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The Posthumous Papers Of
London: Chapman & Hall, LD.
The first Day's Journey, and the first Evening's Adventures; with their Consequences
A new Acquaintance. — The Stroller's Tale. A disagreeable Interruption; and an unpleasant Recontre
A Field-day and Bivouac — More new Friends; and an Invitation to the Country
A short one — showing, among other Matters, how Mr. Pickwick undertook to drive, and Mr. Winkle to ride; and how they both did it
An old-fashioned Card Party. The Clergyman's Verses. The Story of the Convict's Return
How Mr. Winkle, instead of shooting at the Pigeon and killing the Crow, shot at the Crow and wounded the Pigeon; how the Dingley Dell Cricket Club played All Muggleton, and how All Muggleton dined at the Dingley Dell expense with other interesting and instructive Matters
Strongly illustrative of the Position, that the Course of True Love is not a Railway
A Discovery and a Chase
Clearing up all Doubt (if any existed) of the Disinterestedness of Mr. Jingle's Character .
Involving another Journey, and an Anticost Discovery. Recording Mr. Pickwick's Determination to be present at an Election; and containing a Manuscript of the old Clergyman's
Descriptive of a very important Proceeding on the Part of Mr. Pickwick; no less an Epoch in his Life, than in this History
Some Account of Eatanswill; of the State of Parties therein; and of the Election of a Member to serve in Parliament for that ancient, loyal, and patriotic Borough
Comprising a brief Description of the Company at the Peacock assembled; and a Tale told by a Bagman
In which is given a faithful Portraiture of the distinguished Mr. Persons; and an accurate Description of a Public Breakfast in the House and Grounds; which Public Breakfast leads to the Recognition of an old Acquaint., and the commencement of another Chapter
Too full of Adventure to be briefly described
Showing that an Attack of Rheumatism, in some cases, acts as a Quickener to Inventive Genius
Briefly illustrative of two Points;—first, the Power of Hysterics,and, secondly, the Force of Circumstances
A pleasant Day, with an unpleasant Termination.
Showing how Dodson and Fogg were Men of Business, and their Clerks Men of Pleasure ; and how an affecting Interview took place between Mr. Weller and his long-lost Parent; showing also what Choice Spirits assembled at the Magpie and Stump, and what a capital Chapter the neat One will be .
In which the Old Man launches forth into his favourite Theme,and relates a Story about a queer Client
Mr. Pickwick journeys to Ipswich, and meets with a romantic Adventure with a middle-aged Lady in Yellow Curl Papers
In which Mr. Samuel Weller begins to devote his Energies to the Return Match between himself and Mr. Trotter
Wherein Mr. Pater Magnus grows jealous, and the middle-aged Lady apprehensive, which brings the Pickwickians within the grasp of the Law
Showing, among a variety of pleasant Matters, how majestic and impartial Mr. Nupkins was; and how Mr. Weller returned Mr. Job Trotter's Shuttlecock, as heavily as it came. With another Matter, which will be found in its Place
Which contains a brief Account of the Progress of the Action of Bardell against Pickwick
Samuel Weller makes a Pilgrimage to Dorking, and beholds his Mother-in-law
A good-humoured Christmas Chapter, containing an Amount of a Wedding, and some other Sports beside which although in their way, even as good Customs as Marriage itself, are not quite so religiously kept up, in these degenerate Times
The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton
How the Pickwickian made and cultivated the Acquaintance of a couple of nice Young Men belonging to one of the Liberal Professions; how they disported themselves on the Ice; and how their first Visit came to a conclusion
Which is all about the Law, and sundry Great Authorities
Describes, far more fully than the Court Newsman ever did, a Bachelor's Party given by Mr. Bob Sawyer at his lodgings
Mr. Weller the elder delivers some Critical Sentiments respecting Literary composition; and, assisted by his son Samuel, pays small Installment of Retaliation to the account of the Reverend Gentleman with the Red Nose
Is wholly devoted to a full and faithful Report of the memorable Trial of Barden against Pickwick
In which Mr. Pickwick thinks he had better go to Bath; and goes
Tho chief features of which, will be found to be an authentic Version of the Legend of Prince Bladed, and a most extraordinary Calamity that befell Mr. Winkle
Honourably account for Mr. Weller's Absence, by describing a Soiree to which he was invited, and went; also relates how he was entrusted by Mr. Pickwick with a Private Mission of Delicacy and Importance
How Mr. Winkle, when he stepped out of the Frying-pan, walked gently and comfortably into the Fire
Mr. Samuel Weller, being entrusted with a Mission of Love, proceeds to execute it; with what success will hereinafter appear
Introduces Mr. Pickwick to a new, and not uninteresting Scene, in the great Drama of Life
What befell Mr. Pickwick when he got into the Fleet; what Prisoners he saw there; and how he passed the Night
Illustrative, like the preceding one, of the old Proverb that Adversity brings a Man acquainted with strange Bed-fellows. Likewise containing Mr. Pickwick's extraordinary and startling announcement to Mr. Samuel Weller
Showing how Mr. Samuel Weller got into Difficulties
Treats of divers little Matters which occurred in the Fleet, and of Mr. Winkle's mysterious Behaviour; and shows how the Poor Chancery Prisoner obtained his Release at last
Descriptive of an Affecting Interview between Mr. Samuel Weller and a Family Party. Mr. Pickwick makes a Tour of the diminutive World he inhabits, and resolves to mix with it, in future, as little as possible
Records a touching Act of delicate Feeling, not unmixed with Pleasantry, achieved and performed by Messrs. Dodson and Fogg
Is chiefly devoted to Matters of Business, and the temporal Advantage of Dodson and Fogg. Mr. Winkle re-appears under extraordinary circumstances. Mr. Pickwick's Benevolence proves stronger then his Obstinacy
Relates how Mr. Pickwick, with the assistance of Samuel Weller, essayed to soften the heart of Mr. Benjamin Allen, and to mollify the wrath of Mr. Robert Sawyer
Containing the Story of the Bagman's Uncle
How Mr. Pickwick sped upon his Mission, and how he was reinforced, in the Outset, by a most unexpected Auxiliary
In which Mr. Pickwick encounters an old Acquaintance. To which fortunate circumstance the Reader is mainly indebted for matter of thrilling interest herein set down, concerning two great Public Men of might and power
Involving a serious Change in the Weller Family, and the untimely Downfall of the red-nosed Mr. Stiggins
Comprising the final Exit of Mr. Jingle and Job Trotter; with a Great Morning of Business in Greys Inn Square. Concluding with a Double Knock at Mr. Perker's door
Containing some Particulars relative to the Double Knock, and other Matters, among which certain Interesting Disclosures relative to Mr. Snodgrass and a Young Lady are by no means irrelevant to this History
Mr. Solomon Pell, assisted by a Select Committee of Coachmen, arrange the Affairs of the elder Mr. Weller
An important Conference takes place between Mr. Pickwick and Samuel Weller, at which his Parent assists. An old Gentleman in a snuff-coloured Suit arrives unexpectedly
In which the Pickwick Club is finally dissolved, and everything concluded to the satisfaction of everybody
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
The beginning of Pickwick was thus fortuitous. It was written from number to number, with the Printer's Devil at the door. Dickens was married, settled, and lost his dear friend, his wife's sister Mary, while the story went on. The old parable of the sad face behind the jester's mask was once more made real. A work thus begun, and thus carried out, interrupted, too, in the manner of Smollett and Fielding, by episodic stories, could not have a regular plan, a preordained plot, or a very consistent development of character. Dickens meant the book, from the first, for a picaresque tale, after the manner of Le Sage and Smollett. What he intended it to be, that he made it, and Pickwick is one in a legitimate and historic genre of novels. The Club is allowed to drop out of view; Mr. Pickwick's character acquires a sort of seriousness, and gains on the author. The hero ceases to be a scientific butt, and becomes the sane, benevolent, and chivalrous Don Quixote of England, with his Sancho Weller.
People say that Dickens "could not draw a gentleman." Except in the heraldic sense, Mr. Pickwick is as much a gentleman as the Baron Bradwardine. He is courteous, gallant, considerate, generous, kind, charitable, and courageous. He has his foibles; so has the Baron. Both gentlemen have been known to tarry over the wine-cup or the punch-bowl at the Rochester inn, or in the change-house of Tully Veolan. The amount of alcoholic beverages consumed in Pickwick is undeniably startling. That our grandfathers were so often drunk is incredible, but convivial intoxication was still regarded as a thing humorous in itself, as it obviously was by Burns and his contemporaries, That we have reached a more civilised view is owing chiefly, perhaps, to cigarettes; partly to the Temperance movement, of which, as exhibited in Brick Lane, Dickens was not an admirer. His nature was convivial, not intemperate, and his eternal punch and brandy and water ("hot," "cold without," or "luke") is a mere symbol of conviviality. The intoxication is a phrase, a tradition of mistaken humour, handed on from the hard drinkers of the eighteenth century. It is, besides, a mechanical device for getting Mr. Pickwick into otherwise impossible quandaries. The great man himself is a study of the humours of mastership and discipleship. He reminds us now of Socrates, now a Dr. Johnson (who at one time, like Socrates, could take his liquor like a hero); now, if one may say so, of the late Master of Balliol. Wise in counsel (as to Mr. Peter Magnus) even in matters on which he had only reflected as a disinterested student of life, Mr. Pickwick can administer a firm snub on occasion. Yet (as, in the adventure of the Girls' School) Mr. Pickwick's warmth of heart overcomes the dictates of his speculative reason. Where he sees wrong, or distress, or meanness, Mr. Pickwick has the prompt feelings of a child—is "as one of these." About his early experiences we are left in doubt. Had Mr. Pickwick loved? It is natural to believe it, but he had never proposed—"never!" His heart, however bruised, was neither broken nor embittered. Thus, in the kindly intellect of Dickens, Mr. Pickwick mellowed and matured. Where had Dickens seen any one like this genial sage? No answer is suggested, but possibly Don Quixote, and Dr. Johnson when bound for a frolic with Beauclerk and Langton, may have lent suggestions. Sam Weller, too, is a kind of Sancho, with his proverbs and his anecdotes; also a kind of Greatheart, leading the Pilgrims through a world by them not very distinctly realised. The introduction of Sam gave the book its first bound into popularity. The disciples had their characters marked for them by the original conception; they were the Poet, the Sportsman, and the Lover. Sam Iives absolutely original and beguiling.
For the rest, the book already shows all Dickens's characteristics. Humour, high spirit, pronounced middle-class Liberalism, hatred of abuses (as of the Factory system), contempt for the "Talking Shop," knowledge of life in walks untrodden by romance, fantastic supernaturalism, pathos, and the black gloom of Dismal Jemmy, are all present in Pickwick. Here is even the love of locomotion, and of walking twenty-five miles after a wedding breakfast.
England was enraptured. Pickwick was in every hand, in every mouth. Men called for it on their death-beds. This was all before culture came and the thin film of sham refinement now spread over abysses of literary ignorance and critical imbecility. Pickwick is now distasteful to readers who would find Smollett and Fielding at least as little to their minds, but who have never lived with Dickens's masters, Fielding and Smollett. His temperament is unintelligible to young scribes who gloomily peruse Tolstoi in French. He is disdainfully called a caricaturist, as if there were no room in life and art for broad, yet genial, caricature. The young lady in fur-topped boots is now dismissed as "second-rate;" Dickens never meant her to be other than she is. Above all, Dickens is now antiquated, as Homer also is. His youth is separated from us by a gulf greater than that which separates him from Smo/lett. He is not disilluded, like all of us wise moderns. He is practically prior to steam, electricity, the labour movement, popular education. "Naturalism," and the shadow of Darwinism, have not fallen upon him. Science is to him a joke. He is not literary; he does not sedulously beat the bush for "the right word," and pathetically fail to start the hare. In fact, Pickwick is not a book of a man of to-day, and culture has reached such a pitch of knowingness, as to be wholly out of sympathy with everything that is not contemporary.
Not only in things intellectual, but in social customs and material affairs, the breach between us and Mr. Pickwick's world is enormous. We, for example, are, at least, permitted to rest undisturbed in our graves. But it is only too probable that the "subject" in whom Mr. Allen and Mr. Robert Sawyer subscribed for shares, was supplied by a professional body-snatcher, such as Dickens drew in A Tale of Two Cities. In 1832 legislation contrived a measure which ruined those "honest tradesmen," the Resurrectionists, but Bob Sawyer and Ben Allen lived in the palmy days of Burke and Here, when mortsafes were invented, and iron coffins were in use, and the villagers of Darnick guarded Lady Scott's tomb in Dryburgh. These facts throw rather a lurid light on the medical student of the period.
Quite as remote from modern practice are Grummer and his posse comitatus, and the elegant crown on his mace at Ipswich. The old-fashioned watchman guarded nocturnal London in Mr. Dickens's day, as in Shakespeare's. Almost the earliest of the present Editor's recollections is the hearing of the watchman's cry, "Four o'clock, and a misty morning!" in Aberdeen. The watch has gone, and nobody boxes it ; nobody "mills a Charlie;" nobody dresses like the watch, and wakes the sleeping City with the yell, "Three o'clock, and an earthquake!"—a simple pastime of our ancestors. The City itself is an altered scene. Oysters are no longer the cheap consolation of poverty, but the costly and infrequent adornment of rich men's tables. The simple bivalve has fallen under the suspicion of sanitary science, for we allow doctors to tell us what to avoid. In Mr. Pickwick's day, no man cared a doit for sanitary science, and the hero himself fears nothing but lemon in milk-punch. The mere phrase, "half price at the theatre," "by himself surprises." Half price is as extinct as the picturesque contemporary custom of hanging men in chains. Mr. Pickwick may often have seen a man hanged in chains; he may even, like Rogers, have seen Townley's head on Temple Bar. And Temple Bar, too, has gone, with many a place which Mr. Pickwick knew. Cheapside is a new Cheapside, not that familiar to Mr. Pickwick and to George de Barnwell. Queen Victoria Street and the Holborn Viaduct have clean abolished the old houses that rose thereabouts after the Great Fire. It has been justly observed that Goswell Street is now no place for Mr. Pickwick's habitation, nor would Mr. Allen "knock double knocks on the door of the Borough Market." The inns where Mr. Pickwick took his ease in the City are no more to be found than that wherein the mad Prince drank with Poins and the Fat Knight; even Leadenhall Market is swept and garnished. The middle classes about Mr. Pickwick's time instituted their oldest clubs, such as the Athenaeum and Sidney Scraper's Club, where, as her Majesty's Guards truly observed, the middle classes "do themselves very well." Mr. Winkle would now belong to the Isthmian, or the Sports; Mr. Snodgrass to the Savile, among the other poets. Garraway's itself is gone, Troda fuit, and nobody dines at a tavern except American admirers of Dr. Johnson. Bath has, more or less, come into repute again, but it is not Mr. Pickwick's or Miss Austen's Bath, and Mr. Bantam shares the same repose as Beau Nosh; while Mr. Wardle is as dead as Squire Western, and the daughter of a Mr. Wardle would never dream of passing her nuptial night in her father's house, as Mrs. Trundle does. Blazer no longer carries a tall brass-headed stick; "Bails" have vanished with serjeants-at-law; and the Fleet was pulled down ten years after Pickwick appeared. The tortoise-shell lancets of the young surgeons are out of use, and an amazing number of new scientific instruments has usurped their place. Some of the ancient Inns of Court have been improved off the face of the earth, and endless miles of stucco now occupy the ancient green fields. In brief, Mr. Pickwick would be lost in London, and feel himself, among New Women, as forlorn as a revivified mummy of the ancient Empire. The railway has made him and his voyages anachronisms; his liquor he would not be allowed to obtain without reproach; his garb is as antiquated as chain-mail. With Mr. Pickwick we inhabit "another world than ours."
Nevertheless, the world reads and quotes Mr. Pickwick. He and his friends have entered into the national memory; we cannot but quote Pickwick on many an opportune occasion. As Mr. Forster writes, "When faith is lost in that possible combination of eccentricities and benevolences, shrewdness and simplicity, good sense and jollity, all that suggests the ludicrous and nothing that suggests contempt for it, . . . the mistake committed will not be one of merely critical misjudgment."
The mistake can only occur when humour and good humour have ceased to be national qualities. The one thing which we regret about Pickwick is that Scott did not like to read it, and to welcome the successor, so unlike himself, who, like himself, gave England so many happy days.
I have seen various accounts of the origin of these Pickwick Papers, which have, at all events, possessed—for me—the charm of perfect novelty. As I may infer, from the occaional appearance of such histories, that my readers have an nterest in the matter, I will relate how they came into existence.
I was a young man of two or three-and-twenty, when Messrs. Chapman and Hall, attracted by some pieces I was at that time writing in the Morning Chronicle newspaper, or had just written in the Old Monthly Magazine (of which one series had lately been collected and published in two volumes, illustrated by Mr. George Cruikshank); waited upon me to propose a something that should be published in shilling numbers—then only known to me, or, I believe, to anybody else, by a dim recollection of certain interminable novels in that form, which used to be carried about the country by pedlars, and over some of which I remember to have shed innumerable tears before I had served my apprenticeship to Life.
When I opened my door in Fumivad's Inn to the partner who represented the firm, I recognised in him the person from whose hands I had bought, two or three years previously, and whom I had never seen before or since, my first copy of the Magazine in which my first effusion—a paper in the "Sketches," called Mr. Minns and his Cousin—dropped stealthily one evening at twilight, with fear and trembling, into a dark letter-box, in a dark office, up a dark court in Fleet Street—appeared in all the glory of print; on which occasion I walked down to Westminster Hall, and turned into it for half-an-hour, because my eyes were so dimmed with joy and pride, that they could not bear the street, and were not fit to be seen there. I told my visitor of the coincidence, which we both hailed as a good omen; and so fell to business.
The idea propounded to me, was, that the monthly something should be a vehicle for certain plates to be executed by Mr. Seymour; and there was a notion, either on the part of that admirable humorous artist, or of my visitor, that a "Nimrod Club," the members of which were to go out shooting, fishing, and so forth, and getting themselves into difficulties through their want of dexterity, would be the best means of introducing these. I objected, on consideration, that although born and partly bred in the country I was no great sportsman, except in regard of all kinds of locomotion; that the idea was not novel, and had been already much used; that it would be infinitely better for the plates to arise naturally out of the text; and that I would like to take my own way, with a freer range of English scenes and people, and was afraid I should ultimately do so in any case, whatever course I might prescribe to myself at starting. My views being deferred to, I thought of Mr. Pickwick, and wrote the first number; from the proof sheets of which, Mr. Seymour made his drawing of the Club, and his happy portrait of its founder:--the latter on Mr. Edward Chapman's description of the dress and bearing of a real personage whom he had often seen. I connected Mr. Pickwick with a club, because of the original suggestion, and I put in Mr. Winkle expressly for the use of Mr. Seymojr. We started with a number of twenty-four pages instead of thirty-two, and four illustrations in lieu of a couple. Mr. Seymour's sudden and lamented death before the second number was published, brought about a quick decision upon a point already in agitation; the number became one of thirty-two pages with only two illustrations, and remained so to the end.
It is with great unwillingness that I notice some intangible and incoherent assertions which have been made, professedly on behalf of Mr. Seymour, to the effect that he had some share in the invention of this book, or of anything in it, not faithfully described in the foregoing paragraph. With the moderation that is due equally to my respect for the memory of a brother-artist, and to my self-respect, I confine myself to placing on record here the facts:
That, Mr. Seymour never originated or suggested an incident, a phrase, or a word, to be found in this book. That,Mr. Seymour died when only twenty-four pages of this hook were published, and when assuredly not forty-eight were written. That, I believe I never saw Mr. Seymour's hand-writing in my life. That, I never saw Mr. Seymour but once in my life, and that was on the night but one before his death, when he certainly; offered no suggestion whatsoever. That I saw him then in the presence of two persons, both living, perfectly acquainted with all these facts, and whose written testimony to them I possess. Lastly, that Mr. Edward Chapman (the survivor of the original firm of Chapman and Hall) has set down in writing, for similar preservation, his personal knowledge of the origin and progress of this book, of the monstrosity of the baseless assertions in question, and (tested by details) even of the self-evident impossibility of there being any truth in them. In the exercise of the forbearance on which I have resolved, I do not quote Mr. Edward Chapman's account of his deceased partner's reception, on a certain occasion, of the pretences in question.
"Boz,” my signature in the Morning Chronicle. and in the Old Monthly Magazine, appended to the monthly cover of this book, and retained long afterwards, was the nickname of a pet child, a younger brother, whom I had dubbed Moses, in honour of the Vicar of Wakefield; which being facetiously pronounced through the nose, became Boses, and being shortened, became Boz. Boz was a very familiar household word to me, long before I was an author, and so I came to adopt it.
It has been observed of Mr. Pickwick, that there is a decided change in his character, as these pages proceed, and that he becomes more good and more sensible. I do not think this change will appear forced or unnatural to my readers, if they will reflect that in real life the peculiarities and oddities of a man who has anything whimsical about him, generally impress us first, and that it is not until we are better acquainted with him that we usually begin to look below these superficial traits, and to know the better part of him.
Lest there should be any well-intentioned persons who do not perceive the difference (as some such could not, when Old Mortality was newly published), between religion and the cant of religjon, piety and the pretence of piety, a humble reverence for the great truths of Scripture and an audacious and offensive obtrusion of its letter and not its spirit in the commonest dissensions and meanest affairs of life, to the extraordinary confusion of ignorant minds, let them understand that it is always the latter, and never the former, which is satirized here. Further, that the latter is here satirized as being, according to all experience, inconsistent with the former, impossible of union with it, and one of the most evil and mischievous falsehoods existent in society—whether it establish its head-quarters, for the time being, in Exeter Hall, or Ebenezer Chapel, or both. It may appear unnecessary to offer a word of observation on so plain a head. But it is never out of season to protest against that coarse familiarity with sacred things which is busy on the lip, and idle in the heart or against the confounding of Christianity with any class of persons who, in the words of Swift, have just enough religion to make them hate, and not enough to make them love, one another.
I have found it curious and interesting, looking over the sheets of this reprint, to mark what important social improvements have taken place about us, almost imperceptibly, since they were originally written. The licence of Counsel, and the degree to which Juries are ingeniously bewildered, are yet susceptible of moderation; while an improvement in the mode of conducting Parliamentary Elections (and even Parliaments too, perhaps) is still within the bounds of possibility. But legal reforms have pared the claws of Messrs. Dodson and Fogg; a spirit of self-respect, mutual forbearance, education, and co-operation for such good ends, has diffused itself among their clerks ; places far apart are brought together, to the present convenience and advantage of the Public, and to the certain destruction, in time, of a host of petty jealousies, blindnesses, and prejudices, by which the Public alone have always been the sufferers; the laws relating to imprisonment for debt are altered; and the Fleet Prison is pulled down!
Who knows, but by the time the series reaches its conclusion, it may be discovered that there are even magistrates in town and country, who should be taught to shake hands every day with Common-sense and Justice; that even Poor Laws may have mercy on the weak, the aged, and unfortunate; that Schools, on the broad principles of Christianity, are the best adornment for the length and breadth of this civilised land; that Prison-doors should be barred on the outside, no less heavily and carefully than they are barred within; that the universal diffusion of common means of decency and health is as much the right of the poorest of the poor, as it is indispensable to the safety of the rich, and of the State; that a few petty boards and bodies—less than drops in the great ocean of humanity, which roars around them—are not for ever to let loose Fever and Consumption on God's creatures at their will, or always to keep their jobbing little fiddles going, for a Dance of Death.