Barnaby Rudge, in the 1849 Bradbury and Evans two-volume edition: foot of 276. Running Head: "Master Humphrey's Clock" (276). This illustration marks the conclusion of Chapter the Seventh. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]— Tailpiece for Chap. VII and sixth regular plate by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). 6 March 1841. 2 ¼ x 4 ½ inches (6 cm high by 11.6 cm wide), vignetted, from instalment 47 in
Passage Illustrated: Two Possible Contexts
"What the devil business has he to stop up so late!" muttered Sim, passing into the workshop, and setting it down upon the forge. "Here’s half the night gone already. There’s only one good that has ever come to me, out of this cursed old rusty mechanical trade, and that’s this piece of ironmongery, upon my soul!"
As he spoke, he drew from the right hand, or rather right leg pocket of his smalls, a clumsy large-sized key, which he inserted cautiously in the lock his master had secured, and softly opened the door. That done, he replaced his piece of secret workmanship in his pocket; and leaving the lamp burning, and closing the door carefully and without noise, stole out into the street — as little suspected by the locksmith in his sound deep sleep, as by Barnaby himself in his phantom-haunted dreams. [Tailpiece for Chapter the Seventh, 276]
However, the illustration probably alludes to an earlier passage:
"Barnaby," said the locksmith, with a grave look; "come hither, lad."
"I know what you want to say. I know!" he replied, keeping away from him. "But I’m cunning, I’m silent. I only say so much to you — are you ready?" As he spoke, he caught up the light, and waved it with a wild laugh above his head.
"Softly — gently," said the locksmith, exerting all his influence to keep him calm and quiet. "I thought you had been asleep."
"So I have been asleep," he rejoined, with widely-opened eyes. "There have been great faces coming and going — close to my face, and then a mile away — low places to creep through, whether I would or no — high churches to fall down from — strange creatures crowded up together neck and heels, to sit upon the bed — that’s sleep, eh?"
"Dreams, Barnaby, dreams," said the locksmith.
"Dreams!" he echoed softly, drawing closer to him. "Those are not dreams."
"What are," replied the locksmith, "if they are not?"
"I dreamed," said Barnaby, passing his arm through Varden’s, and peering close into his face as he answered in a whisper, "I dreamed just now that something — it was in the shape of a man — followed me — came softly after me — wouldn’t let me be — but was always hiding and crouching, like a cat in dark corners, waiting till I should pass; when it crept out and came softly after me. — Did you ever see merun?" [Chapter the Sixth, 267-68]
Commentary: The Problem Servant and the Difficult Wife
The artist almost loses the haggard face of the had-ridden dreamer amidst the host of nightmarish creatures who beset him. Whereas Dickens merely generalizes these monstrous visages and distorted bodies ("strange creatures crowded up together neck and heels, to sit upon the bed"), Phiz seems to have enjoyed the opportunity to depict in a highly fanciful fashion these horrible yet funny-looking vistants.
At first glance, Chapter the Seventh does not seem to support its tailpiece, the monstrous cast of Barnaby's fantastic nightmares. The chapter has developed the uncomfortable marital relationship of the Vardens, and the intrusive role on behalf of Mrs. Varden that the upstairs maid, the ugly Miss Miggs, plays in the household. However, as Sim Tappertit utilizes his duplicate front-door key to escape from his master's house (doubtless to lord it over another nocturnal gathering of the 'Prentice Knights), Dickens concludes the chapter (as well as the second volume of Master Humphrey's Clock) with an allusion to Barnaby's troubled sleep:
As he spoke, he drew from the right hand, or rather right leg pocket of his smalls, a clumsy large-sized key, which he inserted cautiously in the lock his master had secured, and softly opened the door. That done, he replaced his piece of secret workmanship in his pocket; and leaving the lamp burning, and closing the door carefully and without noise, stole out into the street—as little suspected by the locksmith in his sound deep sleep, as by Barnaby himself in his phantom-haunted dreams. [Chapter the Seventh, Vol. II, 276]
Related Material including Other Illustrated Editions of Barnaby Rudge
- Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (homepage)
- Cattermole and Phiz: The First illustrators: A Team Effort by "The Clock Works" (1841)
- Cattermole's seventeen illustrations (13 Feb.-27 Nov. 1841)
- Felix Octavius Carr Darley's six illustrations (1865 and 1888)
- Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s ten Diamond Edition illustrations (1867)
- Fred Barnard's 46 illustrations for the Household Edition (1874)
- A. H. Buckland's six illustrations for the Collins' Clear-Type Edition (1900)
- Harry Furniss's 28 illustrations for The Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)
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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge. Illustrated by Hablot K. Browne ('Phiz') and George Cattermole.London: Bradbury & Evans, 1849.
_______. Barnaby Rudge. Illustrated by A. H. Buckland. London and Glasgow: Collins Clear-type Press. 1900.
Hammerton, J. A. "Ch. XIV. Barnaby Rudge." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition, illustrated by Harry Furniss. London: Educational Book Co., 1910. 213-55.
Vann, J. Don. "Charles Dickens. Barnaby Rudge in Master Humphrey's Clock, 13 February-27 November 1841." New York: MLA, 1985. 65-66.
Created 5 July 2002
Last modified 15 December 2020