Little Dorrit, Household Edition, 1873. Wood-engraving by the Dalziels, 10 cm high by 13.6 cm wide, framed. [Click on the image to enlarge it.](See page 278), — Book II, chap. 10, Sixties' illustrator James Mahoney's thirty-ninth illustration in the Chapman and Hall Household Edition volume of Charles Dickens's
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [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.]
"It's true! Him again, dear Mrs. Flintwinch," cried the stranger. "Open the door, and let me take my dear friend Jeremiah to my arms! Open the door, and let me hasten myself to embrace my Flintwinch!"
"He's not at home," cried Affery.
"Fetch him!' cried the stranger. "Fetch my Flintwinch! Tell him that it is his old Blandois, who comes from arriving in England; tell him that it is his little boy who is here, his cabbage, his well-beloved! Open the door, beautiful Mrs. Flintwinch, and in the meantime let me to pass upstairs, to present my compliments — homage of Blandois — to my lady! My lady lives always? It is well. Open then!"
To Arthur's increased surprise, Mistress Affery, stretching her eyes wide at himself, as if in warning that this was not a gentleman for him to interfere with, drew back the chain, and opened the door. The stranger, without ceremony, walked into the hall, leaving Arthur to follow him.
"Despatch then! Achieve then! Bring my Flintwinch! Announce me to my lady!" cried the stranger, clanking about the stone floor.
"Pray tell me, Affery," said Arthur aloud and sternly, as he surveyed him from head to foot with indignation; "who is this gentleman?"
"Pray tell me, Affery," the stranger repeated in his turn, 'who — ha, ha, ha! — who is this gentleman?" — Book the Second, "Riches," Chapter 10, "The Dreams of Mrs. Flintwinch thicken" p. 278.
Mahoney's realistic version of what had been a humorous and somewhat caricatural illustration in the original serial Mr. Flintwinch receives the Embrace of Friendship (Book 2, Chapter 10; Part 13, December 1856) is accompanied by a much longer caption in the American Household Edition (New York: Harper and Brothers) — — Book 2, chap. x. Blandois-Lagnier-Rigaud appears in twelve of fifty-eight illustrations (the majority — seven — of the Blandois illustrations occur in Book the Second).
The chief illustrators of the book in the nineteenth century, Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne) and James Mahoney, and the first great Dickens illustrator of the twentieth, Harry Furniss, have all focussed on the same aspect of the relationship between the French swindler and murderer, Rigaud (alias "Blandois" and "Lagnier"), and the crusty keeper of Mrs. Clennam's personal and business secrets, Jeremiah Flintwinch, who ultimately absconds to Holland with his mistress's fortune. Whereas Phiz and Furniss exploit to the situation for its character comedy, Mahoney is more interested in using the nocturnal scene to advance the reader's construction of the plot. Whereas Furniss is simply interested in presenting the contrast between the short, stone-faced Englishman and the flayboyant, satanic Frenchman, emphasizing the difference in their height and in their faces, Mahoney (Furniss's immediate source) offers a highly realistic and rather bland interpretation of the Gallic scoundrel but renders Affery (centre) a caricature. The reader is left to judge, based on Dickens's relating his suspicions of and antipathy for the caped figure calling so late, what the expression on Arthur's face must be.
Blandois and Jeremiah Flintwinch in the original serial, Diamond, earlier "Household," and Charles Dickens Library Editions, 1856-1910
Left: Felix Octavius Carr Darley's frontispiece for the fourth volume of the novel, Closing In — Book II, Chapter XXX. Centre: Sol Eytinge, Junior's study of the anxious Affery and her calculating husband, Mr. and Mrs. Flintwinch (1867). Right: a detail of the English and French villains, short Flintwinch and tall Blandois, Mrs. Clennam and the Plotters — left half of the 1910 lithograph. [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Above: Phiz's study of Rigaud (now, "Blandois") embracing the reluctant Englishman as Mrs. Clennam and Arthur Clennam observe, Mr. Flintwinch receives the Embrace of Friendship (Book 2, Chapter 10; Part 13, December 1856). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
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Last modified 22 May 2016