I am now cudgelling my brains about a new story for Chapman, to be called 'The Daltons, or, Three Roads in Life,' in which I have attempted — God knows with what chance of success! — the quiet homely narrative style of German romance-writers. I shall be very anxious to know what you will think of it, and you shall see the first No. as soon as it is printed. — "To Mr. Alexander Spencer. Florence, Feb. 26, 1850."
Charles Lever now began to abandon his formulaic picaresque novel for something that would enable him to develop his young male Irish expat wandering on the Continent as something more than a British observer of foreign climates and manners. In The English Novel (1961), Lionel Stevenson notes that by 1850 Lever had realised that the market for his "Irish" characters — "his eccentrics and swashbuckling adventurers" (294) — was on the wane. Lever was far more careful in The Daltons than in his previous Irish adventures to provide consistency of detail and true-to-life portraiture, for "many of the characters were modeled upon people whom the author knew" (Stevenson 295). Lever's nineteenh-century Grand Tour British expatriates travelling through Italy and Austria still comment upon foreign manners and settings, but also develop as characters. The truth of Lever's observations about Continental society comes directly from his settling in Florence during this period. If the novel has a social agenda, it is Lever's oblique criticism of Irish absentee landlords: "once Lever left Dublin for Europe, he really began to engage earnestly with what he feared would be Ireland’s fate" (Skinner 160). Thus, in The Daltons Lever reflects upon the lasting effects of the Irish Famine of the 1840s:
By the early 1850s, Lever had realised that the mythical vision of the landlord-tenant compact, that he had endorsed as a younger man, was no longer possible in light of the massive social upheaval manifested by the Famine, and his novels became increasingly complex, as he continued his mission to explain Ireland to an English market that was less inclined to want to understand. [Skinner 2]
The Phiz illustrations by implication pursue this underlying concern, but maintain their focus on Irish characters on the Continent, with a nod to such spa-related issues as the hydropathic cures available in Austria and the superficial international set that frequented the kinds of resorts which Lever himself visited. Totally lacking, however, are time-consuming but highly effective dark plates that one finds in such serial productions as Lever's Davenport Dunn and Ainsworth's Mervyn Clitheroe. One salient difference is obvious before one even looks fruitlessly for dark plates in The Daltons: this is Phiz's longest program for a Lever novel.
- 1. Frontispiece — Vignette
- 2. Vignette Title
- 3. Hans Enveighs against the "Horrors of War" (Chapter 2)
- 4. The Farewell Kiss (Chapter 3)
- 5. The Wooden Figure (Chapter 5)
- 6. To the rescue (Chapter 7)
- 7. Lady Hester Visits the Wounded (Chapter 9)
- 8. Mr. Alfred Jekyl at Supper (Chapter 11)
- 9. All is not Gold that Glitters (Chapter 14)
- 10. A Small Tea Party (Chapter 14),
- 11. A Hydropathic Remedy (Chapter 19)
- 12. Friendly Advice kindly received (as usual) (Chapter 19)
- 13 Kate and Nina (Chapter 22)
- 14. Mr. Jekyl's Supper Trio (Chapter 23)
- 15. A Midnight reception (Chapter 24)
- 16. The Mesmeric Trance (Chapter 26)
- 17. Lord Norwood (Chapter 27)
- 18. A Fellow Traveller (Chapter 28)
- 19. Punch and Palaver (Chapter 31)
- 20. Mr. Rickette proposes a little walk by moonlight [sic] (Chapter 32)
- 21. Purvis Taking a Survey (Chapter 33)
- 22. Mr. Purvis procures a Chair for Kate (Chapter 33)
- 23. A Floorer (Chapter 36)
- 24. A Fragment of Lace (Chapter 37)
- 25. Purvis caught prying (Chapter 40)
- 26. Grounsell brought to bay (Chapter 40)
- 27. Mr. Ricketts's "Evening at Home" disturbed (Chapter 42)
- 28. Frank Visits his Uncle (Chapter 43)
- 29. The Princess and the Cadet (Chapter 46)
- 30. A Discovery (Chapter 48)
- 31. The Writing Lesson (Chapter 50)
- 32. Teaching the Old Idea how to shoot (Chapter 51)
- 33. The Barricade (Chapter 53)
- 34. The Benediction (Chapter 54)
- 35. Zoe "Overcome" (Chapter 55)
- 36. Zoe doing the affectionate and the maternal (Chapter 57)
- 37. Abel Narrowly escapes Caning (Chapter 58)
- 38. The Queen of Sheba, etc., retires from the Banquet (Chapter 59)
- 39. The Funeral (Chapter 61)
- 40. The Journey (Chapter 62)
- 41. Lola and D'Esmonde (Chapter 65)
- 42. The Wounded Soldier (Chapter 66)
- 43. Alfred making Choice of a Wedding Garment (Chapter 67)
- 44. Norwood's Exit (Chapter 69)
- 45. Black Sam recognised at the Fair (Chapter 73)
- 46. The Return to the Old Country (Chapter 73)
- 47. The Coat (Chapter 78)
- 48. Retribution (Chapter 79)
- The Ornamental Cover (1872)
- Title-page (1872)
- Phiz: "A Good Hand at a Horse" — A Gallery and Brief Overview of Phiz's Illustrations of Horses for Defoe, Dickens, Lever, and Ainsworth (1836-64)
- "Phiz" — artist, wood-engraver, etcher, and printer
- Etching, Wood-engraving, or Lithography in Phiz's Illustrations for A Tale of Two Cities?
- Dark Plate Etchings for Davenport Dunn
- Dark Plate Etchings for Bleak House
- Dark Plate Etchings for Mervyn Clitheroe
Scanned image, colour correction, sizing, caption, and commentary by Philip V. Allingham.
Brown, John Buchanan. Phiz! Illustrator of Dickens' World. New York: Charles Scribner's, 1978.
Burton, Anthony. "Vision and Designs. Review of John Harvey, Victorian Novelists and Their Illustrators. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1970. £3.50." Dickensian, 67.2 (1971): 105-109.
Downey, Edmund. Charles Lever: His Life in Letters. 2 vols. london; William Blackwood, 1906.
Fitzpatrick, W. J. The Life of Charles Lever. London: Downey, 1901.
Harvey, John R. "Conditions of Illustration in Serial Fiction." Victorian Novelists and Their Illustrators. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1970. Pp. 182-198.
Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.
Lever, Charles. The Daltons, or, Three Roads in Life. Illustrated by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1852, rpt. 1872.
Lever, Charles James. The Daltons, or, Three Roads in Life. http://www.gutenberg.org//files/32061/32061-h/32061-h.htm
Skinner, Anne Maria. Charles Lever and Ireland. University of Liverpool. PhD dissertation. May 2019.
Stevenson, Lionel. "The Domestic Scene." The English Novel: A Panorama. Cambridge, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin and Riverside, 1960.
_______. Dr. Quicksilver: The Life of Charles Lever. New York: Russell & Russell, 1939, rpt. 1969.
Sutherland, John. "Davenport Dunn." The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford U. P., 1989. 172.
Created 24 March 2022