The Young Man Was At Her Side Before She Had Crossed The Pavement

The Young Man Was At Her Side Before She Had Crossed The Pavement by George Du Maurier for Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1880).

The illustrator as a presenter of signs must fulfill his promise of such an experience, and not violate the reader's trust by depicting trivial scenes such as that in plate five, even if the caption contains significant information. The illustrator should also avoid tantalizing the reader with red herrings, scenes that seem to hold narrative import, but which, when realized, do not advance the reader's understanding of plot, character, or setting. Such a false step Du Maurier induces the reader to take in plate seven, "The Young Man Was at Her Side Before She Had Crossed the Pavement" (Book III, Ch. 5). Du Maurier's singling out this moment for illustration implies that it will bring to light some plot-line involving Paula's taking her diamond necklace out of the bank, when her only intention is to lend it to Charlotte for the hunt ball. Since, however, the necklace later becomes an important signifier (misconstrued by Somerset as an indication that Paula intends to marry de Stancy after all when the gallant captain employs it as a theatrical property in the amateur production of Love's Labours Lost), Du Maurier would have done better to signal its significance by depicting Paula at her bank, with the curious Somerset watching.

Image scan, caption, and commentary 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.]

Created 11 May 2001

Last modified 31 December 2019