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The Works of Charles Dickens

In Thirty-four Volumes.

WITH INTRODUCTIONS, GENERAL ESSAY, AND NOTES
BY ANDREW LANG.

VOL. XXVI.



SKETCHES BY BOZ.

VOL. I.



Printed from the Edition that teas carefully corrected ly the Author-
in 1867 and 1868.




k. Hall Ltd II Henrietta Street



SKETCHES BY BOZ



Illustrative of Every-Day Life
and Every-Day People



By CHARLES DICKENS



WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY

ANDREW LANG



In Two Vols. Vol. I.
WITH THE ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS



NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1900



Stack

Annex

fie



INTRODUCTION.



DICKENS was a young reporter for the press when he wrote
the story of " Mr. Minns and his Cousin " in this volume, the
earliest of his pieces. Forster had already seen him, when
Dickens headed a strike of reporters on The True Sun, for
which Forster wrote. "At this dread moment," Dickens^s
"keen animation of look would have arrested attention any-
where." Two years later, aged twenty-three, Dickens became
a reporter for The Morning- Chronicle. Late in 1833 he
dropped the moving legend of Mr. Minns "into a dark
letter-box, in a dark office, up a dark court in Fleet Street.""
In January, 1834, Mr. Minns appeared in The Old Monthly
Magazine, and, says Dickens, "I walked down to West-
minster 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." He
had bought the magazine at a shop in the Strand, and the
person from whom he had bought it was the same who, two
years later, proposed to him the scheme of Pickwick. Mean-
while Dickens was learning, in reporting work, to write
the chapter on that theme in David Copperfield. He was
also contributing his sketches to the Monthly Magazine.
His signature, " Boz," was derived from Boses = Moses, the
i b



vi INTRODUCTION.

nickname of his youngest brother, Augustus. The pieces in
the Monthly Magazine had been unsoiled by gold, for, indeed,
the editor was unable to pay for contributions. No con-
tributor could be very long content with the mere honours
of print. Dickens had paid his entrance fee in letters by
these gratuities, and he transferred his later studies to a
kind of evening offshoot of The Morning- Chronicle, with
which Mr. George Hogarth, of a Border family, was connected.
The Chronicle raised Dickens"s salary from five to seven
guineas a week : the days of 1000 for George Silvermari's
Explanation were far away in the future, but, to Dickens,
seven guineas a week was affluence. Mr. Black, the editor,
was Dickens^s "first hearty out-and-out appreciator," but the
papers attracted a good deal of attention.

In the beginning of 1836 Dickens collected the sketches in
two volumes. They were published by a Mr. Macrone, who
had also dealings of the usual hapless kind with the Ettrick
Shepherd. Mr. Forster publishes some chatter of Mr. N. P.
Willis about a visit which he and Macrone paid to Dickens
in his rooms. The child of the untrammelled West was struck
by Dickens's obsequiousness to the opulent patron and pub-
lisher, Macrone. The author was attired like Mr. Richard
Swiveller (which proves that Willis was, writing long after
the event) ; his hair was cropped close (later he wore it of
luxuriant length) ; he was shabby, collarless, and buttoned up.
If all this had been true, how dignified is the attitude of
Mr. Willis in publishing what Mr. Forster calls " this kind
of garbage " ! But " hardly a word of it " is true ; for Mr.
Willis was a poet as well as a man of exquisitely refined
taste, and his fancy appears to have run away with him.
Dickens had unwittingly undergone his first American inter-
viewer. Nature is very " careful of the type."



INTRODUCTION. ^ vii

The sketches had just appeared, when Pickwick was
announced ; and, on April 2, 1836, Dickens married
Catherine, the daughter of his friend, Mr. George Hogarth.
In a preface to the Sketches, Dickens said that he was re-
joiced to have the help of Cruikshank, an artist who now
seems, as a rule, to please only a special public of collectors.
The book was applauded before the numbers of Pickwick
began to make their extraordinary mark. Mr. Forster thinks
that Dickens underrated the Sketches ; but there is, indeed, a
wide gulf between them and the almost contemporary Pick-
Kick, in which he first " found himself. 11 The Sketches do
not display a novel genius of unsurpassed exuberance and
richness. One can hardly say, with Mr. Forster, that the
humour of the Sketches is " unforced ; " nor was the kind of
life described "between the middle class and the low," a
thing previously unobserved in literature. The manner of
the Sketches is usually the light magazine manner of the
period a fashion that has passed away.

Dickens had trouble with the Sketches, as Macrone, moved
by the popularity of Pickwick, began to republish them in
monthly parts, in the Pickwick form. Dickens asked Forster
to remonstrate, and appeal to Macrone's *' feelings of
common honesty." Mr. Macrone was inaccessible to this
kind of argument, and would not sell his copyright under
dP2000. Messrs. Chapman and Hall, in association with
Dickens, ransomed at this price the unlucky Sketches; but
Mr. Macrone did not come to a good end died very poor
in a short time, and left a widow and orphans whom
Dickens generously befriended.

Among the Sketches, the earliest, "Mr. Minns and his
Cousin," is one of the best, for there is a mischievous joy in
the series of misfortunes which befall a middle-aged and



viii INTRODUCTION.

meticulous Government clerk perils of rude dogs, long
trudges, suburban hospitality, speeches, and precocious
children. One feels for Mr. Minns among the boisterous
revellers, invaded in his calm retreat, obliged to perspire in
dusty unknown ways, and to share the festival of the vulgar
and rapacious, ending with a long cold walk home in a very
wet night. The groans of Timothy Testy, in a once popular
work, may have supplied the model, but the observation is
the author's own.

The book contains much of Dickens's matter, still some-
what in the rough, and without much promise of his manner
and his exuberant mirth. The manner is, naturally, that
of other essayists in the contemporary periodicals. Some
of the matter reappeared in shape more mature, such as
*' Doctors 1 Commons,'" to be more adequately celebrated
in David Copperfield (see note on "Doctors' 1 Commons'" in
David Copperfield). It seems almost incredible that, sixty
years ago, this Court could "excommunicate," as in those
old days of "The Penny Curse, 1 ' at which, Knox says, the
Scots had begun to laugh even before the Reformation.
The history of Excommunication, the awful world-shaking
weapon of popes and prelates, the cruel form of boycotting
practised by persecuting Presbyteries, the stroke which
Cargill aimed at Charles II., ends with laughter when Mr.
Sludberry asks the Court to excommunicate him for the
term of his natural life, and to forgive him the costs. To
this had fallen the spiritual sword of Hildebrand and Becket ;
the blade with which Archbishop Kennedy slew the Earl of
Crawford. It is mocked at by Mr. Sludberry, and is as
extinct as the interesting cab of the period, and the driver
of the bright red cabriolet. A foretaste of Dickens's humour
appears in Mr. Bill Boorker, or " Aggerawatin Bill, 11 the



INTRODUCTION. ix

pirate of the omnibus, who " took more old gentlemen and
ladies to Paddington that wanted to go to the Bank, and
more old ladies and gentlemen to the Bank who wanted to
go to Paddington, than any six men on the road." The
world has seen "The Last Buccaneer" of the omnibus
species. In " Astley's," too, we meet the true Dickens; and
Miss Woolford, the " Donna Inez Woolfordinez," of Bon
Gaultiers imitation of Lockharfs Spanish Ballads. In the
illustrations you still see this bewitching creature, and the
great Gomercalez, and Widdicombe, the Master of the Ring.
Already Dickens has his eye on the shabby cabotms : he
preludes to Mr. Wopsle, and, in "Private Theatres," gives
the actual recipe for that heroic combat for two, with broad-
swords, which thrills every heart when it is exhibited by the
Messrs. Crummies. But to read this sketch, and then to
read the Crummies chapters, is to marvel at the leap which
the genius of Dickens made, from mere observation into an
affluence of sympathy and comedy. The " Parliamentary
Sketch," with " Honest Tom " (now we have " Honest John "),
and with " that young Macaulay," is matter for some future
Macaulay, writing the history of our century. Surely there
is no "daffing" now, no romping with Jane, in a serious legis-
lative assembly ? Gone is Jack-in-the-Green, too ; we only
read about his extraordinary religious history in Mr. Frazer's
Golden Bougli

" Where's Troy, and where's the Maypole in the Strand ? "

There is a hint of the future Fagin in the essay on
Newgate ; the germs of half a dozen tales and chapters are
in "A Christmas Dinner," and the whole of the Carol
philosophy is tersely put in the heterodox concluding
sentence. All through the book there is as much of the



x INTRODUCTION.

gloom as of the glory of Dickens ; into Thackeray's " dread-
ful, dreadful Poor Man's Country" he has travelled, and
brings us terrible reports of hunger, squalor, and drink, at
once a consequence and a cause of misery.

Thus the Sketches are, essentially, Dickensian, but they
are the work of a Dickens not yet certain of his method,
not yet born into the magnificent fulness and freshness of
his power. Pickzvicl; surely, must have been as great a
surprise to him as to the world.

ANDREW LANG.



PREFACE.



THE whole of these Sketches were written and published, one
by one, when I was a very young man. They were collected
and republished while I was still a very young man ; and
sent into the world with all their imperfections (a good
many) on their heads.

They comprise my first attempts at authorship with the
exception of certain tragedies achieved at the mature age of
eight or ten, and represented with great applause to overflow-
ing nurseries. I am conscious of their often being extremely
crude and ill-considered, and bearing obvious marks of haste
and inexperience ; particularly in that section of the present
volume which is comprised under the general head of Tales.

But as this collection is not originated now, and was very
leniently and favourably received when it was first made, I
have not felt it right either to remodel or expunge, beyond
a few words and phrases here and there.



CONTENTS OF YOL. I.



OUR PARISH.



CHAPTER I.

J-AGB

The Beadle. The Parish Engine. The Schoolmaster ... 1

CHAPTER II.

The Curate. The Old Lady. The Half-pay Captain ... 8

CHAPTER III.
The Four Sisters 15

CHAPTER IV.

The Election for Beadle 21

CHAPTER V.
The Broker's Man . 29

CHAPTER VI.

The Ladies' Societies -40

CHAPTER VIL
Our Next-door Neighbour



x iv CONTENTS.

SCENES.

CHAPTER I.
The Streets Morning



CHAPTER II.
The Streets Night G2

CHAPTER III.

Shops and their Tenants . . . . .

CHAPTER IV.
Scotland-yard . ...... 75

CHAPTER V.

Seven Dials . . . , 81

CHAPTER VI.

Meditations in Monmouth-street 87

CHAPTER VII.
Hackney-coach Stands 95

CHAPTER VIII.
Doctors' Commons ......... 100

CHAPTER IX.
London Recreations 107

CHAPTER X.
The River .... 113



CONTENTS. xv



CHAPTER XL

PAOB

Astley's 121



CHAPTER XII.
Greenwich Fair 129

CHAPTER XIII.
Private Theatres 139

CHAPTER XIV.

Vauxhall -gardens by Day 147

CHAPTER XV.

Early Coaches 154

CHAPTER XVI.

Omnibuses . . . . . . . . . , . 161

CHAPTER XVII.

The Last Cab-driver, and the First Omnibus Cad .... 166

CHAPTER XVIII.
A Parliamentary Sketch 177

CHAPTER XIX.
Public Dinners . . , 190

CHAPTER XX
The First of May ' . . . .197



xvi CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXI.

PAGE

Brokers' and Marine-store Shops . 206

CHAPTER XXII.
Gin-shops . . : . . . 212

CHAPTER XXIII.

The Pawnbroker's Shop . . . . . . ,,v . 219

CHAPTER XXIV.
Criminal Courts . . . .228

CHAPTER XXV.
A Visit to Newgate 234



CHARACTERS.



CHAPTER I.

Thoughts about People 251

CHAPTER II.
A Christmas Dinner 257

CHAPTER III.
The New Year . . 263

CHAPTER IV.
Miss Evans and the Eagle 269



CONTENTS. xvii



CHAPTER V.

PACK

The Parlour Orator 275



CHAPTER VI.

The Hospital Patient 281

CHAPTER VII.
The Misplaced Attachment of Mr. John Bounce .... 286

CHAPTER VIII.
The Mistaken Milliner. A Tale of Ambition . . . .293

CHAPTER IX.

The Dancing Academy 303

CHAPTER X.
Shabby-genteel People 307

CHAPTER XI.

Making a Night of it 312

CHAPTER XII.
The Prisoners' Van .... .319



CONTENTS.



TALES.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE

The Boarding-house ....... . 323



CHAPTER II.
Mr. Minns and his Cousin .... . 367

CHAPTER III.
Sentiment ........ 380



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOL. I.



TITLE

PAGE

THE ELECTION FOR BEADLE ... . Frontispiece

THE STREETS MORNING ........ 56

THE STREETS NIGHT . . . ... . . .62

SCOTLAND-TURD 76

SEVEN DIALS . . . 82

MONMOUTH -STREET .... .... 88

HACKNEY-COACH STANDS 96

LONDON RECREATIONS 108

GREENWICH FAIR 130

PRIVATE THEATRES . 140

VATJXHALL-GARDENS BY DAY 148

THE LAST CAB-DRIVER 166

THE FIRST OF MAY 198

THE PAWNBROKER'S SHOP . 220

THOUGHTS ABOUT PEOPLE 252

JEMIMA EVANS .... .... 270

A PICKPOCKET IN CUSTODY . 282

MR. JOHN DOUNCE 286

THE DANCING ACADEMY 300

THE BOARDING-HOUSE ... .... 324

MR. MINNS AND HIS COUSIN 3C8

SENTIMENT . . . . . 380



SKETCHES BY BOZ.



OUR PARISH.

CHAPTER I.

THE BEADLE. THE PARISH ENGINE. THE SCHOOLMASTER.

How much is conveyed in those two short words "The
Parish ! " And with how many tales of distress and misery,
of broken fortune and ruined hopes, too often of unrelieved
wretchedness and successful knavery, are they associated ! A
poor man, with small earnings, and a large family, just
manages to live on from hand to mouth, and to procure
food from day to day ; he has barely sufficient to satisfy the
present cravings of nature, and can take no heed of the future.
His taxes are in arrear, quarter-day passes by, another
quarter-day arrives : he can procure no more quarter for
himself, and is summoned by the parish. His goods are
distrained, his children are crying with cold and hunger, and
the very bed on which his sick wife is lying, is dragged from
beneath her. What can he do ? To whom is he to apply
for relief ? To private charity ? To benevolent individuals ?
Certainly not there is his parish. There are the parish
vestry, the parish infirmary, the parish surgeon, the parish
officers, the parish beadle. Excellent institutions, and gentle,
VOL. i. B



2 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

kind-hearted men. The woman dies she is buried by the
parish. The children have no protector they are taken
care of by the parish. The man first neglects, and after-
wards cannot obtain, work he is relieved by the parish ; and
when distress and drunkenness have done their work upon
him, he is maintained, a harmless babbling idiot, in the
parish asylum.

The parish beadle is one of the most, perhaps the most,
important member of the local administration. He is not so
well off as the churchwardens, certainly, nor is he so learned
as the vestry-clerk, nor does he order things quite so much
his own way as either of them. But his power is very great,
notwithstanding ; and the dignity of his office is never
impaired by the absence of efforts on his part to maintain it.
The beadle of our parish is a splendid fellow. It is quite
delightful to hear him, as he explains the state of the exist-
ing poor laws to the deaf old women in the board-room pas-
sage on business nights ; and to hear what he said to the
senior churchwarden, and what the senior churchwarden said
to him ; and what " we " (the beadle and the other gentle-
men) came to the determination of doing. A miserable-
looking woman is called into the board-room, and represents
a case of extreme destitution, affecting herself a widow, with
six small children. " Where do you live ? " inquires one of
the overseers. "I rents a two-pair back, gentlemen, at Mrs.
Brown's, Number 3, Little King Willianfs-alley, which has
lived there this fifteen year, and knows me to be very hard-
working and industrious, and when my poor husband was
alive, gentlemen, as died in the hospital" "Well, well," 11
interrupts the overseer, taking a note of the address, " 111
send Simmons, the beadle, to-morrow morning, to ascertain
whether your story is correct ; and if so, I suppose you must
have an order into the House Simmons, go to this woman's
the first thing to-morrow morning, will you ?" Simmons bows
assent, and ushers the woman out. Her previous admiration
of "the board" (who all sit behind great books, and with



THE BEADLE. 3

their hats on) fades into nothing before her respect for her
lace- trimmed conductor ; and her account of what has passed
inside, increases if that be possible the marks of respect,
shown by the assembled crowd, to that solemn functionary.
As to taking out a summons, it's quite a hopeless case if
Simmons attends it, on behalf of the parish. He knows all
the titles of the Lord Mayor by heart; states the case with-
out a single stammer: and it is even reported that on one
occasion he ventured to make a joke, which the Lord
Mayor's head footman (who happened to be present) after-
wards told an intimate friend, confidentially, was almost
equal to one of Mr. Hobler's.

See him again on Sunday in his state-coat and cocked-hat,
with a large-headed staff for show in his left hand, and a
small cane for use in his right. How pompously he marshals
the children into their places ! and how demurely the little
urchins look at him askance as he surveys them when they
are all seated, with a glare of the eye peculiar to beadles !
The churchwardens and overseers being duly installed in
their curtained pews, he seats himself on a mahogany
bracket, erected expressly for him at the top of the aisle,
and divides his attention between his prayer-book and the
boys. Suddenly, just at the commencement of the commu-
nion service, when the whole congregation is hushed into a
profound silence, broken only by the voice of the officiating
clergyman, a penny is heard to ring on the stone floor of
the aisle with astounding clearness. Observe the generalship
of the beadle. His involuntary look of horror is instantly
changed into one of perfect indifference, as if he were the
only person present who had not heard the noise. The arti-
fice succeeds. After putting forth his right leg now and
then, as a feeler, the victim who dropped the money ventures
to make one or two distinct dives after it; and the beadle,
gliding softly round, salutes his little round head, when it
again appears above the seat, with divers double knocks,
administered with the cane before noticed, to the intense



4 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

delight of three young men in an adjacent pew, who cough
violently at intervals until the conclusion of the sermon.

Such are a few traits of the importance and gravity of a
parish beadle a gravity which has never been disturbed in
any case that has come under our observation, except when
the services of that particularly useful machine, a parish fire-
engine, are required : then indeed all is bustle. Two little
boys run to the beadle as fast as their legs will carry them,
and report from their own personal observation that some
neighbouring chimney is on fire ; the engine is hastily got
out, and a plentiful supply of boys being obtained, and
harnessed to it with ropes, away they rattle over the pave-
ment, the beadle, running we do not exaggerate running
at the side, until they arrive at some house, smelling strongly
of soot, at the door of which the beadle knocks with consider-
able gravity for half-an-hour. No attention being paid to
these manual applications, and the turn-cock having turned
on the water, the engine turns off amidst the shouts of the
boys ; it pulls up once more at the workhouse, and the beadle
"pulls up" the unfortunate householder next day, for the
amount of his legal reward. We never saw a parish engine
at a regular fire but once. It came up in gallant style
three miles and a half an hour, at least ; there was a capital
supply of water, and it was first on the spot. Bang went
the pumps the people cheered the beadle perspired pro-
fusely ; but it was unfortunately discovered, just as they
were going to put the fire out, that nobody understood
the process by which the engine was filled with water; and
that eighteen boys, and a man, had exhausted themselves in
pumping for twenty minutes, without producing the slightest
effect !

The personages next in importance to the beadle, are the
master of the workhouse and the parish schoolmaster. The
vestry-clerk, as everybody knows, is a short, pudgy little man,
in black, with a thick gold watch-chain of considerable
length, terminating in two large seals and a key. He is an



THE MASTER OF THE WORKHOUSE. 5

attorney, and generally in a bustle; at no time more so,
than when he is hurrying to some parochial meeting, with his
gloves crumpled up in one hand, and a large red book under
the other arm. As to the churchwardens and overseers, we
exclude them altogether, because all we know of them is, that
they are usually respectable tradesmen, who wear hats with
brims inclined to flatness, and who occasionally testify in gilt
letters on a blue ground, in some conspicuous part of the
church, to the important fact of a gallery having being-
enlarged and beautified, or an organ rebuilt.

The master of the workhouse is not, in our parish nor is
ne usually in any other one of that class of men the better
part of whose existence has passed away, and who drag out
the remainder in some inferior situation, with just enough
thought of the past, to feel degraded by, and discontented
with, the present. We are unable to guess precisely to our
own satisfaction what station the man can have occupied
before ; we should think he had been an inferior sort of
attorney's clerk, or else the master of a national school
whatever he was, it is clear his present position is a change
for the better. His income is small certainly, as the rusty
black coat and threadbare velvet collar demonstrate : but
then he lives free of house-rent, has a limited allowance of
coals and candles, and an almost unlimited allowance of
authority in his petty kingdom. He is a tall, thin, bony
man ; always wears shoes and black cotton stockings with his
surtout ; and eyes you, as you pass his parlour-window, as if
he wished you were a pauper, just to give you a specimen of
his power. . He is an admirable specimen of a small tyrant :
morose, brutish, and ill-tempered ; bullying to his inferiors,
cringing to his superiors, and jealous of the influence and
authority of the beadle.

Our schoolmaster is just the very reverse of this amiable
official. He has been one of those men one occasionally
hears of, on whom misfortune seems to have set her mark ;
nothing he ever did, or was concerned in, appears to have



6 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

prospered. A rich old relation who had brought him up,
and openly announced his intention of providing for him, left
him 10,0001. in his will, and revoked the bequest in a codicil.
Thus unexpectedly reduced to the necessity of providing for
himself, he procured a situation in a public office. The young
clerks below him, died off as if there were a plague among
them ; but the old fellows over his head, for the reversion of
whose places he was anxiously waiting, lived on and on, as if
they were immortal. He speculated and* lost. He speculated
again and won but never got his money. His talents were
great; his disposition, easy, generous and liberal. His
friends profited by the one, and abused the other. Loss
succeeded loss ; misfortune crowded on misfortune ; each
successive day brought him nearer the verge of hopeless
penury, and the quondam friends who had been warmest in
their professions, grew strangely cold and indifferent. He
had children whom he loved, and a wife on whom he doted.
The former turned their backs on him ; the latter died
broken-hearted. He went with the stream it had ever been
his failing, and he had not courage sufficient to bear up
against so many shocks he had never cared for himself, and
the only being who had cared for him, in his poverty and
distress, was spared to him no longer. It was at this period
that he applied for parochial relief. Some kind-hearted man
who had known him in happier times, chanced to be church-



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