"What is your name, sir, and where do you come from?"
E. G. Dalziel
14 x 10.8 cm framed
Dickens's Christmas Stories, the Chapman and Hall Household Edition, page 105 [See commentary below].
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"Humph!" thought Mr. Traveller, retiring a pace or two from the bars. "A compound of Newgate, Bedlam, a Debtors' Prison in the worst time, a chimney-sweep, a mudlark, and the Noble Savage! A nice old family, the Hermit family. Hah!"
Mr. Traveller thought this, as he silently confronted the sooty object in the blanket and skewer (in sober truth it wore nothing else), with the matted hair and the staring eyes. Further, Mr. Traveller thought, as the eye surveyed him with a very obvious curiosity in ascertaining the effect they produced, "Vanity, vanity, vanity! Verily, all is vanity!"
"What is your name, sir, and where do you come from?" asked Mr. Mopes the Hermit — with an air of authority, but in the ordinary human speech of one who has been to school.
Mr. Traveller answered the inquiries. ["Picking Up the Soot and Cinders," p. 105]
Townley Green's illustration entitled Tom Tiddler's Ground in the 1868 Illustrated Library Edition realizes precisely the same moment in the text, in what was the seventh and final chapter of the novella, published as the Christmas story for 1861, Dickens's third seasonal offering for his new journal All the Year Round, reprinted in anthologised texts "In Three Chapters," all of which were by Dickens himself. Originally, Tom Tiddler's Ground included a total of seven components, the introduction and last two by Dickens himself. Charles Allston Collins, Wilkie's brother and Charles Dickens's son-in-law after 17 July 1860, contributed the second part, "Picking up Evening Shadows." (In fact, Collins had recently abandoned painting in favour of writing, and published a string of successful works of fiction in Household Words and All the Year Round, beginning with A New Sentimental Journey , and The Eyewitness .) Amelia B. Edwards contributed the third part, "Picking up Terrible Company." In his eighth appearance in the Extra Christmas Numbers (his last would be in No Thoroughfare, 1867), Wilkie Collins contributed part four, "Picking up Waifs at Sea"), and the elusive John Berwick Harwood "Picking up a Pocket Book"). Only the three parts by Dickens himself, however, appear in the various editions from 1868 through 1910, so that the framed tale now bears the title Tom Tiddler's Ground in Three Chapters.
Dickens based the 1861 Christmas Number on his encounter with James Lucas, a wealthy recluse from Hertfordshire whom he had met in June, and intended the story to show "the dependence of mankind upon one another — and on the wholesome influences of the gregarious habits of humanity." In his own sections of "Tom Tiddler's Ground," Dickens illustrates the hermits "reversal" of our "social nature," showing how "unnatural solitude" leads people to "brood and be suspicious" and to imagine that they are "full of wrongs and injuries." Dickens finds an antidote to this diseased state of mind in the "wholesome sympathy" that develops between a [middle-class] gentleman traveler and a poor tinker in his narrative, despite their class differences. [Nayder, 134]
E. G. Dalziel has realised a moment involving precisely the same conjunction of characters as in the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910). Perhaps benefitting from Dalziel's twin Household Edition illustrations for the piece, Furniss's illustration, in contrast to these earlier, more realistic character studies, exhibits both Furniss's characteristic humour and his staccato Impressionism. Moreover, whereas both Townley Green (1868) and Edward Dalziel (1877) dress the three characters in contemporary costumes — the fashions of the late sixties and the seventies — Furniss as it were backdated the scene to age of the tailcoat and beaver hat. Dalziel's suspicious and unhygenic Mr. Mopes, leaning out of a paneless window, is nearly as black as the blackened space behind him; moreover, the piles of discarded construction materials beneath his window suggest his lack of concern about the maintenance of the property — hence, Mr. Traveller's conclusion that Mr. Mopes, the hermit, is "A compound of Newgate, Bedlam, a Debtors' Prison" — institutions renowned for their dilapidation. Whereas Dalziel's intelligent observer is akin to the flaneur of The Uncommercial Traveller essays of the 1860s, Furniss's Mr. Traveller is an angular, old man in gaiters and respectable, 1840s middle-class dress, a more energetic figure who looks nothing like either of the earlier, more youthful "Travellers," or the more engaged observer of the Mugby Junction framed tale for Christmas, 1866. We get a more precise portrait of Mr. Traveller in Dalziel's second illustration for the final part of framed tale, designated as "VII: Picking up the Tinker," pp. 113-114): "I am glad to see you employed," said Mr. Traveller. — "I am glad to be employed," returned the tinker. — P. 114. In his bowler hat and professional man's suit, this is very much a Mr. Traveller for the late 1870s.
Relevant Illustrated Library (1868) and Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910) Illustrations
Left : Townley Green's "Tom Tiddler's Ground" (1868). Right: Harry Furniss's "The Tinker's Philosophy" (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
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Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books and The Uncommercial Traveller. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 10.
Dickens, Charles. The Uncommercial Traveller and Additional Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All The Year Round". Illustrated by Townley Green, Charles Green, Fred Walker, F. A. Fraser, Harry French, E. G. Dalziel, and J. Mahony. The Illustrated Library Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1868, rpt. in the Centenary Edition of Chapman & Hall and Charles Scribner's Sons (1911). 2 vols.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by E. G. Dalziel. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877.
Dickens, Charles. The Uncommercial Traveller, Hard Times, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Il. C. S. Reinhart and Luke Fildes. The Household Edition. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1876.
Dickens, Charles. The Uncommercial Traveller. Illustrated by E. G. Dalziel. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877.
Nayder, Lillian. Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, & Victorian Authorship. Ithaca and London: Cornell U. P., 2003.
Scenes and characters from the works of Charles Dickens; being eight hundred and sixty-six drawings, by Fred Barnard, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz); J. Mahoney; Charles Green; A. B. Frost; Gordon Thomson; J. McL. Ralston; H. French; E. G. Dalziel; F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes; printed from the original woodblocks engraved for "The Household Edition.". New York: Chapman and Hall, 1908. Copy in the Robarts Library, University of Toronto.
Schlicke, Paul, ed. "Christmas Stories." The Oxford Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999. Pp. 100-101.
Thomas, Deborah A. Dickens and The Short Story. Philadelphia: U. Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
Last modified 30 April 2014