Redlaw and the Phantom

Johnny and Moloch

John Leech


Plate 14 from Dickens's The Haunted Man (p. 145)

The spectre's discussion of the Boy's emotional deprivation precedes Leech's humorous sketch of Johnny struggling to hold his infant-sister as his father removes the shutters from the shop's windows; as the text above proclaims, "The Tetterbys were up, and doing" (145). In contrast to the Tetterby children, the urchin of the street "is the growth of man's indifference" (Penguin 328). In the plate, Leech has conflated two different moments, for Mr. Tetterby has taken down the shutters before Johnny "staggered up and down with his charge before the shop door" (Penguin 330). The artist may be implying that the job of children should be to look after and interact socially with other children rather than labouring in mines and factories, the producers and consumers of coal. To Victorian readers the very modern exterior of the shop and the lamp would have been reminders that this is a contemporary and middle-class fairytale.