dickens did not sail aboard the Cuba until 19 November 1867, his intention to undertake a second American tour was already generally known by the end of October. In Proctor's celebratory cartoon, John Bull, the personification of the English people, heartily shakes Dickens's right hand with his left. The other figures in the picture are the children of Dickens's imagination, instantly recognizable by any British and many an American reader in 1867. For example, Dan' Peggotty and his niece, Little Em'ly, are on the right, while from the left Proctor has included Seth Pecksniff and one of his daughters, Sam Weller, Mrs. Gamp (with hatbox bearing her name), and Mr. Pickwick (next to Dickens). Inn the foreground, left, the steamer trunk bears the inscription "Somebody's Luggage," an allusion to the framed tale that Dickens published in the extra Christmas number of All the Year Round in 1862.
Less easily identified are Mark Tapley (left, rear, holding his top hat on his walking stick to cheer Dickens on), Aunt Betsey Trotwood (between Sam Weller and Mr. Pickwick, left rear), and Wilkins Micawber between Dickens and Pickwick. From Dickens's sombre demeanour one may conclude that he is not entirely happy to be leaving, so that his failing health may also have been common knowledge.
Since Dickens travelled to Boston on the Cunard Royal Mail steamer Cuba, launched in 1864, the cartoon's allusion to the Black Ball Line, which in 1818 opened a regularly scheduled New York-Liverpool service with clipper ships, may involve a pun on Dickens's previous imbroglio in the United States over the matter of American reluctance to honour British Copyrights: "blackballed" or ostracised by the American press in 1842 over this matter, Dickens himself must have wondered whether the American publishing industry would revive the old animosity engendered by American Notes and the American chapters of Martin Chuzzlewit.
Wilkins, William Glyde and B. W. Matz. Charles Dickens in Caricature and Cartoon. Boston: The Bibliophile Society, 1924. No. 50.
Last modified 5 January 2012