"Doctor Marigold and Sophy"
Sol Eytinge, Junior
9.9 cm high x 7.4 cm wide
The fourth illustration for Dickens's Additional Christmas Stories in the Ticknor & Fields (Boston, 1867) Diamond Edition, facing page 280.
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The stark wood-engraving, conveying little sense of the cheapjack's cart, focuses of Marigold's literacy classes for the deaf-and-dumb child whom he has adopted after the deaths of his own little girl and his demented wife. [Commentary continues below.]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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You would have laughed — or the rewerse — it's according to your disposition — if you could have seen me trying to teach Sophy. At first I was helped — you'd never guess by what — milestones. I got some large alphabets in a box, all the letters separate on bits of bone, and say we was going to WINDSOR, I give those letters in that order, and then at every milestone I showed her those same letters in that same order again, and pointed towards the abode of royalty. Another time I give her C A R T, and then chalked the same upon the cart. Another time I give her D O C T O R M A R I G O L D, and hung a corresponding inscription outside my waistcoat. People That met us might stare a bit and laugh, but what did I care, if she caught the idea? She caught it after long patience and trouble, and then we did begin to get on swimmingly, I believe you! At first she was a little given to consider me the cart, and the cart the abode of royalty, but that soon wore off. [p. 279-280]
The 1865 Christmas framed tale Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions as published in the Extra Christmas number of Dickens's own magazine contained an introduction (Chapter 1, "To Be Taken Immediately") and a conclusion by Dickens himself, as well as one of the inset stories, "To Be Taken with a Grain of Salt" (since reprinted in Two Ghost Stories as "The Trial for Murder") — and further extraneous material by his staff-writers at All the Year Round as the stories that her adoptive father writes for the deaf-and-dumb child.
Thus, the multi-part story as it originally appeared on 12 December 1865 was a collaborative effort by his staffers. The staff-writers who produced five of Doctor Marigold's "prescriptions" or stories that he provides for the second Sophy are among the least known of the writers associated with Dickens's weekly journals. Irish writer Rosa Mulholland (1841-1921) contributed "Not To Be Taken at Bed-Time"; Dickens's son-in-law, painter and writer Charles Allston Collins, "To Be Taken at the Dinner-Table"; children's writer Hesba Stretton (the nom de plume of Sarah Smith, 1832-1911), "Not To Be Taken Lightly"; novelist and journalist Walter Thornbury (1828-1876), "To Be Taken in Water"; and Mrs. Gascoyne (probably Caroline Leigh Smith, 1813-1883), whom Deborah A. Thomas describes as "an obscure novelist who married General Ernest Frederick Gascoigne in 1834" (151).
However, despite the obscurity of the collaborators, clearly the persona Dickens created for them, the voluble King of the Cheap Jacks with a rapid-fire patter and a heart of gold, was so popular with the Extra Christmas number's readers that Dickens felt compelled to create a similar "voice" for the 1866 Christmas number. However, whereas Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings with an equally popular narrator had a sequel, that street-wise voice of the cheap jack morphed into that of the Boy who works in the refreshment rooms at Rugby ("Mugby") railway junction in the 1866 Extra Christmas Number. Only the three chapters that Dickens contributed for Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions were to appear in the much-shortened Doctor Marigold in the 1867 Diamond Edition, the 1868 Illustrated Library Edition, the British and American Household Editions of the 1870s, and the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition.
The Illustrated Library Edition "anthologized" version of the 1865 novella contains Edward Dalziel's wood-engraving Doctor Marigold. The 1876 American Household Edition of Christmas Stories contains E. A. Abbey's sixties style illustrations for The Christmas Books and plates for a few of the periodical stories, including the charming realisation of the visit by Sophy's daughter, "Grandfather!". Edward Dalziel was Chapman and Hall's choice of illustrator for its own Household Edition volume the following year; his execution of the illustration And at last, sitting dozing against a muddy cart-wheel, I come upon the poor girl who was deaf and dumb for this chapter, although hardly as dynamic as Furniss's pencil-and-ink sketch of Doctor Marigold teaching his adopted daughter how to read, does at least (if somewhat unemotionally and statically) explore the physical dimensions of cheap jack and the child, and effectively presents the wagon. Like Harry Furniss four decades later, Sol Eytinge, Junior, and the Diamond Edition editors seem to have felt that Doctor Marigold was among the more significant in the two decades of seasonal offerings, for whereas the slight Diamond Edition volume does not even contain The Perils of Certain English Prisoners (1857) and the first and second series of A Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire (1852-53) from Household Words, Ticknor and Fields' illustrator Sol Eytinge has provided an illustration for both of the Lirriper stories and the detached Mugby Junction pieces "The Signal-Man" and "The Boy at Mugby."
Whereas Eytinge's illustration deals with the issue of literacy for the deaf-and-dumb (a cause which Dickens took up when he visited Boston), Dalziel's illustration entitled Doctor Marigold in the 1868 Illustrated Library Edition realizes the earlier moment at which protagonist first meets the deaf-and-dumb child whom Providence provides in place of his own daughter, victim of prolonged abuse at the hands of his demented wife. A third significant moment in the story, when the narrator reveals thgat Sophy's deafness is not hereditary, is dealt with by E. A. Abbey in the Harper and Brothers' version of The Household Edition; Abbey realizes the touching passage in which Dickens describes through the persona of the aged cheap jack the return from China of the second Sophy, now a wife and mother, and her daughter at Christmas, bringing cheer to the lonely bachelor. In contrast to the more sentimental and low-key illustrations of other editions, that of the Diamond Edition is comical in its depiction of Doctor Marigold holding up his own signifier for his adopted daughter (and the Diamond Edition reader) to decode.
Relevant Illustrated Library Edition (1868), Household Edition (1876-77), and Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910) Illustrations Relevant to "Doctor Marigold" (1865)
Left: E. A. Abbey's "Grandfather!". Right: Edward Dalziel's 1877 illustration "And at last, sitting dozing against a muddy cart-wheel, I come upon the poor girl who was deaf and dumb". [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Left: E. G. Dalziel's "Doctor Marigold" (1868). Right: Harry Furniss's "Doctor Marigold teaching Sophy" (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
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Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books and The Uncommercial Traveller. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 10.
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Scenes and characters from the works of Charles Dickens; being eight hundred and sixty-six drawings, by Fred Barnard, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz); J. Mahoney; Charles Green; A. B. Frost; Gorgon Thomson; J. McL. Ralston; H. French; E. G. Dalziel; F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes; printed from the original woodblocks engraved for "The Household Edition.". New York: Chapman and Hall, 1908. Copy in the Robarts Library, University of Toronto.
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Last modified 15 April 2014