Davenport Dunn: A Man of Our Time, Part 5 (November 1857), Chapter 17, "The 'Pensionnat Godarde,'" facing page 144.by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne), tenth serial illustration for Charles Lever's
This, the tenth serial illustration in Chapter 17 originally appeared as a steel-plate etching; 4 ⅛ by 6 ⅛ inches (10.4 cm high by 15.4 cm wide), vignetted, at the beginning of the fifth number. The story was serialised by Chapman and Hall in monthly parts, from July 1857 through April 1859. The eleventh and twelfth illustrations in the volume initially appeared in reverse order at the very beginning of the fifth monthly instalment, which went on sale on 1 November 1857. This number included Chapters XV through XIX, and ran from page 129 through 160.
Scanned image by Simon Cooke; colour correction, sizing, 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.] Click on the image to enlarge it.
"Daisy dearest, do not be angry with us," cried one, addressing her by the pet name which they best loved to call her.
“I am rather angry with myself that I should leave no better impression behind me. Yes,” added she, in a tone of sadness, “I am going away.”
“Oh, darling Lizzy, — oh, Daisy, don't say so,” broke out so many voices together.
Context of the Illustration: Lizzy's Farewell to Girlhood at the "Pensionnat Godarde"
“Too true! dearest friends,” said she, throwing her arms around those nearest to her. “I only learned it this morning. Madame Godarde came to my room to say papa had written for me, and would come over to fetch me in about a fortnight I ought doubtless to be so happy at the prospect of going home; but I have no mother, — I have not either brother or sister; and here, amidst you, I have every tie that can attach the heart. When shall I ever live again amidst such loving hearts? — when shall life be the happy dream I have felt it here?”
“But think of us, Daisy, forlorn and deserted,” cried one, sobbing.
“Yes, Lizzy,” broke in another, “imagine the day-by-day disappointments that will break on us as we discover that this pleasure or that spot owed its charm to you, — that it was your voice made the air melody, your accents gave the words their feeling! Fancy us as we find out — as find out we must — that the affection we bore you bound us into one sisterhood —”
“Oh,” burst Lizzy in, “do let me carry away some of my heart to him who should have it all, and make not my last moments with you too painful to bear. Remember, too, that it is but a passing separation; we can and we will write to each other. I 'll never weary of hearing all about you and this dear spot. There's not a rosebud opening to the morning air but will bring some fragrance to my heart; and that dear old window! how often shall I sit at it in fancy, and look over the fair plain before us. Bethink you, too, that I am only the first launched into that wide ocean of life where we are all to meet hereafter.”
“And be the dear, dear friends we now are,” cried another. And so they hung upon her neck and kissed her, bathing her soft tresses with their tears, and indulging in all the rapture of that sorrow no ecstasy of joy can equal. [Chapter XVII, "The 'Pensionnat Godarde,'" page 147]
Commentary: The "Princess" is Grog Davis's Daughter
Phiz cleverly synthesizes the opening description of the gardens of the Pensionnat Godarde (originally, "The Chauteau of the Three Fountains") northwest of Brussels with the action centring on "The Princess," who is in fact the angelic daughter of the Irish rogue Captain Grog Davis, seen in interview with Davenport Dunn in the previous chapter. Now summoned home by the doting father whom she barely knows after years away in boarding schools in Cornwall and on the Continent, Lizzy Davis ("Daisy" to her intimates) holds the paternal letter in her hand as she wishes her fellow-students a somber farewell, Phiz has distinguished from the other seven young ladies (there being ten in total at the Pensionnat) by her height and her downcast gaze. That this is Phiz's subject the illustrator leaves no doubt, for he has placed her in the midst of the adolescent beauties, in the middle of the ornate garden full of contrivances, and directly under the weather-vane. Above the extensive hedge that protects the young ladies from the outside world Phiz has placed impressive house-fronts and turrets such as one might have seen in the Low Countries in the nineteenth century. The little windmill (left) and the nereid blowing a trumpet (right) in a gushing fountain serve as metonymies for the elements of "Dutch ingenuity" (156) that Lever describes at the opening of the chapter:
Let us ask our reader to turn for a brief space from these scenes and these actors, and accompany us to that rich plain which stretches to the northwest of Brussels, and where, on the slope of the gentle hill, beneath the royal palace of Lacken, stands a most picturesque old house, known as the Château of the Three Fountains. The very type of a château of the Low Countries, from its gabled fronts, all covered with festooned rhododendron, to its trim gardens, peopled with leaden deities and ornamented by the three fountains to which it owes its name, nothing was wanting. From the plump little figure who blew his trumpet on the weather-vane, to the gaudily gilded pleasure-boat that peeped from amidst the tall water-lilies of the fish-pond, all proclaimed the peculiar taste of a people who loved to make nature artificial, and see the instincts of their own quaint natures reproduced in every copse and hedgerow around them.
All the little queer contrivances of Dutch ingenuity were there, — mock shrubs, which blossomed as you touched a spring; jets, that spurted out as you trod on a certain spot; wooden figures, worked by mechanisms, lowered the drawbridge to let you pass; nor was the toll-keeper forgotten, who touched his cap in salutation. [Chapter XVII, "The 'Pensionnat Godarde,'" p. 156]
Lever does not immediately connect the scene at the Brussels girls' school with the characters in the previous chapter: Mr. Beecher, Captain Grog Davis, and Davenport Dunn. However, he eventually reveals that the tall, handsome girl in the centre of the picture is in fact Lizzy Davis, the rascally Grog's ladylike daughter, brought up with every luxury in a religious school alongside wealthy upper-middle-class girls who aspire to marry into the aristocracy.
Lever, Charles. Davenport Dunn: A Man of Our Day. Illustrated by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1859.
Lever, Charles. Davenport Dunn: The Man of The Day. Illustrated by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, November 1857 (Part V).
Last modified 2 September 20199