It's a Poor Heart That Never Rejoices — fifth illustration for the novel, tailpiece for Chap. IV, fourth regular illustration by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). 27 February 1841 (instalment 3). 3 ¼ x 4 ½ inches (8 cm by 11.4 cm), vignetted, from instalment 46 in Master Humphrey's Clock, and published in Dickens's Barnaby Rudge in the 1849 Bradbury and Evans two-volume edition: 259. Running head: "Master Humphrey's Clock" (258). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Context of the Illustration: Introducing the Vardens and Sim Tappertit

This Toby was the brown jug of which previous mention has been made. Applying his lips to the worthy old gentleman’s benevolent forehead, the locksmith, who had all this time been ravaging among the eatables, kept them there so long, at the same time raising the vessel slowly in the air, that at length Toby stood on his head upon his nose, when he smacked his lips, and set him on the table again with fond reluctance.

Although Sim Tappertit had taken no share in this conversation, no part of it being addressed to him, he had not been wanting in such silent manifestations of astonishment, as he deemed most compatible with the favourable display of his eyes. Regarding the pause which now ensued, as a particularly advantageous opportunity for doing great execution with them upon the locksmith’s daughter (who he had no doubt was looking at him in mute admiration), he began to screw and twist his face, and especially those features, into such extraordinary, hideous, and unparalleled contortions, that Gabriel, who happened to look towards him, was stricken with amazement.

"Why, what the devil’s the matter with the lad?" cried the locksmith. "Is he choking?"

"Who?" demanded Sim, with some disdain.

"Who? Why, you," returned his master. "What do you mean by making those horrible faces over your breakfast?"

"Faces are matters of taste, sir," said Mr. Tappertit, rather discomfited; not the less so because he saw the locksmith’s daughter smiling.

"Sim," rejoined Gabriel, laughing heartily. "Don’t be a fool, for I’d rather see you in your senses. These young fellows," he added, turning to his daughter, "are always committing some folly or another. There was a quarrel between Joe Willet and old John last night though I can’t say Joe was much in fault either. He’ll be missing one of these mornings, and will have gone away upon some wild-goose errand, seeking his fortune. — Why, what’s the matter, Doll? You are making faces now. The girls are as bad as the boys every bit!"

"It’s the tea," said Dolly, turning alternately very red and very white, which is no doubt the effect of a slight scald — "so very hot."

Mr. Tappertit looked immensely big at a quartern loaf on the table, and breathed hard. [Chapter the Fourth, 258-59]

Commentary: Sim Tappertit's romantic interest in Dolly Varden

Phiz uses the breakfast scene on the morning after the discovery of Edward Chester's assault and rescue to introduce the relationships under the roof of locksmith Gabriel Varden of Clerkenwell. The middle-aged bourgeois dotes upon his pretty young daughter, who is obviously much taken with Joe Willet of the Maypole. The scene underscores Sim Tappertit's infatuation with his master's daughter, and his rancourous jealousy of the handsome Joe. The illustrator makes considerable use of the passage in which Dickens describes the comestibles:

It was a substantial meal; for, over and above the ordinary tea equipage, the board creaked beneath the weight of a jolly round of beef, a ham of the first magnitude, and sundry towers of buttered Yorkshire cake, piled slice upon slice in most alluring order. There was also a goodly jug of well-browned clay, fashioned into the form of an old gentleman, not by any means unlike the locksmith, atop of whose bald head was a fine white froth answering to his wig, indicative, beyond dispute, of sparkling home-brewed ale. But, better far than fair home-brewed, or Yorkshire cake, or ham, or beef, or anything to eat or drink that earth or air or water can supply, there sat, presiding over all, the locksmith’s rosy daughter, before whose dark eyes even beef grew insignificant, and malt became as nothing. [Chapter the Fourth, 257]

Parallel Scenes from the British Household (1874) and Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)

Right: Fred Barnard's realistic realisation of the same scene, Those lips within Sim's reach from day to day, and yet so far off (Chapter IV). Left: Harry Furniss's more animated realisation of the same scene, The Temptation of Sim Tappertit.

Related Material including Other Illustrated Editions of Barnaby Rudge

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.]


Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge in Master Humphrey's Clock. Illustrated by Phiz and George Cattermole. 3 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1841; rpt., Bradbury and Evans, 1849.

________. Barnaby Rudge — A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874. VII.

_______. Barnaby Rudge. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. Ed. J. A. Hammerton. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. VI.

Hammerton, J. A. "Ch. XIV. Barnaby Rudge." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition, illustrated by Harry Furniss. London: Educational Book Co., 1910. 213-55.

Vann, J. Don. "Charles Dickens. Barnaby Rudge in Master Humphrey's Clock, 13 February-27 November 1841." New York: MLA, 1985. 65-66.

Created 5 July 2002

Last modified 25 December 2020