"'No,' said Toby after another sniff. 'It's — It's mellower than Polonies.'"
13.8 x 10.7 cm
Although Barnard's program for the 1878 British Household Edition integrates the large-scale illustrations and the letter-press, it does not achieve the level of visual-textual integration found in the 1844 edition of The Chimes, for in the 1844 chapter-opening illustrations the text is embedded in or surrounded by the pictures, so that, as Solberg has remarked, Dickens's "words themselves form so integral a part of the design that to do without them would automatically upset the balance" (114). [Continued below]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham
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Barnard's realisation of Trotty Veck compared to those by John Leech and Richard Doyle (1844) and E. A. Abbey (1876)
In the Chapman and Hall Household Edition text of The Chimes, Barnard, however, like E. A. Abbey in the Harper and Brothers text, does achieve a synthesis of title-page illustration, full title, and half of the opening paragraph. Barnard's first illustration occupies almost three-quarters of a page, and at 13.7 cm long by 10.8 cm wide certainly establishes the father-and-daughter relationship as the principal relationship of the novella. Barnard's sketchy backdrop, old Saint Dunstan's Church, London, is merely suggested here by a Romanesque arch above Trotty's shoulder, as opposed to Richard Doyle's representation of the church's Gothic lantern-tower in "The Dinner on the Steps" and Stanfield's "The Old Church" with its splendid Gothic porch below and the lantern of old Saint Dunstan's above. E. A. Abbey similarly suggests the exterior of the London church by providing a column and an area railing (left); his focus is the off-centre, diminutive figure of the ticket-porter, whose hat and clothing distinguish him from the tail- and top-coated gentleman who examine Trotty's lunch as if it were some sort of exoitic specimen collected in the Amazon basin or the South Seas. Neither Household Edition illustration suggests the seasonal setting of cold winds, ice, and snow.
Three artists' realisations of Trotty Veck: Left: Doyle's "The Dinner on the Steps." Centre: Maclise's "Frontispiece: The Tower of the Chimes." Right: Abbey's "What's the matter? What's the matter?"
E. A. Abbey and Fred Barnard make it clear from the outset that character rather setting or even atmosphere is their chief concern. Subordinating the small figures to the ornate swirls of the illuminasted "T" in his chapter-opening wood-engraving "Trotty on the Steps," Richard Dolye focuses on Trotty, consuming his hot lunch in front of the church, with Meg passively watching. In his version of a later moment in the same scene, Abbey minimizes the background elements. Barnard eliminates elements of physical setting almost entirely, emphasising the playful interaction between parent and adult daughter that accompanies Trotty's trying to determine precisely what inexpensive but wholesome "piping" hot meal Meg's covered basket contains:
Trotty was going to lift up the cover at once, in a great hurry, when she gaily interposed her hand.
"No, no, no," said Meg, with the glee of a child. "Lengthen it out a little. Let me just lift up the corner; just the lit-tle ti-ny cor-ner, you know," said Meg, suiting the action to the word with the utmost gentleness, and speaking very softly, as if she were afraid of being overheard by something inside the basket; "there. Now. What's that?"
Toby took the shortest possible sniff at the edge of the basket, and cried out in a rapture:
"Why, it's hot!"
"It's burning hot!" cried Meg. "Ha, ha, ha! It's scalding hot!"
"Ha, ha, ha!" roared Toby, with a sort of kick. "It's scalding hot!"
"But what is it, father?" said Meg. "Come. You haven't guessed what it is. And you must guess what it is. I can't think of taking it out, till you guess what it is. Don't be in such a hurry! Wait a minute! A little bit more of the cover. Now guess!"
Meg was in a perfect fright lest he should guess right too soon; shrinking away, as she held the basket towards him; curling up her pretty shoulders; stopping her ear with her hand, as if by so doing she could keep the right word out of Toby's lips; and laughing softly the whole time.
Meanwhile Toby, putting a hand on each knee, bent down his nose to the basket, and took a long inspiration at the lid; the grin upon his withered face expanding in the process, as if he were inhaling laughing gas.
"Ah! It's very nice," said Toby. "It an't I suppose it an't Polonies?"
"No, no, no!" cried Meg, delighted. "Nothing like Polonies!"
"No," said Toby, after another sniff. "It's it's mellower than Polonies. It's very nice. It improves every moment. It's too decided for Trotters. An't it?"
Meg was in an ecstasy. He could not have gone wider of the mark than Trotters except Polonies.
"Liver?" said Toby, communing with himself. "No. There's a mildness about it that don't answer to liver. Pettitoes? No. It an't faint enough for pettitoes. It wants the stringiness of Cocks' heads. And I know it an't sausages. I'll tell you what it is. It's chitterlings!"
"No, it an't!" cried Meg, in a burst of delight. "No, it an't!"
"Why, what am I a-thinking of?" said Toby, suddenly recovering a position as near the perpendicular as it was possible for him to assume. 'I shall forget my own name next. It's tripe!"
Tripe it was; and Meg, in high joy, protested he should say, in half a minute more, it was the best tripe ever stewed. ["First Quarter": British Household Edition, p. 42-43]
Like E. A. Abbey in the American Household Edition, Fred Barnard has included those attributes which initially defined his character visually: Trotty's ticket-porter's apron, his wollen mitts, and weather-beaten face. However, Barnard has not been able to convey Trotty's pessimistic appraisal of the working class. However, Abbey does communicate Trotty's doubt about the fairness of his eating tripe, accepting the appraisal of Filer and the other gentlemen in Alderman Cute's entourage. Abbey has included Richard (in cloth cap) and Meg in the background, but offers scant interpretation of their characters, and does not suggest Meg's exceptional beauty — that is, unusual for a young woman of her class. Barnard, however, has succeeded admirably in describing Meg's dusky, "blooming" beauty and buoyant personality. The fineness of the cross-hatching on Trotty's hat contrasts with the more open cross-hatching of his jacket and the sinuous lines of Meg's hair and skirt, their animation suggesting the vigour of the wind that Dickens describes in the opening pages. Cheerful but coarse in aspect and in dress, Trotty is happy in his daughter's company, as she is in his. And in contrast to Leech's somewhat cartoonish ticket porter with spindly arms, oversized head, and wooden gait, Barnard enlists the reader's sympathy for a three-dimensional Trotty who apparently enjoys a close relationship with his beautiful daughter, also very effectively modelled.
Barnard's illustration at the head of the chapter thus directs the reader to the realized passage and the joyful domestic scene some five pages later, whereas Maclise's frontispiece and elaborately decorated title-page point the reader towards the Spirits of the Chimes, who do not appear until the middle of "The Second Quarter." Thus, the effect of the openings of the original and of the British Household Edition focus the reader's attention on the two contrary aspects of the story — the bizarre, fanciful, grotesque, and supernatural dimension (Maclise) and the realistic, domestic, and playful dimension (Barnard). Maclise clearly delighted in the exuberant goblin world of the story, just as Barnard found a social message in the relationship of the poor man and his charming daughter. E. A. Abbey, in contrast, found the story worthy of only two illustrations, the first representing the mundane reality of the statistician Filer and Alderman Cute's urban Tories and the second the nightmare vision of the Chimes ("What Trotty saw in the belfry"). In Barnard's series of four illustrations for The Chimes, the initial, large-scale realisation of Trotty and Meg reminds the reader of the humble but cheerful Cratchits of the Carol, despite the fact that neither Leech nor Barnard realizes the Cratchits' family gathering (whose centerpiece was the Christmas pudding, just as here the source of the humorous interaction is the tripe, again, unseen but responded to). In contrast, E. A. Abbey renders the Cratchit family gathering emotionally sympathetic as Bob ironically toasts his cold-hearted employer as "The Founder of the Feast," so that a reader of the American Household Edition might well have made the connection between the poor, lower-middle-class fathers Bob Cratchit and Toby Veck through the illustrators realistic modelled figures of Bob and Trotty.
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Last modified 7 August 2012