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Pickwickian Studies
by Percy Fitzgerald
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III.—Jingle's Love Affairs

Jingle's elopement with the spinster aunt was ingeniously contrived, but it seemed rather speculative and rash—she might not have had a penny. His only ground for jumping to the conclusion that she had a fortune was that, on his saying that "Tupman only wants your money"; "The wretch!" she exclaimed—"Mr. Jingle's doubts were resolved—she had money." More wonderful, too, were the very easy terms on which he was "bought off"—a hundred and twenty pounds. Her fortune might be estimated at some thousands. He was really master of the situation. The lady was of mature age—her own mistress, Wardle and his attorney could do nothing to stop the business. He certainly might have held out for four or five hundred pounds. Perker's diplomacy was wretched, and his plea about the age of the old lady mere burlesque. "You are right, my dear sir—she is rather old. The founder of the family came into Kent when Julius Caesar invaded Britain; only one member of it since who hasn't lived to eighty-five, and he was beheaded by one of the Henrys. The old lady is not seventy-three now, my dear sir." Which seems like buffooning in a man of business.

Jingle's course, after he left Rochester, can be traced very readily. With plenty of money in his pocket, he found his way to Ipswich (or Eatanswill), assuming the name of Captain FitzMarshall, and taking with him, as his confederate, Job Hutley. There he got introduced to Nupkins, the Mayor, who presided at the election, and who had made his money in "the nail and sarsepan business"—that is, as an ironmonger. The few words this functionary uttered on the hustings are of the same pompous character as his later magisterial deliverances.

"'Whiffin, proclaim silence,' said the Mayor, with air of pomp, &c., where this superciliousness is emphasised. 'Gentlemen,' he went on, 'brother electors of the Borough of Eatanswill, we are met here to-day for the purpose of choosing a representative in the room of our late'—but the noise and interruptions prevented the rest of the speech being heard. Notwithstanding, he characteristically 'thanked the meeting for the patient attention with which they had heard him throughout,' a declaration that excited roars of laughter, lasting for a quarter of an hour."

This is exactly what one might expect from the self-sufficient Nupkins, who was evidently understood and laughed at by his fellow townsmen. Later, when the confusion and "row" grew fast and furious, our Mayor "issued imperative orders to twelve constables to seize the ringleaders, who might amount in number to two hundred and fifty or thereabouts." We can recall Nupkins' dealing with the schoolboys in exactly the same sapient spirit.

Into the family of this worthy Jingle insinuated himself. But would he not be recognised by Mr. Pickwick and his friends? Yes; but we find that he took up his quarters at Bury St. Edmunds, conveniently near, and, assuming that the Pickwickians had departed after the election, thought he might safely exhibit himself at Mrs. Leo Hunter's party, whence he was tracked back to Bury by Mr. Pickwick. It is certainly fresh evidence of the identity of Eatanswill with Ipswich that Jingle should have appeared in both places as "Captain FitzMarshall." Once established in the Mayor's family, the insinuating Jingle devoted himself to the capture of the haughty and ill-natured Henrietta Nupkins, making his way into her good graces, and "cutting out" Sidney Porkenham, her old-established admirer. This was Jingle's second attempt at matrimony which failed like the first. It may be said, after all, that his behaviour was not so heinous. He was a fortune hunting adventurer—such was his role—which was common enough in those times. The unlucky Leo Hunter meeting, however, spoiled all.

After the trick on Mr. Pickwick at the school, and which was a fair retort, the pair left Bury that very night.

By an odd coincidence, they were taken up the next day by old Weller at Chelmsford—a stage or two from London. He was driving the Ipswich coach, and brought them to that town. It is clear, therefore, that they took this round from Bury in dread of pursuit, and with a view to throw Mr. Pickwick off the scent. The latter gentleman never dreamed that they were so near him, dismissed the whole matter, and returned to town to arrange about his action. By a happy chance he met old Weller, and, within a few days, set off for Ipswich and unmasked Captain FitzMarshall in Nupkins' own house. After this failure, his course was downward, and we next meet him in the Fleet.

Job's story was that Jingle dragged him away in a post-chaise and persuaded the girl at the boarding-school to tell Mr. Pickwick that she knew nothing of the matter. He had also bribed the schoolmistress to tell the same story. He had then deserted her for a better speculation, to wit, Miss Nupkins, to whom he had hurried back.

But for Mr. Pickwick's unfortunate adventure at the "White Horse," Jingle would likely enough have captured Henrietta Nupkins. When Sam so opportunely met Job in the Inn yard at Ipswich, he, instead of punishing him as he had so often threatened to do, merely bid him be at the Inn at eight o'clock. Why did he not bring him straight to Mr. Pickwick who was upstairs? Instead, he went up himself, told his master it was "all in trainin'," and "detailed the plan of action." Mr. Pickwick was curious, but Sam only said "all in good time." We never learn what the plan of action was to be. Indeed, what could the pair do to Jingle?



IV.—The Garrison

The military recollections of Rochester and Chatham are amusingly confused, or rather, in defiance of all known regulations. Thus, at the Ball, we find Colonel Bulder as "head of the garrison"—one would think at so important a quarter, where there was a large garrison, a General at least would be in command. Then we may ask the question, why was not Dr. Slammer in uniform—always required in presence of a commander? It was wonderfully bold, too, on Boz's part to give the numbers of the regiments. Hon. Wilmot Snipe of the 97th, who was in full uniform, which Mr. Tupman took for "a fancy dress." It was, of course, a Highland one. We learn, too, that the other regiment was the 43rd, to which Dr. Payne belonged, and that the 52nd was getting up plays at the local theatre. And why did Boz select these particular numbers?

The Chatham garrison consisted of "half-a-dozen regiments," with which a fair display at a Review could be made on "The Lines." Temporary fortifications had been erected, the citadel was to be attacked and taken—Fort Pitt we may assume—and a mine was to be sprung. Servants were keeping places for the ladies "on the Batteries"—an alarming position it would seem. The Sergeants were running "with vellum books" under their arms, usually left at home on Review-day. The Officers were "running backwards and forwards," while Colonel Bulder was seen "gallopping" (with two p's) at large, "prancing and curvetting," that is, making his steed curvet. The operations were, however, not under his command, but directed by the "Commander-in-Chief," not, of course, of the Army, but, we may presume, the General of the district. His behaviour was the most extraordinary of all, for, instead of cultivating a solemn reserve and quietude, and standing still, surrounded by his staff, he was seen "backing his horse among the people," and heard shouting "till he was hoarse." The soldiers wore the old, stiff leather stock, choking them, which was heard of so much in Crimean days. They were also arrayed in white trowsers. Boz is here wonderfully accurate, for these garments were always worn after May came round, and this was May.

The catastrophe to the Pickwickians from their having got between the two lines of soldiers, is somewhat perplexing. One line was advancing to the attack, the other firmly awaiting it. They were shouted at to get out of the way. Suddenly the half-dozen regiments had overthrown them. Mr. Pickwick was upset. Winkle received a bloody nose, after performing a compulsory somerset; then, at the same moment—wonder of wonders—we were told that the regiments were "half-a-thousand yards off,"—that is about a third of a mile away—all in a second! It is hard to understand why they were so maltreated. The soldiers would, of course, never have met; and in our own time the amenities of a Review and the police would have secured stray civilians from such rough treatment. We do not know whether the evolutions described were accurate—such as "one rank firing over the heads of another and then running away."

It was to this exciting spectacle that old Wardle brought a party in that wonderful Barouche of his—which is really phenomenal for its accommodation. When Mr. Pickwick recovered his hat, he found these persons in the carriage:—1, Wardle; 2, a daughter; 3, a second ditto; 4, a sister; 5, Trundle; 6, Tupman; 7, Fat Boy, on the box. The Pickwickians were actually summoned by the hearty Wardle to join. "Room for you all—two inside and one on the ox," where there was one already. All accepted the invitation, making ten persons in all who were accommodated in the Barouche! But this does not exhaust its wonders. When lunch time came round, with plates, dishes, bottles, eight persons were squeezed together inside, so no wonder Wardle said, "We must sit close." How it was done is not to be conceived—two sitting together is the usual allowance for a modern Barouche, but four on one side!—and yet we are told, when the horses were put to, the Barouche "rattled off."

The boy Dickens had carefully noted the behaviour of the garrison, and described them as "staggering about the streets of Chatham dead drunk," more especially when we remember that the "following them about, and joking with them, affords a cheap and innocent amusement for the boy population—" (vide Mr. Pickwick's notes). The boy, no doubt, often witnessed the incident of the private, "drawing his bayonet, and stabbing the barmaid who had refused to draw him more liquor." It is characteristic, by the way, of the police in a garrison town, for this fellow appears to have been at large on the next day, as he went down to the Tavern and tried to "square it" with the girl.

And now, is not this a testimony to this strange book, that we should be thus introduced to old Rochester and its doings, and out of the scant materials furnished, can really reconstruct the time and the place, and find out, as if by enquiries, all about Jingle and his connections and the theatre—such is the fruitfulness of the text?



CHAPTER IV. BOZ AND BLACKING.

One of the remarkable things associated with "Pickwick" is its autobiographical character, as it might be termed, and the amount of the author's personal experience which is found in passages. Such are his sketches of Rochester and Chatham life during his boyhood, his recollections of Grimaldi's dissolute son, his own poignant sorrow on the death of Mary Hogarth, and the painful memories of his boyish apprenticeship to an uncongenial trade more than hinted at. The election matters were also particular memories of his own, so was the scene of the ghostly mail coaches. Then there was the hideous recollection of the life in a debtors' prison, of which he had such sad personal experience, with much more. He recalled the time when he had a miserable lodging in Lant Street, Borough, and Lant Street was for him always a fixed point in his memory, and grew in size and importance. And when he described some wretched creature hiding himself in London purlieus, he chose some miserable place like College-street in Camden Town, whither his own family had retired.

All these things supply a singular vitality and realism, and also a distinct interest for those who are "in the know," for Boz himself at the time was a dramatic and interesting figure, and this story of his struggle out of a state of squalid misery is truly pathetic.

Readers of Forster's interesting "Life" will recall the dismal passage in the account given by Dickens to his friend, and his agonising experience when he was employed at the blacking factory. Many at the time thought that this painful episode might have been spared the reader, but the uncompromising biographer would not sacrifice it. On the whole, he was right, as the trial had an important influence on the writer's character. It will be recollected that he was employed at a place set up in Chandos Street, just out of the Strand, by one of the firm of Warrens, and his duties seemed to consist in pasting the labels on the bottles. Many will still recall the keen rivalry that existed between the famous firms, Warren and Day and Martin, which brought much amusement to the public from the arts of "bold advertisement" with which the war was waged. There were ingenious "Crambos," such as a cat gazing with well-assumed surprise at her face reflected in one of Day and Martin's well-polished shoes. These things made a deep impression on the boy, who saw their grotesque side. They were oddly bound up with his early impressions and sorrows.

Hence, we find in the course of "Pickwick," a few allusions to these blacking rivals and their ways, which might seem mysterious and uncalled for to those not in the secret, but which for himself had the highest significance. When Sam is first introduced at the "White Hart," he is in the very act of cleaning boots, and we have almost an essay on the various species of boots and polishing. We are told minutely that he was engaged in "brushing the dirt off a pair of boots . . . " There were two rows before him, one cleaned, the other dirty. "There were eleven pair, and one shoe, as belongs to No. 6 with the wooden leg." "The eleven boots is to be called at half-past eight (an odd consensus in eleven persons), and the shoe at nine." He set to work upon a top-boot.

The landlady then made her appearance in the opposite gallery and flung down a pair of shoes to be cleaned for No. 5, first floor. There is a dramatic action in these calls from the different galleries, which shows that Boz had the stage before him. Sam then chalked the number on the sole. When he found that it was for people of consequence in a private room that the articles were required, he set to work with a will and produced a polish "that would have struck envy to the soul of the amiable Mr. Warren, for they used Day and Martin's at the 'White Hart.'" Here will be noted the compliment to his old employer, though it was of a conventional sort.

With this very number "Pickwick" was destined to leap into its amazing popularity, and the advertisement must have been a valuable one. There may have been another reason, for there was to be a "Pickwick advertiser," which was patronised by the firms, and it may have been stipulated as a condition that the author was to give them this "lift." Another patron was Rowland, whose real name was Rouland, of "Maccassar oil" and "Kalydor" celebrity. We have a relic of one of these forgotten nostrums in the familiar "Anti-maccassar" known to every good housewife. To Rowland or Rouland he later made an allusion in the text.

This method of calling attention to the merits of wares was a French one—a sort of reclame introduced by Villemessant in his journal La Sylphide. Thus "Pickwick" was quite "up-to-date." After Jingle had gone off to Doctors Commons for his license, Sam renewed his efforts, "burnishing a pair of painted tops, worn by a farmer." Then, interrogated by Perker, he described the tenants of the inn by their boots—a pair of "Hessians" in 13, two pair of "halves," with six "tops."

In chapter xxxiv. we have another allusion to blacking. "No man," said Sam, "ever talked in poetry 'cept a beadle on Boxin' Day, or Warren's blackin'." This referred to the rhymes—or verses—with which the firm filled the newspapers in praise of their article. It will be remembered that Mrs. Jarley, in the "Old Curiosity Shop," employed "a poet" to celebrate her waxworks in similar fashion, and who was content with a few shillings for each effort. We may be certain that this was a boyish recollection, and that he had seen this blacking "poet" making his calls in Chandos Street or haggling for his miserable wage. The beadle, also alluded to, was a prominent figure with Boz; but he has disappeared, with his huge cocked hat, scarlet waistcoat, and uniform. He is to be seen in Wilkie's brilliant picture in the National Gallery. It is evident from the passage that he came round on Boxing Day for his douceur, reminding his patrons, as the dustmen now do sometimes, by a copy of verses. Sam adds that no one did this sort of thing except the persons mentioned—"and Rowland's oil, or some of them low fellows." The perfumer could only have been half pleased with this uncomplimentary form. Still, such as it was, it was an advertisement. Boz also makes several allusions to the inventor, Bramah, mentioning Bramah locks and keys with plugs, &c. Old Weller talks of being locked up "in a fireproof chest with a patent Bramin." Bramah's hydraulic press was a scientific novelty then, as were also his "patent safes." Bramah appears to have advertised in "Pickwick." These reclames are of a rather elaborate kind, as when Lowten arrived at the office (lii), we are told, he drew "a Bramah key from his pocket, with a small plug therein to keep the dust out." Then "comforting himself with this reflection, Mr. Lowten extricated the plug from the door key; having opened the door, re-plugged and re-pocketed his Bramah."

NOTE.—The horrors of the Blacking episode were ever present to Dickens' recollection, and, as if under a sort of fascination, he later seemed almost impelled to refer to them. Thus, in Copperfield, we find him describing, but under a disguise, the same incident. As when he was sent to Murdstone and Grimby's warehouse, it was still the washing and labelling of bottles—"not of blacking," but of wines and spirits. "When the empty bottles ran short, there were labels to be pasted on the full ones, or corks to be fitted to them, &c." But there is also another allusion to the same, but curiously veiled, when he speaks of the carman, Tipp, who "wore a red jacket." Now, to this day Day and Martin's carmen wear red jackets, and Warren's men probably did so; but, at all events, it is clearly an allusion to the costume of the blacking drivers. There are allusions to blacking in Little Dorrit and Bleak House.



CHAPTER V. SINGLE SPEECH TRUNDLE

This gentleman, as we know, was the affianced husband of Isabella Wardle, and to the scenes of their marriage, the festivities, &c., we owe some pleasing incidents. Trundle was a good specimen of the cypher or nullity; naturally, he is a figure at Manor Farm, but does nothing, and practically says nothing. He was clearly a neighbouring squire of limited ideas, or plain country gentlemen, that could do no more than love his Isabella. Yet, while Boz describes the "affairs" of Arabella and Winkle, of Emily and Snodgrass, he wholly passes by Trundle and his inamorata. We can see what manner of man Trundle was, as he is shown seated in the barouche, at the review, between the two sisters, each with long ringlets and parasols. He is a good-looking young man, with mutton- chop whiskers and black hair, on which his hat is set jauntily. He is described as "a young gentleman apparently enamoured of one of the young ladies in scarfs and pattens." Wardle introduced him in a rather patronising way. "This is my friend, Mr. Trundle." When the firing began, there was much agitation among the young ladies, screaming, &c., so that the gentlemen had to support them: Mr. Trundle "was actually obliged to hold one of them up." But after the lunch was unpacked, the wine uncorked, &c., there came a remarkable development—Trundle actually spoke, made the one single remark that is recorded of him in the whole chronicle! Never before or after did he say a word. He was, in fact, "single speech Trundle." And what were these words: "Will you permit me to have the pleasure, Sir?" said Mr. Trundle to Mr. Winkle; a proposal to "take wine with him," as it is called, Winkle had a bottle all to himself on the box seat, which, no doubt, attracted the reticent Trundle. The two gentlemen not only took wine together, but had "a glass round, ladies and all." But we should note that Trundle phrase, the almost too humble form: "Will you permit me the pleasure, Sir." It looks as though Trundle were "an ass," as it is called. The fact remains, however, that Trundle's single speech was: "Will you permit me to have the pleasure, Sir?"

After a few days' interval, when Mr. Pickwick and party found their way to Manor Farm, there were games galore, and at the "round one," Isabella and Trundle, we are told, "went partners," so all was going on well. The Squire had been nearly brought up to the point. It is painful to come to the conclusion, but Isabella's admirer, though a country gentlemen, was nothing of a sportsman, and rather a poor creature. When Mr. Pickwick and his followers were up early and out at the rook shooting, we find no Trundle. He was lying a-bed, no doubt. Stranger still, when the whole party went in for a day to Muggleton for the cricket match, Trundle was the only one who stayed behind. He remained with the ladies, for a purpose, no doubt; still, ladies don't like this sort of thing. The evening came. "Isabella and Emily strolled out with Mr. Trundle." I have an idea that on this very day matters came to a crisis in that quarter. Everything favoured—all the men were away—he may have seized the opportunity to "propose." At all events, we are significantly told that at the supper "Isabella Wardle devoted herself exclusively to Mr. Trundle." Pointed enough, surely. We may be fortified in this view by finding that on the return of the party, all dead drunk, at one in the morning, on Trundle was specially cast the degrading menial duty of carrying Wardle to bed—his future father-in- law.

Did Boz dislike this man all this while, or did he feel that he could do nothing with him in the story? It is certain, however, that in the talks at Bury over the Bardell action, the Boarding School adventure, &c., we never hear the sound of Trundle's voice. He is effaced. He makes no remark on anything.

One of Boz's most daring pantomime changes, is the sudden arrival of old Wardle at Bury, when Mr. Pickwick was released from the cupboard—and sandwich bags—in Miss Tomkins' school. The door was unlocked, and there stood Wardle and the silent Trundle. A rather lame account is given of the coincidence. Mr. Pickwick naturally asked, "How did you come here?" "Trundle and I came down here for some good shooting on the first," &c. Now, here it is evident Wardle good-naturedly saddled himself with the company of the silent man, but he had his reasons. Trundle was now son- in-law elect. They were both at the "Angel" at Bury, and for some days here were Mr. Pickwick and his "followers." There was the exciting notice of action re Bardell v. Pickwick. There had nearly been Pott v. Pott and Winkle. And yet, all the time, this Trundle listens, and eats and drinks; but there is no sign of him on the record. He is busy maintaining his character as a cypher.

Everything, however, points to show the all but comtemptuous opinion that was held of this Trundle. Wardle had been there two or three days when Winkle and the others came over from Eatanswill, yet he had never told Mr. Pickwick or Winkle that Trundle was to be married at Christmas, and that they were all to be invited to the wedding. By the oddest of coincidences, Tupman and Snodgrass, getting down from the coach at the "Angel," were met by Wardle, who at once said, "I have just been telling Pickwick that we must have you all down at Christmas. We're going to have a wedding." But I doubt if this be an oversight. The fact was, no one thought anything of that cypher Trundle, or of his marriage—a matter of no importance to anybody. That this is the true explanation is plain, for Snodgrass, fancying that the wedding was of his lady, turned pale. What was old Wardle's remark? Most significant of Trundle's status. "Don't be frightened," he said, "it's only Trundle there and Bella." "Only Trundle there," i.e., only that poor insignificant thing there! No more depreciatory words could be chosen, or put into the mouth of an honest country gentleman. I am certain that old Wardle gave his child reluctantly to this soft sort of fellow—"Only Trundle there!" Then for the shooting party. We hear of Tupman and Winkle even, with their guns, &c., but not a sign of this Trundle, a country gentleman, supposed to enjoy field sports. If Tupman and Winkle had to carry their guns reversed "like privates at a funeral," was Trundle excepted? We cannot tell, for he is not even named. Or was he of the shooting party at all? It has always seemed astonishing that Winkle should have been allowed, particularly by Mr. Pickwick, to join the second shooting party. Everyone seemed to have forgotten his first performance, when he might have shot his friend Tupman dead, and, as it was, "peppered" him severely. Tupman would naturally have objected to so dangerous a companion. Wardle, at whose home the casualty occurred, merely said, "I beg my friend Winkle's pardon, though; he has had some practice." Was this ironical? I fancy the whole scene had passed out of the author's mind.

Well, the Christmas season having come round—and certainly Trundle must have been a very feeble creature to allow himself to be "kept over" for so long a time—the whole party assembled at Manor Farm; now there, and on such an occasion at least, Trundle, being one of the two central figures, will certainly assert himself. We shall expect to see and hear him to good effect. Never was there a greater mistake. As the Pickwickians arrived, the whole "house party" were in the lane to greet them; we are told in careless fashion that among them "there were Isabella and her faithful Trundle," i.e., the poor insignificant "chap" who was about to enter the family by particular favour. Then Mr. Pickwick was told that they had all been to "inspect the furniture and fittings-up of the new house which the young couple were to tenant." This is very significant, for it throws a certain light on Trundle's situation. It is plain that this house was on Wardle's property, and that Trundle had none of his own. It was, in fact, a poorish match and the young couple were dependent more or less on Wardle. Even the old lady didn't like it, she resented their going to look at the house, and her son, to soothe her, made this significant speech: "Recollect Bella; come, you must keep her spirits up, poor girl." "Poor girl!" "Keep her spirits up!" Why?

On the wedding day, however, Trundle made an effort to assert himself. He was "in high feather and spirits," i.e., awkwardly pretended to be, but, of course, took nobody in. Indeed, we are told he was "a little nervous withal." We may be sure he was, and therefore looking "more of an ass" than ever. For such must appear to be a really nervous man in high spirits and going to be married. All the girls were in tears, Wardle himself quite broken down, for they knew what was before the poor child. At the wedding banquet Mr. Pickwick made an admirable, natural speech, which was greeted with tumults of applause, and was reported word for word. Then we are told how Wardle proposed Mr. Pickwick; Mr. Pickwick, the old lady; Snodgrass, Tupman, the poor relations, all had their speeches; but there is not a single word of Trundle, who appears to have been mumchance—no one wanted him. In his speech at the wedding, the amiable Pickwick had, of course, to give the expected conventional praises to Trundle. But how guarded he is! "God bless 'em," he says; "my young friend I believe to be a very excellent and manly fellow." I believe, i.e., he did not know it. "Manly," we might question, for in manliness he was deficient. We could hear the rustics below: "Squire Trundle manly! he! he! not he!" But on the bride, Mr. Pickwick was enthusiastic: "I know her," he said, "to be a very, very amiable and lovely girl; I admire, love, and esteem her." At the close he prayed that Wardle's daughter "might enjoy all the happiness that even he could desire." Not that he was sure of, but that he could desire. But Trundle, the cypher, no one thought of him, no one cared about his speech. Most likely, in his "nervousness," he mumbled forth some indistinct words which no one could hear, so it was best and most charitable to pass him by altogether in the report. At the dance at night, where he surely would have led off the movements, still not a word of him. And at last, "long before Mr. Pickwick was weary of dancing, the newly-married pair had retired from the room." Mr. Lang fancies that they had gone upstairs; but I imagine they repaired to their new home close by. But then, with that minuteness which never fails Boz, we had been told that they were not to go there till after the Christmas holidays.

But, after all, one might be inclined to doubt this theory of the young pair remaining at the house. For do we not find that on the next day, which was Christmas day, when there was the going to Church, and the skating and sliding, and Mr. Pickwick's immersion, there is no mention of the happy pair? It looks as though they were at their own home.

After this, many events occurred. Mr. Pickwick was "tried" and "conwicted," as old Weller has it; was sent to prison and released. On his return from Birmingham we have some signs of Wardle and his family. That gentleman was sorely disturbed by Emily's "goings on" with Snodgrass, and forecasted another imprudent marriage like Trundle's. He had a suitable match for her in his eye: "a young gentleman down in our neighbourhood," but Arabella's elopement set the fire to the powder, and here it is worth while comparing the marriages of Emily and her sister Isabella as a test of the relative importance of Snodgrass and this Trundle. The one took place in London with great show and pomp, all the family going up specially for it. "A handsome portion was bestowed on Emily," but there is not a word to show that Trundle received a halfpenny.

Then followed the scenes at Osborne's Hotel in the Adelphi, when all was made up and Snodgrass accepted. And now, at last, we hear something of Trundle. Mrs. T., as we might expect, was in an "interesting way," and had to be informed of what was going on. But it had to be broken to her by Trundle, in right of his office. Good, easy man! We can hear him: "the news will be too much for her" (this is on the record). She would insist on going, and it would be fatal. He would, of course, implore her not to agitate herself in her present state. As a matter of course he was all astray. The news was not too much for her. She ordered at once a cap and a new dress, and declared that she would go up for the wedding. The horrified Trundle, who had clearly no authority whatever, called in the Doctor to exert his, which he did in this way: by leaving it all to herself. Boz emphasizes it, by way of contrast to Trundle, saying that "he was a wise and discreet fellow."

Of course the foolish Trundle was put aside; the lady went and suffered no harm. This proves that Trundle was the mari de la femme, with no will of his own.

At Dulwich Church, the bridegroom was met "by the bride, the maids, the Winkles, the Wardles, and Trundles," always to be last and insignificant. In course of time we are told that Mr. Pickwick was much troubled at first by the numerous applications made to him to act as Godfather to the offspring of his friends! These came from Mr. Winkle, Mr. Snodgrass, and Mr. Trundle. Last of course. Poor soul! We can see him, grown elderly, sitting at his own table, smiling or silent, or with an occasional "yes, my dear," "certainly, my dear," "by all means, my dear."



CHAPTER VI. MUGGLETON AND ITS CRICKET

The situation and real name of Muggleton has always been a hotly debated point; many have been the speculations and many the suggestions as to the original. I was once inclined to adopt Gravesend, on the statement of the author's daughter, that, one day, driving with her father towards Cobham, he said that "it was here that Mr. Pickwick dropped his whip." Cobham would be on the way to Gravesend.

Now what was Muggleton? A large town, with Mayor, Burgesses, and Freemen—an ancient and loyal Borough, much given to petitioning Parliament. It is insinuated that these petitions were guided by Stiggins-like instincts—"a zealous advocacy of Christian principles combined with a devoted attachment to commercial rights. Hence they were against negro slavery abroad and for the factory system at home. They were for abolishing Sunday trading in the streets, and for maintaining the sale of church livings." A member of Boz's family has assured me that Maidstone was in the author's mind: it is only some eight miles from Rochester. But "The Bull" waiter informed the Pickwickians that Muggleton was nearly double the distance, or fifteen miles; while Gravesend is about six miles from Rochester—so the evidence of distance does not help us. Where, too, did Mr. Pickwick drop his whip? The Pickwickian enthusiast can ascertain this—'an he will—by a little calculation. After leaving "The Bull," the tall quadruped exercised his "manoeuvre" of darting to the side of the road, rushing forward for some minutes—twenty times—which would cover about an hour. In the etching, there is a picture of the spot—a hedge-lined road. Mr. Pickwick and his friends had to walk the whole way; yet they arrived late in the afternoon. No one could walk from Rochester to Maidstone in that time.

It was natural that Mr. Pickwick should drop his whip—but most unnatural that he should ask Winkle to dismount and pick it up for him; and most unnatural of all that Winkle, in his precarious situation, should consent to dismount. The ordinary course would be that Tupman or Snodgrass should get down. Then, for the great marvel of all, we have Mr. Pickwick, who would not get down, or could not get down to pick up his whip, getting down to help Mr. Winkle on to his horse! Thus, on the two occasions, the useless or lazy Tupman and Snodgrass kept their seats.

It has been claimed—by the late Charles Dickens the younger—that Town Malling was Muggleton, and on the ground that it has always had a reputation for good cricket. It is not far from Maidstone. But this is easily disposed of. Muggleton is described as an important corporate town, with a Mayor, etc. Further, the cricketing at Muggleton was of the poorest sort. There was an elderly gentleman playing who could not stop the balls—a slim one was hit on the nose—they were a set of "duffers," in fact. As for Dickens knowing nothing about cricket, as Mr. Lang contends, I can say, that he was always interested in it. I myself have seen him sit the whole day in a marquee, during a match got up by himself at Gads Hill, marking (or "notching") in the most admirable manner. Anything he did or described, he did and described according to the best fashion he could compass.

Wishing, however, to investigate this knotty question thoroughly, I lately communicated with the Town Clerk of Maidstone, Mr. Herbert Monckton, who was good enough to search the Books with reference to certain queries which I furnished. Dickens states of the mysterious and unnamed Borough, that it had its Mayor, Burgesses, and Freemen—which at once excludes Town Malling which the younger Charles Dickens had selected. The Clerk has found that, at the period in question, there were 813 Freemen on the roll. It has always been held to be "an ancient and loyal Borough," but this, of course, most boroughs of its standing would claim to be. Boz speaks of innumerable Petitions to Parliament, and Mr. Monckton tells me that he has found many petitions in the Books—one in 1828 against the Licensing Bill, which seems to prove that Maidstone, like Muggleton, "mingled a zealous advocacy of Christian principles with a devoted attachment to commercial rights." Then as to the description: Both Maidstone and Muggleton have an open square for the market: there are also in both places in the square a fire office, linendraper, corn factor, saddler, grocer, shoe-shop, but apparently no distiller. It was curious, certainly, that there should be an Inn with so odd a sign as the Blue Lion in Maidstone—and also a post bearing this sign, in front. Then as to the cricket, the cricket field was in the Meadow, Maidstone, not far from the High Street; while at Muggleton, we are told that Mr. Pickwick's friends "had turned out of the main street and were already within sight of the field of battle."

And here we may admire the wonderful walking powers that Boz allots to his heroes—Tupman and Pickwick, who were elderly persons and stout withal. Fifteen miles to Muggleton—two miles further to Manor Farm—and all done between eleven o'clock, and a period "late in the afternoon"—say five o'clock. At a later visit came the memorable five-and-twenty-mile walk to get an appetite for dinner. The truth was, such stretches were as nothing to Boz himself. Walking was his grand pastime and one absolute necessity. He tramped on with an amazing energy and vigour, which, as I know from experience, it was impossible to match. Sometimes he walked the streets for nearly the whole night. This personal element helps to explain many things in "Pickwick" which contains the early life of Boz.



CHAPTER VII. GOSWELL STREET

A question that has often exercised ingenious folk is, why did Mr. Pickwick choose to live in Goswell Street? rather, why did Boz select such a quarter for him? Of course, at that time, it was really a "genteel" neighbourhood, as anyone can see who walks along the desolate streets and terraces, the forlorn squares and enclosures that are close by, and where the New River runs. Nothing is more depressing than the aspect of these fallen places; but, in Mr. Pickwick's time, they had not been very long erected. Indeed, this offers yet another department which his wonderful Book suggests: that it is the best record of all the changes that have taken place in London. This Goswell Street tenancy shows clearly that the neighbourhood was a desirable one for residents of position. Mr. Pickwick was a City man, and his club met in Huggin Lane, in the City. He generally put up, or, as Bob Sawyer had it, "hung out," at the "George and Vulture," also in the City. One side of Goswell Street, in those days—a road ascending to the old Angel Inn—faced, near the top, a number of the pretentious squares and terraces I have been describing. That interesting old theatre, Sadler's Wells, was in the rear, and the New River passed beneath it or beside it, and, quite uncovered in those days, rippled along on its course from the country.

All the houses were private houses. Some enthusiasts have actually identified Mrs. Bardell's apartments—but without a particle of evidence. Now it has become a busy thoroughfare, with a noisy tramway: nearly all the houses have been turned into shops, and Mr. Pickwick could scarcely recognize his old quarters. The whole region bears a faded air. Amateurs, who love exploring their London, will find entertainment in wandering about Islington and the adjoining districts, experiencing quite a new sensation and hardly realizing that they are so close to Aldersgate. The New River itself, which ends its course here, is a pleasant attraction, with its great basin, and ancient offices by the edge of the water.

Imitating Elia, I once set out from here, and followed its course and its many windings far out into the country, taking up the journey on successive days, going towards its source in Hertfordshire, and a most pleasant, interesting voyage of discovery it was. For it so winds and bends, now passing through fields and demesnes, now skirting towns and villages, that it is just as picturesque as any natural stream. Such being its attractions, Mr. Pickwick was virtually living in the country or in the suburbs, and enjoying the fine, keen, inspiring air which the jaded Londoner from lower districts may, even now, still inhale. There is no Goswell Street now, but Goswell Road—a very noisy, clattering thoroughfare.

Another remark to be made is this:—how much do we owe to the vivifying power of Boz's descriptions of these old Towns, Inns, and Streets? The ordinary provincial town—unsung and undescribed by him—remains what it is and nothing more. York and Manchester stir no memories, and are unvisited by pilgrims, because they are not in Pickwick. Boz seems to have found the true interpretation and inner meaning of each place, and has actually preserved the tone and flavour that existed in his own time. This continues even now. As we stroll through Rochester or Ipswich, Bath or Bury, Pickwick and his friends walk with us. And, as if well contented to rest under the spell, these antique towns have made no effort at change, but remain much as they were.

And this prompts the question: Where did Mrs. Cluppins live? At the trial we learned that she was a friend and neighbour of Mrs. Bardell's, one of her commeres. She had "looked in" on the momentous morning, having been out to purchase "kidney pertaties," yet, on their Hampstead junketting, we find her coming with the Raddles, in their cab, all the way from Lant Street, Borough. She was clearly Mrs. Raddle's friend and neighbour. Perhaps she had moved, though this is not likely. The household gods of such, like Elia's, strike a deep root.

In his descriptions of the Bardell party's journey to Hampstead, which ended so disastrously, the art of Boz is shown as usual by supplying the notion of movement—he seems to take us along up the northern heights—we feel the pleasurable anticipations of a party of pleasure for the lower middle class. From the lower end of Goswell Street—where Mr. Pickwick's lodgings must have been, for, in the upper part, there are no houses opposite for Mrs. Raddle to call at—it must have been a long drive for the party. I assume they must have made for Kentish Town, and toiled up Haverstock Hill at a walk, for the coach was heavily laden enough. Pleasant Hampstead! One is always glad to find Boz associating his humour with places that we are deeply interested in. The Hampstead of this hour, though changed enough, may remind us very fairly of Boz's time. It has still the attractions of the old-fashioned, red-brick houses, and terraces, the mixture of green, and the charming, even seductive, heath. "The Spaniards" at Hampstead—Boz calls it "The Spaniard"—is scarcely altered from the day of the Bardell visit, and is as picturesque as ever with its Tea Gardens and Bowers. I never pass it without seeming to see Jackson's hackney-coach waiting and the Sheriff's man at the gate taking his drink. The other Inn, also bound up with memories of Boz, "Jack Straw's Castle," also stands, but one reads with alarm on this day of grace (June 12th, 1898):—

There are few Londoners who will not grieve to hear that the well-known inn on the Spaniards Road, "Jack Straw's Castle," famous as the rendezvous of authors, artists, statesmen, and many a celebrity of old days, is going the way of other ancient buildings. The low rooms and quaint interior of the hostel are now being entirely transformed and modernised. The only concession made to the prejudices of the old frequenters of the inn is that the outer face is to be preserved intact. To the passer by, no great change will perhaps be apparent; but within, the charm of the place will have vanished entirely. A spacious saloon bar flooded with glaring light, with modern furniture and appliances, is to take the place of the old rooms, coffee-room, billiard-room, and bar. In fact, it is to become a modern hotel. The change is quite enough to make the shade of Dickens arise. As John Forster has told us, the great novelist loved this old chop-house, and, after a ramble on the Heath, often adjourned here for a good, wholesome dinner.



CHAPTER VIII. MARY HOGARTH

This young girl—to whom a touching interest attached from her being so prematurely cut off—was a most interesting creature, one of three sisters, daughters of Mr. George Hogarth, a Writer to the Signet, who is a sort of link between Scott and Dickens. For he had acted as the former's man of business in the Ballantyne disputes, and must have prompted Dickens in the article that he wrote on that thorny subject. He was a good musician and a writer in the magazines. We find his work in the old "Monthly Magazine" where Dickens made his debut; and when Boz was installed as editor of "Bentley's," we find him admitting much of his father-in-law's writing. His "Memoirs of the Opera" are well-known. There is a charming outline sketch of Maclise's, showing the profiles of two of the sisters with Dickens, all three of the most refined and interesting cast—but Boz's face is certainly the handsomest of the three. He must have been a most attractive young man—something of the pattern of his own Nicholas Nickleby.

One of the most interesting features of the episode is the reference the author was constantly making to this bereavement. In the rollicking "Pickwick," any serious introduction of such a topic would have been out of place: though I fancy a little paragraph in the account of the Manor Farm Christmas festivities is connected with it. But about the same time, or rather, some six months later, he was busy with his "Oliver Twist," and it seems certain that Rose Maylie was drawn from this sympathetic creature, for there is a feeling and a passionate grief displayed that could only be caused by the loss of a person that he had known and loved. Here is his description of Rose:—"The younger lady was in the lovely bloom and springtime of womanhood, at that age when, if ever angels be for God's good purposes enthroned in mortal forms, they may be without impiety supposed to abide in such forms as hers. She was not past seventeen. Cast in so slight and exquisite a mould; so mild and gentle; so pure and beautiful; that earth seemed not her element, nor its rough creatures her fit companions."

We may compare with this the touching inscription placed by Dickens on her tomb in Kensal Green: "Young, beautiful and good, God, in His mercy, numbered her among His angels at the early age of seventeen." He had long planned that he should be laid beside her, but on Mrs. Hogarth's death, some five years later, he had to resign his place to her. This was a renewal of the old grief. The epitaph nearly seems the epitome of all that he says of Rose Maylie.

"The very intelligence that shone in her deep blue eye, and was stamped upon her noble head, seemed scarcely of her age, or of the world; and yet the changing expression of sweetness and good humour, the thousand lights that played upon the face and left no shadow there; above all, the smile, the cheerful, happy smile, were for Home, and fireside peace and happiness." She is then described as "playfully putting back her hair, which was simply braided on her forehead; and threw into her beaming look such an expression of affection and artless loveliness that blessed spirits might have smiled to look upon her."

The earnestness, the feeling of sincerity thrown into this description—the tone of reality—leave a conviction that this must have been drawn from a person who had lived and in whom the writer had the deepest interest. Further, it is clearly the description of a person who had passed away: of one who was no longer with him. {66} "She was at the theatre with us on Saturday night, well and happy, and expired in my arms a few hours afterwards." So he wrote to Mr. Cox.

At the end, he returns to the subject, and retouches the picture:

"I would show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early womanhood, shedding on her secluded path in life the soft and gentle light that fell on all who trod it with her and shone into their hearts; I would paint her the life and joy of the fireside circle, and the lively summer group; I would follow her through the sultry fields at noon, and hear the low tones of her sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk; I would watch her in all her goodness and charity abroad, and the untiring discharge of domestic duties at home; I would summon before me again those joyous little faces that clustered round her knee; I would recall the tone of that clear laugh, and conjure up that sympathizing tear that glistened in the soft, blue eye. These, and a thousand looks and smiles, and turns of thought and speech, I would fain recall them, every one."

Again, it is clear that all this is personal, and written of one that he knew and deeply loved.

In "Nickleby," there is yet another allusion to this sad subject—it is suggested by Kate's grief for Smike:

"It is an exquisite and beautiful thing in our nature that, when the heart is softened and touched by some tranquil happiness or affectionate feeling, the memory of the dead comes over it most powerfully and irresistibly. It would almost seem as though our better thoughts and sympathies were charms in virtue of which the soul is enabled to hold some vague and mysterious intercourse with the spirits of those whom we dearly loved in life. Alas! how often and how long may these patient angels hover above us, watching for the spell which is so seldom uttered, and so soon forgotten."

This is no artificial utterance. He had clearly interrupted himself to indulge in this sad retrospect. He then points a moral from Mrs. Nickleby, who, he says, could not conceive the idea of anyone dwelling on such thoughts in secret. I have always had a notion that this worthy lady's incongruities and rambling methods were suggested by one of his own household, whose imperfection was found to be a complete lack of sympathy with him in all his feelings.

The devotion of Oliver Twist to Rose, it is not fanciful to say, was intended to symbolise his own to Mary. We can recall the passionate, agitated excitement with which Rose's illness is described—the hanging on the doctor's sentence, &c.—a reminiscence certainly, and we have only to look at the sketch by Cruikshank of his friend (given in my "Bozland") to recognise the likeness to Oliver. Oliver's sufferings were his own.

How tremendous the blow of her death must have been to the successful writer may be conceived when he did not scruple to interrupt the book and cast it aside altogether from sheer incapacity to write a line. The June number did not appear. No one can imagine the inconvenience, the loss, the enormous risks that were run by taking this step—the horror and consternation of the publishers and all concerned. It proved how indifferent he had become to his prospects and prosperity when he could hazard such a thing. The first of the month came round, but no "Pickwick." It was a public catastrophe. When he was able to resume his story, he found it necessary to issue an explanation in the form of an address. {68}

186 Strand, June 30th, 1837.

The author is desirous to take the opportunity afforded him by the resumption of his work to state, once again, what he thought had been stated sufficiently emphatically before, namely, that its publication was interrupted by a severe domestic affliction of no ordinary kind; that this was the sole cause of the non-appearance of the present number in its usual course; that, hereafter, it will continue to be published with its accustomed regularity. However superfluous this second notice may appear to many, it is rendered necessary by various idle speculations and absurdities which have been industriously propagated during the past month and which have reached the author's ears from many quarters, and have grieved him exceedingly. By one set of intimate acquaintances, especially well- informed, he has been killed outright; by another, driven mad; by a third, imprisoned for debt; by a fourth, left per steamer for the United States; by a fifth, rendered incapable of mental exertion for evermore; by all, in short, represented as doing anything but seeking by a few weeks' retirement, the restoration of cheerfulness and peace, of which a sad bereavement has necessarily deprived him.



CHAPTER IX. THE PICKWICK CLUB

This was a common form of social meeting, and we find in the memoirs of Adolphus and John Taylor and Frederick Reynolds descriptions of the "Keep the Line," "The Finish," and other oddly-named societies. The cheerful glass was the chief object. Mr. Lowten's Club, "The Magpie and Stump," in Clare Market, supplies a specimen of a lower class club. "Veels vithin veels," as Sam would say.

In his speech at Dulwich, at the close of the book, Mr. Pickwick spoke rather pathetically of the closing of his wanderings. "I shall never forget having devoted the greater part of two years to mixing with different varieties and shades of human character, frivolous as my pursuit of novelty may have appeared to many." He spoke of the club also, to which "he had communicated both personally and by letter," acquainting them with his intention of withdrawing from public life to the country. He added that "during our long absence it had suffered much from internal dissensions," and this, with other reasons, had obliged him to dissolve it. This "absence," both as planned and carried out, was merely occasional. Mr. Pickwick and his friends were rarely, and only now and then, absent from town, going away for short spells, save, of course, the enforced absence in the Fleet Prison and the months or weeks (as it may be) in Bath. "The George and Vulture" was not far from Huggin Lane, so Mr. Pickwick must have been constantly at the Club, or could have been had he chosen to go there. All this notion of severance, therefore, was somewhat sentimental.

But the "dissensions" the President spoke of were natural enough. He was the founder and mainstay of the association—probably paid its expenses. The whole object of the institution, it may be suspected, was to exalt the founder. In such a state of things, it was natural that there should be an opposition, or discontented party, headed by "that Blotton." When Blotton was got rid of, his friends would think that he had been badly treated and take advantage of the occasional absences of the chief to foment revolt. Then Blotton was expelled, assuredly unfairly, for he merely took the opposite view on the Cobham stone, and he might have left some who belonged to his faction and who thought he had been harshly dealt with. Mr. Pickwick, in fact, merely returned from his agreeable junketting to have this gentleman expelled. Despotism of this sort always leads to discontent and parties—hence the "dissensions." Mr. Pickwick, from his treatment of Blotton, must have been a Tory of the old Eldon school. Here was his blemish. He had no toleration for others, and had an undue idea of his own position. We can trace the whole thing perfectly. He was a successful man of business—an export merchant apparently—being connected with an agent at Liverpool whom he had "obliged." Round such a man who was good-natured and philanthropic would gather flatterers and toadies; hence the suggestion to found a club with his own name and "button." Of this he could be "Boss," and he was listened to and courted. It was like the devotion of satellites to the late Mr. Gladstone. We can see all this in the picture of the club at the beginning, where, with the exception of the four legitimate Pickwickians, all seem rather of the tradesman class, and are vulgar types enough. In such surroundings, Mr. Pickwick could "rule the roast" and grow despotic and even arrogant.

Blotton, however, who seems to have been an independent sort of fellow, could not submit to this, was of the Opposition, and, no doubt, a thorn in Mr. Pickwick's side. And here is yet another point of the likeness to the Johnsonian coterie. In "The Club," Hawkins—Sir John of that ilk—was uncongenial—"a detestable fellow," Bozzy calls him—objecting, quarrelling, and, at last, on one occasion was so rude that he had to withdraw. Now, that this offence was rankling is evident, and it explains the fracas which took place at the opening. Blotton looked on Mr. Pickwick's travelling as pure humbug. The idea of his contributing anything useful or instructive in his so-called reports seemed nonsense. Further, was it not something of a job? Pickwick was taking three of his own special "creatures" with him—Winkle, to whom he had been appointed governor; Snodgrass, who was his ward; and Tupman, who was his butt and toady. They were the gentlemen of the club. None of the outsiders were chosen. From Blotton's behaviour, too, on the Cobham business, it is clear he thought Mr. Pickwick's scientific researches were also "humbug." A paper by that gentleman had just been read—"The tracing of the source of the ponds at Hampstead" and "Some observations on the theory of tittlebats." There was somewhat too much of this "bossing." The whole report read by the secretary was full of gross flatteries. They had "just heard read with feelings of unmingled satisfaction and unqualified approval," &c., "from which advantages must accrue to the cause of science"—cause of rubbish! Then, it added, obsequiously, something about "the inestimable benefits from carrying the speculations of that learned man" &c. Mr. Pickwick, in his speech, was certainly self-laudatory and provocative. He talked of his pride in promoting the Tittlebatian theory, and "let his enemies make the most of it." This was marked enough, and no doubt caused looks at Blotton. Then he began to puff his new enterprise at "a service of some danger."

There were, were there not, upsets of coaches "in all directions," horses bolting—boats overturning, and boilers bursting? Now, Blotton—after all the humbug that had gone before, and particularly after a provocative reference to himself—could not stand this, and, amid the obsequious cries and "cheers," said, boldly, "No!" (A Voice: "No!") That is, signifying there were no such dangers. The fury of the orator on "the Windsor chair," was quite Gladstonian. "No!" he cried; on which the cheers of his followers broke out. "Who was it that cried No?" Then he proceeded to imagine it came from some "vain and disappointed man—he wouldn't say haberdasher."

To the Pickwick Club there was a Vice-President, named Smiggers—Joseph Smiggers, Esq., P.V.P.M.P.C., that is, Perpetual Vice-President and Member of the Pickwick Club. Smiggers was, of course, supposed to be "Pickwick's creature," or he would not have been there. He was a tall, corpulent man, with a soft face—as we see him in his picture. As Mr. Pickwick speaks, it is remarkable that both Vice-President and Secretary—the two officers—have each one arm raised as if in ecstatic rapture—clear proof of their subservience to Pickwick. On Smiggers' right is a "doddering" old fellow of between seventy and eighty—clearly a "nullity"—on his left, another member nearly as old, but with a glimmer of intelligence. Down the side of the table, facing the orator, are some odd faces—one clearly a Jew; one for whom the present Mr. Edward Terry might have sat. Blotton is at the bottom, half turned away in disgust. His neighbour looks at him with wonder, as who should say, "How can you be so insensible?" Odd to say—and significant, too—Blotton has brought into the club his dog, a ferocious looking "bull," which sits at his feet under the table. We should say, on the whole, that Blotton could only count on—and that, with but a limited sympathy—the Terry-faced and Jew-faced men—if he could count on them. The Secretary was like a clerk—a perky fellow—and had a pen behind his ear; probably in some Bank or Counting House, so strong is habit. One member of the Club alone is invisible—the one beyond Tupman—all that is seen of him is a hand holding a tumbler as if about to drink. The Dodderer is applauding; so are the Jew, Blotton and Tupman; so is the round-faced man, just beyond the invisible one.

Mr. Pickwick and his three friends being removed or absent, and Blotton expelled, out of the fourteen members there were left but nine, whereof we reckon four or five as Pickwickians and the rest as Blottonites.

And how easily can we imagine the acrimonious discussions that went on!

"This 'ere Pickwick, who was always making the club a hend to his own glorification, had gone off on his touring to get more grist for his mill." It was really, a "mutual admiration society," and as for the reports, notes, &c., he was sending back "they 'ad 'ad enough of it." The club didn't meet to be listening to long-winded yarns to be read out by their worthy secretary, but for a glass and social intercourse. As for the "travels and preambulations," what were they more than visits to genteel 'ouses where Pickwick was "showing oft" at their expense? Then where were the "Sportin' transactions?" The whole thing was "rot." Then the Cobham stone business, at which the whole town was laughing, and which their worthy friend Blotton had exposed. Blotton was the only long- headed, creditable man they had. He ought to have been their president. But he had been turned out by the "lick-spittles" of the society.



CHAPTER X. ROADSIDE INNS

I.—The Bell at Berkeley Heath

In the animated journey, from Bristol to Birmingham, the travellers stopped at various posting-houses where the mercurial Sawyer would insist on getting down to lunch, dine, or otherwise refresh—his friends being always ready to comply after a little decent hesitation. It was thus that they drew up at The Bell at Berkeley Heath, which our writer presently sketches. It will be seen there is more of the drink at the Bell than of the Bell itself. It is, indeed, no more than coecum nomen—much as though we read the name at the end of "Bradshaw"—yet, somehow, from the life and movement of the journey, it offers a sort of attraction: it seems familiar, and we have an interest in it. The Bell now "goes on," as the proprietor tells me. There are travellers who come there and drink Boz's health in the snug parlour. It is, in fact, a Pickwickian Inn, and is drawn within the glamour of the legend, and, what a marvel! the thing is done by the magic of those three or four lines. "The Bell," says Mrs. Hooper, "lies back on the main road from Bristol to Gloucester, and is just nineteen miles from Bristol. It is a rambling old house and a good deal dilapidated, and of good age."

With this meagre record it yet offers such Pickwickian interest that, not many months ago, a photograph was taken of it which was engraved for the Daily Graphic. There is no Mr. Pickwick's room to be shown, as undoubtedly there would be had that gentleman only stayed the night there; but he only lunched and then went forward. There is a mistiness as to whether the Pickwickians sat in the public coffee-room or had a private "settin'-room." It was to a certainty the coffee-room, as they only stayed a short time. So the proprietor, with a safe conscience, might exhibit "the room where Mr. Pickwick lunched." On the face is imbedded a tablet bearing the date 1729, and there is an ancient farmer close by who was born in "The Bell" in the year 1820. If we lend ourselves properly to the delusion, he might recall Mr. Pickwick's chaise drawing up full sixty years ago. "Ay, I mind it well. I were joost then fifteen. A stoutish gent in gaiters—might 'ave been a bishop—and sich a lively young chap as wos with him, full o' spirits, chucking a' the gurls under the chins. And their sarvant! O he were one. Sam, he were caa'd—I moind that—Sam Summut. And they caa'd for the best o' everythin', and took away wi' them a lot, Madeary, and wot not," and so on.



II.—The Greyhound, Dulwich

Mr. Pickwick, as we know, at the close of his wanderings retired to this tranquil and pleasant suburb—then much more retired than it is now. In accordance with his habit of enshrining his own personal sympathies in his writing, Boz was, as it were, conveying that it was such a sequestered spot as he himself would choose under similar conditions. Last year (1898), the interesting old road-side Inn, The Greyhound, was levelled—an Inn to which Mr. Pickwick must have found his way in the dull evening to drink "cold Punch" or preside at the club which he most certainly—if we know him well—must have founded. A wealthy gentleman of social tastes, and with a love for tavern life, would have no difficulty in establishing a new Pickwick Club.

At the Greyhound, nigh a century ago, there was actually a club which entertained Tom Campbell, Mark Lemon, Byron's tutor, and many more. Boz himself, we are told, used to find his way there with Theodore Hook, Moore, and others. Boz, therefore, must have regarded this place with much favour, owing to his own experiences of it—and to have selected it for his hero's tranquil old age shows how high a place it had in his memory. The description is charming and brings this sylvan retreat to which we have walked many a time perfectly before us.

This taste for surrounding himself with persons of lower degree—such as were the rank and file—was curiously enough shared by Mr. Pickwick's predecessor, Dr. Johnson, who, when he found the Literary Club somewhat too much of a republic, and getting "out of hand," established a social meeting at the Essex Head Club—in the street of that name, off the Strand—composed in the main of respectable tradesmen, who would listen obsequiously. Thus, it may be repeated, does the same sort of character develop invariably on the same lines, and thus did Mr. Pickwick unconsciously follow in the footsteps of the "great Lexicographer."



III.—Grimaldi the Younger

As I was the first to point out, the powerful "Stroller's Tale" of which Boz himself thought so highly, was founded on the career of the unfortunate son of the great Grimaldi. The story is related by "Dismal Jemmy," the actor, who, in the tale itself, is called Hutley, and it corresponds in all its details with Grimaldi's history. He died in September, 1832, nearly four years before Pickwick was thought of, but Boz had learned the incident long before the Grimaldi MSS. were given him to edit, and I am inclined to think he must have learned them from his friend Harley who was intimate with the Grimaldis. In the memoirs it is stated that Gledinning, a Printer, was sent by the father to his son's dying bed, and he was probably the Hutley of the Stroller's Tale, and, perhaps, the person who brought old Grimaldi the news of his death. We are told in the "Tale" that he had an engagement "at one of the Theatres on the Surrey side of the water," and in the memoirs we find that he was offered "an engagement for the Christmas at the Coburg." There his death is described:—"He rose in bed, drew up his withered limbs—he was acting—he was at the Theatre. He then sang some roaring song. The walls were alive with reptiles, frightful figures flitted to and fro . . . His eyes shone with a lustre frightful to behold, the lips were parched and cracked, the dry, hard skin glowed with a burning heat, and there was an almost unearthly air of wild anxiety in the man's face." Hutley also describes how he had to hold him down in his bed. Compare with this the account in the memoirs—"his body was covered with a fearful inflammation—he died in a state of wild and furious madness, rising from his bed, dressing himself in stage costume to act snatches of the parts, and requiring to be held down to die by strong manual force." This dreadful scene took place at a public house in Pitt Street, out of Tottenham Court Road.

"The man I speak of," says Boz in the story, "was a low, pantomime actor and an habitual drunkard. In his better days he had been in the receipt of a good salary. His besetting sin gained so fast on him that it was found impossible to employ him in the situations in which he really was useful." In the "memoirs" this is more than supported: "The man who might have earned with ease and comfort from six to seven hundred a year, was reduced to such a dreadful state of destitution and filth . . . In fact, at one time, it was thought he might have succeeded his father."

It is quite plain, therefore, that Boz was recalling this tragic episode. Boz remarks that pantomime actors—clowns and others "either die early or, by unnaturally taxing their bodily energies, lose prematurely their physical powers." This was what occurred to Grimaldi, the father, whose curious decay he was to describe later in the memoirs. It may be added that there is an Alderman Harmer, Hatton Garden, mentioned in the memoirs, with whom Grimaldi pere had some dealings; and, long after, this name was introduced by Boz into "Our Mutual Friend."



CHAPTER XI. MR. PICKWICK'S PROTOTYPE

We had a narrow escape of losing our Pickwick and his familiar type. The original notion was to have "a tall, long, thin man," and only for the late Edward Chapman, who providentially thought of the Richmond gentleman, Foster, we should have lost for ever the short, rotund Pickwick that we so love and cherish. A long, thin Pickwick! He could not be amiable, or benevolent, or mild, or genial. But what could such a selection mean? Why, that Boz saw an opening for humorous treatment in introducing a purblind, foolish Professor, or scientist—one with spectacles—prying into this and that, taking notes &c. As Winkle was the sportsman, Tupman, the lover, Snodgrass, the poet, so Mr. Pickwick was to be a sort of Pangloss or Dominie Sampson. His curiosity and love of enquiry were to get him into scrapes, just as Mr. Winkle's sham sportsmanship was to get him into embarrassments. In fact, the first appearance in Seymour's plate—the scene with the cabman—shows him as quite a different Pickwick; with a sour, cantankerous face; not in "tights," but in a great coat; he is scarcely recognisable. Seymour was then determined to show him after his own ideal. But when the poor artist destroyed himself the great man was brought up to the fitting type. So undecided were the parties about that type that the author had to leave it altogether an open question—a tabula rasa—not announcing that his hero was either tall or short, fat or lean, pale or rosy; all he commits himself to in his opening chapter is that he was bald, that he wore tights and gaiters, and, what is rather singular, circular spectacles. I suppose, in contrast to the more elongated glasses.

It might be an interesting question for the "paper of questions," "Why did Mr. Pickwick wear circular spectacles?" Was there any local weakness? The artist never forgot this direction. In the author of the Tittlebatian system, &c., the "circular spectacles" would impart a sort of wise and owl-like stare. It was, of course, due to Chapman, the publisher, and was another of his "happy suggestions."

This Mr. Foster, of Richmond—fortunately for himself—was not known to be the original of "Pickwick," though many must have been struck by the likeness, both in physique and costume, to the picture. It is not stated that the features were copied, though, no doubt, Chapman would have vividly described them also; and Seymour was so ready and deft with his pencil that he must have certainly caught the likeness even from the description. We could fancy him rapidly making trial sketches, "Is that near it?" "No, fatter in the cheeks." "Is that?" "No, forehead a little higher, more bald," and so on. I myself was at Richmond, having just come from school, about ten years after the appearance of Pickwick—and for aught I know may have seen this Foster promenading it on the Hill. There was no particular interest then in Pickwick—which was somewhat forgotten, the interest being absorbed in the newer and brilliant works which Boz was bringing out. The society there was thoroughly Pickwickian; there were many old-fashioned figures, including the Mr. Jesse at whom the "Ponto" story was directed. We were gay enough. The old Star and Garter was flourishing. There were the Assembly Rooms at the Castle Inn, with "Almack's Balls"; barges coming down on Regatta days, when people danced on the deck and feasted in the cabin. There were private parties and dinners, and the old Theatre—Kean's, with the manager's house adjoining—was still standing on the Green, opening fitfully enough for a few nights, and then closing as fitfully. There I saw "The Green Bushes." Such a little Bandbox as it was! There were the two wooden staircases outside, of quaint appearance. Mr. Tupman may have been then alive and walking on the Terrace. He had retired there just twenty years before. He had probably rooms on the Green, near Maid of Honour Row. This little sketch shows clearly that Richmond is very nearly associated with Pickwick. But here comes in another reminiscence of Richmond, for there rises before me, about a dozen years after the appearance of the book, the image of a very Pickwickian figure—bald and "circular," cozy, wearing a white tie and glasses—a favourite gossip with all the ladies—no other indeed than Maria Edgworth's brother. He was a florid, good-humoured personage, a great talker, knew everybody in the place, and, like Mr. Pickwick, was an old bachelor, and kept an important housekeeper. He was genial and hospitable, would give parties, dinners, and dances. But the likeness in physique was the oddest part.

As the outside of Foster, of Richmond, supplied Mr. Pickwick's outside and habit as he lived, so his "in'ards," or character, was also turned to profit and not wasted. And here suggests itself a very likely speculation. This image of the Richmond Foster was before him; through the book he thought of the old Beau and the ladies' protests. The amorous element would not do for his hero, for whom he had other work; but while he left the physique to Pickwick he certainly transferred the character to one of his leading figures. That this is not fanciful will be seen. Mr. Chapman described Foster as "a fat old Beau": he was very popular, or, it may be, exceedingly well off. And at a place like Richmond he would be very recherche. But is it not exactly suggestive of Tupman—this "fat old Beau" devoted to the ladies? ("Because you are too old, sir; and too fat, sir," said his chief.) And on the first opportunity he did get into tights, viz., as the brigand. What is more convincing is that at the close Boz sent Tupman back to Richmond whence he came, and where we are carefully assured "he walks constantly on the Terrace during the summer months with a youthful and jaunty air which has rendered him the admiration of the numerous elderly dames of single condition who reside in the vicinity." Seeing Mr. Foster's occupation, I really think that this accounts for the novelist's selection of Richmond.

Mr. Chapman recalled that not even the persuasion of the Richmond ladies could induce Mr. Foster, of Richmond, to forego his "tights" and gaiters—and much amusement was caused by the idiosyncrasy. This persistence, it is clear, was before Boz, who makes Mr. Pickwick abandon his gaiters only at the Ball at Manor Farm, but we are distinctly told "that it was the first time" he did so "within the memory of his oldest friends." Thus we have Foster, of Richmond, brought into actual touch with his double. Thus much for his physique, which, it is admitted, was all that was drawn from Foster. But that friendly manner; that genial, amiable nature which made him think "the whole world akin;" whence did Boz import all that? I believe he found this genial, friendly type in the very man who had suggested Foster, of Richmond, to him. That this is not purely fanciful will be seen from an account of Edward Chapman kindly supplied to me by one of his family.

"He was a short, stoutish person, very good-humoured, an affectionate family man, unaffected, and fond of the country. But touching his character; the first feature that came into my mind was his extreme justice; in my very earliest years I remember being impressed by it—one felt it: all actions and motives were judged with a catholicity and charity that made us trust him implicity, and I see my sister has the same remembrance. He was naturally of a quiet, easy disposition; not much of a talker, but when he spoke he was always worth listening to. I see also she mentions his sense of humour, when his eyes would light up with a merry twinkle. I never remember hearing him say an unkind word to anyone. It is very pleasant to hear that papa is to be mentioned in connection with Pickwick, and I will gladly tell you all I can regarding my impressions of his character and tastes, &c. We only saw him for a short hour in the evening when he was tired after his day's work and little inclined to talk, but we always had a child-like instinct of his great justice and impartiality—an impression that I retained all through his life.

"Later on, at Tunbridge Wells, where we saw more of him, I learned to admire his vast store of knowledge, as there was hardly a subject that I asked for information on that he did not know a great deal about. Also he had a great love of beauty in nature, and was never so happy as when he had his favourite, shabby old hat on and a long stick, which he had cut himself, in his hand, and poked about the grounds which surrounded our house, inspecting the holly hedge and shrubs he had planted—in fact it used to be a standing joke that he used to measure his holly bushes every day to see how much they had grown in the night. He was perfectly happy in such a life, as it suited his peaceful contented nature.

"He was a man who never used a rough word to anyone, but his remarks, if he were angry, could sting sharply. He had a fund of quiet humour, like a Scotchman, and his sallies told all the more, as they generally came when least expected and without an effort. Later on, I travelled with my mother and him for several years and benefited greatly through his knowledge and love of art, and his recognition and appreciation of all that was good and worthy of admiration in foreign lands and peoples. He had a soft heart, too, and was always ready to help those who asked for aid."

Next is introduced the prototype of Mr. Pickwick in a few touches:—

"There was an old family friend living at Richmond, named John Foster, not Forster, who was quite a character, especially in his personal appearance; it occurred to my father to introduce him to Dickens who had just commenced the Pickwick Papers. Accordingly, they were invited to meet one another at dinner, and, from this copy, Dickens turned out Pickwick.

"The trial in Pickwick was not originally written as it is given to the public. The number was just coming out and in the hands of "the reader" (I believe John Forster was my father's reader at that time, and had been educated for the Bar), when the following occurred: Dickens was going to dine that evening at my father's house; they were waiting for dinner to be announced, when a messenger came in a great hurry (I think it must have been from the reader) to say that Dickens was wrong on a point of law, and that something must be done at once as the number was on the eve of publication, and the printers were waiting. They rang the bell, ordered dinner to be put back, and placed pen and paper before Dickens who set to work at once and re-wrote part of the trial, there and then; it was given to the messenger waiting in the hall, and Dickens sat down to dinner with a comfortable feeling that the publication had been saved in time.

"I have given these anecdotes as we remember hearing them spoken about in our home. I can picture the last one so well, the rapidity with which it was done, the young author, my parents, and the pretty home in which it took place.

"My father's marriage was a romantic one. Visiting at Hitchin, he fell in love with his next door neighbour, a very pretty little Quakeress, dressed in the Quaker fashion of those days; her father was a very strict Friend, and was made very uneasy at the attentions of this London lover; but Mary was bright and vivacious, and encouraged him, and many were the interviews contrived by the young couple. Their rooms were on the same floor, though in different houses; my father, behind a piece of furniture, bored a hole through the dividing wall, and the lovers slipped notes backwards and forwards by this means. I am not aware that the simple-hearted parents ever found it out.

"But, at last, Mary was persuaded to leave her sheltered home and launch out into the world by his side. They were married in the north of England, from her brother's house; the bridegroom sending from London, the day before the marriage, the dresses the little Quakeress was to robe herself in when she slipped out of her garb. The fit must have been greatly left to chance!

"Being full of tact and of engaging manners, she proved an excellent hostess, and well fitted for the position she held.

"My father died 20th February, 1880, aged 76, and was buried at Hitchin, beside my mother. He had long retired from business, and spent many years abroad on account of my mother's health."

This pleasing sketch quite suggests the account given by Sterne of his father. There is a quaint, old-world air about it—and the traits are really those of Mr. Pickwick in his later development. We could imagine the latter at Dulwich examining and measuring his holly bushes. It would not be too fanciful to suppose that Boz—constantly with him, dining with him, and consulting him on every point—must have been impressed, and influenced too, by those amiable qualities, particularly by that unaffected simplicity and good-will which is also so notable in his hero. So the figure stands thus—first, the long, thin man with Dry-as-dust tastes: then the short, round philanthropist, whose externals were suggested by the Foster, of Richmond, the latter's "internals" being transferred to Tupman. Not only do "Vith and Visdom" go together, but also "Vith" and good humour and benevolence, which Boz felt were necessary adjuncts to such a physique. Where was he to find these? Now, we know how much Boz was inclined to draw from what was before his eyes. It saved him trouble and also set his imagination at work. The Cheeryble Brothers, each a Pickwick redivivus, were taken from the Grant Brothers, merchants, at Manchester. And here he had this very exceptional character daily before him, in the person of Edward Chapman. {84}



CHAPTER XII. THE CALVERLEY EXAMINATION PAPER

Few things have been more interesting to the Pickwickian, or have done more to elevate Pickwickian study, than this celebrated jeu d'esprit. Calverley, or Blayds—his original name—was a brilliant creature, well known for his scholarship, verses, and sayings. He early obtained a fellowship at Cambridge, and was one of the youngest "Dons." Like Dr. Thomson, the celebrated Master, he is felt to be a characteristic and a real personage, even by those little familiar with his work or writings. He was, moreover, an ardent Pickwickian and thoroughly saturated with the spirit of the immortal book, to appreciate which a first-rate memory, which he possessed, is essential; for the details, allusions, names, suggestions, are so immense that they require to be present together in the mind, and jostle each other out of recollection. In the 'fifties, there were at Cambridge a number of persons interested in the Book, who were fond of quoting it and detecting oddities. It was in the year 1858 or 1859—for, curious to say, the year cannot be fixed—that Calverley conceived the bizarre idea of offering a premium for the best answers to a series of searching examination questions, drawn from this classic. It was held at his own rooms at 7 o'clock in the evening, as Sir Walter Besant, one of the candidates, recalls it. There were about a dozen entered, the most formidable of whom were Skeat, the present professor of Anglo-Saxon, a well-known Chaucerian scholar, and Sir Walter Besant aforesaid. The latter describes the scene in very dramatic fashion—the Examiner, in his gown, cap, and hood, gravely walking up and down during the two hours the examination lasted, going through the ceremonial with all the regular solemnity of the Senate House. The candidates, we are told, expected a sort of jocose business, and were little prepared for the "stiffness" of the questions which were of the deep and searching kind they were accustomed to in the case of a Greek Play or a Latin Epic. Almost at once, three-fourths showed by their helpless bewilderment that the thing was beyond them; and the struggle lay between the two well-versed Pickwickians—Besant and Skeat. The latter was known to have his "Pickwick" at his fingers' ends, and Besant confessed that he had but small hopes of success. Both plodded steadily through the long list of questions. It should be said that the competition was open only to members of Christ Church College, which thus excluded the greatest reputed Pickwickian of them all, John Lempriere Hammond—the name, by the way, of the "creator" of Sam Weller on the stage. Besant went steadily through his list of questions to the end, revised his answers, and got his paper ready for delivery, but Skeat worked on to the very last moment. An evening or two later, as they were going into Hall, Calverley pinned up his report on the board at the door just like one of the usual University reports, and there was read the result:—

Besant . . . 1st Prize

Skeat . . . 2nd Prize

The authorities were not a little shocked at a liberty which assumed the aspect of a burlesque of their own proceedings, and Calverley was spoken to gently by a Don of the older school. The paper of questions certainly shows what ability may be brought to bear on so trifling a matter; for there is really a power of analysis and a grasp of "inner meaning" that is most remarkable. Sir Walter has very acutely commented on this little "exercise," and has shown that it reached much higher than a mere jest. It brought out the extraordinary capacities of the book which have exercised so many minds. For "The Pickwick Examination," he says, "was not altogether a burlesque of a college examination; it was a very real and searching examination in a book which, brimful as it is of merriment, mirth, and wit, is just as intensely human as a book can be. The characters are not puppets in a farce, stuck up only to be knocked down: they are men and women. Page after page, they show their true characters and reveal themselves; they are consistent; even when they are most absurd they are most real; we learn to love them. It is a really serious test paper; no one could answer any of it who had not read and re-read the Pickwick Papers, and acquired, so to speak, a mastery of the subject. No one could do well in the examination who had not gone much further than this and got to know the book almost by heart. It was a most wonderful burlesque of the ordinary College and Senate House examination, considering the subject from every possible point of view. Especially is it rich in the department then dear to Cambridge: the explanation of words, phrases, and idioms."

Some of these cruxes, Sir Walter tells us, could not be solved by the examiner, and were laid before Boz himself, with a copy of the questions. Needless to say, Boz was infinitely amused, but, to the general disappointment, could or would give no information. The answer of Browning on a similar appeal is well known—he referred his questioners to the Browning Society, as knowing as much as he did on the point. There is no doubt that this is the true philosophy of the thing: that, once his ideas are in print, the author has no more to do with them or their meaning than anyone else has. The passages must speak for themselves; they are children sent into the world—helpless infants like those Pickwickian "expletives, let loose upon society." Among these unexplained things were "my Prooshan Blue" and "Old Nobs." Sir Walter, with real Pickwickian sagacity, points to a true explanation which may be applied in other cases. "Probably it was a phrase which he had heard in a crowd, and had never asked himself what it meant," i.e., it seemed appropriate, and what a person in such a case would use. This is in fact part of that "hallucination" of which G. H. Lewes spoke; the scene came so completely before Boz that the words and phrases suggested themselves to him and could not be denied, and he did not ask them to give any account. This principle, however, does not hinder an amusing display of speculation. Mr. Andrew Lang's explanation of "My Prooshan Blue" is certainly far fetched. He thinks it refers to a dreamy notion of George IV., who, at one moment, thought of changing the British uniform to the Prussian Blue. Now, this was not known at the time, and came out years later. It had certainly not reached persons of the Weller class. The truth is that most of Sam's grotesque epithets, e.g., "young Brokiley sprout," were the arbitrary coinage of a fantastic mind. This, too, as Sir Walter said, "he may have heard in a crowd," or in the mazes of his own brain. "Old Nobs" is just as reasonable as Hamlet's "Old Truepenny." "Are you there, Old Truepenny," might have been said by Sam to his father, as Hamlet addressed it to his.



CHAPTER XIII. PICKWICK IN REAL LIFE

I.—Dowler and John Forster

The truculent Dowler figured before in "The Tuggs at Ramsgate"—a very amusing and Pickwickian tale—under the title of Capt. Waters, who exhibits the same simulated ferocity and jealousy of his spouse. Cruickshank's sketch, too, of the Captain is like that of Dowler when throwing up the window in the Crescent. Mrs. Waters is made as attractive as Mrs. Dowler, and Cymon Tuggs, like Winkle, excites the jealousy of the husband.

"Stop him," roared Dowler, "hold him—keep him tight—shut him in till I come down—I'll cut his throat—give me a knife—from ear to ear, Mrs. Craddock, I will." And Captain Waters: "Ah! what do I see? Slaughter, your sabre—unhand me—the villain's life!"

In the same story we have an anticipation of another incident: the shutting up and detection of Pipkin in the cupboard, who is discovered by a pipe being required, just as young Tuggs was by his coughing from the tobacco smoke. Boz was partial to this method of discovery, for, at the close, Snodgrass was thus concealed and shut up at Osborne's Hotel. His detection, through the stupidity of the Fat Boy, is singularly natural and original.

Some of Dowler's dictatorial ways may have been suggested by Boz's friend, the redoubtable John Forster. There is one passage in the Bath chapters where we almost seem to hear our old friend speaking, when he took command of his friends and introduced them, "My friend, Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, know each other." "Bantam; Mr. Pickwick and his friends are strangers. They must put their names down. Where's the book?" Then adds: "This is a long call. It's time to go; I shall be here again in an hour. Come." And at the assembly he still continued his patronage and direction of everybody. "Step in the tea-room—take your sixpenn'orth. They lay on hot water and call it tea. Drink it," said Mr. Dowler, in a loud voice, directing Mr. Pickwick." Forster "all over." We have heard him "direct" on many an occasion. When starting from the White Horse Cellars, Dowler, fancying that more passengers were to be squeezed into the coach, said he would be d—-d if there were; he'd bring an action against the company, and take a post chaise.



II.—Thackeray

In Thackeray's "Newcomes," the writer had some reminiscences of a place like Eatanswill, for we are told of the rival newspapers, "The Newcome Independent" and "The Newcome Sentinel," the former being edited by one Potts. These journals assailed each other like their brethren in "Pickwick." "Is there any man in Newcome except, perhaps, our twaddling old contemporary, the Sentinel," &c. Doyle's picture of the election is surely a reminiscence of Phiz's. There is the same fight between the bandsmen—the drum which someone is kicking a hole in, the brass instrument used, placards, flags, and general melee.

Doyle could sketch Forster admirably. Witness the drawing of the travelling party in a carriage, given by Mr. Kitton in his wonderful collection, "Dickens, by pen and pencil," where he has caught Forster's "magisterial" air to the life. The picture, "F. B.," Fred Bayham in the story, is certainly the figure of Forster (vol. ii., pp. 55 and 116.) F. B. is shown both as a critic and pressman, though he has nothing of J. F.'s domineering ways. Again, the waiter, speaking of Lord Highgate, said he was a most harbitrary gent. This refers to the memorable story of Forster being summoned by the cabman who said he did so because "he were such a harbitrary cove." The truth was, Forster knew the distance to a yard, and would tender the cabman his exact fare and no more. Once, dining with Forster at a hotel in the country where he had rooms, we lit our cigars after dinner, on which the waiter remonstrated, saying it was not allowed. Then I knew the meaning of a "Harbitrary Cove." How the irate Forster blew him up, roared at him, and drove him out, terrified! It was, indeed, Dowler threatening the coach proprietor.

Thackeray would of course have known the story; he meant a sort of veiled allusion which had or had not a reference. We have the key to this sort of thing in the strange, uncomplimentary reference to Catherine Hayes, the murderess, but which was at once applied to an interesting and celebrated Irish singer of the same name. The author must have anticipated this, and, perhaps, chuckled over the public ignorance, but the allusion was far-fetched. In the same fashion a dramatist once chose to dub one of his characters by my own rather unusual name, on which he protested that he never dreamt of it, that others bore it; still he, however, was obliged to remove it.

Again, on p. 55 we have this passage: "I was thirsty, having walked from "Jack Straw's Castle," at Hampstead, where poor Kiteley and I had been taking a chop." This was written in 1855, only a few years after Forster's admirable performance of Kiteley with the other amateurs in "Every man in his humour." "Jack Straw's Castle," too, was a regular haunt of Forster and Dickens. It is as certain as anything can be that this allusion was not an accidental one.



III.—Tupman

Tupman's relations to Mr. Pickwick were somewhat peculiar; he was elderly—about Mr. Pickwick's age—whereas Winkle and Snodgrass were young fellows under Mr. Pickwick's guardianship. Over them he could exercise despotic authority; which he did, and secured obedience. It was difficult to do this in the case of his contemporary, Tupman, who naturally resented being "sat upon." In the incident of the Fete at Mrs. Leo Hunter's, and the Brigand's dress—"the two-inch tail," Mr. Pickwick was rather insulting and injudicious, gibing at and ridiculing his friend on the exhibition of his corpulence, so that Tupman, stung to fury, was about to assault him. Mr. Pickwick had to apologise, but it is clear the insult rankled; and it would appear that Tupman was never afterwards much in the confidence of his leader, and, for that matter, in the confidence of his author. Boz, either consciously or unconsciously, felt this. Tupman, too, never seems to have got over the figure he "cut" in the spinster aunt business, and the loss of general respect.

Still he submitted to be taken about under Mr. Pickwick's patronage, but soon the mutual irritation broke out. The occasion was the latter's putting on speckled stockings for the dance at Manor Farm. "You in silk stockings," exclaimed Tupman, jocosely; a most natural, harmless remark, considering that Mr. Pickwick invariably wore his gaiters at evening parties. But the remark was hotly resented, and challenged. "You see nothing extraordinary in the stockings as stockings, I trust, sir?" Of course his friend said "No, certainly not," which was the truth, but Mr. Pickwick put aside the obvious meaning. Mr. Tupman "walked away," wishing to avoid another altercation, afraid to trust himself; and Mr. Pickwick, proud of having once more "put him down," assumed his "customary benign expression." This did not promise well.

In all the Manor Farm jollity, we hear little or nothing of Tupman, who seems to have been thought a cypher. No doubt he felt that the girls could never look at him without a smile—thinking of the spinster aunt. In the picture of the scene, we find this "old Buck" in the foreground, on one knee, trying to pickup a pocket handkerchief and holding a young lady by the hand. Snodgrass and his lady are behind; Winkle and his Arabella on the other side; Trundle and his lady at the fire. Then who was Tupman's young woman? She is not mentioned in the text, yet is evidently a prominent personage—one of the family. At Ipswich, he was crammed into the sedan chair with his leader—two very stout gentlemen—which could not have increased their good humour, though Tupman assisted him from within to stand up and address the mob. We are told that "all Mr. Tupman's entreaties to have the lid of the vehicle closed" were unattended to. He felt the ridicule of his position—a sedan chair carried along, and a stout man speaking. This must have produced friction. Then there was the sense of injustice in being charged with aiding and abetting his leader, which Mr. Pickwick did not attempt to clear him from. When Mr. Pickwick fell through the ice, Tupman, instead of rendering help, ran off to Manor Farm with the news of the accident.

Then the whole party went down to Bath and, during their stay there, we have not a word of Tupman. He came to see his friend in the Fleet—with the others of course. But now for the remarkable thing. On Mr. Pickwick's happy release and when every one was rejoining, Wardle invited the whole party to a family dinner at the Osborne. There were Snodgrass, Winkle, Perker even, but no Tupman! Winkle and his wife were at the "George and Vulture." Why not send to Tupman as well. No one perhaps thought of him—he had taken no interest in the late exciting adventures, had not been of the least help to anybody—a selfish old bachelor. When Mr. Pickwick had absented himself looking for his Dulwich house, it is pointed out with marked emphasis that certain folk—"among whom was Mr. Tupman"—maliciously suggested that he was busy looking for a wife! Neither Winkle nor Snodgrass started this hypothesis, but Tupman. He, however, was at Dulwich for Winkle's marriage, and had a seat on the Pickwick coach. In later days, we learn that the Snodgrasses settled themselves at Dingley Dell so as to be near the family—the Winkles, at Dulwich, to be near Mr. Pickwick, both showing natural affection. The selfish Tupman, thinking of nobody but himself, settled at Richmond where he showed himself on the Terrace with a youthful and jaunty air, "trying to attract the elderly single ladies of condition." All the others kept in contact with their chief, asking him to be godfather, &c. But we have not a word of Tupman. It is likely, with natures such as his, that he never forgot the insulting remark about his corpulence. That is the way with such vain creatures.

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