"You're at it again, are you?"
Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Book II, Chapter 1, "Five Years Later"
Harper's Weekly (4 June 1859): 365. This text appeared in the UK in All the Year Round on 28 May 1859.
[For passage illustrated, see below]
Scanned image by Philip V. Allingham; text by PVA and George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. .]
This illustration of Jerry Cruncher in bed confrontng his wife, the "Aggerawayter," departs from the text, which clearly describes her as kneeling in prayer:
Mr. Cruncher's apartments were not in a savoury neighbourhood, and were but two in number, even if a closet with a single pane of glass in it might be counted as one. But they were very decently kept. Early as it was, on the windy March morning, the room in which he lay abed was already scrubbed throughout; and between the cups and saucers arranged for breakfast, and the lumbering deal table, a very clean white cloth was spread.
Mr. Cruncher reposed under a patchwork counterpane, like a Harlequin at home. At first, he slept heavily, but, by degrees, began to roll and surge in bed, until he rose above the surface, with his spiky hair looking as if it must tear the sheets to ribbons. At which juncture, he exclaimed, in a voice of dire exasperation:
"Bust me, if she ain't at it agin!"
A woman of orderly and industrious appearance rose from her knees in a corner, with sufficient haste and trepidation to show that she was the person referred to.
"What!" said Mr. Cruncher, looking out of bed for a boot. "You're at it agin, are you?"
After hailing the mom with this second salutation, he threw a boot at the woman as a third. It was a very muddy boot, and may introduce the odd circumstance connected with Mr. Cruncher's domestic economy, that, whereas he often came home after banking hours with clean boots, he often got up next morning to find the same boots covered with clay.
"What," said Mr. Cruncher, varying his apostrophe after missing his mark — "what are you up to, Aggerawayter?"
"I was only saying my prayers."
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities: A story of the French Revolution. Project Gutenberg e-text by Judith Boss, Omaha, Nebraska. Release Date: September 25, 2004 [EBook #98].
Last modified 26 November 2007