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From Dombey to Headstone : man in the city in the novels of Charles Dickens. Levine, Jennifer Ann 1970

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FROM DOMBEY TO HEADSTONE: MAN IN THE CITY IN THE NOVELS OF CHARLES DICKENS by : \ JENNIFER ANN LEVINE B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1968 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of English We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 27, 1970. In presenting this thesis in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and Study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada ABSTRACT The focus of t h i s study i s not so much the c i t y i n Dickens' n o v e l s , but man i n the c i t y , and p a r t i c u l a r l y man i n V i c t o r i a n London - a c i t y given over to the world of commerce. The c o n d i t i o n s r e s u l t i n g from the v i c t o r y of b u s i -nessmen and the middle c l a s s e s are c e n t r a l concerns i n the l a t e r n o v e l s , and are m i r r o r e d i n the c i t y landscape: Dickens knows that i t i s i n the i n d u s t r i -a l c i t i e s , and not i n the c o u n t r y s i d e , that the s o c i a l problems of h i s age must be r e s o l v e d . Through t h e i r i n s i s t e n c e that money can do e v e r y t h i n g , the new powers of the c i t y t u r n London i n t o an u l t i m a t e l y demonic world, c h a r a c t e r i z e d by i s o l a -t i o n , c o n f u s i o n , and s t e r i l i t y ; shaped i n t o p r i s o n s , l a b y r i n t h s , and waste-lands. As the c i t y expands through economic growth, i t becomes a monster, t h r e a t e n i n g i t s i n h a b i t a n t s w i t h a f e a r f u l 'otherness'. The f i r s t chapter of the study deals w i t h the f a c t of change i n V i c t o r i a n London, a change defined by the v i c t o r y of m i d d l e - c l a s s and f r e e - e n t e r p r i s e 'Progress'. The succeeding f i v e chapters describe the v a r i o u s ways i n which Dickens' urban men attempt to evade the new f a c t s of t h e i r environment: through ignorance and i s o l a t i o n , through the misuse of language, through the r e p r e s s i o n of s e x u a l i t y and emotion, through the s u b s t i t u t i o n of cash f o r a l l human r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and, f i n a l l y , f o r the m i d d l e - c l a s s e s , through p h y s i c a l escape i n t o Suburbia. Dickens shows, how-ever, that escape i s f u t i l e : men can only defeat the demonic c i t y by c o n f r o n t-i n g i t , and by r e j e c t i n g (not p r o t e c t i n g ) i t s dehumanizing values. The f i n a l chapters o f f e r an examination of the demonic and a p o c a l y p t i c archetypes that s t r u c t u r e Dickens' c i t y and attempt to show t h a t , i n the l a t e r n o v e l s , i t i s nec-essary to pass through the demonic g u l f i n order to be redeemed i n t o a happier v i s i o n of c i t y l i f e . The p o s s i b i l i t y of such a v i c t o r y f o r urban men - i f only on a l i m i t e d s c a l e , by a s m a l l number of characters - i s t e s t i f i e d to by the hum-our throughout the n o v e l s , and by the happy r e s o l u t i o n s at the end. London as the great commercial c i t y i s most e x t e n s i v e l y t r e a t e d i n Dombey and Son, Bleak House, L i t t l e , D o r r i t , Great E x p e c t a t i o n s , and Our Mutual F r i e n d , and these are the novels round which most of the study i s centred. Although l n Hard Times Dickens focuses s p e c i f i c a l l y on the new i n d u s t r i a l c i t y , Coketown i s only p a r t i a l l y l i k e London: e v e r y t h i n g i s on a much sm a l l e r - almost on an i n t i m a t e - s c a l e , and i t l a c k s the compensating 'big c i t y ' pleasures that make l i f e i n London a more complex i s s u e than merely Man versus Progress. For these reasons, Hard Times i s not d e a l t w i t h as a c e n t r a l t e x t . By t h e i r extensive focus on l i f e o u t s i d e London, M a r t i n Chuzzlewit and David C o p p e r f i e l d are a l s o l i m i t e d i n t h e i r applications'.to t h i s p a r t i c u l a r study. In both these n o v e l s , the hero's s t r u g g l e f o r happiness and self-knowledge i s determined only to a s m a l l degree by the c i t y i t s e l f . The e a r l y c i t y .worlds of Pickwick Papers and O l i v e r Twist are used f o r two purposes. They p o i n t to some of the c o n t i n u i n g concerns of Dickens' a r t , and they serve as a c o n t r a s t to the l a t e r experiences of urban l i f e : P i c k wick Papers, through i t s a b i l i t y to a s s i m i l a t e even the } F l e e t i n t o a joyous v i s i o n of the world; and O l i v e r Twist, through i t s opposing i n s i s t e n c e on a t o t a l l y e v i l c i t y . In the l a t e r n o v e l s , Dickens mediates between the two extremes: London l i e s somewhere between Eden and H e l l . The study i s s t r u c t u r e d along thematic l i n e s , r a t h e r than through a s e r i e s of s e l f - c o n t a i n e d essays on i n d i v i d u a l n ovels. In i t s o r g a n i z a t i o n , t h e r e f o r e , i t must sometimes s a c r i f i c e the sense of each novel as an autonomous :word-world w i t h i t s own unique l o g i c , i n order to suggest the coherence w i t h i n Dickens' works as a whole. The order of development mimics, i n a sense, the Dickensian response to the c i t y : i t moves cum u l a t i v e l y and i n e v i t a b l y from the d i s c u s s i o n of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and i s o l a t i o n of the f i r s t chapters towards a v i s i o n of London as the demonic c i t y i n Chapter V I I , and i t i s only at the end, i n the concluding s e c t i o n , that i t can move out of the h e l l i s h g u l f i n t o the world of comedy. For Dickens too, the comic redemption i s e s s e n t i a l and cannot be l e f t out, but i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to the t o t a l i t y of the c i t y , i t takes up only a f r a c t i o n of the whole. NOTE ON REFERENCES AND EDITIONS Quotations from Dickens' novels i n the t e x t are followed by chapter and page number, w i t h i n parentheses. I have used The New Oxford  I l l u s t r a t e d Dickens (London, 1948-1958) f o r the novels. The a b b r e v i a t i o n s used i n the t e x t and i n the footnotes are the f o l l o w i n g : Pickwick Papers: P.P.  O l i v e r Twist: O.T. Martin Chuzzlewit: M.C. Dombey and Son: D.&S.  David C o p p e r f i e l d : D.C. Bleak House: B.H. Hard Times: H.T. L i t t l e D o r r i t : L.D. Great Expectations: G.E. Our Mutual F r i e n d : O.M.F. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER s PAGE INTRODUCTION 3 I A CHANGING WORLD 4 I I FROM PICKWICK TO PODSNAP 15 I I I CITY OF EUPHEMISM 25 IV FUR AND FUNGUS 35 V THE CASH-NEXUS . 51 VI FLIGHT TO STUCCONIA 72 VI I THE DEMONIC CITY 88 V I I I THE WORLD OF IRONIC COMEDY 109 BIBLIOGRAPHY 133 3 - INTRODUCTION "71 - : THE ONCE AND FORMER LONDON About five days ago we arrived in London, after an easy journey from Bath..„and every day make parties to see the wonders of this vast metropolis, which,.however, I cannot pretend to describe; for I have hot as yet seen one hundredth part of i t s curiosities, and I am quite in a maze of admiration. The c i t i e s of London and Westminster are spread out into an incredible extent. The streets, squares, rows, lanes, and alleys, aire innumerable. Palaces, public buildings, and churches, rise in every quarter; and, among these last, St. Paul's appears with the most astonishing pre-eminence. They say i t is not so large as St. Peter's at Rome; but, for my own part, I can have no idea of any earthly temple more grand and magnificent. But even these superb objects are not so striking as the crowds of people that swarm ih the streets. I at f i r s t imagined, that some great assembly was just dismissed, and wanted to stand aside t i l l the multitude should pass; but this human tide continues to flow, without interruption or abatement, from morn t i l l night. Then there is such ah i n f i n i t y of gay equipages, coaches, chariots, chaises, and other carriages, continually f o i l i n g and shifting before your eyes, that one's head grows giddy looking at them; and the imagination is quite confounded with splendour and variety. Nor is the prospect by water less grand and astonishing than that by land: you see three •stupendous bridges, joining the opposite banks of a broad, deep, and rapid river; so vast* so stately, so elegant, that they seem to be the work of the giants: betwist them, the whole surface of the Thames i s covered with small vessels, barges* boats* -and wherries* passing to and fro; and below the three bridges, such a prodigious forest of masts, for miles Eogefher, that you would think a l l the ships In the universe were here assembled. A l l that you read of wealth and grandeur, ih the Arabian Night's Entertaihmeht* and the Persian Tales, concerning Bagdad, Diarbekir, Damascus, Ispahan, and Samarkand, is here realized. Ranelagh looks like the inchanted palace of a genie, adorned with the most exquisite performances of painting, carving, and g i l d -ing, enlightened with a thousand golden lamps, that emulate the ..npcmday_.sun;_crowded.with the great, the rich, the gay, the happy, and the f a i r ; g l i t t e r i n g with cloth of gold and silver, lace, embroidery, and precious stones. While these exulting sons and daughters of f e l i c i t y tread this round of pleasure, or regale in different parties, and separate lodges, with fine imperial tea and other delicious refreshments, their ears are entertained "with the most ravishing delights of rnusick, both instrumental and vocal. There I heard the famous T endued, a thing from Italy - It looks for a l l the world like a man, though they say i t is not. The voice, to be sure, i s neither man's nor woman's; but is is more melodious than either; and i t warbled so divinely^ that, while I listened, I really thought myself in "paradise. From a letter by Lydia Melford to Miss L a e t i t i a v ' ; W i l l i s , at Gloucester, London, May 31, in Tobias Smollett's The Expedition of" Humphrey Clinker, (London, 1966), pp. 91-2. CHAPTER I A CHANGING WORLD: PROGRESS AND THE BREAKDOWN OF COMMUNITY I could not divest myself of a misgiving that something might hap-pen to London in the meanwhile, and that, when I got there, i t might be either greatly deteriorated or clean gone (G.E., ch. 19, P. 139). In Pip's concern over the future, Dickens expresses a central fact, and a central fear, of the Victorian age: the fact and the fear of change. Dick-ens' London, expecially in Dombey and Son and the later novels, is no longer the ideal cosmopolitan world that Lydia Melford writes about in Humphrey Clin- ker. London becomes the great modern commercial city, not only crowded but overcrowded, sprawling, pockmarked with the effects of industrialization, and geared above a l l to the great god Progress. It is only children and fools who can s t i l l regard i t as the old society of romance and adventure. On his way to Salem house, therefore, David can think What an amazing place London was to me when I saw i t in the dis-tance, and how I believed a l l the adventures of a l l my favourite heroes to be constantly enacting aid re-enacting there, and how I vaguely made i t out in my own mind to be f u l l e r of wonders and wickedness than a l l the cities of the earth (D.C., ch. 5, p. 71). Seen from a distance, London is veiled in an exciting aura of romance. In Dombey and Son too, when Mr. Feeder spoke of the dark mysteries of London, and told Mr. Toots that he was going to observe i t himself closely in a l l i t s ramifications in the approaching holidays, and for that pur-pose had made arrangements to board with two old maiden ladies at Peckham, Paul regarded him as i f he were the hero of some book of travels or wild adventures, and was almost afraid of such a slashing person (D. & S., ch. 14, p. 187). But i t is London observed closely (as Mr. Feeder hopes to do) that is the Lon-don of Dickens' novels. And in that city, i t is the existence of the two old ladies at Peckham, in their very isolation from swaggering, dissipated London, that Dickens sees as central and undeniable. The quality of their lives, and not of Mr. Feeder's dreams, shapes the new reality or urban l i f e . London has 5 indeed both "greatly deteriorated" and "clean gone". The time for Mr. Turvey-drop' s showing himself about town and taking h i s l i t t l e meals "at the French house, i n the Opera Colonnade" (B.H., ch. 14, p. 194) i s fast running out. The urban landscape i s , above a l l , a landscape i n process, and i n David  Copperfield, where the pressure of time i s inherent i n the very n a r r a t i v e met-hod^ "I have never seen . . . again . . . " becomes a haunting l i n g u i s t i c hab-i t . ^ " In Dombey and Son A l i c e Marwood's response to the c i t y i s not unique. "I don't know t h i s part", she says, " I t ' s much al t e r e d since I went away" (ch. 33, p. 482). What she remembers, "had once . . . been a pleasant meadow", but i t "was now a very waste" (ch. 33, p. 474). The town, l i k e the giant i n h i s t r a v e l l i n g boots, has made a s t r i d e and passed i t , and has set h i s brick-and-mortar heel a long way i n advance; but the intermediate space between the giant's feet , as yet, i s only b l i g h t e d country, and not town (ch. 33, p. 472). The motive for change i s i n d u s t r i a l expansion, and i t finds i t s most pow-e r f u l agent i n the r a i l r o a d . The new school where Bradley Headstone teaches l i e s i n a newly developed area of London, i n that d i s t r i c t of the f l a t country tending to the Thames, where Kent and Surrey meet, and where the railways s t i l l b estride the market-gardens that w i l l soon die under them (P.M.F., Book I I , ch. 1, p. 218). In the transformation of Stagg's Gardens, Dickens shows London t r u l y i n pro-cess. And despite the destructive and somewhat demonic powers at work, there i s also the deeply e x c i t i n g experience of change. A new world i s being created before one's very eyes: The f i r s t shock of a great earthquake had, j u s t at that period, rent the whole neighbourhood to i t s centre. Traces of i t s course were v i s -i b l e on every side. Houses were knocked down: st r e e t s broken through See, for example: ch. 11, pp. 154, 160, 164; ch. 19, p. 285; ch. 33, pp. 475-6; ch. 35, pp. 500, 506; ch. 36, p. 521; ch. 40, pp. 582, 583; ch. 47, pp. 679-80; ch. 57, p. 803; ch. 59, p. 820. 6 and stopped; deep p i t s and trenches dug i n the ground; enormous heaps of earth and clay thrown up; buildings that were under-mined and shaking, propped up by great beams of wood . . . . Everywhere were bridges that led nowhere; thoroughfares that were wholly impassable . . . . There were a hundred-thousand shapes and substances of incompleteness, w i l d l y mingled out" of t h e i r places . . . and u n i n t e l l i g i b l e as any dream. Hot springs and f i e r y eruptions, the usual attendants upon earthquakes, lent t h e i r contributions of confusion to the scene. Bo i l i n g water hissed and heaved . . . the glare and roar of flames came issuing f o r t h ; and mounds of ashes blocked up rights of way, and wholly changed the law and custom of the neighbourhood. In short, the yet unfinished and unopened ra i l r o a d was i n progress; and, from the very core of a l l t h i s dire disorder, t r a i l e d smoothly away, upon i t s mighty course of c i v i l i z a t i o n and improvement (D. & S., ch. 6, pp. 62-3). The t r a i n s , l i k e the men whose money builds them, "know neither time, nor place, nor season, but, bear them a l l down" (D. & S., ch. 37, p. 526). The old London i s destroyed and then recreated i n a new image. For Sol G i l l s , i t i s obvious that London now wears the face of "competition, competition -new invention, new invention - a l t e r a t i o n , a l t e r a t i o n " , and concludes that '... . I am an old-fashioned man i n an old-fashioned shop, i n a street that i s not the same as I remember i t . I have f a l l e n behind the time, and am too old to catch i t again. Even the noise i t makes a long way ahead, confuses me.' (D. & S., ch. 4, p. 38) The railway and a l l i t represents emerges vic t o r i o u s . "There was even railway time observed i n clocks, as i f the sun i t s e l f had given i n " (D. & S., 2 ch. 15, p. 218). But the world i s not immediately given over to e f f i c i e n c y and r a t i o n a l i t y . On the contrary, one of the most v i s i b l e symptoms of the new London i s chaos• Of Rumty Wilfer's neighbourhood, Dickens writes that i t looked l i k e a toy neighbourhood taken i n blocks out of a box by a c h i l d of p a r t i c u l a r l y incoherent mind, and set up anyhow; here, one side of a new street; there, a large s o l i t a r y public-house facing nowhere; The increasing power of a l i n e a r , r a t i o n a l i z e d and i n f l e x i b l e time-scheme (as opposed to the c y c l i c a l and seasonally f l e x i b l e time-scheme of nature) characterizes i n d u s t r i a l society and the modern commercial c i t y . The implications of this 'new'time for the inhabitants of Dickens' London are discussed i n more d e t a i l at the end of ch. VII. 7 here, another unfinished street already in ruins; there, a church; here, an immense new warehouse; there . . . disorder of frowziness and fog. As i f the child had given the table a kick and gone to sleep (O.M.F., Book I I , ch. 1, p. 218). The image of broken communication, (with the public-house - of a l l houses -facing nowhere), i s reinforced in Bleak House: "Bridges are begun, and their not yet united piers desolately look at one another over roads and streams, like brick and mortar couples with an obstacle to their union" (ch. 55, p. 745). Perhaps nothing in Dickens shows the disunion of those piers being acted out in human terms more comically and yet also more pathetically than the events at Merdle's dinner party. A l l the energies of a l l the guests are devoted to getting Merdle and Lord Decimus together, for "the two chieftains" refuse to do so themselves. "They were s t i l l looming at opposite ends of the perspec-tive, each with an absurd pretence of not having the other on his mind, which could not have been more transparently ridiculous though his real mind had been chalked on his back" (L.D. , ..Bk. I I , ch. .12, p, ,568). The irony i s that crowded as men are in the city, they are totally i s o l a -ted. They li v e so close to one another that Captain Cuttle's and Walter's singing i s clearly audible to the man who lodges opposite, "who instantly sprung out of bed, threw up his window, and joined i n , across the street, at the top of his voice" (D. & S., ch. 15, p. 211). Even in Dombey's upper-class neigh-bourhood, Florence can see right into the home of the widower and his daughters, and watch them in their domestic b l i s s . Major Bagstock, too, takes advantage 3 of Miss Tox's proximity by spying on her with his spyglass. And yet despite In The City in History, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1966), p. 525, Lewis Mumford points out how i t is specifically and ironically the r a i l -road, plunging "into the very heart of the town", replacing l i v i n g areas with "a waste of freight yards and marshalling yards" that, creates the intolerable crowdedness of city l i f e . "Every mistake in urban design that could be made was made by the new railroad engineers, for whom the movement of trains was more important than the human objects achi eved by that movement". such physical closeness, city l i f e is such, that Esther can walk, totally un-knowing, past the. room of her own father, and that she may have received, again, totally unknowing, letters from Kenge and Carboy written in his own hand. Eugene Wrayburn misseS Jenny Wren simply "through the accident of their taking opposite sides of the street" (O.M.F., Bk. I l l , ch. 53, p. 534). And in Martin Chuzzlewit, Tom Pinch and Nadgett pass_on the street, not knowing 4 one another, yet both intent on the same person. The irony of city l i f e i s dramatized in Jo's si t t i n g down to his meager breakfast "on the doorstep of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts". In London, i t is Jo - and indeed every man - who is the foreigner, for the city admits no neighbours. So i t is that Arthur Clenman looks for Plornish who, like Daniel Doyce, lives in Bleeding Heart Yard but "whose name, according to the custom of Londoners, Daniel Doyce had never seen or heard of to that hour" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 12, p. 136). If we take the condition of Estella's 'family' in Great Expectations as a mirror to a l l the 'families' in the city -That the mother was s t i l l l i v i n g . That the father was s t i l l l i v i n g . That the mother and father, unknown to one another, were dwelling within so many miles, furlongs, yards i f you l i k e , of one another" (G.E., ch. 51, p. 392)r then Cousin Feenix's constant linguistic ' t i c ' , "with whom [x, y, or z] is probably acquainted", becomes a pleasant delusion about the closely-knit com-munity that no longer exists."* 4 This point is made by P.N. Furbank in his introduction to Martin Chuzzle- wit , (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1968,) p. 18. ~*The isolation and anonymity of the city can be very tempting to those who wish to negate the past and define their own present and future. See, for instance, Oliver's and Martha Endell's reasons for coming to London (O.T., ch. 8, p. 50; D.C., ch. 22, p. 338). Pip too, is upset that his city servant might t e l l Trabb's boy "things" and so undermine the new Pip he is trying to become. Pip finds, however, like the other 'escapees' (Martha Endell, Lady Dedlock, and John Rokesmith) that the past, and one's own guilt, are not so easily escaped. 9 W r i t i n g i n Past and Present, C a r l y l e captures the t e r r i b l e way i n which i s o l a t i o n , not community, has come to d e f i n e the modern commercial world. I s o l a t i o n , he w r i t e s , i s the sum-total of wretchedness to man. To be cut o f f , to be l e f t s o l i t a r y : to have a world a l i e n , not your world; a l l a h o s t i l e camp f o r you . . . . I t i s the f r i g h t f u l l e s t enchantment; too t r u l y a work of the E v i l One . . . . Without f a t h e r , without c h i l d , without b r o t h e r . . . . Encased each as i n h i s transparent " i c e - p a l a c e " ; our b r o t h e r v i s i b l e i n his,, making s i g n a l s and g e s t i c u l a t i o n s to us -v i s i b l e , but f o r ever unattainable.6 In the c i t y , e v e r y t h i n g i s to be seen; nothing to be experienced. The i c e -palaces are t r a n s p a r e n t , but they are a l s o impenetrable,'' and one's f e l l o w men become the anonymous ac t o r s i n a s p e c t a c l e . One can see them by the hun-dreds, but one can t r u l y know ( o r , as i n C a r l y l e ' s terms, a t t a i n ) no more than a h a n d f u l . Anonymity and the l o s s of community become i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d i n the sys-tem of shares ("0 mighty Shares!") that Dickens sees as the new Alpha and Omega of modern London (O.M.F., Bk. 1, ch. 10), and t h a t d i d i n f a c t come to domin-ate much of England's economic l i f e i n the nineteenth century. The man who holds h i s money i n shares holds no d i r e c t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y over whatever or whom-ever he owns. The l i n k between owners and workers, masters and men, i s severed, and they become f a c e l e s s , anonymous for c e s to one another. For the sharehold-e r , the economic venture has no r e a l i t y beyond an annual shareholder's meet-i n g , and the p r o f i t s chalked up i n the stock-exchange. G.M. Trevelyan des-c r i b e s the system as a " l a r g e , impersonal manipulation of c a p i t a l and indus-t r y . . . r e p r e s e n t i n g i r r e s p o n s i b l e wealth detached from the land and the Past and Present, "Captains of Industry", i n Prose of the V i c t o r i a n Per-i o d , ed. W i l l i a m E. B u c k l e r , (Cambridge, Mass, \ 1958) , pp. 165-6. ^The sense i n which C a r l y l e ' s i c e - p a l a c e s suggest f r i g i d i t y and the r e -p r e s s i o n of emotion as a t t i t u d e s that i s o l a t e men from one another i s d i s -cussed i n ch. IV. duties of the landowner; and almost equally detached from the responsible 8 management of business". The irony of the term "shares" for a system in which there i s no sharing at a l l (except, perhaps, of the profits, among the few men at the top, but with no participation from the many at the bottom) makes a point i n i t s e l f . The world of competition and new invention that Sol G i l l s sees a l l around him - the modern commercial city of shares, free enterprise, and the railroad turns men away from community as a viable experience, to the pursuit of indiv-idualism. The demands of a communal identity - responsibility to one's employ ees or to one's employer, to one's neighbours, to one's fellow Londoners, to humanity in general - merely interfere with the workings of the new society. Individual self interest, rather than any concept of the common good, becomes the ruling principle of city l i f e , in personal relationships as well as in economic transactions. . ' Like Young Smallweed, the "town-made a r t i c l e " who i s determined "never to be taken i n " (B.H., ch. 20, pp. 273, 5), men in the city have learned not to trust one another. Mr. Lammle in Our Mutual Friend articulates the same fears Krook has when he answers his wife's question: 'Do you believe Fledgeby?' 'Sophronia, I never believe anybody. I never have, my dear, since I believed you . . .' (Bk. I l l , ch. 12, p. 557). For Krook, afraid that anyone else would teach him the wrong thing, persists in his attempts to teach himself to read. The f u t i l i t y of his isolation i s made clear in the fact that he never does learn, and is surrounded in his death by mountains of meaningless mumbo-jumbo. He is like Jo, of whom Dickens writes, Quoted from English Social History, (London, 1948), p. 573, by Grahame Smith, Dickens, Money, and Society, (Berkeley, 1968), p. 130. 11 I t must be a strange s t a t e to be l i k e Jo! To s h u f f l e through the s t r e e t s , u n f a m i l i a r w i t h the shapes and i n u t t e r darkness as to the meaning, of those mysterious symbols, so abundant over the shops, and at the corners of s t r e e t s , and on the doors, and i n the windows . . . . not to have the l e a s t i d e a of a l l that language -to be, to every scrap of i t , stone b l i n d and dumb! (B.H., ch. 16, p. 220) Krook's i n s i s t e n c e on i n d i v i d u a l i t y , on doing i t a l l alone, a l l by h i m s e l f ( j u s t as Jo has been f o r c e d , s i n c e b i r t h , to l i v e a l l alone and fend f o r him-s e l f ) ,dooms him to a meaningless and unconnected world. His f e a r s , however, are not t o t a l l y f a l s e . Such i s the breakdown of community that i n Our Mutual F r i e n d S i l a s Wegg does i n -fact misrepresent h i s readings to Mr. B o f f i n . _____ f Men are so a f r a i d of i n t r u s i o n s on t h e i r sovereignty that the only com-munal c l a i m they can bare to recognize i s that of b l o o d - k i n s h i p . Mrs. Snags-by simply cannot understand - unless Jo i s h i s 'love c h i l d ' - why her husband should be k i n d to him. S i m i l a r l y , i n M a r t i n Chuzzlewit, Jonas sneers at Tigg's concern over B a i l e y ' s f a t e a f t e r the ''accident' w i t h the horses. " ' . . . I never heard you were h i s f a t h e r , or had any p a r t i c u l a r reason to care much about him . . . "' (ch. 42, p. 651). I t . i s s u r e l y important that Harold Skimpole i s described as having a "cos-mopolitan mind" (B.H., ch. 18, p. 253). In h i s very s e l f i s h n e s s , i n h i s i n d i -v i d u a l i s m taken to an extreme, he i s the consummate c i t y man, one f o r whom the 9 r e s t of the world e x i s t s only i n s o f a r as i t centers on h i m s e l f . His d e n i a l of r e c i p r o c i t y i s almost obscene when he says of the orphaned Neckett c h i l d r e n : '. •'I dare say t h e i r s i s an unpleasant experience on the whole; but they people the landscape f o r me, they give i t a poetry f o r me . . .'" (p. 253). In h i s p a r a s t i c nature Skimpole r e i n a c t s what one h i s t o r i a n sees as the c e n t r a l t r u t h of the c i t y : "A c i t y " w r i t e s Sombart, " i s a settlement of men who f o r t h e i r sustenance depend on the production of a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o r which i s not t h e i r own". Quoted from Der Moderne K a p i t a l i s m u s , I I , 191-93, by Norman 0. Brown, i n L i f e Against Death, (N.Y., 1959), p. 282. Inspector Bucket, however, sees r i g h t through "that e l d e r l y young gentleman". He knows that Skimpole i s "only a-c r y i n g from being held accountable" (B.H., ch. 57, pp. 774-5). In t h e i r pact against s o c i e t y , the Lammles are not much d i f f e r e n t from Skimpole - o n l y , perhaps, more honest. "Any scheme that w i l l b r i n g us money" (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 10, p. 126), i r r e s p e c t i v e of i t s e f f e c t s on anyone e l s e , i s considered f a i r game. The sense of a human community i s no longer r e l e -vant. I t i s only f i t t i n g , then, that i n such a c i t y , even the church b e l l s are d i s c o r d a n t . In Bleak House, Dickens w r i t e s of t h e i r "metal v o i c e s , near and d i s t a n t , resounding from towers of v a r i o u s h e i g h t s , i n tones more v a r i o u s than t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s " (ch. 32, p. 452). A r t h u r Clenman i s welcomed home by the "Maddening church b e l l s of a l l degrees of dissonance, sharp and f l a t , cracked and c l e a r , f a s t and slow, [ t h a t ] made the brick-and-mortar echoes hideous" (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 3, p. 28). And, on the n i g h t that Magwitch r e t u r n s to Lon-don to a s s e r t h i s claims on P i p , Pip hears "Saint P a u l ' s , and a l l the many church-clocks i n the c i t y - some l e a d i n g , some accompanying, some f o l l o w i n g -" - s t r i k e the hour (G.E. ,- ch. 39, p. 299). London i s p u l l e d together i n t o a semblance of community only by the most extreme emotions. I t i s only such experiences as b i r t h and death, marriage and murder, that shake i t put of i t s i n d i v i d u a l i z e d - c o m p l a c e n c y . The capture and death of S i k e s ; the death of Paul Dombey, h i s f a t h e r ' s second marriage and subsequent d e s e r t i o n , then h i s bankruptcy; Nemo's and Krook's deaths, Lady Ded-lo c k ' s f l i g h t ; and perhaps more than a l l the o t h e r s , i n that the e n t i r e net-work of f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s a f f e c t e d , the f a l l of Merdle - these l i n k the c i t y i n a u n i f i e d , i f only temporary,response. A l l London i s u n i t e d i n the Merdle f a l l : a s o l i t a r y watcher on the g a l l e r y above the Dome of Saint Paul's would have perc e i v e d the n i g h t a i r to be laden w i t h a heavy mut-t e r i n g of the name of Merdle, coupled w i t h every form of execra-t i o n (L.D., Bk. I I , ch. 25, p. 710). How i r o n i c that the view from London's c a t h e d r a l should shape i t s e l f i n t o a unanimous curse. The impermanence of London's sense of community i s best shown i n Dickens' d e s c r i p t i o n of P a u l Dombey's f u n e r a l day. Now the rosy c h i l d r e n . . . peep from t h e i r nursery windows down i n t o the s t r e e t . . . these [black horses and. f e a t h e r s ] . . . a t t r a c t a crowd. The j u g g l e r . . . and h i s trudging w i f e , one-sided w i t h her heavy -baby i n her arms, [ l o i t e r ] to see the com-pany come out. But c l o s e r to her dingy breast she presses her baby, when the burden that i s so e a s i l y c a r r i e d i s born f o r t h . . . (ch. 18, p. 240). But only twenty four hours l a t e r , The morning sun awakens the o l d house-hold, s e t t l e d down once more i n t h e i r o l d ways. The rosy c h i l d r e n opposite run past w i t h hoops. There i s a s p l e n d i d wedding i n the church. The j u g g l e r ' s w i f e i s a c t i v e w i t h the money-box i n another quarter of the town (ch. 18, p. 242). The emotions are v i c a r i o u s and morbid, soon f o r g o t t e n i n the r i t u a l s of d a i l y l i f e . The newspapersmen swarming round the Dombey o f f i c e s , spying through keyholes, and b r i b i n g the employees f o r i n f o r m a t i o n , f u l f i l a powerful need of c i t y l i f e . Denied a l i v i n g sense of contact w i t h t h e i r f e l l o w men, Londoners t h r i v e and feed on v i c a r i o u s experience. The more extreme the s i t u a t i o n , the more s a t i s f y i n g w i l l be the subsequent response. I t i s a t e l l i n g d e t a i l that Captain C u t t l e ' s shop "had been honoured w i t h an unusual share of p u b l i c ob-s e r v a t i o n " on the day of Walter's r e t u r n (D. & S., ch. 50, p. 697). The Cap-t a i n had f o r g o t t e n to put up h i s b l i n d s i n the morning, and so h i s neighbours congregate in'"groups of hungry gazers" assuming he has been f o u l l y murdered, and i s e i t h e r hanging i n the c e l l a r or l y i n g dead of a hammer blow on the s t a i r s . Only a macabre c u r i o s i t y , or (as i n the Merdle a f f a i r ) a d i s a s t e r that s t r i k e s at the very r o o t s of s e l f - i n t e r e s t , can l i n k the modern c i t y i n t o an 14 expression of u n i t y . But the sense of community soon d i s i n t e g r a t e s under the pressures of comp e t i t i o n , new i n v e n t i o n , and a l t e r a t i o n - the press u r e s , i n s h o r t , of the modern commercial world. Men r e t u r n to t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i z e d and unconnected i c e - p a l a c e s , and can only be shaken out of them w i t h great d i f f i -c u l t y . The f o l l o w i n g chapters w i l l examine urban man's i n g e n u i t y i n the c r e a t i o n of h i s i c e - p a l a c e s . Through w i l f u l ignorance, through f a l s e language, through the r e p r e s s i o n of s e x u a l i t y and emotion, and through the s u b s t i t u t i o n of cash f o r a l l human r e l a t i o n s h i p s , he i s o l a t e s h i m s e l f behind a p r o t e c t i v e surface. Dickens takes C a r l y l e ' s metaphor a step f u r t h e r , and shows how men are not. merely encased i n i c e - p a l a c e s as passi v e v i c t i m s of the new s o c i e t y , but how they choose to encase and i s o l a t e themselves i n order to avoid the demands of community. 15 CHAPTER I I FROM PICKWICK TO PODSNAP: IGNORANCE AND ISOLATION AS PROTECTION ''In"1 London','•houses -become o l d p l aces of imprisonment. Sometimes a face would appear behind the dingy g l a s s of a window, and would fade away i n t o the gloom as i f i t had seen enough of l i f e and had vanished out of i t (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 3, p. 30). The c i t y i s d i v i d e d i n t o those who are i n s i d e , l o o k i n g out, and the o u t s i d e r s , l o o k i n g i n . Carker, Mr. Toots, and Walter h a b i t u a l l y pass by the Dombey man-s i o n to watch at one of the windows. F l o r e n c e , i n her t u r n , i s l i k e a cap-tured p r i n c e s s , ever watching the 'outside' world, only f i n a l l y through her own d e c i s i o n able to escape the stony w a l l s of her f a t h e r ' s p r i s o n . Dombey hi m s e l f i s a member of both worlds» pacing the Brighton s t r e e t s and l o o k i n g up at P a u l through the window, hoping and w a i t i n g ; and then, a f t e r the f a l l of the House, standing l i k e F l o r e n c e , " h i s a l t e r e d f a c e , drooping behind the c l o s e d b l i n d i n h i s window" (ch. 59, p. 842). A s i m i l a r p a t t e r n i s repeated i n the other novels. Jo s i t s s t a r i n g up a t ' S a i n t P a u l ' s , and at the other extreme of the s o c i a l w o r l d , S i r L e i c e s t e r _Dedlock, . Baronet.,._waits_by ,the.._window -in a..darkened. room, f o r the r e t u r n of h i s Lady. In L i t t l e D o r r i t the i n s t a n c e s of 'window watching' are so numerous that they become a c l e a r l e i t - m o t i f running through the novel.''" And i n Great Expect-_atio n s even .the surrounding houses come a l i v e . i n .their attempt to look through the s k y l i g h t i n t o Jaggers' p r i v a t e o f f i c e (ch. 20, p. 154). Sometimes the view o u t ; i s ah attempt to make contact w i t h l i f e i t s e l f . O l i v e r , imprisoned at Fagin's, "would crouch i n the corner of the passage by the s t r e e t - d o o r , to be as near l i v i n g people as he c o u l d " (O.T., ch. 18, p. 128). See, f o r example: L.D., Bk. I , ch. 12, p. 135; ch. 14, p. 170; ch. 15, p. 179 ch. 19, p. 231; ch. 27, pp. 324-5; Bk. I I , ch. 3, p. 466-7; ch. 5, p. 484; ch. 6, p. 496; ch. 18, p. 632; ch. 30, p. 785; ch. 31, pp. 789, 790, 792; ch. 34, p. 821. See a l s o : O.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 15, p. 395. lb And i n P i c k w i c k Papers a dying p r i s o n e r asks f o r the window to be opened: The n o i s e of c a r r i a g e s and c a r t s , the r a t t l e of wheels, the c r i e s of men and boys, a l l the busy sounds of a mighty m u l t i t u d e i n s t i n c t w i t h l i f e - and occupation, blended i n t o one deep murmur, f l o a t e d i n t o the room (ch. 44, p. 627). In the l a t e r world of Bleak House, the q u a l i t y of that " l i f e " i s sadly changed, and yet s t i l l i t might be considered worthwhile. J o b l i n g and Guppy open the window to get "a mouthful of a i r " : The neighbouring houses are too near, to admit of t h e i r seeing any sky without craning t h e i r necks and l o o k i n g up; but l i g h t s i n frow-sy windows here and t h e r e , and the r o l l i n g of d i s t a n t c a r r i a g e s , and the new expression that there i s of the s t i r of men, they f i n d to be comfortable (ch. 32, p. 453). More o f t e n , however, the view out i s not worth the e f f o r t . The men and women of the l a t e r novels f o l l o w the example of Mr. Tom Sawyer, r a t h e r than that of Mr. Pickwick, whereas the l a t t e r ' s response to the morning i s to look out and admire the scene from h i s window-} the former's abode i s i n Lant S t r e e t , and as Dickens p o i n t s out, I f a man wished to a b s t r a c t h i m s e l f from the world - to remove him-s e l f from w i t h i n the reach of temptation - . t o p l a c e h i m s e l f beyond the p o s s i b i l i t y of any inducement to look out of the window - he should by a l l means go to Lant S t r e e t (P.P. , ch. 32, p. 433). A l l London becomes Lant S t r e e t f o r Fanny S p a r k l e r , who s u f f e r s from a more ex-treme and s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e boredom than Mr. Sawyer. Looking "through an open window . . . [she] was t i r e d of the view. Mrs. S p a r k l e r , l o o k i n g at another window where her husband stood i n the balcony, was t i r e d of that view" (L.D., Bk. I I , ch. 24, p. 693). N e v e r t h e l e s s , f o r most Londoners faced w i t h the sheer u g l i n e s s of t h e i r c i t y , Mr. S p a r k l e r would be - at l e a s t v i s u a l l y - a r a t h e r pleasant dot on the scenery. WhenEsther looks out of the window of l i t t l e C h a r l i e ' s g a r r e t t , a l l she sees i s "the blackened stack of chimneys, and the poor p l a n t s , and the b i r d s i n l i t t l e cages belonging to the neighbours" (B.H., ch. 15, p. 211). Every-t h i n g r e f l e c t s a t w i s t e d and diminished environment. Clenman too looks "out upon the blackened forest of chimneys" (L.D., Bk, I, ch. 3, p. 40). It is only i n the bucolic city l i f e of David Copperfield that one can move into lod-gings "with a view of the river", where "the river was outside the windows" (ch. 23, p. 353). When he is poor and alone, however, David's room only com-mands "a pleasant prospect of a timber-yard" (ch. 11, p. 166). In the harsher world that Pip inhabits, taking a look outside can finish one forever. "I opened the staircase window", Pip writes, and had nearly beheaded myself, for the lines had rotted away, and i t came down like the guillotine . . . . After this escape, I was content to take a fog^y view of the Inn through the window's encrust-ing d i r t , and to stand dolefully looking out, saying to myself that London was decidedly overrated (G.E., ch. 21, p. 163). In Our Mutual Friend too, the security of doors and windows i s not to be relied on. Pubsey and Co. at nine o'clock in the morning has "a sobbing gas-light in the counting-house window, and a burglarious stream of fog creeping in..to strangle i t through the keyhole of the main door" (Bk, III, ch. 1, p. 421). Men are separated from one another by doors and window-panes, Carlyle's "ice-palaces", but now so dirty with accretions of dust that one's view out or in i s hopelessly distorted. And yet men are willing to accept the distorting medium - many, in fact, prefer i t - for i t protects them from the demands of intimacy. One cannot help but feel that both Sparkler and Young Barnacle, tormented as they are with the effort of keeping their own portable glass in their eye as they look around (L.D., Bk. II, ch. 5, p. 484; Bk. I, ch. 18, p. 212), are not much concerned that the glass impedes rather than c l a r i f i e s their vision. On the contrary, i t saves them from having to make intelligent conver-sation. Mrs. Clenman, who never moves to the window, admits that she finds a com-pensation for her self-imprisonment in the fact that she is "also shut up from the knowledge of some things I may prefer to avoid knowing" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 15, p. 184). Herbert Pocket, on the other hand, is_ concerned w i t h keeping a "look out". And y e t , as Pip n o t i c e s , the environment he works i n makes i t a hope-l e s s a c t i v i t y : Nor d i d the counting-house where Herbert a s s i s t e d show i n my eyes as at a l l a good observatory, being a back second f l o o r up a yard, of a grimy presence i n a l l p a r t i c u l a r s , and w i t h a look i n t o ano-ther back second f l o o r , r a t h e r than a look out (G.E., ch. 22, p. 175). The c i t y world s h r i n k s round each i n h a b i t a n t u n t i l he i s no more aware of what l i e s some s t r e e t s beyond than the most naive of country y o k e l s . May-hew, i n h i s study of the London poor, r e p o r t s many a response l i k e the f o l l o w -i n g . I n t e r v i e w i n g a mud-lark, not over twelve years o l d , he i s t o l d that "Lon-don was England, and England, he s a i d , was i n London, but he couldn't t e l l i n 2 what p a r t " . And from a costermonger who has had the P r i n c e of Naples as h i s customer, he gets t h i s ; response: I can't say where Naples i s , but i f you was to ask at Euston-square, t h e y ' l l t e l l you the f a r e there and the time to do i t i n . . . . I -don't know what the Pope i s . Is he any trade? I t ' s nothing to me, when he's no customer of^mine. I have nothing to say about nobody .. — t h a t — a i n ' t no customers. Dickens' world dramatizes the f a c t that There are many dustmen now advanced i n years, born and reared at the East-end of London, who have never i n the whole course of t h e i r l i v e s been as f a r west as Temple-bar, who know nothing whatever of the a f f a i r s of the country, and who have never attended a place of wor-ship.4 Given her i s o l a t i o n , t h e n , i t seems q u i t e n a t u r a l that Guster should consider the Snagsby establishment "A Temple of .plenty and splendour. She b e l i e v e s the l i t t l e drawing-room u p - s t a i r s . . . to be the most elegant apartment i n C h r i s t e n -dom. The view i t commands of Cook's Court at one end (not to mention a squint 2 -Peter Quennell, -ed., Mayhew's London (Czechoslovakia, 1969), p. 341 3 Quennell, p. 60. 4 Quennell, p. 356. i n t o C u r s i t o r Street) . . . she regards as a prospect of unequalled beauty" (B.H., ch. 10, p. 129). In L i t t l e D o r r i t , Nandy's naivete takes the form of a b e a u t i f u l fantasy. For i f he had "a ship f u l l of gold" he would "take a noble lodging f o r the Plornishes and himself at a Tea Garden, and l i v e there a l l the re s t of t h e i r l i v e s , attended on by the waiter" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 31, p. 367). As f o r Magwitch, nothing could express more b l a t a n t l y h i s i s o l a t i o n from the West End than h i s advising Pip to look out at once " f o r a 'fashionable c r i b ' near Hyde Park i n which he could have 'a shake down'" (G.E., ch. 41, p. 326). -It i s not only the poor, however, who are ignorant of "the other h a l f " . Francis Wey, i n h i s Les Anglais Chez Eux, reports on the almost schizophrenic s p l i t : b u f i t : ihtbl-ondon l i f e , and of the i s o l a t i o n of the r i c h . None of the wealthy, he writes, whether t h e i r standing i s due to b i r t h or r i c h e s , would dream of s e t t i n g foot i n the C i t y . I would wager that London contains 100,000 women who have never gone further down the Strand than Somerset House; on the other hand, there are c e r t a i n l y as many cooped up i n the c i t y who have never ventured as f a r as Regent Street.5 Both B e l l a Wilfer and Esther Summerson f i n d the r e a l i t y of the waterfront area and Tom-all-Alone's almost i n c r e d i b l e . For B e l l a , the area her own f a t h -er works i n round Mincing Lane i n the Cit y i s such that " l o v e l y women" do not go walking i n i t unattended. Even her a r r i v a l by coach, and her wait at the corner (saf e l y ensconsced i n the vehicle) i s considered most unusual. But young v i r g i n s are not the only victims of i s o l a t i o n . Neither Mrs. from an.excerpt i n London i n Dickens' Day, ed. Jacob Korg, (Englewood C l i f f s , N.JV,"1960), p. 133. Humphrey House, The Dickens World, (London, 1965), p. 42, quotes a con-temporary review of O l i v e r Twist by Richard Ford: " L i f e i n London, as revealed i n the pages of Boz, opens a new world to thousands born and bred i n the same c i t y , whose palaces overshadow t h e i r c e l l a r s - for the one h a l f of mankind l i v e s without knowing how the other h a l f dies". Clenman nor her son Arthur recognizes the Marshalsea when i t stands r i g h t i n f r o n t of them. As e a r l y as'Pickwick Papers, Dickens i s aware of the bourgeois man's ignorance of much of London l i f e , and makes Mr. Pickwick's adventures a voyage away from the i s o l a t i o n of h i s c l a s s . Mr. P i c k w i c k ' s 'pilgrimage' i s h a r d l y as extensive as those of the l a t e r n o v e l s , but i t i s a beginning. The world which surrounds the hero i n the f i r s t chapter i s not much broader than that which Mrs. Clenman deigns to recognize i n L i t t l e D o r r i t . I t i s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t i n mood, c e r t a i n l y , but not i n s i z e . Mr. Pickwick ... . threw open h i s chamber window, and looked out upon the world beneath. Goswell S t r e e t was at h i s f e e t , Goswell S t r e e t was on h i s r i g h t hand - as f a r as the eye could reach, Gos-w e l l S t r e e t extended on h i s l e f t ; and the opposite s i d e of Goswell S t r e e t was over the way. (ch. 2, p. 6) But Mr. P i c k w i c k , u n l i k e Mrs. Clenman, makes t h i s h i s p o i n t of departure, not of a r r i v a l . What he has j u s t seen from h i s window, he t h i n k s , i s only l i k e "the narrow views of those philosophers who, content w i t h examining the things that l i e before them, look not to the t r u t h s which are hidden beyond" (ch. 2, p. 6 ) , and so he sets o f f on h i s voyage of di s c o v e r y across the E n g l i s h country s i d e . What he d i s c o v e r s i s not only the view beyond Goswell S t r e e t , but s i m u l -taneously, an i n s i g h t i n t o h i m s e l f . In h i s f i n a l statement as Chairman of the P i c k w i c k Club, he concludes that "Nearly the whole of my previous l i f e having been devoted to business and the p u r s u i t of wealth, numerous scenes of which I had no previous conception have dawned upon me - I hope to the enlargement of my mind, and to the improvement of my understanding" (ch. 57, pp. 796-7). In the course of Dickens' career, however, Pickwick gives way to Podsnap, and men choose to cope w i t h a strange new r e a l i t y not by going out to l e a r n about i t , but by denying i t s very e x i s t e n c e . In a sense, the h y s t e r i c a l tone Dickens f a l l s i n t o when he describes Fagin's London i n O l i v e r Twist can be seen as a f i r s t desperate a t t a c k on the advent of Podsnappery. The lengthy des c r i p t i o n of areas "where the b u i l d i n g s on the banks [of the r i v e r ] are d i r t i e s t . - . . blackest . . . f i l t h i e s t . . • strangest . . . most extraordinary . . . hidden in London, wholly unknown, even by name, to the great mass of i t s inhab-itants" (O/T^, ch. 50, p. 381), are as charged and as insistent as the reports of war atrocities to an implicated but incredulous nation. The man who has been there and returns^to t e l l his story becomes hysterical in his fear of being ignored. Dickens must have been aware that many would respond to his vision of Saffron H i l l or Tom-all-Alone's with Podsnap's "'I don't want to know about i t ; I don't choose to discuss i t ; I don't admit i t . ' " (O.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 11, p. 128) As Jarndyce recognizes of his dealings with Chancery, "the:mere truth won't do" (B.H., ch. 52, p. 704). So too, something beyond the 'merely' human i s needed to make men see the interconnected patterns of city l i f e , and their own responsibility therein: Oh, for a good s p i r i t [Dickens writes] who would take the house-tops off, with a more potent and benignant hand than the lame de-mon in the tale, and show a Christian people what dark shapes issue from amidst their homes to swell the retinue of the Des- ^ troying Angel as he moves forth among them (D. & S., ch. 47, p. 648). Mr. Dombey i s given a glimpse of England with "the house-tops off" as he speeds through the countryside on his journey to Leamington, seeing the contrasting worlds of industry and agriculture, poverty and wealth, death, and l i f e , simul-taneously: "where the sheep are feeding, where the mil l i s going, where the barge is floating, where the dead are lying, where the factory i s smoking, where the stream i s running, where the village clusters, where the great cath-edreal rises, where the bleak moor l i e s , and the wild breeze smooths" (ch. 20, p. 281). But Dombey is determined not to see any meaning in such an England: i t i s not the England that l i e s between Portland Place and Bryanston Square, and he looks right past i t just as he looks past the 'lower orders'. Significantly, One could argue - quite conclusively, 1 think - that i t is Dickens him-self as artist who becomes that "good s p i r i t " . i t i s the very f a c t that Dombey l a t e r refuses to b e l i e v e i n the changed f o r -tunes of the House that ensures i t s c o l l a p s e . Dickens makes i t c l e a r t h a t Podsnappery creates, worse problems than those i t would deny. Mr. Snagsby's knowledge of Tom-all-Alone's i s r i g o r o u s l y sup-pressed and so made f a r more dangerous and t h r e a t e n i n g . He l i v e s i n mortal f e a r that "at any hour of h i s d a i l y l i f e . . . at any p u l l of the b e l l , at any entrance of a messenger, or any d e l i v e r y of a l e t t e r , the secret may take a i r and f i r e , explode, and blow up" (B.H., ch. 25, p. 354). Krook's subsequent death by spontaneous combustion and, i n L i t t l e D o r r i t , the t o t a l d i s i n t e g r a -t i o n of the Clenman house, seem apt r e t r i b u t i o n f o r l i v e s of w i l f u l ignorance. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, i t i s not always the most g u i l t y who are pun-ished. In the c i t y of Our Mutual F r i e n d , Georgiana, r a t h e r than Podsnap him-s e l f , must bear the brunt of h i s Podsnappery. Her f a t h e r ' s c u l t of innocent youth - i n f a c t a ploy to defend him s e l f - leaves her defenceless. In her f e a r of human contact and her u t t e r ignorance of the w o r l d , she i s an easy prey f o r the Lammles and F a s c i n a t i o n Fledgeby. The i r o n y i s that Podsnap does not mean to sabotage h i s daughter's happi-ness. Podsnap, one f e e l s , i s t o t a l l y u n s e l f c o n s c i o u s . He does not know why he denies so much of r e a l i t y - i t i s as n a t u r a l f o r him to do so as i t i s f o r Esther Summerson to be good. But f o r o t h e r s , l i k e Fledgeby and Skimpole, Pod-snappery i s a c o n t r o l l e d t a c t i c i n t h e i r d e a l i n g s w i t h s o c i e t y . Fledgeby em-barrasses Mr. Twemlow by p u b l i c l y acknowledging the u n w r i t t e n r u l e s of "the world" (which he h i m s e l f f o l l o w s whenever i t i s i n h i s i n t e r e s t ) : You have always been brought up as a gentleman and never as a man of business . . . and perhaps you are but a poor man of business. . . you c u l t i v a t e s o c i e t y and s o c i e t y c u l t i v a t e s you, but Mr. Riah's not s o c i e t y . In s o c i e t y , Mr. Riah i s kept dark, eh, Mr. Twemlow (O.M.F., Bk. I I I . ch. 13, p. 570). 23 So too, i n V i c t o r i a n Society' , slums and c h i l d - l a b o u r are "kept dark". We never hear Harold Skimpole a d m i t t i n g h i s conscious Podsnappery, but i t i s i m p l i c i t i n a l l h i s a c t i o n s . "'Then . . . don't a l l u d e to i t , ' " h e t e l l s E s ther, who i s t r y i n g to ask him to stop l i v i n g o f f Richard,"' Why should you a l l u d e to anything that i s not a pleasant matter? I_ never do.'1 "(B.H. , ch. 61, p. 827) Even Florence Dombey acts out a k i n d of w i l f u l (and t h e r e f o r e Podsnap-l i k e ) ignorance. She p r o t e c t s h e r s e l f from the f a c t that her f a t h e r hates her by pretending he no longer e x i s t s . Podsnappery ^ i n f e c t s a l l those who ^  i n order to c o n t r o l a world they f e a r , e i t h e r ignore i t or attempt to r e c r e a t e i t i n t h e i r own image. Everything strange and d i f f e r e n t ( u s u a l l y "not E n g l i s h " ) comes to be seen as a t h r e a t . As Podsnappery becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y powerful i n Dickens' London, i t seems i n e v i t a b l e t h a t , as Humprey House p o i n t s out, The e c c e n t r i c s and monsters i n the e a r l i e r books walk through a crowd without e x c i t i n g p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n : i n the l a t t e r they are l i k e l y to be pointed at i n the s t r e e t s , and are forced i n t o s e c l u s ^ i o n ; s o c i a l conformity has taken on a new meaning.8 The modern c i t y demands, and o f t e n g e t s , only normal' i n h a b i t a n t s . In Dickens' l a s t f i n i s h e d n o v e l , Riah intends to walk to the M i l l where L i z z i e works. He i s s e l f - c o n f i d e n t , but not so the more world-wary Jenny Wren. " I t was e x a c t l y because he had h i s s t a f f and presented so quaint an aspect that she mi s t r u s t e d h i s making the journey" QO.M.F., Bk. IV, ch. 9, p. 729). Jenny i s p e s s i m i s t i c because she knows that Riah must make h i s way i n a world which has declared c e r t a i n emotions (such as h i s gentleness and kindness) almost monstrous. Miss F l i t e , f o r i n s t a n c e , " i s as c o r d i a l and f u l l of heart as s a n i t y i t s e l f can be -. Fledgeby and Skimpole do not f o l l o w the ' c l a s s i c a l ' p a t t e r n i n that they are motivated l e s s by f e a r than by the wish to manipulate. 8 The Dickens World, p. 134. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between conformity (often through r e p r e s s i o n ) and the modern i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y i s discussed at greater length i n ch. IV. more so than i t o f t e n i s " (B.H., ch. 47, p. 637). In the bleak c i t y , one must be mad to be k i n d . Lady Dedlock, on the other hand, embraces s o c i e t y ' s d e f i n i t i o n s of normal-i t y . She i s as " i n d i f f e r e n t as i f a l l p a s s i o n , f e e l i n g , and i n t e r e s t had been worn out i n the e a r l i e r ages of the w o r l d , and had pe r i s h e d from i t s surface w i t h i t s other departed monsters" (B.H., ch. 48, p. 652). However, i n a con-t e x t l a r g e r than that bound by ' s o c i e t y ' , i t i s the 'normal' people l i k e Lady Dedlock, Merdle and Dombey, r a t h e r than the mere e c c e n t r i c s , who are found to be t r u l y monstrous. The e y i l that they do u n w i t t i n g l y i s more pervasive and more inhuman than anything Monks or Fagin could hope to attempt, f o r the system they represent - c l a s s , money, and success - dehumanizes an e n t i r e s o c i e t y r a t h e r than i n d i v i d u a l v i c t i m s . I t does so without Fagin I s dramatic e f f e c t s , but on a d a i l y , i n e x o r a b l e b a s i s , as men adapt themselves to the great commer-c i a l c i t y . CHAPTER I I I CITY OF EUPHEMISM: THE MISUSE OF LANGUAGE V.S. P r i t c h e t t w r i t e s that The d i s t i n g u i s h i n g q u a l i t y of Dickens' people i s that they are s o l i t a r i e s . They are people caught l i v i n g i n a world of t h e i r own. They s o l i l o q u i z e i n i t . They do not t a l k to another; they t a l k to themselves...The people and the things of Dickens are a l l out of touch and out of heading of each other, each conducting i t s own inner monologue. The s o l i t a r i n e s s can become monstrous when, Podsnap-like, i t w i l l not admit the r e a l i t y of other s o l i t a r i e s . I t seems a c o n d i t i o n of urban l i f e that men re f u s e to look at one another. I t i s not merely, as Wordsworth record s , the anonymity of the crowd, i n which "The face of everyone/That passes by me 2 i s a mystery!" ,^  but the f a c t that even i n a p r i v a t e c o n v e r s a t i o n , men are •V/ c a r e f u l not to look i n one another's eyes. Lady Dedlock s i t s behind a screen during her i n t e r v i e w w i t h Guppy. Tulkinghorn "stands before the f i r e , w i t h h i s hand out at arm's len g t h , shading h i s face. He looks across h i s arm at my Lady" (B.H., ch.12, p.164). Vholes too avoids embarrassment by thought-f u l l y l o o k i n g down at h i s Diary when he asks Richard f o r money. In Dombey and Son Mr. Dombey " h a b i t u a l l y looked over the vul g a r herd, not at them" (D. & S., ch.ZO, p.277), and h i s s i s t e r and Miss Tox t a l k r i g h t through Mrs. Toodles, d i s c u s s i n g her as a ' t h i r d person' when she i s standing r i g h t before them. Charley Hexam i n Our Mutual F r i e n d i s forced i n t o a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n , but i n t h i s case because the ' t h i r d person' r e f u s e s to recognize him: "'Now I t e l l Mr. Eugene Wrayburn,' pursued the boy, forced i n t o the use of the t h i r d person by the hopelessness of addressing him i n the f i r s t " (Q.M.F., Bk.I-I, ch.6, p.290). quoted from The L i v i n g Novel (N.Y., 1947) p.88, by Dorothy VanGhent, The E n g l i s h Novel: Form and F u n c t i o n , (N.Y., 1961), p„125. 2 The P r e l u d e , "Residence i n London". Each enclosed i n h i s s e l f - p r o t e c t i v e ' i c e - p a l a c e ' , Dickens' characters are no longer i n t e r e s t e d i n l o o k i n g across the way to acknowledge t h e i r b r o t h e r s ' e x i s t e n c e . Nor are they i n t e r e s t e d i n the s i g n a l s and gestures made behind the g l a s s w a l l s : they have no wish to l i p - r e a d the monologue of other s o l i t a r i e s . I t i s s a f e r and e a s i e r to recognize no one's r e a l i t y but one's own, to become l i k e Mr. Meagles, who simply refuses to l e a r n a f o r e i g n language, but who s t i l l i n s i s t s on t r a v e l l i n g out of England and t a l k i n g to " i n d i v i d u a l s of a l l n a t i o n s i n i d i o m a t i c E n g l i s h , w i t h a p e r f e c t c o n v i c t i o n that they were bound to understand i t somehow" (L.D., Bk.I, ch.2, pp.22-3). By p r o t e c t i n g h i m s e l f from t h e i r language, Meagles i s i n e f f e c t cut o f f from the f o r e i g n e r s themselves, f o r i n the Dickens world, men are i n e x t r i c a b l y t i e d to t h e i r forms of speech. I t would be i n c o n c e i v a b l e f o r F l o r a F i n c h i n g to t a l k i n the manner of J i n g l e or of Mr. Snagsby. Each has h i s own language, as f o r e i g n to the other, almost, as French and E n g l i s h . Each i s defined as much by the pa t t e r n s of h i s speech as by h i s p a r t i n the n a r r a t i v e : the reader need only hear the words "'Arthur - Doyce and Clenman,'" or "'not to put too f i n e a p o i n t upon i t , ' " to know e x a c t l y who i s speaking. In Dickens' London, words themselves take on magical powers, and become as r e a l as those who use them, and t h e r e f o r e , j u s t as t h r e a t e n i n g . To l e a r n a f o r e i g n language would be tantamount to making f r i e n d s w i t h a f o r e i g n e r , and Podsnappish urban men cannot a l l o w t h a t . 3 ; Words become as potent, too, as the r e a l i t y which they stand f o r . Dombey's servan t s , at the news of t h e i r master's bankruptcy, repeat "'a hun-dred thou-sand pound!'...as i f [saying] the words were l i k e h a ndling the money" (D.& S. ch.59, p.828). Language has indeed become, l i k e money, "a In t h i s context, S i r L e i c e s t e r Dedlock's response to Nemo's death should be noted. He was "Not so much shocked by the f a c t , as by the f a c t of the f a c t being mentioned" (B„H., ch.12, p„165). very potent s p i r i t " (D. & S., ch.8, p.93). N e v e r t h e l e s s , words are u s u a l l y r e j e c t e d r a t h e r than l o v i n g l y handled. 4 "Human k i n d [ i n the city] / C a n n o t bear very much r e a l i t y " , and t h e r e f o r e cannot bear much language e i t h e r . Even a name upsets Mr. Dombey: 'Who i s Mrs. P i p c h i n , L o u i s a ? ' asked Mr. Dombey, aghast at t h i s f a m i l i a r i n t r o d u c t i o n of a name he had never heard before (D.& S. ch.8, p.97). ~~ Ju s t as he cannot bear to hear c e r t a i n t h i n g s mentioned, Dombey cannot say them h i m s e l f without w i n c i n g . He accuses Mrs. Richards of t a k i n g '"my son -my son...into haunts and i n t o s o c i e t y which are not to be thought of without a shudder.... 1 Mr. Dombey, stopped and winced - 'to Stages Gardens.'" r (ch.6, p.82) His s i s t e r , Mrs. Chick, s u f f e r s from the same a t t i t u d e to language, or at l e a s t pretends t o , i n her subservience to her br o t h e r : "Mrs. Chick was a f r a i d to say limbs, a f t e r Dombeys recent o b j e c t i o n to bones, and th e r e f o r e waited f o r a suggestion from Miss Tox, who, true to her o f f i c e , hazarded 'members.'" (ch.8, p.96) And i n the same n o v e l , there i s Mrs. Skewton, who "had heard nothing but the low word business, f o r which she had a m o r t a l a v e r s i o n , insomuch that she had long banished i t from her v o c a b u l a r l y " ( D & S., ch.37, p.527), and who i s l a t e r t e r r i f i e d by Major Bagstock's metaphorical use of the word ' d i e 1 : "'Such d r e a d f u l words...He uses such d r e a d f u l words.'" (ch.40, p„572) For Mrs. Skewton, a word l i k e "death" i s i n i t s e l f a l e t h a l weapon. The ' i n t i m a t e ' words are a l s o to be feared, f o r the experience of intimacy makes demands that urban men are u n w i l l i n g to accept. Rather than make themselves v u l n e r a b l e to the outside w o r l d , they p r e f e r to remain alone, behind the g l a s s w a l l s of t h e i r i c e - p a l a c e s . Both Rob the Grinder and Mrs. Skewton, though t o t a l l y u n a l i k e i n age and s o c i a l standing, defend themselves from intimacy i n the same way, by s l i d i n g over or f o r g e t t i n g a l l ' i n t i m a t e ' words. "T.S. E l i o t , "Burnt Norton". - 28 T h e i r speech i s f u l l of phrases l i k e "et c e t e r e r " , "what 1s-its-name," "and a l l t hat of course". For Dickens, the fear of c e r t a i n words takes on the dimensions of a n a t i o n a l n e u r o s i s : even 'good' characters l i k e Mr. Bagnet are i n f e c t e d . His w i f e , he knows, i s more than a tr e a s u r e : ' " I never saw the o l d g i r l ' s equal [he s a y s ] . But I never own to i t before her. D i s c i p l i n e must be maintained!'" (B.H., ch.27, p.385) In order to p r o t e c t themselves from a language and an experience that i s too demanding, some men look -away from words and re f u s e to use them."* Others, however, invent another language - that of euphemism and c l i c h e - by which to impose t h e i r own v e r s i o n of r e a l i t y on the w o r l d . Urban man, faced w i t h an environment i n constant f l u x , and denied the s e c u r i t y of l i f e i n a community, r e t r e a t s i n t o a Podsnap-like i s o l a t i o n over which he can have t o t a l c o n t r o l . He i n s i s t s on manipulating the outside world u n t i l i t f i t s h i s s p e c i f i c a t i o n s , and by choosing the convenient metaphors of euphemism, and the ready-made phrases of c l i c h e , he i s i n a good p o s i t i o n to do so. M.R.F. i n Our Mutual Friend, h i m s e l f a euphemism created by h i s son Eugene ( i n order to avoid the intimacy of the word ' f a t h e r ' ) , can only express h i m s e l f i n d i r e c t l y . He dec l a r e s "'that L i z z i e ought to have her p o r t r a i t p a i n t e d . Which[Eugene notes,] coming from M.R.F., may be considered e q u i v a l e n t to a melodramatic b l e s s i n g . 1 " (Bk.IV, ch.16, p.812) A f f e c t i o n , f o r the o l d Mr. Wrayburn, i s e a s i e r to dea l w i t h i f i t can be expressed i n a mo d i f i e d form. To say d i r e c t l y , and w i t h no q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , that he i s r e c o n c i l e d to h i s son and wishes him w e l l , might w e l l s h a t t e r a w a l l of h i s i c e - p a l a c e . Mrs. General i n L i t t l e D o r r i t dramatizes a more complex and i r o n i c treatment of the fear of language. She claims that money i s a subject she never d i s c u s s e s : " ' I cannot overcome the d e l i c a c y . w i t h which I have always regarded i t . ' " ( B k . I I , ch.2, p.449) At the same time, however, ( p r e c i s e l y because of her ' d e l i c a c y ' ) Mr. D o r r i t i s a d r o i t l y manoeuvered i n t o g i v i n g her a l a r g e r a i s e i n s a l a r y . The employee has s u c c e s s f u l l y e x p l o i t e d her employer's r e t i c e n c e about c e r t a i n words, and from t h i s p o i n t on, he remains under her power. W r i t i n g i n "Shooting Niagara: and A f t e r ? " C a r l y l e sees through the v e r b a l ' t r i c k s ' of h i s time. I n s i n c e r e speech, [he w r i t e s , ] t r u l y i s the prime m a t e r i a l of i n s i n c e r e A c t i o n . A c t i o n hangs, as i t were, d i s s o l v e d i n Speech, i n Thought whereof Speech i s the shadow; and p r e c i p i t a t e s i t s e l f therefrom...gOur speech, i n these modern days, has become amazing! Such an i n s i g h t , too, d i r e c t s Dickens i n the language he 'assigns' h i s ch a r a c t e r s . Mrs. Chick's i n s i n c e r i t y i s made c l e a r i n her response to the f i r s t Mrs. Dombey's death. She has no r e a l concern f o r the dying mother, only f o r her own sense of having done the r i g h t t h i n g , and having f o r g i v e n "poor dear Fanny e v e r y t h i n g " (D.& S., ch.2, p.11). Dealt w i t h h o n e s t l y , however, Fanny's death might be r a t h e r awkward, and r a i s e too many uncom-f o r t a b l e questions, so Mrs. Chick n e a t l y t r a n s l a t e s i t i n t o her own p r i v a t e language: Fanny simply d i d not "rouse" h e r s e l f p r o p e r l y . The at t e n d i n g Doctors abet Mrs. Chick i n her tra n s f o r m a t i o n of the unpleasant f a c t s . For them too, death i n c h i l d b i r t h i s not death but the i n a b i l i t y "to make tha t e f f o r t s u c c e s s f u l l y " , and a c r i s i s then a r i s i n g "which we should both s i n c e r e l y d e p l o r e " ( c h . l , p.5). Miss Tox i s not so much i n s i n c e r e as too eager to please those who are i n s i n c e r e , and so she n e u t r a l i z e s whatever unpleasnatness may be inherent i n the pronoun 'myself' or i n the name of Mrs. P i p c h i n w i t h the f o l l o w i n g e x p l a n a t i o n : 'The humble i n d i v i d u a l who addresses you was once under her charge. I b e l i e v e j u v e n i l e n o b i l i t y i t s e l f i s no stranger to her establishment.' (D. & S., ch . 8 , p.97) Her language i s so convoluted, however, that i t becomes meaningless.^ But g— . .—___— i n Prose of the V i c t o r i a n P e r i o d , p.173. ^Micawber's language too, i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by i t s o p a c i t y . A stranger i n London, D a v i d • C o p p e r f i e l d i s as much i n danger of being l o s t i n the c i t y as i n the strange new language of h i s l a n d l o r d : both are e q u a l l y confusing. 'Under the impression [Micawber announces,] that your p e r e g r i n a t i o n s i n t h i s m e t r o p o l i s have not yet been ext e n s i v e , and that you might have some d i f f i c u l t y i n p e n e t r a t i n g the arcana of the Modern Babylon i n the d i r e c t i o n of the C i t y Road - i n s h o r t . . . t h a t you might l o s e y o u r s e l f - I s h a l l be happy to c a l l t h i s evening, and i n s t a l you i n the knowledge of the nearest way.' (D.C, c h . l l , p.156) then, meaninglessness i s s a f e r than meaningfulness. In a s i m i l a r way, Miss Peecher defends h e r s e l f from the statement that Miss Hexam i s "very handsome" by having the c u l p r i t parse her o r i g i n a l sentence u n t i l a l l meaning i s drained out and a l l t h a t remains i s a s t r i n g of grammatical mumbo-jumbo. [O.M.F., B k . I I , c h . l , p.220] I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s s p e c i f i c a l l y grammar, developed to c l a r i f y meaning, that i s used to obscure i t . The euphemisms used by Chadband i n Bleak House are a l s o a d i s t o r t i o n of the proper uses of language. Euphemism i s e s s e n t i a l l y metaphor, but metaphor perver t e d , so that i n s t e a d of l e a d i n g to a c l e a r e r v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , i t leads merely to evasion, and a more p a l a t a b l e v e r s i o n of the f a c t s . Whereas the poet's imagination, through metaphor, bodies f o r t h The forms of things unknown...' . Turns them to shapes, and giveg to a i r y nothing A l o c a l h a b i t a t i o n and a name, Chadband's euphemisms hide from things unknown (but feared) and t u r n them i n t o " a i r y n o t h i n g " - robbed of a l l meaning and power. Thus i n h i s dealings w i t h Jo, the reverend's e v a n g e l i c a l c l i c h e s are very u s e f u l . T r e a t i n g Jo as "a d w e l l e r i n the tents of Tom-all-Alone's" (B.H., ch.25, p.358) l i f t s him r i g h t out of the slums of r e a l London, and makes Chadband's ' C h r i s t i a n ' duty to him most conveniently simple. He i s not a c h i l d i n need of l o v e , or even a f e l l o w human being i n need of food - only a s o u l that must be saved. He has no c o l d or s t a r v i n g body, f o r "dwellers i n t e n t s " can have no such t h i n g . They are the measurable u n i t s i n the r e l i g i o n trade and nothing e l s e . The r e l i a n c e on euphemism by so many of Dickens' characters can be seen as t h e i r attempt to ' f i x ' r e a l i t y to t h e i r l i k i n g . Whereas Dickens t r i e s to render h i s ever-changing world meaningful i n a l l i t s complexity, the i n h a b i t a n t s of h i s novels merely use language to stop the world from changing, and to keep i t s a f e l y under t h e i r own c o n t r o l . 'A Midsummer Nig h t ' s Dream, A c t ^ Scene i . The obsessive nicknaming of everyone i n Our Mutual F r i e n d by everyone e l s e i n the novel suggests a desperate attempt to manipulate the r e a l i t y of 9 others and never l e t them become r e a l i n t h e i r own r i g h t . The characters cease to be John Harmon and Georgiana Podsnap and become the Man from Somewhere, the young person, Another, T'Otherest, the A n a l y t i c a l , the vanished person, W.M.P., the Lovely Woman, Mr. Aaron, and M.R.F. The choice of nicknames makes i t c l e a r that men are being turned i n t o " a i r y nothings". The new names do not c r y s t a l l i z e the essence of the people they r e f e r t o ; on the c o n t r a r y , they merely put them i n t o convenient c a t e g o r i e s , and turn them i n t o c l i c h e s . A man who i s not much more than a pronoun or a set of i n i t i a l s i s no longer f u l l y human, and i s thus robbed of h i s t h r e a t e n i n g ' otherness 1. Eugene shrewdly p r o t e c t s h i m s e l f from self-knowledge, and from the f a c t of h i s own dishonourable actions,by denying the honourable a c t i o n s of another. Thus Riah can be e a s i l y dispensed w i t h because Eugene sees him only as a stage Jew, "Mr. Aaron", and not as the k i n d o l d man that L i z z i e knows. I t i s temptingly easy f o r the reader too to adopt a euphemism and deny a cha r a c t e r ' s humanity. I t comes as a shock, t h e r e f o r e , i n Bleak House, when a r e a l man, who has j u s t shown r e a l rage and r e a l kindness, says of h i m s e l f "'I...am the man from S h r o p s h i r e . 1 " (ch.15, p .24) I t cannot be, one f e e l s ; the man from Shropshire i s a joke, he e x i s t s i n one dimension only, as a f u n c t i o n of the Court of Chancery. But Dickens pla/s h i s own joke on the reader, a joke that i s a warning too: G r i d l e y i s r e a l ; he may make unpleasant demands, but one cannot fob him o f f w i t h a sentence i n the f i r s t chapter. Chancery, however, continues to deal w i t h G r i d l e y as "the man from Shropshire", merely four words w r i t t e n on a p i e c e of paper. Chancery, i n A c l e a r example of t h i s i s Skimpole's renaming of Neckett and h i s c h i l d r e n as Coavins. The man i s thus reduced to a r o l e . S i m i l a r l y , i n D. & S. Dombey i n s i s t s t h a t Mrs. Toodles take on the i d e n t i t y that he def i n e s as Mrs. R i c h a r d s . f a c t , turns everything i n t o words on paper, but they are words that deny r a t h e r than r e v e a l r e a l i t y . The case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, f o r i n s t a n c e , i s f i n a l l y reduced to bagfuls of documents, mere i n k on paper that i s e v e n t u a l l y dumped i n the h a l l s of Chancery. The r e a l case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, however, i s found i n Dickens' n o v e l , Bleak House, but the Lord High C h a n c e l l o r , one can assume, has never read i t . His business i s w i t h l e g a l language only, not w i t h the language of the i m a g i n a t i o n . He i s i n t e r e s t e d merely i n the f a c t s , and not i n what Dickens can r e v e a l , which i s the f e e l of the f a c t s . Indeed, he must p r o t e c t h i m s e l f from that k i n d of knowledge, f o r should he know what i t f e e l s l i k e to be the v i c t i m of Chancery, i t might i n h i b i t h i s r o l e as High C h a n c e l l o r . I t i s i n h i s i n t e r e s t s to defend h i m s e l f from self-knowledge, and he and the system he works i n have learned to do so through the language of the Law. The language of the c i t y powers i n L i t t l e D o r r i t a l s o hides r a t h e r than expresses meaning. The ' a t t r a c t i o n ' of Fanny D o r r i t and Edmund S p a r k l e r i s imaged by Bishop as a b e a u t i f u l s y n t h e s i s : i n s t e a d of two r i v a l and contending flames [which i n f a c t e x a c t l y described the r e l a t i o n between Fanny and her mother-i n - l a w ] , a l a r g e r and a l e s s e r , each burning w i t h a l u r i d and u n c e r t a i n g l a r e , we had a blended and a softened l i g h t whose g e n i a l ray d i f f u s e d an equable warmth throughout the land (L.D., B k . I I , ch.12, p.566). Poor S p a r k l e r , nothing could be f u r t h e r from the t r u t h . But then, i t i s Bishop's business to make up p r e t t y analogies (without too much concern f o r r e a l i t y ) to please h i s wealthy congregation. They c e r t a i n l y do not wish to know that the young b r i d e and groom w i l l l i v e very miserably " f o r ever a f t e r " . Such knowledge would only i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e i r sense that nothing unpleasant ever happens i n s o c i e t y , and that i f i t ever should, on no account must one t a l k about i t . I n Dickens' London, language i s p e r v e r t e d and used f o r ends other than the communication between man and man. David C o p p e r f i e l d records how, during h i s v i s i t to Agnes at the Waterbrook home, the two businessmen use words as a b a r r i e r to understanding, s p e c i f i c a l l y , David f e e l s , " f o r our defeat and overthrow" (D.C, ch.25, p.375). But i t i s not merely by others that one i s defeated i n the c i t y . Urban man defeats h i m s e l f by f e a r i n g language and what i t r e p r e s e n t s . In h i s i n s i s t e n c e on e i t h e r s i l e n c e or euphemism r a t h e r than on r e a l i t y , he 'breeds' people l i k e Mrs. G e n e r a l ^ and Carker, who see through h i s weaknesses and know how to e x p l o i t them. Carker, l i k e Skimpole and Fledgeby i n t h e i r Podsnappery, c o n s c i o u s l y e x p l o i t s the unconscious 'evasion t a c t i c s ' of h i s f e l l o w men. He sees that the motive f o r euphemism l i e s i n the need to manipulate a t h r e a t e n i n g environ ment, and so he s k i l f u l l y ^ turns h i m s e l f i n t o a m a l l e a b l e o b j e c t , t a k i n g on the a t t i t u d e and language of h i s 'master', t e l l i n g him what he wants to hear. "Mr. Carker snapped at the expression. In h i s moral nature. E x a c t l y . The very words he had been on the p o i n t of suggesting" (D. & S., ch.26, p.363). But i t i s always Carker, not Dombey or Bagstock, who i s r e a l l y i n c o n t r o l . With Captain C u t t l e too, (ch.17, pp.233-5) Mr. Carker a s s e r t s nothing from h i s own p e r s o n a l i t y . He merely assents to the suggestions of the Captain. He uses language n e i t h e r to communicate nor to impose order, but to trap h i s unwary - though not always innocent - v i c t i m s i n h i s net. And y e t , w i t h p e r f e c t i r o n y , Carker too i s defeated by the same dishonest and m a n i p u l a t i v e language he has used on others: E d i t h leads him on, l e t t i n g him b e l i e v e she w i l l become h i s m i s t r e s s when i n f a c t she has no i n t e n t i o n of doing so. As he has done w i t h C u t t l e and w i t h Dombey, she uses h i s words, and h i s hopes, to make a f o o l of him. With men i n the c i t y n e i t h e r t r u s t i n g nor l o o k i n g at one another, language becomes a weapon w i t h which to defeat one's f e l l o w man (as Carker and E d i t h do), or ( l i k e Wrayburn and Chadband) merely to b r i n g h i s 'otherness i n t o convenient submission. Language i s used as money i s , to buy anyone See footnote 5, t h i s chapter. 34 and anything off,''"''" to protect oneself from "too much r e a l i t y " . Faced with a c i ty that is changing too quickly for human comprehension, and that no longer affords a sense of community, urban man, each in his own ice-palace, builds and then hides behind the protective wall of insincere speech. See ch.V, "The Cash Nexus". • 55 CHAPTER IV FUR AND FUNGUS: REPRESSION AND THE CLASS STRUCTURE In Dickens' London, houses might have i t i n t h e i r minds "to s l i d e down sideways" (L.D., Bk.I, ch.3, p.31). They may "frown l i k e dark mutes" (D. & S. ch.59, p.846), or have " t h e i r eyes stoned out" (B.H., ch.8, p.96), or shed"sooty t e a r s . . . l i k e some weak g i a n t of a sweep" (G.E., ch.27, p.207). S t r e e t s might even "set o f f f r o m . [ G r a y ' s Inn Road] w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of running at one heat down i n t o the v a l l e y , and up again to the top of P e n t o n v i l l e H i l l ; " but then they may a l s o run themselves "out of breath i n twenty yards" and stand s t i l l f o r ever a f t e r , " l o o k i n g w i t h a baulked coun-tenance at the w i l d e r n e s s . . . t h a t . . . [ t h e y ] had meant to run over i n no time" (L.D., Bk.I, ch.13, p.144). J u s t as language i n the c i t y seems to take on autonomous powers, so too the f a b r i c of London comes a l i v e to threaten i t s i n h a b i t a n t s . P i p , as has already been noted, i s almost beheaded by a loose window, and B l a n d o i s t o t a l l y crushed by the spontaneous d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the Clenman home. S i l a s Wegg i s i n a very r e a l sense c o r r e c t when he c a l l s the London envi r o n -ment the "atmospear", f o r the c i t y rushes at i t s i n h a b i t a n t s w i t h the f o r c e of an enemy weapon: "the bad a i r seemed always to come i n , and never to go out" (D.C., ch.50, p.717). More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the c i t y mounts an a s s a u l t on the senses: a very r e a l p h y s i c a l h o r r o r seeps through one's pores as one s i t s reading of S a f f r o n H i l l or Tom-all-Alone's. The London morning that O l i v e r Twist experiences i s f a r removed from Wordsworth's sun-steeped s i l e n c e . 1 For O l i v e r , See "Composed Upon Westminster B r i d g e , September 3, 1802". 36 I t was market-morning. The ground was covered, n e a r l y ankle deep, w i t h f i l t h and mire; a t h i c k steam, p e r p e t u a l l y r i s i n g from the r e e k i n g bodies of the c a t t l e , and m i n g l i n g w i t h the fog, which seemed to r e s t upon the chimney-tops, hung h e a v i l y above....[It was] a stunning and b e w i l d e r i n g scene, which q u i t e confounded the senses (O.T., c h . Z l , p.153). More than twenty years l a t e r , i n Great E x p e c t a t i o n s , P i p comes i n t o S m i t h f i e l d , "and the shameful p l a c e , being a l l asmear w i t h f i l t h and f a t and blood and foam, seemed to s t i c k to me. So I rubbed i t o f f w i t h a l l p o s s i b l e speed" (ch.20, p. 155). I t i s not only the c i t y ' s overt s e n s u a l i t y ( i t s " f i l t h and f a t and blood 2 and foam"), but a l s o i t s aggressiveness, that i s so f r i g h t e n i n g . When Esther and Ada go to v i s i t R i c h a r d , the "houses frowned at us, the dust rose at us, the smoke swooped at us, nothing made any compromise about i t s e l f , or wore a softened aspect" (B.H., ch.51, p.694). S e n s u a l i t y and aggressiveness are h o r r i f y i n g l y merged during Esther's d i s c o v e r y of Tom-all-Alone's: i t was n e i t h e r n i g h t nor day...morning was dawning... the s l e e t was s t i l l f a l l i n g . . . a l l the ways were deep w i t h i t . . . t h e wet house-tops, the clogged and b u r s t i n g g u t t e r s and water-spouts, the mounds of blackened i c e and snow...the narrowness of the c o u r t s . . . the s t a i n e d house f r o n t s put on human shapes and looked at me... great water gates seemed to be opening and c l o s i n g i n my head, or i n the a i r . . . t h e u n r e a l things were more s u b s t a n t i a l than the r e a l . . . [ I t was] a d r e a d f u l spot... heaps of dishonoured graves and stones, hemmed i n by f i l t h y houses... on whose w a l l s a t h i c k humidity broke out l i k e a disease...[A woman l a y ] drenched i n the f e a r f u l wet of such •a p l a c e , which oozed and splashed down everywhere...(B.H., ch.59, pp.810-11). I t i s no wonder that George, s i t t i n g at Mr. Tulkinghorn's (and, t h e r e f o r e , at the very center of the London of Bleak House) i s i m p e l l e d to say, ' " I f e e l as i f I was being smothered. 1" (ch.27, p.379) In order to s u r v i v e i n such a world, men must sometimes become animals: "Jo, and the ..other lower animals, get on i n the u n i n t e l l i g i b l e mess as they can" (B.H., ch.16, p.221). Being human, f o r them, would only mean being too This aspect of London i s already suggested i n the f i r s t of the i n t e r p o l a t e d t a l e s i n P.P. (ch.3, pp.36-7). s e n s i t i v e to withstand t h e i r inhuman environment. L i k e oxen, they can endure, though they cannot understand. Those who i n h a b i t Tom-all-Alone 1s are bred l e s s by human parents than by the slum i t s e l f . They are "a crowd of f o u l e x i s t e n c e that crawls i n and out of gaps i n w a l l s and boards; and c o i l s i t s e l f to sleep, i n maggot numbers, where the r a i n d r i p s i n " (B.H., ch.16, p.220). I n d i v i d u a l s are so b r u t a l i z e d by the c o n d i t i o n s of c i t y l i f e that they can be t a l k e d of as a s i n g l e monstrous e n t i t y . They can be fed, as Charley i s , on scraps and slops (B.H., c h . 2 l , p.293); or, l i k e C a p tain Hawdon, they can become Nobody, a " p a r t y " that knows no inconvenient human weakness, who '"...never wants sleep. H e ' l l go at i t r i g h t on end... as long as ever you l i k e : " ' (B ,H., ch.10, pp.134-5) Even good Esther cannot q u i t e b e l i e v e i n the humanity of the desperately poor - a s i n g l e a d j e c t i v e gives her away when she d e s c r i b e s "the e x t r a o r d i n a r y creatures i n rags, s e c r e t l y groping among the swept-out rub b i s h f o r p i n s and other r e f u s e " (B.H., ch.5, p.48. Emphasis my own). But then, she has only j u s t a r r i v e d i n London, and has much to l e a r n before she f i n i s h e s her s t o r y . What Esther must l e a r n i s that i n London, i t i s not only the poor who are b r u t a l i z e d . Lady Dedlock l o s e s her humanity i n the society-market and i s imaged as a horse - granted, a very f i n e and v a l u a b l e one - but s t i l l a horse (B.H., ch.2, p.10). In a r a r e moment of honesty, Harold Skimpole r e f e r s to h i m s e l f as a strange breed of animal: "the Skimpole" (B.H".., ch.61, p.830). He has become n e i t h e r a beast of burden ( l i k e Jo and Nemo) nor a show-horse ( l i k e Lady Dedlock) but an i n s e c t of unusually developed p a r a s i t i c powers. Vholes, too i n h i s most r e s p e c t a b l e p r o f e s s i o n a l c a p a c i t y looks at R i c h a r d as i f he were making a l i n g e r i n g meal of him (B.H., ch.39, p.550). Rogue Riderhood might w e l l say of him, as he says of G a f f e r Hexam, " ' I a'most th i n k you're l i k e the v u l t u r s , pardner, and scent 'em o u t . 1 " (O.M.F., Bk.I, c h . l , p.4) In Our Mutual F r i e n d the dehumanization of both r i c h and poor i s made most c l e a r . At the Veneering dinner p a r t y , h i g h - s o c i e t y re-enacts the scavenging o p e r a t i o n that takes place n i g h t l y on the Thames. And, as w i t h Hexam and Riderhood, the Veneering 1s motives are not a l t o g e t h e r p h i l a n t h r o p i c . [Mr. Veneering] plunged i n t o the case and emerged from i t twenty minutes afterwards w i t h a Bank D i r e c t o r i n h i s arms. In the mean time, Mrs. Veneering had dived i n t o the same waters f o r a wealthy Ship-Broker and had brought him up, safe and sound, by the h a i r (O.M.F., Bk.I, c h . l l , p.134). G a f f e r Hexam i s the o s t e n s i b l e " b i r d o f prey" i n the n o v e l , but i t i s r e a l l y Eugene who i s that animal i n h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p to L i z z i e Hexam. He has been brought up to logk on g i r l s l i k e her as h i s n a t u r a l v i c t i m s , p a s s i v e r l i t t l e b i r d s to be chased and taken. When he r e t u r n s from being w i t h her on the n i g h t of her f a t h e r ' s death, w i t h h i s feathers "so very much rumpled", he j u s t i f i e d h i m s e l f to Lightwood: "'But consider. Such a n i g h t f o r plumage!'" (O.M.F., Bk.I, ch. 14, p.277) U n t i l the end, when Eugene r e j e c t s the e x p l o i t a t i v e and a n i m a l - l i k e r e l a t i o n s h i p imposed i n him by h i s c l a s s , he i s another S t e e r f o r t h . S t e e r f o r t h b e l i e v e s , and ac t s on the b e l i e f , that the poor are animals. '"They are not to be expected to be as s e n s i t i v e as we are [he c l a i m s ] . T h e i r d e l i c a c y i s not to be shocked, or hurt very e a s i l y . They are wo n d e r f u l l y v i r t u o u s , I dare say.'" (D.C. ch.20, p.294) But the s i n c e r i t y of that f i n a l comment i s dubious, c o n s i d e r i n g h i s and Rosa D a r t l e ' s (his other s e l f ' s ) treatment of L i t t l e Emily. S t e e r f o r t h and, f o r a time, Eugene Wrayburn, experience t h e i r own s e x u a l i t y , as w e l l as the s e x u a l i t y o f women, i n c l a s s terms. Women of the lower c l a s s e s want and enjoy sex i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y : they have no moral or emotional s e n s i t i v i t y to the a c t . That i s the a t t i t u d e of the author of My Secret L i f e , and i t seems true a l s o of some 'normal' gentlemen i n Dickens' London. They would not f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to agree w i t h 'the author 1 (though one cannot conceive of them u s i n g h i s language) that As to servants and women of the humbler class...they a l l took cock on the quiet and were proud of having a gentleman to cover them. Such was the opinion of men i n my class of l i f e and of my age. My experience with my mother's servants corroborated i t . ...they are clean, well-fed, full-blooded, and when they come out to meet t h e i r f r i e n d , or give way with a chance man on the sly , ^ a r e ready, y i e l d i n g , hot-arsed, lewd, and l u b r i c i o u s . Steven Marcus notes how the language used to describe lower cl a s s g i r l s " i s that of a horse-fancier or stableman: 'a nice fresh servant'is 'clean, w e l l - f e d , fu l l - b l o o d e d , ' has not been used, ridden or raced for a week, and i s ready for s e r v i c e . One need only be aggressive, importunate, masterful enough, and the animal i s ' y ° u r s . " ^ The work of n o v e l i s t s l i k e Dickens, Marcus concludes, must be seen i n the context of such a t t i t u d e s . For the f i r s t time i n h i s t o r y i t could be asserted, before what amounted to a mass audience, and i n a p u b l i c way, that persons of the lower s o c i a l orders were not to be treated i n th i s way. Such treatment [as the c y n i c a l seduction of L i t t l e Emily] was now understood as an i n t o l e r a b l e v i o l a t i o n of that human nature which - again, e f f e c t i v e l y , for the f i r s t time i n h i s t o r y - members of the lower s o c i a l classes shared f u l l y with t h e i r betters - that i s , "ourselves". I r o n i c a l l y , perhaps, i t i s the uneducated victims who are more aware of th e i r class-determined sexuality than t h e i r educated gentlemen 'lovers'. Even as a l i t t l e g i r l , Emily knows enough about h e r s e l f and the world to t e l l David that "'your father was a gentleman and your mother was a lady; and my father was a,fisherman and my mother was a fisherman's daughter, and my uncle Dan i s a fisherman.'" (D.C, ch.3, p.34-5) In the world Dickens writes about, these are important d i s t i n c t i o n s indeed. L i z z i e Hexam too i s aware of the deep class d i v i s i o n s between h e r s e l f and Wrayburn, and i f ever quoted by Steven Marcus i n The Other V i c t o r i a n s , (London, 1969), p. 133, p. 134. : The Other V i c t o r i a n s , p. 134. The Other V i c t o r i a n s , p. 139. she i s tempted to f o r g e t them, Jenny Wren i s there to remind her. He i s poor, L i z z i e admits, " f o r a gentleman". "'Ah! To be sure! "'Jenny snaps back," rYes, he's a gentleman. Not of our s o r t , i s he?,y"(O.M.F., B k . I I , ch. 11, p.347). Many of Dickens' characters take i t q u i t e f o r granted that c l a s s d i v i s i o n s m i r r o r an i n t r i n s i c and inescapable d i f f e r e n c e i n humanity. Quite u n s e l f c o n s c i o u s l y , P i p t a l k s of t a k i n g P r o v i s out (as i f he were a dog) " f o r an a i r i n g a f t e r dark" (G.E., ch.40, p.320). And i n Our Mutual F r i e n d , Wrayburn's rudeness to Charley Hexam and Rogue Riderhood i s an i n s t i n c t i v e response to c l a s s , r a t h e r than to any sense of moral h i e r a r c h y . He i s contemptuous even before he knows the k i n d of men he i s d e a l i n g w i t h . In P i c k w i c k Papers, such b l i s s f u l o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n i s seen as comic, w i t h the M.C. at "Ba-ath" a d v e r t i s i n g the b a l l "by the absence of trades-people, who are q u i t e i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h P a r a d i s e " (P.P., ch.35, p.497). But i n Our Mutual F r i e n d , when class-consciousness i s m a s o c h i s t i c a l l y turned a g a i n s t o n e s e l f , the t r u l y b r u t a l i z i n g power of the c l a s s s t r u c t u r e i s made c l e a r . S i l a s Wegg, devoted as he i s to the study of f i n e d i s t i n c t i o n s i n s o c i a l standing, i s aghast at B o f f i n ' s graciousness: " ' C a l l s me s i r ! ' s a i d Mr. Wegg to h i m s e l f . 'He won't answer....'" ( B k . i , ch.5, p.47) Snobbery i s i n v e r t e d and becomes s e l f - h a t r e d . The poor, imprisoned i n ugly c l a s s r e l a t i o n s h i p s , f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to remain a t t r a c t i v e human beings. B e l l a knows that what she has j u s t s a i d i s " ' n e i t h e r reasonable nor honest...but i t ' s one of the consequences of being poor and of thoroughly h a t i n g and d e t e s t i n g to be poor, and th a t ' s my c a s e . 1 " (O.M.F., Bk.I, ch.4, p.41) When Pic k w i c k i s i n the F l e e t , he can choose to remain i n h i s room, untouched by the l i f e around him. David C o p p e r f i e l d , on the other hand, alone and poor i n the c i t y , cannot a f f o r d to ignore h i s environment, but must go out and do b a t t l e w i t h i t . I f only i n a p h y s i c a l sense, he i s determined to s u r v i v e . So i t i s that f o r a chapter i n h i s l i f e a t l e a s t , he i s obsessed w i t h money, re c o r d i n g w i t h p a i n f u l accuracy the cost of every l i t t l e purchase. I t i s easy to be unworldly or even entertaining (as Skimpole i s ) , when one i s not starving. Carker, of course, i s not starving, but he i s a man "on the make" i n a rather r i g i d l y defined s o c i a l structure. He i s , i n a sense, starving for a better p o s i t i o n , and for men l i k e him, class-consciousness encourages slyness and evasion - t h e , c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of small but dangerous animals. Carker emerges as a suddenly sympathetic character during an interchange with Major Bagstock: 'By Gad, sir'.' s aid the Major...'you are a contrast to Dombey, who plays nothing.' 'Oh! He!' returned^the Manager. 'He has never had occasion to acquire such l i t t l e a r t s . To men l i k e me, they are some-times u s e f u l . ' (D. & S., ch.26, p.378) With a rush, Carker's past i s made r e a l , and there he s i t s , c a r e f u l l y and rather p a i n f u l l y schooling himself to become Manager. Even Uriah Heep can seem momentarily "more sinned against than sinning". He i s , a f t e r a l l , the v i c t i m of a c e r t a i n type of schooling, i n which "umbleness" i s a part of the curriculum. "What a base, unrelenting, and revengeful s p i r i t , " David r e a l i z e s , "must have been engendered by t h i s early, and t h i s long suppression" (D.C., ch.39, p.575). 6 But suppression i s not the monopoly of the c h a r i t y schools. The e n t i r e Dickens world i s i n f e c t e d . ^ In the London of L i t t l e D o r r i t , i t i s the Clenman house that becomes the f o c a l point of secrecy and suppression, p l a c i n g "the whole neighbourhood under some tinge of i t s dark shadow". The dim streets "seemed a l l depositories of oppressive secrets. The deserted counting-houses, with t h e i r secrets of Dickens makes a s i m i l a r point with Rob the Grinder i n D.& S. and Great-Grandfather Smallweed i n B.H., both products of the c h a r i t y school system. ^See the following descriptions of self-imposed repression: D. & S., ch.34, p.491 ( A l i c e Marwood), ch.27, p.380, ch.34, p.491, ch.47, p.652 (Edith Dombey); B.H., ch., 41, pp.574-5 (Tulkinghorn), ch. 36, pp.510-2, ch.41, pp.574-5, ch.55, pp.755-6 (Lady Dedlock); L.D., Bk.I, ch.3, p.31 (Flintwinch); O.M.F., Bk.III, ch.5, p.472 (Rokesmith) ; Bk.IV, ch.6, p. 692 (Wrayburn) . 42 books and papers locked up i n chests and s a f e s ; the banking-houses, w i t h t h e i r s e c r e t s of strong rooms and w e l l s , the keys of which were i n a very few s e c r e t pockets and a very few s e c r e t b r e a s t s . . . these t h i n g s , i n h i d i n g , imparted a heaviness to the a i r " (L.D., B k . I I , ch.10, p.542). I t i s s p e c i f i c a l l y the l i f e - n e g a t i n g r e l i g i o n of Mrs. Clenman that i s seen as the source and motive of the s e c r e t . The house, l i k e her f a i t h , i s always " w r a t h f u l , mysterious, and sad"., ( B k . I I , ch.10, p. 542)^ f o r she b e l i e v e s , l i k e Mrs. Chick, that t h i s i s "'...a world of e f f o r t . . . a n d we must never y i e l d , 1 " (D. & S., c h . l , p.10) The p u r i t a n e t h i c and the s p i r i t of cap-i t a l i s m merge i n an image of the c i t y of r e p r e s s i o n , where ev e r y t h i n g i s ' 8 kept s e c r e t under l o c k and key. As Clenman looks through the dark and s e c r e t rooms of h i s o l d home he comes across "empty w i n e - b o t t l e s w i t h f u r and fungus choking up t h e i r t h r o a t s " (L.D., Bk.I, ch.5, p.54), images of the suppressed and unhealthy humanity that l i v e s (and hides) i n Dickens' London. Mrs.Clenman h e r s e l f i s l i k e those b o t t l e s , f o r j u s t as they are no longer f i l l e d w i t h wine, she no longer f u l f i l s her f u n c t i o n e i t h e r as a mother or as a c i t i z e n . Mrs. Clenman's 'wine' has soured and disappeared: /She has no kindness l e f t f o r her own son, only a t w i s t e d i n s i s t e n c e on her own misery. But the f u r and fungus bred by her constant s e l f - d e n i a l cannot be pushed back i n t o the b o t t l e . They are working t h e i r way up and out, r o t t i n g the very foundations of her house, u n t i l they w i l l f i n a l l y b r i n g i t c r a s h i n g to the ground. In a l e t t e r to F o r s t e r , Dickens n o t i c e s the connection between p r o t e s t a n t i s m and what one might c a l l c a p i t a l i s t v a l u e s . His c o n c l u s i o n here, however", i s f a r more o p t i m i s t i c than i n L.D. In S w i t z e r l a n d , he w r i t e s , where a " P r o t e s t a n t canton ends and a C a t h o l i c canton begins, you might separate two p e r f e c t l y d i s t i n c t and d i f f e r e n t c o n d i t i o n s of humanity by drawing a l i n e w i t h your s t i c k i n the dust on the ground. On the P r o t e s t a n t s i d e , neatness; c h e e r f u l n e s s ; i n d u s t r y ; education; c o n t i n u a l a s p i r a t i o n , at l e a s t , a f t e r b e t t e r t h i n g s . On the C a t h o l i c side, d i r t , d i s -ease, ignorance, squalor, and misery". Quoted from L e t t e r s of.Charles Dickens, I , 778-9, F o r s t e r , [8/?/46], by Edgar Johnson, Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, V o l . I I , (Boston, 1952), p.604. The choking b o t t l e s are even more v i s i b l y l i k e the choking, gasping, a p o p l e c t i c Major Bagstock i n Dombey and Son, i n whom an honest and f o r t h r i g h t emotional response i s always p e r v e r t e d , i t s e l f becoming an assumed r o l e . Joey B [he claims,] i s not i n general a man of sentiment, f o r Joseph i s tough. But Joe has h i s f e e l i n g s , s i r , and when they are awakened -'Damme, Mr. Dombey,' c r i e d the Major w i t h sudden f e r o c i t y , ' t h i s i s weakness, and I won't submit to i t ! 1 (ch.ZO, p . 271 ) The Major's 'weakness' i s not weakness at a l l but a r i g i d l y c o n t r o l l e d act which he f i n d s r a t h e r p r o f i t a b l e . Thus, what should have been f r e s h and spontaneous • i s p e r v e r t e d i n t o " f u r and fungus", perhaps a t t r a c t i v e from a di s t a n c e , but when seen c l o s e up, an ugly growth that chokes i t s owner: '...he's hard-hearted, S i r , i s Joe - he's tough, S i r , tough, and d e - v i l i s h s l y ! 1 A f t e r such a d e c l a r a t i o n wheezing sounds would be heard; and the Major's blue would deepen i n t o p u r p l e , w h i l e h i s eyes s t r a i n e d and s t a r t e d c o n v u l s i v e l y (ch . 7 , p.85). As one c r i t i c p o i n t s out, "He i s impotent, but he i s a l s o t u r g i d w i t h v a n i t y . . . Bagstock I s seen to be a person i n whom f e e l i n g has diminished so r a d i c a l l y t hat only i n o r g i a s t i c excess [ h i s spiced foods and dr i n k s ] can he f e e l 9 anything at a l l " . Bagstock becomes the o f f i c i a l spokesman of "a c u l t u r e which b e l i e v e s i n the v i r t u e s of hardness and i d e n t i f i e s m a s c u l i n i t y w i t h b r u t a l i t y " . ^ Again, one i s forced to go back to Mrs. Chick's ' " t h i s i s a w o r l d of e f f o r t . . . a n d we must never y i e l d . . . ' " I n the modern c i t y , where progress i s equated w i t h r a t i o n a l i t y and d i s c i p l i n e , spontaneous f e e l i n g i s subversive. In p r o f e s s i o n a l a f f a i r s e s p e c i a l l y , men must e x e r c i s e a r i g o r o u s suppression over themselves. Mr. Rugg speaks f o r an e n t i r e w o r l d when he says of Ar t h u r Clenman a f t e r the Merdle ' d i s a s t e r ' : Steven Marcus, From P i c k w i c k to Dombey, (N .Y . , 1 9 6 8 ) , p.345. 'From P i c k w i c k to Dombey, p.345. 'He takes too strong and d i r e c t an i n t e r e s t i n the case. H i s f e e l i n g s are worked upon. There i s no g e t t i n g on, i n our p r o f e s s i o n , w i t h f e e l i n g s worked upon, s i r . 1 (L.D., B k . I I , ch. 26, p.714) In Our Mutual F r i e n d , the equation between p r o f e s s i o n and r e p r e s s i o n i s made c l e a r . Bradley Headstone asks Charley f o r time to compose h i m s e l f , to b r i n g h i s d i s i n t e g r a t i n g p e r s o n a l i t y back i n t o s t r i c t c o n t r o l : :' I must walk home by myself to-night and get shut up i n my room without being spoken t o . Give me h a l f an hour's s t a r t , and l e t me be t i l l you f i n d me at my work i n the morning, I s h a l l be at my work i n the morning j u s t as u s u a l . ' ( B k . I I , ch.15, p.400) For Headstone, as f o r so many of Dickens' c h a r a c t e r s , emotion i s extremely dangerous; i t threatens the p a t t e r n of normal l i f e and may eventu-a l l y destroy i t . I n Great E x p e c t a t i o n s , Wemmick's and Jagger's awareness of the t h r e a t i s both c o m i c a l l y and f r i g h t e n i n g l y dramatized: 'A man can't help h i s f e e l i n g s , Mr. Wemmick,' pleaded Mike. 'His what?' demanded Wemmick, q u i t e savagely. 'Say that again!' '...get out of t h i s o f f i c e , [ s a i d Jaggers] I ' l l have no f e e l i n g s here. Get out,' (ch.51, pp.395-4) In order to enter the d i s c i p l i n e d p r o f e s s i o n a l w orld, i t i s the poor who must l a y up the l a r g e s t o f f e r i n g at the a l t a r of r e p r e s s i o n . They must prove to t h e i r ' b e t t e r s ' not only that they w i l l eschew ' f e e l i n g s ' but that they w i l l cease to be animals. Even the r e l a t i o n s h i p between parent and c h i l d i s suspect: i t must be purged of emotion and sometimes even denied a l t o g e t h e r Charley Hexam must r e j e c t h i s f a t h e r ' s home and a l l i t stands f o r i n order to make h i s way up i n the world. In David C o p p e r f i e l d , i t i s through David's c h i l d i s h and sleepy eyes that we understand the s e c r e t of Mr. M e l l ' s l i f e : • On seeing the master enter, the o l d woman stopped...and s a i d something that I thought sounded l i k e 'My Charley!' but, on seeing me come i n too, she go^up, and., .made a confused s o r t of h a l f ..curtsey (ch.5, p. 74). \ l r s . Heep's ' v a r i a t i o n ' on Mrs. M e l l ' s response i s i n t e r e s t i n g : "She r e c e i v e d me w i t h the utmost h u m i l i t y , and apologized to me f o r g i v i n g her son a k i s s , observing t h a t , lowly as they were, they had t h e i r n a t u r a l a f f e c t i o n s , which they hoped would give no offence to anyone" (ch.17, p.254). She p u b l i c i z e s the f a c t that she must hide her emotions. But then, Mrs. M e l l i s being ' r a t i o n a l ' , j u s t as L i z z i e Hexam would have been a " r a t i o n a l g i r l and a good s i s t e r " (O.M.F., B k . I I , ch.15, p.394) had she repressed both her a t t r a c t i o n to Eugene Wrayburn and her repugnance of Bradley Headstone, marrying the l a t t e r and so "at length...[being] q u i t of the r i v e r s i d e ( B k . i i , ch.15, p.402). L i z z i e ' s d e n i a l of the i r r a t i o n a l would have brought w i t h i t a r i s e i n s o c i a l s t a t u s , at l e a s t according to her brother Charley. For him, N.O. Brown's comment r i n g s t r u e : "The connection between money t h i n k i n g and r a t i o n a l t h i n k i n g i s so deeply i n g r a i n e d i n our 12 p r a c t i c a l l i v e s that i t seems impossible to question i t " . Even i n a wor l d as d i f f e r e n t from Our Mutual F r i e n d as that of P i c k w i c k Papers,, the same a t t i t u d e s are vo i c e d . Mr. Winkle's f i r s t response to h i s son's marriage i s hardly favourable: " ' I t was f o o l i s h , romantic, u n b u s i n e s s - l i k e . "' (ch,56, p.792) The dichotomy between spontaneous romance and business i s c l e a r - c u t . In h i s study of "the other V i c t o r i a n s " , Steven Marcus p o i n t s out "how the d e f l e c t i o n of one's s e x u a l i t y [and, indeed, of a l l spontaneous responses], how even f r i g i d i t y i t s e l f , could have an important s o c i a l 13 f u n c t i o n " . So i t i s that Lady Dedlock, "having conquered her world, f e l l , not i n t o the m e l t i n g , but r a t h e r i n t o the f r e e z i n g mood" (B.H., ch.2, p.10). L i f e , A g a i n s t Death, p. 235. 13 The Other V i c t o r i a n s , p. 148. The equation between r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and the d e n i a l of s e n s u a l i t y (an equation, e s s e n t i a l l y , between business and the p u r i t a n e t h i c ) i s c o n s i s t e n t l y imaged i n the homes of the upper c l a s s e s . They are never b e a u t i f u l , only f i l l e d w i t h objects "made to look as heavy as...[they] could and to take up as much room as p o s s i b l e " (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 11, p.131). The s t r e e t s on which the wealthy l i v e are uniform l y d u l l and ugly to the eye: the Dedlocks l i v e on a " s t r e e t o f . d i s m a l grandeur" (B.H., ch.58, p.786); the Merdles on Harley S t r e e t , where the houses, l i k e the i n h a b i t a n t s are " a l l . . . t h e same...all...the same... a l l . . . t h e same...all...the same...the same... eve r y t h i n g without exception" (L.D., Bk.I, ch.21, p.246); and the "powers that be" i n Great Expectations on "the weary western s t r e e t s . . . w i t h t h e i r ranges of s t e r n shut-up mansions" (ch.56, p.435. I t i s p e r f e c t l y c o n s i s t e n t w i t h Dombey's r e s p e c t a b i l i t y that i n E d i t h ' s room he should f e e l "solemn and strange among t h i s wealth of colour and voluptuous g l i t t e r " (D.& S., ch.40, p.563). S i m i l a r l y , E d i t h Dombey's emotional l i f e i s imaged as a f r o z e n sea (D. & S., ch. 47, p.652). Both women are i n r a t h e r p r e c a r i o u s s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s : f r i g i d i t y becomes a way of s e c u r i n g r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . Mr. Vholes i n Bleak House i s true to type: "He never takes any p l e a s u r e ; which i s another mark of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y " (ch . 3 9 , pp. 5 4 7 - 8 ) . I f t h i s i s indeed a world of e f f o r t , "and we must never y i e l d " , then the behaviour of the c h i l d r e n F l o r e n c e meets, "who had no r e s t r a i n t upon t h e i r l o v e , and f r e e l y showed i t " (D. & S., ch . 2 4 , p.343), cannot be t o l e r a t e d , f o r i t threatens the d i s c i p l i n e d f a b r i c of s o c i e t y . S e l f - d i s c i p l i n e and s e l f -r e p r e s s i o n become a moral,norm. Esther remembers how "Mrs. Rachael was too good to f e e l any emotion at p a r t i n g , but I was not so good, and wept b i t t e r l y " (B.H., ch . 3 , p.22). Repression i s even b u i l t i n t o the school uniform, so that Rob i n Dombey and Son r e c e i v e s p r a c t i c a l and d a i l y lessons i n the suppression of h i s body from the s t i f f l e a t h e r breeches he i s forced to wear. Again, i n t h i s context, i t i s necessary to quote from Steven Marcus. I n order to escape i n t o the middle c l a s s e s , he w r i t e s , what was r e q u i r e d was an immense e f f o r t of s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e and s e l f - d e n i a l , the a b i l i t y to l e a r n to defer g r a t i f i c a t i o n i n d e f i n t e l y and to p e r s i s t i n t h i s d e f e r r a l , and a concomitant labor of r a t i o n a l i z i n g and s y s t e m a t i z i n g a l l of one's d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s and almost a l l one's impulses....a general r e s t r u c t u r i n g of the p e r s o n a l i t y occurred, and what emerged at the end was a character which was more armored and more r i g i d i f i e d , a character capable of su s t a i n e d executive a c t i o n , y et a character a l s o l e s s spontaneous, l e s s openly sexual - and probably s e x u a l l y thwarted. The Other V i c t o r i a n s , p. 149. Perhaps the emergence of t h i s new urban, 'modern' man accounts f o r what one c r i t i c sees as a d e f i n i n g aspect of the C i t y n o v e l , that "passionate l o v e , as i n the Brontees, Hardy, and Lawrence, seems to be a b e l i e v a b l e , and a dramatizable, human emotion i n the P r o v i n c e s , whereas i n the C i t y - n o v e l , as i n Dickens and Thackeray, i t dwindles to n o t h i n g but the n a r r a t o r ' s statement that i t e x i s t s " . John Henry R a l e i g h , "The Novel and the C i t y : England and America i n the Nineteenth Century", V.S., XI (March 1968), 308. How true t h i s i s of Bradley Headstone, whose armour f i n a l l y d i s i n t e g r a t e s to expose the most passionate character i n Dickens' London. No wonder he chooses to declare h i s passion i n that place i n the c i t y which seems the safest image of his own heart: "a churchyard; a paved square court, with a r a i s e d bank of earth about breast high [at heart l e v e l ] , i n the middle, enclosed by i r o n r a i l s . " (O.M.F., Bk.II, ch.15, p.394). But the i r o n r a i l s of s e l f - r e p r e s s i o n cannot protect him: I t seemed to him as i f a l l that he could suppress i n himself he had suppressed, as i f a l l that he could r e s t r a i n i n himself he had restrained, and the time had come - i n a rush, i n a moment - when the power of self-command had departed from him (Bk. I I , c h . l l , p. 341). 'No man [he l a t e r says,] knows t i l l the time comes what depths are w i t h i n him. To some men i t never comes; l e t them r e s t and be thankful! To me, you brought i t ; on me, you forced i t ; and the bottom of t h i s raging sea,' s t r i k i n g himself upon the breast, 'has been heaved up ever since.' (Bk.II, ch.15, p.396) Most of the characters, however, r e t a i n a t i g h t hold over themselves, determined never to be vulnerable, never to be mocked "through a person's 15 keyhole". They become, to t h e i r own passion and sexuality, l i k e Mrs. Stff>forth, Always i n a r t i c u l a t e and s t i f l e d . Always accompanied with an incapable motion of the head, but with no change of face. Always proceeding from a r i g i d mouth and closed teeth, as i f the jaw were locked and the face frozen up i n pain (D.C., ch.56, p.799). The modern c i t y imposes i t s e l f so powerfully on i t s inhabitants that they are robbed of the capacity for tears. Even Miss F l i t e , s t i l l mad - or rather, s t i l l u n s o c i a l i z e d - enough to cry, does not have a hanky to cry i n t o : A reference to Jenny Wren's metaphor for human r e l a t i o n s h i p s (O.M.F., Bk.II, ch.l,p.224). There are those who are locked (often by themselves) i n "dark v a u l t s " behind "black doors", and those who, from the outside, c r u e l l y spy on and torture them. Both, however, are dehumanized by the r e l a t i o n s h i p : Jenny Wren i s anxious to reverse the r o l e s and become the t o r t u r e r h e r s e l f . For a moment at l e a s t she i s l i k e the Lammles, wanting only to survive and be revenged. Jenny's metaphor becomes l i t e r a l l y true when S i l a s Wegg mocks B o f f i n through the keyhole. (O.M.F., BklV, ch.3, p.661). she has nothing i n her r e t i c u l e but documents (B.H., ch.35, pp.495-6). In the context of London i t s e l f , the r e p r e s s i o n of emotion and sexuality-i s acted out as an obsessive fe a r of d i r t . In a sense, emotion and s e x u a l i t y are themselves considered m o r a l l y ' d i r t y ' . M e t a p h y s i c a l and p h y s i c a l f i l t h become merged i n a s i n g l e o b j e c t which must at a l l costs be avoided. Thus the c i t y i t s e l f , i n a l l i t s v i s i b l e u n c l e a n l i n e s s , i s to be feared. M iddle c l a s s London's determined ignorance of the East End has already been disc u s s e d , but more s p e c i f i c i n c i d e n t s i n the novels should be noted. Alan Woodcourt's "compassionate i n t e r e s t " (B.H., ch.46, p.628) i n the slums i s a f r e a k i s h and i s o l a t e d response i n a c i t y whose norm i s Lady Dedlock's a t t i t u d e . Her orders, one f e e l s , are as much d i r e c t e d a t Jo as at the s t r e e t s which surround them. ' " L i s t e n and be s i l e n t [she s a y s ] . Don't t a l k to me, and stand f a r t h e r from me....Stop opposite to each [ d r e a d f u l p l a c e ] , and don't speak to me unless I speak to you." 1 (B.H., ch. 16, pp.223-4) But her attempt to c o n t r o l the environment f a i l s , and she s h r i n k s away, "the deadly s t a i n s contaminating her d r e s s " (ch. 16, p.225). 16 I t i s s p e c i f i c a l l y contamination t h a t i s most feared. Eugene Wrayburn d e l i b e r a t e l y breaks the g l a s s Rogue Riderhood has used (as i f even soap could not d i s i n f e c t i t ) , and l a t e r washes h i s hands"-- p h y s i c a l l y — " o f Mr. D o l l s (O.M.F., B k l l l , ch.10, p.540). Jaggers, too^compulsively washes h i s hands and wipes them dry " a l l over...whenever he came i n from a p o l i c e - c o u r t or dismissed a c l i e n t from h i s room" (G.E., ch.26, p.199). In Dombey and Son i t i s Carker even more than Dombey who has "a n a t u r a l a n t i p a t h y to any speck of d i r t " (ch.22, p.299). "Mr. Carker r i d e s i n t o town ...as he p i c k s h i s d a i n t y way" (ch.31, p.452), c a r e f u l not to come near f i l t h . F r a n c i s Wey, i n h i s A Frenchman Among the V i c t o r i a n s , t r a n s . V a l e r i e P i r i e , d e s c r i b e s the e l a b o r a t e . r i t u a l s of s e r v i n g wine i n upper-class V i c t o r i a n homes, a l l c o n t r i v e d so that the servant's hands " w i l l not have come i n t o contact w i t h your g l a s s , which would be a g a i n s t E n g l i s h ideas of hygiene and. p r o p r i e t y " . Excerpts fromWey's book are i n c l u d e d i n London i n  Dickens' Day, ed. Jacob Korg, (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., 1960). The above q u o t a t i o n i s on pp. 130-1. But h i s p a t h o l o g i c a l f a s t i d i o u s n e s s i s defeated at the end, i n the h o r r o r and bloodiness of h i s death. He becomes "something covered, that l a y heavy and s t i l l , upon a board, between four men...[while other men] drove some dogs away that s n i f f e d upon the road, and soaked h i s blood up w i t h a t r a i n of ashes" (ch.55, p.779). I r o n i c a l l y , Carker i s destroyed by a t r a i n : the embodiment ( i n one sense at l e a s t ) of unrepressed potency i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y s l a s h i n g through the c o u n t r y s i d e , the embodiment of sexual energy that Carker, and c i t y men i n g e n e r a l , have taught themselves to deny. N.Oo Brown asks "How can there be an animal which represses i t s e l f ? . . . 17 perhaps the s l a v e i s somehow i n love w i t h h i s c h a i n s " . The preceding r chapters have shown how the c i t y c l i n g s to c l o s e d windows and doors, to euphemism and c l i c h e , as the means of a v o i d i n g a f e a r f u l new r e a l i t y . So too, w i t h s e x u a l i t y and emotion, men d e l i b e r a t e l y l o s e contact w i t h t h e i r own bodies and hearts i n order to s u r v i v e i n the socio-economic s t r u c t u r e . A disembodied w r i t i n g - h a n d , or feeding-breast, or teaching-mind, i s a more 18 e f f i c i e n t p r o d u c t i o n u n i t than the f u l l complexity of a human being. So i t i s that Nemo, Mrs. R i c h a r d s , and Bradley Headstone are denied t h e i r humanity and made to perform as one-dimensional cogs i n the machine. They must never get t i r e d , or miss t h e i r c h i l d r e n , or f a l l i n l o v e . Should they do so, they threaten the whole system w i t h t h e i r i r r a t i o n a l i t y , and may 19 f i n a l l y b r i n g i t c r a s h i n g down. For Dickens, the 'crash' i s i n e v i t a b l e : the f u r and fungus w i l l e v e n t u a l l y work i t s way out of the b o t t l e and i n t o the open a i r . In the process, i t w i l l s t r a n g l e and choke those who i n s i s t . ^ L i f e A gainst Death, p.242. 18 " v Pancks' comment on t h i s i s s u e says i t p e r f e c t l y : "'Keep me always at i t , and I ' l l keep you always at i t , you keep somebody e l s e always at i t . There you are w i t h the Whole Duty of Man i n a commercial country.'" (L.D., Bk.I, ch.13, p.160) ~ 19 Consider the spontaneous . crash of the House of Clenman i n L.D. on suppressing i t . But f o r a few, l i k e Pancks and Eugene Wrayburn, who f i n a l l y r e s o l v e not to s a c r i f i c e t h e i r humanity at the a l t a r of P r o f i t or Expediency, the fungus i n the b o t t l e s i s transformed i n t o wine. Pancks ceases t o be a grubber and f i n d s meaningful work w i t h Clenman and Doyce. Eugene achieves h i s manhood i n h i s r e c o g n i t i o n that he i s not the b i r d of prey, and that L i z z i e i s not h i s n a t u r a l v i c t i m . CHAPTER V THE CASH-NEXUS FALSE COINAGE FOR HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS With the r e b u i l d i n g of London a f t e r the Great F i r e of 1666, i t was no longer S a i n t P a u l ' s , but the Royal Exchange, that became i t s a r c h i t e c t u r a l c e n t r e . 1 Thus, the c i t y landscape i t s e l f embodies the f a c t that money, not prayer, i s the new urban sacrament. Dickens' characters are "constructed 2 round: an a t t i t u d e to money" as Bunyan's are constructed round an a t t i t u d e to God. For most men, most of the time, nothing transcends the power of cash; i t i s "a very potent s p i r i t , never to be disparaged on any account whatever" (D. & S., ch. 8. p. 93). God, i t seems, has abandoned the c i t y to moral chaos so that "Every s t r e e t was a sawpit, and there were no top-sawyers; every passenger was an under-sawyer, w i t h the sawdust b l i n d i n g him and choking him" (P.M.F.. Bk. I , ch. 12, p. 144). London d i s i n t e g r a t e s i n t o d i s a s s o c i a t e d f r a g ments and can only be reclaimed to meaning by having a cash value imposed on i t , . b y becoming "That mysterious paper currency which c i r c u l a t e s i n London when the wind blows" (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 12, p. 144). The c i t y i t s e l f , i n c l u d i n g a l l i t s waste and excrement, becomes a s a l e a b l e commodity, f o r men have come to b e l i e v e that "what could not be weighed, measured, and p r i c e d , had no e x i s t e n c e " (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 2, p. 20). "^John Henry R a l e i g h , "The Novel and the C i t y : England and America i n the Nineteenth Century", V.S., XI (March 1968), p. 304. 2 Humprey House, The Dickens World, (London, 1965), p. 58. The point- i s r e i n f o r c e d by the h i s t o r i c a l f a c t that Londoners i d e n t i f y 'the C i t y ' (that i s , the heart of London and the essence of t h e i r world) w i t h business and the cash-nexus. 3 A.J.O. Cockshutt makes a s i m i l a r p o i n t about confusion i n Bleak House: "Normal d i s t i n c t i o n s of judgment, i n t e l l i g e n c e , even of s a n i t y , break down." The Imagination of Charles Dickens, (N.Y. , 1962), p. 127. I t i s not only materialism but also sheer necessity that forces urban man to feed on the c i t y ' s wastes^. The. central. (though never e x p l i c i t ) image that informs Mayhew's London i s that of the city as a huge organism i n which the 4 wastes of each class feed the needs of those below i t . Thus, at the lowest l e v e l , destitute children and old women search the streets and the r i v e r for cigar-butts, pieces of wood or s t r i n g , paper, rags, and most s i g n i f i c a n t l y , an-imal droppings which are called "pure". Anything i s bearable, anything can be p u r i f i e d , so long as i t has a cash value. In Our Mutual Friend, Harmon's dust-heaps (composed at l e ^ s t i n part of muck and excrement)"* are considered cleansed and bright by society as soon as they make Harmon a r i c h man. (For the 'good ' characters i n the novel, however, the money cannot begin "to spar-kle i n the sunlight" (Bk. IV, ch. 13, p. 778), u n t i l they have learned to use i t w e l l ) . But i n general, a new, amoral "great chain of being" i s at work i n nineteenth century London, and a dust-heap may wel l l i e near the top. No won-der, as Edgar Johnson points out, the excremental "merde" i s always lurking behind Merdle, the high p r i e s t of the Ci t y . ^ For Dickens, the excremental base of wealth i n London serves less as a hope for f e r t i l i t y , than as a reminder of the nastiness from which riches often r i s e . He sees that the d i s t i n c t i o n between the f i l t h of the dock-side and the stock-piled f i l t h of the dust-heaps i s not much more than a thin veneer of res-p e c t a b i l i t y . What Dickens says of Paris i n P.M.F., i s also true of London. I t i s a place "where nothing i s wasted, costly and luxurious c i t y though' i t be, but where wonderful human ants creep out of holes and pick up every scrap" (Bk. •I, ch. 12, p."144). Note how Gaffer Hexam considers the polluted Thames to be his and L i z z i e ' s "best f r i e n d " : i t has provided her with a f i r e to get warm by, a basket to sleep i n as a baby,and rockers for her cradle (Bk. I, ch. 1, p. 3). ~*See Mayhew, pp. 345-5. ^Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, I I , p. 888. 53 Despite i t s basis in f i l t h and exploitation, money is commonly thought of as physically and emotionally neutral T one might even say, as ideally 'clean'. Above a l l , i t is thought of as the embodiment of rational thinking and there-fore, as a desirable model for human behaviour. Harmon's dust becomes respec-. table as i t is accumulated and rationalized, as i t is converted into shiny new gold coins. So too, men become respectable as they eschew the overtly phy-s i c a l and emotional, and smooth their rough edges into rational forms. It is surely no coincidence that Mr. Dombey - respectable Mr. Dombey - presents such a contrast to Mr. Toodle. _ Toodle is a "loose . . . shuffling, shaggy fellow F . . . with, a good deal of hair and whisker . . . hard knotty hands; and a square forehead, as coarse in grain as the bark of an oak". Mr. Dombey, on the other hand, "was one of those close-shaved close-cut moneyed gentlemen who are glos-sy and crisp like new bank-notes, and who seem to be a r t i f i c i a l l y braced and tightened as by the stimulating action of golden shower-baths" (D. & S., ch. 2, pp. 16-7). Everything is in these descriptions: the wild naturalness of Toodle on the one hand and, on the other, Dombey's visible cleanliness, smoothness, and repression through the agency of money. The distinctions i n social respec-t a b i l i t y are reinforced when one remembers that Toodle works underground, where-as Dombey is the "rich City gent". But i t is London i t s e l f , more than any particular individual, that is "Very Rich . . . . Enormously Rich" (O.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 11, p.132). Dickens makes i t clear in Dombey and Son that the wealth of a l l the world is plundered for the beautification of Imperial London: . Though the offices of Dombey and Son were within the liberties of the City of London . . ... there [were] hints of adventurous and romantic story to be observed in some of the adjacent objects . . . . the Roy-al Exchange was close at hand; the Bank of England, with i t s vaults of gold and silver "down among the dead men" underground, was their magnificent neighbour. Just round the corner stood the rich East India House, teeming with suggestions of precious stuffs and stones, tigers, elephants, howdahs, hookahs, umbrellas, palm trees, palan-quins, and gorgeous princes of a brown complexion s i t t i n g on car-pets, with their slippers very much turned up at the toes. Any-where in the immediate v i c i n i t y there might be seen pictures of ships speeding away f u l l s a i l to a l l parts of the world; outfitting warehouses ready to pack off anybody anywhere, f u l l y equipped in half an hour . . . (D. & S., ch. 4, p. 32). Even London's mud is imaged as adding to the city's wealth, "accumulating at compound interest" (B.H., ch. 1, p. 1). But behind the imposing facade l i e s quite another city, in which ironically, the system that makes such wealth possible impoverishes a l l human relationships. The working assumption of the urban policeman is "that everyone i s either robbing or being robbed " (B.H., ch. 32, p. 444), which i s only a blunter way of saying that "this i s a world of effort . . . and we must never yield". ".'.A man [after a l l ] may do anything lawful for money. But for no money! Bosh!'" (O.M.F., Bk. IV, chapter the last, p. 819)^ Self-interest devours whatever and whomever gets in i t s way. In Pickwick Papers, business can s t i l l be a healthy and pleasant part of human experience. A man may s t i l l use money to satisfy human ends, and not as an end in i t s e l f . 'I only mean a pecuniary settlement [says Mr. Pickwick]. You have done me many acts of kindness that I can never repay . . . . ' With this preface, the two friends dived into some very compli-cated accounts and vouchers . . . [which] were at once discharged . . . with many professions of esteem and friendship (ch. 53, pp. 751-2). But in the later world of Great Expectations, the cash-nexus devours "esteem and friendship", and i f Pip so much as puts his hand out for a handshake, Wem-mick assumes that he wants something. Money becomes the only contact between See, in this context, Wegg's response to the fact that Miss Riderhood ob-jects to Venus' business: 'Does she know the profits of i t ? ' (P.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 7, p. 84) The.conversation between Pip and Wemmick in Great Expectations should also be noted. It i s not so much that there i s bad blood between people in London, as that they'll do anything " i f there's anything to be got by i t " . Pip thinks "'That makes i t worse.'" But, says Wemmick, i t ' s "'Much about the same, I should say.'" (G.E., ch. 21, p. 161) man and man: '"As I keep the.cash,' Mr. Wemmick observed, 'we s h a l l most l i k e -l y meet p r e t t y o f t e n . . . . "'.(ch. 21. p. 163) As f o r shaking hands, i t i s q u i t e '"out of the London f a s h i o n . . . . except at l a s t . ' " (ch. 21, p. 163) One only shakes hands w i t h condemned men on the eve of execution, when there i s no danger of being asked f o r a loan. Whereas Mr. Pickwick never pretends that h i s "pecuniary settlement" can ever repay the'"many acts of kindness" on Mr. Perker's p a r t , the new urban men l i k e Dombey and h i s Bank-Director f r i e n d assume that ready cash w i l l "buy up anything - human nature g e n e r a l l y " (D. & S., ch. 36, p. 610). When Dombey f i n d s that buying Nature o f f " o n . l i b e r a l terms" i n order f o r Paul to s k i p childhood i s not f e a s i b l e , "he merely wondered, i n h i s haughty manner, now and then, what Nature meant by i t " (ch. 8, p. 90). In the c i t y , e v e r y t h i n g i s f o r s a l e . Blimber s e l l s education and Dom-bey buys i t up - wholesale. Paul i s to acquire " ' E v e r y t h i n g , i f you plea s e , D o c t o r . " 1 (ch. '11, p. 146) The merchant m e n t a l i t y i s so pervasive that i t i n -forms standard V i c t o r i a n d i c t i o n : when l o v e r s reach a sexual climax, they 'spend'; when s c h o l a r s know the c l a s s i c s , they 'have' L a t i n and Greek. Thus N.O. Brown, w r i t i n g of the psychoanalyst's response to Homo Economicus, p o i n t s out that "What i s being probed, and found to be i n some sense morbid, i s not knowledge 8 as such, but . . . the aim of possession or mastery over o b j e c t s " . Human p o s s i b i l i t i e s are so diminished i n Dickens' London that money i s made a s u b s t i t u t e f o r "the r e a l t h i n g " . Jaggers and Mrs. S t e e r f o r t h o f f e r cash as compensation f o r the l o s s of a f r i e n d or a beloved n i e c e , and f u l l y ex-pect the o f f e r to be eagerly accepted. S i m i l a r l y , i n L i t t l e D o r r i t , Fanny buys what l i t t l e p r i d e she can by making Mrs. Merdle pay f o r i t . ".'What e l s e can you make her do?'" she demands. "'Make her pay f o r i t , you s t u p i d c h i l d ; L i f e Against Death, p. 236. and do your f a m i l y some c r e d i t w i t h the money!'".(Bk. I , ch. 20, p. 243) Mr. Meagles, i n t u r n , almost b e l i e v e s he might buy up a piece of the c o n t i n e n t , as he stands l o o k i n g over M a r s e i l l e s , " r a t t l i n g h i s money at i t " (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 2, p. 15 ) . I i i Bleak House, Mr. Snagsby only i m i t a t e s h i s b e t t e r s ( s p e c i f i c a l l y Lady Dedlock) by g i v i n g Jo some money, " h i s u s u a l panacea f o r an immense v a r i e t y of a f f l i c t i o n s " (ch. 22, p. 314). And Mr. Chadband, w i t h h i s c a s h - r e g i s t e r r e l i -g i o n , i s assured of s a l v a t i o n as long as he can keep h i s account w i t h God " f a v -ourably balanced" (ch. 19,'p. 270). Perhaps the most p a t h e t i c case i n thus urban market-place i s l i t t l e Paul Dombey, f o r whom h i s f a t h e r has t r i e d to buy up l i f e i t s e l f , only he has taken i t "unfurnished, and the u p h o l s t e r e r s were never coming" (D. & S., ch. 11, P- 150). I f men t h i n k they can buy anything, then those who t h i n k they can s e l l i t are sure to s t a r t up i n business. S i l a s Wegg, f o r example, keeps a spec-i a l i z e d p r i c e - l i s t i n h i s dea l i n g s w i t h B o f f i n : '. . . Was you t h i n k i n g at a l l of poetry?' Mr. Wegg i n q u i r e d . . . . 'Would i t come dearer?' Mr. B o f f i n asked. ' I t would come dearer,' Mr. Wegg returned (P.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 5, p. 51). On a higher c l a s s l e v e l , the Veneerings o f f e r another consumer-service. They s e l l ' f r i e n d s h i p ' as Wegg s e l l s 'poetry': "nobody seems to t h i n k much more of the Veneerings than i f they were a t o l e r a b l e l a n d l o r d and landlady doing the t h i n g i n the way of business at so much a head" (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 10, p. 120). And yet the f a c t i s that the Veneerings have 'bought i n ' to high s o c i e t y They are simultaneously both salesmen and purchasers. They s e l l t h e i r dinners and gain yet another "most i n t i m a t e f r i e n d . . . i n the world". In order to understand the force of Dickens' p o i n t , the Veneering:'s "Piece of Work" (Bk. I I ch. 3) - buying o f f the e l e c t o r s - must be seen i n the context of Hamlet's "What a piece of work i s a man", and of C a r l y l e ' s n o t i o n of the s a n c t i t y and 57 d i g n i t y of human labour. For urban "Society' 1, work has diminished to the buy-i n g and s e l l i n g . cf empty t i t l e s i n Parliament. The cash-nexus spreads a l l the way from the Houses' of Parliament (as i t does f o r the Veneerings), to the p r i v a c y of the m a r i t a l bed. I t i s not only f a l l e n g i r l s l i k e Emily who are "part of the trade of . . . [ t h e i r ] home . . . bought and s o l d l i k e any other v e n d i b l e t h i n g . . . [ t h e i r ] people d e a l t i n " (D.C., ch. 50, p. 720), but i t i s a l s o the f i n e l a d i e s , the E d i t h Dombeys and the Mrs. Merdles. The joke about the r i c h man and h i s b e a u t i f u l b r i d e t e l l s a s e r i o u s t r u t h about marriage i n Dickens' London. Men and women are both so ab s t r a c t e d i n t o f i n a n c i a l u n i t s that i t i s p o s s i b l e to say, "She i s r e g u l a r l y bought, and you may take your oath he_ i s as r e g u l a r l y s o l d ! " (D. & S., ch. 36, 9 p. 514) In Dickens' London, the " h a r l o t " i s the w i f e h e r s e l f : no wonder her curse " b l i g h t s w i t h plagues the Marriage Hearse"."^ C h i l d r e n , even more weak and defenceless than women, become a f u l l - f l e d g e d s a l e a b l e commodity. As the B o f f i n s d i s c o v e r , there i s a market i n c h i l d r e n , and i t i s operated on s t r i c t r u l e s of supply and demand. Th e i r search f o r a s u i t a b l e orphan i s not easy: the i n s t a n t i t became known that anyone wanted the orphan, up s t a r t e d some a f f e c t i o n a t e r e l a t i v e . . . who put a p r i c e upon the orphan's head . . . . He would be at f i v e thousand per cent d i s -count out at nurse . . . at nine i n the morning and (being i n -q u i r e d f o r ) would go up to f i v e thousand per cent premium be-f o r e noon (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 16, pp. 195-6). The B o f f i n s ' o r i g i n a l p l a n had been to.adopt not so much a c h i l d as a d e s i r a b l e consumer product: not "of the wrong sex . . . or . . . too o l d , or too young, or too s i c k l y , or too d i r t y , or too much accustomed to the s t r e e t s , or too l i k e l y to run away" (Bk. I , ch. 16, p. 195). The f a c t that i t takes even such good See a l s o , i n t h i s context, L.D., Bk. I , ch. 33, p. 396, and D. & S., ch. 27, p. 395^ ch. 31, p. 448. "^See W i l l i a m Blake, "London", from "Songs of Experience". 58 people a long time to r e a l i z e that i n that p l a n they are as g u i l t y as the s e l l e r s of c h i l d r e n , i n d i c a t e s the extent to which buying and s e l l i n g i s an assumption of London l i f e . " ^ Ih Bleak House, one f e e l s that even John Jarndyce has been i n f e c t e d . Charley i s "a present" f o r Esther, "with Mr. Jarndyce's l o v e " . But not even the s i n c e r i t y of that l a s t phrase, or h i s obvious compassion f o r the c h i l d , smooths over the f a c t that Charley i s "a present",that she can be bought and s o l d . David C o p p e r f i e l d ' s f i r s t experience i n London echoes the c o n d i t i o n of many other c h i l d r e n i n Dickens' c i t y . David a r r i v e s at the Inn i n Whitechapel, to f i n d h i m s e l f t o t a l l y , and d e s p e r a t e l y , alone. He s i t s and w a i t s on one of the baggage s c a l e s u n t i l at l a s t somebody comes to c l a i m him: "a man entered and whispered to the c l e r k , who p r e s e n t l y s l a n t e d me o f f the s c a l e , and pushed me over to him, as i f I were weighed, bought, d e l i v e r e d , and p a i d f o r " (ch. 5, p. 73). Perhaps the reason that Jo i n Bleak House i s so " d i f f i c u l t to dispose of" i s not so much that he i s l i k e a dog, as l i k e "an unowned dog", (ch. 47, p. 636), and nobody i s i n t e r e s t e d i n c l a i m i n g him. I t simply would not be a worthwhile t r a n s a c t i o n . I f c h i l d r e n i n the c i t y are born to be s o l d , then i t seems almost ' n a t u r a l ' that parents should be t h e i r most q u a l i f i e d salesmen. A l i c e Marwood's mother, f o r i n s t a n c e , "'was covetous and poor, and thought to make a s o r t of property o f me."1 (D. & S., ch. 53, p. 752) And, i n the same n o v e l , E d i t h Dombey says ^ " \ l r s . W i l f e r s p i t e f u l l y accuses the B o f f i n s of adopting B e l l a i n order "to i l l u m i n a t e . . . [ t h e i r ] new residence i n town w i t h . . . [her] a t t r a c t -i o n s " , (Bk. I,, ch. 16, p. 207), and one cannot help suspecting that she may be j u s t a l i t t l e b i t c o r r e c t . 12 In .•'..this'.:-; context, Magwitch's boast should be noted: " ' I f I a i n ' t a gentleman, nor yet a i n ' t got no l e a r n i n g , I'm the owner of such. A l l on you-, owns stock and l a n d ; which on you owns a brought-up London gentleman?'" (G.E., ch. 39, p. 306) to her mother: '[I was] taught to scheme and plot when children play 'There is no slave in a market; there is no horse in a f a i r : so shown and .offered and examined and paraded, mother, as I have been . . . . I [have] been hawked and vended here and there, un t i l the last, grain of self-respect is dead within me . . . . '(ch. 27, p. 394) The failure of love between Edith and Mrs. Skewton is embodied in the cliches which the mother must resort to: "'The confidence,' said Mrs. Skewton, 'that has subsided between us - the free development of soul, and openness of sentiment - is touching to, think of . . . „'". (ch. 26, p. 370) So too in Mrs. Brown's dealings with Rob, a false language of motherly emotion is used in order to achieve an un-motherly goal (D. & S., ch. 46, p. 639; ch. 52, pp. 13 731-2). A l l Mrs. Brown really wants is power over her 'son'. While some 'parents' are brutalized by city l i f e , and driven to exploit their children, other parents are so exhausted by i t that they give up their 14 parental powers and become children themselves. With Mr. Dorrit, for instance, "a man so broken as to be the Father of the Marshalsea, could be no father to his own children" (L.D., Bk. I,ch. 7, p. 72). L i t t l e Amy must become " L i t t l e Mother" to her father, her brother and sister, and to Maggy, who is twice her size. 13 Perhaps more urgently than any other novel, Oliver Twist exposes the adult world's exploitation of a child's trust. Oliver, the totally passive child, "put his hand mechanically into that which Sikes extended for the pur- pose" (ch. 22, p. 161 - the emphasis is my own). With Nancy too, "She caught the hand which Oliver instinctively placed in hers" (ch. 20, p. 148). In both cases, despite Nancy's good intentions, Oliver i s being taken into a deep-er contact with crime. 14 : * The adults who giye up the responsibilities of maturity and parenthood become childish, rather than childlike. They imitate the self-centredness, weakness and irresponsibility that can sometimes characterize childhood, but they do not imitate i t s positive values, such as the capacity for wonder, the unrepressed exercise of the imagination, and the spontaneous and honest expres-sion of emotion. Men like Mr. Dorrit and Mr. Dolls only retreat from adult-hood; they are not (as Captain Cuttle and Glubb in D. & S. are) committed to an alternative form of experience. 60 In Our Mutual F r i e n d , too ,Jenny Wren f i n d s i t impossible to f u n c t i o n w i t h -out the pretense that her drunken u n f a t h e r l y f a t h e r i s her own c h i l d , her "poor bad, bad b o y " . ^ The C i t y ' s c h i l d r e n are forced to become ad u l t s before" t h e i r time:"^ Jenny i s a " c h i l d i n years . . . [a] woman i n s e l f - r e l i a n c e and t r i a l " (Bk. I I I , . c h . 2, p. 4 3 9 ) . But one f e e l s that her combination of childhood; and matu r i t y i s not always a happy one. U n l i k e the e a r l i e r womanly l i t t l e g i r l s ( f o r i n s t a n c e , Florence Dombey and Esther's C h a r l e y ) , something i n Jenny Wren has been deeply and fundamentally t w i s t e d . "The d o l l s ' dressmaker had become a l i t t l e quaint shrew; of t h e w o r l d , w o r l d l y ; of the e a r t h , e a r t h l y . " (P.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 2, p. 2 4 3 ) . P l i v e r Twist's sustained innocence i n the face of Lon-don's h o r r o r becomes, by the time of OUT Mutual F r i e n d , something that only happens i n s t o r y books. As Dickens grows o l d e r , he sees the c i t y reaching deep-er and deeper i n t o the l i v e s of i t s i n h a b i t a n t s . "^ As time goes by, too, i t i s no longer the Fagins of the c i t y , but i t s Dom-beys and Tulkinghorns - a l l respectable men - who would destroy childhood i f they could. J u s t as business and spontaneous emotion are found to be incompatible, so too, business i s threatened by and must defend i t s e l f against the imagina-t i o n of childhood. The House of Smallweed (and, indeed, a l l the Houses of the C i t y ) , See too B e l l a W i l f e r ' s a t t i t u d e to her f a t h e r , (P.M.F., Bk. IV, ch. 5, p. 6 8 4 ) and the aging F l o r a .Finching's fears about becoming her "Papa's Mama" (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 1 3 , p. 1 5 1 ) . "^Blimber's Academy i n D. & S., where the s c h o l a r s a l l "blow" before t h e i r time, i s a v a r i a t i o n on t h i s theme. 1 7 The i n c r e a s i n g complexity w i t h which Dickens comes to see the c i t y i s sug-gested i n the change from Fagin to Sloppy ih'Pur Mutual F r i e n d . Both are imaged as being bred by the c i t y i t s e l f ; but whereas the immediate response to Fagin i s f e a r , Sloppy, l i k e Jo and P h i l Squod i h Bleak House, demands a measure of lov e . has discarded a l l amusements, discountenanced a l l story-books, fairy-tales, fictions, and fables, and banished a l l levities what-soever. Hence . . . .it.has no child born t o . i t , and . . . the com-plete l i t t l e men and women {mere stumps of trees] whom i t has pro-duced, have been observed to bear a likeness to old monkeys with something depressing on their minds (B.P., ch. 21, p. 288).18 In David Copperfield, David feels he has lost his childhood in the city streets; that loneliness and necessity, and above a l l , his knowledge of London, 19 have destroyed his innocence. Suddenly established at Doctor Strong's school, David is obsessed with the fear of claiming boyhood under false pretences: What would they say, who made so light of money, i f they could know how I had scraped my halfpence together . . . . How would i t affect them, who were'so innocent of London l i f e and London streets, to discover how knowing I was . . . i n some of the meanest phases of both . . . . . . . . I sat there, sturdily conning my books . . . hopeful of be-coming a passable sort of boy yet (ch. 16, p. 229). The circumstances that deny Paul Dombey's childhood are less tangible than David's, but more fat a l . It i s the alienating power of money that alters him into another Chick Smallweed. When money is mentioned "Paul turned up the old face for a moment, in which there was a sharp understanding of the reference con veyed in these words" (D. & S., ch. 10, p. 133). He only returns to childhood when he runs away from Dombey (and Dombeyism) to his sister Florence. In Dombey's city, childhood is either denied altogether, or allowed to surface in grotesque mutations. There i s , for instance, Mr. Smallweed's grandmo ther, who "became weak in her i n t e l l e c t , and f e l l (for the f i r s t time) into a childish state" (B.H., ch. 21, p. 289), and Harold Skimpole, whose cynical self-absorption i s at best infantile, never child-like. Foolishness and irresponsib-i l i t y become the hallmarks of the city's 'approved' children. See too', Dickens' descriptions of Casby (L.D. , Bk. I, ch. 13, pp. 145-6), Tulkinghorn (B.H., ch. 2, p. 12), the Smallweeds (B.H., ch. 20, pp. 273-4, p. 277; ch. 21, pp. 289-90), and Blimber's attitude to childhood (D. & S., ch. 11, pp. 145-6). Dickens makes a similar point about Charley Hexam, (O.M.F., Bk. II, ch. 1, pp. 214-5). 62 I f a r e a l c h i l d should happen to appear on the c i t y . s t r e e t s , as Florence does a f t e r her adventure with, Mrs. Brown, few people would n o t i c e her and those who d i d , b e l i e v i n g she had been " t u t o r e d to e x c i t e compassion" (D. & S., ch. 6, p. 73), would pass r i g h t by. In the c i t y i t i s assumed that a l l motives are mercenary. Emotion i s so d i s p l a c e d that i n the same neighbourhood where Jo i s "more d i f f i c u l t to dispose of than an unowned dog" (B.H., ch. 47, p. 636), Krook holds h i s l i q u o r b o t t l e " i n h i s arms l i k e a beloved g r a n d c h i l d " (ch. 20, p. 283). Therefore i t can seem b e t t e r , sometimes,to have a baby d i e i n one's arms than see him grow up i n t o a hopeless childhood. As L i z p r e d i c t s of her own c h i l d : " ' h e ' l l be beat, and see me beat, and made to f e a r h i s home, and perhaps to s t r a y w i l d . ' " (B.H., ch. 22, p. 313) Such are the choices l e f t to a mother i n the depths of London. But then, one could say, that baby at l e a s t has a mother. For the major-i t y of Dickens' c h i l d r e n , to be a c h i l d means to be an orphan. Jo's testimony at Nemo's death evokes an e n t i r e way of l i v i n g - o r , r a t h e r , of not yet dying - i n the c i t y : Name, Jo. Nothing e l s e that he knows on . . . . No f a t h e r , no mo-t h e r , no f r i e n d s . . . . What's home? Knows a broom's a broom, and knows i t ' s wicked to t e l l a l i e (B.H., ch. 11, p. 148). Mayhew's study of London's poor records over and over again the b r u t a l i z a -t i o n of c h i l d r e n by t h e i r environment. He w r i t e s of a group of mud-larks, most of whom are c h i l d r e n : "there was not one of them over twelve years of age, and many of them were but s i x . I t would be impossible to describe the wretched group, so motley was t h e i r appearance, so e x t r a o r d i n a r y t h e i r d ress, and so 20 s t o l i d and i n e x p r e s s i v e t h e i r countenances". He n o t i c e s a s i m i l a r l y '.dehumanized face i n a l i t t l e g i r l crossing-sweeper: "When she spoke, there was not the s l i g h t e s t p. 340. 63 expression v i s i b l e i n her f e a t u r e s ; indeed, one might have f a n c i e d she wore a .1. 21 mask and was t a l k i n g behind i t " . C h i l d r e n are made i n t o zombies by the pres-sures of c i t y l i f e . In the sheer e f f o r t to stay a l i v e , many of them become 22 c r u e l and dishonest. Poor Mr. D o l l s i h Our Mutual F r i e n d i s almost hounded to death by "a swarm of young savages" who, " d e l i g h t i n g i n the trembles and the h o r r o r s of Mr. D o l l s , as i n a g r a t u i t o u s drama, f l o c k e d about him i n h i s door-way, butted at him, leaped at him, and p e l t e d him" (Bk. IV, ch. 9, p. 730). But i n the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , however u n - c h i l d l i k e he has become, the urban c h i l d i s the v i c t i m of his'environment. I t i s as i f the whole 'system' had j o i n e d f o r c e s i n order to whip or t w i s t h i s childhood out of him. Towards the end of P i p ' s great e x p e c t a t i o n s , Jaggers recounts how '. . . h e l i v e d i n an atmosphere of e v i l , and . . . a l l he saw of c h i l d r e n , was t h e i r being generated i n great numbers f o r c e r -t a i n d e s t r u c t i o n . . . . he o f t e n saw c h i l d r e n solemnly t r i e d at a c r i m i n a l bar . . . he h a b i t u a l l y knew of t h e i r being imprisoned, whipped, t r a n s p o r t e d , n e g l e c t e d , cast out, q u a l i f i e d i n a l l ways f o r the hangman and growing up to be hanged . . . . p r e t t y nigh a l l the c h i l d r e n he saw i n h i s d a i l y business l i f e , he had reason to look upon as so much spawn to develop i n t o the f i s h that were to come to h i s net - to be prosecuted, defended, forsworn, made orphans, b e d e v i l l e d somehow.' (G.E., ch. 51, p. 391) I t i s easy to see how Jaggers' d e s c r i p t i o n would be true not only of Magwitch's c h i l d , but a l s o of Jo i n Bleak House, L i t t l e Maggy i n L i t t l e D o r r i t , Fagin's boys and a l l the poor c h i l d r e n of the c i t y . But the i r o n y , and the s i g n i f i c a n c e , 2 1pp.' 405-9. 22 Mayhew describes how young c o s t e r boys are almost forced i n t o dishonesty by the f a c t t h a t , u n l i k e a d u l t costermongers, they only get to s e l l the ' l e f t -overs' of the s t o c k , and must do so a f t e r the r e g u l a r s e l l i n g hours (p. 80). He a l s o t e l l s how f a m i l i e s break apart under the pressures of n e c e s s i t y , and how a f a t h e r may have h i s son competing w i t h him, and u n d e r - s e l l i n g him, on the very same 'corner (p. 82). The a r t i c l e on "London Sparrows" i n Household Words, V o l . I l l , no. 56, Saturday, A p r i l 19, discusses the p e r v e r s i o n of childhood i n the c i t y , and how c h i l d r e n become 'wiser' i n crime, and more c o r r u p t , than a d u l t s . R e p r i n-ted i n London i n Dickens' Day, ed. Korg, pp. 75-81. 64 of Jaggers' words i s that they a l s o describe Miss Hav.i:sham's E s t e l l a , P a ul Dombey, U r i a h Heep, Rosa D a r t i e , Rob the Grinder, Charley Hexam, even P i p him-23 s e l f , and a l l the c h i l d r e n whom Soci e t y has 'saved' f o r r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . A l l have been " b e d e v i l l e d somehow", and t w i s t e d out of themselves. Only a few l u c k y ones, l i k e F l o r e n c e , have been able to emerge unscarred from t h e i r s t r u g g l e w i t h the c i t y ' s ' s y s t e m ' } and that may only be because, f o r F l o r e n c e , the sys-tem f i n a l l y turns i n t o a l o v i n g f a t h e r . For most c h i l d r e n , urban s o c i e t y pre-sents a u n i f i e d and i n f l e x i b l e facade. I t s w i l l to " b e d e v i l " informs even i t s metaphors, so that the f l o w e r - s e l l e r who comes " c r y i n g flowers down P r i n c e s s ' s P l a c e " sounds "as though he had been an ogre, hawking l i t t l e c h i l d r e n " (D. & S., ch. 29, p. 409). * * * * * The p r o f e s s i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between master and man i n modern London i s as much defined by the cash-nexus as the p r i v a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p between par-ent and c h i l d . C a r l y l e ' s ".Gospel of Mammonism" takes a sharp view of :the c l t y : : i n which Dombey and Carker, Merdle, Lammle, Fledgeby, and Podsnap a l l operate: We c a l l i t a S o c i e t y [ C a r l y l e w r i t e s ] ; and go about p r o f e s s i n g open-l y the t o t a l l e s t s e p a r a t i o n , i s o l a t i o n . Our l i f e i s not a mutual h e l p f u l n e s s ; but r a t h e r , cloaked under due laws-of-war, named " f a i r c o mpetition" and so f o r t h , i t i s a mutual h o s t i l i t y . We have profoundly f o r g o t t e n everywhere that Cash-payment i s not the s o l e r e l a t i o n of human beings; we t h i n k , nothing doubting, that i t ^ ab-solves and l i q u i d a t e s a l l engagements of man. "My S t a r v i n g workers?" ... answers the r i c h M i l l o w n e r : "Did I not h i r e them f a i r l y i n the mar-ket? Did I not pay them, to the sum covenanted f o r ? What have I to do w i t h them more?" - V e r i l y Mammon-worship i s a melancholy creed.24 Jaggers'' d e s c r i p t i o n does not apply to c h i l d r e n l i k e David C o p p e r f i e l d , Esther Summerson, Charley, and SLoppy. For they have been reclaimed - through love - by those l i k e Betsey Trotwood, John Jarndyce, and the B o f f i n s , who want no p a r t of ' s o c i e t y ' and the C i t y world. from Past and Present, i n Prose of the V i c t o r i a n P e r i o d , ed., Buckler, p. 136. As Merdle and Dombey r i s e to.power i n Dickens' London, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between masters and servants s h i f t s r a d i c a l l y . A l l human l i n k s . between man and man, are shorn away, so that from the r e l a t i o n s h i p of love between P i c k w i c k and Weller a l l that remains i s a money contract between owner and owned. Pancks says of h i m s e l f : "'1 am only my p r o p r i e t o r ' s grubber.'" (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 24, p. 289) M a r t i n Chuzzlewit's i n s i g h t i n t o America i s true of m a r k e t - s o c i e t i e s anywhere, i n c l u d i n g London. Men can indeed c l a i m that "'There are no masters here'" simply because (as M a r t i n p o i n t s out,) they have a l l be-come owners. (M.C. , ch. 16, p. 266). Mr. Dombey makes h i s terms c l e a r when he h i r e s Mrs. Toodle. As f a r as he i s concerned, cash payment does and must absolve both p a r t i e s from a l l engage-ments. ' " I d e s i r e [he says,] to make i t a question of wages, a l t o g e t h e r . 1 " (D. & S., ch. 2, p. 16) " ' I t i s not at a l l i n t h i s b a r g ain that you need be-come attached to my c h i l d , or that my c h i l d need become attached to you . . . . [ I t must be] a mere matter of bargain and s a l e , h i r e and l e t t i n g . ' " (ch. 2, p. 16), These are the terms i n which Dombey sees even h i s ' f r i e n d s ' , Major Bag-stock (ch. 26, p. 377) and Carker (ch. 47, p. 660); which Ruth Pinch's employ-ers i n s i s t on (M.C., ch. 36, p. 574); and which B o f f i n 'plays' at w i t h John Rokesmith: " ' I f I pay f o r a sheep [he c l a i m s ] , I buy i t out and out. S i m i -l a r l y , i f I pay f o r a Secretary, I buy him out and out.'" (P.M.F., Bk, I I I , ch. 15, p. 462) I f indeed men i n the c i t y e x i s t only to s u r v i v e and make a p r o f i t , the cash-nexus i s a convenient one f o r a l l concerned: both f o r the man who buys and f o r the man ..who i s bought up. I f money i s a l l that l i n k s men together, then 25 the l i n k i s e a s i l y broken. Emotions merely complicate and obscure the ' r e a l ' This i s true only of men l i k e the Chief B u t l e r who are f r e e to s e l l themselves to the highest b i d d e r . For men who are imprisoned by sheer neces-s i t y i n t o a h a t e f u l s e r v i t u d e (as Riah i s , and as Micawber i s f o r a t i m e ) , the money l i n k i s not an easy one to break. The power to do so, u s u a l l y , i s a l l on the other s i d e . 66 issues. Thus, i n L i t t l e D o r r i t , Merdle's Chief Butler translates everything into the terms of a business contract. 'Mr. Merdle i s .'dead: ' [he Is told] 'I should wish.' said the Chief Butler, 'to give a month's notice.' 'Mr. Merdle has destroyed himself...1 ' S i r , ' said the Chief Butler, '. . . 1 should wish to leave immed-i a t e l y . ' (Bk. I I , ch. 25, p. 708) His decision i s basad s o l e l y on s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n , not on moral or emotional disgust; he has no i n t e n t i o n of allowing the ungentlemanliness of h i s master's death to i n t e r f e r e with h i s own p o s i t i o n . There are, of course,' exceptions to the r u l e . Even i n Dombey's home, one might f i n d a servant l i k e Miss Nipper who "wouldn't s e l l . . . [her] love and duty" (D. & S., ch. 56, p. 786). But then, Miss Nipper i s dismissed as soon as she asserts that love and duty against the wishes of the man who pays her wages. Susan i s not at a l l a proper servant: she makes claims on one's emo-ti o n s , and not j u s t on one's pocket-book. In the c i t y of closed doors and windows, such claims cannot be allowed. Understandably, therefore, when Susan makes her dramatic declaration (D. & S., ch. 44, pp; 614-7), Dombey reacts as i f he were being p h y s i c a l l y attacked, and by the time Mrs. Pipchin comes to the rescue he i s so desperate he i s "almost foaming". What Dombey fear s , even more than i n f e c t i o n from Susan's servant status, i s the crushing knowledge that both h i s daughter and h i s maid are not merely functions of himself, and that h i s 26 dealings with them are t o t a l l y inadequate. But Dombey i s too a f r a i d of what l i e s beyond the City to take Miss Nipper's accusations s e r i o u s l y . He dares The sense i n which the C i t y mentality feeds on f a l s e i l l u s i o n s and r e -j e c t s self-kncvwiedge i s discussed again i n ch. VIII, i n the context of Dickens' i r o n i c comedy. . The Ci t y i t s e l f becomes a 'blocking' character, for i t opposes the creation of a new society based on knowledge and r e a l i t y , rather than on ignorance and f a l s e i l l u s i o n s . The only ' r e a l i t y ' the Ci t y accepts i s the r e a l i t y of cash and of appearances; i t w i l l not look beyond the "golden shower-bathed" surface to the excremental dust-heap underneath. to do so only at the end, when there i s n o t h i n g . l e f t f o r him i n the C i t y that he could p o s s i b l y l o s e . While men are i n the C i t y , they' c a r e f u l l y defend themselves from too much self-knowledge - 'too much being whatever might i n h i b i t t h e i r f i n a n c i a l suc-cess, whereas i n f a c t they w i e l d enormous power,and may even suspect t h a t , i n a moral sense, t h e i r power i s being misused, they p r o t e c t themselves from mor-a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y by pretending to have no power at a l l , to be merely f o l l o w -i n g orders. Thus, i n order to avoid the embarrassment of c o n f r o n t i n g t h e i r own v i c t i m s , men invent the; game of 'Scapegoat' and play i t whenever they can. Spenlow has J o r k i n s ; Fledgeby has Riah; Grandfather Smallweed, " h i s f r i e n d i n the C i t y " , Casby, Pancks; and Jaggers and Wemmick, each other. Except f o r the l a s t case, the game, l i k e so much e l s e i n the c i t y , i s never r e c i p r o c a l . I r o n -i c a l l y , only the man who play s at being 'powerless' gets to win every time. In a sense, he may have h i s cake, and eat i t too: he r e t a i n s h i s sense of detach-ment ("I'm s o r r y , i f i t were up to me . . . ,") and reaps a l l the b e n e f i t s of the unpleasant t r a n s a c t i o n . Thus Pancks says of Casby that he i s one of those who set " ' t h e i r Grubbers on, at a wretched p i t t a n c e , to do what they're ashamed and a f r a i d to do and pretend not to do, but what they w i l l have done, or give a man no r e s t ! ' " (L.D., Bk. I I , ch. 32, p. 801) By employing Pancks to p l a y 'the e v i l a d v i s e r ' to h i s own 'good King', Cas-by 'cashes i n ' on h i s benevolent appearance. Shrewdly, he recognizes how every-t h i n g i n the c i t y i s to be seen, but very l i t t l e to be experienced]. Men must assume and hope that what they see i s what ijs. U n t i l Pancks cuts h i s l o c k s and h i s appearance f i n a l l y merges w i t h h i s ' r e a l i t y ' , Casby's deception, works. The confusion of appearance and r e a l i t y i s a c e n t r a l problem i n the c i t y , where men are c o n s t a n t l y i n the process of c r e a t i n g themselves i n new images out 27 of a r e j e c t e d or repressed p a s t , and where t h e i r r e a l i t y cannot always catch 2 7 S e e , f o r example, Carker, P i p , Bradley Headstone and Charley Hexam. up with their new appearance. In the city too, almost by definition, surfaces proliferate but the depths are always hidden. One might walk for hours, see-ing nothing but doors, windows, facades; but of that multitude of house-fronts, only a handful w i l l open themselves up to expose the l i f e being acted out i n -28 side. So too, with men in the city, surface seems to consume everything. Mr. Dombey, in a l l his resplendent surface-ness, "close-shaved close-cut . . . glossy and crisp" (ch. 2, pp. 16-7), becomes the image of the successful City man. And yet, ironically, his dying son cannot recognize him: he dissolves i n -to a strange and horrible -shadow (ch. 16, p. 223). Nor can Dombey himself rec-ognize his daughter. Susan Nipper declares, '"I don't think he'd have known he for his own child i f he had met her in the streets, or would know her for his own child i f he was to meet her in the streets to-morrow.'" (ch. 3, p. 26) In opposition to the 'surface-men', many of whom hide their depths from 29 themselves in self-defence, there are a few men, like Toodle;, who are w i l l i n Some of London's inhabitants identify themselves so closely with the city's facade that they become their addresses. See, for example, the wording of the Lammle's wedding invitations. Clearly, men reassure themselves of their own reality by affixing themselves to an address: thus"Alfred Lammle, Esquire of Sackville Street, Piccadilly, [is united] to Sophronia . . . of Yorkshire . . . . from the house of Hamilton Veneering, Esquire, of Stucconia . . . given away by Melvin Twemlow, Esquire, of Duke Street, Saint James's, second cousin to Lord Snigsworth, of Snigsworthy Park"(O.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 10, p. 117). Twem-low's name is never mentioned without an adjoining reference to Duke Street, Saint James's, and in Bleak House, the same is true of Mr. Snagsby and Cook's Court, Cursitor Street. Mr. Snagsby indulges in the habit himself, as i f that were the only part of his identity that he can be sure of. 29 Eugene Wrayburn and Bradley Headstone are perhaps the most obvious exam-ples. Headstone in particular describes himself in terms of suppressed depths (P.M.F., Bk. II, ch. 15, p. 396). See ch. IV, passim., for a fuller discussion of how the City (as the embodiment of the middle class business world) demands the suppression of sexuality and emotion. These two aspects of experience, to-gether with the imagination (also suppressed by the City i n i t s bedevilmenfc': of childhood) become the components of a man's 'depths'. to go down, 'underground', and these, significantly, know themselves and those 30 they claim to love. They see through the illusions to the underlying real-i t y . Therefore, when Miss Tox tries to flat t e r Mr. Toodle on his wife's new, successful appearance, (a function of Dombey's golden shower-baths) Mr. Toodle is not impressed. 'Lor, you'll be so smart,' said Miss Tox, 'that your husband won't know you' w i l l you s i r , sir?' 'I should know her,' said Toodle, gruffly, 'anyhows and anywheres.' (D. & S., ch. 2, p. 19) Glubb i s another man of the depths who knows how to forge a direct, and reciprocal, human link. "At Blimber's, Paul asks for his old friend, "'for I know him very well, and he knows me.'" 'Ha!' said the Doctor, shaking his head: 'this i s bad, but study w i l l do much.' (D. & S., ch. 12, p. 152) Blimber i s Dombey's al l y ; he senses the implicit threat in Paul's activa-ted imagination. His school, therefore ,like the school of the streets for the poorer children, pits i t s e l f against the 'lessons' of the depths: against ima-gination, against 'un-discipline', and against the possibility of men knowing one another directly without the restraints of false language, or mask-like faces, or class distinctions. It-pits i t s e l f particularly against self-knox^-ledge, for i f Paul's imagination continues to develop, he might see through the golden shower-bathed surface of the Dombey world he w i l l inherit, to the excre-ment and death hiding underneath. ' In a very real sense, Blimber opposes childhood i t s e l f . Convinced that his students "were a l l Doctors, and were born grown up" (D. & S., ch. 12, p. 165), he sets up a curriculum to match. There i s no child-like wonder at the school, no organic development'of the mind; only the mechanical consumption of facts. In Our Mutual Friend, for example, Eugene Wrayburn only faces what he i s , and what Lizzie Hexam is to him, after he almost dies in the depths of the river. In Hard Times, Dickens shows an e n t i r e s o c i e t y under the s p e l l of 'Blim-berism', and makes the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the new i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y (geared to money and m a t e r i a l progress) and the d e n i a l of childhood a b s o l u t e l y c l e a r . The i d e a l products of the Qradgrind school grow up i n t o m u t i l a t e d a d u l t s because they have never been allowed to experience childhood. Only S i s s y Jupe and the c i r c u s world (both c h i l d - l i k e , both centered on the imagination rathentthan on 31 F a c t s , on the depths r a t h e r than on the surface) can undermine the system. For even though they cannot t o t a l l y redeem the Gradgrinds and undo the p a s t , they can at l e a s t b r i n g th£m enough self-knowledge to create a b e t t e r f u t u r e . J u s t as Dickens' characters are "constructed round an a t t i t u d e to money," they are a l s o organized round an a t t i t u d e to childhood. For i n a sense, the values i m p l i c i t i n childhood are a r e v e r s a l of those i m p l i c i t i n money. On the one s i d e , one might range weakness, p a s s i v i t y , i n s t i n c t , and unquestioning l o v e ; on the other, power, aggressiveness, d i s c i p l i n e , and s e l f - i n t e r e s t . One of the c o n d i t i o n s of c i t y l i f e i s that men must o f t e n choose between the two extremes. I t would be an o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n and a s e n t i m e n t a l i z a t i o n of Dickens to say that the r i g h t c h o i c e , f o r him, i s always the f i r s t one. Quite c l e a r l y , the values i m p l i c i t i n money cannot be l i g h t l y d i s c a r d e d : e f f o r t , s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e , and reasonableness p l a y a cons i d e r a b l e p a r t i n the development of h i s heroes. Though Dombeyism may neglect i t s daughters, i t a l s o b u i l d s t r a i n s and enriches the n a t i o n . At no p o i n t i s Dickens so r a d i c a l as to sug*-gest that money and progress are i n themselves bad. What Dickens i s doing i n h i s o r g a n i z a t i o n of characters round an a t t i t u d e to c h i l d r e n i s p o s i t i n g an a l t e r n a t i v e to the dehumanizing C i t y . Through t h e i r d e a l i n g s w i t h c h i l d h o o d , men are given a chance to r e d i r e c t t h e i r humanity, to make a sy n t h e s i s between the two value-systems. In s p i t e of a l l t h e i r t a l k , men l i k e Harold Skimpole f a i l the t e s t . Jaggers, on the other hand, d e s p i t e h i s p r o t e s t a t i o n s of p r o f e s s i o n a l a - m o r a l i t y , a s s e r t s h i s e s s e n t i a l goodness i n the impulse to save E s t e l l a from t h e . h o r r i b l e c y c l e of bedevilment. Her sub-sequent e x p l o i t a t i o n by Miss Havisham cannot negate h i s o r i g i n a l k i n d i n t e n -t i o n . So, too, through the kindness they show to the c h i l d r e n they come i n contact w i t h , something of r e a l value i s salvaged i n Mr. Snagsby, F l o r a F i n c h -i n g , George Rouncewell, Mr. Chick, and Miss Tox, - none of them t o t a l l y admir-ab l e , none of them h e r o i c , and yet a l l , somehow, 'improved' by t h e i r contact w i t h childhood. Note S i s s y Jupe's performance at s c h o o l , and her c o n s i s t e n t l y ' i n c o r -r e c t ' responses to horses, to flowers on the ca r p e t , and to Fancy r a t h e r than Fact (ch. 2). CHAPTER VI FLIGHT TO STUCCONIA: THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE WORLDS OF MIDDLE CLASS SOCIETY London, even before the r a i l w a y s came, had been growing by a quarter of a m i l l i o n every ten years. The r a i l w a y s doubled that r a t e of growth. I t was not, however, u n t i l the middle of the century that London a c t u a l l y began to spread, that the C i t y ceased to be the place where the bankers and the bank c l e r k s a c t u a l l y l i v e d . The M e t r o p o l i t a n Railway -the 'underground' - opened i n 1863, and there was thus born one of the b i g g e s t s i n g l e f a c t s ^ i n the s t o r y of V i c t o r i a n a r c h i t e c t u r e - the suburb. The d i s c u s s i o n of man i n the c i t y so f a r has t r i e d to focus on c e r t a i n developments i n nineteenth century London which become o r g a n i z i n g p r i n c i p l e s i n the Dickens w o r l d . B r i e f l y , they might be summarized as a breakdown of the o l d community, a growing commitment to i n d i v i d u a l i s m and the market m e n t a l i t y , and a response to the 'urban f a c t ' that i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by fear 2 and evasion. The growth of the suburbs r e c o r d s , i n v i s i b l e form, the middle c l a s s e s ' r e a c t i o n to the new c i t y . During the n i n e t eenth century, London's p o p u l a t i o n growth f o l l o w s a f a i r l y c l e a r p a t t e r n . As the 'inner c i t y ' i s r i p p e d up by Progress ( t r a i n s and t r a i n - s t a t i o n s i n p a r t i c u l a r ) , the middle c l a s s e s and the r e s p e c t a b l e l a y e r of the working c l a s s e s emigrate to the o u t s k i r t s of the c i t y . The poor, the unemployed, and the c r i m i n a l , who cannot a f f o r d to leave, remain Robert Furneaux Jordan, V i c t o r i a n A r c h i t e c t u r e , (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1966), p. 33. 2 The term "suburb" i n c l u d e s not only such r e l a t i v e l y d i s t a n t areas as Twickenham and Norwood, but everything outside the l i m i t s of the C i t y of London i t s e l f . in the City in increasingly crowded quarters and in increasingly great numbers. The city landscape becomes more and more intolerable, u n t i l i t becomes "the monster, roaring in the distance" ( D . & S, ch. 33, p. 480), devouring i t s own inhabitants. Nevertheless, the middle class exodus is not total: the City remains the place where profits are to be made, and therefore cannot be abandoned. As a contemporary c r i t i c of Victorian l i f e points out, London streets are divided into two classes: "into streets where the roast-beef of l i f e i s earned, and 4 into streets where the roast-beef is eaten". The distinction between public and private, business and^family, is thus built into the urban landscape. The middle class businessman can regiment his time into that spent in the City, making money, and that spent at home, enjoying i t . At home, both the horrors of poverty, and the excesses of aristocratic wealth (both of which 5 thrive in the inner ci t y ) , can be shut out. Suburban l i f e , like the closed windows, like euphemism and cliche, and like the cash-nexus, is yet another evasion of the-realities of city l i f e . "Thus" writes Mumford in The City See, for further discussion: Mumford, The City in History, pp. 525-7; Quennell, introd. to Mayhew's London, p. 19; Asa Briggs, Victorian Cities, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1968), pp. 312-18. Briggs makes the point that the poor from the provinces and from outside England gravitated to the central parts of London, as other, more successful groups moved out. The role of the railroad in the creation of slums is pointed out by H.J. Dyos, "The Slums of Victorian London", VS, XI (Sept., 1967), 38. Poor people's homes, rather than factories or warehouses, would always be chosen for demolition, thus avoiding high settlement costs and the r u f f l i n g of bourgeois feathers. Dyos mentions a particular b i l l for Southwark Street in 1857 that allowed the Board of Works "to skirt several expensive properties...and save •i- 200,000, while displacing fourteen hundred people". No provisions for resettlement were made. 4 Max Schlesinger, from Saunterings in and About London, in London in Dickens' Day, p. 93. ^As the middle classes move out, the gap between East and West, the City and Westminster, the one dark and mysterious, the other dazzling and ostentatious, becomes a gaping abyss. Both extremes are distasteful to the bourgeoisie, the class that had originally bridged the two worlds. i n H i s t o r y , the suburbs served as an asylum f o r the p r e s e r v a t i o n of i l l u s i o n . Here d o m e s t i c i t y could f l o u r i s h , f o r g e t f u l of the e x p l o i t a t i o n on which so much of i t was based. Here i n d i v i d u a l i t y could prosper, o b l i v i o u s of the perv a s i v e regimentation beyond. This was not merely a c h i l d - c e n t e r e d environment: i t was based on a c h i l d i s h view of the w o r l d ^ i n which r e a l i t y was s a c r i f i c e d to the pleasure p r i n c i p l e . Dickens records the changing face of Greater London i n the addresses of h i s c i t y merchants. Whereas the Cheeryble brothers l i v e r i g h t over t h e i r business premises, Dombey - and the businessmen who f o l l o w him-make t h e i r homes i n what Dickens so a p t l y c a l l s " S t u cconia".^ Even w h i l e ' i n t r a n s i t ' between home and b u s i n e s s ^ ( o r , indeed, wherever they go), the new C i t y men take precautions a g a i n s t the unpleasantness of the outside world. They t r a v e l by horse-back or i n a coachj they never walk. Podsnappish man has to have h i s face rubbed i n the slums before he w i l l admit to t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , and the c a r r i a g e p r o t e c t s him, both by i t s e l e v a t i o n 8 o f f the ground and the speed of i t s movement, from such an outrage. F u r t h e r -more, coach t r a v e l makes i t t e c h n i c a l l y impossible to get i n t o the l e s s d e s i r a b l e areas: the s t r e e t s are too narrow and crowded to al l o w the coach through. Thus Esther, towards the end of her " f e v e r i s h wandering journey" p. 563. Mumford uses the term " c h i l d i s h " here to des c r i b e a Skimpole-and Podsnap-like a t t i t u d e , r a t h e r than the im a g i n a t i v e p e r c e p t i o n discussed i n Ch. V, "The Cash-Nexus',' as the p o l a r opposite of the money m e n t a l i t y . Dyos w r i t e s that "the wealth that was created...[by V i c t o r i a n p r o s p e r i t y ] f i r s t b e n e f i t e d the middle c l a s s e s , who used i t q u i t e l i t e r a l l y to put a di s t a n c e between themselves and the workers. The m i d d l e - c l a s s V i c t o r i a n suburb was both an i n v e n t i o n f o r accentuating these s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s and a means of p u t t i n g o f f . . . t h e f u l l r e a l i z a t i o n of what was e n t a i l e d i n l i v i n g i n a slum" (p. 27). 7 Dickens' term p e r f e c t l y describe- ;; the stuck-on, surface-only q u a l i t y of l i f e i n middle c l a s s London. I t i s only f i t t i n g , t h e r e f o r e , that i t should be the home of Veneering i n O.M.F. 8 As mentioned i n Ch. I I , "From P i c k w i c k to Dombey," Georgiana Podsnap c l e a r l y uses the custard-coloured phaeton as a defensive s h i e l d a g a i n s t the wor l d . 75 (B.H., ch. 59, p. 802), must get down and walk through the s t r e e t s o f Tom-9 a l l - A l o n e 1 s . For once, the subcutaneous surface of London i s exposed, and Esther i s forced to experience, the s l e e t . . . . t h e wet house-tops, the clogged and b u r s t i n g g u t t e r s and water spouts, the mound of blackened i c e and snow over which we passed, the narrowness of the courts by which we went....[and how] the s t a i n e d house f r o n t s put on human shapes and looked at me....[and how] great water-gates seemed to be opening and c l o s i n g i n my head, or i n the a i r (B,H., ch. 59, pp. 810-11). With the o u t s i d e world of the s t r e e t s f o r c i n g i t s e l f upon her, Esther loses her normal sense of i d e n t i t y . The l i n e s of demarcation between the s e l f and the o u t s i d e world (so-« j e a l o u s l y guarded by most c i t y men) become b l u r r e d and almost disappear, and Esther no longer knows where her head ends and where the a i r begins. She l o s e s c o n t r o l , a t l e a s t momentarily, over the f u n c t i o n s of her own head, and over the water-gates opening and c l o s i n g themselves t h e r e i n . For men to whom s e l f - c o n t r o l i s e s s e n t i a l i n order to s u r v i v e i n the c i t y , ^ the s t r e e t s are to be feared indeed. Miss Tox's fea r s are o l d -m a i d i s h l y exaggerated, but her t h r e a t s to the cab d r i v e r i n d i c a t e a p r e v a l e n t a t t i t u d e i n Dickens' London. She ' g i r d s ' h e r s e l f f o r the o r d e a l of the s t r e e t s . C onsidering h e r s e l f at the mercy of the d r i v e r (and, t h e r e f o r e , at 11 sea i n the wider s o c i a l w o r l d ) , she i s determined to remain i n c o n t r o l : 9 Esther experiences ".the depths" w i t h i n the c i t y i t s e l f , as Eugene experiences them i n h i s brush w i t h death i n the r i v e r . Both surface to the r e l a t i o n s h i p of love they had p r e v i o u s l y d e s i r e d but would not admit. ^ S e e the d i s c u s s i o n of r e p r e s s i o n and upward s o c i a l m o b i l i t y i n ch. IV, "Furand Fungus". ^The sense i n which the world becomes a c h a o t i c sea which urban men are powerless to c o n t r o l i s discussed more f u l l y i n ch. VII^"The Demonic C i t y " . Miss Tox had great experience i n hackney cabs, and her s t a r t i n g i n one was g e n e r a l l y a work of time, as she was systematic i n the preparatory arrangements. 'Have the goodness, i f you please, Towlinson,' s a i d Miss Tox, ' f i r s t of a l l , to c a r r y out a pen and i n k and take h i s number l e g i b l y . ' 'Yes, M i s s , ' s a i d Towlinson. 'Then, i f you p l e a s e , Towlinson,' s a i d Miss Tox, 'have the goodness to turn the cushion. Which,' s a i d Miss Tox apart to Mrs. Chick, ' i s g e n e r a l l y damp, my dear.' 'Yes, M i s s , ' s a i d Towlinson. ' I ' l l t r o u b l e you a l s o , i f you please,' s a i d Miss Tox, 'with t h i s card and t h i s s h i l l i n g . He's to d r i v e to the card, and i s to understand that he w i l l not on any account have more than the s h i l l i n g . ' 'No, M i s s , ' s a i d Towlinson. 'And -I'm s o r r y to give you so much t r o u b l e , Towlinson,' - s a i d Miss Tox, l o o k i n g at him p e n s i v e l y . 'Not a t a l l , Miss,..' s a i d Towlinson. 'Mention to the man, then, i f you p l e a s e , Towlinson,' s a i d Miss Tox, 'that the lady's uncle i s a m a g i s t r a t e , and that i f he gives her any of h i s impertinence he w i l l be punished t e r r i b l y . You can pretend to say t h a t , i f you p l e a s e , Towlinson, i n a f r i e n d l y way, and because you know i t was done to another man, who d i e d . 1 (D. & S., ch. 5, p. 50) Lady Dedlock's note to Esther a few hours before her death c a r r i e s the h o r r o r of the s t r e e t s to i t s f i n a l c o n c l u s i o n : " I must soon d i e . These s t r e e t s ! I have no purpose but to d i e " (B.H., ch. 59, p. 808). Even f o r someone as 'tough' as Jo, the only hope f o r s u r v i v a l i s that "the sooner he comes out of the s t r e e t s , the b e t t e r " (B.H., ch. 47, p. 640). There are at l e a s t two l e v e l s of v i s i o n (and experience) i n the c i t y : ' 1? there are those who belong to the s t r e e t s , " who i n the words of Mrs. Brown and her daughter A l i c e , are i n the mud, and of i t ; who are mud underneath 13 the horse's f e e t (D. & S., ch. 46, p. 635), and then there are the o t h e r s , who r i d e through the s t r e e t s charging at the p u b l i c " l i k e the L i f e Guards at O l i v e r , Mrs. Brown, A l i c e Marwood, Rob the Grinder, Jo, L i t t l e Maggy, Be t t y Higden", Charley Hexam, and f o r a time F l o r e n c e Dombey, David C o p p e r f i e l d and L i t t l e D o r r i t . The M a y l i e s , the Brownlows, o l d M a r t i n C h u z z l e w i t , E d i t h , Mrs. Skewton, the Dedlocks, the Merdles, and the Podsnaps. Waterloo" (O.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 3, p. 244). C l e a r l y , c l a s s antagonisms are acted out as much by men i n t r a n s i t as i n the p r i v a c y of home or o f f i c e . One's p o s i t i o n i n the c l a s s s t r u c t u r e defines one's movement through the s t r e e t s of the c i t y . U r i a h Heep makes the connection between r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and "the s t r e e t s " very c l e a r when he sneers at David: ' " I don't make myself out a gentleman (though I never was i n the s t r e e t s e i t h e r , as you were...)'" (D.C, ch. 52, 14 p. 749). Magwitch knows i t too, when he says to P i p , 'I mustn't see my gentleman a f o o t i n g i t i n the mire of the s t r e e t s ; there mustn't be no mud on h i s boots. My gentleman must have horses, P i p ! Horses to r i d e , and horses to d r i v e , and horses f o r h i s servant to r i d e and d r i v e as w e l l . ' (G.E., ch. 40, p. 313) Stucconia i t s e l f , l i k e horses and coaches, but u n l i k e most of the evasion t a c t i c s discussed i n the preceding chapters, i s r e s t r i c t e d to those who can a f f o r d i t . L i k e the demand f o r p r i v a c y on which i t i s based, i t i s a middle c l a s s l u x u r y . Dickens i n d i c a t e s , i n h i s p i c t u r e of Dombey's home, and of t h e almost oppressive cosiness of Bleak House, how deeply the need f o r p r i v a c y i s rooted i n the middle c l a s s e s . Dombey, f o r i n s t a n c e , considers h i s study as an inner sanctum, not to be trespassed i n t o under any circumstances. Susan Nipper's unexpected v i s i t c o n s t i t u t e s a major and f r i g h t e n i n g i n v a s i o n : Being i n the s t r e e t s i n P.P. i s an a l t o g e t h e r d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n . E v e r y t h i n g i s a source of j o l l i t y and good s p i r i t s . Walking down the s t r e e t i s a good excuse to stop i n t o a pub f o r refreshments (see ch. 43, pp. 612-3), and not a reason f o r shame or f e a r . *""*It i s i r o n i c that Magwitch, h i m s e l f a man of the s t r e e t s who has been more than s p l a t t e r e d by the mud from a gentleman's horses, s t i l l wishes to set P i p up - out of the s t r e e t s - i n t h i s way. The depth to which c l a s s -consciousness reaches, even i n Magwitch, who has been i t s v i c t i m , i s made c l e a r . He f a i l s to recognize that i s i s p r e c i s e l y because P i p does not i n i t i a l l y look a t him from a s h e l t e r e d and elevated p o s i t i o n that he can be so i n s t i n c t i v e l y compassionate to an escaped c o n v i c t . 'Do you c a l l i t managing t h i s establishment, Madam," s a i d Mr. Dombey, 'to leave a person l i k e t h i s at l i b e r t y to come and t a l k to me! A gentleman - i n h i s own house - i n h i s own room - a s s a i l e d w i t h the im p e r t i n e n c i e s of women servants! -(D.&S., ch. 44, p. 616) Dombey's t o t a l defeat at the end i s embodied i n the chaos of h i s home. Whereas there had once been a s t r i c t d i v i s i o n of c l a s s e s and f u n c t i o n s between one room and another, and a determined e f f o r t to keep the world on the other s i d e of the door, now "Matresses and bedding appear i n the d i n i n g room; the gl a s s and china get i n t o the conservatory" (ch. 59, p. 832) and " a l l the footmarks [are] there [on the s t a i r s ] , making them as common as the common s t r e e t " (ch. 59, pp. 840-1). r Every upper middle c l a s s home, l i k e Dombey's before the bankruptcy, has p r i v a t e servants whose duty i t i s to s i f t through the v i s i t o r s and make sure n o t h i n g u n d e s i r a b l e comes i n o f f the s t r e e t s . ^ For men l i k e Wemmick, who 17 cannot a f f o r d servants, a moat and a cannon are made to serve. But once one passes a c e r t a i n c l a s s l i n e , the r i g h t to p r i v a c y i s no longer recognized. The outside world takes l i b e r t i e s w i t h the p r i v a c y of the very poor and, as Dickens notes i n Mrs. P a r d i g g l e ' s a t t i t u d e to the b r i c k l a y e r s , a poor man's home i s not h i s c a s t l e . Jenny's husband does not mince words when he says '"I'm not p a r t i a l to g e n t l e f o l k s coming i n t o my p l a c e . . . . I l e t t h e i r p laces be, and i t ' s curious they can't l e t my pla c e be....There'd be a p r e t t y shine made i f I was to go a - v i s i t i n them, I think* "(B.H., ch. 57, p. 777) ; The p u r s u i t of p r i v a c y holds few a t t r a c t i o n s f o r the poor i n any case. T h e i r l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s are cramped and ugly, and oft e n even the s t r e e t s are a pleas a n t r e l i e f . Mayhew p o i n t s out that "the h a b i t s of the c o s t e r -mongers are not domestic....Home has few a t t r a c t i o n s to a man whose l i f e 18 i s a s t r e e t l i f e " . I f home i s a doorstep or a hole i n Tom-all-Alone's -• ^ S e e , f o r example, i n O l i v e r Twist, Nancy's r e c e p t i o n by the servants at the M a y l i e home (ch. 39, pp. 298-9). ^Max S c h l e s i n g e r must have had Wemmick i n mind when he noted that "Every E n g l i s h house has i t s fence, i t s i r o n stockade, and i t s doorway br i d g e . To and i t i s , f o r many i n the c i t y - then the middle c l a s s c u l t of domestica becomes absurd. There must be many c h i l d r e n l i k e L i z z i e and C h a r l i e Hexam who are locked out of the house by t h e i r f a t h e r w h i l e he i s at work, f o r f e a r t h a t , as L i z z i e remembers, "we should set ourselves a f i r e or f a l l out of window". I t i s only when Hexam re t u r n s and can p r o t e c t h i s c h i l d r e n , that "home seems such a s h e l t e r " (O.M.F. Bk. I , ch. 3, pp. 28-9). For the poor, the grasp of the p u b l i c w o r l d - that i s , the world i n which the roast-beef, or r a t h e r the g r u e l of l i f e i s earned - i s a l l -consuming. The s t r u g g l e f o r mere s u r v i v a l denies the p o s s i b i l i t y of a domestic l i f e ; there i s simply no energy l e f t f o r i t . N e v e r t h e l e s s , f o r the m a j o r i t y of Dickens' c h a r a c t e r s the d e t a i l s of p r i v a t e l i f e loom l a r g e . As suggested e a r l i e r (ch. V, "The Cash-Nexus"), the p u b l i c world s h r i n k s r a d i c a l l y i n the new commercial c i t y . The cash-nexus i s o f t e n the only l i n k between man and man, c o n s t i t u t i n g , i n f a c t , l e s s of a l i n k than a temporary l u l l i n the b a t t l e . "Our l i f e , " w r i t e s C a r l y l e , " i s not a mutual h e l p f u l n e s s ; but r a t h e r , cloaked under due laws-of-war, 19 named ' f a i r competition' and so f o r t h , i t i s a mutual h o s t i l i t y .". Men escape i n t o the suburbs, where i t seems as i f 'domestica' can be played out w i t h l i t t l e i f any i n t e r f e r e n c e from the demands of the outside world. Humphry House p i n p o i n t s a key r e l a t i o n s h i p between Suburbia and the new c i t y when he says that the " i n t e n s i v e c u l t of the elementary domestic a f f e c t i o n s was p a r t l y to compensate f o r the l a c k of emotional s a t i s f a c t i o n and stimulus observe the a d d i t i o n a l f o r t i f i c a t i o n s which every Englishman i n v e n t s fo r the greater s e c u r i t y of h i s house i s q u i t e amusing". Quoted i n London i n  Dickens' Day, p. 91. p. 39. 19 from "Gospel of Mammonism", quoted i n Prose of the V i c t o r i a n P e r i o d , ed. B u c k l e r , p. 136. i n the wider l i f e of S o c i e t y " . ^ Thus, i n s t e a d of the t r a d i t i o n a l dichotomy between p r i v a t e v i c e s and p u b l i c v i r t u e s , which seems such a c e n t r a l concept i n the eighteenth century 21 n o v e l , the world that Dickens w r i t e s of o f t e n turns the o l d order upside-down. In the modern c i t y , p u b l i c v i c e s f l o u r i s h i n s p i t e of p r i v a t e v i r t u e . Jaggers, Wemmick, Pancks, Riah, Mr. Perker, J o r k i n s , Miss Mowcher, Vholes, Young Barnacle, and the constable who moves Jo on, a l l , i n v a r y i n g degrees, p l a y r a t h e r unpleasant r o l e s i n the outside world and reserve t h e i r kindness f o r t h e i r p r i v a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As a French contemporary of the V i c t o r i a n s p o i n t s out, "However r i g i d . E n g l i s h prudery may be i n the home c i r c l e , i t i s r 22 shocked by nothing i n the s t r e e t , where l i c e n t i o u s n e s s runs r i o t " . For some ch a r a c t e r s , the gap between p u b l i c and p r i v a t e behaviour i s i r r e c o n c i l a b l e . The character of Wemmick i s probably the f u l l e s t and most extreme m a n i f e s t a t i o n of t h i s k i n d of s c h i z o p h r e n i a , but as e a r l y as P i c k w i c k Papers (ch. 50, p. 700; ch. 53, p. 742), Mr. Lowten and Mr. Sawyer act out Wemmick's r u l i n g p r i n c i p l e : '"No; the o f f i c e i s one t h i n g , and p r i v a t e l i f e i s another. "(G.E. ch. 25, p. 197) That "no" at the beginning gives Wemmick away: h i s obsession w i t h p r i v a c y i s based on a r e f u s a l r a t h e r than an a f f i r m a t i o n . The reason f o r h i s W a l w o r t h - L i t t l e B r i t a i n dichotomy i s not merely that the l a r g e r s o c i a l w o r l d has become meaningless. On the c o n t r a r y , i t i s a r e t r e a t from the p o s s i b i l i t y of meaning, f o r i f p u b l i c l i f e should indeed - 20 The Dickens World, p. 130. 21 Consider f o r i n s t a n c e Square, B l i f i l , Lady B e l l a s t o n , and Thwackum i n Tom Jones, C l a r i s s a Harlowe's parents, n e a r l y a l l the c l e r g y i n Joseph Andrews, M o l l ' s f i r s t l o v e r i n M o l l F l a n d e r s , Wickham i n P r i d e and P r e j u d i c e , and even Mr. Woodhouse i n Emma. F r a n c i s Wey, from A Frenchman Among the V i c t o r i a n s , quoted i n London i n Dickens' Day, p. 128. become meaningful, i t w i l l demand an inconvenient degree of involvement from i t s members. Jaggers draws the l i n e between p r o f e s s i o n a l and p r i v a t e duty as f i n e l y , and as e x a c t l y , as he can. "'My name...[he t e l l s P i p , ] i s Jaggers, and I am a lawyer i n London...What I have to do as the c o n f i d e n t i a l agent of another, I do. No l e s s , no more.'" And then, j u s t to make sure, he adds: "'I am p a i d f o r my s e r v i c e s , or I shouldn't render them.'" (G.E., ch. 18, pp. 129, 131), L i k e Merdle's C h i e f B u t l e r , he w i l l a l l o w no claims on h i m s e l f except the p r o f e s s i o n a l and f i n a n c i a l , thus rendering the t r a n s a c t i o n m o r a l l y 23 meaningless and t h e r e f o r e safe. Mr. M o r f i n i n Dombey and Son sees how tempting the p u b l i e - p r i v a t e dichotomy can be. He begins as a Wemmick-like r f i g u r e , drawing r i g i d l i n e s between h i s r o l e at Dombey's o f f i c e s and h i s domestic p l e a s u r e s : "He was a great m u s i c a l amateur i n h i s way - a f t e r v 24 b u s i n e s s " (ch. 13, p. 171). But M o r f i n recognizes h i s u n d e r l y i n g s e l f -p r o t e c t i v e motives. Whatever happened outside h i s l i t t l e w o r ld, he says, "'was no a f f a i r of mine" 1: " ' I t s u i t e d the Manager; i t s u i t e d the man he managed: i t s u i t e d me best of a l l . " ( c h . 53, p. 746) Most suburbanites, however, w i l l not i n s p e c t the u n d e r l y i n g and s e l f -p r o t e c t i v e motives f o r t h e i r homes i n Stucconia, and would agree w i t h Mrs. Merdle t h a t ' t h e r e i s a p o s i t i v e v u l g a r i t y i n c a r r y i n g your business a f f a i r s about w i t h y o u j " (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 33, p. 396) She b e l i e v e s that the p u b l i c and p r i v a t e worlds can be made autonomous, and that the wider Jaggers i s p l a y i n g a game of 'Scapegoat 1, i n which h i s own paying c l i e n t s are ' i t ' . 24. "The f a c t that Mr. M o r f i n comes back i n t o the C i t y f o r pleasure, to p l a y ' w i t h h i s m u s i c a l group, does not r e a l l y c o n t r a d i c t my argument about the middle c l a s s e s only coming i n t o the c i t y on business. M o r f i n i s a bachelor, and i s t h e r e f o r e exempt from many of the r i t u a l s of 'domestica', s i n c e 'domestica' i s p r i m a r i l y a f u n c t i o n of the n u c l e a r f a m i l y . 82 s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s b r i n g no pressure to bear on what Skimpole c a l l s the "poetry" of p r i v a t e l i f e . In f a c t , however, Dickens' London dramatizes how, f o r the middle c l a s s e s as w e l l as f o r the very poor, "there i s no p r i v a t e 25 l i f e that has not been determined by a wider p u b l i c l i f e " . Dickens i s making an important p o i n t about p u b l i c cause and p r i v a t e e f f e c t , when he a l l u d e s i n Bleak House to the " r e c e i v e r i n the cause [who] has acquired a goodly sum of money by i t , but has acquired too a d i s t r u s t of h i s own mother, and a contempt f o r h i s own k i n d " (ch. 1, p. 5). Often p u b l i c success i s bought at the cost of the p r i v a t e s e l f . The r e c o g n i t i o n of t h i s f a c t marks the t u r n i n g p o i n t i n Micawber's career. He simply cannot pretend that h i s p r o f e s s i o n a l d u t i e s under U r i a h Heep are not p o i s o n i n g h i s domestic b l i s s ; he i s t h e r e f o r e i m p e l l e d to b r i n g Heep to j u s t i c e , even i f i t costs him the only w e l l - p a i d job he has ever had, Wemmick, on the other hand, b e l i e v e s he can t r u l y i s o l a t e h i m s e l f from the Jaggers world i n the i d e a l i z e d a r c h i t e c t u r e of Walworth. And y e t , i r o n i c a l l y , h i s ' s o l u t i o n ' i s r i d d l e d w i t h the mechanization he t h i n k s he has escaped. Sur e l y the absurdly mechanized gestures of h i s love-making w i t h Miss S k i f f i n s , h i s p o s t - o f f i c e mouth, and the manygadgets that f i l l h i s home, are.comments on h i s u l t i m a t e f a i l u r e to create the t o t a l and autonomous p r i v a t e r e t r e a t . I t i s p a t e n t l y obvious i n the case of the poor, but i t i s a l s o true of the p r o f e s s i o n a l man, that men i n the c i t y are simply not f r e e to block out the p u b l i c world at w i l l . Through suburban l i f e , they can pretend i t does not e x i s t , but the i r o n y i s that the form of escape i t s e l f a s s e r t s t h e i r l i n k w i t h the C i t y . A f t e r a l l , men l i v e i n the suburbs so they can r e t u r n renewed to the C i t y - sharper and quicker at t h e i r " f a i r competition", and A quotation from George E l i o t by Raymond W i l l i a m s , C u l t u r e and S o c i e t y  1780-1950, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1966), p. 119. W i l l i a m s gives no s p e c i f i c source. • 83 unencumbered with any sense of r e l a t i o n s h i p towards those they e x p l o i t . The almost u m b i l i c a l t i e that l i n k s Dickens' characters to t h e i r C i t y l i f e i s not e a s i l y broken. Clenman i s an exceptional man i n h i s determination to s t a r t anew. "'I have given up everything i n l i f e ' " .[he says,] for the business, and the time came for me to give up t h a t . 1 " (L.D., Bk. i , ch. 3, p. 37) Clenman i s also exceptional (on t h i s point at least) i n h i s s e l f -awareness, for most c i t y men remain b l i s s f u l l y unaware of how deeply t h e i r p u b l i c l i v e s have undermined t h e i r p r i v a t e i d e n t i t i e s . Dombey ceases to be a man and becomes "the very House" (ch, 15, p. 176) or, i n S i r Barnet Skettle's terms, "C i t y - very r i c h - most respectable" (ch. 14, p. 198). He i s the slave of h i s own p u b l i c image, "the slave of h i s own greatness...[who] goes yoked to h i s own triumphal car l i k e a beast of burden" (ch. 45, p. 628). And yet Dombey can demand, quite unselfconsciously, quite sure of the answer, "'Do you know who I am, madam? Do you know what I represent? Did you ever hear of Dombey and Son?'" (ch. 47, pp. 658-9) The r e a l question i s , of course, whether Dombey himself knows who he i s , and whether he has an i d e n t i t y other than h i s p u b l i c greatness, h i s newly minted, golden shower-bathed surface. His s i s t e r , Mrs. Chick, i s i n a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n . She r e f e r s to h e r s e l f as 'an i n d i v i d u a l who desires to be true to he r s e l f . . . a s the s i s t e r of my brother - and as the s i s t e r - i n - l a w of my brother's wife - and as a connexion by marriage of my brother's wife's mother - may I be permitted to add, as a Dombey' (ch. 29, p. 418), but never, despite her mention of "an i n d i v i d u a l " , as h e r s e l f . Whether she does i n fac t have a ' s e l f ' independent of her pu b l i c r o l e s i s questionable. Both Mrs. Chick and her brother, obsessed with the p u b l i c world but considering themselves free and powerful to do as they wish, have s a c r i f i c e d personal freedom to the demands of "the world", Mrs. Chick r i d s h e r s e l f of a l o y a l f r i e n d ; Mr. Dombey closes o f f any p o s s i b i l i t y of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with h i s wife. He i s almost driven to sui c i d e by "The world. What the world thinks of him, how i t looks at him, what i t sees i n him, and what i t says - t h i s i s the haunting demon of h i s mind" (ch. 51, p. 716). L i k e Dombey yoked to the idea of h i s own greatness, P i p i s i n bondage to h i s o s t e n s i b l e servant, "the Avenger". But he at l e a s t admits to "the degrading s h i f t s to which I was c o n s t a n t l y d r i v e n to f i n d him employment" (G.E., ch. 30, p. 233). Money and power i n the p u b l i c world do not always b r i n g personal freedom w i t h them. For the B o f f i n s , f o r i n s t a n c e , r e t u r n i n g to work (though they would l i k e to do so) i s 1 " O u t of the question! We have come i n t o a great fortune, and we must do what's r i g h t by our f o r t u n e ; we must act up to i t . ' " (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 9, p. 99) The tyranny of the fashionable address holds sway over more than one of Dickens' c h a r a c t e r s . The B o f f i n s must, a c c o r d i n g l y , move from the comforts of " B o f f i n ' s Bower" to a more s u i t a b l e residence "not f a r from Cavendish Square", to a howling corner i n the w i n t e r time, a dusty corner i n the summer time, an u n d e s i r a b l e corner at the best of times. S h e l t e r l e s s fragments of straw and paper got up r e v o l v i n g storms there... and the w a t e r - c a r t . . . came blundering and j o l t i n g round i t , making i t muddy when a l l e l s e was clean (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 5, p.44). P r i v a t e comforts must give way to the demands of the p u b l i c r o l e , f o r as surface and p u b l i c p o s i t i o n come to stand f o r the e n t i r e person, so too the p l a c e i n which one l i v e s becomes the key to who one i s . Twemlow l i v e s over a I t would be an o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , however, to equate the B o f f i n s w i t h Dombey because of t h e i r subservience to p u b l i c p o s i t i o n . The B o f f i n s are w i l l i n g to take on the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as w e l l as the p r i v i l e g e s of t h e i r new fortune: they do "act up to i t " , but they do so i n the best sense of the word. Consider, f o r i n s t a n c e , t h e i r immediate concern f o r B e l l a W i l f e r as the v i c t i m of Harmon's w i l l ; t h e i r wish to make up f o r John Harmon's miserable childhood by g i v i n g another c h i l d a happy home; t h e i r kindness to Betty Higden and, f i n a l l y , t h e i r adoption of Sloppy. Whereas Dombey's wealth and p u b l i c p o s i t i o n merely i s o l a t e s him, the B o f f i n ' s new fortune i n v o l v e s them i n a l a r g e r world than that of B o f f i n ' s Bower. s t a b l e - y a r d , and Lady T i p p i n s over a stay-maker 1s, but that can be f o r g o t t e n when the address on the v i s i t i n g - c a r d says "Duke S t r e e t , S a i n t James", or " B e l g r a v i a " . S i m i l a r l y , Mrs. Skewton, Mr. Barnacle, and Miss Tox a l l r e s i d e (to put i t m i l d l y ) " i n lodgings that were fash i o n a b l e enough and dear enough, but r a t h e r l i m i t e d i n p o i n t of space and conveniences" (D. & S. ch. 21, p. 292). Perhaps there never was a smaller entry and s t a i r c a s e , than... Miss Tox 1s...Perhaps ... i t was the most inconvenient l i t t l e house i n England, and the crookedest; but then, Miss Tox s a i d , what a s i t u a t i o n . . . v e r y l i t t l e d a y l i g h t . . . n o s u n . . . a i r was out of the question. . - . S t i l l , Miss Tox s a i d , t h i n k of the s i t u a t i o n ! (D.& S. ch. 7, p. 84) As f o r p r i v a c y , that too i s out of the question, w i t h Major Bagstock t r a i n i n g h i s b u l g i n g eye i n t o the l i t t l e p a r l o u r and, i n the mews under the bedroom, " h o s t l e r s . . . c o n t i n u a l l y accompanying themselves w i t h e f f e r v e s c e n t n o i s e s ; and...the most domestic and c o n f i d e n t i a l garments of coachmen and t h e i r wives and f a m i l i e s . . . [ h a n g i n g ] , l i k e Macbeth's banners, on the outward w a l l s " (D. & S. ch. 7, p. 83). In terms of the c i t y ' s a r c h i t e c t u r e , then, the outside world cannot be kept out. So too i n terms of the most p r i v a t e choice - language - the p u b l i c dimension always obtrudes. Mr. Guppy, f o r example, i s imprisoned i n l e g a l forms of speech. A l l p r i v a t e experience, even the d e c l a r a t i o n of 'love' f o r Esther, becomes a p r o f e s s i o n a l t r a n s a c t i o n : "'Miss Summerson!'"ne says, " V o u l d you be so k i n d as to allow me (as I may say) to f i l e a d e c l a r a t i o n -to make an o f f e r ! ' " ( B . H . , ch. 9, p. 124) He hopes the interview"'has been without p r e j u d i c e 1 " ( c h . 3, p. 126), and l a t e r i n s i s t s to Esther that"'We had b e t t e r not t r a v e l out of the record i n t o i m p l i c a t i o n . ' " (ch. 38, p. 543) C i t y men become l i k e Miss Peecher's student, who "had been...so imbued w i t h the class-custom of s t r e t c h i n g out an arm...whenever... she found she had an o b s e r v a t i o n . . .'to o f f e r to Miss Peecher, that she o f t e n d i d i t i n t h e i r domestic r e l a t i o n s " (O.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 1, pp. 219-20). Vholes i n Bleak House cannot separate h i s p r i v a t e and p u b l i c r o l e s . This i s not, however, because they are synthesized, but because one is consumed by the other. Even Vholes'diary (supposedly the repository of his private l i f e ) " i s producible at any time" (B.H., ch. 60, p. 821) as proof of his professional honour. But Vholes is a special case, for unlike Jaggers, Wemmick, Pances, and a l l the others who cherish their private selves and keep them a mystery to the public world, Vholes publicizes his domestic virtues in order to justify his actions in the City. After Jaggers and Wemmick admit their 'other-' lives to one. another, Pip notices that "each of them seemed suspicious, not to say conscious, of having shown himself in a weak and unprofessional light to the other" (G.E., ch. 51, p. 393). Vholes, r ' '— on the other hand, delights in mentioning his three daughters at Kensington and his aged father in the Vale of Taunton. Perhaps he does so because he understands the f u t i l i t y of the private retreat and has ceased pretending that domestic l i f e can remain inviolate. Under such circumstances, he may as well exploit the domestic virtues for a l l they are worth. As long as Vholes wishes to continue working the Chancery market (and as long as the middle classes in general keep coming into the City to make their profits) Stucconia remains inextricably linked to the City: a negative response to City l i f e , but in no sense an affirmation of other values. Suburban man carries his professional prison with him into the privacy of his home. The middle class freedom to live in Cavendish Square, or 27 Portland Place, or even as far as Twickenham, i s an empty one. In Stucconia the closed windows may have expanded into entire closed houses, with guards at the door and fences outside, and a reassuring distance between home and The reader is reminded of the definition of Suburbia in footnote two of this chapter. Despite their aristocratic names and connotations, Cavendish Square and Portland Place in Dickens' London are the addresses of Merdle and Dombey~-both middle class businessmen par excellence. the outside world, but the C i t y l i e s too deeply rooted i n urban man to be escaped only through geography. The cash-nexus, the class structure, the desire to avoid intimacy, a l l products of the C i t y mind, remain with him. Even i n a purely p h y s i c a l sense, the c i t y moves too r a p i d l y , and " l i k e the giant i n h i s t r a v e l l i n g boots" (D. & S., ch. 33, p. 472) w i l l overtake any suburban r e t r e a t i n a si n g l e s t r i d e . The h i s t o r y of London i n the nineteenth century (and i t continues i n t o our own) i s that of enormous growth, of a "monster, roaring i n the distance" (D. & S., ch.33, p. 480), st r a d d l i n g the landscape and eventually consuming i t . So too, London forces i t s e l f on i t s inhabitants, and dooms t h e i r attempts to escape to f a i l u r e . Men must come to terms with the C i t y , but they can never do so through evasion. CHAPTER V I I . THE DEMONIC CITY: PRISON, WASTELAND, AND LABYRINTH One of the c e n t r a l i r o n i e s of London l i f e i n Dickens' novels i s that i n a l l t h e i r attempts to evade the c i t y , urban men l o c k themselves i n t o p r i s o n s of t h e i r own c r e a t i o n . Escape ends i n i s o l a t i o n and s t a s i s . Thus the cl o s e d doors and windows of Podsnap's world expand i n t o the r e a l - and s e l f w i l l e d - i n c a r c e r a t i o n of Mr. D o r r i t , Mrs. Clenman, and her son Arthur. Even P i c k w i c k , momentarily, chooses to become "a p r i s o n e r i n . . . [ h i s ] own room," when, l i k e many urban men, he f e e l s he has "seen enough . . . [and when h i s ] head aches w i t h these scenes, and . . . [ h i s ] h e a r t , too" (P.P., ch. 45, p. 645). Language i t s e l f becomes a k i n d of p r i s o n from which Dickens' characters cannot escape. The v e r b a l mannerisms and obsessions of Chadband, Miss Tox, F l o r a :'Finching, Micawber, Mr. Snagsby, Bagstock, and Miss Peecher are amusing, and yet at the same time t r a g i c : urban man i s i n c r e a s i n g l y i s o l a t e d i n h i s own l i n g u i s t i c universe. The c i t y of Dickens' novels becomes a new Tower of Babel, w i t h every man i n t o n i n g the language of h i s own p r i v a t e s e l f , and the p o i n t s of contact between man and man, and language and language, being few v and f a r between. Often one f e e l s , l i s t e n i n g to F l o r a F l i n c h i n g , that she has locked h e r s e l f up i n a c e l l and swallowed the key. So too, w i t h the r e p r e s s i o n of emotion and s e x u a l i t y demanded by the c i t y , the images of Major Bagstock, G r i d l e y , Headstone, and Uriah Heep, a l l b u r s t i n g w i t h a response that has i n v a r y i n g ways been t w i s t e d by " t h i s e a r l y and t h i s long suppression" (D.C., ch. 39, p. 575), i n d i c a t e the i m p r i s o n i n g power of s o c i a i norms. The cash-nexus i s yet another way of evading f u l l human con t a c t , and i t too traps urban man i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s l i k e that between Dombey and E d i t h , i n 89 which one can always hear the "c l a n k i n g s of t h e i r c h a i n " (D. & S. , ch. 37, p. 520). In the business world too, i t i s not only the employees l i k e W i l f e r and Wemmick,"'" but a l s o the masters l i k e Dombey, who e x i s t as "a lone p r i s o n e r i n a c e l l " (D. & S., ch. 3, p. 23). Both are imprisoned by the dehumanizing de-mands of t h e i r p r o f e s s i o n a l r o l e s ; n e i t h e r can step outside the narrow bounds of the cash-contract f o r f e a r of endangering h i s money-making power i n the c i t y . F i n a l l y , as has been noted i n the preceding chapter, the f l i g h t to subur-b i a i s encumbered w i t h a l l - the impr i s o n i n g a t t i t u d e s that c h a r a c t e r i z e C i t y men. Thus the suburban r e t r e a t becomes a p r i s o n i n i t s e l f , an image of c l a s s -consciousness and i s o l a t i o n . Only a s l i g h t s h i f t i n p e r s p e c t i v e i s needed i n order to see the p r i s o n l u r k i n g behind Wemmick's c a s t l e . Indeed, i n Dombey's case, h i s home and c a s t l e do become the enchanted p r i s o n from which F l o r e n c e , and e v e n t u a l l y he h i m s e l f , must escape. 2 The image of the p r i s o n i s c e n t r a l to Dickens' London. Not only does i t d e s cribe the a t t i t u d e s of urban men, i t i s expressed i n the urban landscape i t s e l f : London looks l i k e a p r i s o n and o f t e n i s one. In Pickwick Papers, an inmate of the F l e e t can ask f o r the windows to be opened, so that he may catch a breath of f r e s h a i r from the outside world. He remembers how ' I t was f r e s h round about [the p r i s o n ] , when I walked t h e r e , years ago; but i t grows hot and heavy i n passing these w a l l s . I cannot breathe i t . ' (ch. 44, p. 628) Wemmick.considers Newgate the next t h i n g to the o f f i c e (G.E., ch. 32, p. 255), and B e l l a looks round her f a t h e r ' s o f f i c e "as i f her f a t h e r were a c a p t i v e and t h i s h i s c e l l " (O.M.F., Bk. I l l , ch. 16, p. 604). In t h i s con-t e x t Riah, Pancks, and Merdle ( c o n s t a n t l y t a k i n g h i m s e l f i n t o custody), should a l s o be considered. Alexander Welsh, " S a t i r e and H i s t o r y : The C i t y of Dickens", V.S., XI (March 1968), 400, quotes a l e t t e r from Dickens to W i l k i e C o l l i n s i n which he r e f e r s to London as "the Emporium of commerce, and f r e e home of the Slave", (17 J u l y 1859, The L e t t e r s of Charles Dickens, I I I , 112). 2 See A.O.J. Cockshut's chapter on "The Expanding P r i s o n " i n The Imagina- t i o n of Charles Dickens, (New York, 1962), pp. 26-49. In the l a t e r n o v e l s , however, the p r i s o n expands to p o l l u t e the e n t i r e c i t y . Opening a window, i n t h i s sense at l e a s t , i s p o i n t l e s s . The a i r round the Merdle home i n Cavendish Square, or the House of Clenman i n the C i t y , i s as 3 hot, and heavy, and c o n s t r i c t i n g , as that i n s i d e the Marshalsea i t s e l f . In Bleak House, the JelljLby home l i e s i n "a narrow s t r e e t of high houses, l i k e an oblong c i s t e r n to hold the f o g " (ch. 4, p. 35), and the s u n l i g h t comes i n -to Lady Dedlock's rooms (even i n L i n c o l n s h i r e ) i n " s t r i p s " (ch. 16, p. 219). Even more e x p l i c i t l y , i n L i t t l e D o r r i t , the rays of the sun and the bars of the p r i s o n gates merge i n .a s i n g l e image as "bars of the p r i s o n of t h i s lower world" (Bk. I I , ch. 30, p. 763). The c i t y acts l i k e a c o n s t r i c t i n g v i c e on the surrounding countryside and on i t s i n h a b i t a n t s . As Esther r i d e s i n t o Lon-don w i t h Mr. Bucket, she n o t i c e s how "the houses outside London d i d at l a s t begin to exclude the country, and to c l o s e us i n w i t h s t r e e t s " (B.H., ch. 59, p. 800). S i m i l a r l y , even the r i v e r can seem the p r i s o n e r of the c i t y ' s i r o n and stone, as L i z z i e Hexam and her f a t h e r f l o a t on the Thames "between Southwark Bridge which i s of i r o n , and London Bridge which i s of stone" (0.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 1, p. 1). Thus, at the very beginning of Our Mutual F r i e n d , the narrow boundaries are s e t ; human potency s h r i n k s under the pressures of i r o n and stone and men become such p r i s o n e r s of circumstances that what E s t e l l a says of her-s e l f and Pip i n Great Expectations serves as a comment on many of Dickens' char-a c t e r s . "' We have no choi c e , you and I,'" she says,'"'but to obey our i n s t r u c -t i o n s . We are not f r e e to f o l l o w our own d e v i c e s , you and I . ' " (ch. 33, p. 251) The men of the c i t y c a r r y t h e i r s u f f o c a t i n g environment w i t h them wherever they g'o: Fagin and Monks out to the Maylie home ( O l i v e r f e e l s how "the a i r became c l o s e and confined [O.T., ch. 34, p. 256]); Tulkinghorn out to Chesney Wold (Lady Dedlock says'" I can't breathe where I am.''u [B.H ch 41, p. 578]). — ~ Although some are f i n a l l y able to escape t h e i r prisons and create a 4 . ~ b e t t e r choice, many remain, accommodating themselves as best they can to the 'system', with no hope of another a l t e r n a t i v e . Thus, j u s t before her wedding to Sparkler, Fanny D o r r i t can say, " ' I t wouldn't be an unhappy . l i f e , Amy. I t would be the l i f e I am f i t t e d f o r . ' " (L.D., Bk. I I , ch. 14, p. 592) One f e e l s that t h i s i s both the saddest and the most honest moment i n Fanny's l i f e . She has entered the world of experience and has no hope of redemption. In h i s discussion of s a t i r e and irony as the l i t e r a r y analogies of exper-ience (or the f a l l e n world^, Northrop Frye pinpoints a q u a l i t y i n Dickens' London that seems to surround Fanny and a l l those l i k e her. " I t takes f o r granted," he- says, "a world which i s f u l l of anomalies, i n j u s t i c e s , f o l l i e s , and crimes, and yet i s permanent and undisplaceable. Its p r i n c i p l e i s that anyone who wishes to keep h i s balance i n such a world must learn f i r s t of a l l to keep h i s eyes open and his mouth shut"."' This, surely, i s the world which Char l i e Hexam, Wemmick, Mrs. Merdle, Vholes, Snagsby, Mr. Guppy and Mr. Morfin (temporarily) believe i n . When we f i n i s h reading of such characters, as Frye puts i t , "deserts of f u t i l i t y open up on a l l sides, and we have, i n sp i t e of the humor, a sense of nightmare and a close proximity to something demonic'.' The prison, the wasteland, the l a b y r i n t h , and the darkness of chaos are a l l c l e a r l y demonic images, and they are a l l c e n t r a l to Dickens' conception of London. For many of i t s Inhabitants, London i s a c i t y of p h y s i c a l and s p i r i t u a l death. In L i t t l e D o r r i t , i t i s even defined by the death of i t s inhabitants, being c o n s i s t e n t l y r e f e r r e d to as the area "within the b i l l s of 4 For instance, Susan Nipper, Florence, and f i n a l l y Dombey; Jarndyce; Pancks and Clenman; Riah, Eugene, and B e l l a W i l f e r . "*Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , (New York, 1966), p. 226. ^p. 226. of mortality" (Bk. I, ch. 10, p. I l l ; Bk. II, ch. 32, p. 797). On his f i r s t day back in London, Arthur Clenman is faced with guilt, imprisonment and ster-i l i t y , a l l merged in an image of the city's death: Melancholy streets in a penitential garb of soot, steeped the souls of the people who were condemned to look at them out of windows, in dire despondence. In every thoroughfare, up almost every alley, and down almost every turning, some doleful bell was throbbing, jerk-ing, t o l l i n g , as i f the Plague were in the city and the dead-carts were going round. Everything was bolted and barred that could by possibility furnish r e l i e f to an overworked people. No pictures, no unfamiliar animals, no rare plants or flowers, no natural or a r t i f i c i a l wonders of the ancient world - a l l taboo . . . . Nothing to see but streets, streets, streets (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 3, p. 28). r So too, on Esther's f i r s t day in London, she is introduced to Kenge and Carboy's offices, which overlook a graveyard, and soon v i s i t s Krook's shop, lying " in the shadow of the wall of Lincoln's Inn" (B.H., ch. 10. p. 135), or rather, in the shadow of the Valley of Death. Vholes, who also belongs to the Chancery world, is imaged as the coachman of Death (ch. 37, p. 535), and when Richard moves into lodgings near him in Symond.'s Inn his name i s printed "in great white letters on a hearse-like panel" (B.H., ch, 51, p. 694). In the city of Bleak House, even the day "comes like a phantom . . . [sending] a warning streak before i t of a deathlike hue" (ch. 58, p. 799). In Dombey and Son and Our Mutual Friend death also wields i t s power. And just as i t seems to emanate from Chancery in Bleak House, in the two novels just mentioned i t is focused in and spreads out from the City.^ Lightwood's offices, like Kenge and Carboy's, are "high up an awful staircase commanding a burial ground" (O.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 3, p. 20), and Dombey's are described by Walter as A l l the demonic characteristics, in fact, stem not so much from the city as from the City - the geographic and historical heart of London, but also, more importantly, i t s financial center. It is surely significant that London should identify i t s essence (i.e., the city i t s e l f ) with the world of the cash-nexus. 'a precious dark set .of .offices, and in the room where I s i t , there's a high fender, and an iron safe . . . and a lot of cob-webs, and in one of them, just over my head, a shrivelled-up blue bottle that looks as i f i t had hung there ever so long.' (D. & S., ch. 4, p. 36)8 No wonder that Paul's death affects the offices only in degree, merely by making "the ground-glass windows . . . more dim" (ch. 18, p. 239). Death, after a l l , i s always present in the hanging blue bottle. Under such circum-stances, Dombey's image of himself is surely ironic. Concerned with Paul's morbidity, he pompously declares: "'Funerals again! who talks to the child of funerals? We are not undertakers, or mutes, or grave-diggers, I believe.'" (ch. 8, p. 95) In fact, as far as a great deal of l i f e i s concerned, Dombey and Dombey-ism are indeed undertakers. Just as the City pits i t s e l f against intimacy, spontaneity, sexuality, imagination, i t is also a declared enemy to the world 9 of natural f e r t i l i t y . As far as Grandfather Chickweed is concerned, i t i s highly admirable of Tulkinghorn that (even though he lives in Lincoln's Inn Fields) '"grass don't grow under his feet . . . .'" (B.H., ch. 33, p. 466) A similar judgment i s made of Dombey when Mrs. Skewton says 'Mr. Dombey i s devoted to Nature, I trust?' . . . . 'My friend Dombey, Ma'am,' returned the Major, 'may be devoted to her in secret, but a man who i s paramount in the greatest city in the universe - ' (D. & S., ch. 21, p. 288). Quite clearly, what Bagstock implies is that a rich City businessman can hardly be expected to bother with mere "Nature". g The blue-bottle seems an apt image for Dombey's heart, getting progress-ively drier as i t hangs in the City offices. 9 The degree of the city's success in i t s attempts to stamp out the world of nature is evident in the Londoners' ignorance of country l i f e - so total that i t is both sad and hilariously funny. See B.H., ch. 10, p. 130, ch. 26, pp. 363-5; G.E., ch. 21, p. 163; L.D., Bk. I, ch. 7, p. 69. Of a l l the characters i n the novels, i t i s probably Mrs. Merdle who car-r i e s on the subtlest, most c y n i c a l , and f i n a l l y most advantageous ba t t l e with n a t u r e . 1 0 Under the guise of a Mrs. Skewton - l i k e Romanticism, she makes her commitment to Society absolutely clear. I t would indeed be "delicious" to l i v e " i n a more primitive state . . . under roofs of leaves, and . . . [keep] cows and sheep and creatures, instead of banker's accounts" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 33, p. 391), but then, that would be l i k e wanting to f l y - and that, as everyone knows, i s impossible. But Mrs. Merdle says i t perfectly herself, while she smoothly veers her 'guests' to the door: r 'A more primitive state of society would be delicious to me. There used to be a poem when I learnt lessons, something about Lo the poor Indian whose something mind! I f a few thousand persons mov-ing i n Society.could only go and be Indians, I would put my name down d i r e c t l y ; but as, moving i n Society, we can't be Indians, un-fortunately - Good morning!'(L.D., Bk. I, ch. 20, p. 242-3) Mrs. Merdle shows very pointedly that Sparkler's marrying a poor Fanny Dorrit would be on a par with becoming an Indian, and therefore the only way the i n -terview can end i s with Fanny's being shown out the door. The routine about nature and primitive states of society i s merely a convenient way to get her out; behind the chatter l i e s the iron w i l l of organized society. At the opposite extreme from Mrs. Merdle, who talks flowers and animals but means something altogether d i f f e r e n t , l i e s Paul Dombey, whose hopes for the future are a t o t a l rejection of Mrs. Merdle's and his own father's values Paul r e a l l y does intend to l i v e " i n a more primitive state" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 33, p. 391). When he grows up, he says, 'I mean . . . to put my money a l l together i n one Bank, never try to get any more, go away into the country with my darling Florence, have a b e a u t i f u l garden, f i e l d s , and woods, and l i v e there with her a l l my l i f e ! ' (D. & S., ch. 14, p. 190) 1 0Chancery, however (as a system), i s even more powerful i n i t s exploi-tation of nature (human and otherwise): "the sheep are a l l made into parch-7 ^ l ^ t : . T l T ' ^ ^ P a " U r e ^ C h a " " < i i ' <*• « • P- 582) 95 In that b e a u t i f u l garden, Paul w i l l negate everything Dombey b e l i e v e s i n : the C i t y , entrepreneurship and the expansion of wealth, growing up, and even the v i r t u e of e f f o r t . As f a r as C i t y men are concerned, however, gardens e x i s t as l i t t l e more than b u r i a l grounds f o r money: t h a t , at l e a s t , i s the only response Fledgeby can make to Riah's garden on the roof of Pubsey and Co. And i h Great Expect- a t i o n s , gardens f u l f i l s i m i l a r l y strange f u n c t i o n s . " I t s t r u c k me", Pip remembers, "that Wemmick walked among the p r i s o n e r s [at Newgate], much as a gardener might walk among h i s p l a n t s " (ch. 32, p. 246). I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g , t h e r e f o r e , that when Caddy and Esther f i n d a garden i n London where they can be p r i v a t e and comfortable (B.H., ch. 23, p. 324), they l o c k themselves i n , t u r n i n g t h e i r garden i n t o a p r i s o n . The wasteland outside i s too great a t h r e a t to t h e i r l i t t l e Eden. The v e g a t a t i o n that does grow i n the c i t y i s o f t e n of a d e s t r u c t i v e k i n d , as i f death were sp r o u t i n g l e a v e s , and s t r a n g l i n g the h e a l t h i e r growth beneath i t . In Dombey and Son, f o r i n s t a n c e , The grass began to grow upon the r o o f , and i n the c r e v i c e s of the basement paving. A s c a l y crumbling v e g e t a t i o n sprouted round the w i n d o w - s i l l s . . . . The two ..trees, w i t h the smoky trunks were b l i g h t e d h i g h up, and the withered branches domineered above the leaves . . . . [The house] had s l o w l y become a dark gap i n the long monotonous s t r e e t (ch. 23, p. 320). The c i t y becomes the dark w i l d wood of the f a i r y - t a l e ; nothing can grow near the c a s t l e u n t i l the King and his daughter are rescued. (In t h i s case, however, Dickens t w i s t s the s t o r y : no f a i r y - t a l e p r i n c e can e f f e c t the rescue; Florence and Dombey must work out t h e i r own s a l v a t i o n ) . In l i n e w i t h i t s p o s i t i o n i n the world of experience, Dickens' London i s imaged as a wasteland. The garden of innocence becomes "a g r a v e l l e d yard, where two gaunt t r e e s , w i t h blackened trunks and branches, r a t t l e d and r u s t l e d " l i k e a dead man's bones (D. & S., ch. 3, p. 21). The c i t y i s a "waste" (B.H., ch. 19, 96 p. 259), a " w i l d e r n e s s " (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 13, p. 161), a " r i v e r s i d e w i l d e r n e s s " (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 6, p. 70), "the great w i l d e r n e s s " (B.H., ch. 48, p. 662), "a w i l d e r n e s s marked w i t h a r a i n of i n k " (B.H., ch. 10, p. 136), "an immense desert of law-hand and parchment" (B.H., ch. 47, p. 644), "a mere white and y e l l o w d e s e r t " (O.M.F., Bk. IV, ch. 15, p. 801), " f a i r y - l a n d to v i s i t , but a desert to l i v e i n " (B.H., ch. 2, p. 11); and, as L i t t l e D o r r i t ' f i n d s , London i s what i t appears to be - "so l a r g e , so barren,and so w i l d " (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 14, pp. 169-70). In the c i t y , the world of nature s u f f e r s from a chronic i n -s e c u r i t y complex.: . The shrubs wrung t h e i r many hands, bemoaning that they had been overpersuaded by the sun to bud; the young leaves pined; the spar-rows repented of t h e i r e a r l y marriages, l i k e men and women; the c o l -ours of the rainbow were d i s c e r n i b l e , not i n f l o r a l s p r i n g , but i n the faces of the people whom i t n i b b l e d and pinched (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 12, p. 144). I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that shrubs and leaves should react i n t h i s way when, so f a r as they know, they may be persuaded to bud i n "a l i t t l e s l i p of f r o n t gar-den" l i k e Mr. Rugg's, " a b u t t i n g on the t h i r s t y high-road," and be doomed, w i t h another "few of the d u s t i e s t of leaves . . . [to hang] t h e i r dismal heads and -. . . [lead] a l i f e of choking" (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 25, p. 296). London i s the p l a c e where men l i k e Vholes, not p l a n t s or f l o w e r s , can bloom; and Vholes i n t u r n c a s t r a t e s a l l n a t u r a l growth as he passes by. Dickens e x p l i c i t l y d escribes him " c h i l l i n g the seed i n the ground" (B.H., ch. 45, p. 617). The image of c a s t r a t i o n i s a l s o c e n t r a l to Grandfather Smallweed, on whose s t r e e t (which i s of course " l i k e a tomb"), "there yet l i n g e r s the stump of an o l d f o r e s t t r e e " (B.H., ch. 21, p. 287). S t e r i l i t y pervades the c i t y , so that Wegg's i s merely the hardest "of a l l the s t e r i l e l i t t l e s t a l l s i n London" (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 5, p. 45). And on a f a r higher l e v e l of business e n t e r p r i z e , the s t e r i l i t y s t i l l e x i s t s , w i t h a v a s t l y i n creased power over the world around i t . Dombey, a f t e r a l l , freezes h i s son to a slow death on the day of h i s C h r i s t e n i n g . U n t i l Dombey gives up h i s C i t y m e n t a l i t y , Cook's p r e d i c t i o n t h a t he w i l l end h i s days"'in one of them gen-teel almshouses of the b e t t e r k i n d . . . . where h e ' l l have h i s l i t t l e garden . . . and b r i n g up sweep peas i n the s p r i n g , ' " (D. & S. , ch. 59, p. 829) remains deeply ironic."''"'" The pow-er of men l i k e Dombey, Smallweed, Vholes, and Tulkinghorn, whose world-view i s subsequently i m i t a t e d by smaller men l i k e Guppy, Rugg, Perch, Wegg, and Riderhood, dooms the c i t y they share to s t e r i l i t y and impotence: potency to make money, but nothing else.''" 2 Just as the garden i s ^ superseded by the wasteland, the waters of London 13 become "a deadly sewer" (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 3, p. 28), l e s s the waters of regen-e r a t i o n than the agents of decomposition and death. Only a few men have the r e s i l i e n c e to immerse themselves i n the " d e s t r u c t i v e element" and surface to 14 a new l i f e ; most are destroyed i n the plunge. As a p o i n t of epiphany, or contact w i t h a transcendent world, the r i v e r i s more c l e a r l y demonic than a p o c a l y p t i c . The important q u a l i f i c a t i o n , however, Another i r o n i c comment (though i n t h i s case s e l f c o n s c i o u s l y ' so) i s made by Dickens h i m s e l f i n having Smallweed l i v e on Mount P l e a s a n t , and Tulkinghorn i n the middle of L i n c o l n ' s Inn F i e l d s . In the same v e i n , the Lord C h a n c e l l o r , who scents a l l London i n B.H. w i t h the smell of the p r i s o n and the slum, s i t s above "an immense f l a t nosegay, l i k e a l i t t l e garden, which scented the whole Court" (ch. 24, p. 344). 12 Perch, w i t h h i s p e r p e t u a l l y pregnant w i f e , would seem to c o n t r a d i c t t h i s statement, but i n a s p i r i t u a l and emotional sense he is_ impotent: a para-s i t e always feeding o f f the House gossip. The problem of potency i n the c i t y i s discussed i n more d e t a i l , i n the context of Dickens' comedy, i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter. 13 See a l s o , i n t h i s c o n text, the scene between David, Pegotty and Martha by the r i v e r s i d e (D.C., ch. 47, pp. 679—80), and Esther's d e s c r i p t i o n of the dockside during her search f o r her mother (B.H., ch. 57, p. 770). For i n s t a n c e , S t e e r f o r t h , Ham, Gaffer Hexam, George Radfoot, Headstone, Riderhood. 98 i s that the water has been d e f i l e d by the c i t y , and t h e r e f o r e becomes a f u n c t i o n of the c i t y ' s demonic powers r a t h e r than a n e c e s s a r i l y d e s t r u c t i v e f o r c e i n i t s e l f . Dickens even suggests, i n h i s metaphors f o r the c i t y , that the c i t y be- comes the sea: men wade through the fog (O.M.F., Bk. I l l , ch. 2, p. 433), dive i n t o the C i t y (G.E., ch. 24, p. 191), or move " i n a stream . . . f l o w i n g . . . l i k e the broad r i v e r " (D. & S., ch. 48, p. 668); and s t r e e t s and avenues become "the t r i b u t a r y channels of L e i c e s t e r Square" (B.H., ch. 26, p. 363). The o f f i c e s of Dombey and Son are imaged as l y i n g at the bottom of the ocean: -Such vapid and f l a t d a y l i g h t as f i l t e r e d through the. ground-glass windoxtfs and s k y - l i g h t s l e a v i n g a b l a c k sediment upon the panes, showed the books and papers, and the f i g u r e s bending over them, en-veloped i n a studious gloom, and as much abst r a c t e d i n appearance, from the world without, as i f they were assembled at the bottom of the sea; while a mouldy l i t t l e s trong room i n the obscure per-s p e c t i v e , where a shady lamp was always burning, might have repre-sented the cavern of some ocean-monster, l o o k i n g w i t h a red eye at these mysteries of the deep (ch. 13, p. 169). I t seems only r i g h t that the man who c o n s t a n t l y moves between the Dombey home and the o f f i c e should be c a l l e d "Perch". Captain C u t t l e ' s p e r c e p t i o n of everything i n terms of the sea, however com-i c a l i t may be at times, must a l s o be taken s e r i o u s l y . 1 " ' His d e s c r i p t i o n of Sol G i l l s ' disappearance i s more than j u s t a v e r b a l i d i o s y n c r a c y ; i t p o i n t s to the sense that many chara c t e r s have, of the world outside being l i k e a t h r e a t e n i n g 16 sea, and home a ship f l o a t i n g p r e c a r i o u s l y on the waters. G i l l s , he says, The Captain i s p a r t i c u l a r l y c h a r a c t e r i z e d by h i s . c h i l d - l i k e wonder and innocence, h i s openness, h i s l a c k of evasiveness, and h i s f a i t h i n human good-ness. These are a l l a n t i - C i t y values and i s only f i t t i n g ( w i t h i n Dickens' frame-work) that he should be a man of the sea or r a t h e r , of the depths. 16 D. & S., ch. 4, pp. 32-3 and ch. 39, p. 549 r e i n f o r c e t h i s image. I t i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s a t t i t u d e to the l a r g e r s o c i a l world that u n d e r l i e s the suburban i d e a l . See ch. VI,-"'"'! " F l i g h t to Stucconia". " A "went over the side . ... .without a splash, without a ripple" (D. & S, ch, 32, p. 459). • The sea image is used again in Bleak House, only i t is summer-time, and the sea-bed has dried up. It is the long vacation in the regions of Chancery Lane. The good ships Law and Equity . . . are laid up in ordinary. The Flying Dutchman, with a crew of ghostly clients imploring a l l whom they may encounter to peruse their papers, has drifted, for the time being, Heaven knows where . . . . , The Temple, Chancery Lane, Serjeants' Inn, and Lincoln's Inn even unto the Fields, are like tidal harbours at low water; where stranded proceedings . . . l ie high and dry upon the ooze of the long vacation (clr^  19, p. 258). The waters in this case are again perverted by the City's needs. They are, indeed, no more than the ocean of bureaucratic busy-work which the business world creates for itself out of the needs of its "ghostly clients," and which i t then floats on, for as long as i t can, toward a comfortable income. The "good ships" Law and Equity are only temporarily grounded. They need only a good supply of parchment and documents, and claims and counter-claims, in order to get afloat again. Quite clearly, therefore, the sea that engulfs the City is not the sea that Glubb knows in Dombey and Son,^ or that helps bring Eugene back to him-self in Our Mutual Friend. It is not a source of wonder, mystery, and eventual self knowledge. Instead, as is made obvious by the activities of Chancery dur-ing "high tide", i t is a sea of confusion and deliberate destruction. In a l l the novels under discussion, the dock-side area is characterized by border skirmishes' between the water and the land. Entire houses, their windows "heaped one upon another as you might heap as many toppling oranges" (O.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 6, p. 61), impend over the water, always threatening to The meaning of Glubb's Sea is discussed briefly at the end of ch. IV, "The Cash-Nexus". 99 6 topple i n ; and the r i v e r i n turn makes constant i n c u r s i o n s i n t o the c i t y . In • the area where Captain C u t t l e l i v e s , f o r i n s t a n c e , " t h e r e w a s a s w i v e l b r i d g e , which opened now and then to l e t some wandering monster of a ship come roaming 18 up the s t r e e t l i k e a stranded l e v i a t h a n " (D. _ S., ch. 9, pp. 116-7). The r i v e r s i d e areas i n Dickens' London are c o n s i s t e n t l y shunned by the 19 ' -m a j o r i t y of S o c i e t y , though t h i s i s not j u s t because they are the only places l e f t to the u t t e r l y poor and degraded, the "accumulated scum of humanity . . . [that seems] washed from higher grounds, l i k e so much moral sewage " (O.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 3, p. 21). The, r i v e r s i d e becomes the p h y s i c a l embodiment of every-t h i n g that i s feared by C i t y men: d i r t , death, o f f e n s i v e s m e l l s , wastes that have not been converted i n t o cash, and the confusion of boundaries. And y e t , i r o n i c a l l y , these are a l l the products of the C i t y i t s e l f . Even more i r o n i -c a l l y , London p o l l u t e s the r i v e r and then i m i t a t e s i t s murkiness and d e s t r u c t -iveness i n i t s own C i t y r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Chancery, a f t e r a l l , s u s t a i n s i t s e l f by confusing i t s v i c t i m s i n a sea of incomprehensible l e g a l forms. Chancery i s c l e a r l y equated w i t h the "dense brown smoke" (B.H., ch. 3, p. 28) that f i l l s the London s t r e e t s , o f t e n making i t impossible f o r men to 20 see one another. The fog r i s i n g o f f the r i v e r , p o l l u t e d and darkened by the c i t y , wraps a l l London i n i t s b l i n d i n g embrace, and destroys a l l normal percep-t u a l touchstones. In Our Mutual F r i e n d , f o r i n s t a n c e , 18 Even l i f e i n the S k e t t l e s ' Fulham v i l l a has " i t s l i t t l e inconveniences . . . among which may be enumerated the o c c a s i o n a l appearance of the r i v e r i n the drawing-room, and the contemporaneous disappearance of the lawn and shrub-bery" (D. & S., ch. 24, p. 341). 19 See, f o r i n s t a n c e , Captain C u t t l e ' s neighbourhood, Martha E n d e l l ' s s u i -c i d e spot, Murdstone and Grinsby's warehouses, Hexam's neighbourhood, and the Temple s t a i r s f i l l e d w i t h "amphibious c r e a t u r e s " i n G.E., ch. 54, p. 412. 20 The fog i s a convenient v a r i a t i o n on the c i t y ' s c l o s e d and d i r t y windows. 100 Even i n the surrounding country i t was a foggy day, but there the fog was grey, whereas i n London i t was, at about the boundary l i n e , dark y e l l o w , and a l i t t l e w i t h i n i t brown, and then browner, and then browner, u n t i l at the heart of the C i t y - which c a l l Saint Mary Axe - i t was r u s t y - b l a c k . From any p o i n t of the h i g h r i d g e ' of land northward, i t might have been discerned that the l o f t i e s t b u i l d i n g s made an o c c a s i o n a l s t r u g g l e to get t h e i r heads above the foggy sea . . . but t h i s was not p e r c e i v a b l e i n the s t r e e t s at t h e i r f e e t , where the whole metropolis was a heap of vapour charged w i t h muffled sound of wheels, and e n f o l d i n g a g i g a n t i c c a t a r r h (O.M.F., Bk. I l l , ch. 1, p. 420). The d i f f i c u l t y of c l e a r v i s i o n i s i m p l i c i t i n t h i s f i n a l image: the c i t y i s c o n s t a n t l y screwing up i t s face and c l o s i n g i t s eyes i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of an enormous sneeze. •Guppy p o i n t s out, (and the preceding passage suggests), that fog i s not merely f o g , i t i s a f u n c t i o n of the C i t y , "a London p a r t i c u l a r " (B.H., ch. 3, p. 28). London becomes the c i t y of chaos, and takes the form most appropriate 21 to i t s f u n c t i o n - that of the l a b y r i n t h . Quite c l e a r l y i n Bleak House, the Lord High Chancellor i s the minotaur w a i t i n g at the c e n t r e , "at the very heart 'of'the"fog" (ch. 1, p. 2 ) , to destroy h i s v i c t i m s - e i t h e r through d i r e c t com-bat, or i n d i r e c t l y , through the f a c t that many are l o s t i n the maze and can never f i n d t h e i r way out. In e i t h e r case, escape seems impossible. As R i c h -a r d — j o k i n g l y - n o t i c e s ,•• not yet knowing i t i s no joke at a l l , "'We are never to get out of Chancery! We have come by another way to our place of meeting yes-terday, and - by the Great S e a l , here's the o l d lady again. "' (B.H., ch. 5, ..._-p.—49)--For-Richard-,—all-the ways of the c i t y lead back to h i s death i n Chan-cery. For other images of London as a maze and a l a b y r i n t h , see 0.T., ch. 45, p.. 345; B.H. , ch. 52, p.. 703; L.D. , Bk. I , ch. 2, p. 19, Bk. I , ch. 12, p. 135, Bk. I , ch. 19, p. 221; M.C., ch. 9, p. 127. H.J. Dyos, i n "The Slums of V i c t o r -ian'^Lohdon"V." :S. , XI (Sept. 1967), 25, p o i n t s out that London was b u i l t without the c o n t r o l of a r e c t i l i n e a r g r i d , and so "there were bound to be innumerable deadends__and_backwaters i n the s t r e e t p l a n " . 101 To a .-.-..newcomer, London i s a confusing jumble of facades; s t r e e t s and the names of s t r e e t s are a l l one has to go by, and at f i r s t i t i s extremely d i f f i -c u l t to make meaningful d i s t i n c t i o n s between them. A l l the turnings i n the maze look f o r e i g n , and yet somehow, too, f r i g h t e n i n g l y f a m i l i a r . In David  C o p p e r f i e l d , Dickens captures the h o r r i f y i n g way i n which s t r e e t s can l o s e t h e i r i d e n t i t i e s and one i s l e f t groping desperately on, t r y i n g to remember the d i r e c t i o n s i n the face of an i n c r e a s i n g l y meaningless environment. David remembers how, i n order to f i n d the King's Bench P r i s o n , I was to ask my way tp such a p l a c e , and j u s t short of that place I should see such another p l a c e , and j u s t short of that I should see a yard, which I was to c r o s s , and keep s t r a i g h t on u n t i l I saw a turnkey . . . . and when at l a s t I d i d see a turnkey . . . (ch. 11, p. 165). But then, by that time, one cannot b e l i e v e the turnkey w i l l ever be found. As he searches f o r the scene of h i s death, John Rokesmith a l s o experiences the c i t y as a l a b y r i n t h : 'I wonder which way d i d we take when we came out of that shop. We turned to the r i g h t , as I have turned, but I can r e c a l l no more. Did we go by t h i s a l l e y ? Or down that l i t t l e lane?' He t r i e d both, but both confused him e q u a l l y , and he came , s t r a y i n g back to the same spot . . . . He t r i e d a new d i r e c t i o n , but made nothing of i t ; w a l l s , dark doorways, f l i g h t s of s t a i r s and rooms, were too abundant. And, l i k e most people so p u z z l e d , he again and again described a c i r c l e , and found h i m s e l f at the p o i n t from which he had begun (P.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 13, p. 365). In Rokesmith's case, the l a b y r i n t h i n e q u a l i t y of the C i t y might be seen as the e f f e c t of h i s having o r i g i n a l l y been drugged. But even f o r those who are wide awake, London can become l i k e the "muddle of o b j e c t s " i n Venus' shop, "among which nothing i s r e s o l v a b l e i n t o anything d i s t i n c t " (C.M.F., Bk. I , ch. 7. p. 77). The only r e a l i t y during O l i v e r ' s f i r s t e n t r y to London i s the mes-me r i z i n g l i s t of names: I s l i n g t o n , the Angel, St. John's Road, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Exmouth S t r e e t and Coppice Row, the workhouse, Hockley-in-the-Hole, L i t t l e S a f f r o n H i l l , S a f f r o n H i l l the Great . . . (O.T., ch. 8, p. 55). For O l i v e r , they might as w e l l be words i n a f o r e i g n language. 102 In a metaphysical sense,.too, the c i t y i s incomprehensible. Few have ever seen the minotaur at the heart of the l a b y r i n t h ; perhaps he does not even e x i s t . As f a r as Mr. P l o r n i s h i s concerned, there i s no transcendent c o n t r o l l i n g mind 22 at work i n the c i t y - except perhaps a demonic one, that makes men s u f f e r . London i s s l i p p i n g deeper and deeper i n t o chaos: He [Mr. P l o r n i s h ] could t e l l you who s u f f e r e d , but he couldn't t e l l you whose f a u l t i t was. I t wasn't h i s -place to f i n d out . . . . He only know'd that i t wasn't put r i g h t by them what under-took that l i n e of b u s i n e s s , and that i t d i d n ' t come r i g h t of i t -s e l f (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 12, p. 143). Even Merdle, the high p r i e s t of the C i t y , seems more of a p a t h e t i c a l l y mani-23 p u l a t e d pawn, than a powerful and s e l f - c o n f i d e n t 'wheeler-dealer', Saint Paul's i t s e l f i s no longer one of God's many mansions but "the crowning con-f u s i o n of the great, confused c i t y " (B.H., ch. 19, p. 271). Instead of pre-s i d i n g over a heavenly c i t y , the great cross stands " g l i t t e r i n g above a red and v i o l e t - t i n t e d cloud of smoke" (B.H., ch. 19, p. 271), as i f the c i t y were enveloped i n the flames of h e l l . I t i s important to note that Satan's f i r e burns w i t h heat but no l i g h t , f o r darkness i s yet another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Dickens' London. I t c l i n g s so t e n a c i o u s l y to the c i t y that when the lamps are l i t , they " t w i n k l e g a s p i n g l y , l i k e f i e r y f i s h out of water" (B.H., ch. 58, p. 795). And when the l a m p l i g h t e r goes on h i s rounds again the next morning, he does so " l i k e an executioner to a despotic k i n g , [and] s t r i k e s o f f the l i t t l e heads of f i r e t hat have a s p i r e d to l e s s e n the darkness" (B.H., ch. 33, p. 459). This view i s a l s o expressed by Stephen Blackpool's 1"Aw a muddle'"in Hard Times, and Krook's " d e s c r i p t i o n of h i m s e l f and the r e a l Lord C h a n c e l l o r : 'nWe both grub on i n a muddle '"(B.H., ch. 5, p. 52). 23 See p a r t i c u l a r l y the Merdle-Barnacle dinner p a r t y , (L.D., Bk. I I , ch. 12). 103 For much of the c i t y , darkness remains during the day-time. Even i n Pi c k w i c k Papers, the o f f i c e of the judge's c l e r k i s described as so d i r t y and "so badly l i g h t e d , that although i t was broad day o u t s i d e , great t a l l o w candles-were burning on the desks" (ch. 40, p. 568). Chancery i n Bleak House, of course, i s at the heart of the darkness and spreads i t s gloom -24 u s u a l l y i n the form of a London p a r t i c u l a r - throughout the c i t y . On Esther's a r r i v a l i n t o London, she remembers how "we drove sl o w l y through the d i r t i e s t and darkest s t r e e t s that ever were seen i n the world (I thought), and i n such a d i s t r a c t i n g state, of confusion that I wondered how the people kept t h e i r senses . . . . Everything was so strange - the stranger from i t s being n i g h t i n the day-time, the candles burning w i t h a whick flame" (B.H., ch. 3, pp. 28-9). Again, the normal p a t t e r n s of nature are tw i s t e d and changed i n the c i t y . L i k e so much e l s e i n t h e . c i t y , darkness i s used to evade r e a l i t y . I t i s e x p l o i t e d i n the most obvious way i n O l i v e r Twist, where Fagin's crew pro-26 t e c t s i t s e l f from disc o v e r y and punishment by doing e v e r y t h i n g at n i g h t . Day-time belongs to the res p e c t a b l e c i t i z e n s , to the Brownlows and the M a y l i e s ; n i g h t t i m e to the c h i l d r e n of London's mud and slime. 24 See too ch. 1, p. 1, ch. 15, p. 211, ch. 32, p. 443, ch. 39, p. 555, The n o v e l opens, a p p r o p r i a t e l y , i n Chancery, w i t h the "death of the sun". 25 Fresh a i r i s turned i n t o fog as the sea i s turned i n t o an ocean of b u r e a u c r a t i c documents and the garden i n t o a wasteland. 26 The A r t f u l Dodger waits u n t i l dark before t a k i n g O l i v e r i n t o London. B i l l Sikes sets out f o r the robbery before daybreak. Nancy takes O l i v e r to Sikes at night,' and sets the hour between eleven and twelve f o r her meeting w i t h the M a y l i e s . Fagin too sneaks back home i n the dark. No wonder Nancy t e l l s O l i v e r : ".'Put down the l i g h t . . . I t hurts my eyes.'" (ch. 20, p. 146) 1U4 In Bleak House, the issues become rather more complex, and men use dark-ness as much to deceive themselves as to deceive anyone e l s e . Therefore, i n order to r e t a i n the i l l u s i o n that h i s wife w i l l return, S i r L e i c e s t e r w i l l not allow the candles to be l i t . The l i g h t would destroy h i s pretence that there i s plenty of time (before night sets in) for Lady Dedlock to come back. In a s i m i l a r way, the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of getting a l i g h t i n Nemo's room and, i n f a c t , i n a l l of Chancery, protects the v i s i t o r from r e a l l y seeing 'the system' at work. When men are themselves enfolded i n darkness, i t becomes as d i f f i c u l t for them to see out as i t j.s for others to see i n . In O l i v e r Twist, i t i s the second e f f e c t that i s exploited; i n Bleak House, i t i s both. I l l u s i o n , and delusion, and shadowy appearances, become a substitute f o r , and a protec-27 t i o n from, the demands of r e a l i t y . I l l u s i o n , darkness, death, chaos, confusion, s t e r i l i t y , imprisonment -these a l l characterize the demonic c i t y of Dickens' novels. In Dombey and Son, The town lay i n the distance, l u r i d and lowering; the bleak wind howled over the open space; a l l around was black, wild, desolate (ch. 34, p. 494). And i n Our Mutual Friend, the sun, blood-red on the eastern marshes behind dark masts and yards, seemed f i l l e d with the ruins of a f o r e s t i t had set on f i r e (Bk. I, ch. 6, p. 74). In Bleak House, where the demonic aspects of the c i t y are most extensively dev-28 eloped , not even Mr. George can avoid the red l i g h t s of H e l l entering through Dickens makes., t h i s point c l e a r when he says that Tom-all-Alone' s i s ug-l i e r by day than by night, since "no part of i t l e f t to the imagination i s at a l l l i k e l y to be made so bad as the r e a l i t y " (B.H., ch. 46, p. 628). In D. & S., too, Florence's f l i g h t from, her father's enchanted mansion, and from a l l the i l l u s i o n s she had harbored there, i s imaged as an escape from "the close dark-ness of the shut-up house . . . to the unexpected glare . . . of the morning" (ch. 47, p. 666). 28 The descent i n t o H e l l , the endless heat and darkness, and the e x p l i c i t l y f i e n d i s h nature of some characters, are suggested i n the following passages: ch. 9, p. 118; ch. 19, p. 259• ch. 21, pp. 294-5; ch. 22, pp. 310-1; ch. 22, p. 314; ch. 31, p. 429; ch. 31, p. 430; ch. 37, p. 532- ch. 39, p. 558; ch. 46, -p. .'635; ch. 59, pp. 801-2. 105 his window (ch. 24, p. 350). Its power is such that he cannot defeat i t ; the best he can do is to leave London and serve Sir Leicester and the past. His old-fashioned heroism is not a strong enough alternative to the city's "infer-nal gulf". Gridley and Jo merely die in comfort at his place; they are not saved. The demonic imagery appears again in L i t t l e Dorrit, as Arthur looks out the window upon the old blasted and blackened forest of chimneys, and the old red glare in the sky which had seemed to him once upon a time but a nightly reflection of the fiery environment that was presented to his childish fancy in a l l directions, let i t look where i t would (Bk. I, ch. 3, p. 38). Arthur's response is understandable, since the puritan ethic in which he has been raised, and which i s so closely related to the cash-nexus and the world of "effort", i s built less on the promise of Heaven than on the threat of 29 Hell. Hell therefore takes on a greater reality than the heavenly vision and becomes the focal point (even though in a negative sense, as something to be avoided) of human experience in the city. Urban man i s surrounded by refer-ences to the demonic world, but his points of contact with i t s opposite, the apocalyptic world, are usually closed up. London becomes "a hopeless city, with 30 no rent in the leaden canopy of i t s sky" (O.M.F., Bk. I, ch. 12, p.145), with The synthesis of these elements within Mrs. Clenman has already been discussed in ch. IV, "Fur and Fungus". I am basing my connection of these elements on the general thesis propounded by Weber in The Protestant Ethic  and the Spirit of Capitalism. 30 The apocalyptic vision at the end of L.D., when the sky is transformed into an image "of the blessed later covenant of peace and hope that changed the crown of thorns into a glory" (Bk. II, ch. 31, p. 793), i s only an epi-phany for a few individuals. Its effects soon become a mere spectacle for the rest of London. 106 31 i t s river so polluted that regeneration through water.seems impossible. When the chance to reach out to a transcedent or heavenly vision does appear, most city men cannot even recognize i t as such. For Fledgeby ih Our Mutual Friend the rooftop garden in which Jenny Wren, Lizzie, and Riah can truly 32 come to l i f e is merely a l i k e l y place to bury one's money. In his obsess-ion with cash and power te makes even a momentary transcedence impossible. Like London's landscape, the city's time scheme makes contact with a l a r -ger dimension inconceivable. Time in the city i s linear, mechanical, and bears 33 l i t t l e relationship to the'cycles of the natural world. In the home of Mrs. Clenman, who takes great satisfaction in the fact that " ' A l l seasons are alike to me . . . . I know nothing of summer and winter, shut up here '" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 3, p. 34), the movement of time is a mere mechanical operation: Morning, noon, and night, morning, noon, and night . . . always the same reluctant return of the same sequences of machinery, like a dragging piece of clockwork (Bk. I, ch. 29, p. 339). In Chancery too, where "vacation succeeded term, and term succeeded vacation" (B.H., ch. 24, p. 337), time is determined in legal rather than seasonal cycles. Mr. George can only be "as punctual as the sun" because he keeps military, not 31 Eugene almost dies and is saved in a country river, not in the London Thames. 32 Jenny implies that London is the city of death when she calls her-self and her friends "dead", and Fledgeby "alive". In an enactment of double negatives, Jenny has died to the world of death, and so becomes truly alive. Fledgeby is only alive to death. 33 Rather than shaping experience into meaningful patterns (as the cyc l i c a l movement of nature does), clock-time fragments i t into an arbitrary and totally inflexible succession of hours, minutes, and seconds. It i s one-dimensional in that i t can only move forward, and always at the same rate, allowing for no point of contact with anything beyond i t s e l f . It i s a man-made system con-ceived with no reference to the cycles of nature or to the timelessness of hea-ven. 107 C i t y time. As he e x p l a i n s i t , ' " I am not at a l l b u s i n e s s - l i k e . ' " (ch. 24, p. 341) 34 With the C i t y adding n a t u r a l time to i t s l i s t of a d v e r s a r i e s , c i t y d w e l l e r s l i v e out t h e i r l i v e s i n o p p o s i t i o n to n a t u r a l c y c l e s . They are " b i r d s of n i g h t who roost when the sun i s h i g h , and are wide awake and keen f o r 35 prey when the s t a r s shine out" (B.H., ch. 26, p. 363). T h e i r contact w i t h the n a t u r a l world i s n e c e s s a r i l y l i m i t e d and t h e r e f o r e , too, so i s t h e i r o p p o r t u n i t y f o r growth beyond the narrox^r l i m i t s of urban l i f e . I f not a f u l l heavenly' v i s i o n , nature at, l e a s t o f f e r s a sense of connection to the e a r t h r and the sky, a sense of being p a r t of a l i v i n g organism, and not j u s t an i s o -l a t e d member i n the c i t y of death. Seen i n t h i s l i g h t , Miss Peecher's and Miss Tox's gardening e f f o r t s , however .comical and doomed to m e d i o c r i t y , are noble attempts to f e r t i l i z e t h e i r urban wasteland r a t h e r than f e e b l e attempts to run away from i t ; they forge a l i n k w i t h something beyond the merely m a t e r i a l . For the merely m a t e r i a l focus of C i t y l i f e , i f taken to i t s u l t i m a t e c o n c l u -s i o n , becomes demonic i n i t s inhumanity. The i n f e r n a l g u l f of Tom-all-Alone's, and not the suburban 'garden b e l t ' , i s the f i n a l f r u i t of the C i t y ' s growth. I f , however, the n a t u r a l world i s c l o s e d o f f to most c i t y d w e l l e r s ( e i t h e r through t h e i r own r e j e c t i o n of nature or through the f a c t that nature has w i t h -ered under the C i t y ' s a t t a c k s ) , the c e n t r a l problem f o r Dickens (and f o r h i s c h a r a c t e r s ) i s how to redeem the demonic world, how to f i n d a p o i n t of contact w i t h a happier v i s i o n of human experience, without running away from the mod-ern c i t y . For London i n the nineteenth century i s a Fact; i t cannot be wished Seen i n these terms, David C o p p e r f i e l d i s not a c i t y n o v e l , f o r the seasonal c y c l e s are as r e a l i n London as i n the country. See ch. 43, p. 626, ch. 45, p. 654. 35 See too B.H., ch. 48, p. 650; L.D., Bk. I , ch. 14, p. 276, and, i n O.M.F., (Bk. I l l , ch. 10, pp. 543-4), the n o c t u r n a l hunt between Eugene and Bradley Headstone. away, and as Raymond Williams points out,."the point for Dickens was that there was nowhere else to go: men and women must l e a r n to know each other i n 36 the c i t y , or not at a l l " . That Dickens does f i n d the longed-for point of contact i s i m p l i c i t i n the form and n a r r a t i v e of h i s novels. They are not -however powerful the demonic imagery may be - s t o r i e s of unrelieved bondage and pain. There i s laughter throughout and, i n v a r i a b l y , a happy r e s o l u t i o n at the end. The following, and concluding chapter w i l l attempt to deal with the na-ture of Dickens' comedy, and i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to the demonic c i t y that i s r i t s s e t t i n g . " L i t e r a t u r e and the C i t y " , The L i s t e n e r , LXXVII (23 November 1967), 655. - • 109 CHAPTER V I I I THE WORLD OF IRONIC COMEDY: A NEW VISION OF LONDON Most of the d i s c u s s i o n so f a r , and the preceding chapter i n p a r t i c u l a r , has focused on the ways i n which London becomes the demonic c i t y , transform-i n g i t s i n h a b i t a n t s i n t o "a defeated, s e l f - i n c a r c e r a t e d people" who r e l y on "m i r a c l e , mystery, and a u t h o r i t y . " 1 The Grand I n q u i s i t o r takes the shape of Merdle, Barnacle, Jaggers and the Lord High C h a n c e l l o r , and the Circumlocu-t i o n o f f i c e and Chancery replace Saint Paul's as the C i t y ' s " h o l i e s t of h o l -l-i e s " . And y e t , however powerful the demonic imagery may be, i t cannot and does not account f o r a l l of urban l i f e . There i s , c e r t a i n l y , f o r many men i n the c i t y , "the sense that heroism and e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n are absent, d i s o r g a n i z e d 2 or foredoomed to defeat, and that confusion and anarchy r e i g n over the world". At times i t i s tempting f o r the reader too to b e l i e v e that nothing e x i s t s i n the c i t y beyond f e a r , i s o l a t i o n , and anonymity, and that the urban landscape i s l i m i t e d to p r i s o n s , wastelands, dark l a b y r i n t h s and chaos. Nevertheless, i n terms of the n a r r a t i v e p a t t e r n at l e a s t , the voyage up and out of the demon-i c g u l f , i s a r e a l i t y . For Dickens, who has enough hope and imagination to continue c r e a t i n g them, and f o r the few characters i n each novel who deserve to p a r t i c i p a t e i n them, the happy endings of the novels - however muted i n tone - a s s e r t the p o s s i b i l i t y of redemption. The experience of the demonic world need not doom man to u t t e r , d e s p a i r i n g impotence. As .Dickens proves over and over again i n the v i t a l i t y of h i s urban n o v e l s , the C i t y i s not ''"Mark Seiden makes t h i s p o i n t i n connection w i t h L i t t l e D o r r i t i n h i s unpublished d i s s e r t a t i o n , "Dickens' London: The C i t y as Comic Apocalypse, (Cor-n e l l , 1967) , p. 137. 2 Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , (New York, 1966), p. 192. This i s the sense which Frye sees as c e n t r a l to s a t i r e and i r o n y , the l i t e r a r y forms of the f a l l e n or demonic world. See too, i n t h i s context, the d i s c u s s i o n of the c i t y as a p r i s o n i n ch. V I I , d e a l i n g w i t h the la c k of potency and f r e e w i l l . omnipotent:.it can s t i l l be laughed at. Thus, .in Bleak House, his descript-ion of the "Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine liza r d up Holborn H i l l " (ch. 1, p. 1) robs the monster of a great deal of i t s power: truly demonic monsters do not waddle. There.is a; peculiar quality in Dickens' demonic city that lays the 3 groundwork, so to speak, for the movement up out of irony and into comedy. London is peopled not so much by devils as by witches, monsters, and freaks, 4 the creatures of myth and fairy tales. London even looks like fairy tale-land, but a fairy tale-land that has somehow gone wrong. r The city in Our Mutual Friend, for instance, where men like Fledgeby rob from both rich and poor, and give to neither, becomes a twisted version of Robin Hood's forest. Fledgeby and his friends " a l l had a touch of the outlaw, as to their rovings in the merry greenwood of Jobbery Forest, lying on the outskirts of the Share Market and the Stock Exchange" (Bk. II, ch. 5, p. 272). So too, for Florence Dombey, her father's affections are so distorted by his City mentality that his. own home becomes an enchanted castle, staring her youth and beauty into stone. Even when the city i s not really demonic, as in Martin Chuzzlewit, i t draws i t s metaphors from fairy tales. For the Pecksniff The , :iip' and "down' terminology used in this chapter is based on Frye's model for the phases of myth, in which one moves in a clockwise motion from Romance at the top, through Tragedy to Satire and Irony at the bottom, and then up through Comedy back to Romance. See Anatomy of Criticism, p. 162. 4 Similarly, the city's good people are not so much angels as fairy • godmothers (P.M.F., Bk. IV, ch. 9, p. 725),"three hobgoblins" going home to "Wilfer Castle" (O.M.F., Bk. I l l , ch. 16, p. 610) and, in Bleak House, "Dame Durden". " L i t t l e Old Woman", "Cobweb", "Mrs. Shipton", and "Mother Hubbard" (ch. 8, p. 98). ~*The 'relationship between romance and irony (fairy tale-land and the demonic city, in Dickens'case), i s pointed out by Frye, p. 223: "As structure, the central principle of ironic myth is best approached as a parody of romance the application of'romantic mythical forms to a more r e a l i s t i c content which f i t s them in unexpected ways". I l l a r r i v i n g into London, "There was a dense fog too: as i f i t were a c i t y i n the clouds, which they had been t r a v e l l i n g to a l l night up a magic beanstalk" (ch. 8, p. 122). In the l a t e r novels, however, the consistent perversion of f a i r y t a l e s within the urban landscape points at yet another way i n which the Ci t y attempts to d i s t o r t the forms of childhood and imagination. Usually, too, the witches who belong to those twisted f a i r y t ales and who s t a l k through the c i t y streets 6 e x p l o i t the fears of c h i l d r e n rather than of adults. They take on the roles of s i n i s t e r , t o t a l l y unforgiving, and t o t a l l y omnipotent parental figures i n order to manipulate t h e i r victims for t h e i r own personal ends. Even Inspector Bucket, who i s a benevolent c i t y witch'' and only moves Jo on because Society i s threatened, controls him le s s through love than through fear. Jo i s so a f r a i d he cannot even bring himself to mention Bucket's name: 'I dustn't name him . . . . I dustn't do i t , s i r . 1 ' . . . . you may t r u s t me. No one else s h a l l hear.' 'Ah, but I don't know . . . as he don't hear.' 'Why, he i s not i n t h i s place.' 'Oh, a i n ' t he though . . . . He's i n a l l manner of places, a l l at wanst.' (B.H., ch. 4 6 , p. 634) ""'.""See, for instance, the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between Mrs. Brown and Mr. Carker and Rob, Mrs. Brown and Florence, Mrs. Mac-Stinger and Captain Cuttle (who i s t o t a l l y c h i l d - l i k e i n h i s innocence ) i n D. & S•; Fagin and O l i v e r i n O.T.; Magwitch's young man (though he i s not a c i t y witch) and Pip i n G.E. In the cases of Paul Dombey and Jenny Wren, the c i t y world has been so powerful that the c h i l d r e n become witches themselves. The city-witches enact, i n a modified way, the e x p l o i t a t i o n of c h i l d -hood discussed i n ch. V, "The Cash-Nexus". They too see t h e i r c h i l d - v i c t i m s as valuable properties that they cannot a f f o r d to l o s e , and so they control them through the exercise of t h e i r w i t c h - l i k e powers. ^Bucket i s w i t c h - l i k e i n h i s a b i l i t y to see into every corner of the c i t y (which i s what most of the other witches claim to do) and to l e t no one get out of h i s grasp.- In the city of Bleak House, he i s the only character t r u l y i n co n t r o l of h i s environment. 11Z The imaginative world of childhood, so susceptible to mysterious powers, is shrewdly exploited in Dickens' London. The city:becomes frightening in a strangely irrational way, and one finds that, even for a reader, the veneer of mature detachment i s very thin indeed. There i s something unspeakably horri-ble about the witches' threats. One feels utterly small and defenceless again (as i f a l l the years of 'growing up' were suddenly stripped away) when Magwitch threatens Pip with the young man who '. . . has a secret way pecooliar to himself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his l i v e r . . . . A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man w i l l softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open' (G.E., ch. 1, pp. 3-4) ; or when Mrs. Brown t e l l s Rob how she w i l l " ' s l i p those after him that shall talk too much; that won't be shook away; t h a t ' l l hang to him like leeches, and slink arter him like foxes.'" (D. & S., ch. 52, p. 731) And yet the fear i s only momentary. In a second, Dickens w i l l shift the focus and Magwitch is only a cold, wet man, who wishes he were "a frog. Or a eel!" (ch. 1. p. 4) And Mrs. Brown, as we already know, is only a wretched old woman who i s bullied by her own daughter. The monster is punctured and be-comes a victim of circumstances and the reader's laughter: without his know-ing how i t happened, the monster has entered the world of comedy. The structure of fairy tales i s remarkably flexible: i t may focus on scenes " of cruelty and horror, f u l l of e v i l stepmothers and their child-victims, f u l l of despotic kings, cold and heartless princesses, and dreadful deaths for the unsuccessful suitors; and then suddenly i t may turn i t s e l f inside, out, to "show us society . . . in a telescope as posturing pygmies, or in a microscope as 8 hideous and reeking giants". Life becomes ridiculous rather than frightening. Frye, p. 234. 113 The duality of vision implicit in the fairy tale form i s an important structuring device in the novels of Charles Dickens.. Dickens escapes the terrible demonic world of impotence and despair with a shout of laughter and 9 rage. He w i l l not be defeated: he w i l l laugh the v i l l a i n s away, as Malvolio is laughed rather than chased out of I l l y r i a in Twelfth Night. The comic soc-iety achieved at the end of Dickens' novels, however, cannot begin to approach the scope and inclusiveness of Shakespeare's new I l l y r i a . The demonic City world i s simply too powerful, and i t s victims are often too much in love with i t themselves, to create and participate i n a radically different vision of experience. S t i l l , although the new comic society i s limited to a few i n d i v i -duals, and these in turn cannot transform the demonic world s t i l l surrounding them and always threatening to engulf them, some movement out of the hellish gulf i s possible. Northrop Frye describes the phases of myth within which Dickens i s work-ing when he writes about the inevitable reversal of vision that occurs after one reaches the point of demonic epiphany and sees Satan himself standing at -the• bottom of the demonic -world. Like 'Dante in The Divine Comedy, one must then climb down (over the hip and thigh of the e v i l giant), past the center, in order to find oneself "no longer going down but going up, climbing out on the other side of the world to see the stars again. From this point of view, Although this chapter focuses mainly on Dickens' laughter, his use of rage to dispel the demonic world (at least momentarily) should also be noted. See, for instance, the description of Jo's death (ch. 47), and how Dickens l i f t s one out of despair and sentimentality with the f i n a l enraged paragraph - one is not allowed to feel that nothing can be done about such deaths. Dickens, at least, has pointed out the culprits. 114 the devil is no longer upright, but standing on his head". One f i n a l l y sees "the gentlemanly Prince of Darkness bottom side up""^ and crotch f i r s t , as the fool whose cap has bells instead of demonic horns. Satan has been castrated and cuckolded by the new point of view. Less metaphorically, one might say that "on the other side of this blasted world of repuls'iveness and idiocy, [that i s , the demonic city,] a world without pity and without hope, satire beams'' again"."'"''" Merdle wields tremendous power in the City, and yet Dickens shows him as a dithering nonentity at his own dinner party. So too, the Court of Chancery in Bleak House l i e s at the very centre of the demonic labyrinth, with " i t s decaying houses and i t s blighted lands in every shire" (ch. 1, pp. 2-3), and yet the Court i s only an absurd group of "maces, or petty-bags, or privy purses, or whatever they may be, in legal.court suits" (ch. 1, p. 3). Dickens' sense of the ridiculous redeems the demonic city with a giggle. There is something grotesquely funny about the l i t t l e blind square in Our Mut- ual Friend called Smith Square, in the centre of which last retreat i s a very hideous dhurch with four towers at the four corners, generally resem-bling some petrified monster, frig h t f u l and gigantic, on i t s back with i t s legs in the air . . . . , . . there was a deadly kind of repose on i t , more as though i t had taken laudanum than fallen into a natural rest (Bk. II, ch. 1, p. 221). One feels a sudden mingled r e l i e f and h i l a r i t y at this description, for the monster-city that has been so frightening suddenly f a l l s on i t s back in a drunken stupor,-and l i e s there absurdly, as i f asking to have i t s belly tick-led. Dickens lets the reader feel strangely victorious while 'the enemy' makes a fool of himself in an embarrassingly private act. Frye, p. 239. Frye, p. 239. The transformation of things into humans or animals, and the reciprocal transformation of men into things, becomes a ruling principle in Dickens' Lon-don. A pub is not a pub called "The Elephant and Castle", but an actual "Ele-phant who has lost his Castle" and may be chopped"into mince-meat" not by a train but by a "stronger iron monster than he [ i s ] " (B.H., ch. 27, p. 382). Similarly in L i t t l e Dorrit, men are not men, or even lawyers and churchmen but "Bar", "Bishop", "Physician", "Chorus", and "Foreman" (Bk. II, ch. 12). In her essay on Great Expectations, Dorothy Van Ghent sees "Dickens' f a i r l y constant use of therpathetic fallacy (the projection of human impulses and feelings upon the nonhuman, as upon beds and houses and muffins and hats) . . . [and the] reciprocal metaphor . . . [in which] people are described by 12 nonhuman attributes" as a symptom of the emerging modern City and a l l i t s dehumanizing powers. She is surely right when she says that (as chapters V and VI of this study have attempted to show) Dickens' intuition alarmingly saw this process in motion . . . . People were becoming things, and things (the things that money'can buy or that are the means for making money or for exalting prestige in the abstract) were becoming more important than people. People were being de-animated, robbed of their souls, and things were usur-ping the prerogatives of inanimate creatures - governing the lives of their owners in the most l i t e r a l sense. This picture, in which the qualities of things and people were reversed, was a picture of a daemonically motivated world".13 And yet, perhaps ironically, the reversal of human and non-human qualities, of people and things, can be comic as well. The duality of vision (things being both demonic and ridiculous) qualifies the comic movement and stops i t before i t can reach the fu l l y comic resolution of an As You Like It or a Twelfth Night. In Dickens' world, which might more . appropriately be called ironic comedy (in that i t is only the f i r s t movement up The English Novel;Form and Function, (New York, 1961), p. 129. 'pp. 128-9. JLJ-U 14 out of satire and irony), the demonic world is never far away. However r i d i -culous they may appear at times, the blocking characters (that i s , those who set themselves against the creation of a new, un-demonic society) such as Pod-snap, the Lord High Chancellor, Merdle and Barnacle, wield enormous power, and unlike the senex iratus of comedy, are not foiled in their attempts to use i t . Even i f a single representative of the old demonic world i s defeated or redeemed at the end (such as Merdle or Dombey), the system i t s e l f s t i l l continues, the City and Chancery s t i l l thrive. There cannot be a total transformation of the old society. At most, there i s the individual happiness of a young couple and 15 a few of i t s friends, but they are powerless to affect the larger world. The tendency of total comedy, Frye writes, " i s to include as many people as possible in i t s f i n a l society: the blocking characters are more often re-16 conciled or converted than simply repudiated". Comic society, too, often includes the parasite who does not deserve to be there, but i s accorded grace. But in Dickens' London, the parasites and v i l l a i n s cannot be allowed i n : they are simply too dangerous. Unlike Malvolio or Jacques, Harold Skimpole i s truly e v i l . Besides, the good people in the city are often not accorded grace them-selves. The City system (or in comic terms, the old order)"^ is not merely a 14 See the discussion at the end of this chapter on the "shrinking" of Dickens' comic societies. The phase of ironic comedy applies to Dickens' later novels; novels like P.P. and 0.T. move further towards a f u l l y comic resolution. "'""'At the end of O.M.F. , for instance, Lizzie and her brother are not re-united, Wilfer must go home to his bullying wife, children continue to be bought and sold, the Poor Laws remain the same, and Podsnap s t i l l , gets up at eight, shaves close at a quarter-past, breakfasts at nine, goes to the City at ten, comes home at half-past five, and dines at seven. 16 T, • Frye, p. 165. 17 The City (even though i t represents the modern commercial world) embod-ies the characteristics of the old order: r i g i d law, false i l l u s i o n s , deadening customs, middle age, the rule of authority rather than love. The new comic society exists in opposition to the City mentality. (See footnote 34 of this chapter). 117 puffed-up impotent o l d man l i k e Mr. Turveydrop, but (despite i t s s t e r i l i z i n g e f f e c t s on i t s v i c t i m s ) a v i r i l e and onward-going concern that dooms people l i k e Rob the Grinder, Mr. Toots, G r i d l e y , Richard Carstone, J o , Fanny D o r r i t , Miss Peecher, and Headstone (and i f i t c o u l d , Mrs. Richards, Pancks, and R i a h ) , to a l o s s of t h e i r humanity that ranges from mere f o o l i s h n e s s to death. As Dickens creates the worlds between Pickwick Papers and Our Mutual F r i e n d , i t becomes l e s s and l e s s true of h i s comic r e s o l u t i o n s that "the f i n a l s o c i e t y . . . i s the one that the audience has recognized a l l along to be the proper 18 and d e s i r a b l e s t a t e of a f f a i r s " . whereas i n P i c k w i c k Papers, J i n g l e i s t r u l y redeemed, and i n M a r t i n Chuzzlewit P e c k s n i f f i s f i n a l l y defeated, i n Our Mutual 19 F r i e n d i t i s only Wegg and Fledgeby who are punished; Podsnap ( i n r e l a t i o n to whom those two are i n s i g n i f i c a n t ) remains powerful, t o t a l l y unaffected by the Rokesmith and Wrayburn marriages. U n l i k e Fledgeby and Wegg, who from the very beginning are i n somewhat ambiguous s o c i a l p o s i t i o n s , Podsnap i s s o l i d l y 'Establishment' and he and I t remain i n t r a c t a b l e . He does not even know he has been excluded from the new comic s o c i e t y and we can assume that had he known, he would not be g r e a t l y upset at the omission. As has been pointed out e a r l i e r , the p r i s o n e r s of the demonic c i t y are o f t e n i n love w i t h t h e i r own chains and do not wish to be set f r e e . Freedom e n t a i l s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and the r e j e c t i o n of i l l u s i o n , and t h a t , i n the c i t y 20 of clos e d windows, i s considered by most of i t s c i t i z e n s to be unbearable. 18 Frye, p. 164. 19 I have not mentioned the case of the Veneerings, i n that they are punished l e s s by any system of j u s t i c e than by the a r b i t r a r y C i t y breezes which e v e n t u a l l y blow them away (and which probably replace them w i t h a sim-i l a r couple). The f a t e s of Headstone and Riderhood, too, are f a r more t r a g i c than comic i n nature. 20 The i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s statement are picked up again and discussed i n greater length at the end of t h i s chapter. 110 Given Dickens' awareness of the C i t y ' s i n t r a n s i g e n c e , i t seems i n e v i t a b l e that he cannot create a t o t a l l y admirable or omnipotent a l t e r n a t i v e . The t r a -d i t i o n a l h e r o i c f i g u r e s of Saint George and Richard the Lion-hearted (embod-ie d i n George Rouncewell and Richard Carstone) cannot e x i s t i n the new c i t y : they f a i l to adapt to i t s power and are f i n a l l y defeated by i t . I nstead, what one f i n d s i n the few centers of humanity that Dickens envisages w i t h i n the c i t y , i s something l i m i t e d , unheroic, o f t e n humorous and yet d e s p i t e t h a t , s t i l l worthwhile. In Dombey and Son, f o r i n s t a n c e , the s o c i e t y of the L i t t l e Midshipman, and e s p e c i a l l y the Toodle?- f a m i l y , f u n c t i o n as a l t e r n a t i v e s to Dombeyism. The i r c e n t r a l impulses are good - community r a t h e r than p r i v a c y , intimacy r a -ther than secrecy, spontaneous emotion r a t h e r than s e l f - r e p r e s s i o n , n a t u r a l 21 growth r a t h e r than excessive e f f o r t - and yet Dickens s t i l l sees them as somehow funny, and sometimes as almost absurd. The laughter w i t h which Dick-ens escapes the demonic world o f t e n s p i l l s over i n t o h i s d e s c r i p t i o n s of that 22 which he admires. The communal f e e d - i n at Toodles', w i t h Mr. Toodles h o l d i n g out great wedges of bread and b u t t e r , to be b i t t e n at by the f a m i l y i n l a w f u l s uccession, and by s e r v i n g out small doses of tea i n ' l i k e manner w i t h a spoon; which snacks had such a r e l i s h i n the mouths of these young Toodles, t h a t , a f t e r p a r t a k i n g of the same, they performed p r i v a t e dances of ecstasy among themselves, and stood on one l e g apiece, and hopped, and indulged i n o t h e r . s a l -t a t o r y tokens of gladness (D. & S., ch. 38, p. 535), Compare, f o r i n s t a n c e , Mrs. Toodles- p i p p i n - l i k e c h i l d r e n , " a l l e v i -d e n t l y the growth of the same t r e e " and a l l the products of Blimber's s c h o o l -in g who "blow" before they are ready. 22 Only Dickens' bona-fide heroes and heroines are spared h i s l a u g h t e r , and they are sometimes d u l l because of i t . (See f o r i n s t a n c e Agnes W i c k f i e l d and Rose M a y l i e , as compared to Ruth Pinch and B e l l a W i l f e r ) . 119 i s -surely a j o y f u l a l t e r n a t i v e to the Dombey f r e e z e - i n , but i t i s - n o t : a p e r f e c t one. The Toodles and the Captain C u t t l e - Mr. Toots group somehow f a i l to combine wonder and c h i l d l i k e innocence (which they have i n admirable supply) w i t h i n t e l l i g e n c e . They represent a f a c e t of experience which must not be neglected but they are not, i n themselves, completely admirable. The u n - i n t e l l i g e n c e of such as the Toodles, however, does not c o n s t i t u t e a f a i l u r e of i n t e l l i g e n c e on t h e i r c r e a t o r ' s p a r t . On the c o n t r a r y , i t embod-i e s Dickens' r e c o g n i t i o n that i n the modern c i t y emotion and i n t e l l i g e n c e are indeed hard to r e c o n c i l e . 'Only a very few, l i k e E sther, are able to s y n t h e s i z e heart and mind and say that "my comprehension i s quickened when my a f f e c t i o n 23 i s " (B.H., ch. 3, p. 16), and yet even Esther i s always down-grading her i n t e l l i g e n c e . Those who are sharp and i n t e l l i g e n t , l i k e Carker and Fledgeby, are o f t e n so only at the cost of t h e i r emotional development: they are s e l f i s h , c r u e l , and can enjoy only the manipulative r o l e . Dickens sets up a t e l l i n g c o n t r a s t i n Dombey and Son between the decorat io n of the Toodles and Carker homes. The Toodles, who are good people, have no t a s t e , and consider "the p a i r of small b l a c k v e l v e t k i t t e n s , each w i t h a lady's r e t i c u l e i n i t s mouth . . . as p r o d i g i e s of i m i t a t i v e a r t " (ch. 6, p. 66). Carker, on the other hand, who i s r u t h l e s s l y amoral, l i v e s i n the only house i n the n o v e l that " i s b e a u t i f u l l y arranged, and t a s t e f u l l y kept" (ch. 33, p. 471). More o f t e n than not, f o r Dickens, the worlds of heart and mind, comfort and t a s t e , are i r r e c o n c i l a b l e . As w i t h the.Toodles and Mr. Toots, a mingled s e n s i t i v i t y and u n - i n t e l l i -gence i s present i n the Bleeding Hearts of L i t t l e D o r r i t , who a l s o represent a 23 Dickens' suggests the value of the s y n t h e s i s i n D. & S., ch. 11, p. 149: "He [Dombey] bent down over-his boy, and k i s s e d him. I f h i s s i g h t were dimmed as he d i d so, by something that f o r a moment b l u r r e d the l i t t l e f a c e , and made i t i n d i s t i n c t to him, h i s mental v i s i o n may have been, f o r that short time, the c l e a r e r perhaps". center of humanity in their city. They are instinctively kind to Cavalletto, and yet, simultaneously, too 'dense' to realize that the pigeon-English they in s i s t on using is no more helpful or understandable than their normal speech. In their attempts, too, to f e r t i l i z e the wasteland, the Plornishes (like so many in Dickens' London) are sadly limited. But i t is not so much a lack of.intelligence in this case, as a lack of power. The City's s t e r i l i z i n g pow-er i s great, so that a l l the Plornishes can manage is a pastoral scene painted on a wall. .To Mrs. Plornish, i t was s t i l l a most beautiful cottage, a most wonderful deception- . . . . To come out into the shop after i t was shut, and hear her father sing a song inside this cottage, was a perfect Pastoral to Mrs. Plornish, the Golden Age revived (L.D., Bk. II, ch. 13, p. 574). Unfortunately, the i l l u s i o n can make only a few people happy; i t cannot make the City bloom again. And yat, however limited the results, the Plornishes are s t i l l admirable in their attempt to humanize and naturalize their world, rather than evade i t . Urban man's efforts to get back into contact with nature are often doomed to absurdity. There is nothing more absurd perhaps, in a l l of Dickens, noth-ing more pathetically ignorant of how Nature really operates, than the "cock in the cellar" (B.H., ch. 10, p. 127) that Mr. Snagsby keeps at the l i t t l e dairy in Cursitor Street. Similarly John Chivery sits for hours among the linen hanging out to dry, dreaming romantic dreams and feeling "as i f i t was groves" (L.D., Bk. I, ch. 22, p. 257); and Miss Tox tends her l i t t l e urban gar-den,, wearing a "pair of ancient gloves, like dead leaves," as the pot boy "trickled water, in a flowing pattern, a l l over Princess's Place, and . . . gave the weedy ground.a fresh scent - quite a growing scent, Miss Tox said" (D. & S. , ch'. 29, p. 408). Miss Tox's garden and John Chivery's groves may be greatly diminished and.even somewhat absurd, but they Note their kindness to Old Nandy and (despite i t s unprofitable results) their loyalty to the Plornishes in their new business. Li I f u n c t i o n as r e a l , and r e a l i s t i c a l t e r n a t i v e s . t o the C i t y world of Dombeyism, i n which the only flowers are " s c e n t l e s s f l o w e r s " o f f e r e d by " f r o s t e d Cupids" 25 i n a c e n t e r p i e c e (D. & S., ch. 36, p. 512). In keeping w i t h the i r o n i c comedy w i t h i n which Dickens i s working,the p l e a -sures that London o f f e r s i t s i n h a b i t a n t s are muted, of a domestic k i n d , and us-u a l l y a f f e c t only a few i n d i v i d u a l s at a time. The t r u l y communal c e l e b r a t i o n s of the Pickwick w o r l d , whose cosiness and good cheer i n c l u d e even the f a t boy at Dingley D e l l and the r a t h e r v i l l a i n o u s J i n g l e , s h r i n k s under the C i t y ' s pres-sures u n t i l only Miss Abbey Pot t e r s o n i n Our Mutual F r i e n d , w i t h her funny l i t -t l e p u b l i c house always threatened by the sea's i n c u r s i o n s , and her mysterious hot d r i n k s , remains to represent i t . She i s only a very small p a r t of the t o t a l London wo r l d , and i s unknown to most of the novel's c h a r a c t e r s . London continues to o f f e r the pleasures of a b i g c i t y (which are not the P i c k w i c k i a n kind),but these are u s u a l l y a v a i l a b l e only to the young, or at l e a s t to the young' at h e a r t , who can r e t a i n a sense of f i n a n c i a l independence: who are n e i t h e r so r i c h that they are t i e d to t h e i r p o s i t i o n and would be ash-amed to pay " h a l f - p r i c e , " nor so poor that they are chained to the process of mere s u r v i v a l and could not p o s s i b l y pay even "one-eight p r i c e " . "In the even-i n g " Pip remembers, "we went out f o r a walk i n the s t r e e t s , a n d went h a l f - p r i c e to the Theatre; and the next day we went to church at Westminster Abbey, and i n the afternoon we walked i n the parks" (G.E., ch. 22, p. 174). L i f e i s thoroughly enjoyable "with no o l d people by, and w i t h London a l l around us" (G.E., ch. 22, p. 169). For David C o p p e r f i e l d too, during h i s second stay i n the c i t y ( u n l i k e h i s f i r s t ) , " I t was a wonderfully f i n e t h i n g to walk about town w i t h the key of my house i n my pocket, and to know that I could ask any I t i s p r e c i s e l y at t h i s p o i n t i n the novel (during her gardening a c t i v -i t i e s ) that Miss Tox changes from a s e r v i l e hanger-on to a f a r more sympathe-t i c c h a r a c t e r . f e l l o w to come home" (DX,, ch. 24, p. 356). The c i t y can be e q u a l l y d e l i g h t f u l to Esther, who w i t h Ada and Richard goes out " f o r hours at a time; seeing the s i g h t s ; which appeared to be l e s s capable of exhaustion than we were" (B.H., ch. 13, p. 171), and f o r the B o f f i n s who "had a c h i l d ' s d e l i g h t i n l o o k i n g at shops" (O.M.F., Bk. I l l , ch. 5, p. 466). I t i s the Traddles i n David C o p p e r f i e l d , however, who r e a l l y know how to enjoy l i f e i n the c i t y : 'Then, our pleasures! [Traddles t e l l s David.] Dear me, they are i n -expensive, but they are q u i t e wonderful . . . we go out f o r a walk i n the evening, the s t r e e t s abound i n enjoyment f o r us. We look ingo the g l i t t e r i n g windows of the j e w e l l e r s ' shops . . . . Then, when we s t r o l l i n t o the squares, and great s t r e e t s , and see a house to l e t , sometimes we look up at i t , and say, how would that do, i f I was made a judge . . . . Sometimes, we go at h a l f - p r i c e to the p i t of the theatre . . . . In walking home, perhaps we buy a l i t t l e b i t of something at a cook's-shop . . . and b r i n g i t here, and make a s p l e n d i d supper, c h a t t i n g about what we have seen,'(ch. 61, p. 847) The Traddles use i l l u s i o n and make-believe i n order to enjoy t h e i r r e a l s i t -u a tions more f u l l y , and not, as so many others l i v i n g i n the c i t y do, i n order 26 to evade r e a l i t y . For the Traddles, London can be at l e a s t momentarily trans formed w h i l e they i m a g i n a t i v e l y become the i n h a b i t a n t s of a great house. Perhaps i n the Traddles' case the c i t y i s transformed as much through ima-g i n a t i o n as through l o v e . For Dickens i t i s l o v e , of a l l , t h e emotions, that 27 can most s u c c e s s f u l l y change the grey and s t o l i d facade of the c i t y . For L i z z i e , Eugene's "very presence beside her i n the dark common s t r e e t , were l i k e glimpses of an enchanted world" (O.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 15, p. 406); and David This i s e s s e n t i a l l y , too, how the P l o r n i s h e s use the "wonderful decept-i o n " p a i n t e d on t h e i r w a l l . T h e i r s i s the k i n d of i l l u s i o n Auden means when he w r i t e s that "Only/Those who love i l l u s i o n / A n d know i t , w i l l go f a r " ("Many Happy Returns"). 27 The c i t y i s a l s o transformed through Florence's fear f o r Walter's s a f e t y (D. & S., ch. 23, p. 325), and Walter's f o r h i s Uncle Sol's f i n a n c i a l s u r v i v -a - L (D. & S. , ch. 9, pp. 116-7). Note too how Dombey t r a v e l s to Leamington, " t i n g i n g the scene of t r a n s i t i o n . . . w i t h the morbid c o l o u r s of h i s own mind" (D. & S., ch. 20, p. 282). remembers how he "sat within the dingy summer-house {with.DoraJ, so happy, that I love the London sparrows to..this hour,.for nothing else, and see the plumage of the tropics in their smoky feathers" (D.C., ch. 33, p. 489). Even the Temple,, such a demonic place in Bleak House , can become beautiful when seen through loving eyes. For Ruth Pinch and John Westlock in Martin Chuzzle-wlt , B r i l l i a n t l y the Temple Fountain sparkled in the sun and laughingly i t s liquid music played . . . (ch. 53, p. 816). They are drawn to the fountain at the Temple, almost as i f i t were their guard-ian angel: ' They went away, but not through London's streets! Through some en-chanted city, where the pavements were of a i r ; where a l l the rough sounds of a st i r r i n g town were softened into gentle music; where everything was happy (M.C., ch. 53, p. 817). Love can even make the City's affairs seem as healthy as a beam of sun-shine. Bella Wilfer would store up the City Intelligence, and beamingly shed i t upon John . . . mentioning the commodities that were looking up in the markets, and how much gold had been taken to the Bank (O.M.F , Bk. IV, ch. 5, p. 682). As Bella points out,"'It a l l comes of my love, John dear.'"(Bk. IV, ch. 5, p. 682); What love can certainly do i s place the City in i t s proper context, 2 8 below, not above human beings in the hierarchy of values: "For a City man, John certainly did appear to care as l i t t l e as might be for the looking up or looking down of things, as well as for the gold that got taken to the Bank" (Bk. IV, ch. 5, p. 683). He is (as he should be) far more interested in his wife than in the affairs of the City. But the Rokesmiths'. transformation of the City, like that of a l l the lovers, cannot be shared by the rest of the world. It' belongs only to the loving and Note, in contrast, the position of dust heaps in the hierarchy defined by the cash-nexus (ch. V, "The Cash-Nexus"). p e r c e i v i n g i n d i v i d u a l . .In Bleak House, Dickens places the power of love w i t h -i n even narrower l i m i t s , f o r Ada, who shines '.'like a b e a u t i f u l s t a r " (ch. 60, p. 817), can only b r i g h t e n " t h a t miserable' corner" (ch. 61, p. 826) i n which she and Richard l i v e . I t i s only Esther who sees the l i g h t ; Richard remains enveloped i n Chancery's darkness. Ada i s powerless to save him from s e l f -d e s t r u d t i o n . There are moments of extreme beauty i n Dickens' London, but these too are l i m i t e d to a s i n g l e p e r c e i v i n g eye. Esther describes "the crowds of people . . . l i k e many-coloured f l o w e r s " (B.H., ch. 6, p. 60), and i n a s i m i l a r l y strange, almost e x a l t e d image, Clenman sees the l a m p l i g h t e r l i g h t i n g up the lamps i n t o "so many b l a z i n g sunflowers coming i n t o f u l l - b l o w a l l at once" (L.D., Bk. I I , ch. 9, p. 530). Almost a l l the scenes of beauty i n the c i t y 29 focus on the e f f e c t s of l i g h t , and move toward a v i s i o n a r y q u a l i t y . Thus i n Great Expectations P i p and E s t e l l a come i n t o a sudden g l a r e of gas. I t seemed, w h i l e i t l a s t e d , to be a l l a l i g h t and a l i v e w i t h that i n e x p l i c a b l e f e e l i n g I had before; and when we were out of i t , I was as much dazed f o r a few mo-ments as i f I had been i n L i g h t n i n g (ch. 33, p. 255). In Dombey and Son too, the l i g h t of the sun "seemed to mingle ea r t h and sky together i n one g l o r i o u s s u f f u s i o n " (ch. 49, p. 679); and i n Bleak House (though i t i s ambiguous whether i t i s through the l i g h t of Heaven or H e l l ) the f i e r y windows are made b e a u t i f u l "not i n d u l l grey stone but i n a g l o r i o u s house of go l d " (ch. 40, p. 563). Even as a c h i l d alone i n London, David C o p p e r f i e l d can s i t and look "at the sun s h i n i n g i n the water, and l i g h t i n g up the golden flame on the top of the Monument" (D.C., ch. 11, p. 167); and l a t e r , from h i s rooms i n the A d e l p h i , he sees , _ " a l l London l y i n g i n the di s t a n c e l i k e a great vapour, For other l i g h t - i m a g e s , see P.P. , ch. 49, p. 684, D.C, ch. 32, pp. 472-3, G.E., ch. 48, p. 367. The only comparably b e a u t i f u l c i t y scene occurs i n D.C, ch. 40, p. 582, when "the snow had come on . . . . The noise of wheels and tread of people were as hushed as i f the s t r e e t s had been strewn that depth w i t h f e a t h e r s " . 1Z5 w i t h here and there some l i g h t s t w i n k l i n g through i t " (ch. 20, p. 292). The i m p l i c a t i o n i n a l l these passages i s that i n order.to perceive the p o i n t s of beauty i n the c i t y , men must l e a r n to see t h e i r world i n a new l i g h t and w i t h new eyes, f o r the l i g h t i t s e l f i s o f t e n the very source of beauty. In t h e i r a b i l i t y to l i f t o f f the v e i l s of i l l u s i o n - the v e i l s of the closed and fogged--up windows, of f a l s e language, of s e l f - r e p r e s s i o n and the cash-nexus, of the suburban escape - urban men are given a v i s i o n of a new, almost heavenly c i t y . Thus i t i s only toward the end of h i s great expectations ( a l l based on f a l s e c i t y - i l l u s i o n s ) that P i p can say: As I looked along the c l u s t e r e d roofs w i t h church towers and s p i r e s shooting i n t o the unusually c l e a r a i r , the sun rose up, and a v e i l seemed to be drawn from the r i v e r , and m i l l i o n s of sp a r k l e s b u r s t out upon i t s waters. From me, too, a v e i l seemed to be drawn, and I f e l t strong and w e l l (G.E., ch. 53, p. 4 1 1 ) . 3 0 The v i s i o n of beauty i s , more than anything e l s e , a new way of seeing the world; and although i t ' f i l l s only a f l e e t i n g moment, and i s l i m i t e d to a s i n g l e p e r c e i v i n g i n d i v i d u a l r a t h e r than common to an e n t i r e s o c i e t y , i t s b r i e f i n t e n -31 s i t y p a r t i a l l y redeems the demonic c i t y . Whereas Dickens laughs and rages h i s way out of the i n f e r n a l g u l f , h i s char a c t e r s may f i n d an escape i n t h e i r way of seeing the world, and i n t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s to see i t c l e a r l y . As long Note too that P i p ' s v i s i o n i s simultaneous w i t h regained potency (the demonic c i t y being a world of impotence and s t e r i l i t y ) . 31 Although I suggest e a r l i e r that love i s the most powerful emotion i n the transformation of the c i t y landscape, i t s e f f e c t s cannot begin to approach the almost e x a l t e d beauty of the v i s i o n a r y scenes. (I do not consider imagin-a t i o n and v i s i o n as emotions). The London that surrounds the young l o v e r s i s a " c l e a n , w e l l - l i g h t e d p l a c e , " very pleasant but somehow domesticated. I t has none of the a p o c a l y p t i c q u a l i t y that surrounds the i n d i v i d u a l but h i g h l y imaginative p e r c e p t i o n of Est h e r , Clenman, and P i p . (Note how the passages quoted are centred i n a metaphor, and t h e r e f o r e i n the s y n t h e s i z i n g power of the i m a g i n a t i o n ) . __t> as they remain l i k e A f f e r y , who "never went up or dom s t a i r s without having her apron over her head, l e s t she should see something" (L.D., Bk. I , ch. 15, p. 185), they w i l l remain the v i c t i m s of the C i t y , manipulated by the C i t y -people l i k e F l i n t w i n c h and Mrs. Clenman, and unable to enter the new comic . , 32 s o c i e t y . The C i t y m e n t a l i t y feeds on a l i f e of w i l f u l b l i n d n e s s and u n r e a l i t y . Mr. M o r f i n i n Dombey and Son describes how businessmen w i l l do anything to p r o t e c t themselves from seeing t h e i r world as i t r e a l l y i s . They w i l l even cease to be men and become-zombies: 'One don't see anything, one don't hear anything, one don't know anything . . . . I was dead, dumb, b l i n d , and p a r a l y t i c , to a m i l -l i o n t h i n g s , from h a b i t . . . . Very b u s i n e s s - l i k e indeed . . . .' (ch. 33, p. 477) Men paralyze themselves, and make themselves impotent to leave the demonic c i t y , by t h e i r b u s i n e s s - l i k e choice to remain ignorant. In terms of the comic form w i t h i n which Dickens i s working, the C i t y and C i t y men are seen as the forces which oppose the c r e a t i o n of a new s o c i e t y . Frye's comment on the b l o c k i n g characters of t r a d i t i o n a l comedy un d e r l i n e s the sense i n which i l l u s i o n and b l i n d n e s s l i e at the. centre of the C i t y men-t a l i t y . The b l o c k i n g c h a r a c t e r s , he w r i t e s (and t h i s a p p l i e s to men l i k e Dombey, Merdle, and Podsnap) are u s u a l l y impostors,"though i t i s more f r e q u e n t l y 33 a l a c k of self-knowledge than simple hypocrisy that c h a r a c t e r i z e s them". . Note how much A f f e r y ' s l a c k of w i l l and s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e i s p a r t of the a r c h e t y p a l theme of irony:' "the sense that heroism and e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n are absent, d i s o r g a n i z e d or foredoomed to defeat" (Frye, p. 192). In c o n t r a s t to A f f e r y , who i s t o t a l l y manipulated, there are a l l the c i t y witches mentioned e a r l i e r i n the chapter who (although u s u a l l y , f o r the wrong motives) keep t h e i r eyes open and w e l l t r a i n e d on every d e t a i l of t h e i r v i c -tims' l i v e s . I t i s only through t h e i r s p e c i a l v i s i o n that they have power i n the c i t y . Frye, p. 172. Even Wemmick, who seems more aware than most of the i n -humanity of the C i t y , cannot see how deeply i t has a f f e c t e d h i s p r i v a t e l i f e as w e l l as h i s p u b l i c r o l e . 127 I d e a l l y , the comic r e s o l u t i o n would e i t h e r redeem or defeat the blocking characters, for the e s s e n t i a l movement of comedy i s away from i l l u s i o n toward 34 r e a l i t y , from r i t u a l , law, and the older characters to youth and freedom. In the'Dickens world, however,the comic movement never quite reaches i t s c u l -mination. The class society, the cash-nexus, a l l the evasion t a c t i c s discussed i n the e a r l i e r parts of t h i s study, continue to operate. The Establishment r e -mains entrenched while the comic transformation only takes place i n a small cor-ner of the c i t y . In a sense, Dickens' comedy becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y p e s s i m i s t i c . If one r looks at the endings of h i s novels, a f a i r l y clear pattern emerges. In the early novels, escape from the c i t y i s seen as a p o s i t i v e and v i a b l e s o l u t i o n . Mr. Pickwick, for instance, creates a pleasant l i t t l e world outside London where he can continue h i s Pickwickian community. In O l i v e r Twist too, a l l the good characters move out into the countryside and leave the v i l l a i n s to the C i t y and t h e i r punishment. They act out what might be c a l l e d the comedy of escape, the second phase out of the i r o n i c world, i n which, as Frye writes, "a hero runs away to a more congenial society without transforming h i s own". The comic redemption, i t seems, i s only possible through escape. In the l a t e r novels, however, (as t h i s study has attempted to show), 34 In terms of n o v e l i s t i c p l o t , the comic movement might be seen as going from closed doors and windows to the s o l v i n g of the mystery (Tulkinghorn's murder i n B.H.); from euphemism, c l i c h e and evasion to a d e c l a r a t i o n (usually of love or true parentage); from cl a s s d i v i s i o n s and the cash-nexus to a mar-riage that cuts across c l a s s and money boundaries (Eugene and L i z z i e Wrayburn). 35 Auden' s"Musee des Be;?.ux A r t s " captures some of the q u a l i t y of Dickens' l a t e r comedies, even though he i s r e f e r r i n g to a t r a g i c , and not a comic event: . . . even the dreadful martyrdom must run i t s course Anyhow i n 'a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with t h e i r doggy l i f e and the t o r t u r e r ' s horse Scratches i t s innocent behind on a tree;:. 3 6 F r y e , p. 229. escape becomes evasion, and i s doomed to f a i l u r e . There i s simply no escape i n the worlds of Bleak House, L i t t l e D o r r i t , and Our Mutual Friend that can be 37 considered a v i a b l e redemption from the demonic c i t y . There i s only i r o n i c comedy (which Frye sees as j u s t the f i r s t phase out of irony) and which pre-sents not so much a v i c t o r y f or youth and freedom as an i r o n i c deadlock i n which the hero i s regarded as a f o o l or worse by the f i c t i o n a l s ociety, and yet impresses the r e a l aud-ience as having something more valuable than h i s society has.3** Jarndyce, Esther and Alan Woodcourt, Amy and Arthur. Clenman, the Wrayburns, the Rokesmiths -none can persuade the Lord High Chancellors, the Barnacles, or the Podsnaps of t h e i r worlds, to forsake t h e i r old C i t y values. The movement from escape to mere deadlock i s , i n one sense, a shrinking of the comic v i s i o n . And yet within the context of the c i t y i t s e l f , Dickens' changing re s o l u t i o n s are i n c r e a s i n g l y hopeful. Whereas O l i v e r must leave Lon-don i n order to wake up out of the nightmare, the "Home!" that old Mr. Chuzzle-wit, Mrs. Jonas, Mark Tapley and h i s Eden neighbours a l l gallop o f f to at the end of Martin Chuzzlewit, and the home i n which Dombey, Walter and Florence and 39 ..their c h i l d r e n a l l l i v e at the end of Dombey and Son, remain ambiguous. Dickens never makes i t clear whether they are i n or out of London. David Cop-p e r f i e l d , on the other hand, unabashedly sets himself up with Agnes and t h e i r c h i l d r e n " i n our house i n London" (D.C., ch. 63, p. 866); and although Esther and her husband do not remain i n the c i t y , they do not choose a b u c o l i c r e t r e a t 37 In D. & S., there may be a movement out of the c i t y at the end (Dickens never makes i t c l e a r ) , and i n G.E., Pip leaves the country altogether. But i n both cases, there has been a previous redemption within the c i t y . 38 Frye, p. 48. 39 The f i n a l scene of Dombey and Son does take place outside London, by the seashore, but whether i t i s a holiday place, or the Gay's permanent home, remains unclear. but r a t h e r , a s y n t h e s i s cf the two worlds: "a t h r i v i n g p l a c e , p l e a s a n t l y s i t -uated; streams and s t r e e t s , torn'and country, m i l l and moor" (B.H., ch. 60, p. 816). Jarndyce's d e c i s i o n i s important too, f o r he chooses to leave Bleak House and " q u i t e to s e t t l e " In London (B.H., ch. 60, p. 813), c l o s e to those he and Esther l o v e . In L i t t l e D o r r i t , the movement back to the c i t y i s a b s o l -u t e l y c l e a r . Clenman and L i t t l e D o r r i t "Went down i n t o a modest l i f e of use-f u l n e s s and happiness . . . . They went q u i e t l y down i n t o the r o a r i n g s t r e e t s " (Bk. I I , ch. 34, p. 826). The tone i s muted here, but i n Our Mutual F r i e n d , Dickens f o l l o w s Lightwood -almost e x u l t a n t l y as he " f a r e s to the Temple, g a i l y " r (Bk. IV, ch. The L a s t , p. 820). The Wrayburns do not emigrate; the Harmons remain i n the c i t y and turn t h e i r dust heaps i n t o true gold. What emerges from Dickens' p r o g r e s s i v e l y urbanized r e s o l u t i o n s i s an i n c r e a s -i n g l y complex a t t i t u d e toward the c i t y . The t r a d i t i o n a l c o u n t r y - c i t y , g o o d-evil dichotomy that i s so o f t e n a r t i c u l a t e d i n Pickwick Papers and that becomes a I* s t r u c t u r i n g p r i n c i p l e i n O l i v e r Twist i s a dichotomy t h a t ^ t h e l a t e r n o v e l s , only 40 c h i l d r e n , e c c e n t r i c s , and phonies can c l i n g to wholeheartedly. Even i n P i c k - wick Papers Dickens punctures the seriousness of the anti-urban r h e t o r i c by d e s c r i b i n g Mr. Pickwick's monologue on Pan and pan t i l e s , and crop and stone crop, as merely an extended c l i c h e , a cross examination of s o l i t u d e " a f t e r the most approved precedents" (ch. 7, p. 82). By the time he comes to w r i t e Our  Mutual F r i e n d , Dickens sees the i n s i s t e n c e on the r u r a l i d e a l as yet another i n s t a n c e of the c i t y ' s Podsnappery, i t s w i l f u l r e f u s a l to open i t s eyes and see 40 See f o r i n s t a n c e the a t t i t u d e s of Paul Dombey and young David Copper-f i e l d , Aunt Betsey Trotwood, and Mrs. Skewton. Many other characters ( i n c l u d -i n g Dickens as n a r r a t o r ) comment on the beauties and a t t r a c t i o n s of nature, but they do not do so c o n s t a n t l y and singlemindedly. Although c h i l d r e n and e c c e n t r i c s ( u n l i k e phonies) express many of Dickens' most cherished values ( p a r t i c u l a r l y that of the i m a g i n a t i o n ) , they are some-times too innocent, and tend to o v e r s i m p l i f y and exaggerate the j o y s of nature. T h e i r dreams are d e l i g h t f u l , but "with no r e a l world i n . . . [them]" (D.C., ch. 10, p. 147). 130 the world as i t r e a l l y i s . Thus, at one of the C h a r i t y Schools, a l l the p l a c e was pervaded' by a g r i m l y l u d i c r o u s pretence that every p u p i l was c h i l d i s h and innocent . ... . Young women o l d i n the v i c e s of the commonest and worst l i f e , were expected to pro-f e s s themselves e n t h r a l l e d by the good c h i l d ' s book, The Adventures of L i t t l e Margery, who r e s i d e d i n the v i l l a g e cottage by the m i l l . . . (O.M.F., Bk. I I , ch. 1, p. 214). The r e a l s h i f t i n Dickens' a t t i t u d e to the c i t y i s i m p l i e d i n the song Pip l e a r n s " w i t h the utmost g r a v i t y " at h i s l i t t l e v i l l a g e s c h o o l : When I went to Lunnontown s i r s , Too r u l loo ru'l Too r u l loo r u l . Wasn't I done very brown s i r s ? (G.E., ch. 15, p. 102) But P i p , u n l i k e O l i v e r , i s not "done very brown" at a l l . On the c o n t r a r y , he i s brown (or r a t h e r , g u i l t y ) before he leaves h i s country home, and i s not innocent enough to be done brown again i n London. He b r i n g s h i s c o r r u p t i o n w i t h him; the c i t y does l i t t l e more than confirm i t . N e v ertheless, nature i t s e l f (though not n e c e s s a r i l y men i n n a t u r e ) , r e -mains f o r Dickens " l i k e a glimpse of the b e t t e r l a n d " (B.H., ch. 18, p. 253). But i t i s only so f o r those who know how to look at i t , not f o r men l i k e F l e d -41 geby and Guppy, who see i t only as extensions of t h e i r business world. The c i t y and c i t y men would not be redeemed simply by being taken out i n t o the 42 country. What i s needed to begin w i t h i s a new k i n d of v i s i o n , a r e c o g n i t i o n of the l i m i t s of the C i t y m e n t a l i t y . But t h i s can only be done, and must be done, i n the c i t y i t s e l f ; the country breezes merely help Dombey recover; the Fledgeby's comment on Riah's garden has already been noted. Mr. Guppy i n B.H. claims to need the d e l i g h t s of the country ( p a r t i c u l a r l y Chesney Wold) as a r e l i e f from h i s Chancery world, b ut soon turns those country views (his look at Lady. Dedlock's p o r t r a i t ) i n t o an attempt at b l a c k m a i l . 42 Note how Lady Dedlock i s no more innocent or f r e e i n L i n c o l n s h i r e than i n London. N e i t h e r Riderhood nor Headstone are redeemed by t h e i r long walks i n the country. And Eugene i s changed not by the beauty of the countryside but by h i s brush w i t h death. c r u c i a l moment of self-knowledge takes place i n his own home i n London. The e s s e n t i a l d i s t i n c t i o n that Dickens . l e a r n s , a n d that h i s redeemed characters must also recognize, i s that C i t y and c i t y need not be synonymous. The world of the cash-nexus i s powerful indeed, but not omnipotent: i t i s s t i l l p o ssible to grow a l i t t l e garden on a rooftop i n the C i t y , or choose a loving wife and l i v e happily with her i n London, without the approval of Society. The source of s o c i a l s t e r i l i t y i n Dickens' novels i s not London but the Cit y , the monster that has taken c o n t r o l of i t and turned the human community into a function of Money, Law,and the System. Mortimer Lightwood i n Our Mut- ual Friend can only fare "to the Temple, g a i l y " because he has seen through the 43 C i t y (and i t s Society) and remains detached from i t . The Cit y becomes a state of mind, rather than any p a r t i c u l a r place: Dombey c a r r i e s h i s gloom with 44 him to Leamington; Lightwood i s free from i t even:'in the heart of the Temple. Thus, for the few characters who have learned to see themselves and t h e i r world with c l e a r eyes, the c i t y loses i t s demonic power. There i s no longer any need to escape i t . So i t i s for Dickens the a r t i s t , who i n the very act of creation must continue to confront the c i t y and see i t imaginatively. Each succeeding The need f o r detachment (not f o r Podsnap-like i n d i f f e r e n c e ) i s under-l i n e d by the r e s u l t s of Richard Carstone's excessive involvement i n Chancery. Richard considers A l l a n Woodcourt's judgment l i m i t e d because "he i s only an outsider, and i s not i n the mysteries . . . . He can't be expected to know much of such a l a b y r i n t h " (B.H., ch. 51, p. 695). But, p r e c i s e l y because he stands r i g h t i n the middle of the l a b y r i n t h , and i s therefore most t o t a l l y l o s t , i t i s Richard who cannot understand the mystery. Unlike Woodcourt, he cannot add the knox^ledge of detachment to the knowledge of experience. 44 C a r l y l e describes the C i t y mind when he says of modern English society that i t s Heaven i s the "making of money", i t s H e l l the f a i l u r e do so. (Past  and Present, "Gospel of Mammonism", i n Buckler, p. 136). In contrast to Dombey,Lightwood i s s i n g u l a r l y unimpressed with the idea of pr o f e s s i o n a l and f i n a n c i a l success. Unlike Dombey, too, he does not take the judgment of Soc-i e t y (or "the world") at a l l s e r i o u s l y . . 13Z novel, therefore, enriches h i s v i s i o n of London u n t i l , l i k e Lightwood, he no longer f e a r s i t , and has no wish to leave i t . Dickens, the great n o v e l i s t of urban l i f e , i s both i t s c r i t i c and i t s c e l e b r a n t , f o r he knows that there i s nowhere e l s e to go: "men and women must get to know each other i n the c i t y , or not at a l l " . ^ " ' Raymond Williams, " L i t e r a t u r e and the C i t y " , p. 655. A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. London, 1966. . David Copperfield. London, 1966. . Dombey and Son. London, 1968. . Great Expectations. London, 1965. Hard Times. London, 1955. _. L i t t l e Dorrit. London, 1967. Martin-Chuzzlewit. London, 1959. . 7 ' . Oliver Twist. London, 1964. . Our Mutual Friend. London, 1963. . Pickwick Papers. London, 1964. Dupee, F.W., ed. The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens. New York, 1960. SECONDARY SOURCES Briggs, Asa. Victorian Cities. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1968. Brown, Norman 0. Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History. New York, 1959. Brown, Ivor. Dickens in His Time. London, 1965. Burke, Allan R. "Dickens' Image of the City." Diss., Indiana University, 1966. Carlyle, Thomas. Past and Present and "Shooting Niagara;and After?" in Prose  of the Victorian Period, ed. William E. Buckler. Cambridge, Mass., 1958, 129-67. Cockshutt, A.O.J. The Imagination of Charles Dickens. New York, 1962. Cruikshank, R.J. Charles Dickens and Early Victorian England. London, 1949. Dyos, H.J. "The Slums of Victorian London." VS, XI (Sept., 1967), 5-40. Fanger, Donald. Dostoevsky and Romantic Realism. Cambridge, Mass., 1965. 134 Ford, George H., and Lauriat Lane Jr., eds. The Dickens C r i t i c s . New York, 1961. Forster, John. The Life of Charles Dickens, ed. A.J. Hoppe. 2 vols. • London, 1966. . Forsyth, R.A. "The Victorian Self Image and the Emergent City Sensibility'.'. UTQ, XXXIII (Oct. 1963), 61-77. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. New York, 1966. Gross, John, and Gabriel Pearson, eds. Dickens and the Twentieth Century. Toronto, 1962. , Hammond, J.L. and Barbara. The Town Labourer: The New Civ i l i z a t i o n 1760-1832. New York, 1968. House, Humphry. The Dickens World. London, 1965. Johnson, Edgar. Charles Dickens: His Triumph and Tragedy. 2 vols. Toronto, 1952. Jordan, Robert Furneaux. Victorian Architecture. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1966. Korg, Jacob, ed. London in Dickens' Day. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., 1960. Marcus, Steven. Dickens from Pickwick to Dombey. New York, 1968. _ . The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth Century England. London, 1969. Mayhew, Henry. Mayhew's London, ed. Peter Quennell. Czechoslovakia, 1969. Miller, J. H i l l i s . Charles Dickens: The World of his Novels. Cambridge, Mass., 1968. Mumford, Lewis. The City in History: i t s Origins, i t s Transformations, and  it s Prospects. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1966. O'Leary, Sister Jeanine. "Function of the City as Setting in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, Trollope's The Way We Live Now, James' The Princess Casamassima, and the Secret Agent by Conrad." Diss., Notre Dame University, 1965. Price, Martin., ed. Dickens: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays. Englewood .Clif f s , N.J., 1967. Raleigh, John Henry. "The Novel and the City: England and America in -the Nineteenth Century." VS, XI (March, 1968), 291-328. Schorske, Carl E. "The Idea of the City in European Thought." in The  Historian and the City, ed. Oscar Handlin and John Burchard. Boston, 1963, 95-114. .Seiden, Mark A. "Dickens' London: The City as Comic Apocalypse'.1. Diss., Cornell University, 1967. Smith, Grahame. Dickens, Money, and Society. Berkeley, 1968. Sucksmith, Harvey Peter. "Dickens and Mayhew: A Further Note." Nineteenth .Century Fiction, XXIV (December, 1969), 345-9. VanGhent, Dorothy. The English Novel: Form and Function. New York, 1961. Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding Berkeley, 1964. Weber, Adna Ferrin. The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century. Ithaca N.Y., 1965. Welsh, Alexander. "Satire and History: The City of Dickens1.'. VS, XI (March, 1968), 879-400. Williams, Raymond. Culture and Society 1780-1950. Harmondsworth, Middlesex 1966. ' . "Literature and the City". The Listener, LXXVIII, (23 November, 1967), 653-56. Wilson, Edmund. "Dickens: The Two Scrooges'.'., in The Wound and the Bow, New York, 1965, 3-85. 

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