Mr. Alfred Jingle. — Job Trotter
Wood engraving, approximately 10 cm high by 7.5 cm wide (framed)
Illustration for Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in the Ticknor and Fields (Boston, 1867) Diamond Edition, facing p. 135.
In this fourth full-page dual character study for the last novel in the compact American publication, Eytinge introduces the unemployed actor turned confidence man, Alfred Jingle, and his partner in crime, his valet Job Trotter, whose unsavoury partnership functions as a foil for Pickwick's relationship that with the Sam Weller. But neither "master-servant" relationship is purely a product of the cash nexus, for the servants are genuinely interested in the welfare of their employers — both, we later note, accompany their employers into the Fleet Prison. We can be sure that the shared adventures of Jingle and Trotter continue well past their emigration at the end of the novel.
Operating under the pseudonym "Charles Fitz-Marshall," Jingle has attended Mrs. Leo Hunter's costume garden party in chapter 15. Pickwick and Sam, suspecting that Jingle is up to no good, pursue him by coach to The Angel at Bury St. Edmunds, in the vicinity of Eatanswill of election fame. In order to avoid detection, Pickwick has Sam order their room anonymously. When Pickwick attempts to ascertain that Sam understands their need for secrecy, Sam responds with that most famous of Wellerisms: "Right as a trivet, Sir" (ch. 16, p. 134). Eytinge's joint character study of Jingle and Trotter, however, has no precise textual location at this point; the passage in which the publisher has situated the Eytinge illustration concerns Sam's interrogation of the little "mulberry man," Job Trotter, about his master's plans. To give him his due, Trotter (called "The Mulberry Man" because of his livery) completely takes in the otherwise street-smart Sam Weller:
Early on the ensuing morning, Mr. Weller was dispelling all the feverish remains of the previous evening's conviviality, through the instrumentality of a halfpenny shower-bath (having induced a young gentleman attached to the stable department, by the offer of that coin, to pump over his head and face, until he was perfectly restored), when he was attracted by the appearance of a young fellow in mulberry-coloured livery, who was sitting on a bench in the yard, reading what appeared to be a hymn-book, with an air of deep abstraction, but who occasionally stole a glance at the individual under the pump, as if he took some interest in his proceedings, nevertheless.
"You're a rum 'un to look at, you are!" thought Mr. Weller, the first time his eyes encountered the glance of the stranger in the mulberry suit, who had a large, sallow, ugly face, very sunken eyes, and a gigantic head, from which depended a quantity of lank black hair. "You're a rum 'un!" thought Mr. Weller; and thinking this, he went on washing himself, and thought no more about him.
Still the man kept glancing from his hymn-book to Sam, and from Sam to his hymn-book, as if he wanted to open a conversation. So at last, Sam, by way of giving him an opportunity, said with a familiar nod —
"How are you, governor?"
"I am happy to say, I am pretty well, Sir," said the man, speaking with great deliberation, and closing the book. "I hope you are the same, Sir?"
"Why, if I felt less like a walking brandy-bottle I shouldn't be quite so staggery this mornin'," replied Sam. "Are you stoppin' in this house, old 'un?"
The mulberry man replied in the affirmative.
"How was it you worn't one of us, last night?" inquired Sam, scrubbing his face with the towel. 'You seem one of the jolly sort — looks as conwivial as a live trout in a lime basket," added Mr. Weller, in an undertone.
"I was out last night with my master," replied the stranger.
"What's his name?" inquired Mr. Weller, colouring up very red with sudden excitement, and the friction of the towel combined.
"Fitz-Marshall," said the mulberry man.
"Give us your hand," said Mr. Weller, advancing; "I should like to know you. I like your appearance, old fellow."
"Well, that is very strange," said the mulberry man, with great simplicity of manner. "I like yours so much, that I wanted to speak to you, from the very first moment I saw you under the pump."
"Did you though?"
"Upon my word. Now, isn't that curious?"
"Wery sing'ler," said Sam, inwardly congratulating himself upon the softness of the stranger. "What's your name, my patriarch?"
"And a wery good name it is; only one I know that ain't got a nickname to it. What's the other name?"
"Trotter," said the stranger. "What is yours?"
Sam bore in mind his master's caution, and replied —
"My name's Walker; my master's name's Wilkins. Will you take a drop o' somethin' this mornin', Mr. Trotter?"
Mr. Trotter acquiesced in this agreeable proposal; and having deposited his book in his coat pocket, accompanied Mr. Weller to the tap, where they were soon occupied in discussing an exhilarating compound, formed by mixing together, in a pewter vessel, certain quantities of British Hollands and the fragrant essence of the clove.
"And what sort of a place have you got?" inquired Sam, as he filled his companion's glass, for the second time.
"Bad," said Job, smacking his lips, "very bad."
"You don't mean that?" said Sam.
"I do, indeed. Worse than that, my master's going to be married."
"Yes; and worse than that, too, he's going to run away with an immense rich heiress, from boarding-school." [Chapter 16, p. 136]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Thus, Job Trotter and his devious master set up Pickwick's misadventure at the nearby young ladies' boarding school which Phiz so effectively depicts in ""The Unexpected 'Breaking-Up' of The Seminary for Young Ladies" (plate), in which we relish Pickwick's embarrassment on behalf of the rogues Jingle and Trotter, who have fled the scene of their practical joke on the chivalric Pickwick, whose plotting to save the heiress from Jingle's machinations has so badly gone awry.
Eytinge had the difficult task of making his more realistic and plausible Trotter and Jingle look reasonably like their serial originals while at the same time presenting the rogues without the cartoonish faces, arms, and legs evident in Seymour's Jingle in "Dr. Slammer's Defiance" (plate) and Phiz's Trotter in "Job Trotter encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's Kitchen" (plate). with respect to this problem of inter-illustrator continuity, Eytinge has done a better job with the sardonic Jingle, whose attitude towards life the artist has communicated so well in his creation's smirking countenance; however, Eytinge's approach to the melancholy Trotter is certainly consistent with the text at this point, in particular with the prominence that Eytinge accords the hypocrite's hymn-book. Missing, however, is Trotter's handsome uniform with splendid epaulets.
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Last modified 7 February 2012