The father lifts the child up to the pillow.
Henry Matthew Brock
13.3 x 10 cm. framed.
Dickens's The Holly-tree Inn, facing page 16.
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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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"Harry, my dear boy! Harry!"
Master Harry starts up and looks at him. Looks at Cobbs, too. Such is the honour of that mite, that he looks at Cobbs, to see whether he has brought him into trouble.
"I'm not angry, my child. I only want you to dress yourself and come home."
Master Harry dresses himself quickly. His breast begins to swell when he has nearly finished, and it swells more and more as he stands, at last, a-looking at his father; his father standing a-looking at him, the quiet image of him.
"Please may I" — the spirit of that little creatur', and the way he kept his rising tears down! — "please, dear Pa--may I — kiss Norah before I go?"
"You may, my child."
So he takes Master Harry in his hand, and Boots leads the way with the candle, and they come to that other bedroom, where the elderly lady is seated by the bed, and poor little Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, is fast asleep. There the father lifts the child up to the pillow, and he lays his little face down for an instant by the little warm face of poor unconscious little Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, and gently draws it to him — a sight so touching to the chambermaids, who are peeping through the door, that one of them called out, "It's a shame to part 'em!" But this chambermaid was always, as Boots informs us, a softhearted one. Not that there was any harm in that girl. Far from it. — "The Boots," p. 35-36.
The idyll concludes pleasantly when Harry's father, summoned by Cobbs, appears at the inn with the "Governor in a chaise" (34), along with Norah's grandmother, to take the children home. In the concluding paragraph, we learn that the children never get to marry one another; rather, as a young woman, Norah marries a Captain in the regular army, and later dies in India, a place that was much on Dickens's mind as he had intended that his sons serve in the military there — Walter Landor Dickens (1841-1864) left England to take up the post of cadet in the private army of the British East India Company and never returned — and two years after Dickens wrote this Christmas story, the Sepoy Mutiny broke out near Delhi. The additional tailpiece here is a heart-shaped wreath of holly.
Relevant Illustrations from Earlier Editions
Left: Harry French's character study of the kindly Boots when he was a gardener on the Walmers estate and Master Harry, The Holly Tree Inn (1871). Centre: Harry Furniss's realisation of the arrival of the runaway children at the Yorkshire inn, Arrivals at The Holly Tree (1910). Right: Harry Furniss's realisation of the maids at the inn listening at the door of the children's room, Servants at The Holly Tree (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Above: E. A. Abbey's realisation of the scene in which the maid and Cobbs lead the children to their room, "There's Love Lane" (1876). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Edward Dalziel, Harry French, F. A. Fraser, James Mahoney, Townley Green, and Charles Green. The Oxford Illustrated Dickens. Oxford, New York, and Toronto: Oxford U.P., 1956, rpt. 1989.
_______. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.
_______. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by E. G. Dalziel. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877.
_______. 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.Mahoney. The Illustrated Library Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1911. Volume 1.
_______. Christmas Stories from "Household Words" and "All the Year Round". Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Centenary Edition. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911.
_______. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. Volume 16.
_______. The Uncommercial Traverller and Additional Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Thomas, Deborah A. Dickens and the Short Story. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
Created 31 January 2016