'Trotty and his Dinner of Tripe" by Charles Green. (p. 35). 1912. 7.2 x 9.7 cm. Dickens's The Chimes, Pears Centenary Edition, in which the plates have often captions that are different from the titles in the "List of Illustrations" (pp. 15-16). The textual quotation that serves as the caption for this illustration of Trotty eating his dinner on the steps of the old church is "Trotty made no pause in his attack upon the savoury meal before him" ("First Quarter," p. 34, facing the illustration).

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The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and a New Year In (1844) provides no caption for the equivalent illustration by Richard Doyle, but has the following title in the "List of Illustrations": The Dinner on the Steps ("First Quarter," p. ​1​). Green's Meg is a more noble, intellectual type than her adolescent counterpart in the 1844 series, and the 1912 illustrator has been careful to make both Meg and her father seem more normative to middle-class readers.

Passage Illustrated

While this discourse was holding, Trotty made no pause in his attack upon the savoury meat before him, but cut and ate, and cut and drank, and cut and chewed, and dodged about, from tripe to hot potato, and from hot potato back again to tripe, with an unctuous and unflagging relish. But happening now to look all round the street — in case anybody should be beckoning from any door or window, for a porter — his eyes, in coming back again, encountered Meg: sitting opposite to him, with her arms folded and only busy in watching his progress with a smile of happiness. 0 ["First Quarter," pp. 34-36, 1912 edition]


The scene expands the original Doyle scene. Whereas Doyle subordinated the figures of father and daughte to the Gothic lantern of the mediaeval edifice in order to contrast the timeless world of the goblins of the bells and the all-too-brief existence of the mortals beneath, Green has focussed entirely upon the domestic scene. He has captured exactly Meggy Veck's expression of cheerful concern in her dialogue with her father, who seems to be far more concerned with his dinner at this point. Her patterned shawl, respectable dress, and serviceable bonnet are hardly consistent with Trotty's being a poor ticket-porter, and one has little sense that neither father or daughter is suffering from the cold wind blowing vigorously up the street (probably Fleet Street before the thoroughfare was widened in the 1840s).

Illustrations from the first edition (1844), and the American (1876) and British Household Edition (1878)

Left: Richard Doyle's juxtaposing of the church lantern and the figures on the steps, The Dinner on the Steps. Right: Fred Barnard's study of​Trotty and his beautiful daughter, "No," said Toby after another sniff. "It's — It's mellower than Polonies."


Dickens, Charles. The Chimes. Introduction by Clement Shorter. Illustrated by Charles Green. The Pears' Centenary Edition. London: A & F Pears, [?1912].

Dickens, Charles. The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and a New Year In. Illustrated by John Leech, Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield, and Daniel Maclise. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1844.

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books​. Illustrated by​Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.

_____. Christmas Stories​. Illustrated by​ E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.

Last modified 31 March 2015