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CHARLES READE: SOCIAL CRUSADER

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Quinn, John Francis, 19041942
Charles Reade: social crusader...
.Q5
cNew Yorks 1942.
Ip.1.,257,c3a typewritten leaves.
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Thesis (Ph.D.) - New York university,
Graduate school, 1942.
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T H IS D IS S E R T A T IO N HAS BEEN M IC R O F IL M E D E X A C T L Y AS R E C E IV E D .
Gentlemen of the Committee:
Hie stationer Informs me that
the paper used for this thesis Is
the nearest he has (or can get) to
twenty-pound bond.
CHARLES READE: SOCIAL CRUSADER
A dissertation in the department of English, submitted to
the faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and
Science in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
JOHN Pi QUINN
March 16, 1942
TABLE OP CONTENTS
I
INTRODUCTION............................
1
II
FEMINISM................................
17
III
THE LABORER.............................
46
IV
THE PROFESSIONS.........................
79
V
BUSINESS AND FINANCE...................
Ill
VI
GOVERNMENT..............................
125
Vll
THE RIGHTS AND WRONGS OF AUTHORS.......
143
PRISONS AND ASYLUMS..............
175
IX
"SOCIETY” ...............................
214
X
"CROTCHETS".............................
236
XI
CONCLUSION..............................
253
VIII
BIELIO GRAPHY
C H A P T E R
O N E
INTRODUCTION
Since Charles Reade's death, in lb84, three volumes
purporting to review and interpret his life have appeared:
first, the notoriously inaccurate and misleading biograpiy^
called Reade as j: Knew Him, by John coleman;
second, the
incomplete and biased Memoir of Charles Reade, by his nephew,
the Reverend Compton Reade, and his godson, Charles Liston
Reade;
and finally, the scholarly biography, entitled simply
Charles Reade, which was completed by Mr. Malcoin Elwin, in
1931.
Each of these writers has given due notice cf the
philanthropic and reform principles which motivated so mue#
of Reade's work, but none has even pretended to treat his
subject carefully from the viewpoint of social analysis.
Therefore the premise upon which the present study is based
may be more precisely described not as a thesis to be dem­
onstrated or defended, but as a manifest truth to be
reviewed and analysed.
Consequently, although occasional
references will be made to Coleman's book and to the Memoir,
2
and Kr. Elwin's book will be consulted frequently, the great
bulk of material introduced to analyze Reade's reform pro­
grams will be taxen from his own novels, plays, pamphlets,
and letters to the press.
Reade's whole personality and character— his belliger­
ency, his sincerity, his passion for reform, his compla­
cent self-righteousness— all make him truly and completely
representative of the Victorian state of mind, and there­
fore the wide popularity which he enjoyed both in his own
country and in America makes an examination of his philos­
ophy profitable in that it affords another vantage point
from which to view the collective mlhd of that much lauded,
much abused creature, the mid-Victorian. /W*t should be
remembered that the large circulation of Reade's novels was
achieved in the face of competition from Dickens, Thackeray,
and Eliot, not to mention a hundred other writers whose names have
been shunted out to the fringes of the literary tapestry.
Although Charles Reade always insisted that the theater
was his first and last love, and that the drama was his natural
medium of expression, little attention will be paid to his plays
in this study.
In the first place half of them were adapta­
tions of i’rench pieces, usually produced either as pot-boilers
or as experimental efforts in dramatic art, and not for the
purpose of disseminating reform propaganda.
And the second
group, almost equally unsuccessful, were either collabora­
tions with Tom Taylor, or dramatizations of his own novels,
and so not different in conception or motive from the novels
themselves.
There will also be little space given to the
learned pedantry which so frequently passes for literary
criticism, and what is included will be relegated to a short
concluding section.
Reade's position as an artist already has
been justly if not generously appraised by Sir Arthur wuillerCouch, Swinburne, Besant, Suintsbury, and others more eager
though perhaps less able to guage his peculiar genius.
Reade lived completely across one of the most significant
spans of English history.
Born intc a serious, sober land that
still only too vividly remembered the atrocities of the French
Revolution and the threat of Napoleonic invasion, he saw while
still a child the riots, massacres, and conspiracies caused by
the post-war depression and the first concerted agitation for
political reform.
When he entered Oxford in lb£l, at the age
of seventeen, the franchise had already transcended religious
affiliations, and while he was pursuing his independent reading
in solitude there the first great step toward universal male
suffrage was accomplished.
As a young law student at T.incoln’s
Inn Fields, a continental tourist, and a Vinerian fellow and
bursar at Ilagdalen, Heaae witnessed the accession of the young
but resolute <*ueen, the rise of the disgruntled Chartists, and
the passage of the Factory anc Tines Acts.
In IciB he watched
the third French aevolu.tion at close quarters, barely escaping
from Paris with a whole smin.
And as a mature n.an he noted the
rise of progressive government, the growth of free trade, and
the development of imperialism.
He jcnew the periods of war,
4r
of prosperity, and of panic, and through all the vicissitudes
of national experience he kept an unwavering eye upon the
individual threads of human depravity and idealism that make
up ids warp and woof.
The England from which he departed in
1884 was as different from the land of his birth as liberty is
from bondage, and it is by no means a ridiculous presumption
to attribute some share in this transformation to his own
passion for social justice.
Reade was in more intimate and more continuous touch with
the news of the day than any other writer who lived during
his time.
He carefully studied not only the major economic
and political issues of his own and other countries, but also
the quaint and obscure newspaper items which seemed no more
than striking human interest stories to casual readers, but
which served Reade as bases for so much of his reform agita­
tion.
He was one of the first "newspaper” novelists, spending
hours each day clipping articles from the daily press, and
pasting them into alphabetically arranged notebooks, where they
remained, sometimes for days, sometimes for decades, before
being .used as story material, or in illustration of some con­
troversial point.
numerous —
The huge volumes became so bul^y and so
finally more than thirty of them were stacked in
his study -- that he found it necessary to construct an
Index ad Indices, which contains several hundred items, used or
awaiting use, all listed alphabetically, and followed by the
05
appropriate page references in the folio noteoooKS themselves.^Reade had a genuine appreciation of the responsibilities
resting with members of the fourth estate, and it was by his
own instruction that the word "Journalist" was added to
"Dramatist" and "Novelist" after the name on his gravestone.
It is said that when Mies Braadon, novelist and editor, and in­
timate friend of Reade, remarked to him that she rarely read
the newspapers, needing all her time for the perusal of books,
he replied abruptly, "You should read the newspapers, and
2
leave books alone."
rt l£ Never Too Late to Mend developed
out of the newspaper story of a suicide in Birmingham Jail;
Put Yourself in His place is ba.eed upon the exhaustive re­
search which followed newspaper accounts of trade union
abuses in Manchester and Sheffield;
A Terrible Temptation
had its genesis in the newspaper stories of a criminal
trial.
«na even The Cloister and the Hearth, written of
other times and countries, owes much of its engrossing
1. See Emerson jrant Sutcliffe, "Charles Reade's Notebooks,'/
Studies in Philology, University of North Carolina Press, Vol. 37,
No. 1, pp. 1 0 6 - 1 0 9 ( January, 1030). Reade stipulated in his
will tnat after his death the voluminous tomes should be made
available for public inspection for two years. This was never
done, but thirty-two of tnem are now in the London Library,
having been donated by the author's grandnephew, Herbert V.
Reade, in 1916.
2. Reverend Compton Reade and Charles Liston Reade, A Memoir
of Charles Reade, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1887, p. 386.
fFis work will""be referred to hereafter simply as the Memoir.
6
narrative to a French record of passing events during the Mid3
die Ages.
If it may be considered established that Reade spent an
enormous amount of time and energy to maintain close contact
with the news of his day, it becomes important to learn to
what extent he possessed the sincere reformer's attitude.
In
this connection Mr. Elwin remarks that his suDject was the
4
J'most conscientious" of all the "purpose" novelists,
and
certainly if public spirit, hatred of injustice, and wnat some­
times amounted almost to a fanatical defense of the under-dog
are evidences of conscientiousness, Reade ranks high in that
regard.
What Mr. William alien White describes as "intelligent
discontent" seems to have been the most prominent characteristic
in his complex personality.
He never hesitated before making
a cnoice between truth and repose, ana wnile his literary cru­
sades have antagonized many because of their blatancy, their
domineering prepossession, and their patent self-praise, no
one has ventured to question the author's sincerity.
In 1859
3. See Aloert Morton Turner, "Another Source for The Cloister
and the Hearth." Publications of the Modern Language Association,
tyol. 40, pp. 898-90& (1§25).
In this solid study the two-volume
book "on the Hotels and Taverns of the Middle Ages," about which
Reade wrote to Mrs. Seymour as furnishing excellent material for
A Good Fight, Tne Cloister and the Hearth's first form, is ind’isputably proved, by far more than Reade's own doctrine of three
coincidences, to be the Histoire dee Hotelleiies, Cacarets, etc.,
by Michel a.nd Fournier, published in 1851.
4. Malcolm Elwin, Charles Reade. Jonathan Cape, London, 1551,
p. b?2. This work will be referred to hereafter only by the
author's name.
07
fovisited Lord L'ytton at Knebworth, and told him something of
the defense of French copyright protection which was going
into The Eighth Commandment (1660).
Lytton's attitude
caused Reade to write angrily to Mrs. Seymour that the older
writer "asked me what was my interest in defending French
copyrights?
They are all alike.
Incapable of public
feelin^, unable to imagine its existence within the numan
5
breast."
And in the book itself Reade describes authors as
6
"the moral instructors and self-appointed judges of mankind."
In 1663, wnen his reputation as a "purpose" writer was
completely assured, he wrote regarding tne expression "sensa­
tion novelist," which was already being used to describe him,
"This slang term is not quite accurate as appjied to me.
Without sensation there can be no interest; but my plan is to
mix a little character and a little philosophy with the
sensational element" (my italics).
More than once he as­
serted, either directly or by inference, t^at one of the prime
objectives of any writer should be "to do good — or try, at all
8
events," and the final vindication of his conception of an
5.
Memoir, p. 866.
6. The Eighth Commandment, Ticknor and Fields, Boston, ie60,
p. 161.
7. Hard Cash, Dana Estes and Company, Boston, 1899, Preface.
This is known as the Illustrated Sterling Edition, and will be
the one used for all future references to Reade’s works, except
where otherwise specified.
8.
A Woman-Hater, p. 584.
author's social and moral responsibility is contained in his
9
claim that '"Justice' is the daughter of 'Publicity. *H
One
of the most interesting passages which Reade wrote in com­
placent self-evaluation is that contained in A Terrible
Temptation (1871.
Angelo is urging Lady Bassett to consult
Rolfe, , the novelist, who is Reade in the tninnest of dis­
guises, about the methods for releasing her husband from an in­
sane asylum.
He says,
He is a writer, and opinions vary as to his merit. Some say
he has talent; others Eay it is all eccentricity and affectation.
One thing is certain; his books bring about the changes he
demands. And then he is in earnest; he has taken a good many
alleged lunatics out of confinement. 10
Assuming the significance of his subjects, and the zealous
crusader's temperament which enabled him to handle them force­
fully, it is important to consider to what extent Reade was a
reliable reporter of facts and events.
In his criticism of
Reade's novels Swinburne asserts that "In the power of reali­
sing and vivifying what he could only have known by research or
11
by report, Reade is second only to Defoe."
This is deserved
9.
"Our Dark Places," Readiana, Chatto and Windus, London
Library Edition, lc9o, p. 101.
10*
Ojo. cit«, p. Bio.
11. Algernon Swinburne, "Cnarles Reade," Miscellanies, Complete
Works, Bonchurch Edition, Edmund joese and Tuomas Wise, editors,
WillTam Heineman, Ltd., London, 1926, Vol. 14, p. 350.
09
praise of the nineteenth century v;Titer's documentary habit,
but care should be taken to remember that Reade emphasized re­
sear ch, and used unauthenticated report only sparingly, when
the means of scientific study were not available; and that
he stopped short where Defoe marched merrily on, supplying
from his own boundless imagination, and with convincing
verisimilitude, the links which research could not produce.
Certainly Reade could "realize" and "vivify," and he has
given ample evidence of imaginative power, but his scruples
as a reformer precluded t*.e practice of "lying like truth,"
and exactly here lies the basic difference between the author
of the Journal of the plague Year and Reade.
The former was
an artist before anything else, wnile the Victorian, not­
withstanding all his vehement assertions about the art of
fiction, was a reformer first, and an artist only when these
two factt* of his personality were not incompatible.
In 1855,
at the very oeginning of his career as an autnor, Reade wrote
in his notebook, for his own future guidance, "I promise never
12
to guess where I can know,"
and from this time forward he
never violated the resolution "to tell the truth soberly,"
which many who challenged his books as inaccurate found to
their discomfort.
Hence the hundreds of hours devoted to the
meticulous perusal of newspapers, blue-books, and parliamentary
records and reports, to say nothing of innumerable visits paid
12.
Elwin, p. 86.
310
to courtrooms, prisons, insane asylums, factories, and farms.
He studied prison reports, interviewed prisoners, ana had
himself locked in a dungeon before he v?rote I_t Is_ Never Too
Late to Mend;
he consulted with the industrial laborers and their
union leaders, and watched the factories of Manchester and
Sheffield in operation before settin^ pen to Put Yourself In
His £lace_;
and his vitriolic replies to the critics who
attacked A Terriole Temptation and Griffith Gaunt as immoral
show that the alleged indecencies of these two novels came
from items in the newspapers of the day.
Even in the writing
of The Cloister and the Hearth, a book in which inaccuracy, or
at least generality might easily have been condoned, Reade
struggled through as much research as would suffice for Henry
Esmond, A Tale of Two Cities. and Romola together, and while
his insistence upon this abundance of antiquarian aata does not
necessarily enhance his reputation as an artist,
it does es­
tablish his position as a reliable documentary novelist.
In
a letter to annie Fields, wife of tne American publisher, con­
cerning Tne Cloister and the Hearth. Reade includes "a list of
books I have read, skimmed, or studied to write this little
13
misery,"
and there follows a group o i seventy-nine titles
("etc., etc."I), including ancient and modern tomes, some of
them written in foieign languages.
This unswerving faithfulness
to fact allowed him to write, with pardonable self-satisfac­
tion, near the close of his career, "My brilliant contemporato
ries go^their imagination for their facts.
I, poor drudge
13. Annie T. Fields, "An Acquaintance with Charles Reade "
Century Magazine. Vol. 29, p. 73.
’
00011
go to one of twenty folio notebooks in which I have entered,
14
alphabetically, the curious facts of the day for many a year."
It should also be noticed that the Mr. Kolfe of A Terrible
15
Temptation has "about twenty large folios of classified facts"
stacked under his work table, and Angelo urges Lady Bassett to
consult him with the statement,
"But tnis writer's fictions are
not like the novels you read;
search.
Tney are works of laborious re16
Besides, he is a lawyer as well as a novelist."
In an unfortunate attempt to defend Reade against the
critics who have condemned him "for desecrating an art by
adaptation to the function of tne controversial pamphlet,"
Mr. Elwin asserts that "before definitely devoting himself to
the 'purpose' and 'sensation' novel, he attempted to revive
the art of the literary pamphlet after the manner of Swift
17
and Defoe."
Regarding the first statement, no novel which
pleads for universal justice and humanity is serving the func­
tion of a mere "controversial pamphlet."
declaration is palpably untrue.
And the second
Mr. Elwin himself, guided
by the erudite Mr. M i c n a d Sadltir, has been able to discover
less than a uozen scattered pamphlets, published over a period
of many years, and most of them were written not before Reade's
14.
"Colonel Baker's Sentence," Readiana, p. 245.
15.
ort., p. 2w2
16.
0£. cit., p. 214
17.
Elwin, p. 138
00012
novels, but in reply to oritioism of them.
was written in 1850, and published in 1853;
Christie Johnstone
Peg Woffington was
written and published in 1852, and .It. Is. Never Too Late to. Mend
was published in 1856,
Now Reade’s first "literary pamphlet"
was written in reply to charges of exaggeration in the last
named novel, and his next pamphlet, one of the very few nonliterary efforts, was written four years later, in 1860, after
its author had added Love Me Little. Love Me Long and A Good
Fight to his list of novels.
And if Mr. Elwin is referring to
Reade's numerous newspaper articles as "controver^.1 pamphlets,"
they too were written long after their author was identified in
everyone's mind, including his own, as a novelist and dramatist.
Reade was a born reformer, and there is little reason or sense
to any attempt either to interpret him as an artist, or to ex­
cuse his not being one.
Although he himself preached about
18
"Fiction, the xing of the fine arts,"
and prided himself
upon his efforts in that field, when he looked, like the poet,
into his own heart to write, he found there not a set of vapid
artistic principles, but an innate and flaming passion to ex­
pose and correct all that ..as wrong with the world.
This is
why his novels yield so many patent instances of what Swinburne
describes as "passionate philanthropy riding roughshod over the
18.
"The Rights and Wrongs of Authors," Readiana, p. 112,
00013
is
ruins of artistic propriety."
In his attitude toward fiction
Reade sermonized about the theory of art for art's sake, but in
practice he wrote himself. and that self was social orusader from
the very beginning.
Christie Johnstone. Reade's first novel, was written in
1850, and though he had not then begun his elaborate systen of
notebooks, he incorporated into that first story propaganda
against a wider field of cant and abuses than into any other of
20
his works.
He writes down Antiquity (and Carlyle with itj),
"sooiety," drunkenness, snobbishness, quasi-painting, and quasi­
art in general, stupid government, anti-feminism, and a dozen
pher
other ills that che Stratford philoso- says flesh is heir to.
Early in the book, when Dr. Aberford has described love as a
"cutaneous disorder" to Lord Ipsden, Reade adds,
'There are cutaneous disorders that take that name,
but they are no more love than verse is poetry;
•Than patriotism is love of country;
'Than theology is religion;
•Than science is philosophy;
•Than paintings are pictures;
'Than reciting on the boards is acting;
'Than physic is medioine;
21
'Than bread is bread, or gold, gold —
19.
in shops.'
A. Swinburne, 0 £. oit., p. 358,
20.
In discussing the defense of Antiquity which Carlyle pro­
poses in Past and Present Reade writes, "That a book-maker should
blaspheme high civilization, by which he alone exists, and one
of whose diseases and flying pains he is, neither surprised nor
moved him (Lord Ipsden); but that any human being's actions should
be affeoted by such tempestuous twaddle, was ridiculous"(o p . ojt-p. 95).
00014
Such a passage is enough to identify Reade as a confirmed reform­
er, and it was written long before he had occasion to think of
pamphlets.
In an era of feverish novel writing he fastened upon
fiction as the medium through which to conduct his numerous orusades, and from 1850 onward he blasted his way through mountains
of cant, cruelty, hypocrisy, and the world of things in general.
He frequently gave offense in high places as well as low, and
the wonder is that a single man could command the courage and
energy necessary to conduct such bold campaigns for such a wide
variety of causes.
In considering Reade as a social crusader it is important to
remember that, notwithstanding opinions which have been given con­
siderable credence, he was neither a crank nor a fanatic.
No
estimate of the man's stature as a reformer could be less fair
than one which classifies him with those social anarchists who
preach that whatever is, is wrong.
In Christie Johnstone he de­
rides the medievalists through his criticism of Lady Barbara Sin­
clair, who was
a little bitten ’
with what she and others called the iliddle Ages,
in fact with that picture of them which Grub Street, imposing on
the simplicity of youth, had got up 'or sale by arraying painted
glass, gilt rags, and fancy as fact. 32
And later in the same story he points out that Lord Ipsden "found
it simply amusing that so keen a wit as his cousin's could be en­
trapped into the humor of decrying the time one happens to live
23
in, and admiring any epoch one knows next to nothing about."
In
defense of the greatness of his own day Reade writes, while speak­
ing of God's bounty "to the human race in this age,"
22.
Ioiti. , p. lo.
23.
Ibid.. p. 73.
08015
He has given us to see Titans enslaved by man; steam harnessed
to our carriages and ships; galvanism tamed, into an alphabet —
a gamut, and its metal harp strings stretohed across the earth
malgre* mountains and the sea, and so men's minds defying the
twin monsters Time and Space; and now (1353) gold revealed in
the east and west at once, and so mankind now first in earnest
peopling the enormous globe.
And two paragraphs later:
"The age, smaller than epochs to
come, is a giant compared with the past, and full of mighty
24
materials for any great pen in prose or verse,"
Towards the
end of the chapter in which he describes the gold strike in
Australia Reade repeats,
I say before Heaven and earth that the man who oan grasp
the facts of this day and do an immortal writer's duty by them,
i. e., so paint th-m as a later age will be content to engrave
them, would be the greatest writer ever lived; such is the force,
weight, and number of the grand topics that lie this day on the
world's faoe,
I say that he who has eyes to see may now see
greater and far more poetic things than human eyes have seen
25
since our Lord and His apostles and His miracles left the earth.
And finally,
■When we write a story or sing a poem of the great nine­
teenth century, there is but one fear — not that our theme will
be beneath us, but we miles below it; that we shall lack the
comprehensive vision a man must have from h-nven to oatoh the
historical, tne poetic, the last features, of the Titan events
that stride so swiftly past IN THIS GIGANTIC AGE,*26
Reade clearly recognized the greatness of his own times, and
had great hope for the future, but his temperament, and the
whole soci'.l philosophy which it molded, were built around the
blessed precept that dissatisfaction is the basis of all pro­
gress,
And so, alive to public apathy, he ooated his gospels
24,
It. Is. Never Too Late to Mend. Book 2, pp. 76-77.
25,
Ibid., p. 77,
25,
Ibid.. p. 78.
16with the sugar of fiction,
and frankly told his audience, In
the prologue to a projected magazine.
1 know the public taste: It Is for exciting and amusing lies,
not for truth, justice, and European wisdom* Well, let us com­
pound. I will give you a reasonable dose of liesj only when you
have drunk them with the eagerness they do not deserve, come,
pray, sip the noble elixir that is to do you good. 27
The following chapters are intended as an attempt to analyze and
evaluate that elixir.
27.
"The Situation*"
Memoir, p. 362.
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00013
fully kept his house and his affairs in order for more than twenty
years, till her death in 1879.
John Coleman, friend and biographer
of Reade, quotes his subject as admitting, "Sometimes I worked quick
iy, sometimes slowly, always reading chapter after chapter to my
4
Egeria, who sat upon my work and upon me."
Whether Reade ever said
this may be one question, and whether Mrs. Seymour was entitled to
the honor another, but certainly the man felt that she deserved it,
which is enough further to establish the significance of feminine
persuasion upon his opinion.
Finally, it should be remembered that
as was indicated in the introduction, Reade was a typical Victorian
reformer, always on the lookout for a "cause" that would give him
an opportunity to appear before the public in the role of savior
or redeemer.
A discussion of possible feminine influences upon Reade seems
a logical place in which to introduce an interesting aspect of
Mr. Elwin's biography.
In his comments upon Christie Johnstone
(1853) Reade's latest biographer seems anxious to establish the
existence of a serious love affair between his subject and the
living prototype of the heroine, without supplying sufficient evi­
dence to prove it.
That such evidence may exist is intimated by
Mr. Elwin when he says of the book, "How far that artificial and
amateurish story is autobiographical, it is impossible to determine
until there is produced more evidence than is at present available."
Yet in the immediately succeeding pages he exerts himself to pro-
4. John Coleman, Charles Reade as I Knew Him, Anthony Traherne and
Co., Ltd., London, 1903, p. 157.
5. Elwin, p. 43.
00019
duce all the merely circumstantial evidence tending to substantiate
the theory, while neglecting the negative aspects entirely.
The
book itself, which is refreshing and charming, however "artificial
and amateurish,11 contains the story of an honest young artist's
love for a Scotch peasant girl of the Amazon type.
Since she is
below the artist's social station, his indignant mother (a former
cook, and the wife of a greengrocer!) rushes up from London, and
nearly prevents their marriage.
Mr. Elwin attaches biographical
significance to these developments for several reasons.
In the
first place he asserts that Reade did not marry the girl (They were
married in the story) because such an act would have deprived him
of his fellowship at Oxford;
and Elwin also adds that The Cloister
and, the Hearth, written ten years later, represents Reade's resent­
ment against the unreformed church for requiring celibacy of its
priests, because he, a lay fellow in the reformed one, was prevent­
ed from marrying by a similar regulation.
This may be true, but
the connection is rather loose, and Mr. Elwin certainly does not
6
prove his thesis.
Furthermore, the timidity thus imputed to Reade
is patently irreconcilable with his generally ebullient egotism.
Second, it is proposed that Mrs. Reade, like the Mrs. Gatty of the
story, made her objections to his marriage so forceful that her son
gave up the idea, but here the biographer appears to forget for a
moment that Reade was his mother's son, with a will that later
caused Mr. Elwin himself to describe him as the "most untractable
6. On page 46 Mr. Elwin says, in treating the possible biographical
significance of Christie Johnstone, "The story is entirely sup­
positious"; yet on page 98, referring to Reade's resentment
against the law which required an Oxford fellow to remain celi­
bate, he blandly asserts that this regulation "was probably the
cause of his youthful tragedy with the original of Christie
Johnstone."
From obvious supposition to assumption of fact is
a long leap.
00020
7
of men.”
Certainly the terms in which Reade describes Charles Gat-
ty's insipid vacillation under his mother's proddings would repre­
sent a tacit admission that he himself was weak in not marrying, an
admission hardly compatible with his egotistical and forthright tem­
per.
The parental interference in the story is best viewed merely
as another Readeian commentary upon ignorant Intolerance.
It is
true that Reade spent a great deal of time in Scotland between 1855
an<^1845, and that he bought a herring fishery there, but Compton
Reade points out that during his vacations as a law student "some
Oxford acquaintances afforded him alike hospitality, introductions,
8
and splendid sport in the Highlands."
And after 1839 Reade was
frequently entertained by his brother William, who lived in Scot­
land, and who understood, sympathized with, and helped Charles in
his literary work.
Actually the herring fishery could well have been
purchased with the same intention that the novelist later bought
9
violins, pictures, and real estate — as business ventures.
Mr. Elwin adds one or two other rather unconvincing statements in
evidence, such as the assertion that Reade's dedication of the book
to his mother may have been a subtle reproach for her having inter­
fered with his romance, and the reference to his subject's descrip­
tions of Christie's charms as "tender, even passionate."
In regard
7. Elwin, p. 77.
8. Memoir, p. 113. Reade's maternal great-grandfather was a Scotch­
man, and an officer in the Young Pretender's army (Ibid.).
9. Testimony of Reade's business acumen is given by the American,
General Meredith Read, in his Recollections (Elwin, p. 243).
00021
to the firs.t, Reade's essentially gallant Victorian personality
would not seem to permit anything so wretchedly vindictive, and
his descriptions of Christie's charms do not appear any more ten­
der than those applied to Jael Dence, or Helen Rolleston, or Susan
Merton.
These refutations are not offered as evidence that the
novel Christie Johnstone has no biographical significance;
but
they are presented in an effort to show that Mr. Elwin's arguments
for such interpretations are not convincing.
Perhaps information
proving that Reade did have such a serious love affair is available
to Mr. Elwin —
he implies that such information will be disclosed
in the future -- but it would seem that he has little justification
for making such an announcement on the basis of the evidence which
he produces in his book.
The first work in which. Reade evinces his interest in the cause
of women's rights is the amusing short story The Bloomer, which,
though not published till 1857, was probably written before either
Peg A;offington or Christie Johnstone.
The first notebook clipping
which Reade used for fiction contains a reference to the new dress
habits advocated by the American Amelia Jenks Bloomer in her own
paper, the Lily.
And perhaps the most significant fact about Peg
Woffington, as well as the slightly later Christie Johnstone, from
the point of view of Reade's interest in the cause of feminism, is
that through their leading characters they represent his early con­
viction that women are potentially men's equals in many things, and
their superiors in a few.
During the twenty-five year period which
elapsed between the publication of these first two volumes and the
avowedly feministic A Woman-Hater, which appeared, serially in 187677, Reade wrote repeated incidental but interesting comments which
clearly illustrate his good sense and presoienoe on the woman ques­
tion, as well as his personal bias, and insatiable passion for re­
form.
In the early Love Me Little, Love Me Long, published in 1859,
Eve Dodd disousses opportunities for women with Luoy, and concludes
eventually, "You could be a better parson, lawyer, or doctor than
nine out of ten (men]; tut they won't let us; they know we oould beat
u
10
them into fits at anything but brute strength and wiokedness."
And in The Cloister and the Hearth, published two years later,
Gerard points out to Margaret, in his long letter about Italy and
Italians, "Women have sat in the dootors' chairs at their colleges.
11
But she that sat in St. Peter's (pope loan] was a German."
There is not a fool or a weak personality among all Reade's
female oharaoters.
Even his villalnesses Impress one with their
strength, their resourcefulness, and their achievements.
Mrs. Aroh-
bold, the supervisor of the terrible asylum in Hard Cash, amazes one
with her dlabolio machinations, and the author oelebrates her re­
form at the story's conclusion by prophesying that she bade fair
"to be one of the best wives and mothers in England.
But then, mind
12
you, she had always —
brains."
Caroline Ryder, personal maid to
Lady Bassett in Griffith Gaunt. is a creature of calculating strength
and masterly adroitness.
It is her oonduot which moves Reade to
remark that "The absurd rule about not hitting a man when he is
10.
0£. oit.,p. 167.
11.
0£. oit., Volume II, p. 96.
12.
Op. oit.. Volume II, 332. W.J .—Johnston writes some interesting
oritioiims of Reade's female oharaoters: he points out that Ouida
(Louise de la Ramee) deprecates their bad manners; that W.L. Courtney
insisted they were not living people at all, but merely a series of
monotonous types; and that sir Walter Besant desorlbed them as true,
"average women," displaying both the faults and exoellenoiea common
to human nature. Johnston himself asserts that nO other Ehglish wri­
ter "showed the beauty of womanhood so truly" ("Charles Reade and His
Books," Gentleman's Magazine, volume 285 (1898), pp. 371-372).
00023
13
down, has never obtained a place in the great female soul."
Rho-
da Somerset, who brought so much self-righteous Victorian invective
upon her creator through a Terrible Temptation, is a woman of dog­
ged courage and perseverance, and *«rs. Bazalgette, the malignantly
selfish society matron of Love Me Little, Love Me Long, is made a
striking figure through her relentlessly cruel intriguing, as well
as through her distorted social ambitions.
Among his heroines Reade has created a group of figures which
give tacit support to his confidence in the potential ability of
women to stand at least on a level with men.
Helen Rolleston does
14
a substantial share of the physical work on Godsend Island;
Mrs. Dodd, when pressed by circumstances, becomes an excellent
dressmaker in Hard Cash;
Christie Johnstone frequently displays
both mental and muscular powers which discomfort her male acquain­
tances, although, like the "choicest women" whom
Meredith later
described in The Tragic Comedians, she "yielded not a feather of
[her/ womanliness for some amount of manlike strength^ . . . man's
brain, woman's heart";
in Put Yourself in His Place Mrs. Little
quickly learns to sharpen and finish her son's blades;
in the same
story Jael Dence proves adept at the saw-grinding operation, and at
superintending the work of the other girls in the factory;
and in
Griffith Gaunt Kate handles her own defense at the murder trial
with a skill and resourcefulness that do not seem so fantastic to
13.
Of). clt., p. 365.
14. Although Foul Play was developed in collaboration with Dion
Boucicault, Reade states ("The Sham Sample Swindle," Readiana,
p. 292) that he "handled, treated, and wrote every line" of it.
He must mean re-wrote in some cases, since he remarks (Ibid.,
p. 290) that several numbers came "complete in form as well as
in substance" from Boucicault.
00024
us as they did to some of Reade's contemporary critics.
To this
list should he added such female characters as Ina Klosking, Susan
Merton, Margaret Eliassoen, Lucy Fountain, Peg Woffington, and a
half-dozen others, who though handicapped by inadequate education,
demonstrate qualities of wisdom and resourcefulness that would seem
to entitle them to a position of general equality with men, or at
least to one far in advance of that occupied by most of their own
sex, concerning whose lack of resourcefulness Reade says, "Most
laborers' wives can only keep house, and few gentlemen's wives can
15
earn a penny."
It is by increasing the number of superior women
through education that Reade hopes to see the "sex" come into its
just heritage;
thus he quotes Rhoda Gale as saying, "I observe
that the average male is very superior in intellect to the average
female;
and I observe that the picked female is immeasurably more
superior to the average male, than the average male is to the average
16
female."
And of course specific attention must be given later to
Rhoda Gale, Reade's paragon of all the female virtues -- and vices -and the spearhead of his concentrated pro-feministic propaganda,
Reade ascribed the position of social inferiority in which
the women of his day were living to two causes:
first, the fact
that they were "educated" according to false and improper standards,
and second, the belief that they lacked the basic energy necessary
to long, painstaking effort in any field of labor.
15. Singleheart and Doubleface, p. 12.
16. A Woman-Ha<ter, p. 205.
That he later
00025
qualified his second assertion will be shown;
concerning the first,
certainly he had sufficient cause to ridicule the then current
methods of education for girls.
The position of social, moral, and
intellectual inferiority which Rousseau outlined for women in Emile
had a profound influence upon European thought, so that in England,
as in France, most female education consisted of efforts to teach
girls the superficial "accomplishments" which would make them de­
sirable, or the domestic skills which would make them drudges.
In
1792, exactly thirty years after the publication of Rousseau’s vol­
ume, Mar?/ Vvo11s tone era ft Godwin wrote, "I have turned over various
books on the subject of education, and patiently observed the con­
duct of parents and the management of schools;
but -what has been
the result? -- A profound conviction that the neglected education
17
of my fellow-creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore."
Evidence that she did not exaggerate existing conditions is supplied
by the much later report of the Royal Commission of 1864, which
summed up its criticism of girls’ public and private schools four
years later by announcing a "want of thoroughness and foundation;
want of system;
to rudiments;
slovenliness and showy superficiality;
inattention
undue time given to accomplishments, and these not
taught intelligently or in any scientific manner; want of organi18
zation."
In the more fashionable schools the all-important business
of developing the "accomplishments" still held sway.
How to get
17. Vindication of the Rights of Women, new edition, T. Fisher UnWin, London, 1891; Introduction, p. 31.
18. Maria Grey, "Women's Educational Movement," The Woman C^uestlon
in Europe, Theodore Stanton, editor, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New
Yorlcj IS§'4, p . 37.
-26-
in to and out of coaches decorously, the fashions, training "in the
arts of paying and receiving visits properly, of saluting acquain­
tances in the street and drawing-room, and writing letters of compli19
ment" were still enjoying popularity borrowed from the preceding
century.
And as late as 1872 it was still pertinent for a magazine
writer to deplore
the hopeless inadequacy of most of the ladies* schools, where only
accomplishments to increase a girl's attractions before marriage
are taught;
at present it is almost a misfortune for women to have
aspirations and culture higher than the ordinary level; most women
have not yet arrived at the point of realizing their ignorance and
subserviency, and many are merely gilt drawing-room ornaments." 20
And John Stuart Mill points out quite simply that "the object of
being attractive to men had . . . become the polar star of feminine
21
education and formation of character."
This was the kind of educational plan which produced Helen
Rolleston, who "had gone through the course of music and other
studies, taught brainlessly, and . . . was now going through a
course of monotonous pleasures, and had not accumulated any great
22
store of mental resources,"
and Lucy fountain, who, though twenty23
one and wealthy, did not know how to draw up a check.
Rosa Lusignan,
19.
I. B. O'Malley, Women in Subjection, Ouckworth, London, 1933,
p. 65.
20.
C. Willett Cunningham, Feminine Attitudes in the Nineteenth
Century, Macmillan Company, Hew York, 1936, pT"5277
21.
J. 3. Mill, Subjection of Women, F. A. Stokes Company, New York,
1869, p. 33.
22.
Foul P l a y , pp. 21-22.
23.
Love Me Little, Love Me Long, p. 440.
00027
about to be married to a learned and intelligent physician, is des­
cribed by Reade as follows:
Kind -- nineteen. Accomplishments numerous; a poor French scholar,
a worse German, a worse English, an admirable dancer, an inaccurate
musician, a good rider, a bad draughtswoman, a bad hairdres?er, at
the mercy of her maid; a hot theologian, knowing nothing; no seam­
stress, a fair embroidress, a capital geographer, and no cook.
24
Collectively, viz., mind and body, the girl we kneel to.
And yet Reade assigns the young lady enough basic intelligence to
exclaim later in the story, ".Vhy are girls brought up so silly, all
piano and no sense;
and why are men sillier still to go and merry
25
such silly things?”
And again, "Oh, why don't they teach girls
26
sense and money, instead of music and the globes?"
Helen Rolleston, engaged to be married, becomes drowsy at a party;
there
fore she
took her candle, and glided up to her bedroom.
And the moment she
got there, and could gratify her somnolence without offense, need
we say she became wide-awake?
She sat down and wrote long letters
to three other young ladies, gushing affection, asking questions of
the kind nobody replies to, painting, with a young lady s colours,
the male being to whom she was shortly to be married, wishing her
dear friends a like demi-god, if perchance earth contained two; and
so to the last new bonnet, and preacher.
27
Yet the fact that there were man;’ women who resented the ex­
cursions of members of their own sex into fields on a par with men
is testified to and ridiculed by Reade through a conversation be­
tween Ivirs. Dodd and her daughter in Hard Cash, published in 1865.
24. A Simpleton, p. 8.
25. Ibid., p. 201.
26.
Ibid., p. 210.
27.
Foul Play, p. 22.
I
00028
The latter, being ill, requests to be taken to a "doctress":
'To a what, Love?'
'A she-doctor, then.'
'a female physician, child?
There is no such thing. No; as­
surance is becoming a characteristic of our sex;
but we have not
yet intruded into the learned professions, thank Heaven.'
'Excuse me, mama, there are one or two;
for the newspapers
say s o .'
28
'Well, dear, there are none in this country, happily.'
In A V/oman-Hater, upon hearing the story of Rhoda Gale's misfor­
tunes, Panny Dover remarks to zoe, "It's all her own fault. What
29
business have women to set up for doctors?"
Zoe agrees. And
Rhoda's interest in medicine, her ability
to put on her hat quickly
her general crispness and accuracy, make the whole Vizard retinue
decide she in unfeminine.
They agree that she should turn to teach
ing, and that she should handle only boys I
In relating the tale o f
her adventures to Harrington Vizard, Rhoda condemns a university
professor for arguing that "Woman's sphere is the hearth and the
home . . .
Providence . . . had given her a body unfit for war
or hard labor, and a brain four ounces lighter than a man's^ unable
to cope with long study and practical science.
In short, she was
30
too good, and too stupid, for medicine."
So much for what George
Meredith later c a l l e d the "waxwork" sex.
In his earlier writings Reade sets definite limits to the
abilities of women.
He always willingly grants them the intuitive
niceties of resourcefulness which make them appear superior to
men so often.
He admits that every true woman has tact;
28. Op. clt ., p. 22.
29. 0jc. clt., p. 235.
30/ Ibid., p. 205.
and so
00029
"she pats a horse before she rides him, and a man before she drives
31
him."
He summarizes the character of impecunious Fanny Dover, a
small and comparatively harmless replica of Becky Sharp, when he
writes, "Nature endowed her with a fair complexion, gray mesmeric
eyes, art, and resolution —
qualities that often enable a poor
32
girl to conquer landed estates, with their male encumbrances."
But in his first books Reade insists that women lack the energy
to create, and the stamina to apply themselves to long periods of
sustained labor.
In discussing the work of the Reverend Francis
Eden with the female prisoners in It Is Never Too Late to Mend,
he writes that the chaplain "supplies from himself that deficiency
of inventive power and enterprise which is a woman's weak point;
and he tilled those wide powers of masterly execution which they
possess unknown to grandpapa Cant and grandmama Precedent. . . .
Their singular patience stood them in good stead here," that is,
33
in weaving, watch-making, and type-setting.
He [Eden] had long been saying that women are as capable as men of
a multitude of handicrafts, from which they are excluded by man's
jealousy and grandmama's imbecility;
and this wise man hoped to
raise a few Englishwomen to the industrial level of Frenchwomen and
Englishmen; not by writing and prattling that the sex are at pre­
sent men's equals in intelligence, which is a stupid falsehood cal­
culated to keep them forever our inferiors by persuading them they
need climb no higher than they have climbed, . . .
but by convincing them of their inferiority and encouraging them
34
to overcome it.
31.
Ibid.,
p. 12.
32.
Ibid.,
p. 19.
33.
Op. clt., p. 258.
34.
Ibid.,
p. 257.
00030
In White Lies, published serially in 1858, Reade is even more
insistent regarding the mental and physical limitations of women.
Here he claims that "nothing is so hard to her sex as a long, steady
struggle.
In matters physical, this is the thing the muscles of the
fair cannot stand;
in matters intellectual or moral, the long
35
strain it is that beats them dead."
It was not unnatural for one
of Reade's complacent and aggressive pride in his profession to
draw comparisons between men's and women's efforts in his chosen
field, and here it must be pointed out that he failed utterly to
recognize the truth, even while he lived in the midst of it.
Even
while Jane Austen's work was being catalogued as classic, and even
while George Eliot was being recognized as a great novelist, Recde
continued to insist that women were unequal to the task of produ-
disposed
cing good novels, however much he may have felt/to concede them in
other professions.
In the same book he writes,
They can bubble letters in ten minutes that you could no more deliver
to order in ten days than a river can play like a fountain.
They can
sparkle gems of stories;
they can flash little diamonds of poems.
The entire sex has never produced one opera nor one epic that mankind
could tolerate:
end why?
these come by long, high-strung labor." 36
In his "Auto-Criticism" of Christie Johnstone, Reade says of 3?
authoresses, "They have nothing to say, and say it to perfection."
Coleman reports him as including Charlotte Bronte in a group of
authors who could not "write two remarkable books if they wrote
38
forever."
Apparently Jane Eyre, which was published by a younger
35.
Op. cit., p. 212.
36.
Ibid.
37.
John Coleman, ojp. ci t ., p. 253.
38.
Ibid., p. 250.
-Sl­
ur iter before Rondo had written anything, 'Is to to regarded merely
■no a yhpnor.ononl
Of the greatest vmoan novelist of ills time Cole­
man records him as ss/lng, "Ceorgc til lot ’s £} loj me 11er apropos to
t principally in describing with marvelous accuracy
the r.ahits, manners, and customs of animalculac as the * arf
39
under the niiroscoje.11
And in Love . e Little, Love .'e Lon--, publis: od tr. 1339, Reade makes sixteen
"i knew in; an nature, miss.
/ear-old Arthur remind Luc/,
40
I nave read hiss Edgeworth•"
But in later years Reade altered his opinion concerning the
abilities of women (except as novelists!), and the probable reason
for tills modification is the fact that v/onen were asserting and
orovia- their title to "Rights" more vigorous 1 r and successfully as
the years moved on.
The "’.Voman's Ei~hts" movement had already be-
~un in Amer'ca, whore L e a r i e mad man." followers, ana "as sendin*
41
occasional r ;v wrbera tlou s across t;.e Atlantic.
Llorence Li/Ltina.le i;.nd air cad / performed a miracle of organization in Crir ea,
and was teac-: in - disc inline and .mractlcal aoooeration to hiviisij42
women ever /where.
The feminist Barr let ..'artineau’s Tales from
39.
Ibid., p. 265. Llwin suggests that Reade respected Eliot onl
because she had the courage to live with Lowes (p. 266).
At
the time of their meeting Tieade was
also living "outside the
pale" with drs, Seymour as his housekeeper.
ydvund Gosee ad­
mits that It Is Lever Too Late to Lend was Eliot1d •riariming3
73r ,
but ad is trTsTiHToaTTc "“s eareel y'w aT n ta in ed his position as her
rival" (Aspects and Ingres:--ions, Cassell and Co., London, 1322,
p . 2 ).
4°.
Op. clt., p. 159.
41.
The first "Roman’s Eights" convention in America met at Seneca
Falls, Lew York, in 1848, and an accou- t of the meeting was
written for the Westminister Review by the wife of John Stuart
hill.
4-2. In his ingenious stud./ of ambidexterity called The Coming Fan
Reade writes, "In the Crimean war, the left hand, or shield,
of the British army, wos Florence Nightingale, a woman with
the virtues of both sexes. She saved our soldiers’ lives b :
the hundred.
She fought the true slaughterers of our troops,
cold, famine, and death-dealing routine. ho man there did onetenth as much for our array as she did" (Oo. clt. , p. 64).
00032
Political Economy (1832) was still a subject for animated discussion
as well as excellent reading, and George Eliot was generally recog­
nized as a sound social and moral philosopher by 1860.
The logical
and dispassionate arguments of JohnStuart kill were developing pro­
selytes in increasing numbers
through his work in parliament and
on the rostrum, as well as through his later Subiection of Women
(1869).
The passage of the Reform bill of 1867 gave added impetus
to general enfranchisment agitation, and a London society for pro­
moting the woman's suffrage movement had already been organized in
43
1866.
The great and disturbing progress of science had bestowed
a more vital and controversial aspect upon study in general, and
the slowly opening opportunities in university training for women
encouraged the spreading of "a small but growing group . . . who
were detaching themselves from the more conventional circles and
were studying the political, theological and scientific problems
44
of those restless times."
Gladstone, with his platform of "Peace, Retrenchment, anti Re­
form," came into power in 1868, and so further motivated the general
reform movement.
In 1869 a college for women was opened in Cambridge,
with five ladies receiving the same tuition and preparing for the
45
same examinations as their male fellow-students.
In the same'year
an amendment to the Municipal Reform Act conferred upon women
43. Millicent G. Fawcett, "The Women's Suffrage Movement," Theodore
Stanton, op. cit., p. 7. Mrs. Fawcett, one of the foremost in
the ranks of women's suffrage agitators, was friendly with Reade,
and communicated with him frequently to aid in the composition
of a Woman-Hater. Her own experiences are related in Chapter
XIII of that book (E. G. Sutcliffe, Studies in Philology, op.
c l t ., p. 71).
44. C. Cunningham, op. cit., p. 194.
45. Maria Grey, "The Women's Educational Movement," Theodore Stanton,
op. cit., p. 43.
-33-
householders the right to participate in municipal elections.
In
the next year the Elementary Education Act provided for "free
and compulsory" education for all, girls as well as hoys, and
women householders were allowed to vote in school board elections,
46
and even to serve as school board members.
During the pre­
ceding five years, beginning with the election of Will as member
for Westminster in 1865, there had been a rapidly increasing
amount of suffrage agitation organized by women and their male
allies, &nd the round of petitions, parliamentary debates, magazine
and newspaper articles, forums, and lectures must have stirred
and swayed a ran so close to current events as Reade always was.
In 1870 the Women1s Suffrage Journal was founded in Manchester,
and pro-suffrage propaganda meetings were organized everywhere
in England, so that upon seeing a report of such a gathering,
the poor distraught Victoria wrote in a letter, "The Queen is
most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join
in checking this mad, wicked folly of •Woman’s Rights,* with
all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent,
47
forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety.11
In the parliamentary debate unon the suffrage bill ir. 1871,
Gladstone, while expressing his intention of voting against the
measure, spoke eloquently upon the injustice of the divorce law,
and urged the thinkirg people of England to devise some method
by which women could exercise political influence through "a safe
48
and well-adjusted alteration of the law as to p o l i t i c a l power."
46.
M. G. Fawcett, "The Woman's Suffrage Movement," Ibid., p. 16.
47.
L. Strachey, Queen Victoria, Harcourt Brace and Co., New
York, 1921, p. 409.
48.
M. G. Fawcett, "The Woman's Suffrage Mevement," Ibid., p. 18.
-
34-
And three years later, upon the dissolving of Parliament by Glad­
stone, the duties of Prime Minister fell to Disraeli, who had sup­
ported the bill in 1871 .
Having seen these things develop, and wishing to add some fur­
ther impetus of his own to the improvement of woman*s status, Reade
wrote the very significant "prologue" to a projected magazine
through which he intended to work toward general social justice.
The introductory piece, never published, but written about 1872,
and titled "The Situation," is printed entirely in the Memoir,
and contains this comment:
A few superior women are pushing themselves into medicine,
and have all my sympathy. Others are talking well, but talking
only, and blaming men too much, women too little. But it is child­
ish to sit and howl at men because they are better educated. Are
men educated by God? Are women educated by men? Man is a slight­
ly superior animal, educated by a slightly superior animal. Woman
is a somewhat inferior animal, educated by a somewhat inferior
animal. This is the double obstacle to their competition. Let
women, then, who are truly ambitious for their sex, leave baying
the moon, and lay the first stone; let them begin to raise the
young and their sex by rational education. At present female
education is the blind leading the blind: women forget that in
many essentials things they are savages compared with men, and that
before they can run on all four legs in our race-course they must
walk with all those four legs into the pale of civilization, as
we have. 49
It is thus that Reade anticipated Meredith with the plea for
"more brain" in women.
And so we are brought to a detailed consideration of the
49 . Memoir, pp. 359~36o.
00C35
50
opportunely titled A Woman-Hater, begun early in 1876,
as the
final crystallization of Reade's opinion concerning the right of
equal opportunity for women.
During the years immediately preced­
ing this he had been much hampered by ill health, literary contro­
versies, and legal proceedings, but his eye had been constantly on
the news of the day, and now he saw an opportunity to focus public
attention upon a pertinent problem, and to do something toward its
solution, "or try, at all events," as he had said.
The first com­
plete and unbiased biography of iVary Godwin had been recently pub­
lished by G. Regan Psul in his William Godwin; His Friends and Con­
temporaries (1876), and this book doubtless served further to develop
and organize the opinions of a public obviously ready for such a
story as Reade projected.
Moreover, it was during this same year
that Harriet Martineau died, and according to her own wish her
autobiography was re-published both in England and America,
thus
contributing additional publicity to the general question of women's
place in national and world affairs.
The tale h Woman-Hater contains two heroines:
the ideal artis­
tic and cultural figure of Ina Klosking, and the ideal professional
and scientific figure of Rhoda Gale.
Of the first, who marries the
misogynist, Vizard Harrington, and lives happily ever after, Reade
says at the close of the story,
50. Elwin, p. 290, ff.
The story first appeared serially and anony­
mously in Blackwood *s Magazine and Harper's weekly of Boston.
John
Blackwood had insisted upon aponymity because of the unpleasant
notoriety which had attended the publication of Grlffl th Gaunt
and
Terrible Temptation. The authorship was suspected im­
mediately^ however, and letters from individual ladies as well
as feministic organizations quickly found their way to the
offices of the editors. One such missive, from two Washington
ladies, is a literary and emotional sun-burst;
"To attempt to
bury the authorship of such a novel as A Woman-Hater under such
an incognito as that of perfect silenceT Ah, the dear little
sentences, all full of feeling 1 The heart that beats all through
the words! A_ Woman-Hater, by Charles Reade! A diamond among (overj
00038
Fiction has just as much right to select large female souls
as biography or painting has;
and to pick out a selfish, shallow,
illiterate creature . . . gives the female reader a low model
instead of a high one, and so does her a little harm;
whereas a
writer ought to do .good -- or try, at all events.
Having all this in mind, and remembering how many noble women
have shone like stars in every age and every land, and feeling sure
that as civilization advances, such women will be far more common,
I have tried to look ahead and paint La Klosking.
51
The second character, Rhoda Gale, is the one who more clearly vin­
dicates Reade's alliance with the feministic cause, and at the
conclusion of the novel she is still marching on to new conquests
in the field of medicine and suffrage.
buting characters'
The old dictum about attri­
expressions of sentiment to their creators has
been proposed and refuted a thousand times, but in the case of an
avowedly p r o p a ga nd is ts work there is certainly additional reason
to interpret the remarks of the characters as those of the author;
and to substantiate this claim further in Reade's case, we have
the following comment, written in his notebook as early as 1851:
"Mem:
when in a novel you find yourself about to say anything,
pull up and ask,
'Can't I make one of my Dram. Pers. say it 0 0 ' 52
if you can, always do."
This combination of facts should serve
as justification for interpreting the sentiments of Rhoda Gale in
the matter of feminism as identical with those of Reade himself.
The story of Rhoda Gale is based upon documentary evidence
51. Op. ci t ., p. 524.
52, Mem o i r , p. 209.
Yet eight years later Reade wrote, not for
KTs own reference, but for the reading public, "I see- with
some surprise that there still linger in the field of letters,
writers who think that, in fiction, when a personage speaks
with an air of conviction, the sentiments must be the author's
own, . . .
I invite you to shun this error" (Love Me Little,
Love Me Long, p. 490).
0003?
in connection with women's efforts to become physicians in England,
and the whole tale is obviously a propagandistic insertion,
ed to stimulate current interest in the women's cause.
intend­
Rhoda does
not enter the story till nearly one-third of its phlegmatic pages
are passed, and her connection with the plot is loose and inciden­
tal, if not actually deleterious to it, as a story within a story,
53
which Reade described himself as "a flaw in art."
Moreover, the
vehement insistence with which a writer of Reade's experience and
ability asserts it is not a "mere excresence" of the main plot is
in itself enough to make the reader skeptical,
but the inclusion
of Rhode's story is also convincing proof of the author's belief
in the social responsibility of a writer -- "to do good -- or try,
at all events."
The stories which Rhoda tells Visard concerning her efforts
and those of her friends to secure a medical degree in Great Bri­
tain are the thinly disguised experiences of a group of young
ladies who matriculated at the University of Edinburgh to study
medicine.
It seems that in the winter of 1869, one kiss Jex-Blake
and four of her associates were tentatively admitted to matricula­
tion at the Ec<fr.tch University to study toward the k. D. degree,
under separate tuition from the men students.
Until that time
the** mtmm very few female doctors practising in England had been
forced to study in Continental schools, and the men engaged in the
profession were now decrying the entrance of women so insistently
that the medical examining board, established to license physicians
according to the Medical act of 1858, refused to examine women at
53. Memoir, p. 393.
00033
all, and the law contained no clause which compelled them to do so.
Further awkwardness was added to a somewhat strained situation at
Edinburgh when the ladies, who were of course attending separate
lectures, began to arrange for additional tutoring and laboratory
accomodations, and toward the end of the year one of them who had
been permitted to take the same chemistry examination as that given
to the men ("Beacuse," as Rhoda puts it, "the ^ priori reesoners
54
took for granted she would be defeated"),
received the highest
mark of any student, male or female.
The ladies felt that she was
therefore entitled tc the Hope Scholarship, given annually to the
best chemistry student as indicated by the examination;
however,
the University authorities insisted the t she was not a regular stu­
dent and therefore refused her the prize.
The press launched vio­
lent attacks upon the school, with the result that the professors
who had favored giving the ladies a trial became antagonistic, and
the group was dismissed from the University.
Subsequently some of
the ladies were admitted to the independent school of medicine at
the college of Surgeons in Edinburgh,
to study in mixed classes.
One of the professors here allowed rivalry between the sexes in
competition for prizes, and even "showed a certain leaning toward
55
the ladies"
while assigning the daily marks in his course.
The
male students became incensed at this, and on the occasion of an
examination in anatomy there occurred the first of a series of dis-
54. A Woman-Hater, p. 210.
55. The facts of this series of episodes are taken from the written
statement of George Hoggan, a lecturer of Edinburgh University
and an eye-witness of the occurrences he describes (Frances
Elizabeth Hoggan, "women in Medicine," Theodore Stanton, o p .
cit., pp. 72-77).
graceful riots.
Consequently the ladies were excluded from classes
at the College of Surgeons also, and most of their, scattered to Zu­
rich and Paris for the completion of their work.
Reade takes the side of the ladies in the whole controversy,
and insists that the men of the medical profession were conspiring
to boycott female competition.
He condemns the University authori­
ties, and allows Rhoda Gale to color her narrative so that doctors,
legislators, and professors appear little better than fools, or
56
hardened scoundrels.
First he berates the legislature, assert­
ing that
It matters greatly to mankind whether the whole race of women are
to be allowed to study medicine, and practice it, if they can ri­
val the male, or are to be debarred from testing their scientific
ability, and so outlawed, though ta x e d , in defiance of uritish
liberty, and all justice human anTT divine, by eleven hundred law­
givers -- most of them fools. 57
He then accuses the doctors of deliberately deceiving the legis­
lature in 1858 by keeping in reserve their intention of refusing
lectures and examinations tc women -- "By closing the lecture-room
and the examinetion-hall to all women —
learned or unlearned --
a clique has outlawed a population, under the letter, not the
spirit, of a badly written statute."
To refute the
58
claims made by physicians that medicine
toostern a profession for women, Rhoda Gale
55.
quotes one of
is
the
He does admit, however, that "though she Q h o d a GalJ) is sin­
cere and truthful, she is of necessity a partisan" (a WomanHater, p. 193).
57. a Woman-11a ter, p. 194.
58. Ibid., p. 529.
00040
Edinburgh professors who took up the cudgel for the ladies as
saying,
Nurses are not as a class unfeminine, yet all that is most appal­
ling, disgusting, horrible, and unsexing in the art of healing,
is monopolized by them,
women see worse things then doctors,
women nurse all the patients of both sexes, often under horrible
and sickening conditions, and lay out all the corpses. No doc­
tor objects to this on sentimental grounds; and why? because
nurses get only a guinea a week, an i not a guinea a flying visit:
to women, the loathsome part of medicine; to man the lucrative!
The noble nurses of the Crimea went to attend males only; yet
were not charged with indelicacy.
They worked gratis.
The
would-be doctresses look mainly to attending women;
but then
they want to be paid for it;
there was the rub -- it was a mere
money question, and all the attempts of the union ^medical professionj] to hide this and play the sentimental shopman were
transparent hypocrisy and humbug.
59
And in referring to the clause of the lev; which permitted the
archbishop of Canterbury to confer the ;v:. D. degree, Rhoda cries,
"Bright monument of British flunkeyism and imbecility, there stands
the clause setting that reverend and irrelevant doctor-maker above
the law, which sets his Grace's female relations below the law,
60
and, in practice, outlaws the whole female population."
Whether Reade was entirely accurate and entirely just in his
accusations against the physicians and the University authorities
is not a matter to be decided here.
He was at least logical in
permitting a character who claimed unjust treatment to tell the
story of her misadventures, and it has been pointed out that the
author warns us of her partisanship before she begins her tale.
Reade's basic incentive,
the cause of feminism, seemed to him to
be eminently worthy, and in his enthusiasm as a reformer he was
59. Ibid., pp. 207-208.
Reade frequently refers to the medical
profession as a trade union.
60. Ibid., p. 198.
0004 J
bound to choose media of expression which would assure him a sym­
pathetic public hearing.
Some specific attention must be given to the personality of
Rhoda Gale, in order to demonstrate that Keade did not accept the
"modern" woman entirely without reservation.
In the first place,
she grew up a native of America, a cour.try whose people had always
61
received Reade's works enthusiastically;
then, the author's opin­
ion of Americans, anl particularly of Ame r i c an women, was rather
complimentary.
In 1822 he wrote, "The A m e r i c a n women [ a r 0 better
cultivated than other women, reared with larger minds, and less
62
over-burdened with domestic ceres."
He also permits Rhoda to
assure Vizard that "American women are better educated than bng65
lish,"
and when she is quizzed about the manner of persuading
her parents to allow her to study in hurope, she casually replies,
"Oh, girls are very independent in the States, and govern the old
64
folks."
so Reade indulges in a little sly ridicule of the mascu­
line suffragette type.
The education which Rhoda describes as contributing to her
success furnishes insight into Reade's matured theories concern­
ing learning.
Her instruction began when she was still a baby,
61. Compton Reade assures us that were it not for his chronic
"mal de m e r ," his uncle would certainly have undertaken a lec­
ture Tour of this country.
62. "Rights and V.rongs of Authors,"
63.
a
V/omen-Ka ter, p. 196.
64. Ibid., p. 189.
Readlana, p. 204.
00042
her father teaching her to lisp French, German, and English;
yet
Reade sees to it that the more significant aspects of her training
are developed by a woman, her mother,
who taught her daughter "three
65
rarities -- attention, observation, and accuracy,"
and whose rigor­
ous exercises in these fields were exacting enough to develop into
a synthetic prodigy any child whose nervous system could stand the
strain.
If I went for a walk in the country, I had to bring her home a
budget;
the men end women on the road, their dresses, appearance,
countenances, and words;
every kind of bird in the air, and insect
and chrysalis in the hedges;
the crops in the fields, the flowers
and herbs on the banks.
If I walked in the town, I must not be
eyes and no eyes;
woe betide me if I could only report the dresses.
Really, I have known me, when I was but eight, come home to my
mother laden with details, when perhaps an untrained girl of eigh­
teen could only have specified that she had gone up and down a
thoroughfare.
66
Later these tests began to include history, religion, politics, and
philosophy, and finally the girl was permitted to choose her own
field of special study.
Reade continues to poke fun at the mature Rhoda, who condemns love
as
a fever of the mind.
It disturbs the judgment and perverts the
conscience. You side with the beloved, right or wrong.
what
personal degradation!
I observe too that a grand passion is a
grand misfortune;
they are always in a storm of hopes, fears,
doubt, jealousy, rapture, rage, and the end deceit, or else
satiety.
Friendship is steady and peaceful;
not much jealousy,
no heart burnings.
It strengthens with time, and survives the
65. Ibid., p. 184.
66. Ibid.
00043
67
smallpox,and a wooden leg.
And Rhoda explains that upon returning to France to continue her
studies, she inquired for her old friend Cornelia, and was "disap­
pointed"
to learn that "The wretch had just gone and married a
professor."
Rhoda describes her friend's conduct as "criminal"--
sacrificing a medical career to marriage -- but explains that her
68
M V
anger ultimately was dissipated "in feeble-minded embraces."
In recounting the details of her education, Rhoda points out that
her mother would not allo-w her to "-waste a single minute over mu69
sic,"
and in describing the beautiful voice of La Klosking she
distinguishes the singer as "the only woman I ever heard sing without whining;
for we are by nature the medical and unmusical sex."
Vhile Reade, like Thackeray, was never averse to twitting the
extreme feminists for their pretensions to lofty and dispassionate
detachment, he was tactful enough to keep his hypothetical conception
of the "independent woman" reasonably detached and independent,
especially of men,
throughout the story.
Thus he conveyed to the
proponents of feminism that with Victorians as well as with Greeks
there is a place for moderation in all things, and at the same time
precluded the possibility of offense by allowing Rhoda to continue
confidently on her madical career at the end of the story, where
67. Ibid., PP . 191-192
•
CD
CD
Ibid., P. 226.
69. Ibid., P- 185.
70. Ibid., P. 226.
00044
the author makes a final plea for his cause, urging all to
Realize the hard condition of women. Amongst barbarians their
lot is unmixed misery;
with us their condition is better, but not
what it ought to be, because we are but half-civilized, and so
their lot is still very unhappy compared with ours.
And we are so unreasonable.
,Ye men cannot go straight ten
yards without rewards as well as punishments.
Yet we -would govern
our women by punishment alone.
They are eternally tempted to
folly, yet snubbed the moment the?/- would be wise. A million shops
spread their nets, and entice them by the direst foible.
Their
very mothers -- for 'want of medical knowledge in the sex -- clasp
the fatal, idiotic corset on their growing bodies, though thin as
a lath.
So the girl grows up, crippled in the ribs and lungs by
her own mother;
and her life, too, is in stays -- cabined,
cribbed, confined:
unless she can paint, or act, or write novels,
every path of honorable ambition is closed to her.
We treat her
as we do our private soldiers — the lash, but no promotion;
and
our private soldiers are the scum of Europe for that reason, and
no other.
I say that to open the study and practice of medicine to women-folk, under the infallible safeguard of a stiff public examina­
tion, will be to rise in respect for human rights to the level of
European nations, who do not brag about just freedom half as loud
as we do;
and to respect the constitutional rights of many million
citizens, who all pay the taxes like men, and by the contract with
the State implied in that payment, by the clear human right they
have yet to go lown on their knees for.
71
A point for the success of Reade's feministic propaganda may
be established from the fact that as A ,7oman-Hater neared the
conclusion of its serial run in Blackwood's vagazlne in June, 1877,
an "Enabling Fill," proposed by Russell Gurney for the purpose of
providing the power to award medical licenses to "all persons with­
out distinction of sex" was passed by Parliament;
and in the same
year the first woman physician 'was licensed to practice medicine
by the Kinr and Queen's College of Physicians, in Dublin, and Lon­
don University opened all its courses of study to women.
his death,
71.
Before
in 1884, Reade could have seen the names of nearly fifty
Ibi d.. p. 532.
/
00045
women on the medical register, and he undoubtedly did know of
the limited enfranchisement granted to the women of the Isle of
Man In the election of 1881.
Perhaps this was enough to assure
him of the inevitability belatedly consummated by the "equal
rights"
«
legislation of 1928.
00046
CHAPTER
THE
THREE
LABORER
The general history of the British Industrial and agricultural
laborer has been carefully described as far as and including the
1
Industrial Revolution.
But all scholars are well aware that from
the time of Victoria's accession in 1837 the factory system grew
tremendously, and this expansion was followed by such far-reaching
effects as great population centralization, long and poorly paid
working hours, and insanitary and unsafe working conditions.
Then
eventually came the conviction among laborers that they needed to
defend not only their livelihoods, but their very lives.
The atti­
tude of the government had been at least one of laissez-faire till
1799, when Pitt secured passage of the Anti-Combination Act, which
actually forbade all organization for the purpose of collective bar­
gaining with capital.
This law did not eliminate trade unions;
it
only forced them into the practice of secret coercion, and so caused
them to acquire the stigma of conspiracy which they bear in some
quarters to this day.
,
In addition to the junsatisfactory working conditions found in
most of the factories of the early nineteenth century, the laborers
were obliged to struggle) with another difficulty.
They found
1. See The Town Laborer (1917), The Village Laborer (1927), and
The SkllTecT La bower (1^19), by J . L. and Barbara Hammond •
00047
2
themselves jammed into dirty, crowded tenements,
where it was
impossible to enjoy the rest and relaxation which a normal person
requires.
And so the unhapp?/- British workman began to fight his
/an attitude
which is spirit-brealcing, and began also to substitute for
legitimate relaxation the sad and transient oblivion which was
slid to him across the bars of the public houses.
when Rea ie was only ten the Anti-Combination Laws which the
younger Mill described as exhibiting "the infernal spirit of the
slave master" were repealed,
and from that time on there was a
growing realization of the value of organization for bargaining
purposes.
At the same time it must be remembered that through
very definite and sometimes violent demonstrations the laboring
class was announcing the need for economic as well as social and
political reform,
with the retirement of the ultra-conservative
Lord Liverpool in 1827, and the appointment of the vacillating
"Iron" Duke early in the next year, there came signs that democra­
cy was on its way.
Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in
1828, and the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829
were merely prologues to the swelling act of the first Reform Bill,
which Reade must have read about, thought about, and discussed du­
ring the early years at Magdalen.
In the two decades which elapsed between the time when Reade
was graduated from Oxford, in 1855, and when he began to collect
2. Mr. Elwin writes that Reade took notes for years under the
heading Nigri Loci, and that in 1878 he outlined plans for agitation
to bring- about
the purging of the slums and the abolition of tene­
ment property"
(Elwin, p. 327).
00048
3
data for Put Yourself in His Place, a great deal of very commend­
able labor and economic reform had been enacted.
The Chartist
movement, with its program of "Every working man in the land has
the right to a good coat, a good hat, a good dinner, no more work
than will keep him in health, and as much wages as will keen him
4
in plenty,"
had had a decade of sporadic and riotous activity.
The Lines Acts of 1842 kept the working women and children above
ground.
The Factory Acts of the same year reduced working hours
for women and children, and provided, however ineffectually, for
inspectors of safety and sanitation.
Later extensions and conden­
sations of these laws served further to relieve the distressing
conditions among industrial classes.
The repeal of the Corn Laws
in 1846 made the laborer's wages worth a little more in the food
market.
And toward the end of 1867 the franchise was further ex­
tended by the efforts of Disraeli.
Through his close contact with current affairs Reade knew
what was being done to improve the condition of the industrial
laborer;
and certainly he knew what 'was not being done, after
having visited numerous factories and workers at Manchester and
5
Sheffield.
Yet he was no humanitarian visionary, preaching that
the laborer and trade unions were all right, and the canitalists
all wrong.
On the contrary, he had definite personal quarrels
3. Elwin (p. 202) says Reade's notebooks suggest 1862 as the
earliest date for collecting news clippings on the subject of
capital and labor relations.
4.
C. Y/. Oman, England in the Nineteenth Century, Longmans, Green,
and Co., London, 1900, p. 93.
5. Elwin, p. 203.
Many years later Reade wrote, "Nature lets
remorseless cotton lords breed little abortions of women, four
feet high, in their hot-houses, by the thousand"
(The Coming Man,
Harper and Bros., N. Y. 1878, p. 56).
with both, and he castigated the evils of each with characteristic
straightforwardness.
More than once Reade had cried out against
alleged trade union abuses.
In 1856 he had been obliged to pub­
lish rt Is Lever Too Late to Lend on a commission basis because
of a boycott inaugurated by other publishers, who resented his
lawsuits against Bentley, the man who had endeavored to secure
6
the copyrights of Peg /-/offin g ton and Chris tie Johns tone.
And
•when on October 4, 1865, Frederick Tomlins, a rather prominent
dramatic critic, rose from his seat and tried to howl down the
hard realism in the first dramatic performance of It jEs Never
Too Late to Lend, Reade compj red the whole brotherhood of "cri­
ticasters" to a trade union, unjustly insisting that Tomlins’
colleagues had hired him to cry the play down.
Yet in defending
Put Yourself in Iiis Place, Reade wrote (October, 1871) of Goldwin Smith, an old Lagdalen acquaintance who had described the
book as anti-trade union,
A direct falsehood.
"He says I have attacked Trades Unions.
them 7
I have distinctly defended*.
As a con­
firmed reformer Reade was anxious to eliminate the abuses preva­
lent in institutions which were sound in principle.
He objected
not to the trade union system, but to abuses then rife in speci­
fic organizations.
R e a d e 1s ’attitude toward the industrial and agricultural work­
men is equally impartial.
That he violently disapproved of their
slovenliness, their drunkenness, and their unintelligent adherence
6. R e a d e ’s first suit was handled by Lush, a famous lawyer, who
lost the case;
the second time Reade prosecuted his own case
and won (Memoir, p. 227).
7.
"A Terrible Temptation,"
Readiana, p. 269.
00050
%
to the wrong leaders and the wrong causes will soon be made ap­
parent.
And these examples of his disapproval constitute in
themselves a direct refutation of the statement made with strange
blandness by Mr. Elwin,
to the effect that "Though a conscientious
student of sociological conditions and a rabid opponent of abuses
affecting the public welfare, he was never much exercised about
8
the morals and modesty of the masses."
Much of the plot devel­
opment of Put Yourself in His Place -- the attempts made on Henry
Little’s life,
the blowing up of his factory -- is directly caused
by the immorality of individuals of "the masses."
references,
Reade's many
to be indicated later, to the drunkenness of the Bri­
tish laborer, are certain nroofs that he was "exercised" about
their morals and modesty.
In 1874 he entered in his notebook the
proiect of writing a story to Drove that the village "has all the
9
vices of the town with greater ignorance";
also "a story in one
volume, the leading idea of which is that simplicity is as rare
10
in the country as in the towns."
In a letter defending A Ter­
rible Temptation, he says, "I treated an institution of the day,
the English concubine. . . .
I taught the young to despise the
mercenary sinner /Rhoda Somerset!# . . .
I taught the women that
11
even this class of sinner can repent, . . ."
And so on, almost
ad infini turn, can be offered evidences which demonstrate that Reade
was definitely,
modesty"
indeed violently concerned about the "morals and
-- better the immorality and immodesty —
8.
Elwin. p. 191.
9.
"A Terrible Temptation,"
10. Ibi d.
11. Ibid., p. 293.
Readiana, p. 275.
of the Eritish
I
-
51-
masses•
A personal abstainer till late in life, and then only an
occasional wine drinker, Reade had a rabid hatred for the labor­
ers* abuse of alcohol —
a hatred which could have been engendered
only by an accurate realization of the terrible havoc which it
12
provokes, now as then, among all classes.
In Put Yourself in
His Place. Patrick Lally*s stopping for a moment "to drain a
glass" causes him to mls3 intercepting Little*s letter to Grace
Carden, and
30
furthers the evil scheme of Coventry, villain
13
of the piece.
In Singleheart and Doubleface, James Mansell, a
clever wood grainer, loses his trade through excessive drinking.
In
Never Too Late to Mend, Peter Crawley, originally made
bold by liquor, like the lady in the play, finally falls a victim
of delirium tremens, as does George Hlnde in Jack of All Trades.
The stone-cutter in Love Me Little. Love Me Long is Interrupted
at his work on Lucy Fountain*s tombstone when "Eleven o*clock
struck, and the chisel went for Its beer.
For your English work­
man would leave the d in God half-finished when strikes the hour
14
of beer-"
In The Cloister and the Hearth, during the blood­
curdling adventure of Gerard and Denys with the seven robbers at
the inn, the latter finds the villains surrounding the landlord,
who Is "pouring them out neat brandy, blood’s forerunner In every
15
age."
12. From the publication of Christie Johnstone In 1053 to the
adaptation of Zola’s L ’Assomolr as Drink in 1679, Reade rarely
missed an opportunity to preach agains't' the abuse of liquor. The
horrible realism of Drink caused William Archer, dramatic critic,
to write, "If ever there was a drama that cause^Instant conversion
from evil ways, Drink was that drama" (Elwin, p. 343).
13.
0£. cit., Book II, p. 45.
14.
0£. cit., p. 405.
00052
But specific references to the abuse of alcohol among indus­
trial laborers are the choicest of Reade’s philippics against the
habit.
In condemning the chronic disgruntlement of the British
wo rkman, he writes,
Then he demands short time, which generally means more time to
drink in, and higher 'wages, which often means mo °e money to drink
with. .Thereupon I lose my temper, rush into print, and call the 16
British workman the British talk-man, and the British drink-man.
Next in importance to the fact that the laborer could not
afford money for drink was the fact that he could not drink all
night and work all day.
And Reade writes, in _It Is_ Never Too Late
to Lend,
The
lic
son
the
world awoke.
The working Lnglishman, dead drunk at the pub­
house over-night, had got rid of two-thirds of his buring poi­
by help of man's chief nurse, sleep;
and now he must work off
rest, grumbling at this the kind severity of his lot.
17
Yet when Henry Little goes to work in the Hillsborough fac­
tory, every man on his floor takes an hour from work to drink -at Little's expense -- in celebration of the opening of bis new
forge.
And some even nrrumble at his coming while they are drink18
ing his liquor I
In the report which Little makes regarding
general working conditions, he says of the workmen,
They might drink less, and wash their bodies 'with a small part of
the money so saved:
the price of a gill of gin and a hot bath are
the same;
only the bath is health to a dry-grinder, or a filecutter;
the gin is worse
poison
to him than to healthy men.19
16.
"A Bad Fall,"
Readiana, p. 7.
17.
Op. c i t ., p. 330.
18.
Put Yourself in His Place, pp. 22-23.
19.
Ibid., p. 531.
00053
The unfortunate John, in Jack of All Trades, exclaims ironi­
cally, upon the death of Hinde,
Drink forever!
It makes men thieves, murderers, asses, and pau­
pers;
but what about that, so long as it sends them to an early
grave, with "beast" for their friends to write over their tomb­
stones, unless they have a mind to tell lies in a churchyard, and
that is a common trick. 20
Perhaps it is a serious question whether Reade was more in­
censed at the laborer's inebriety than at his wilful neglect of
daily tasks.
During an extended period of property ownership
Reade undoubtedly often found it necessary to call in general
repair men of one kind or another, and the experiences of these
occasions, plus the items which he culled from the daily press,
caused him to describe the British workman as "the curse of
families."
In an article called "Builders' Blunders," first
printed in the Pall r.'all Gazette, Reade exclaims,
"Whenever
that curse of families goes out on that roof to mend one hole,
he makes two.
why not?
Thanks to the perverse builder you can't
21
watch him, and he has got a friend a plumber."
And later in
the same tirade Reade describes the aforesaid plumber as a "bung­
ling rascal,"
chimney sweeps as rogues, and washerwomen as cheats
22
who ruin clothes with chloride of lime.
"A Bad Fall,"
The article called
originally printed in his nephew's magazine, Fact,
contains further invective against the dilatory habits of the
20.
"Jack of All Trades,"
The Cloister and the Hearth, Vol. II, p
21.
Op. cit,., Readiana, p. 62.
22.
Ibid., pp. 65, 68.
0005*1
British workman:
He comes into my house to do a day's work, and goes out again to
fetch the tool he knew he should want, . . .
He sharpens his tools
and goes out for a whet, . . .
He is always going into the kitchen
for hot water, or a hot coal, or the loan of a pair of tongs, or
some other blind. My maids, -who, before he came were all indus­
try and mock modesty, throw both these virtues out of window and
are after him on the roof, "when he is not after them in the kit­
chen . 23
Final anathema is pronounced toward the end of "Builders' Blunders,
where the writer insists,
The bare entrance into a modest household of that loose, lazy,
drunken, dishonest drink-man and ,iack-man, who has the impudence
to call himself "the British workman" though he never did half
a day's real 7/0 rk at a stretch in his life, is a serious calamity,
to be averted by every lawful means. 24
So much for the drunkenness and criminal negligence of the
industrial and town workman.
But perhaps more offensive than
either of these faults to Reade was the refusal of the laborer
to help himself out of a bad situation.
Put Yourself in His Place
is punctuated with frequent references to this malicious stubborn­
ness.
In the dry-grinders' room of the Hillsborough factory Henry
Little finds the men inhaling the deadly steel dust, and working
in positions deleterious to proper breathing.
Yet they have made
no sustained request for fans to drive the dust away, and seem re­
signed to old age at thirty, since it was the fate of their fathers
"Indifferent, to life, health, and happiness, they could, neverthe­
less, become inflamed about sixpence a week.
In other -words, the
money-price of their labor was everything to them, the blood-price
23.
" a Bad Fall,"
Ibi d., p. 7.
24.
"Builders' Blunders," Ibid., p. 68.
00055
25
nothing."
In the same factory the wet-grinders suffer canker
in the hands, and chills and frequent colds from standing on the
wet, mudd'V floor;
yet they do not demand help or help themselves
26
to gloves and dry platforms.
A faulty grindstone is discovered
in Cheetham's mill.
The grinder, working on an hourly basis, re­
fuses to lose four or five shillings' worth of time to mount and
race a new one, though he knows full well what frequently happens
when a stone breaks while revolving.
Incidentally, Gheethan also
refuses to compensate the workman for his lost time, and so do the
"secretaries" of the four unions, when appealed to by Little in
27
the interests of "life, labor, and capital."
Reade's climax of
exasperation comes when Little opens his own modest factor:'?', and
begins to improve conditions generally.
Some of the dry-grinders
refuse to use the dust fans, until two of them are discharged!
The file cutters continue to work in lead, refuse to wash before
eating, and so insist upon swallowing poison, till threatened
28
with dismissal unless they observe the rules of sanitation.
Thus
are horses led to water.
And ?esde's attitude toward the general
artisan is not much more respectful.
In Hard Gash stands the
following comment upon the versatility of the ship's carpenter:
"Like most artisans, he was clever in a groove;
of that, and lo !
a mule, a pig, an owl!
25.
OjD. c i t ., p. 138.
26.
Ibid.
27.
Ibid., p. 257.
28.
Ibid., p. 357.
take him out
He was not only unable
0058
29
to invent, but so stiffly disinclined."
These are the published
opinions and elucidations of a man who, hr. Elwin naively asserts,
was never concerned about the "morals and modesty of the masses."
Perhaps sufficient evidence bus been offered to demonstrate
that Reade was no blind champion of the industrial laborer's cause.
He saw the factory worker's sins with a stead:/' eye,
and did not
hesitate to place blame where he was convinced it belonged.
But
before attempting to describe the relations of the mill worker
with the capitalis who frequently ignored him, and the union leader
who often exploited him,
it should be pointed out that Reade under­
stood and sympathized with the tremendous handicaps under which,
through no fault of his own, the industrial laborer was working.
The town of Sheffield, under another name, is described with
Ruskinian vituperation in the early pages of Put Yourself in His
Place.
Certainly the following picture drawn by Reade outdoes
Dickens' delineations of Coke town in the earlier Hard Times (1854):
Hillsborough, though built on one of the loveliest sites in
England, is perhaps the most hi ieous town in creation.
All ups
and downs and back slums.
Mot one of its wriggly, broken-backed
streets has handsome shops in an unbroken row. Houses seem to
have battled in the air, and stuck wherever they tumbled down dead
out of the m ^ l e e . But, worst of all, the city is pockmarked with
public houses, and bristles with high, round chimneys.
These are
not confined to a locality, but stuck all over the place like
cloves in an orange.
They defy the law, and belch forth massy
volumes of black smoke, that hang like acres of crape all over
the place, and veil the sun and blue sky even in the brightest
29.
Hard Cash, p. 266.
In passing it should be noted that Hard
Cash contains descriptions of the sea and ships which are patent
proofs of Reade's ability to translate vicarious experience real­
istically.
Nearly all his maritime information and settings came
from his brother "Jilliam, who was a naval officer.
Reade was a
victim of chronic seasickness, and never journeyed farther by water
than across the Channel.
In the early part of his biography, John
Coleman makes his subject talk in a swashbuckling nautical idiom;
near its close he says that when Reade was ready to cross the Chan­
nel he communicated with the harbormaster at Dover, who notified him
(over)
57
day; but in a fog — why, the air of Hillsborough looks like a
thing to plow, if you want a dirty job.
fore than one crystal stream runs sparkling down the valleys,
and enters the town; but they soon get defiled, and creep through
it heavily charged with dyes, clogged with putridit?/-, and bubbling
v/ith poisonous gases, till at last they turn to mere ink, stink,
and malaria, and people the churchyards as they crawl. 30
So much for the habitat of the British industrial laborer in 18691
Reade has already furnished moving descriptions of the condi­
tions under ’
which the factory laborers perfomed their daily tasks.
In condemning their mulish opposition to any move that would tend
to improve
their situation, he makes his pictures of that situation
all the more horrible;
and he points out in Put Yourself in His
------ 51------Place that the "deadliest"
trades are the worst paid.
Reade*s
recognition of the inherent dignity attached to labor of any kind,
well done, may be seen in his descriptions of the carving and for­
ging operations performed by Henry Little in the Garden home and
at the old church in Gairnhope.
^nd his contempt for the bigotry
of those who would not see the viewpoint of the laborer is evident
in the delineation of Squire Raby, -who "had a sovereign contempt
32
for tradespeople, and especially for manufacturers."
Referring
to his sister’s marriage with Little’s father, a building con­
tractor, Raby bemoans the fact that though she is ’’a lady every
writes
inch;
yet she has gone and married a bricklayer."
And he/on
the canvas of her portrait, 'kone into trade,”
33
ture to the wall.
30.
Op. cit., p. 4.
31.
Op. c i t .,, p. 146.
32.
Ibid., p . 6.
33.
Ibid., p. 18.
and turns the pic-
53
That Reade felt the laborer needed some gxiidance to assist him
in his dealings with capital is best shown by the fact that the owner
of the factory in Hillsborough is given the significant name Cheet34
ham.
But the more serious difficulty for the laborer lay in the
fact that he allowed himself to be exnloited by the villainously
selfiph parasites who posed as union leaders, and who succeeded in
convincing the members of each trade that they must fight the capi­
talist with whatever methods were at hand:
Then he [the laboreTJ strikes, and combines, and speechifies, and
calls the capital, That feeds him, his enemy;
and sometimes fights
with capital of a thousand against the capital of a single man and
overpowers it, yet calls that a fight of labor against capital. 35
By his own insistence and by the irrefutable evidence found
in Put Yourself in his ’
-'lace, Reade did not oppose labor organiza­
tion in the form of trade unions,
his case was directed against
abuses perpetrated by the so-called leaders of such organizations,
’vho exploited the laborer for purposes of personal gain and satis­
faction, instead of protecting him from exploitation at the hands
of the capitalist.
The story of henry Little's adventures with
the trade unions of Hillsborough, in the book named above, is
merely the particular series of instances which the author uses
to illustrate and explain his general point.
when Little comes
54.
Reade* s proclivity for this pleasant if rather obvious bickon
sian habit is frequently displayed. His attitude toward the whole
school of literary critics may be seen in the names of the two
"criticasters" in Peg .Voffington -- Soaper and Snarl.
Besides
Cheetham, the police chief in Put Yourself in His Place is named
Ransome;
the persistently righteous newspaper editor answers to
Holdfast, and the union leader, Grotait, also is colled Smitem.
In Christie Johnstone the painter who methodically copies from
prints is named Groove.
35.
"A Bad Fall,"
Readiana, p. 7.
\
to Cheatham’s factory as a tool-forger, the ”Committee of the EdgeTool Forgers’ Union" writes a respectful note to hr. Cheetham, sub­
mitting that he has brought into Hillsborough a non-union man to do
work that can be done by men already in his employ.
epistle is disregarded,
When this
there follow two less polished and more
threatening letters, warning the employer to get rid of Little,
"or take consequences."
Next comes an illiterate, profane scrawl,
not addressed to Lr. Cheetharn, but pinned by a dagger to the door
of Little's forgeroom, warning him to get out of Hillsborough u n ­
der threat of stabbing.
The last three notes are signed with so­
briquets, and of course the suave Jobson, union secretary, denies
36
writing any but the first.
Naturally Little is alarmed, and he
consults the honest veteran, foreman Lsyne, who says, regarding the
letter,
When you get one, you go that minute to the secretary of whatever
union you are wrong with, and you don't argue, or he bids you good
morning;
you give in to whatever he asks, and then you get civili­
ty: and justice too, according to trade lights.
If you don't do
that, and haven't learned what a blessing peace is, why, you make
up your mind to fight the trade;
and if you do, you have to fight
them all;
and you are safe to get the r/orst of it, soon or late. 37
By getting the "worst of it," foreman Bayne meant being done;
and when Little asks what is meant by the expression doing people,
his foreman delivers himself of another classic reply:
Oh, that is the Hillsborough word.
It means, to disable a
man from work.
Sometimes they lie in wait in these dark streets,
and fracture his skull with life-preservers, or break his arm, or
cut the sine,v of his wrist;
and that they call doing him.
Or,
if it is a grinder, they'll put powder in his trough, and then
the sparks of his own making fire it [exactly what happened to
Little later] , and scorch him, and perhaps blind him for life;
36.
Reade does not neglect to point out that these union leaders
conduct much of their business in public houses (Put Yourself in
His Place, p. 55).
37T “ ib'ra:.. D . 35.
that's doing h i m . They have gone as far as shooting men with shot,
and even wi th a bullet, but never so as to kill the man dead on the
spot.
They do him.
They are skilled workmen, you know; well they
are skilled workmen at violence and all, and it is astonishing how
they contrive to stop within an inch of murder.
They'll chance it
though sometimes, with their favorite gunpowder.
If you're very
7/rong with the trade, and they can't do you any other way, they 11
blow your house up from the cellar, or let a can of powder dovm
the chimney, with a lighted fuse, or fling a petard in at the win­
dow, and they'd take the chance of killing a houseful of innocent
people, to get at the one that's on the black books of the trade,
and ha s to be d o n e . 38
When Little seeks out Jobson, the bdge-Tool Forgers' secretary,
it costs him £ 15 merely to apply for membership.
Jobson introduces
him to Parkin, secretarv of the Tool Handlers' Union, who blandly
suggests that Little should, be a member of that allied organiza­
tion, and accepts
5 more for a similar favor.
Then they advise
the man to strike work and leave town while his candidacy for ad39
mission is under consideration I
/.nd ’
when the workers in Cheetham's mill finally strike (at the instigation of Jobson, Parkin,
Grotait, e_t a l . ) in protest against Little's employment, before
the master can resume operations he is obliged to discharge the
offender with a month's "/ages, pay the grinders for the time they
have lost, and subscribe an additional £ 3 0
to the union secretaries
for their trouble, and for the efforts of "a certain gentleman,"
40
Grotait, who "advised" theml
Thus the ingeniously parasitic
secretaries forced the worker, Little, to pay exorbitantly for
protection against the capitalist, which he did not need, and
against his fellow-workers, which he should not have needed;
38.
then
Ibid., p. 40.
39.
Ibid., p. 55.
In 1873 Reade wrote, "Our immediate danger is
from what I call aDIRTY OLIGARCHY, i. e,., aset of associated
mechanics, who regulate their own number’s by terrorism, and so
secure a monopoly, and then abuse that monopoly" ("Reade's Luck,"
Iv'emolr, p. 358^).
they saw that he lost his ’
work.
At the same t'T'ime they strength­
ened their hold on the mass of laborers, who took the financial
risk of striking, at the capitalist's expense;
also paid them a separate contribution.
and the latter
So the trouble, the dan­
ger, and the ill-feeling are temporarily suspended, and both capi­
tal and labor have paid the bills -- to the union secretaries!
This is the kind of vicious circle which caused Reade to describe
the system as a "terrible confederacy, which, in England and the
41
nineteenth century, was Venice and the Kiddle Ages over again."
And poor Cheetham, back against the wall and minus vacation wages
and an excellent toctforger,
cries despairingly, "Oh, if ever you
42
workingmen get power, God help the world."
Cheetham did not
understand the nature of the power behind the workingmen, but
Reade did, and it was his actual knowledge of these and similar
abuses, taken from direct observation,
that caused him to inveigh
not against the principle of trade union organization, but against
the conspiracies of individuals within specific unions -- leeches
who ruthlessly played capital and labor against each other for
43
their own private gain.
Then Henry Little opens his own modest factory he insists
that the 'workers employ sanitation devices supplied by him, or
leave.
This attitude brings forth a mild remonstrance from the
41.
Ibid., p. 308.
42.
Ibid., p. 125.
43.
Reade probably was familiar with Felix Ho l t , the Radical
(1866), in which Eliot urges English workmen to pursue independent
thought and action as the best means of improving their position.
union, and during a subsequent conference with union officials one
of them insists t b
Little that it is not desirable to prolong the
workmen's lives, because "the trade is full already;
and if you
force the men to live three score and ten, you wil] overcrowd it
44
so, they will come to starvation wages."
'.Then some of Little's
s&w-grinders do not pay their union dues, Grotait first warns the
master, and then has his wheel-bands, or belts, stolen.
(This is
called "rattening.")
After the workmen pay their arrears, plus
45
a small contribution, the belts are found.
//hen Little and Bolt
introduce some new sa;v-grinding machinery to increase production,
the -warnings an ?*ratteningsn recommence,
till finally one Hill,
tempted by money as well as his loyalty to the "terrible confedera46
cy," tries to shoot Little with an arrow.
The story of young ’.'/hithread's brick manufacturing experiences
is also an interesting commentary upon Reade's exposure of trade
union abuses.
The brick-maker invents a machine for shaping bricks
its use means a saving of tenpence a thousand.
The brickmakers'
union leaders object, and in an effort to conciliate them, ,/hitbread offers the men six of the tenpence;
demand the whole tenpence I
the brickmakers strike.
but the brickmakers
//hit bread refuses to give it all, so
Groups of new men are brought from a dis­
tance, and the "doing" and "rattening" begin.
Quantities of
needles are secretly mixed with the brick clay: result, two brick-
44.
Put Yourself in His Place, p. 357.
45.
Ibid., p. 372.
46.
Ibid., p. 457.
S3
makers seriously hurt.
One night strikers trample 50,000 wet
"bricks into a shapeless mass of clay.
men,
Finally four "contribution"
that is, those not supported by the union when on strike, are
forced bad: to work to avoid starvation;
one of them is horribly
47
beaten by seven assailants, and left for dead.
Then young /Whit­
bread* s wife receives an anonymous letter,
warn i ng her to persuade
her husband to remove his non-union help before he is shot!
Later
the union leaders propose a conference, and there the brickmakers1
deputation agrees to accept sixpence;
but './hithread recounts their
brutalities end injustices, and asserts that they are too late, that
he is leaving the trade, driven out by their unreasonable and crim­
inal con luct.
Then a machine brickmaking company comes in, and
things are worse th&n before.
Harris,
the brick carter, has his
stable and horse burned, and soon the company ceases operation be48
cause of losses sustained through repeated violence.
Thus in­
dustries are driven from the town, and men thrown out of employ­
ment, by the criminally selfish machinations of the union leaders,
and the stupidity of the laborers, who blindly follow their instruc­
tions .
The -whole problem of industrial relationships treated by
Reade is quite as acute today as it was in the late sixties.
Du­
ring recent widespread labor agitation a hundred situations iden­
tical in almost every respect to those described by him have devel-
47.
Similar charges of brutality have been made in connection with
our own recent industrial agitation.
And, as in Reade's time,
union leaders have of course publicly deprecated these crimes.
48.
Put Yourself in His Place, pp. 411, f f .
64
49
oped in both England and the United States.
And the charges of
illegality, unreasonableness, and downright brutality have been
almost as rife now as in the nineteenth century;
so that one is
compelled to wonder whether there is not considerable ground for
hr. Henry Ford's recent statement,
that trade organization has
never advanced the industrial laborer materially.
Perhaps it is
a serious question whether the organization of factory labor is
not of a type that by its very nature is liable to exploitation
through unscrupulous or impractical leadership.
In any case,
Reade's opposition to trade unions was based not upon principle,
but upon abuses perpetrated within specific organizations, and
his indignation at such practices finds expression in the hope
that the government will
shake off its lethargy, and take stringent measures to defend
the liberty of the subject against so cruel and cowardly a con­
spiracy, and to deprive the workmen, in their differences with
the masters, of an unfair and sanguinary weapon, which masters
could use, but never have, as y e t . 50
And a few sentences later he adds, "But the Executive is fast
51
asleep in the matter.”
49.
It should be remembered that the industrial portions of Put
Yourself in His Place are copied, with only the thinnest disguise,
from Parliamentary and committee reports upon the state of affairs
in Sheffield, and are supported by evidence
which Reade gathered
in personal visits to the town.
50.
Put Yourself in His Place,
Book II, p. 160.
51.
Ibid.
Tangible results of Reade's propaganda for reform in
factory working conditions may be assumed from the fact that in
the next year after publication of Put Yourself in His Place in
book form (June, 1870), execution o F T h e Factory Acts Extension
and Workshop Regulation Acts, passed in 1867, was taken from the
hands of local authorities, and placed in those of federal inspec­
tors. Also that in 1872 a Parliamentary Committee was formed for
the purpose of investigating conditions and advocating legislation
advantageous to the working class (Louis Cazamian, Modern England,
Dutton and Co., Hew York, 1912, p. 159).
65
Reade's attitude toward child labor is consistently denuncia­
tory.
He insists through Little's "Report," appended to Put Your­
self in His Place, that the workmen must be prevented from "driving
their poor little children into unhealthy trades, and so destroying
them body and soul."
And in the same "Report" he writes,
In restraint of the workmen, the Legislature ought to extend the
Factory Acts to Hillsborough trades, and so check the heartless
avarice of the parents.
At present, no class of Her Majesty's
subjects cries so loud, and so vainly, to her motherly bosom, and
the humanity of Parliament^ as these poor little children;
their
parents, the lowest and most degraded set of brutes in England,
teach them swearing and indecency at home, and rob them of all
decent education, and drive them to their death, in order to se­
cure a few shillings out of their young lives;
for what? -- to
waste in drink and debauchery.
Count the public houses in this
town. 52
During these days of mass relief organization and expenditure
perhaps it is appropriate to consider two interesting points which
Reade makes concerning the extent to which government is responsible
for the livelihood of the working classes.
port" of Little,
Again through the "Re­
Reade recommends the abolition of the fork-grindr
ing trade as unhealthy, and further explains that the work then
done by one hundred and fifty men could be done by thirty with
machines.
He then advocates that the one hundred and twenty men
so deprived of employment should be taken care of temporarily by
Parliament,
"because then there would be a temporary compensa­
tion offered to the temporary/’ sufferers by a far-sighted and beneficBnt measure."
But he has little sympathy for the laborer who
52.
Ibid.
The Elementary Education Act, providing "free" and
compulsory education, was passed in 1870, while Put Yourself in
His Place was running serially in Cornhill. Here again a claim
could be made for propagandistic influence on Reade s part.
(Ele­
mentary education was not really "free" until 1891, when the pay­
ment of the "school pence" was abolished through the Free Educa­
tion Act.)
66
has been reduced to want through his own prodigality, a n d .very real
commiseration for the thrifty tax-payer who
bleeds for the vices of our working classes;
since in our wealthy
cities, nine-tenths of the pauperism is simply waste and inebriety.
He [the thrifty worker! often pays temporary relief to an improvi­
dent workman, whose annual income exceeds his own, but who will
never put by a shilling for a slack time.
53
These tv^o social and economic views of Reade furnish ample illus­
tration of the extent to which he felt a government is responsible
for the employment of its people.
Certainly Put Yourself in His Place may be said to contain
most of Reade's important dicta relating to the industrial worker,
as the later v/oman-Hater reports his views upon the rural laborer.
Hr. Plwin writes that the former volume "was regarded as a sincere
and sober Dicture of problems, persons, and a section of civilization
54
never before introduced into a work of art."
7/ith the possible
exception of Dickens-- and the labor agitation business in Hard
Times is far from convincing, being confined to a treatment of the
incendiary?' bombast of Slackbridge,
the union delegate -- proba­
bly no major novelist of his time spoke to and about the industri­
al laboring classes with such forthright directness as that em­
ployed by Reade in calling attention to the evils which existed
within the class itself.
Mrs. Gaskell’s plea for a better under­
standing between masters and men (Mary Barton, 1848, and North
and South, 1855) presumed a conscientious and benevolent despot­
ism on the part of the capitalist, and such an attitude is still
to be achieved in the majority of cases.
53.
"Builders' Blunders,"
54.
Elwin, p. 205.
It is true that Kingsley
Readiana, p. 66.
67
agitated forcefully for solid organization among the factory
classes (/I ton Locke. 1850), hut he did not point out that such
organization was and always will he impracticahle among people
who cannot or persistently will not administer their own private
affairs intelligently.
His general propaganda cry of "Be wise,
and then you must he free, for you will he fit to he free," was
undoubtedly sincere, hut its tone of henign paternal encourage­
ment does not hegin to call forceful attention to the besetting
sins committed by and within labor itself.
Undoubtedly the older
Disraeli {sybil. 1845), notwithstanding his "pulse of the people"
and "Young England" policies, more nearly approached Reade in
his ironical condemnation of many of the work.ing class, when he
castigated their adherence to "The old ideal, to do nothing and
get something."
Although Carlyle despised novels, and Reade accepted the
55
Chelsea Sage only with very definite reservetions,
these two
stood very close together in their habit of placing much of the
responsibility for the unhappy lot of the laborer where it be55
longed.
And yet, allowing for the difference in personal and
family background, Reade entertained quite as sincere respect
55.
Coleman reports Reade's description of Carlylp: A "John­
sonian pedant.bearish, boorish, and bumptious, egotistical and
atrabilious. iMany critics would ascribe many of these adjectives
to Reade himsel^J His Teutonic English was barbarous and caco­
phonous;
yet, notwithstanding, every line he wrote was permeated
with vigor and sincerity, and his Cromwell is a memorial of two
great men — the hero and the author" (Op. cit., p. 264).
Inci­
dentally, Coleman claims to have suggested the subject of Put
Yourself in His Place to Reade (Op. c i t ., p. 311).
56.
Reade received an anonymous threatening letter from some
trade union apostle during the serial run of Put Yourself in His
Place, whereupon, he denounced the workingmen as "Nasty beasts"
(Memoir, p. 341).
68
for the true laborer as did Carlyle.
Both insisted upon duty and
moral responsibility as the basic attitude for all workmen worthy
of the name;
and both realized
that many of the laborers’ grie­
vances were of their own making.
The material treated in Put Yourself in His Place does not
represent a complete cross-section of what was going on in in­
dustrial England during the sixties.
The union leaders who per­
petrated the many acts of violence in Sheffield were not affiliated
57
in any way with the then growing national trade unions,
and it
is a further tribute to Reade*s social insight to notice that he
did not fall in line with the great mass of the public, who con­
demned trade unionism in general because of certain specific and
local abuses, which characterized some of the "epidemic of strikes"
58
that lasted through the whole decade of the sixties.
It was
enough that the crusader temperament saw criminality and gangster­
ism in a certain corner of E’ngland.
Thereupon
Seeing these things, I have drawn my pen against cowardly assas­
sination and sordid tyranny;
I have taken a few undeniable
truths, out of many, and have labored to make my readers realize
those appalling facts of the day, which most men know, but not
one in a thousand comprehends, and not one in a hundred thousand
realizes, until fiction — which, whatever you may have been told
to the contrary, is the highest, widest, noblest, and greatest
of all the arts -- comes to his aid, studies, penetrates, digests,
the hard facts of chronicles and blue-books, and makes their dry
bones li v e . 59
57. Ramsay Muir, A Short H istory of the British Commonwealth,
George Philip and Son, London (5th ecTitionTT 1934, Vol. Il, p7 507.
58.
Ibid.
59.
Put Yourself in His Place, Book II, p. 151.
■*-n Pu-'k Yourself in His Place Reade took no sides in the
conflict between capital and labor.
His only interest was on the
side of right against -wrong, and he exposed and condemned the
evils of both sides.
In the reply to Goldwin Smith, Reade as­
serts,
He intimates I draw a vital distinction between my club and an
Union. A direct falsehood.
I have plainly disowned all such
distinctions.
He says I have slurred the faults of the masters.
I have detailed and denounced them again and again.
A lie.
He complains that I have not taken into account the diseases
and the short lives of the Sheffield cutlers.
A falsehood.
I
have gone more minutely into them than any living man but Dr. Hall
have pointed out the remedies, and blamed the masters for not
employing their superior intelligence to save the men. 60
Moreover, by 1880 Reade had lived to see a great deal of* the constructive legislative work done by the legitimate national trade
unions, work that made it possible for one social historian to
write that "the laws for the protection of labor rose like a
61
stately fabric of social wisdom."
Most of Reade's comment upon conditions affecting the rural
laboring classes is to be found in A Joman-Hater (1877), which,
unlike Put Yourself in His Place, was begun quite 'without "pur­
pose" inspiration.
sant situation.
60.
"A
ter was
Smith's
printed
61.
lie simply had not been fired by the sad pea­
Consequently in this novel Reade is neither so
Terrible Temptation," Readiana, pp. 269-270.
Hi is let­
suppressed by the editor of the Montreal paper in which
attack was printed;
accordingly Reade had his reply
in pamphlet form.
Louis Cazamion, op. cit., p. 151.
thorough nor so vehement as in his treatment of industrial con­
ditions and trade union abuses.
The economic predicament of the
poor farmer and farm laborer did not strike home so deeply.
Yet
cases similar to that of C-eorge Fielding in the earlier It. Is_ Fever
Too Late to
end -- cases of men who, though "sober, intelligent,
proud, sensitive, and unlucky," were compelled to leave their
homeland because they could not wring & bare living from their
miserable farms or employers, were still terribly frequent.
For
centuries the insidious inclosure practices had been disintegra­
ting and demoralizing the peasant and small farmer class, not
only by confiscating their prooerty, but by forcing upon them the
despairing conviction that they never could own land.
Destitution
and resultant crime became so prevalent that government assistance
was necessary for men whom the same government had permitted to
be deprived of their property —
and so official pauperism b e ­
gan, earl’' in the seventeetb century, and continues to this day,
a recognized institution in burope's wealthiest nation.
Until
the beginning of the eighteenth century the inclosing had been
done privately;
in 1710, however, the first Inclasure net was
passed by a Parliament of landed gentry.
Few landlords took ad­
vantage of this opportunity to steal legally, until the Contin­
ental and American wars broke out, and food prices soared;
then
the land became valuable, the rage for large-scale farming set
in, and property was appropriated so rapidly that by 1867 one62
third of all the acreage under cultivation was inclosed,
and
62.
Jesse Collings, Land Reform;
1906, p. 63.
Longmans, Green & C o ., London,
71
as the coffers of the land-owners filled, the stomachs of the
63
peasants emptied.
During the eighteenth century the desolate condition of the
a ricultural laborer had elicited the sharp, realistic condemna­
tion of Crabbe, as well as the melancholy challenge of C?1)g|dsmith.
But the current conviction that whatever was, was right, kept
such champions of human decency in the minority.
The legislation
for general social reform always gave slow and reluctant considera­
tion to the rights of the rural laborer, because physical obstacles
prevented the class from organizeing and agitating like their b r o ­
thers in the cities.
So general inclosure legislation marched on,
and the peasant situation became proportionately worse -- high
prices,
exorbitant rents, low 7/ages, large families,
many "never
"64
tasted meat for months.
They ate what dogs 'would turn away from.
Some slight improvement was noticeable after the organization
of the National Union of Agricultural laborers, in bay, 1672, but
in general it was true in 1S76, when Reade began A_ V/oman-Ha ter,
that
The story of the English agricultural laborers is one of the sad­
dest in our history.
Until they, as a class, become emancipated
by flight from the land, no men can exaggerate their sufferings
and the lowness of their condition.
There were'numbers of rural
laborers in every country, but in no country but ours were they
a class apart, a caste, a permanent part of a land system composed
of landlords, tenants, and laborers. Our landless peesntry . . .
v/ere worse off than serfs of olden times, for serfs, though slaves,
had plenty of food, generally land to cultivate, and dwellings
v/hich they regarded practically as their own.
65
63.
For eye-v/itness accounts of the sad plight of the English
rural laborer at this time see The English Via Dolorosa by Richard
Heath, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1893.
64.
Jesse Collings, op. cit ., p. 169.
a. k
T W d . . n. 163.
72
Upon approaching a study of Reade's opinion of the rural
laborer,
it should be recalled that he believed village people
to have "all the vices of the town, with greater ignorance."
To
return to his favorite topic for recrimination, Reade announces
in Christie Johnstone th: t among the fisherfolk of Nev/haven,
66
"males and females suck whiskey like milk,"
and he draws a
very melodramatic picture of the drunken Rutherford's slipping
67
from the pier to a watery grave.
Vhile discussing the case
of the inebriate Harvey, Reade interrupts himself to speak di­
rectly to the "gentlemen of time lower classes":
Your income is ten shillings a week;
out of that you spend three
shillings in .drink;
ay I you, the sober ones. You can't afford
it, my boys.
Find me a man whose income is a thousand a year;
well, if he imitates you, and spends three hundred upon sensuali­
ty, I bet you the odd seven hundred, he does not make both ends
meet;
the proportion is too great,
nnd two-thirds of the dis­
tress of the lower orders is owing to this — that tEey are more
madly prodigal than the ricKj_ in the worst, lowest, and most
dangerous item of 'all human prodTgality. 68
It is significant th.- t in ^ '.Voman-Hater Harrington Vizard, dille
tante humanitarian, keeps the beer-slops out of the villages of
69
Islip and Hillstoke.
66.
Op. cit., p. 40.
67.
Ibid., p. 50.
68.
Ibid., pp. 71-72.
69.
A V/oman-Hater, p. 529.
Like Hillsborough in Put bourse If
in Hi's Place, Islip has a definite actual prototype.
It is
TEe- town of Stoke Row, not far from Ipsden, where Sllinor, one
of Reade's sisters, and a model of Victorian philanthropy, did
a great deal of social and church work.
Through her efforts a
house of worship was built there (Elwin, p. 65).
73
Following the calamity of intoxication comes the same stub­
born, perverse, apathetic ignorance which Reade decried in the
urban laborer, and which Kingsley had deplored in the rural worker
through his earnest pleas for sanitary reform in Yeast (1848).
In
A Woman-Hater the towns of Islip and Hillstoke furnish us with
typical yet classic examples of complacent stupidity.
Here the
boys eat the stones with the cherries, because, as old fame Green­
away points out, "The Almightv . . . put 'em together on the tree,
70
so 'Why not in the boys* insides?"
Vha t would the good lady have
thought of an appendectomy?
Rhoda Gale, the scientific, feminis­
tic paragon of the story, is considered by the women of Hillstoke
to have "possessed with a devil" a boy who, as a result of her
administering an emetic, vomits a collection of "amphibia."
When
she asks the group, "Are they better in the boy or out of him?",
old Giles replies, " ,;hy hout.
tenant."
Better an empty house than a bad
All approve this adage, and Reade remarks, "They could
resist common sense in its liquid form, but not 'when solidified
71
into a proverb,"
an attitude which Iv.r, Frost exploits with his
"Good fences make good neighbors," from a similar class in another
time and country.
(The widow of Sdword Fountain's farmer-neighbor
in Love He Little, Love Le Long refuses Fountain the lease of
72 her
meadow merely "because her husband had always refused him.")
Lark's cottage is the show-place of the village, resplendent in
70.
Op. cit., p. 297.
71.
Ibid., p. 556.
72.
Op. cit., p. 135.
74
its coat of immaculate whitewash, and covered in front with
beautiful rose blossoms and vines, while within, three genera­
tions live day and night in a single room, and behind, a reek­
ing^ festering mucK heap stands at the door.
7/hen a new room is
added to his cottage, Mark uses it as a place in which to store
73
his potatoes!
The liquid manure from farmer Pickett’s barn forms
a stagnant pool in the center of the village, and other examples
filth
of hopeless/abound; yet when Rhoda Gale tries to improve conditions
she is met by the villages with open suspicion and ignorant animosity.
This is the kind of unintelligent opposition to change which
Reade castigates;
yet there is a more serious ignorance,
for
’which the villagers cannot be held liable, described in the same
book,
iUid for the harmful results of this ignorance Reade blames
the squirearchy, or petty nobles of the rural communities.
The
people of hillstoke drink impure, limeless water from a stagnant.
pond,
thus developing rheumatism and gout, as '.veil as infectious
74
diseases.
Because of lacK of milk, the current generation is
75
undernourished and stunted in growth.
Lucas, Vizard's gardener,
unwittingly cultivates aconite, a poisonous plant, with the horse76
radish which it resembles.
Yet no attempt is made by the Vizards
to remedy these evils, though. Zoe and Harrington are extremely
73.
h_ Woman-Hater, p. 356.
74.
Ibid.,
p. 330.
75.
Ibid.,
p. 338.
76.
Ibid.,
p. 342.
75
kind to the peasants whom they encounter directly.
Zoe always
77
carries food to them from her table,
and Harrington allows him78
self to he cheated of his already ridiculously low rents.
The,
latter has an excellent microscope and some scientific knowledge,
professing to he an amateur zoologist, hut he never uses his in­
formation and apparatus for the purpose of testing the water in
the village.
Vizard is condemned by Reade for his passive, im­
practical, and artificial concept of social responsibility.
is ready to supply money, hut little personal effort.
He
He is an
instrument 'whose benevolent hut fumbling power is given impetus
and direction by Rhoda Gale, the inquiring mind, the indefatigable
reformer, the scientific savior of Islip.
The perfect benevolent despot is described by Reade through
the character of Lord Uxmoor, who,
says, is eminently Victorian.
in all he does, thinks, and
His whole philosophy of humanitarian
philanthropy is based upon a long, artificial speech which he makes
to Zoe Vizard:
I often think of the strange inequality in the lot of men.
Living in the country, I see around me hundreds of men who are by
nature as worthy as I am, or thereabouts. Yet they must toil and
labor, and indeed fight for bare food and clothing all their lives,
and worse off at the close of their long labor.
That is what
grieves me to the heart.
All this time I revel in plenty and lux­
uries -- not forgetting the luxury of luxuries, the delight of
giving to those who need and deserve.
,/hat have I done for all
this?
I have been born of the right parents. Ivly merit, then,
is the accident of an accident.
But having done nothing merito­
rious before I was b o m , surely I ought to begin afterwards.
I
77.
Ibid., p. 337.
78.
Ibid.
76
think a man born to wealth ought to doubt his moral title to it,
and ought to set to work to prove it -- ought to set himself to
repair the in .justice of fortune by which he profits. Yes, such a
man should be a sort of human sunshine and diffuse blessings all
around him.
79
Lord Uxmoor seems to represent Reade*s ideal of rural paternalism.
He enters into a scientific study of economical end sanitary hous­
ing, employs local labor on a fair wage scale, provides granaries,
and in general enforces the necessity of utility end sanitation
first, and
beauty afterwards.
Yet he too is glad to turn over
his reform
plans to the inimitable Rhoda Gale when a disappoint-,
ment in love prompts him to leave dngland for a time.
His final
instructions to Kiss Gale represent the means by which Reade pro­
posed to alleviate the sufferings of the rural class everywhere.
*'irst there must be intelligent inquiry into existing conditions;
then a ready pocketbook,
the funds from which are to be spent u n­
der the direction of some such omniscient humanitarian as Rhoda
Gale.
Reade had his solution here, as in the case of the indus- •
trial laborer, and so -when Uxmoor parts from his "viceroy," he
empowers her to carry out their reform program as she sees fit.
"'Veils, cows, granary, real education -- what you like. . . .
know your mind.
I
Regin abolishing the lower orders in the only
way thev can be got rid of;
by raising them in comfort, cleanli80
ness, decency, and knowledge."
Throughout his works Reade has included frequent and tart
references to the manifold foibles of domestic servants.
79.
Ibid., pp. 298-299.
80.
Ibid., p. 248.
The
77
hoverings about keyholes, petty pilferings,
sycophantic advances
for little trinkets and discarded clothes, orgies of kitchen gos­
sip -- all are woven into his novels with varying degrees of hucor
and pathos.
Eut he also severely reprimands the servant class for
their prodigality and snobbish independence.
Upon hearing of the
death of & seamstress by starvation, he wrote a letter to the
Daily Telegraph, urging more young women to be less falsely proud
and enter domestic service, where he asserts they will be well
off.
He adds, "As a rule servants nowadays hold their heads as
high La!y
a little higher than their mistresses do. 81
In
A Simpleton (1875), he explains that the Staines's servants
”
82
"laid out every shilling they earned in finery."
In It. Is_ Lever
Too Late to L e n d , the reformed "Tom pioblnso*n] , and especially
Jenny, had looked forward to reigning in their own house;
it was,
therefore, a disaonointment when they found themselves snubbed and
85
treated with hauteur" by their servants.
And significantly enough,
Reade points out that the first good servant they finally secured
was t/r. files,
their former master.
Thus, spurred relentlessly by his passion for truth as he
saw
it, and by his insatiable crusader temperament,
through a mass
and clippings,
Reade struggled
of observe, t ions, reports, interviews, blue books,
till he reached a viewpoint which permitted a fair­
ly complete picture of the nineteenth century rural and urban
laborer.
And the resultant comments, however strident^
. repeti­
tious, and inept, do credit to the character and perspicacity of
81.
"Starvation Refusing Plenty,"
82.
Op. cit ., p. 117.
83.
Op. cit., Book II, p. 388.
Readiana, p. 252.
78
of a man who spoke harsh truth in open defiance of so much of the
nationalistic jingoism prevalent during his time.
Perhaps Reade's
capacity for self-criticism was not what it should have been.
tainly he had all the faults of his
ingly apparent in later chapters.
Cer
time, as will b e c o m e increas­
But notwithstanding his insis­
tent conviction of self-righteousness, and his blatant preachments
to all men, both his intentions and his achievements were for the
general good of the British laborer.
79
CHAPTER POUR
THE PROFESSIONS
To few aspects of Reade's fiction has the charge of tedious
reiteration been applied with more justification than to his casti­
gations of evils in the three prominent professions of law, medi­
cine, and religion.
are)
The faults he decries were (and perhaps still
certainly existent to a degree which warranted hostile cri­
ticism, but his frequent and sometimes irrelevant repetitions and
insertions of conscious censure interfere seriously -with the
smooth progress of some of his novels.
In fact it is Reade's pa­
tent inability to harmonize the artistic with the propsgandistic
in fiction that weakens so many of his stories.
Much of Hard
Gash is spoiled by scornful diatribes against the medical pro­
fession, while satirical judgments upon clergymen and religious
abuses punctuate the pages of The Cloister and the Hearth, It Is
Never Too Late to Fend, and Hard Cash.
The latter and Griffith
Gaunt also contain large sections of animadversions upon lawyers
and the law.
Nevertheless even a casual reader must remark the many evi­
dences of Reade's practical information in these fields.
Moved
by a conviction of self-righteousness and indignation, he went
to almost any extreme of labor and inconvenience to secure authori­
tative information upon the subject he was treating, and conse­
quently we find a plethora of physiological and medical termin­
ology and discussion, beginning with Dr. Aberford in the early
SO
Chris tie Johnstone, and extending through the -whole gamut of his
works to the chemical and pathological researches of Rhoda Gale,
v. D., in A_ woman-Hater.
Rea ie had little opportunity for .se­
curing technical medical knowledge, although a penchant in the
direction of natural science may be noted in the diligent ingenu­
ity with which the adventures on the desert island in Foul Play
are treated.
It is known that upon being graduated from Oxford
he went to Edinburgh to study medicine before attempting law, but
Compton Reade informs us that he found the v/ork little to his liking.
One day "he forced himself to enter the operating theatre, and saw
a man bled.
This was enough.
Staggering to the door, he fainted
1
away."
But a Scotch doctor named Dickson did a great deal of
work with Reade in the preparation of Hard Cash, and undoubtedly
he supplied much of the book's scientific information.
Dickson,
whose collaboration ’
with Reade resembled that of Messrs. Paul de
Kruif and Sinclair Lewis for Arrowsmith, is humorously satirized
as the volubly bombastic Dr. Sampson of the story.
From a messianic point of view Reade is interested in expos­
ing medical men for their criminal conduct in treating the insane
and pseudo-insane, their complacent ignorance of basic physiology,
their hypocrisy, and their passion for bleeding patients, no mat­
ter what the malady.
The first item is important enough to war­
rant treatment in the chapter on prisons and asylums.
Concerning
the ignorance of some doctors, Reade goes back even to the fifteenth
1.
Memoir, p. 107. Here may be the source of Reade's life-long
crusade against bleeding and vivisection.
Concerning the latter
he wrote,
"Charity and science are disunited in those dark hells
where God's innocent creatures Jar^ cut up alive out of curiosity"
("A Brave ..oman,"
Readiana, p. o) .
81
century, an age during which we may expect it to have been rife,
in The Cloister and the Hearth, where he tells of a certain civic
dignitary of Rotterdam, -who, being desperately and apparently in­
curably ill, sends for Peter Brandt;
and purged to nothing,"
the latter finds him "bled
but cures him by prescribing fresh air,
nourishing foods, and simples, after throwing "a batallion of
2
bottles out of window."
Later in the same book, on the occasion
of the death of Philip the Good, the author ’
writes, "Now paupers
got sick and got well as Nature pleased;
but woe betided the
3
rich when, for one hr. .alady killed,
three fell by Dr. Remedy."
And Reade further emphasizes the needlessness of such ignorance
by remarking later that the Dominicans in the monastery south of
4
Dusseldorf effected cures by the use of herbs.
In Hard Gash
Lr. .Jenner, an apothecary,
is described as "a benevolent old
chemist . . .["whol
taught the virtues of drugs and minerals to
5
tender youths, at the expense of the public."
And again, in
discussing the horrible treatment endured by Kardie in the asylum,
Reade points out, as a commentary upon the ratio of ignorance to
experience in medicine, "Alfred to the naked eye was a sane man.
But then Bailey had no naked eye left; he had been twenty years
6
an K. D."
In the short story call The Jilt Arthur Greaves is
seized with an attack of gastric fever and jaundice;
2.
Op. cit ., Vol II, p. 3.
5.
Ibid., p. 225.
4.
I b i d ., p. 247.
5.
Op. ci t., p. 115.
6 . Ibid., p. 527.
to cure him
82
the doctors administer "medicines which, as usual in these cases,
did the stomach a little harm, and the system no good."
When a
physician worthy of the name finally arrives, and is exhorted by
the patient's uncle to tell the truth about the case, he replies,
"I always do;
that is why they call me brute."
And the author
closes the episode by asserting that "Youth, a good consitiution,
good nursing,
the right food and drink, and no medicine, saved the
7
life of Arthur Greaves."
According to Reade Dr. Bailey of Hard
Cash has a predecessor in ignorance in Lr. Sawyer, the jail phy­
sician in I_t Is_ Never Too Late to Lend, who had "given fifteen
yet rs to the science of obscurit:/."
Later in the story, when the
sick chaplain is steadily growing worse under the care of a local
surgeon, he sends for Dr. Gulson, a medical friend, who, upon ar­
rival, smells "a batallion of empty phials," and thus summarizes
the kind of treatment his predecessor had given Bden:
The old story.
You were weak — therefore they gave you things to
weaken you. You could not put so much nourishment into your body -therefore they have been taking strength out.
Lastly, the coats
of your stomach were irritated by your disorder -- so theTr raked
it like blazes.
This is the mill-round of the old medicine;
from
irritation to inflamrration, from inflammation to mortification, and
decease of the patient.
9
In Put Yourself in His Place,.Reade offers a startling contrast
to so much stupid ignorance in medicine by introducing the ingen­
ious scheme of Dr. ,mboyne to resuscitate the half-drowned Jael
Dence by using an old-fiahioned fireplace bellows as a pulmotor:
7.
The Jilt and Other Stories, pp. 25-26.
8.
Op. cit., p. 288.
9.
Ibid., p. 340.
83
"He inflated the bellows, and inserted the tube very carefully;
then he discharged the air, then gently sucked it back again.
'.Then he had done this several times, something like a sigh es-
10
caped from Jael’s breast."
Reade devotes an amusing but rather extended series of satiri­
cal episodes to the pompous hypocrisy of many medicoes in the early
11
pages of Hard Cash, where he discusses the illness of Julia Dodd,
along with the sundry and contradictory prescriptions offered by
a half-dozen officious doctors, and the indignant scorn ’
with which
their suggestions are condemned by the irrefutable Dr. Sampson,
who, however inflammatory and ungrammatical, knows his medicine.
The esse in question is treated first by a town practitioner, then
by a specialist,
then by a London surgeon, and finally by the
Court physician.
Each treats the poor girl for a different ail­
ment, and yet none can be found to contradict the diagnosis of
his colleague.
And when Dr. Sampson sees the prescription of these
"money-makingest" gentlemen,
He ran his eye over them, and pointed out that the mucous-membrane
man and the nerve man had prescribed the same medicine on irrecon­
cilable grounds;
and a medicine, moreover, whose effect on the
nerves was nil , and on the mucous membrane was not to sooth it,
but plough T T “and harrow it; . . .
He then reminded her that all
these doctors in consultation would have contrived to agree.
12
Later, when Hr. Hardie is having his son's mentality examined
with
theintention
of confining hirr in an asylum, he has Dr. Os-
10.
Op. cit.,p. 503.
11.
Op. ci t.,pp.
12 .
Ibid;. p. 99.
74-94.
mond call in as consultant Dr. Wycherley, who
had so saturated himself with circumlocution, that it distilled
from his very tongue; he talked like an article;
a quarterly one;
and so gained two advantages:
1st, He rarely irritated a fellowcreature;
for, if he began a sentence hot, what with its length,
and what v/ith its windiness, he ended it cool:
item, stabs by
polysyllables are pricks by sponges.
2dly, This foible earned him
the admiration of fools;
and that is as invaluable as they are
innumerable.
15
The doctor opens the subject with hr. H&rdie in the following
"subdued and sympathizing" manner:
My good friend informs me, sir, you are so fortunate as to
possess a son of distinguished abilities, and who is at present
laboring under some of those precursory indications of incipient
disease of the cerebropsychical organs, of which I have been, I
may say, somewhat successful in diagnosing the symptoms. Unless
I have been misinformed, he has, for a considerable time, exper­
ienced persistent headache of a kephalalgic or true cerebral type,
and has now advanced to the succeeding stage of taciturnity and
depression, not unaccompanied with isolation, and probably consti­
pation;
but as yet without hallucination, though possibly, and,
as my experience of the great majority of these cases would in­
d u c e me to say, probably, he is not undisturbed by one or more
of those latent, and, at first, trifling aberrations, either of
the intelligence or the senses, which, in their preliminary stages,
escape the observation of all but the expert nosologist.
\
1 Anglice,
"accompanied."
\
2 Anglice,
"disturbed."
Such are only the introductory obliquities of a physician who is
delivering his diagnosis to a layman.
In A Simpleton, published ten years after Hard Cash, Reade
introduces a scene which may be described as the climax of his
condemnation of the stupid and pretentious dissemblings practised
13*
Ibi d., p. 397.
14.
Ibid.. p. 398.
The reader here begins to suspect what Reade
completely reveals in the next volume -- that the poor doctor Is
insane himself (Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 92).
85
by some doctors
ill,
Mr. Lusignan believes his daughter is seriously
so he asks the consulting surgeon, Mr. vVyman, to call in
Dr. Snell, the ablest physician in the countryside.
These two
medicoes deny the father admittance to the examination on the
ground that it is "against etiquette";
following the examination
there is a half-hour consultation, which Mr. Lusignan is peremp­
torily forbidden to attend for the same reason.
Finally the doc­
tors emerge from lofty conclave, with the result that Dr. Snell
cordiall?/ approves both the diagnosis and the therapy prescribed
by his colleague.
But then he writes a prescription diametrical­
ly opposite that being given by Mr. WymanI
"The Arctic and Ant­
arctic poles are n't farther apart than was his prescription from
the prescription he thoroughly approved.
Amiable science I
In
which complete diversity of practice did not interfere with ner15
feet uniformity of opinion."
Perhfl&ps the most heated and often repeated of Reade's fulminations against the medical profession are those applied to
the practice of promiscuous venesection, or blood-letting.
The
custom has had periods of remarkable popularity since its begin16
ning,
in pre-historic times,
but during each era of wide-spread
use there have been statements of definite objection from many
quarters.
Thus Sir ..'illiam Osier, M. D., explains in his monu-
15. Op. cit., pp. 21-25.
The complete opposite of this situation -contradictory opinion and identical therapy — occurs in the case
of D r s . Sampson and Osmond in Hard Cash (p. 361).
16.
Benard Dawson, Hie IIistory of Medicine, H. K. Lewis & Co.,
Ltd., London, 1931, p. 6.
86
mental history of medicine that in medieval times "bleeding was
the first resort in a large majority of all diseases," and he
mentions a fifteenth century medical hook (the Practica, 1471, of
Ferrari)
in which "there is scarcely a malady for which it is not
17
recommended";
hut a sample of anti-venesection conviction is
described in Sir V,'illiam1s comment upon the Ortus Medicinae, 1648,
of Van Helmont, whose "counterblast against bleeding was a useful
18
protest, and to deny in to to its utility in fever required courage."
The rather general use of blood-letting as a medical panacea
persisted until well on through the middle of the nineteenth cen19
turv,
however, so that Reade's attacks upon the practice have
propagandistic significance.
l
In the early rt Is_ Never Too Late to
end (1856) the author as -erts that only youth and a sound consti­
tution pulled George Fielding through his illness;
but "moreover,
20
no assassin had 'een there with his lancet."
And in Hard Gash
hr. Sampson explains his plan for compiling an "ass-ass-ins' dickshinary"
to expose the euphonlus ambiguities by which the medical
profession propose venesection:
17.
Sir 'Gilliam Osier, The :.v lutlon of Modern Medicine, Yale
University Press, New Haven, 1922, pT TT8.
18.
Ibid., p. 178.
At the close of Hard Gash Reade asserts that
when Cervantes and roliere condemned the practice as productive
of human slaughter, they were mistaking their respective periods
for the nineteenth century (Vol II, p. 329).
19.
In Put Yourself in His Place, when Dr. Amboyne orders a glass
of brandy^and water for the povnler-burned Little, Reade remarks
in parenthesis that "There were still [1868] doctors in Hillsbor­
ough, though not in London, 'who would have had him bled on the
spot" (p. 74).
20.
Op. cit., Vol. II, p. 8.
87
F'r instance:
if one -vas to say to John Bull, 'Now i'll cut a
great gash in your arm and let your blood run till ye drop down
senseless,' he'd take fright and sa7/, 'Call another time!'
So
the profissional ass-ass-in words it thus: 'i'll bleed youX from
a large orifice till th' occurrence of syncope.'
'All right,'
sis John: he's bled from a lev j'orifice, and dies three days
after of th' assassin's knife hid in a sheath o' goose grease. 21
Later in the same book Dr. Osmond insists that David Dodd failed
to recover conroletely from the apoplectic attack because there
22
was "an insufficient evacuation of blood"
from the patient du­
ring the treatment, while Dr. Sampson summarizes the case thus:
The man had been 'wounded in the hid., and lost blood:
thin
stabbed in the shoulder, and lost more blood, . . . S o , instead
of recruiting the buddy thus exhausted of the great liquid mat­
erial of all repair, the profissional ass-ass-in came and exhaus­
ted him worse:
stabbed him while he slept;
stabbed him uncon­
scious, stabbed him in a vein:
and stole more blood from him.
7/asn't that enough? ho!
The routine of Profissional ass-ass-ination had but begun;
next they stabbed him with cupping-needles,
and so stole more of his life-blood.
And they were goen from
their stabs to their bites, goen to leech his temples, and so
hand him. over to the sexton. 25
And when Alfred Hardie sprains his leg, the same assertive disci­
ple of Hippocrates points out that the customary treatment for
such injuries is leeches and cold water.
But he adds,
the practice sure to be th' opposite of the remedy?
21.
Op. cit., p. 263.
22.
Ibid., p. 396.
25.
Ibid., pp. 389-390.
"Isn't
So get wa-
-8824
tsr as hot as he can hear it, and no leeches."
Griffith Gaunt
nearly dies at the Packhorse Inn because of being bled when ill
of a fever, and the author here adds a barb to his thrust by having
the patient’s eventual cure accomplished through the casual thera­
py of Paul Carrick, a veterinarian, who begrudges the few moments
he gives to Gaunt because he has "so many beasts to look to," and
yet is patently assigned skill suoerior to the doctor’s by Reade.
25
As though to establish beyond refutation the importance of main­
taining life and strength, in the same book the author recites
with dramatic brevity the story of how Kate Gaunt’s life is saved
at childbirth by a blood transfusion —
quiring blood —
"an operation which then {eighteenth century),
as now [l866), was impossible in theory*
it.
not by losing, but by ac­
only he [Dr. Ashley] did
He sent some of Griffith Gaunt’s bright red blood smoking hot
24.
Ibid. , Vol. 11, o. 213.
At the close of Hard Cash Dr. Samp­
son receives his final and unmistakable vindication from Reade;
As years rolled on, Dr. Samoson made many converts at home and
abroad.
The foreign ones acknowledo-ed their obligations.
The
leading London physicians manared more skilfully;
they came into
his ideas, and bit by bit reversed their whole practice, and twen­
ty years after Sampson began to strenghthen the invalid at once,
instead of first prostrating him, and causing lonr’ sickness or
sudden death.
But with all this, they disowned their forerunner,
and still called him a quack while adopting his cuackery.
This
dishonesty led them into difficulties.
To hide that their whole
practice of medicine was reversed on be tter information, they
went from shuffle to shuffle, till at last ’they reached this cli­
max of fatuity and erotism -- THE TYPE OF DISEASE IS CRANGED
(Vol.
11, pn. 328-329).
25.
Griffith Gaunt, pp. 258, ff.
-8926
into Kate Gaunt's veins."
The latter part of The Cloister and the Hearth contains a
fine interview, reported from "The Silver Lion" in Dusseldorf,
which admirably expresses Reade’s attitudes toward the quackery
frequently practised in medicine.
The venerable and pedantic
doctor, who has proposed to bleed and cauterize Gerard, delivers
long and eloquent periods upon the glories of his calling and
his own personal merits, while the truculent Denys refutes or
baits him at nearly every breath pause.
And finally Denys warns
his comrade that the medico does business on a percentage basis
27
with the innkeeper, and is in cahoots with the undertaker too!
But the significant denouement occurs when the learned scientist
is burned by falling into his own chafer before the impact of
Gerard’s hurled bolster:
he hurries home, where "his house-
26. Ibid., p. 447. But apparently Reade did not know his Fepys.
In the entry for November 14, 1666, the diarist reports,
At the meeting at Gresham College {early meeting place of
the Royal Society) to-night . . . , there was a pretty experi­
ment of the blooa of one dogg let out, till he died, into the
body of another on one side, while all his own run out on the
other side. The first died upon the place, and the other very
well and likely to do well. This did give occasion to many pret­
ty wishes, as of the blood of a Quaker to be let into an Arohbishop, and such like; but may if it takes be of mighty use to
a man's health, for the mending of bad by borrowing from a bet­
ter body.
A year later (November 21, 1667) Pepys writes
of a man that is a little frantic, that hath been a kind of minis­
ter, that is poor and a debauched man, that the College Royal
Sooiety have hired for 20s. to have some of the blood of a sheep
let into his body; and it is to be done on Sg-turday next. They
purpose to let in about twelve ounoes, which is what they oompute
will be let in in a minute’s time by a watoh.
On November SO of the same year Pepys saw this man, who
speaks well and did this day give the Sooiety a relation thereof in
Latin, saying that he finds himself much better since, and as a new
man. . . . He is to have the same again tried upon him: the first
sound man that ever had it tried on him in England, and but one
that we hear of in France.
27.
On.
n it.
nn
Ol
keeper applied some old woman's remedy mild as milk.
like a lamb to her experience:
28
patient being cure."
He submitted
his sole object in the case of this
Of course Reade's only purpose in aiming these and similar
attacks at the medical profession was to eliminate current abuses,
and while he himself had no scientific background upon which to
base his allegations, his habit of exhaustive research and the
sound medical advice which he received justify his statement, made
through the lips of the novelist Rolfe,
to Dr. Suaby, in A Terrible
n
Temptation:
want it."
Don't you despise a layman's eye.
All the professions
The physician# then suggests that Rolfe publish a book,
to be titled Redicina Laici, and the writer replies, "I will:
29
novels cease to pay, and truth begins to."
when
Reade began the study of law at Lincoln's Inn late in 1835,
and spent a considerable portion of the next six years traveling
on the continent and in shorter trips to Ipsden and to Scotland.
After applying himself to his legal studies for some months he
wrote his mother,
"From what I see of the study, its natural ef­
fect upon the mind must be to improve the memory, and give a habit
of attention and strict accuracy -- for every particular word in
every individual sentence has a meaning which may be of vital
28.
Ibid., p. 228.
29. Op. cit., pp. 280-281.
Mr. Elwin writes (op. cit., p. 234)
that Reade actually considered writing such a book, and that he col­
lected news clippings of "fatal operations, still-born births,
child welfare, and epidemics" for many years.
/
91
30
importance."
Thus two things are indicated:
first, that he
did not find the subject engrossing in itself, and second, that
he was aware of its value in cultivating a scientific exactness
and concentration -- qualities which he did not always display,
unfortunately, since he never could detach himself completely
enough from his material to he scientifically objective.
He was
called to the bar in 1842, but never practised, writing in a note­
book many years later (circa 1856),
"I cannot be called a lawyer
31
save by an extravagant stretch of courtesy."
It is not exaggerating to say that the course in law was a
blessing, however mixed, to Charles Reade.
It is palpably true
that such training inclined an already disputatious temperament
32
to profitless controversy and laborious litigation,
but it is
equally true that his knowledge of law and legal procedure not
only developed in him the habits of documentary accuracy and
orderliness upon which his reputation as a controversial writer
rests, but also contributed directly to the plot evolution of
It Is Kever Too Late to Lend,
Hard Cash,
Griffith Gaunt, Foul
Play, The Landering n e i r , and several of his short stories.
In spite of his academic training in the law Reade ’
was able
to bring to bear upon its discrepancies, inconsistencies, and in­
justices the scrutiny of a fresh mind, unhampered by professional
30.
Elwin, p. 37.
31.
Ibid., p. 54.
32.
In the eighteenth century story The
.VanderingHeir, old law­
yer Chester calls litigation "the pit of* torment" (p. 154).
convention, and unafraid of professional displeasure.
His crusade
for reform is easily divided into three major campaigns:
one
against the legal vocabulary, another against the system of juris­
prudence itself, and a third against abuses current within the
profession.
In Hard Cash, which contains some fine legal scenes,
Alfred 'warns Edward Dodd that reading a certain deed will not tell
him what it means;
and when Edward jokingly asks whether it is in
Latin Alfred replies,
"Ho such luck.
Deeds used to be in Latin;
but Latin could not be made obscure enough.
written in an unknown tongue called
So now dark deeds are
1lawyerish,' where the sense
is 'as one grain of wheat in two bushels of chaff,1 pick it out
33
if you can."
And it later develops that although there are
three folio pages to the original deed, Alfred has the lawyer
make an "English translation" of it in twenty lines.
During the
course of his long controversies concerning the rights and wrongs
of authors, to be discussed in detail later,
Reade frequently
condemns the legislature, whom he describes as
Muddleheads who
still call copyright a monopoly;
and cannot, or
will not, see it is intellectual property, and has nothing what­
ever in common with monopoly;
and this fatal misuse of language
is a main source of the "foul injustice to authors at home and
abroad.
34
And in advocating the use of the word "stage-right" to include
protection of an author's acted as well as printed play, he writes,
But the phrase 'dramatic copyright, ' means the sole right of
printing and publishing a play-book, or it means nothing at all.
It cannot mean, nor be made to mean, the right of representing a
33.
Op. cit ., p. 470.
34.
"The Situation,"
hemoir, p. 354.
93
play. Now men are the slaves of words;
and so our lawgivers and
yours, having the word 'copyright1 dinned eternally into their
ears, and never hearing the word 1stage-right,' are at this mo­
ment in a fool's paradise.
35
Although The Vandering Heir is written of an eighteenth cen­
tury setting, Reade’s paraphrase of the indictment charged against
James Annesley illustrates the type of officious verbosity which
still existed in the legal language of the Victorian era, and which
he ridicules by simple reproduction:
The indictment charged against James Annesley, laborer, that
he, not having God before- his eyes, but moved by the instigation
of the Levil, on the 1st of hay with force of arms, in and upon
one Thomas Eaglestone, feloniously, wilfully, and of malice afore­
thought, did. make an assault, and that he, the said James Annesley,
with a certain gun, of the value of five shillings, being charged
with powder and leaden shot, did discharge and shoot out of the
said gun, by force of the gunpowder as aforesaid, and him the
said Thomas Eaglestone in and upon the left side of the belly of
the said Thomas, did strike and penetrate, giving to him, the
said Thomas, on the said side of his said belly, one mortal wound,
of the breadth of one inch, and of the depth of four inches, where­
of the aforesaid Thomas then and there instantly died. 36
Reade's most pointed criticism of legal phraseology occurs in a
letter written to the Pall Hall Gazette on June 17, 1872, and re­
printed in pamphlet form a.nd published in Readiana by his friend
Chat to.
The occasion ’was a murder trial, and the attack centers
upon the expression "malice aforethought."
The defendant was
obviously innocent of first degree murder, but the prosecuting
attorney had included the phrase "malice aforethought" in his
indictment, so the jury demurred;
the judge overrode their ob-
55.
"Letter to hr. J. R. Lowell on International Copyright,"
Readiana, p. 209.
36.
Op. cit., p. 142.
94
jection, asserting that "malice aforethought" meant merely "con­
temporaneous rage,"
dictment as it stood.
and that therefore the?/ must pass on the in­
The overawed jury agreed to let the prison­
er stand convicted of murder "with malice aforethought," hut also
made a recommendation of mere?/, thus directly contradicting them­
selves, and delivering a "bastard verdict which says 'Yes' with
57
a trumpet and 'No' with a penny ’
whistle."
Even then the judge,
•who "knows it is all humbug,
and a verbal -swindle invented b?/
dead fools and forced upon him,"
refers the case for special
consideration to "a layman called the Home Secretary, who is to
find straightforwardness, sense, manhood, and, above all, English,
58
for the lot."
Then follows e concluding paragraph which con­
tains Reade's recommendations for improvement.
He points out
that in order to eliminate these "verbal swindles" it will be
necessary
to enlarge, purify, and correct the legal vocabulary. . . . .7ith
two words -- 'manslaughter' and 'murder' -- the?/ Jtlie judge]*] are
expected to do the work of three or four -words; and how can the:7?
It is impossible. . . . Sweep away 'manslaughter,' which is an
idiotic word meaning more than murder in et?/mology, and less in
law, and divide unlawful killing into three heads — homicide,
wilful homicide, and murder.
Then let it be enacted that hence­
forward it shall be lawful for juries to understand all words
used in indictments, declarations, pleadings, etc., in their
plain and grammatical sense, and to def?/ all other interpreta­
tions whatsoever.
Twelve conies of every indictment ought to
be in the jury box, and ever?/ s?/llable of those indictments
57.
"The Legal Vocabulary,"
58.
Ibid.
Readiana, p. 242.
/
95
proved, whether bearing on fact or motive, or else the prisoner
acquitted.
39
Reade was also far from satisfied with the existing code of
laws and its execution.
He believed that the enactment and en­
forcement of statutes should depend not upon the empirical dicta­
tion of hidebound tradition, but upon.social and moral common sense.
In A woman-Ha ter, when speaking of a Barford apothecary's threat
to indict Rhoda Gale for practising medicine without a license, he
says, "To be sure, in this country, a law is no law, when it has
40
no foundation in -'ustice, morality, or public policy."
Reade’s
immoderate references to the legislators of the nation — particu41
larly the House of Commons
-- as "ad ilepated," "mud-1 leheaded," and
"pettifogging" are too numerous to require specific context refer-
39.
Ibid.
A few years later Reade added the following general
condemnation of ambiguous language:
"Truth has as many enemies as
a herring in shoal water.
But in argument her worst and subtlest
is E^UIVO^UE, i. e.: a phrase, or an important word, with two
meanings.
That word or phrase is sure to get used in one sense
in the premises of the arguments, and in the other sense in the
conclusion, and this single juggle will always make a lie seem a
truth, and truth a lie" (The Coming i,an, Harper and Brothers, New
York, 1878, p. 22).
The short, story Doubles (Hard Cash, Vol. II,
pp. 206, ff.) is introduced by some remarks on inaccuracies common
to the general gnglish vocabulary.
Reade writes that "There is a
perverse preference for weak foreign to strong British phrases, and
a run upon abstract terms, roundabout phrases, polysyllables, and’
a half-scientific jargon on simple matters, like velvet trimming
on a cotton print.11 He ridicules "that imbecile phrase, 'the fact
of,'" the self-contradictory expression "mistaken identity," and
concludes by remarking that "the Anglish of the day aims at j»arvum in multo
40.
Op. cit., p. o27.
41.
In "The Situation" (Memoir, p. 352) Reade writes, "Legisla­
tion — the peers seem to“T e gradually retiring from it.
This is
a pity.
The House of Commons is an arena of political strife; and
quiet salutary measures are not so welcome there as noisier mea­
sures ."
96
ence, and he decries lawyers as outlaws upon somewhat technical
grounds.
He -writes,
Cur judges, the mouthpieces of lav/ -- are still chosen from a band
of outlaws -- highly respectable ones of course;
but so long as
a client can, by law, defraud counsel of his fee for service, if
he does not take it in advance, and counsel can, by law, take the
fee, yet cheat the client out of his services, counsel are out­
law s . 42
Re&de v/as also particularly annoyed by the fact that England was
not divided into districts, each with a presiding justice, so
that the system of "strolling justices" could be abolished.
At
about 1872 he writes,
For three mortal months in the year justice is suspended for the
convenience of a clique -- justice, which is the breath of every
nation's nostrils.
The poor, silly nation submits to this.
Per­
haps if, instead of the Long Vacation, it was called 'The Suspen­
sion of Justice,' we should not put up with so great an injury,
so impudent and ungrateful an insult.
43
And, in 1878, concerning another evil of the same system:
V/hile the London judges are traipsing about the country, trying
hurriedly, and sometimes not trying at all, provincial cases that
ought to be all carefully and patiently tried in Bristol, Birming­
ham, Larches ter, Oxford, Nottingham, and York (for trial by jury
becomes a national lure if only London judges are allowed to sum
up the evidence), our vast metropolis is handed over to the domin­
ion of injustice for three mortal months.
44
In the short story The Knight's Secret, after having Friar Richard
confess to murdering his colleague,
Reade points out significantly
that "In those days rpf King Henry VJ the law did not tarry for
'
45
judges of assize to co^Lne around the country now and then."
42.
"The Situation,"
Memoir, p. 351.
43.
Ibid., p. 352.
44.
"The Lisdom and Folly of Nations," Ibid., p. 378.
45.
Op. cit., p. 231.
97
//hen in 1857 Reade brought suit age.inst Payne for the alleged
piracy of his adaptation of Les Pauvres de Paris, the defendant's
lawyer had the case moved up to the Court of Exchequer by a writ
certiorari.
Notice of the change was not given Reade till the
day of the trial, and he was therefore incensed at the Judges in
Chambers, who, by "sitting in a secret tribunal,
. . . and there
doing what can only be done in a secret tribunal, v i z ., hearing
one side only, and deciding finally against the other party un­
heard, had by a lemal but unjust and unconstitutional act, robbed
46
me in spite of my teeth, of CHEAP JUSTICE."
He inveighs against
general legal procedure again in discussing the history of his de­
fense against the suit of Barnett and Johnstone.
The case was
brought up from, the C h a n c e ry Court to the Count?/ Court for sta­
tute interpretation;
the judge there recommended a still higher
referee, the Court of the Exchequer, who promptly sent it down,
lower than the Chancery Court, to a barrister -- a private citi­
zen;
and during all this "double shuffle"
47
bills.
the defendant paid the
Reade admits that there has beer, much reform effected in the
law courts and in legislation, but he maintains that most of the
reformers have been lawyers, "and no clique, however well disposed,
can see half its own abuses -- prejudice and precedent are too
strong."
And he urges the need of a law for the severe punish­
ment of those found guilty of diluting or adulterating milk;
46.
The Eighth Commandment, p. 111.
47.
Ibid., p. 154.
he
93
proposes more expeditious legal machinery for evicting from ex­
pensive apartments the tenants who would neither pay nor move;
and urres the "legitimation1' (through the parents' subsequent
48
marriage) of children horn out of wedlock.
These three Reade
mentions specifically, and perhaps it would be complimentary to
his foresight to notice that all have since been enacted, though
49
his expectant spirit had to wait till 1927 for the last.
ITotable among abuses within the general practice of law
whet
is
.eade calls "The Postponement Swindle," by which the defen­
dant in a suit may delev beginning the trial almost indefinitely
by presenting certificates of illness or other circumstance pre­
venting attendance at trial, either for himself or any material
•witness.
.;uch a case of the " law's delay"
is carefully described
in herd Cash,
and its progressive stages of development soon
------------------------------"cooled the ardent xIfred, and sickened, him of law."
The first
deceit is promulgated through the claim that one hr. Speers, an
important defense witness, has been in .lured in a railway accident
near Boulogne, and so cannot come to England.
Dr. Sampson gives this statement
Trie irrepressible
the lie, and when hr. Compton
reminds him that there is a medical certificate to
prove it, he
shrieks,
"hai-dearr-sirr, a medical' certificut is ,iust an arti51
cle o' commerce -- like an attorney's conscience."
Further
49.
The Legitimacy
l48,
"The Situation,"
50.
Op. ci t ., Vol.
51.
Ibid., p. 260.
act went into effect in England on January 1,1927.
Lemoir, p. 352.
II,
pp. 259, ff.
50
9^
accusations regarding callous consciences is introduced at the
trial itself, when Colt, Queen’s Counsel, presents himself with­
out anr foreknowledge of the case,
and has to learn its history
while the trial is actually in progress, depending for his inform­
ation and guidance uoon another Sydney Carton in the person of
52
■Garrow.
And lest we should, regard such negligence as exceotional, the author remarks of ; r. Housman in Griffith Gaunt, "Procras55
tination was his daily work, being an attorney."
No doubt Reade
had fumed and. chafed over the Jarndy/ce v . Jarndyce case in his
master's Pleak House, which preceded both Hard Cash and Griffith
Gaunt.
Referring again to the writ
of certiorari signed against him
in his suit against Payne, Reade complains, "The .iudge who signs
a writ of certiorari indulges his clique, and. oppresses the suitor.
He becomes the attorney's and barrister's instrument to pillage
honest and often inlured men, and choke them of the remedy a pity54
ing legislature has given them."
r>nd he felt that insult was
copiously added when, upon arriving for the trial, he learned that
the case "had been put off without notice,
ience of some counsel or other."
to suit the conven-
Perhaps Reade's most distres­
sing and derogatory account of injustice is told in the short
52.
Ibid., p. 280.
53.
Op. c i t ., p. 67.
54.
The highth Commandment, p. 112.
55.
Ibid., p. 124.
100
story An 0 Id Bschelor1s Adventure, which was really conceived by
J. Lewis, a young American, and. so bears only the stamp of Reade's
approval as a collaborator.
In this tale the tardy and arrogant
judge, the hasty and cruel decisions, and the flagrant manifesta­
tions of graft, all make a pov/erful as well as a painful commen­
tary upon abuses within the law as Reade saw them.
Although his attacks upon religion and the religious were
numerous and varied, Reade never became concerned with the sub­
ject of religion as a philosophy.
Born into a family atmosphere
of fervent Calvinism, and brought up amid, a veritable host of
ecclesiastical visitors who included Samuel ..ilberforce and
•DO
George Stanley Faber,
Reade was early attuned to the tenets of
r-
religious doctrine, and. he never deported from the essential
principles asserting the existence of God and Eternity.
Yet even
during his youth there is discernible in his personality a dis­
tinct boundary line beyond which nothing in religion could pene­
trate.
He acquired, none of the clerical hall-marks which char­
acterized his home, his early tutors, and his university.
He
could not bring himself to learn the whole Thirty-nine Articles,
and proved, hopelessly recalcitrant when his mothe--- sought to
fulfill her long-nurtured ambition to give her youngest son to
the Church.
56.
He was never very seriously enthusiastic about re-
Elwin, p. 26.
-101-
ligious observance till the last years of his life, and he frequently
ridicules the polemics of those who prayed and disputed much, hut did
little to serve mankind.
Toward the close of his life, while re­
viewing the general state of affairs in England, he wrote,
There is more active religion than ever, and more respectable in­
fidelity.
The religious repeat numerous prayers in public, but as
regards their fellow-men seldom act up to their tenets: nor the
infidels down to theirs, but only talk one’s hair on end.
Some
learned divines hover beween the two camps:
the right Reverend
Father in God, Cocker, whose teeth are longer than Spinosa’s, has
gnawed av/ay the details of the Pentateuch;
the Oxford doctors
have nibbled away a good slice of the New Testament.
The learned
Renan has outdone Socinus;
for he has proved Jesus Christ a
Frenchman:
and that causes a reaction in sturdy Anglo-Saxons,
me included.
57
Although indifferently tolerant toward all the Protestant
religions, and even religious negation, Reade maintained a last­
ing antagonism toward the Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. Elwin at­
tributes a substantial part of this animosity to R ea d e ’s expressed
disapproval in The Cloister and the Hearth of the Church’s law
demanding celibacy of its priests.
But there is palpable proof
58
that disapproval on that basis was not conceived till about 1840,
while there is a statement in the Memoir which certifies to
Rea d e’s anti-Catholic sentiment while he was still a student at
Oxford, at least five years earlier.
57.
''The Situation,"
Compton Reade attempts to
Memoir, p. 350.
58.
In a notebook of 1876 Reade wrote, "In my mediaeval romance
The Cloister and the Hearth I use this expression celibacy of the
clergy, an invention truly devilish. . . . The opinion I uttered
in 1860 was even then twenty years old in me:
it is now thirtysix" (Elwin, p. 44). In the book itself Readealso describes it
as a "vile heresy In the bosom of the Church" (The Cloister and
the Hearth. Vol II, p. 489).
104
account for it by the fact that Bernard Smith, an Oxford school­
fellow for whom Charles entertained sincere affection, joined
the Catholic Church -- an alliance which Reade could "neither
comprehend nor quite tolerate," and that he ■developed a resent­
ment toward all things Catholic because that religion deprived
59
him of a friend.
But obviously Reade's antipathy must have
existed even before this event, or he would not have felt that
his friend had been snatched away.
ini so we are brought near­
er to the only remaining consideration —
his home.
b e n her
son first ’.went up to Oxford, in 1831, a woman of Tirs. Reade1s
conscientious and positive religious conviction must have used
the occasion to warn Charles against the rising liberalism and
rationalism of the day, and if she disapproved Uewman's subse60
quent conduct enough to describe him as "disloyal,"
-what is
more likely than that she -warned her son against "Popery" at the
same time?
In any case perhaps it is enough to assert that
hrs. Reade was strongly anti-Oatholic, and that she believed it
61
her sacred duty to indoctrinate her children with her own views.
Therefore Reade's attack upon the law requiring celibacy does
not have as me.nv aspects of a cause for his disapproval of Rome
62
as it does those of an effect.
59.
hemoir, p. 85.
60.
Elwin, p. 85,
61.
..'e have Compton Reade’s word (Memoir, p. 138) that George
Stanley Paber, who married hrs. Reade's sister, and frequently
visited Ipsden, "always spoke of Rome with rude contempt, and his
authority was reverenced at Ipsden as being infallible."
62. hr. Elwin's theory of the relation between the prohibition
placed upon Reade as an Oxford fellow and the regulation of the
Catholic Church has already been discussed (See "Feminism,"Wp./9) .
ante,
103
Reade's campaign against Catholicism embodies two more speci­
fic points which are necessary to complete the history of his atti­
tude.
In The Cloister and the Hearth he upbraids Gerard bitterly
for living in ascetic solitude in the cave at Gouda, when Hargaret
and their child need him:
yet in his old • ge Reade acknowledged
penance and salvation, the two pursuits that keot his hero in se63
elusion, as the two most important things in life -- or at least
when one is near death.
with the author.
Perhaps it was merely s matter of age
Jane Ear die, in Herd Cash, is criticized, much
more pertinently for her religious extremism.
The second point
concerns the insertion in The Cloister and the Hearth of the
story outlining the scheme by 'which the turgundian cure wrought
a "miracle,"
and so gathered in the mass of money from his gul64
lible parishoners.
Probably Reade nicked the story up from some
bool: on the : iddle ages, and undoubtedly it has a basis in fact;
in inthony adverse , r. liervey r.llen uses a similar and less con­
vincing explanation to account for the "bleeding" madonna in the
. 6 5
Kabana cathedral.
Put in his general contempt for medievalism,
Reade adds a comment referring to miracles as "trite occurrences,"
thus implying to sensitive readers that all such phenomena can be
63. In 1680, six months af te r I-.’rs . Seymour1s death, and ’when he
was a vetr?T sixtv-six himself, Reade wrote in a notebook, "I no
longer ignore God as I used. On the contrary, T pray hard, and
give money to poor people, and try to be God's servant" (glwin,
p. 350), Yet iust three years before he had made phoda Gale
re.iect the possibility of La Kloslring’s having gone into a con­
vent by having her remark that "she is not a fool" (A 7,'oman-Hater,
p. 510).
64.
Op. cit., p. 407.
65. "Pro;,: its inception he ^Reade] held the medievalism of his
uncle's nephew, Frederic Faber, in as hearty contempt as Carlyle's
earnestness" (hemoir, p. 138).
104
explained in the same way, which is as naive as the story itself.
Of course his references to the revelries and scours of some of
the monks are borne out by historic fact.
Put rrrst of Reade1s reform agitation was directed against the
churches of all denominations, and. he scores preachers and parishoners alike for their apathy, their subservience to superficial cus­
tom, and their -'erversion of religion for selfish purposes.
In
the third quarter of the nineteenth century, the period during
which Reade did most of his writing,
there were many serious de­
fects in the programs and policies of the English churches.
In
1650 the eighteenth century heritage of sweet placidity still
existed in numerous quarters, and " Portly divines QtilTJ
subscribed
with a sieh or a smile to the 'Thirty-nine r •’t i d e s , sank quietly
into et-sy livings, rode gaily to hounds of a. morning as gentlemen
should, and., as gentlemen should, carried their two bottles of an
65
evening."
mural England was still spotted with the type of
parson who "regaled his congregation with dry moral essays by way
37
of sermons, and mho regarded all enthusiasm with distrust."
;any of the more fervent and. daring young preachers were going off
to distant lands as ir.ission&ries, and after 1855 so many were oc­
cupied with arguments for and against apostolic Succession, the
deal Presence, and the Thirty-nine .■•rticles, that they had little
66. Lytton Strachey, "Cardinal tanning," Eminent Victorians, Harcourt Brace and Co., New York, 1925, p. 11.
67.
C.
.. Oman, op. cut., pp. 121-122.
A
105
time for religious practice.
In the meantime people
fere rushing
in ever increasing numbers to the cities, (There the church leaders
seemed unable to handle the new social situation.
As the rever­
end. Dr. Elliott-Binns points out in discussing the church policy
of the first part of Victoria's reign,
In its teaching the emphasis had been too maOh on what may be
called the negative virtues, and to many 'who longed for social
reform it seemed more concerned to defending existin'; rights than
to abolish existing wrongs,. The sins denounced were mostly those
against .mood order and private property;
the sins of the spirit -pride, anger, and malice -- seem to have received less attention. 68
And concerning the temporal welfare of its flocks "the tendency
of the Church, in the person of its leaders, was to regard such
fundamental problems as the existence of poverty, bad housing,
and uniust conditions in general, as outside its sphere of
69
action ."
Intensely aware of current events and their significance,
Reade sa.v these deffhiencies in the church, an' as always with
his acute social sense, seeinm was denouncing.
In a notebook of
January first, 1878, he wrote, "Should I die in the middle of a
sentence warning the good not to be uncharitable, the wicked not
to despair, then, methinks, I should die well -- better perhaps
than if I died repeating prayers like a parrot in St. Paul's
70
Church."
In his introduction to the masterly Autobiography of
a Thief, which is sadly mistreated by being omitted from its
68. L. E. Elliott-Einns, Religion in the Victorian Era, Lutter­
worth Press, Tondon, 1931, p^ 26 !3.
69.
Ibid.
70.
Elwin, p. 376.
I
108
context, Reade attacks the Church of England custom of purchasing
livings, and more particularly, those rectors who selfishly take
advantage of it --
nthe rector who preaches Christ, and swindles
the young curate out of every halfpenny contrary to law, because
the poor boy must get e title, though he buv it and begin life in
71
debt."
The Cloister and the Hearth contains an interesting pas­
sage in which the author satirizes (".;e are the same now
[i860]
at
bottom, as we were four hundred years ago") priests for their abet­
ment of individuals' schemes for "bargaining" with heaven:
They
"oraved bv bead, bribed the saints with wax tapers, [an^J put fish
72
into the body to sanctify the soul."
And in Griffith Gaunt Fa­
ther Francis, who has a generous portion of good qualities, and
■who, next to Francis Eden, is perhaps the most convincing clerical
figure among all Reade's nineteenth century novels, does not hesi­
tate to attempt to persuade Kate to marry a man whom she does not
love by dwelling upon the desirability of constructing a Catholic
75
convent upon heville's property.
;.•:ong religious practices Reade intimates his disapproval
of personal confession in the s!me story.
Kate gravely warns
her confessor of her repeated, transgressions in the direction of
the seven deadly sins, and then confesses a long, detailed list
of harmless petty offenses, the mildness of which, together with
71.
0_p. cit.,p. 5.
72.
Op. cit., p. 32i.
73.
Op. cit., p. 105.
107
that qualitv in the ladv's voice, sends the reverend father off
74
to sleep.
Reade also seizes upon the character of Brother
Leonard, who is introduced into the story merely to provide a
cause for the separation of Kate and Griffith, as a foil with
which to thrust a rain at the law of celibacy among the clergy.
The author describes him as "a pious, pure, and noble-minded man,
75
who had undertaken to defy nature with religion's aid."
Thus
Reade returns to a situation similar to that which caused him to
inveigh so bitterly against clerical celibacy in his historical
romance five years before.
When
banns to the marriage of Thomas Leicester, alias Grif­
fith Gaunt, and Percy Vint are cried without challenge, Reade
takes a page to ridicule the antiquated custom of crying banns
in church before merriacres are performed.
Be supports such a
plan for the ’ iddle Ages, 'when the world was so much smaller,
but avers that in the nineteenth century "the crying of banns in
a single parish church is a waste of the people's time and the
76
parson's 'rreath."
And one may see here a reminiscence of The
Cloister and the Hearth, whose professional bann challenger has
A-ri
an occupation 'which, though necessarily intermittnet, rivals
anything that our modern day has produced in the way of rackets.
74.
Ibid., pp. 95-98. The interview during which Father Francis
confesses his faults as a priest to Kate is one of the rare oc­
casions upon which Reade allows a member of the clergy humbly to
admit his errors (p. 159).
75.
Ibid., p. 229.
76.
Ibid., p. 295.
-102-
It
s h o u ld
trib u te
th e t
h is
be n o i e h
to
the
beep
tils
as
t i ns
th in
"■vi ■) 1 1f. ■i r :
the
In
he a h e p r e s e n t s
v.rh o ,
oh
a ll
to
the
. is
c o n ■ - mo o r ; a y
b lis s "
d w 'e e ts
hi
h irs t
o"
r>.r.t.
s h o u ld
war.
a
be
n ote d
fo o l,
t h a t i n n r - o o r.
nay
a ls o
who u s e d
o v c l,
lo it."
v ;itl.
"v w rt.'c u la r
"'ower- w l
st
pre ach e rs
ar.d
pr a i l t i e s ,
is
the
.-Ith o irh i
c1"] ■’ r
4 he
the
‘ViT. "■! '
It
the
these
h o rrifie d
h w in b u rn e
r e for-icw'
w ort
I ^
_o t
< v ...
two
o varruns
s lo rie s
' )Tr v T r r o 1' e o n t r a s t •
the
q r’
s o rt's s o 'is lp
. o
oetw oon
he
..-ihle
v ic e Jtrunbenness] w h ic h
-U nsw orn,
n o t' ' t t h 'S ' h n "
nr'W'iu " rsni
f
; : 1p *_^ s f
in tn w n l
to -
P'- - ' . . o f f i n - t o n ,
in
I v v . o j ' - n l i vr.
c r" i c h i o e
■
.o l i s t e r
-?V 1 'nr:: tk v
An
;p
\'~ 11
•11
w c e h r u .c a l
on ' l i s h w l
..rvi_ u c f n c o
1.’. 1 l e
G erard
c ritic s .
p re s c rib e d
b i c- c h i ’ c ’ i
s o l ; ’’ —
i 'me
th irty -y e a r
o h h f- r
th re e ,
it
th e
r,.'vir'' c 1 *" 7; "*'*r n r 11c f • r z.'
h n ;
ttr'W
Tl' .e’ i ,
because
and
!w-n.i,;st
ho ahe
ii• '
.c. ' ’ l o r ,
rw '/'s
"ra r.c is
pay
t eir Jeon.■ ee - 1 1o;:sjJ c a n , or
nil':
i? n
■' t w o
c ;..? ra litie c
la n d ."
aro
in
of
to
tru n k .
.i
o i i i ” 10; i p ° v i
n iv ic u ic n ],
•Iv o r
h-.c-
f'la d
s ile n t,
r h '/s n c o s
r' ^ v*o ■j c h ’
1 io r
m o r a l if*’ a 1 '’"t
is
to
of'
'w e n c' i:.'-.
v?is
o b s tru c to r
c o c o ' s i n t i o n '■ o
•'.'.'cil p
o r os s i c
- -o c
lis t
G erard
c h a lle n "n r
o a n s in '"
hewke’ s
in'* "s
the
"p ro fe s s io n 'll
w r <?t e h e e
w ith
th a t
.te "
A h oh a b o : r ~ r s e t ,
c-o- m l <3t e l ” ' "n ■s. 1 1 f ie r
01 o t e s i.s t i o n s
h e s c 1■1 b e 3 k i n
oh d e a ’ e ’ s
as
nfl
"a th -
70
le tic o -s e ra o h ic
e, 1 r r w ' " l e a
w ith
77 .
O n •cijt.,
7°'•
OH*
fa ilu re ,"
c ra n e is
h i n s 1 h ■'s v-- 1 1
°s
Icier.
is
'w a in s t
as
re e l
ty ra n n y ,
and
as
huvnn
in
h is
‘- - i t h e r
of
the
pp . 1’:0-100 .
., p. 16.
79.
A. Swinburne, on. r-it., v:. ebb. In a discussion oh It Is hover
Too
hate to ■[end Oobfey Dixonwrites,
"the only person
in thenovel
~Fth nry pretensions to life ie
theparson of the
^aol in which the
thief, T o m Robinson, is confined"("Gharles Reade and his hovels,"
Ranches ter jnarterly, Vol. 33 (lwli), p. 243).
ioa
others;
and his first sermon in the Ft rnborough parish church is
described almost didactically by the author -- as though in the hopethat some platitudinous cleric would see, and do likewise.
His ad­
dress
was opposite to what the good people here had been subject to;
instead of the vague and cold generalities of an English sermon, he
drove home truths home in business-like English. . . . Ilis discourse
was human;
it was man speaking to man on the most vital and interest­
ing topic in the world or out of it; it was more:
it was brother
speaking to brother. Hence some singular phenomena:
First, when he
gave the blessing (which is a great piece of eloquence commonly re­
duced to a very small one by monotonous or feeble delivery), and
uttered it, like his discourse, with solemnity, warmth, tenderness,
and all his soul, the people lingered some moments in the church, and
seemed unwilling to go at all.
Second, nobody mistook their [sic) pew
for their four-poster during the sermon.
80
The same characteristics of simplicity, sincerity, and success are
ascribe:! to Rhoda Somerset and Gerard.
In ^ Terrible Temptation
the author contrasts the good and poor preachers in single, para­
graphic sentences:
'The perfect preacher deals in generalities, but strikes them
home with a few personalities.
'host clerical preachers deal only in generalities, and that is
ineffective, especially to uncultivated minds.' 81
Reade's suspicion of the custom of "praying by bead" has already
been mentioned.
He also confesses to skepticism about churches as
places "where men repeat beautiful but stale words, and call it
prayer,"
and contrasts such language with the "linen's" which "burst
from a hundred bosoms" ah the close of Rhoda's " trumpet- toned and
82
heart-felt eloquence."
Pathetically enough Susan Perton weeps
"like April" at her own wedding, because until Francis Eden uttered
80.
It Is Hever Too Late to ' end, pp. 101-102.
81.
Op.
82.
Ibid., pp. 426-427.
cit., p. 422.
110
it she had heard the weddinm service read only by "chanting
83
machines."
Obviously there is as much tiresome repetition and vapidity
in some of Reade's criticisms of the three estates as he asserted
there was in the sermons of the last one discussed.
hut a writer
•who has committed himself to a program of general reform needs
little further defense than the fact that the abuses existed -and I.’r. Elwin describes his subject as "the most conscientious
of all the 'purpose' novelists."
aliot attacked the medical pro­
fession through the reforms advocated by Dr. Lydgate, in i.iiddlemarch;
Trollope did the same in a mild, way for the clergy in
his Earchester series;
and Dickens exposed some of the evils of
legal practice in Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities.
But
Reade was apparently insistent upon covering all three in a num­
ber of books, and so he brings upon himself the justifiable charge
of irrelevance, repetition, and blatancy;
cannot be condoned in Reade the artist,
and while such faults
they stand as unmistakable
proof of his reformer spirit.
83.
It Is Never Too Late to Lend,
Book II, p. 304.
-1 1 1 -
T
T
Ir. the
rcl field of eusinQsr. Rend.o was as militantl"r
the
as T -m ryrvm -
d e n u n c ia to r”
e ri t
fo
m o n o .M e
l a el: o f
o ir
' ur, i n n e r ,
ro la M s
O xford.,
a
v 1
of
V J'
■
C '1
that.
a l t o '•of h e r
of
a ta ri"
he
h a ” '" h o d
ai r u t
fo o ts
r"
f m’* o t
:o c a ll
a d rca m r
who
of
h is
!'rr
a!:, t l y' ' r
"h i;
son^
chi f f i ­
u n c le ’ s
h is
The
w<- "
m e un-
o e m u M 1. ” u n c c n *
c; eo-nuf ■r s o f
t
rf
f'e m -
checks a t
n n o rn o tic e l
irt
1
'.. i n . 11
e o c s o s i on
is
Reade ’ s l i f e .
war "the
v n : e t v;c. r. "va s c l r . •; a r - e n d
'
c
1■M f •' v
r
in
C",
t.,
' r ?1 C' “
0 ::.
£..1.1 men
the
I t
■' ~
••■'list h a ”
1.
acumen v/it'r.
ren.
p ro fe s s io n s .
hondc’ s s ta te m e n t
ho
f :o " n ’ l o : : ’ r u i M
"
P ornton
d i- " n l d ie d
th a t
: u " i r "■r, s 1 i k e
s c io n s
r:.D
C T * 1. ’ Cj ^
had
cit. ,
'h f p ’
o rm -rnol
y ’ f\ y
t
; ,i
y-
r
w M . e d *o c h
*L y
p
" •\ j
r.o"''
of
yj "i . 1
p I- r> y» p ^
t f r- e i d r
p v-j ^
^ ’p o
d r' s i l n as i n
n.
f:.
. T u s t i r ' c P a r t i ” w r i t or,
l e ' t u ' " ' - t o r i ' r. d Am- r i c a , h u t
" - a r e u p i fie i d e a w h e n h o f o u n d t h a t
no A ric i'ic a n l o c t r r i n r a 't e n c ’
-scnl. 'f ' " u a r a n t . e e t o : - i n t h e s a n e a m o u n t
o f r o n e ” w h i c h Vi ad b e e n o n t n e r e d i n b ” C h a r l r - r. D i c k o n s u ( R i s t o r v
o f C u r Pv.'n i ' l m o s , n e w c o i t i o n , C h a t t o a n d " . ' . I n d u s , L o n d o n , 10017"
o , 13C) ,
Th e c c 3 c r l o t i o n o f T o l f c ' s , _ ! • £ . , M e a d e 1s s t u d v i n A
' T e r r i b l e f o r f a t i on , i n c l u d e s
t h i s r « s so re j" T h e r e was a l s o t h e
r e c o i n t - 1' o o f o f t h e " e a r , t r e a t e d o n t r e s a n e Q . n r i e r e c ?3 M a n .
l i e ce int. s
n a f i1
uld n M . d o f o r t h i s r o m a n t i c c r e a t u r e • i f '
t r a d e s m a n hrru
t a bill , he m u s t
e a f M e t o turn t o t h a t trade s n a n 1s name i n a h o o t " , a n d n r o v c in a n c w e n i woo'. h e r i t h a d b e e n
paid: o r n o t "
( O n , c i t . , o . 2 2 ' . ] ),
112
violins, paintings, and real estate which mr, Elwin describes.
Reade's monotonous financial losses in the theatrical business
.vers due net so much to business i..'practicality as to his un­
compromising artistic temper.
he Little, Love
And the ludicrously titled Love
Long, Hard Cash, ^-nd foul Play all contain
enough trenchant discussion of business and ousinessjmen to con­
vince anyone of hie author's acute business sense.
Fir-t, Reade frequently evinces cu he-rty uislike for stockmarket specul.. iion.
In It. Is. lever Too Late to -lend, one of his
e-rly novels, Susan --erten's father is reuuced to ruin through
stock market Sf-ecul-t 10 : conducted on wieadowV
advice.
In the
opening . ages of The Cloister and the Hearth the author defines
marke t speculation wnen, m
describing the Rliassoen family, he
relates that Flias kne.v no way to „e. 1th out through saving, s-nce
"In those days specul-ticn ,nas ^retty much confined to the card0
-nd-dice busir.es©,"
In li-rd Cash. which continues tne Hardie
saga, Reade uescri.-es -r. liardie’s aeoper-te attempt to recoup
his Host fortune by specul-ticn in shocks as - plunge "into the
4
very cave of .-a... on,"
and u...kes ,.ccr old iurkington relate how
he ..~d aii. a banker1s clerk al! his life, .nd saved a thousand
pounds, and come up to London to muke his fortune on the Stock
Exchange; and there he -was sometimes a bul' , ~nd sometimes a beat,
w i t . , p •
'o'
j ,
Ojd*
4.
Op. cit. ,Vol. 31, p. 53,
113
a.nd whichever ha was, cert-in foxes called brokers and jobbers
oof the profit and he the loss.
'It's al? the same as a gaming­
table,' said he.
'The job bers and brokers have got the same odds
the bank has at Rou.<e et Loir, and the capitalist like me is
doomed beforehand. 1 Then he told her that there was a crossingsw.-eper near the Exch- nge who came from his native pl-oe, and had
started as a specula.tor, -rd come down to t..at, only he called it
rising, and used to speak with a shudder of ,vher. he dabbled in
d
the funds, .-nd often told him to lock slurp, and get a crossing.
In Love -e Little, Lp-
e .,e
Loin!;, Reade ..rites
a
compel? ing account
ci the still i-CjPular methcd oy which some companies advertised
their high invest...ent security.
In a conversation between father
and sen Rich rd Ilardi-., Jr., explaino that the ne.*spapers are
"brioed" indirectly,
through advertising, uid th«. t
m
.
P.'s,
arch-
jiSiiC;.s , ..-iiu r. 16 3 — Lj - re pair cy casn cr service to inflate the
reputation of s~...e " uo.le" company,
hnd cbXtliCU h he doe-- not
mention crieery in ccr.r.eotion with the speech of Prancis Robinson,
Lord Liver,-! ? 's financial minister, or. tue eve of the crash of
1825, Reade has
twaddle iron,
.ne elder Lw-rdie read the following ambiguous
no news.a,.ert
*The Chancellor of cue i.xohe.,uer rose and [soiX], "I am of the
opinion that if, u,on - it.ii’ review of cur situatiou, m e r e shall
appe. r tc
nothing uollc,. it. xts foundation, artificial in its
superstruc.-.re, or fji...sy m. its generuj. resuo.ts, we may saie?y
venture tc contemplate ..itn instructive admiration tue harmony
of its proper .ions and One solidify cr its c-.sis," T
o.
O*
1C id., P . a m .
i
PP * £ca.0™ -b.1 0
Hi
lio-viii
ie new.tly olassif..ed trie .r^cti-ce of u.&rket Specula­
tion, Re- de proceeds to acme sharp c o g e n t u^on danker.:- -iu the
1 1@x«l
ox o<-ru.j.n^..
xic x-vjxiiwo ou o
ranking easiness was described —
tus xix’ot ...r » uc.rdie's
oy .ankers —
as "the legitimate
b. nkir.g ..siness,!! which me-nt, in ex feet, "You shall lend ms
6
year money gratis, and 1 ..ill ler.d it cut at interest," and
which in our times
e .ns borrowing from depositors at two per
cent. c.nu inve tir.g -t six.
In It. Is. hevsr Too Late to mend, while
rexlecting aj-on the sum ox one xnu-wsand pounds ..his., has deen
set as a marriage requisite for George Yielding oy Susan's father,
Reade remuin.s, "Tl.ere are slipper • men tnat
ain this in a week
by time o&rgaine, trading on capital of round O'a;
others who
net as — .oh in an evening, -ad as honcrdoly, at *Cu.rds,
'."here are
r*
a
merchants ,.ho net twent" timc-s this sum ov a sin?:' e operation."
Ec.rlxer in tue s. me bock t: ;• writer depic ‘.s t-e convincing charac­
ter of .ae.-dows
c:nt.
s a hypocritical usurer, v.hc "go: his twenty *.er
..itnout risk," a. 1 ..i -.o„t being u-ug:.t at it.
"he worked
this ow3ir.ess as ouree t— •sc.ua respect a d e men ai’e working it
in -cxxis nation.
he had a .r-man money--as (Peter Crawley) whose
10
strings he ..ent oeair.d w screen and ..u" led,"
And in the
Autobicrra.-hv of a Thitf . ..h: ch ..roper'y oelor.gs ..ith It Is l.’ever
Too Late to -.end, Rex de asserts tnat Tom Robinson is no I so much
o«
10id., p »
x ..o •
T. Qp. -’it., p« .oo.
iC ■
1ni
, p , 7-i,
Xlh
a rorue as " T h e
tanker ..he steals not ire a. strangers but friends
—
ste-ls from these who neve a olaiu. to his gratitude us .veil
11
as his honest”."
bines the insurance companies ca:ry on a fr.rm
ox oanking, they are net to uc.33 unscathed.
In Put Yourself in
His ?l-oe Reade announces th. ~ she na...e of ...r. Garden's insurance
company is cue "Sossna.ii k " —
—
one ox tne most savage oirds ox prey
did oh-1 its subsidiaries are .ne "Vulture1' ~nd tne "Faloon";
12
later ne relate** tu t tue first of these "plucked" Henry Little*
Foul Plav also contains some pertinent information on maritime
insurance, tnrcugh descriptions of the dealings of tne House of
Yardlaw.
*.iOsc of Reads's discussion of f m - nee centers about the character ox uionurd .mrdis^ eminently successful young canker in Love,
lie Lit tie. Love He Long. and axsnonest financier in tne later Hard
C
ash.
In the second
c o o k
way "cut le" of io46.
there is a stirring account of tue rail­
Tne autnor shrewdly points out that
prosperity, speculation, inflation, and depression move in a
c ole, and that -- period of speculative fever nnd struck England
with the invention and successful operation of railroads.
Tnen railways uuobled. Hew ones were advertised, fifty a
month, and all '.vent to premium. High and low scrambled for the
shares
even when t-e projected line was tc run from the town of
Hougnt tc tne village of nothing aoross a goose common, . . .
Princes sat in rail.vav tenders, and clove t-e air liueVoirds
the
11.
12.
2a*
i fL
".• » P.
w*x
O
••
01A +u
1c 7 «
->
•
P.
,
118
whose effigies surmount their uru.orit.ls; our stiffest peers re­
laxed into beards; bishops warned th- ir clergy against avarice,
and but tered Kudaon on inch thick for shares; and turned their
little aprons into great pockets; men stainless hitherto, put
do,n their inf.-nts, nurses included, as independent subscribers,
and bag red the coupons. . . . Once more,
Time’s whirligig*,
gentlemen and their footmen .jostled one another on the Exchange,
and a motley crew of pe:rs and printers, vicars and admirals,
profs., core, cooks, costermongers, cottcn-spinners, waiters, coach­
men, priests, potboys, bankers, braziers, dairymen, mail-guards,
barristers, spinsters, butchers, beggars, duchesses, rag-merdhants
— in one word, of nobs and snobs — fought and scrambled pelluell
for the popular paper; and all to get rich in a d~y.
13
In the same story Hardic’s ill luck in the bubble speculation
prompts him to the felonious appropriation of David Dodd's fourteen
thousands pounds, in addition to his own son's legacy, and the
subsequent developments and complications lead him to a series of
further investment loc.es .,hich compel him to close his own bank.
The sad picture of the- ruin which this causes among the people of
Barking ton ic drawn in detail by the author, whs-with eh ara.et --*ristic realism presents several uuses of specific oases tro illus14
trate the despair and destitution rampant throughout the locality,
hr. Esgar is uriven to disaonesty, the Reverend Scudamore "to the
devil of drink," John Shaw to suicide —
Reade supplies a com­
plete list of catastrophes, more recent recurrences of which
still stand clear in the minis of present-day Americans.
And
by a significant act of poetic justice «Luxley, who is cheated of
his all, becomes mentally unbalanced, and kills the daughter of
n i . deceiver in a curst of insanity.
13.
Op. cit., p. 20**.
Ibid., pp. 377-36?.
11V
But this is the story of only a single default; in his
earlier Love he Little. Love he Long Reade gives a oomplete
and
graphic analysis of the general panic of 1825, with its causes,
progress, and results,
and no one who reads this record care­
fully can sericusly question the author's fast grasp upon prac­
tical businsos evolution.
It is true that oy the time Reade
began to work on the novel (1858), the history of the crash had
long baer. summarized in print, out the color and concreteness of
his account, plus its general didactic tone, are undeniable evi­
dences that he not only felt and knee, out understood.
The vast
expenditures of the prolonged war with France, the large specie
loans to Brazil, Colombia, Peru, ...exico, Greece, Russia, e t . al..
fh^lmost universal Speculation in unsound projects (624 stock
companies were organized in two years),
tne widespread issue of
one- and twe-pound notes by the country o^-nks (Young Kardie cries,
"Shoemakers, cheesemongers, grocers, write up lank over one of
16
their windows, and deal their rotten paper by the foolscap ream"},
interest reductions on federal stocks —
all are vividly described.
A historical outlines the causes thus:
The stimulus given to trade . . . Q?y reducing tariff*} was sup­
plemented by the Opening of South American and dexican markets.
The rebellious Spanish Colonies had attained their independence,
and mining operations were renewed, A period of over-speculation
ensued.
A num.er of joint stock companies were formed,uiany of
them oy dishonest persons anxious to reap the fruits Gf^xaggerated
hopes of a speedy fortune to oe made in commercial undertakings•
15.
m 6.
O p . cit., p. 201n.
• 216.
118
The Bank of England, as well as the private banks, were too
much inclined to avail themselves of the general alaority of
the public tc take their paper.
Snaring in the general con­
fidence, they showed an undue readiness to give credit.
There followed th-t sort of crash with which later experience
has familiarized u s . * 1?
Reade dwells effectively upon the craze for investment in
anything —
tne Living-ceil 'Company that proposed to raise the
long lost treasures of tne deep, the loan company that denounced
tue pawncroxer's fifteen per cent., and tnen offeree its share­
holders forty,
the mining company tnat advertised "not mines,
out mountains of silver," the engineering company that projected
plans for a railway from Dover to Calais.
Then, one day,
there occurred, or ratner recurred, in tnis nation a phenomenon
which comes round with some little change of features, in a cer­
tain cycle of commercial changes, as regularly as the month of
lurch in tne year, or the neap tides, or the harvest moon; and
at each visit taxes tne country oy surprise.1 IS
The author relates the story of tne pressing demand for gold
pounds or. tne Dank of England, the immediate attempt to contract
money operations quietly, the word spreading, and the runs, first
upon the country oanks, wnioh "smashed all around line glass
institutions,
bottles,1' and then upon t.»e town^ till tne banx of England was
barely aole to avoid closing its doors line hundreds of others.
17. h. D. Traill, Social England, 1. P. Putnam's Sons, hew York,
Vol. 6, pp. SG-S1,
16,
Dove ue Little, Love ..-ie Long. p. 197.
11
The resultant confusion, misfortune, and crime are delineated by
Reade with an objective realism -which indicates complete under­
standing of and sympathy with the subject.
And the paragraphs
-which close his account of the catastrophe itself should serve
as a further index of the author's reform temperament as well
of
as^nia business acumen,
cut ere tue tide turned, things in general came tc pass scarcely
knc.rn in she his:ory of civilized nations.
*Ladies and gentlemen toon their heirlooms to tne pawnbroker's,
and swept tueir tills of the last coin, hot only was wild specu­
lation, ..itherto so universal and araent, snuffer out like a candxe, out investment ceased, ana co...»i.ex*ce oau.e to a stands till •
*Jank stock, East India stock, and, some days, consols them­
selves, did not go down, they went out, were clotted from tne
toon of easiness. No man would give them gratis, no man would
take tnern on any otner terms. The brokers closed their boons,
there .-ere no buyers nor sell ers. Trade was coming to tne same
pass, except tne retail cosiness in eataoles; end an observant
statesman and economist, tnat ..atoned the phenomenon, pronounced
tnat in forty-eight nours more all dealings would have ceased be­
tween man and man, or returned to tne rude ana primitive form of
carter, or direct excnange of men's several ccmmodities, labor
ins xUued*
l w & l l y tmngs crept into tneir places;
endues of distinc­
tion were drawn between good securities and o-a, bxiares were
forfeited, companies diasclv.a, oludaers punctured, balloons flat­
tened, buo.Ies Curst, and tnousax.ds of families ruined, thousands
:f people oeggmred:
and the nation itself, ito paper fever re­
duced oy a severe ole or:..
lay sicx, panting, exhausted, and .dis­
couraged, for a year or two, to await the eternal cycle — torpor,
prudence, health, plethora, olood-letting, torpor, prudence, health,
plethora, olooa-let ing, etc., etc., etc., etc., in secula seoulorum.* 19
In an analysis of Reaae's ac .ivities as a reformer perhaps
his at racks upon a- see perpetrated by the food merchants have a
-AW «
Ibid., P • ^ U 1.
120
special significance from the viewpoint of public health as well
, adequate
as commercial affairs.
In testimony against the 1H- pure food
laws and the widespread practice of adulterating food he often
points out general and specific abuses amci*g nis pages of nar­
rative.
In Christie Johnstone, wnioh contains the seed of nearly
all his later reform campaigns, while speaking of the fallacy of
Dr. Aoerfcrd's definition of love as a ’’cutaneous disorder," Reade
remarks that tnere are sue a disorders which are "no more love than
£0
bread is bread — in shops."
In the introduction to the
Autobiography of a Thief, written as part of It. Is llever Too Late
to .^endi and so begun immediately after tne Scotch novel was pub­
lished, Tom Rcwinsor. is described as far superior to sucn unconvicted rascals as
Ih.e shopkeeping assassin wno puts red lead (a deadly poison) into
red pe^-er, and sells death to these oy whom he lives.
The shopkeeping asoussin who puts copper (a deadly and cumu­
lative poison) into pickles and preserves, and poisons these by
■whom he lives. The English assassin who poisons young ohildren
wholesale in their sugar-plums, and then reads with virtuous in­
dignation of tne oepoys who uaycneted tnern in tneir rage instead
of killing them cannily.
The mil" er, abandoned of Cod, and awaiting here on earth his
eternal damnation, who, king of all tnese borgias, thief and mur­
derer at once, poisons young and old at life's fountain, breaks
life's very staff, mixes plaster of Paris ,<ith the flour that is
tne food of all men, tne only food, alas, of more than half the
world.
These and a score more respectables are the hopeless cases.
. . . The world's reel opinion fortifies th ir delusion. They
Open tueir eyes for the first time in hell.
£1
<oa.
Op. cit«, p p , 5*»6.
121
Tae idea, crops up again in Love me Lit tie, Love He Long, when
Edward Fountain’s deceased neighbor's ecus are "turned to ox-beef,
and . . .
eaten in London along with flour and a little turnerlo,
and washed down with Spanish licorice, water, salt, gentian, and
22
a little war lit rualt. "
In The Eighth Commandment Reade tells
the story of the super-religious juryman, who insisted he could
not serve because the rille fcrbi.de him to swear, but who, when
excused by the judge, started off "sho*ward, probably to mix dust
as
.•vith his pepper, flour and tumeric with his mustard, . . . "
tent ion is paid to alleged impurities ana
Considerable
adulterations m
wnicii
Lor..-;,
food during tne progress of The Simpleton (1672-73),
.as p u d i s h e d fourteen years alter Love ~e Little, Love -..e
Iii tne l-.rer volume,
a air vsnop,
"Sx^e auver .
..her: rhoe.e m l e
pure minr, ana cna^.^.en;~..dscientixic
ait.4.V0 I0O- sv sry tn mg a..e aoili
she i t . r ;
ms
journars,
sets up her little
‘
mho
±nis came ox
i^er ^sing
a reader}
,<e .»r ve in c- sitxui and adulterat­
ing generatron, and anything pure j.ust oe a gods.x.d to tne poor
1-A
poisoned public,"
Dr, Ltainea sees her advertisement, mid asks
xor a sample of
to analyze}
tnen ”..0 appaiso. tnose simple
tests ,/hi •;h are com...only used in France, though hardly known in
o n , , p. loo.
^ <*-■>♦ J
>U
■* w , j
^
•
ir" •
-W#
n
-Lw.-u •
12 *
25
England,K
and finds the milk perfectly pure.
Immediately he
arranges tc secure all his dairy products from Phoebe, and even
asks her to h«.ve her o.rn wheat ground on the Dale farm for him,
explaining that "Tness assassins,
the bakers, . , . are putting
copper into tne flour now, as well as tne alum.
..ortn a fane- price to any family.
oread of life.
Pure flour is
With that we can make the
26
vlhat you may in the shops is the oread of death.'1
And so he mentions Pheobe's shop in a medical article on pure
food, thus gre-vtly increasing her business,
heads's insistent complaints about the pure food laws are
concluded in the unpublished article titled "V isdom and Folly,"
Here he develops a series of running comparisons set ..ten England
ana oth -r n tiens, and ..hile he finus that China is woefully behind
Sreut uritain in some respects, s..e "has the wit to see that the
respect a.me trader wno s n * s -ad me ..t is a f exon. "
And again,
"Tue iurus nave rcnu s .ea tnut a m-.n .<no se^-xs un»vucJLesc»i.e food
27
is a felon, -nd not a civil offender as »,e in cur folly imagine."
25. Ibid. This is probably a reference to tne work of Louis Pas­
teur, who3e testing ..rooex ces ..ere invented sever-.! years before
A Simpleton was published,
ad.
Ibid.. p. 15-i.
Ojj. oit., He mo ir, p. 377.
123
CHAPTER SIX
GOVERNMENT
Reade’s family background had always been one of political
conservatism.
His father was a typical fox-hunting Tory squire
who stood upon the old traditions, and advocated a policy of
laissez faire in government, when he could spare time from the
sports of field and stream to consider such relatively unimportant
matters.
The avalanche of reforms which descended upon the country
during the first half of the century left him unmoved in his rural
haven, and even the advent of liberal and progressive governments
failed to stir his bucolic complacency.
Mrs. Reade, more alert
to current affairs, and sincerely interested in politics, was the
daughter of an M. P. who had been Warren Hastings* agent, and who,
according to Macaulay, enjoyed close intimacy with Thurlow and
1
2
Pitt, as well as the later pox and Sheridan. As in the case of
1. Thomas B. Macaulay, ’’Warren Hastings,” Critical and Historical
Essays, Longmans, Green and Company, London, 18^5, Vol. 3, p. 385.
2.
Elwin, p. 18.
124
his religious sentiments, Charles Reade adopted only a portion of
his parents'political tenets.
During his entire life he expressed
a prejudicial fondness for the Peers as the conservative and tra­
ditional element in the legislature, while damning the House of
Commons with whatever vituperative names came to hand, from the
comparatively mild "pettifoggers" to "chimpanzees."
Yet at the
same time he was continually proposing reforms which in the natur­
al course of events would have lead him into close association with
the group he denounced, if he had become active in the field of
politics.
At about 1872 a gentleman named Potter had written a
letter to the Times advocating a republican form of government.
Reade's comment upon the idea embodies his opinion of the two
Houses, and at the same time indicates his disapproval of govern­
ment by all the people.
Mr. Potter may prate about a republic, but his lambs {Tthe
ma s s e d are stiff oligarchists; they are also bloody, crafty,
cowardly, remorseless tyrants, compared with whom emperors and
Caesars are just and humane, and don't smell.
The House of Commons, for obvious reasons, defers to this
odoriferous oligarchy steeped in innocent blood;
the peers are
asleep in re, or do not comprehend that there can be an unwashed
oligarchy as brutal, barbarous, and dangerous to the nation as they
themselves are charming, inoffensive, and clean. 3
Earlier in the same article Reade has already deplored the fact
that "the peers seem to be gradually retiring from (legislation}.
This is a pity.
3.
The House of Commons is an arena of political
"The Situation," Memoir, p. 358.
125
strife;
and quiet, salutary measures are not so welcome there as
4
noisier measures.”
In The Eighth Commandment. addressed, by the
way, to the Peers of England, Reade hazards the following classi­
fication o£> the M. P.’s in general:
noble sentiments;
"Some of them can rise to
others can rise, with a little shove from the
feathered lever, to long-sighted views of national interest:
others can rise to nothing;
and
5
they represent a large majority."
Further evidence of his distrust of republican groups and govern­
ments is to be found in his descriptions of the atrocities com­
mitted during the French Revolution, when he writes,
In theory a republic is the perfect form of government: it is
merely in practice that it is impossible;
it is only upon going
off paper into reality, and trying actually to self-govern limit­
ed nations, after heating them white hot with the fire of politics
and the bellows of bombast — that the thing resolves itself into
bloodshed silvered with moonshine. 6
Reade feared that the organization of ignorant men into voting
bodies was moving far too rapidly for the educational progress of
the nation.
He wanted to see this "dirty oligarchy," frequently
swayed by unscrupulous leaders and selfish politicians, rise to
a higher level of intellectual stability before its members took
a really important part in self-government.
4.
Ibid., p. 352.
5.
0£. cit., p. 1.
6.
White Lies, p. 5.
And to this end he
128
hails all milestones on the lorn; road of educational legisl.. lion,
and for the most part is significantly silent concerning the ex­
tension of tiie franchise.
The "dirty oligarchy, and not a repub7
lie, is England *s rock ahead." a s a ciieck upon exploitation of
the ignorant masses by "bosses" of one kind and anitner Reade wel­
comes the passage of the Ballot Bill (1672), writing,
In I-'arliamentary elections we iiave given perjury and rotten eggs
trial upon trial; and at last we are sick of them.
The tardiest
begin to see that anything may be better, and nothing can be worse,
tha/3 wholesale perjury, bribery, and riot:
so a priori reasoning
gives way to experience, and the ballot is to have a trial. As no
nation has ever given it up after a trial, no more will England.
8
n.nd in his general approval of Bri ta in ’s progress he makes parti­
cular jdfbte of the success of the 'Elementary Education Bill of
1870, admitting that "The nation is improving, on the whole,
goodness, wiscorn, and wealth.
In
Free; trade prevails, and England,
following tardily the y/iadorn of i russia, at last cor .pels low
o
parents to educate their children.’’
’.Vhether or not Reade could have done anything as a legislator
to improve conditions either in the House of Commons or among the
ignor !nt masses is indeed a grave, question;
but Compton Reade
insists that his uncle once thought "seriously" of standing as an
7.
"The Situation," Kemoir, p. 358#
8.
Ibid. . p. 350,
9.
Ibid.
10
in d e p e n d e n t
c a n d id a te
named
--
he
r.ay
s in c e
he
had
lo n g
not
have
been a
u n d o u b te d ly
he w o u l d
i-LL t h o u g h
o ld
an
in
s id e ra b le
fo llo w in g ,
s io n
he
books
in fla m m a b le
if
had
he
so
le rh a p s
i'rs .
had
on
had
is
the
he
and
u n c le
in
The
she
embark
th e
the
h is
pursue
( c irc a
secured
of
h im
id e a .
cause
and
a
fo r
e x p lo ­
iV rongs
of
h im s e lf;
h is
nephew
re p o rts
not
"on
"on
a
con­
"g o rilla s "
any
career
fo r
w h ic h
in ,
p a tie n c e
boroughs.
C e rta in ly
and
h im
1879),.
re form
b ig h ts
begged
but
m e tro p o lita n
the
"a sse s”
tire
record
a m p le
i s ncft-
s e rio u s ly - -
th a t
have
re c e iv e d
among
e x ig e n c y
th a t
to
have
at
th a t
m ig h t
to
th a t
oneo f
p o s s ib le
o e c id e d
a seat
th is
London
fo r
stag e
c o n s titu e n c y
t h e id.ea
of
sto o d
c la s s ifie d
fo re sa w
h is
re s id e n t
have
and
ta ke n
Seymour d id ,
encourage
c o n s id e re d
tem per w o u ld
n e a tly
he
1 a r l i a r . e n t .T h e
ma n t h e n , i t
a g ita tio n
h is
fo r
wh om
.a u th o rs .
th a t
a cco u n t"
h is
to
ir r ita b ili-
11
ty
u n fits
h im ."
Reads
as
such.
had v e r y
Ilis
and
p e d ie n c y
m a de h i m
m o the r
a litie s
in
in te re s t
une o n .p ro m isli.,,
e g o tis m ,
iiis
l i t ’ le
con p l e t e
he r e p o r t s
the
lo w e r
’ I-g .o s itio n ,
d is re g a rd
q u ite
u is u ite d
fo r
and
the
; or
a d is c u s s io n
house,
or
adds,
n ic e r
such
w ith
"I
d ire c t
a
o p p o rtu n itie s
L y tto n
w is h
p o litic s
speech, a s s e rtiv e
ca re er.
Lord
v /ith ,
you
In
on
co u ld
of
ex­
a le tte r
the
person­
have
heard
12
h im ,
fo r
you
take
more
10.
Lenoir, p. 389.
11.
Ib id .
in te re s t
in
p o litic s
tha n
12.
I b i d . , p. 26o.
Compton Reade h e r e r e l a t e s
o f L y t t o n ’ s e p i s t o l a r y i n t r o d u c t i o n o f Reade t o
I
d o ."
to
H is
the c irc u m s ta n c e s
D icke n s (p. 2 6 7 ).
128
re a liz a tio n
success
ta in e d
ro se
of
of
fro m
h ig h
h is
in
is s u e s
of
Tow ard
the
ages
them
h is
of
end
th e
q u ib b le s
g e n e ra lly
p o litic a l
C a m ille
life :
was
and
of
in
ca re e r
he
have
p re fe rre d
b e in g
(1859)
P a rlia m e n t— but
th e n
he
"F or
H e a v e n 's
sake
lo s e
d o n 't
c liq u e s
to
sto p s
th in k
I
may be a s c e r ­
a c tiv itie s :
s ig h t
and
"The
E ig h th
"He
am p u t t i n g
im p o rta n t
a llia n c e s .
la w -g iv e r
and
it
is
he
m e n tio n s
d is ­
in to
of
of
fo llo w in g
my n o s e
m a de
one
a d m is s io n
the
ra re .
has
Commandment
th e
’w r i t e
the
s e lfis h
m a n k in d ,
defe nd
to
of
tru e
e q u iv o c a tio n ,
th e n
to
to
w ro te ,
used
Jews
b rin g s
d o u b tfu l
the n e n a lty o f th a t s o rt
13
s o re ."
A n d R e a d e saw c l e a r l y
p a rty to
14
g a d -flie s ."
In h is
m o n o p o ly -p ro p e rty
w h a te v e r
D u ja ra in 's
p e tty
h is
fo r
ra id
o fte n
th e ir
pays
a ffa irs
so many p o l i t i c i a n s
governm ent
of
one
upon
heart
ephem eral as
c u s s io n
th e
comment
se n a to rs
as
in
n o litic a l
te n d e n cy
For
p ric e
p a rtic ip a tio n
a m b itio n ;
th e
the
n o te :
p o litic s ,
and
I
o b j e c t i w r f t o t h e a d m is s io n o f Jews i n t o P a r l i a m e n t .
5
15
d o n ' t t r o u b l e my h e a d a b o u t s u c h t r i f l e s . "
Reade r e a l i z e d
the
p rim a ry
th e
e nactm ent
fu n c tio n ,
b itte r
fu n c tio n
and
c o u ld
w h e th e r w i l f u l
of
h is
fin d
books,
13.
W h ite
14.
"The
15.
0£.
and
or
of
,iu s t
drove
h im
the
p la y s ,
le tte rs
R ig h ts
p.
and
p u b lic
to
w o rth y
la w s ,
in n o c e n t,
by c a l l i n g
L ie s , p.
c i t .,
aruy g o v e r n m e n t
e x e c u tio n
e x a s p e ra tio n ,
he
of
and
fille d
to
to
to
any
h is
s o -c a lle d
o m is s io n
im p a tie n t
seek w hat
w itn e s s
th e
be
309H*
of
A u th o rs ,"
th ro u g h
th e
p ress.
R e a d ia n a ,
is
th is
soul
s a tis fa c tio n
389*
and Wrongs
in
th a t
p.
204*
pages
w ith
123
D e ta ile d
d is c u s s io n s
of
th e
w rongs
of
a u th o rs
and
the
abuses
o-f fh/i sfuctyj
in
hut
as
here
in s a n e
are
be mentioned t h e
sh o u ld
c o n ta in e d
a m o n o ro ly ,
'T ito s ,
th e
copyright l a v o f
the
'b i.ct.ing
most
to w a rd
on
this
barbarous
fa lla c y ,
. cts
la te r
of
th e
it
o^
matter’s
th e
governm ent.
.
.
.
he
committed
trrsnnv t h a t
and
Ref­
copyright as
England p r o p e r ,
to
s p o lia tio n
c h a p te rs ^
•-overnment.
th e
18/(7, which d e s c r i b e d
limited p o s s e s s i o n o f
and
in
legislative a s p e c t s
corinentaries u p o n R e a d e ' s a t t i t u d e
er inp t o
of
for t h e
in s titu tio n s
one
ever
16
d is g ra c e d
must
be
E ig h th
le , i s l a t u r e
adm it-' od
as
m ild ly
l.ia n s fie ld ,
who m i s h a n d l e d
tu ry
th a t
in
are
as
and
the
d id
n e a rly
in
any
d id
m a tte r
d e s c rib e d
"ju d ic ia l
lie
of
co u n try
The R i g h t s
Coimnandment R « a de
ce n tu ry
Lord
the
not
t r ■a t
th o se
th e
of
ani
of
m odern
T' r o n g s
th e
h is
w h o le
own
as
tim e s ."
A uth o rs
of
la y .
T u rin r
la n gu a ge
of
pee^s
trib u n a l
co rw rig -h t
v itrio lic
in
of
the
#Ud
Camden,
peerage
ju s tic e s
e ig h te e n th
"ro m a n tic
dv.’arf s , " a n d " m e t a p h y s i c a l m u d d l e h e a d e . "
he
The
p re v io u s
Lord
the
It
cen­
p e ttifo g g e rs ,"
p o in ts
out
th a t
O n l y t h e A n g l o - S a x o n a u t h o r h as no r e m e d y a g a i n s t p i r a c y u n d e r
t h e c r i m i n a l law, a n d f e e b l e r e m e d i e s b y s t a t u t e . . . a r e s o m e ­
t im e s t u r n e d f r o m f e e b l e t o n u l l by t h e mi s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s o f
j u d g e s , h o s t i l e ( t h r o u g h e r r o r ) t o t h e s p i r i t , and i n t e n t i o n o f t h e
s ta tu te .
17
In
the
its
th a t
same
"sham "
s e rie s
tre a ty
th ro u g h
ceeded
to
of
on
le tte rs
in te rn a tio n a l
"im b e c ilio "
"le g a liz e
Reade
and
p ira c y
in
ra ils
at
c o p y rig h t
th e
w ith
governm ent
F rance,
"Satanic" l e g i s l a t i o n ,
the
it
fo r
s a y in g
had
p ro­
e s t a b l i s h e d and f a s h i o n a b l e f o r m o f f a i r
16.
"The Situation," Memoir, p. 35A.
17.
"The Rights and Vrongs of Authors,"
Readiana. p. 113.
130
adaptation and imitation."
And he further insists that such "tricky"
legislation had been secured by the fact that "a piratical manager
had eranlpyed a piratical writer to crawl u p !the backstairs of the
IS
House of Commons, and earwig Lord Palmerston."
(But he goes on
to add immediately,
"The Minis tftT, I needly hardly say, did not
realise what a perfidy he was lending himself to.")
Reade
in g
th e
19
case;
fir s t
in sa n e
since
in
began
1856,
to
stu d y
when
he
a sylu m s
became
and
the
le g is la tio n
a c q u a in te d
w ith
Hard Cash and A Terrible Temptation —
intensively with asylum matters —
th e
a ffe c t­
F le tc h e r
both- dealing
were published in 1863 and 1871
respectively, we may assume that the author was well informed about
such affairs over a long period.
His criticisms of the government
in matters of administration concerning the insane may be divided
into tv/o classes:
secona,
criticisms of the carelessness with which the statutes were
executed.
Hardie,
first, criticisms of the laws themselVes, and
In Hard Cash the able lawyer Compton says to Alfred
"Young gentleman, the English Statutes of Lunacy are famous
monuments of legislatorial incarjacity;
rule,
and indeed, as a general
if you want justice and wisdom, don't you go to the Acts of
Parliament, but to the Common Law of England."
Id.
Ib iu . . p. 147.
19.
Elwin, p. 166.
One of the specific
20.
Or., c i t . , Vol. 2, p. lop. Much of the pr opag an di st s material
found in Hard Cash is repeated in the later A Terrible Temptation;
and much in both of these has its source in the series of four let­
ters titled "Our Dark Places," and addressed to the’ newspapermen,
in 1858 (See Readiana, pp. 96-110).
131
e v id e n c e s
is
the
of
in c a p a c ity
fa c t
th a t
K r.
upon
B aker,
w h ic h
a
ueade
la ym a n ,
d w e lls
is
w ith
a llo w e d
to
te llin g
sarcasm
ovn and
o p e ra te
an a s y lu m !
He w a s a f u l l - b l o w n p a w n b r o k e r o f b i l v e r t o n t o w n , w h o m t h e
l e g i s l a t u r e , w i t h t h a t k e e n k n o w l e d g e o f human n a t u r e w h i c h m a r k s
th e B r i t i s h s e n a t e , p e r m i t t e d , and s t i l l p e r m it s , t o s p e c u la t e i n
i n s a n it y , s t i p u l a t i n g , how ever, t h a t the upper s e rv a n t o f a l l in
h i s a s y l u m s h o u l d be a d o c t o r ; b u t o m i t t i n g t o p r o v i d e a g a i n s t t h e
i n s t a n t d i s m i s s a l o f t h e s a i d d o c t o r s h o u l d h e g o a n a r o b h i s e m­
p lo y e r o f a lo d g e r — by c u rin g a p a t ie n t.
21
- nd a g a i n ,
fra ilty
"th e
and
c u p id ity "
e na ctm e nts"
c o m m itte d
B ritis h
w h ic h
to
an
s e n a to r
by
th e
encourage
a s y lu m ,
p la y s
at
"s h a llo w
R ic h a rd
where
p e o p le
S atan,
mid
le g is la tio n "
H a rd ie
"go
to
have
m a d ,"
tem pts
human
and
"m on stro us
h is
sane
w h ile
he
son
e m b e zzle s
22
the
v ic tim 's
a lre a d y
incom e
w ritte n
are
a p p a re n tly
.
.
.
ana
s iftin g
he
a lth o u g h
sound,
r e d ly
c la p
of
the
p ro p rie to r
of
an
of
in
23
fe llo w ."
due n o t i c e
s ta tu te s
the
in h e rita n c e .
th a t
can
y ' ung
and
"a
c la u s e s
re la tiv e
a madhouse
The
fact
tn a t
a s y lu m
is
re d m ,
th e
a u th o r,
w h ile
th u s
an$-
.
a D.
a P rin c e
Ib id . ,
22.
I b i d . , V o l.
23.
"O ur
bark
24.
hard
Cash, V o l .
V o l.
1, p .
2, p p .
P la c e s ,"
ra is e
74-75.
2, p .
185.
G.
him
524.
R e a d ia n a ,
.
a g a in s t
R o y a l."
21.
of
to
24
of
th is
p. 102.
c o n n e c tio n
the
has
lia b le
p ro te c te d
w h ic h
In
L aw de
o n ly
.
to
Reade h a d
L u n ita c o
buy
tw o
tro u b le s o m e ,
L.
h im s e lf,
c rim in a l
a c c o u n t-
a ls o
serves
In d ic tm e n t,
any c i v i l
"above
d o c to rs ,
tne
s u it
c iv ic
by
th e
the
le v e l
132
In
ke e p in g
-w ith
h is
fa c ility
c a ta lo g s
two
a la rm in g
tu te s
as
the
"S u b -L e ttin g
firs t
of
the se
ric h
the
honor
Efho
of
F ra n c is
to
is
under
B e v e rle y ,
care
of
in
w ith
i.is
p ocketed
a
sane
th e
the
but
hundred
from
and
"D o u b le
th e
the
of
The
the
lo rd
a
phrases
the
lu n a tic
the
lo ro
o ld
m a n g ie r
and
had
B e v e rle y .
The
of
"has
.
.
fle e c e r
T h is
to
the
man
a year,
F rank.
s u b - le t th e s o ft y o f h ig h
p o c k e te d th e s u r p l u s , and
D r.
h is
3.
Th e o n e h u n d r e d
W o lf a t s i x t y pounds
hanas o f h im . . . .
d id
a ll
out
D r. W o lf s c re w e d c o m p a r a t i v e l y r o re o u t o f young F ra n k tha n
any o f the p r e c e d in g s c re w s .
He t u r n e d h i m i n t o a s e r v a n t o f
w o r k , and h a l f s t a r v e d h im ;
money p r o f i t , i o r t y - f i v e pounds
o f the s i x t y p o u n d s .
25
Thus
th is
in n o c e n t
madhouse
because
e x is t
name o n l y .
in
Tile
of
second
lu n a c y
h is
re s p o n s ib le ,
through
2 5 ;.
pp.
s u ffe rs
the
g o v e rn m e n ta l
v ic io u s
lu s tra tio n
Ib id .,
boy
and f i f t y pound
a y e a r, pouched
th e
106-108
system
th e
fo r
"D o u b le
e ffo rts
of
man
t 1e
to rtu re s
s u b - l e t h im to
s u r p l u s , and washed
of
"P ro te c tio n "
w h ic h
Reade
S h u ffle ,"
A lfre d
is
H a rd ie
o d d -jo b b in g
and
g iv e n
to
in
a
s u p e rv is io n
h o ld s
.
co m m itte d
money,
s o f t F r a n c is f o r th re e hundred pounds
h u n d re d p o u n d s , anc w ashed h is hands o f
2.
H r. H e s e ld a n , th e s u b - te n a n t,
degree f o r a h un d re d and f i f t y pounds,
washed h is hands o f h im .
case
c h a n c e llo r,
c h a n c e llo r
Fynes
s ta ­
y o u n g m a n wh o
y e a r m a in te n a n c e
H o n o ra b le
Reade
S h u ffle ."
th rou g h
w e a k -w ille d
c u n n in g e s t
pounds
c a tc h
a ris in g
p ro te c tio n
C h ris te n d o m ."
s ix
c o in in g
s p e c ific a lly
c ru d e s t,
"g u a rd ia n ,"
th re e
S w in d le ,"
illu s tra te d
i ] | ex o f f i c i o
in n o c e n ts
d is c re p a n c ie s
B e v e rle y ,
be
at
th e
s ta tu te s
co ncrete
secure
i l ­
o ffic ia l
133
re le a s e
fu te
from
the
lie s
c o m m itte d ;
he
g e ts
w ith
th e
a s y lu m .
in
but
the
he
h r.
Com pton:
th a t
firs t
get
o rd er
ord er
ana
best
d e fin e s
h im
o u t.
see
to
get
out
in ;
but
to
So r u n s
to
be
d e c la re d
c e rtific a te s
even
"So
put
In
cannot
out I A lfre d
lie s
must
the
the
the
ord er
syste m
he m u s t
see
the
th a t
th e
and
in
c irc le
of
he m u s t
caused
h im
see
th a t
and
put
in iq u ity .
re ­
to
c e rtific a te s
d is c u s s in g
fir s t
lie s
sane
be
u n til
the
case
c o n tra d ic t
h im
How,
in ,
is
he
th a t
26
the
in ju s tic e
of
a ttrib u te s
th e se
nacy A c t s ,
th u s
b ro k e n -w in d e d ,
The
s ib ility
upon w h ic h
.-is h a s
g u a ra n te e s
As
the
of
fro m
ta c it
ch a p te r
26.
I b i d .,
27.
"O ur
p .
D ark
been
th e
im p e d in g
th e
uro gress
beldam e,
je d e ra l
n ote d ,
on
he
governm ent
la b o r
to
B ritis h
of
and
its
c la s s ,
o n ly
p ro v id e
in d ic a te s ,
he
and
th e
is
183*
P la c e s ,"
R e a d ia n a .
p.
s h o u ld
is
p e rtin e n t
1 G5»
to
in s is ts
e m e rg e n c ie s
w illin g
to
Reade
the
Lu­
o ld ,
respon­
a m a tte r
c o n v ic tio n s .
w a ste fu l
th a t
encourage
so
"la m e ,
assume
denounce s th e
serve
fo r
fra m e d
of
c itiz e n s
ra th e r
fre q u e n tly
who
and
th a t
27
ju s tic e ."
governm ent
w e lfa re
in te re s tin g
re fu s a l
h e ll? "
"b o o b ie s "
lo w e r w o rk in g
the
of
th e
w h ic h
h ad
in ju s tic e
to
fin a n c ia l
Reade
p ro d ig a lity
th e ir
to
the
w rongs
lo ite rin g
the
a lre a d y
in
grave
or
fu rth e r
e x te n t
fo r
e a rth ,
s e c u rity
such
of
the
concede
p e o p le
fu tu re .
govern-
134
merit assistance in a temporary unemployment emergency, but con­
demns anythin,-: like a prolonged dole or general old age pension
plan as deterrent to the development of initiative, perserverance,
and responsibility —
traits by which the race progressed.
He also
considered it basically unfair of the legislature to ignore the
accomplishments of such men as Edwin Ellis, the musician, Jamas
Lambert, tie life-saving hero, and Charles Dickens, "the greatest
28
genius of the century," and yet tax all England to support the
worker who lacked self-respect enough to provide for his own
rainy days.
In lo?2 Reade wrote that"Taxation is crushing, and
29
in some few cases unjust,"
and the year before he hud noted that
28.
"The Situation," i.emoir, p. 357* Reade's admiration for
Dickens, his ."master," amounted almost to worship.
He contin­
ues tlie encomium from which the above excerpt is taken by
naming his idol "the greatest benefactor of his country, the
great apostle of sympathy.
He found classes glowing with
antipathy toward each other, anu infused a little of his own
boundless charity into then.. Twenty years before he diefif
the highest honors of the State were his mere due -- yet they
were never offered hir." **nd later (1875), in attacking
the government for its "semi-barbarous" method of recogniz­
ing genius, Reade observes that "the great Apostle of Sym­
pathy, when dead, is buried by acclamation in Westminster
Abbey, but is not thought worthy of a peerage while living,
yet a banker is, who can show no title to glory but a lot
of money '("The Rights and Wrongs of Authors," Readiana.
p. 112).
29.
"The Situation," L.emoir. p. 350,
135
the industrious middle-class man of moderate means "bleeds for the
vices [chiefly drunkennes^ of the working classes. . . .
He often
pays temporary relief to an improvident workman, whose annual in­
come exceeds his own, but who will never put by a shilling for a
30
°
slack time."
And when Mr. Bruce's mild Liquor Licensing Bill of
1872 was opposed so violently by the trede, Reade scored the govern­
ment by remarking that "Drink still ruins the lower orders, and leg­
islators have not the courage to ouench it in earnest, or perhaps
31
cannot afford to quench it."
Perhaps it is as well that. Reade is
not alive to comment on current tax and security measures, to say
nothing of the tremendous profits accruing to the liquor manufact­
uring industry.
In Reade's opinion the administration of routine business in
the English government was woefully hampered by a besetting sin
which he calls "vicariousness."
His long succession of acquaintances
with government matters and methods through his litigations, his
copyright agitations, and his various researches, gave him opportun­
ities to view closely the philosophy behind the details of govern­
ment administration, and it need scarcely be remarked that he
chafed and ranted at the delays and injustices which by some per­
verse tradition seem to be an essential part of routine government
business, in this day as in his own.
The deadly evils of procras­
tination and wholesale delegation are certified to by Reade in his
very first book.
At due beginning of Christie Johnstone, in des­
cribing the enthusiastically^ ingenuous character of Lady Barbara
30.
"Builders' Blunders," Readiana, p. 66.
31.
"The Situation," Memoir, p. 350.
See the chapter on Labor.
136
Sinclair, who "believed that government is a science, and one that
goes with copla verborum," he remarks that she was innocent enough
to think that "the First Lord of the Treasury, and other great men"
administered the affairs of the country, instead of "a set of men
whose salaries range from eighty to five hundred pounds a year, and
32
whose names are never heard"— the clerks whose superiors have been
prompted by lack of energy, or interest, or both, to turn their tasks
over to vicarious fulfillment.
And. three years later, when, in the
middle of It I_s Never Too Late to Mend, he is reporting ti e desperate
efforts of Mr. Eden to stop the slaughter in ---
Jail b;, writing
complaints to the Home Office, Reade pauses again to notice that
the Inspector of Prisons was not sent word to hasten to the prison,
because his regular route would bring him there in six weeks, and
"Six weeks is not long to wait for help in a matter of life and death,
33
thought the eighty pounders, the clerks who execute England."
e
In concluding the story of poor Francis Beverl^r, murderously
confined to the Drayton asylum, Reade writes,
Victim of our great national vice and foible, vicariousness, this
scion of a noble house, protected in theory by the Crown, vicariously
sub-protected by the chancellor, sub-vicariously sub-sham-protected
by his kin, was really flung unprotected into the fleece market, and
might be seen — at the end of the long chain of subs, pros, vices,
locos, shams, shuffles, swindles, a n d lies — shaking the carpets. 34
But the most elaborately monotonous of all Reade's philippics against
"vicaria" is probably arranged with an eye to making the style rival
the subject.
In Put Yourself in His Place young Little is reduced
32.
0j3. cit., pp. 4—5.
33.
Ojd• cit., p. 345.
34.
Hard Cash, Vol. 2, p. 108.
137
to despair by the expense he has incurred and the time he has
wasted in securing a patent for his long saw-grinder.
When Dr.
Amboyne asks for details, Little explains that the following des­
cription refers to the "roundabout swindle," the completion of which
took him a month:
Lord bless you! first I had to lay the specification before the
Court of Chancery, and write a petition to the Queen, and pay, and,
what is worse, wait. When I had paid and waited, I got my petition
signed, not by the Queen, but by some go-between, and then I must
take it to the Attorney-General. He made me pay and wait. When I
had waited ever so long, I was sent back to where I had come from -the Home Office. But even then I could not get to the Queen. Another
of her go-betweens nailed me, and made me pay and wait:
these lo­
custs steal your time as well as your money. At last, a copy of a
copy of a copy of my patent got to the Queen, and she signed it, like
a lady, at once, and I got it back. Then I thought I was all right.
Not a bit of it: The Queen's signature wasn't good till another of
her go-betweens had signed it. I think it was the Home Secretary
this time. This go-between bled me again, and sent me with my
hard-earned signatures, to the Patent Office. There they drafted,
and copied, and docketed, and robbed rn<3 of more time and money.
And, when all was done, I hsd to take the document back to one of
the old go-betweens, that I hoped I had worn out — the AttorneyGeneral. He signed, and bled me out of some more money. Prom him
to the other go-betweens at Whithall; from them to the Stamp Of­
fice, if I remember right, a n d , ^ Lordl didn't I fall among leeches
there? They drafted, they copied, they engrossed, they juggled me
out of time and money without end. The first leech was called the
Lord Keeper of the Seal; the second leech was called the Lord Chan­
cellor, and it was some go-between that acted in his name; the third
leech was the Clerk of the Patents. They demanded more copies, and
then employed more go-betweens to charge ten times the value of a
copy, and nailed the balance, no doubt. 'Stand and deliver thirty
pounds for tx is stamp.' -- 'Stand and deliver to me that call myself
the Chancellor's purse-bearer (and' there's no such creature) t3|w)
guineas.' — 'Stand and deliver seven, thirteen, to the Clerk of the
Hanaper' (and there's no such thing as a Kanaper).
'Stand and de­
liver three, five,'1 to a go-between that calls himself the Lord
Chancellor again, and isn't.
'Stand and deliver six, nought,' to a
go-between that acts for the deputy, that ought to put a bit of
sealing-wax on the patent, but hasn't the brains to do it himself,
so you must pay me a fancy price for doing it, and then I won't do
it; it 7/ill be done b;> a clerk at twenty-five shillings a week.
And all this time, mind you, no disposition to soften all this
official peculation by civility; no misgiving that the next wave
of civilization may sweep all these go-betweens and leeches out of
133
the path of progress. No; the deputy-vice-go-betweens all scowled,
as well as swindled. They broke my heart so, often I sat down in
their ante-chambers, and the scalding tears ran down my cheeks, at
being pillaged of my time as well as my money, and treated like a
criminal, — for what? For being, in my small way, a national bene­
factor. 35
And his justifiable exasperation at such treatment does not dis­
appear till Little has an opportunity to bask in the company of
Grace Garden:
then "Vicaria . . . lost all interest to him.
Love
and happiness had annihilated it3 true character -- like the after36
noon sun gilding a far-off pigsty."
Then Reade relates that his
hero also patented a circular sei/r, but the second time, instead of
going to London himself,
Little, in humble imitation of his sovereign, had employed a go-be­
tween to employ a go-between, to deal with the state go-betweens
and deputy go-betweens, that hampered the purchase — the word 'grant1
Is out of place, bleeding is no boon — of a patent from the Crown,
and by this means he had done in sixty days what a true inventor
will do In twenty-four hours, whenever the various metallic ages
shall be succeeded by the age of reason. 37
There is some cause for believing that Reade accused not only
the government,but society in general, of the sin of vicariousness.
In A Woman-Hater. published seven years after Put Yourself in His
Place, the idea crops up when, in relating his affairs to Rhoda
Gale, Vizard says,
I farm two hundred acres — vicariously, of course. Nobody In
England has brains to do anything for nimself. That weakness is
confined to your late father's country (America], and they suffer
35.
Ojd• cit., pp. 396-398.
36.
Ibid., p. 400.
37.
Ibid.. p. 401.
139
for it by out-fighting, out-lying, out-manoeuvering, out-bullying,
and out-witting us whenever we encounter them. 38
In Put Yourself in His Place Dr. Amboyne points out that the sys­
tem of go-betweens,
and of nobody doing his own business in matters of state, . . .
really is a national curse, and a great blot upon the national
intellect. It is a disease; so let us name it. We doctors are
great at naming diseases; greater than at curing them.
Let us call it VICARIA,
This English Malaria. 39
Christie Johnstone was one of Reade!s first novels, and A Wo­
man-Hater his last, so that a chronological series of propagandists
comments on vicariousness can be seen extending through twenty-five
years, regardless of the parties or personalities which held the
reins of government during any given period.
his persistent
of a
censure may be discounted
testy and petulant temper, theattacks
to induce belief in their appropriateness.
And while some of
as thenaturalexpression
recurfrequently
enough
But In 1882, just two
years before his death, Reade set aside the vicarious mediums of
novels and plays, and spoke on the subject of vicariousness through
a vehicle which he often used and had the profoundest respect for -the public press.
The occasion was the unattested will of the Rever­
end W. Orr, who had recently passed away.
Because the will was not
attested, "His vicarious Majesty, the Solicitor of the Treasury,"
ordered most of the property sold for the Crown, although there
was really no question about the authenticity of the will.
So
through the Daily Telegraph Reade remonstrates with the Lords of
the treasury themselves, "as my views are always unintelligible to
38.
Ojd. cit., p. 255.
39.
Ojd• cit., p. 398.
140
the clerks and secretaries, the duffers, the buffers, and the
agents, of a public office, a nd I [cannot] get a manuscript past that
4<r
incarnate rampart of 'vicaria.'"
The whole incident seems directly
reminiscent of Clennam's efforts with the Barnacles of the "Circum­
locution Office" in Little Dorrit.
Reade had great faith in the power of the press to achieve and
maintain just government, and so he often had recourse to it in his
many campaigns for justice, as well as a means by which to answer
41
the charges of his critics and detractors.
The Rights and Wrongs
of Authors, Our Dark Places, and The Legal Vocabulary are but a
few of the many groups of letters contained in the volume titled
42
Readiana.
And in the second of these Reade warmly expresses his
appreciation of the power of newspapers in a typical quotation:
In England ‘Justice1 is the daughter of ‘Publicity.' In this, as
in every other nation, deeds of villainy are done every day in kid
gloves; but they can only be done on the sly: here lies our true
moral eminence as a nation.
Our judges are an honour to Europe, not
because Nature has cut them out of a different stuff from Italian
judges; this is the dream of babies:
it is because they sit in
courts open to the public, and sit next day in the newspapers. 43
Later in the same letter he asserts to the gentlemen of the press,*
"You must give us publicity, or refuse us justice," and in referring
to some of the Commissioners in Luncay he exclaims, "These soldiers
of Xerxes won't do their duty if they can help it; if they can't
40.
"Vicaria," Readiana, p. 215.
41. Mr. Elwin remarks that in the case of the attacks upon It Is
Never Too Late to Mend, Reade's controversial letters to the press
""gave 'fc'o M s novel publicity more valuable than any amount of
publishers' advertisements" (0£. cit., p. 116).
42. Through error, in his appendix (pp. 370-371) Mr. Elwin has not
marked The Rights and Wrongs of Authors and Facts Must Be Faced as
appearing in Readiana. They are there.
43. "Our Dark Places," Readiana, p. 101. Reade acknowledges indebt­
edness to Lord Mansfield for the italicized quotation (Ibid.. n.).
14 i
they will.
on you.
With them justice depends upon Publicity, and Publicity
44
Up with the lashl"
It is typical of Reade1s sincere social spirit that he did not
confine his interest in government to England and her people.
In
his efforts to secure adequate copyright and stage-right protection
for authors he went far beyond national boundaries, citing injustices
45
perpetrated upon writers in Belgium, Prance, Germany, and America.
And it will be recalled from the introductory chapter that after a
visit to Lord Lytton in 1859, he complained bitterly to Mrs. Seymour
46
about the older man's lack of interest In Frer.ah copyrights.
In
1872 he considered attempting to institute a magazine for the dis­
semination of world information and opinion,
if lovers of mankind will co-operate with me, and, striving nobly
against blinding prejudices, will rise to the occasion, weigh the
bits of superior wisdom they have seen In Europe, Asia, Africa, and
America, and bring them to a focus on these pages. 47
So by consolidating the wisdom to be found In every corner of the
globe Reade hoped to produce "a work which, if it prospers, will pro­
mote the interchange of that wisdom which is above rubiesj will tend
towards that world-wide blessed, but, alas, too distant good, the
44.
Ibid., p. 102.
45.
"The Rights and Wrongs of Authors," Ibid., pp. 142-143.
46.
Memoir, p. 266.
47.
"The Situation," Readiana, p. 359.
48
unity of nations."
142
AncT finally, six years later, in pursuance of
the same journalistic idea, he wrote of the great international
benefits which had developed from the Crystal Palace exhibition of
1851; then he adds, "Now if the laws and customs and habits of
various nations could be brought into one building and submitted
to our senses and our judgment, that exhibition of things mental
49
would teach a nobler and a wider wisdom."
Such was Reade's
League of Nations and World Court propaganda of sixty years ago.
48.
Ibid.
49.
"The Wisdom and Polly of Nations," Ibid., p. 379.
-143-
rvTA
t' Sr'Vhh
vyjj. UDT‘
1 ‘
..
ri::o
ov
The composition of ’ire hi-rhth Common dm ont and the so-ri e s o f
thirteen letters, entitled 1'he ill hots a nd 'Vron~s of A u t h o r s .i
constitute final and inf. Ls'mtr.hlc •''roof cf P.eade»s acute so 0 i a 1
c o n 3 o
1r i s
" n rn n •
of these
In
1) *.p
in
oublicafirns
5
’‘ T*#
"owed
its uirtl
to
the
t l'iR i'
desire
first
\ ' mr)
for a r "form
1
a f f e c t in ' evf ‘V ~
last
vojh
o n o u ■*!:;
tin- too'-: e en si d err. ms:
of r m s i c
- r.:
lut
of his n--a ’o s r-i o n . "
fr. v- ;:-.n c ]_]_ -.vrliers, dr.
discourses
in
memher
u - -n the
a nd
ci:di'' ions, t' o
artists.
far not
•~.oro t ha n
it is
icon
{ h a t , for
o ■' ola -.lari cm and
or. i n t i n ' as \Y'~li ;
or-re s ho
of a ll
evils
Tlwin
If vo' i o t r r
nearer
i n c l u si ve
horde
n i r a c ’.' in
the
trntn
cr.us.o n o t '.n^T'el"’' of alii
Tie hi - h t h Carr-a nrlriont m a s
re ■
f 11-e
1c u m
C 1e Ids
tie
to
s a'r that
cut o <~rs,
in
In wU ,
after its a n t n o r had h.ad a n r l e e n ^ o r t u n i t ” to o b s e r v e f h e s tum id
i n a d e q u a c ,r of
f a ct
1.
that
the I n t e r n a t i o n a l fon-rri "It A c t of 1 8 5 1 ,
ho 'rrofe n o t h i n ~ el se
Tlwin, p. Iff.
si.Tnif i car 1 i-ut the
and
nhortiv
h.e
144
A Good Fight between 1858 and 1860 helps to certify to the very
considerable thought and research bestowed upon the plea for real
copyright protection.
It Is also significant that a budding
writer who had just produced a best seller (It Is Never Too Late
to Mend, in 1856) could turn from lucrative novel writing to the
2
construction of a book which he knew would not pay its expenses.
And as will be shown later, the writing of The Eighth Commandment
was not the first serious inconvenience Reade -underwent to
promote the principles of good business and fair play.
Early in
the book he asserts, "I myself have spoken a word or two, and
done a thing or two, and been spattered with a calumny or two,
3
in this sacred cause” (international copyright).
There is as much close reasoning and trenchant, lucid prose
in The Eighth Commandment as In anv other single volume Reade
ever wrote.
The brief essays on his own experiences, and his
comments on literary and dramatic history are illustrations of
excellent writing as well as sound reasoning, and the spaces,
2. At the close of The Eighth Commandment Reade writes, "It costs
me at least £1000 to write such a book as this, the sale of which
will not pay Its expenses. Yet with the same labour, I could
have produced three volumes of lucrative fibs"(p. 362n). Mr. Elwin
says (p. 140) that the "mawkish" Love Me Little. Love Me Long was
"dashed off" to defray the cost of puETishirig the booTT*on
copyright•
3. O p . cit.. p. 2. And the kind of encouragement he received
from some authors, whose works were pirated even more than his
own, is Illustrated by the attitude of Lord Lytton, who asked him
what his interest In defending French copyright was (Elwin, p.161).
145
r'
f
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■"
>
■
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vfth
r'r'::ice.
. .. . j
. . v..
_ '
o ■
y
'' ■"t ■!
■ y
^ -
l l ‘r
>
1 H- '
L.- .
the
*
'
.
e f to o t
n , Rr^tr
■. . b l i c i t v
'’r i v ? j
o'": t? ' *' '■■' to
}• -
” 1'. I’ ’
e
-
0
f
th -t
^l r
f-- •':v
lrthr£
v^blieh'" ’
f i r ‘t
f p T*
•
”e
-T rip ;:
-L
-
fru its .
o'rt
of
.r I v
'1J
'
jf
-
in
-
f t r
, t e . r
lh<
O
■-fh-yt.e the
ef.r It " iv
r - y - J o- ’
f .o
-1
' '
’’ 1rrfc! t o
° f"y h i e
hr. -1win
the
■
p
: t o r’o,
^ ' r 5. c o n e
1 V
o
-
A,..n : ' f
o of
Yor>
y
C „• .
nt
co-yri.ht
r.
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^
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to
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th e re
tih* cit» ■ '•
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-ft^ r
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to
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^Q 1 *
too
'> it'o r
the
ot (:.;,ec t o
the
tV
y-.t h i r- t o
'-hfe n
:.of
udi Pi i t - v ' _ r y o r ; e
vd f n g
••
•' 0 O'-■
f- o t r
y t c i'l
C e r t ■■i n l y
of
the t
of
•;}.?- he
to t'-ro
c ry in g
f
t o o n oh
v o te
o e .r;r
b * ’ 0°f \tX'
o
..f.•
y
m 'f t h o t
r
• t re
--bbi . o o h e d
}' i t o r i o o l
c o p y rig h t,
yroondf?
hot
in
fo r
he fo r e ,
f ir. Jh . tvf.itft r n e e e .
146
A lth o u g h
c u s s io n s
of
of
g eneral
c o p y rig h t
betw een
th e re
th e
e rro rs
lite ra ry
and
in
P h ilip
S ta r
Cham bers
c o p y rig h t
p ro p e rty
was
1556.
ana
fo r
ceased
th ro u g h
tin u e d
the
u n ju s t
a p p ro p ria tio n s
a u th o r
to
p e titio n
c o p y rig h t
p e rio d
th e
la s t
p rin t
to
be
of
A cts
years
ana
w orks
A c t,
succeeded
in
so
1679
an A c t
d u rin g
in frin g e m e n ts
'were
p re sen ted
T h is
to
so
of
o th e r
fre q u e n t
P a rlia m e n t
p e titio n ,
and
fo r
th e
w ritte n
a
g ra n te d
of
and
by
a
w h ic h
p ro te c tio n
had
con­
years
rig h t"
to
of
b ill
p ro te c t
1709,
a
s ta tu to ry
as
in
th e
nro-
ru in o u s
to
by
le g is la tio n
th irty
"s o le
of
th e
le g is la tiv e
next
and
p rin tin g ;
fo r
not
.P a rlia m e n t
upon
of
a m o n o p o ly ,
a ll
th e
w h ic h
decrees
a rtic le
not
h is to ^
q u e s tio n
was
years
p e rp e tu a l,
In
th e
c h a rte r
each
th e
d is ­
c o n n e c tio n
advent
each
p ro p e rty ,
and
th e
of
fo r
a tta c k s
N a tu ra lly ,
v ith
th is
v ita l
th e
fo llo w in g
and
as
re v ie w
and
Company
the
o n ly .
of
s tu d y
a m ore
o th e r.
Crown,
be a
a
hand,
im p o rta n t
e x p ira tio n
p riv ile g e s .
one
r i g h t , and
L ic e n s in g
h is
oil
D u rin g
to
such
e s ta b lis h
S ta tio n e rs '
the
u n d e rstoo d
in
s ome c u r s o r y
on t h e
became
in
rig h t,
a
them
fir s t
common l a w
a
abuses
the
a u th o rs
by
s h o u ld
and L ic e n s in g
m
of
and
c o p y rig h t
and lia r y
room
d e v e lo p m e n ts ,
a g a in s t
E n g la n d
te c tio n
lit t le
le g is la tio n
Reade d i r e c t s
of
is
c la im s
an
cause
in
p a rt,
T h e l i b e r t y now s e t on f o o t o f b r e a k i n g t h i s a n c i e n t and r e a s o n a b l e
u s a g e [ c o p y r i g h t ] i s i n no w a y t o be e f f e c t u a l l y r e s t r a i n e d b u t b y a n
A ct of P a rlia m e n t.
F o r b y c ommo n l a w , a b o o k s e l l e r c a n r e c o v e r n o
m ore c o s t s t h a n he can p r o v e dam age; b u t i t i s i m p o s s i b l e f o r h im
t o p r o v e t h e t e n t h , n a y , p e r h a p s t h e h u n d r e d t h p a r t o f t h e damage
h e s u f f e r s ; b e c a u s e a t h o u s a n d c o u n t e r f e i t c o p i e s m a y be d i s p e r s e d
i n t o a s m a n y h a n d s a l l o v e r t h e k i n g d o m , a n d h e n o t be a b l e t o
p ro v e t h e s a le o f them .
B e s id e s , th e d e fe n d a n t i s a lw a y s a p a u p e r,
a n d so t h e p l a i n t i f f m u s t l o s e h i s c o s t s o f s u i t .
5
5.
F . E . S k o n e J a m e s , C o p i n g e r o n t h e Law o f C o p y r i g h t ,
e d i t i o n , Sweet and L la x w e ll, L t d . , London, 1 9 3 6 , p . 9.
se ve n th
147
As
Act
re s u lt
was p a s s e d
books
fo r
if
a
up t o
passed
w ere
to
Lords
of
D o n a la s o n
te s t
passed,
c h ie f
in
c la u s e
of
th e
ta in e u
n ie c e s
la y
d e liv e re d
not
c la re
vyl e k
u
P ap e rs.
e ffo rts
each
if
of
to
one
he was
in te n d e d
to
p ro te c t
s ame p e r i o d .
fam ous
of
but
w h ic h
t i l l
It
a rg um en ts
a m o n o p o ly ,
u tte re d
as
earned
The m e asure
w e ll
h im
fir s t
at
h is
was
the
on
as
the
b a sis
u r& n a tis t
up
in
its
from
tw o
w ith
of
th a t
a ls o
con-
of
drarna-
tt
th a t
th a t
th e
I.Iacj^.c o p y rig h t
no n a n w a y
de­
Thomas T a l f o u r d ,
and
of
1837,
was
1833 ,
th is
th a t
Act
years,
prove
d ir
case
Act
p e rfo rm a n c e
to
d e d ic a tio n
cane
in
The A c t
soon a f t e r
F in a lly
the
e x p ira tio n
ru b ric
the
in
House
o t h i s
rig h t
d ea th.
a tte m o tin g
was
C o p y rig h t
L y tto n ,
once
common l a w
tw e n ty -e ig h t
th e
th o u g h t.
la w y e r
of
p e rio d
Act
s a id
o w n e rs h ip
liv in g
h is
be
p rin tin g
1774 t h e
the
L ite ra ry
Lord
s o le
of
by a s s e r t i n g
a n n u lle d
im p o rta n t
in
C o p y rig h t
p rin te d
th a t
th is
but
m ore w i l l
be
h is
b ill
Ilu ch
not
re n e w in g
a u th o rs;
s ta tu te
a u th o r’ s
years
com petent
th e
of
firs t
lib e rty "
Now o b v i o u s l y
sh o u lo
th e
o w n e rs h ip
an
and
p ro te c tio n
th e
th e
th a t
a p ro p e rty ,
h im s e lf
duced
fo r
th is
of
the
who had
rig h t
p riv ile g e
The n e x t
e xte n d e d
p ro v is o
"s o le
w orks.
th rou g h
p e titio n s
a u th o rs
c lo s e .
th a t
p u b lis h e d
la te r.
to
p ro te c tio n
Becket
s e c tio n
th e
le s s e n e d
c o p y rig h t
a
th e
its
th e
fo u rte e n
tic
is
at
case
a d d itio n a l
tim e
liv in g
s im ila r
gave
1710
w ith
V.
ana
it
years,
la rg e ly
p e rio d s
10,
a c tu a lly
c o p y rig h t
th is
17 09;
in c re a s e
of
and
in
A p ril
fo u rte e n
th e y
of
e s s a y is t,
the
and
in tro ­
im m o rta l
was
P i c le­
passed
over
«
Iia c a u la y ’ s
sor
an
had
o p p o s itio n ,
le ft
e x te n s io n
There is
a u th o r's
w ith
P a rlia m e n t.
of
th e
In
some a m e n d m e n t ,
a m o vin g
p ro p rie ta ry
in
I 842, a ft e r
speech T a lfo u r d
p e rio d ,
c la im in g
its
p le a a e d
snonfo r
th a t
s o m e th in g p e c u l i a r l y u n ju s t i n b o u n ding th e t e r n o f an
p r o p e r t y by h is n a t u r a l l i f e ,
i f he s h o u l d s u r v i v e so s h o r t
148
a period as twenty-eight years. It denies to age and experience thS]
probable reward it permits to youth — to youth, sufficiently full
of hone and joys to slight its promises. It gives a bounty to haste,
and informs the laborious student, who would wear away his strength
to complete some work which the world will not willingly le4- die,
that the more of his life he devotes to its perfection, the more
limited shall be his interests in its fruits. It stops the progress
of remuneration at the moment it is most needed; and when the be­
nignity of nature would extract from her last calamity a means of
support, and comfort to the survivors . . . your law ([Act of 1P33J de­
clares that his works shall become your property, and you requite
him by seizing the patrimony of his children. 6
The Act of 1842 extended the copyright period from twenty-eight
years to the life of the author and seven years after his death, or
forty-two years, whichever should be the longer.
The general con­
struction of this statute was so poor that the Report of the Royal
Commission (1878) states, "The law is wholly destitute of any sort
of arrangement, incomplete, often obscure, and, even when it is in­
telligible unon long study, it is in many parts so ill-expressed
that no one who does not give such study to it can expect to under­
stand it."
Yet there was no further domestic corvright legislation
7
till 1911.
6.
Ibid. , p. 10.
7. Ibid., p. 12. And even then what was gained by the writer seems
to have been lost, by the composer of music. George Bernard Shew
writes that for years all energetic artists hoped and worked, how­
ever despairingly, for new copyright legislation:
"At last, when
hone deferred had become hope extinct, the resistance suddenly and
mysteriously gave way, and we were told to hurry up with all the
clauses we wanted in a new Act. V/e joyfully complied, and congratu­
lated ourselves until the draft of the Government Bill reached us.
It cleared u p the mystery at once. It contained a clause, undreamt
of by us, empowering the gramophone manufacturers to reproduce music
on their discs on payment of a modest statutory price, wir ther the
composer desired it or no" (G. Herbert Thring, The Marketing of Lit­
erary Property. Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1933, introduction,
p . xxii).
c II
“
t
1 •. ,
150
p la rie ris :i,
when
heade
p ro v is o "
of
had
F re n ch w o n ts
the
t e l a Lee
e s p e c ia lly ,
s a tis fa c tio n
continued t i l l
of
se e in g
the
1875,
"S a ta n ic
re s c in d e d .
heade's own domestic and international copyright experiences
are interesting, and s few of his lav. suits stand as test ca nes
to to is day.
Some "criticasters" of his copyright r e f o r m books
accused him of writing them for purely selfish reasons, since he
does not hesf-'fcate to use .his own litigations t
cases in point.
Certainly this was a natural and an eminently desirable procedure,
since any sincere writer handles best those materials with which
he has come into actual contact.
In describing in. general effects
of piracy, which continued unabated afttr the agreement was made
with France, he reports the ridiculous prices given to Taylor and
himself for has^s a nd Faces (1854) , and Two Loves and t_ wife (1854) ,
and adds,
The satanic proviso, and the colourable piracy it inflicted on
the nation, drove me off the boards, and many other men of similar
calibre.
I beg attention to this, not as a personal wrong;
in that light I should be ashamed to lay it before the English and
American public, but i s one of ?• thousand useful examples, that
nature gives way before piracy.
10
And in an effort to emphasize the sense of defeat ana despair ex­
perienced by those v.ho have their boons stolen, he had already
qua inti v explained that being, robbed of his plays and novels by
piracy made him"feel . . . the anguish a mother feels, robbed of
her children." 11
If this is an appropriate analogy there were few popular
writers :any where during the nineteenth century who did not have
10.
Ibid.
11.
The Eighth Commandment, p. 160.
151
real cause for maternal anguish.
Reade reports that after the
Nanoleonic War "monopoly and piracy fell upon the dramatist, and
destroyed him."
novelist.
12
The same could as well have been said of the
Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, Harrison Ainsworth,
Lytton, Eliot —
all saw their novels mangled into mediocre or worse
plays by piece-work hacks, and many saw their stories marketed in
the United States, translated into cheap Continental editions and
sold at fabulous profits, and yet they often received no part of
their just share, and when they did it was a sum ridiculously dis­
proportionate to the net gain.
7/hen the critics pronounced a Lon­
don play a "hit" in the morning journals, the pirates gathered their
shorthand writers and transcribers, and after a single attendance at
the theater had the IIS. ready to sell to the smaller producers in
the provinces.
Reade tells of such a nan, who advertised that he
13
would "supply any gentlenan with any manuscript on the lowest terms."
It was not unheard of for an autVor to be refused a price for his
play a few days after its first performance, because the next pros­
pective producer could buy it cheaper from a pirate;
and Reade re­
lates the evidence of one Koncrieff, that he produced Giovanni in
a London theater;
that it was copied by shorthand writers, sent
into the provinces, and brought back by the Drury Lane management,
who "played it in the teeth of the author.
The ...anager made thou­
sands by it, ana brought out Iindame Vestris in it, and she made
thousands.
It was only the poor author that was swindled for
12.
"The Rights and Wrongs of Authors," Reauiana, p. 138.
13.
Ib id .
152
14
e n ric h in g
w ere
both
changed,
a n y th in g
s to ry
to
make
d a ily
had
In
The
came
an
a b le
in
1875 he
of
out
lo v e
the
by
th e
s tig m a
th a t
dep a rtm e nt
have
lik e d
never
the
fo re ig n e rs
have
of
d id
D ic k e n s ,
done
w ro te
of
lite ra tu re
th in k
sto ry
s in s
p ira c y
e n tire ly
he
some
of
earned
la y s
th a t
m
a cu te
w ork
"I
of
fo r
am k n o w n ,
dram a­
w ere
i f
to
forsake
th e
was
renounced
o n ly
a g a in s t
h a lf
so
it .
upon
fre q u e n tly
but
bad
the
cu r­
the
d ra m a tis ts
n o v e lis t
and
the
s ta g e .
And
I
b e lie v e ,
(As a m a t t e r
sta g e ,
to
of
th e
when
d ra m a tic
fro m
enough
stre ss
th a t
th e
the se
w orks
and y e t
proposes
h im s e lf,
th e
because
He
la s tin g
—
b a re ly
heavy
m ore,
a tta c h e d
o f E n g lish m e n
re p re se n ts
E n g lis h m e n ’ s
"s to le n ."
or
d iffe re n t
n o v e liz in g "
out
p a id
n o v e l,
s to ry
b u tc h e rin g
p o in ts
d is g u is e d —
s w in d le s , ""n o v e l
hacks.w h o
by
th e
p la c e s
my n a t u r a l g i f t w a s f o r t h e d r a m a ;
my g r e a t e s t
15
d ra m a ,"
and a s s e r t e d t h a t he was " d r i v e n " f r o m
fo r
Reade
"dram a
w ritin g
p ro te c te d ,
or
and
a u th o rs h ip
from
p la y
Commandment R e a d e
th e y were
was
cord
a b rid g e d ,
one
to g e th e r
but
c h a ra c te rs
"a d a p ta tio n
e x p lo ite d
s e ria l
re g re tfu lly
but
or
s w in d le "),
D ic k e n s ,
m ig h t
a n o v e lis t;
But
of
cu sto m s
a c to r,
to
p la y ,
of
d iffe re n t
s w in d le s ,"
E ig h th
been p r o p e r l y
sta g e
the
Names
and
appear
humdrum s o u l
ta le n t
v ic io u s
s e ria ls
from
a c to r."
g a rb le d
p la y
K id n a p p in g
and
a rtis ts .
re n t
th e
o c c u p a tio n
body
d ra m a tic
w ere
"A b rid g m e n t
tiz in g " ("th e
keep
p lo ts
d iffe re n t
a n o th e r.
the
m anager ana
h is
th a t
of
the
re ­
lu c k
he
as
in
may
it.)
s in n e d
th e
a g a in s t
fa c ts ;
fo re ig n e rs
is
the
q u ite
by E n g lis h m e n
c a ta lo g
as
and
of
c o m p le te .
14.
Ib id .
I n The E i g h t h Commandment R e a d e g i v e s a r e a l i s t i c r e v i e w
o f th e c ir c u m s ta n c e s s u r r o u n d in g H e n ry C a r e y ’ s d e a t h , and a t th e
b o o k ’ s c l o s e he a d u s , " P i r a t e s h a v e r e p e a t e d l y s e e n t h e a u t h o r d i e
o f s t a r v a t i o n , o r k i l l h i m s e l f , o r go m a d , a s a n a t u r a l c o n s e q u e n c e
o f th e r u i n b r o u g h t on h im by th e a c t o f p i r a c y :
i n no s i n g l e
i n s t a n c e has one s y l l a b l e o f re m o rs e e s c a p e d th e m u r d e r e r " ( p . 315n),
Ibid. , p . 1 4 9 . , Reade himself arranged the order of the titles
which apoears on his gravestone-"Dramatist, Novelist, Journalist
15.
/ i. * . k —
->->
I. 1.1 \ .
153
Upon
c o n c lu d in g
th e y
a ffe c te d
h is
in tro d u c to ry
E n g lis h m e n ,
Reade
d is c u s s io n
on
c o p y rig h t
abuses
as
adds,
The r e s u l t o f t h i s w h o le mess i s t h a t th e B r i t i s h a u t h o r ’ s
p r o p e r t y i s p i l l a g e d a t hone t e n tim e s o f t e n e r th a n a n y o t h e r
p r o d u c t i v e w o r k m a n ' s p r o p e r t y ; t h a t i n A u s t r a l i a he i s c o n s t a n t l y
r o b b e d , th o u g h h i s r i g h t s a r e n o t as y e t p u b l i c l y d i s p u t e d ; t h a t
i n C a n a d a he i s p i c k e d o u t as t h e one B r i t i s h s u b j e c t t o be h a l f ­
o u t l a w e d ; a n d t h a t he i s f u l l y a n d f o r m a l l y o u t l a w e d i n t h e U n i t e d
S t a t e s , t h o u g h t h e B r i t i s h w r i t e r f o r wages i s n o t o u t l a w e d t h e r e ,
n o r th e B r i t i s h m e c h a n ic a l in v e n t o r , n c r th e B r i t i s h p r i n t e r s - th e se a r t is a n s a re p a id f o r p r i n t i n g i n the U n ite d S ta te s a
B r i t i s h a u t h o r ' s p r o d u c t i o n — n o r t h e B r i t i s h a c t o r ; he d e l i v e r s
i n New Y o r k f o r f i v e ti...es as many d o l l a r s as h i s p e r f o r m a n c e i s
w o r t h th o s e l i n e s w h ic h th e B r i t i s h a u th o r has c r e a te d w i t h f i v e
tim e s h is la b o u r and h is s x i l i , y e t t h a t a u th o r 's re m u n e ra tio n is
o u tla w ry .
16
C e rta in ly
re d re ss
in g
ic a n
he
no
fo r
th u s
one
th e
w o u ld
c m e s tio n
E n g lis h m a n ;
s u m m a riz e s
the
the
but
in ju ry
in
vehemence w i t h
th e
done
paragraph
to
A m e ric a n
w h ic h
Reade
im m e d ia te ly
w rite rs
and
seeks
f o l l o w rAm er­
lite ra tu re :
U n ju s t and c r u e l as t h i s i s , th e o t h e r A n g lo -S a x o n a u t h o r s a re
s t i l l v /o rs e u s e d , e s p e c i a l l y t h e .-.m erican a u t h o r .
lie s u f f e r s t h e
Same w r o n g s a s we d o , a n d a w o r s e t o b o o t .
O u r home m a r k e t i s n o t
s e r i o u s l y i n j u r e d b y A m e r i c a n p i r a c y , b u t h i s h ome m a r k e t , i s .
The
r e m u n e r a tio n o f th e e s ta b lis h e d A m e rica n a u th o r i s a r t i f i c i a l l y
lo w e re d by th e c r u s h in g c o m p e titio n o f s t o le n g oods;
and as f o r t h e
y o u n g A m e r ic a n a u t h o r , h o w e ve r p r o m i s i n g h i s g e n i u s , he i s g e n e r a l l y
n ip p e d in the bud.
I can g iv e th e v e r y p ro c e s s .
He b r i n g s t h e p u b ­
l i s h e r h i s m a n u s c r i p t , w h ic h r e p r e s e n t s m o nth s o f l a b o u r and o f d e b t ,
b e c a u s e a l l t h e t i m e a ma n i s w r i t i n g w i t h o u t w a g e s t h e b u t c h e r ' s b i l l
and b a k e r ' s a r e g r o w i n g f a s t and h i g h .
H is m a n u s c r ip t i s th e w ork
o f an a b le n o v ic e ;
t h e r e a r e some g e n u i n e o b s e r v a t i o n s o f A m e r i c a n
life
a n d m a n n e r s , a n d some s p a r k s o f t r u e m e n t a l f i r e ;
but th e re are
d e f e c t s o f workm ans!, i p :
t h e man n e e d s a d v i c e a n d p r a c t i c e .
V .'e ll,
u n d e r j u s t la w s h i s c o u n try m a n , th e p u b l i s h e r , w o u ld n u r s e h im ;
but
ciS t h i n g s a r e , h e d e c l i n e s t o b u y , a t e v e r s o c h e a p a r a t e , t h e w o r k
o f p r o m i s e , b e c a u s e he c a n o b t a i n g r a t i s w o r k s w r i t t e n w i t h a c e r ­
t a i n m e c h a n i c a l d e x t e r i t y b y humdrum b u t p r a c t i s e d E n g l i s h w r i t e r s .
Thus s t a l e B r i t i s h , m e d i o c r i t y , w it h th e h e lp o f A m e ric a n p i r a c y ,
d r i v e s r i s i n g A m e ric a n g e n iu s o u t o f th e book m a r x e t .
17
lo.
17.
Ibid.,
Ib id . ,
p.
113.
pp.
113-114.
154
18.
B ra n d e r M a tth e w s,
A m e ric a n
C o p y rig h t
19. Ibid.
20 . Ibid . , p., 8 .
iiin e ric a n
League,
A uth o rs
and
New Y o r k ,
B ritis h
1889,
p.
6
156
el
153
"adapting" and "imitating" their plays and novels almost as
rapidly as they came out.
So in 1860, when The Eighth Com­
mandment was published, many writers and oooKseners m
Belgium,
Germany, the British Empire, and the United States were appro­
priating the works of Frenchmen and of each other,' and at the
same time there was a great deal of thinly disguised adaptation with'
in the boundaries of the British Empire itself.
So much lor England's domestic and international copyright
situation from the beginning to 1875.
It remains to outline
Eeade's arguments for butn, as he pubiisned them in i860 through
The Eighth Commandment, and m
of Authors.
wp s
1875 through The Rights and Wrongs
It has been stated before in this study that Reade
a capable business man, notwithstanding his nephew's remark
to the contrary.
Perhaps no set of incidents in his rife illus­
trates this more convincingly tnan his dealings in and arguments
for domestic copyright protection.
Reade beileved and preached
that literary copyright was not a monopoly, to be relinquished as
soon as a writer put his thoughts upon paper, hut a property, pro­
tected in perpetuity
statute,
by common lew right, without benefit of
even after the author has joined his expressed thoughts
to the other extraneous properties which are necessary to make a
book, or set them upon the tongues of actors to make a play.
He
points out irrefutably that the common law right of authors was
24
always protected by the early English Licensing Acts, and srgues
that when the Copyright Act of 1709 was passed, and the "creature
of common law became the nursling of statutes," the men who had ad­
vocated and drafted it intended that it should serve as a
24. "The Rights and Wrongs of Authors," Readiana. pp. 124-125.
157
penalizing measure to protect the coxi.on law right of ownership
forever.
He calls to attention the fact that the bill went into
Committee as a measure to protect property by penalty forev e r ;
that it was drawn by men who had drafted the Licensing Acts, which
had the same provision; and that there is enough patent similarity
in the phrasing of the last Licensing Act and the Act of 1709 to
convince anyone "with an eye in his mind" that those who drew' up
the latter intended merely to continue the provisions of the ex­
tinct Lincensing Act.
put, continues Reade, since the Licensing
Acts had been passed for certain terns only, some committee members
on the bill of 1709 decided, in a "servile double imitation" of 'the
Licensing Acts, that the Copyright Act should be in force for a
certain term: only.
And so they wrongly affixed the term, of two
fourteen-year periods.
Thus Reade claims precedent to support his
case -- that copyright was regarded as a natural right for a centary
and a half beforri Queen A n n e ’s Act.
Then he remarks that an au­
t h o r ’s common law right to copyright was so generally assumed even
after the Act was passed that "neither the laymen nor the lawyers
of Queen A n n e ’s generation read the statue as curtailing the sa­
cred property," and authors continued to assign and sell their conyrights, not for a term., but forever.
In 1769 three of four judges
of the King's Bench decided in a test case that the Act of 1709
did not curtail the natural property rights, so the term of pre­
cedent increases to more than two centuries.
But the single dis­
senting judge in the case of yillard v. Taylor had introduced the
"lying word
’monopoly,’" and so prepared the way for such "metaphys­
ical muddleheads"
as Sir Joseph Yates, who claimed that copyright
was forfeited upon publication, and such "corrupt" judges as j_ord
156
Camden,
who,
in
th e
n o to rio u s
case
of
D o n a ld so n
v.
B ecnet, d e c id e d
by
c 0101.10n l a w .
25
th a t
c o p y rig h t
Thus
through
and
was
u tsiovvta
h a te ,
p e n s io n e d
fe a r,
ju ris ts
by
s ta tu te ,
a p a th y,
lim ite d
and
the
and
not
s im p le
s tu p iu ity ,
p ro te c tio n
of
the
a fflu e n t
s e lf-d e p e n d e n t
a uth o rs
a g a in s t p i l f e r i n g p ir a t e s , m e ta p h y s ic a l a u u a le h e .a s , ro m a n tic p e t t i ­
f o g g e r s , c a n t i n g p e n s i o n e r s , and a l l t h e o t h e r e g o t i s t s , d u n c e s , and
h n a ve s, who, p o s s e s s in g th e lo w e r i n t e l l e c t , h a te th e h ig h e s t i n ­
t e l l e c t , a n d g r u d g e i t a l o n g l e a s e o f i t s ' own p o o r , x i t t l e , i n s u f ­
f i c i e n t f r e e h o l d , h e l d b y t e n t h o u s a n d tia .e s t h e p u r e s t t i t l e lav;
c a n f i n d 011 s e a o r l a n d — C r e a t i o n .
2o
L a te r
h is
of
Lora
arg um en ts
18^2,
but
P a rlia m e n t
rig h t
to
Spencer
th a t
g^vo
them
b e fo re
v -h ile
o f w n ic h
tin u e s
in
re c e iv e d
Royal
F a rre r
proceeds
to
he m a i n t a i n s
rig h t
to
by i n s i s t i n g
"L ite ra ry
c o p y rig h t
by m a c u a la y
Reade
the
a h r .
A rn o ld
th e
tim e
th a t
is
a m o n o p o ly,
c o n n e c tio n
h a lf
h is
w ith
h is
th a t
p ro d u c tio n ,
C 01.11! s s i o n
and
S ir
o u tlin e
w ith
w ork
"P ro p e rty
w herever
L o u is
h is
F a rre r
when
he
is
sound,
of
v in d ic a tio n
m a lle i
and m a l l e t
the
is
1875
th a t
c re a tio n
its
th a t
o wn
of
when
copyand
d e c la re d
p u b lis h e s
Act
c o p y rig h t
own c o n v i c t i o n s ,
fir s t
and
the
" t h e l i e d i r e c t " by f o r m a l l y d e c l a r i n g
27
p ro p e rty.
I la tth e w A rn o ld r e p o r t s t h a t H u x le y
argued
fo rfe its
in s is te d
re p e a te d
at
a p ro p a rty ,
course
w ere
be a
m o n o p o ly .
Camden
it
in
is
is
a
the
an a u th o r
it.
ne
la v ,"
e x c e e d in g
con­
and
that
g reat
re -
28
w a ra ."
But
lo o k e d
fo r
sources
le g a l
th e n
th e
o u ts id e
one
rem em bers
moment
th e
--
th a t
what
he
boon m a r k e t ,
m rn o ld
a lw a y s
ilr.
iia u
Skone
h im s e lf
may have
a re g u la r
la m e s ,
incom e
the
over­
fro m
a ccepted
a u th o rity
25.
Ib id .,
pp.
2o.
I b i d .,
p .
12o-127.
150.
( 1 7 5 5 ) c\
27.
I n h is P ic t io n a r . y /S a ri*J o h n s o n s p e c i f i c a l l y d e fin e s
as th e " p r o p e r t y o f an a u t h o r i n a l i t e r a r y w o r k . "
28.
l i a t t h e w Arnold, " C o p y r i g h t , "
London, 1882, pp. 250-2o0.
Iris h
E s s a y s , S m ith ,
c o p y rig h t
E ld e r
and C o .,
159
on
c o p y rig h t,
says,
T o t h i n g c a n w i t h g r e a t e r p r o p r i e t y be c a l l e d a m a n ' s p r o p e r t y
th a n the f r u i t o f h is b r a in s .
The p r o p e r t y i n a n y a r t i c l e o r
s u b s t a n c e a c c r u i n g t o him. b y r e a s o n o f h i s o w n m e c h a n i c a l l a b o r
i s n o t d e n ie d hiia:
t h e l a b o u r o f h i s m i n d i s no l e s s a r d u o u s a n d
c o n s e q u e n t l y no l e s s w o r t h y o f t h e p r o t e c t i o n o f t h e l a w .
29
But
in
such
1875
s ta te m e n ts
b e llig e re n t
a r e made w i t h o u t
C h a rle s
fe a r
‘f
c o n tra d ic tio n
to d a y
Reade w r o t e ,
A t p re s e n t 1 w i l l o n ly s ta te th a t i f any state sm a n o r p r a c t i c a l
l a w y e r , o r c o m p ile r o f la v ,'-b o o n s , who e i t h e r b y w ord o f m o u th o r
i n p r i n t has t o l d th e p u b l i c * c o p y r i g h t 1 i s a 'm o n o p o l y , * u a re s
r i s k h i s money on h i s b r a i n s , 1 w i l l m e e t h im on l i b e r a l t e r m s .
I w i l l bat h i m a h u n d r e d a nd f i f t y p o u n d s to f i f t y c o p y r i g h t is
n o t a m o n o p o l y , a n d is a p r o p e r t y .
A l l I c l a i m is c a p a b l e r e f e r e e s .
L e t us say L o r d S e l b u r h e , „lr. n o b e r t L o w e , a n a h r . Fitzja..c.s L t e p h e n
if t h r s e g e n t l e m e n w i l l c o n s e n t uo a c t .
i o f f e r t he o de s, sc 1
t i i n k i n a v e ti.e r xgi. t to d e m a n u di s c r i m m u L i ng j ud g e s .
3 X any
gentj.eman tm-,es up L m s net 1 v ill u s u [in., to no i t j.u d 1 i c 1 w. uy
i e 1 1 e r u j oi.e i iJ.l ...a1 1 G a z e 1 1 e , a ,,G v e v.’i 1 r 1 1 ,eii j r o c t c a up ue —
p O S j .
C
t u b
And
of
in
E
t a l t S
,
l
a n ote
u e a d ia n a ,
1882
t C .
Jh a t to
re .m rh s
(seven
years
th a t
a fte r
at
th e
th e
tim e
of
c n a ire u g e ),
th e
p u b lic a tio n
th e re
w ere
no
30
ta k e rs .
The m u t t e r
and
so
w ork
th e
is
o f w h e th e r
e n title d
to
p u b lis h e d
ste a d y
or
p ro te c tio n
or
in c re a s e
n o t,
in
the
n_s
not
by
c o p y rig h t
common
never
term
of
is
la w
been
a
ro re ve r,
c o n c lu s iv e ly
p ro te c tio n
by
seem to support the second half of Reade*s case.
by
th e
C o p y rig i.t
Act
of
1911,
no
n a tu ra l
c o p y rig h t
rig n t,
w h e th e r
the
d e c ia e d ,
s ta tu te
but
w o u ld
Although now,
o w n e rs h ip
is
p o s s ib le
in either a published or an unpublished work except by statute,
co.m ion l a w
31
c o p y rig h t
in
u n p u b lis h e d
w orks
was
a llo w e d
as
la te
as
1908 .
29.
F. E. Skone James, 0 £. c i t ., p. 3.
30.
"The Rights and v"rongs of Authors,"
31.
F.
V/.
Skone
James,
op.
c i t .,
p.
4*
Readiana, pp. 117-118.
160
There
rig h t
is
a g ita tio n
P ro te c tio n
C^eade] ,
of
e v id e n c e
th e
of
a
th e
and
of
R e a c e 's
te c tio n
one
or
is
o ffe n s e s
a g a in s t
J u s tic e
he
th a t
a s s e rts
la w — "and
b e h o ld
a d a p ta tio n s ,
th a t
when
the
th a t
th ro u g h
E n g lis h
new spapers,
w h ic h
32.
E lw in ,
33.
H ard
p.
s to rie s
2,
fir s t
of
3 27 ,
la n d ,
to
honor.
Reade
h im s e lf
h a p p ily
p la y s ,
to
the
France
at
w ith
la s t
the
w ith
end
was
of
th a t
in
1184.
c o p y rig h t
th e
hope
th e
pro­
th a t
fla g ra n t
had
been
b e in g
among
the
trans
in
one
of
and
h is
n o v e ls ,
J u lia
Dodd,
former’s m o t h e r - i n -
th e ir
th irty -th re e
33
tii e ."
R e a d e ‘r e l a t e s
q u o te s
and
'.V a lte r
p la y s
s e lf-re s p e c t
T im es
S ir
French
p e n d in g ,
Ke a l s o
p ro v in g
th e
e f­
J u s tin
p re s id e n t,
in
th e
la te r
by
Alfred b a r d i e
of
to
was
e lim in a te
so f r e q u e n t t h a t
a c la s s .
238.
Cash. V o l.
the
n a tio n a l
French
h im s e lf
and
p e rs is te n tly
s o m e th in g
1851,
''A u th o rs
P la y w rig h ts ,
the
in c lu d in g
p rin te d
A u th o rs,
peers
co n fu te d
as
Reade
the
c o n c lu s io n
a u th o rs
w h ic h
in te rn a tio n a l
and
of
due"
a dequate
agreem ent w it h
its
"la rg e ly
of
so
became
do
th e
copy­
to
fo r
d_o l i v e
e le v e n
th a t
o rg a n iz a tio n
S o c ie ty
a d vo ca te d
b efo re
the y
of
th is
h a p p y married s t a t e
the
News,
to
d o m e s tic
a d v o c a te p r o t e c t io n
32
d ra m a tiz a tio n ."
A p p a re n tly th e
c o m m itte e
Tennyson
h is
in s tig a tio n
C o m m i s s i o n was
them w i l l
years
d is c u s s in g
London
o th e rs ,
or
A p ; ropriations w e r e
la to rs .
E n g lis h
tw o
w h i c h was
addressed
"adapted" f o r
one
i ro b a b ly
p le a
re la te s
the
"In co rp o ra te d
of
E lw iri
lim it
"at
Royal
w h ic h
several
H r.
not
form e d
S o c ie ty
fir s t
d id
u n a u th o riz e d
m em bers.
C o m p ose rs,"
B esa n t,
to
th e
s p e c ia l
m erged w i t h
and
fro m
of
I-'c C a rth y w e re
and
was
Torn T a y l o r ,
n o v e lis t
Reade
w ritin g .
S o c ie ty "
o rg a n iz a tio n
fo rts
to
th a t
the
a ll
w ere
w o u ld
several
be
upon
re s to re d
re p u ta b le
Illu s tra te d
"p ira c y
h o p e fu l
London
fo re ig n e rs
161
162
or other douceurs, pecuniary bribe included . . . .
The managers of theatres, most of them actors, and extremely
sensitive to public praise or censure, truckled to these small fry
invested with large powers by reckless journals, and would rather
take a French piece, sure to be praised by this little Trades'
Union, than an English piece, sure to be censured by them. 37
Then he casually adds that such gangsterism caused the drama
to lose his talent:
"I struggled against this double shuffle for
about four years, and then I gave it up in despair, and took to
38
novel writing against the grains, and left the stage for years."
In the preface to Poverty and Pride (1857), a play the production
rights of which he purchased from the Frenchmen Nus and Brisebarre
in order to provide a test case, Reade urges the need for legiti­
mate encouragement of the drama.
He says in part,
I am trying this day lay, not only the first stone of inter­
national dramatic honesty in these islands, but also the first
stone of an English dramatic literature. For English dramatists
will spring up, the more they are encouraged as English journalists,
novelists, biographers, and compilers are; and they will be so
encouraged the moment a Frenchman's play has to be bought from him
instead of stolen. 39
37.
Op. cit., Memoir, p. 321.
38.
Ibid., P. 322.
39. Op. cit., p. 93. In this case one Englishman waited for another
to bring the piece over from France before he "stole" it. Poverty
and Pride was pirated from Reade, and a series of exasperating
litigations followed.
In the same year he filed an Injunction to
prevent the publisher Bentley from Issuing Peg Woffington and Chris tie Johnstone in cheap editions, and the cumulative effects of work
and worry contingent upon these matters later caused him to write,
"Till that year Q857J I had not a gray hair in ray head. Before
it was half gone I had plenty" (The Eighth Commandment, p. 108).
163
Arid he relates that many "piratical journalists and publishers’
hacks" criticized and calumniated him for paying the original authors
of a French play —
and this six years after the law pretenuing
to protect French authors had passed!
In The Eighth Commandment
itself he promises,
When the English legislature shall rise to the moral and intellect­
ual level of the French legislature, and the English judges to the
moral ana intellectual level of the French judges, then the pre­
sent artificial oppression, which is such as no art ever yet throve
under, will be removed or lightened, and a great and glorious
national drama will that moment begin to arise by a lav; of com­
merce as inevitable as that which now strangles it.
English
statesmen would not need to be told all this by lie, if they would
only think for themselves, instead of trusting to rant, cant, and
chimera.
40
One needs to bear in mind the fact that while this bold injustice
was being widely perpetrated against French writers in England,
.
lish writers
the works or Eng-/ were being carefully protected on French soil.
This flagrant ineuuality so incensed keede that he truculently
threw his financial cap into the ring again:
I bet him or her seventy guineas to forty guineas, that he,
or she, does not to the satisfaction of able umpires, to be by us
approved, succeed in proving that either the kingdom of Belgium
or the American republic has ever, in treating or refusing to treat
with another stote for international copyright, been guilty of any
act as dishonest, disloyal, and aoublefuced as Great Britain has
committed, by treating with France for international copyright;
and contriving, under cover of that treaty, to steal the main in-
40.
Ibid. , p. 183.
164
tellectual export of that empire, and that I will prove the con­
trary.
41
There seems to be no record concerning any acceptance ol this boyish
challenge, but certainly the omission need not be introduced as
evidence to substantiate Reade1s claim.
The Eighth Commandment
itself contains enough methodically presented and scientific proof
to persuade any unbiased reader.
Yet the book vas far from success­
ful, from the point of view either of profit or propaganda.
public, and even some writers, simply were not interested.
The
It was
published in America as well as by Trubner, and Mr. Elwin relates
that Reade wrote Ticknor and Fields, "I think that Eighth Command­
ment is a bit of good seed, which will be^r fruit in time, and that
sooner or later it will be an honor to both publisher and author
42
to have stood firm in so just and honorable a cause."
But later
he Was apparently convinced of the book’s failure, and ruefully
43
promised himself, "Pio more Eighth Commandments."
41.
Ibi d., p. 15b.
42. Elwin,pp. 159-14C.
But sixteen ye^rs later Trollope wrote of
the book, "I never saw a copy except that in m y own library, or
he^rd of anyone who knew the boon"(An Autobiography, Basil BIuckv»ajlI , 0x1 ord , 1 9 29> P • lt>2) •
43.
Because of his shrewdness in business matters Reade had much
less reason to bemoan losses through piracy than many another writer;
his self-imposed mission was an attempt to present to the public a
list of the wrongs by which authors were oppressed.
lie was champion­
ing the cause of writers who could not or would not fight for them­
selves.
A much later author points out that "The public will never
understand how an author’s calling, when his department is that of
fiction, . . . unfits him for business and intercourse with business
people." And ag^in, "Authors have a very feeble grip of reality,
which is a grip that has to be developed by long and intense prac­
tice" (G. B. Shaw, ojd. cit ♦, Introduction, p. xii).
165
It is indicative of Reade*s pertinacity and confidence in his
convictions that notwithstanding his promise he took up the cause
actively again fifteen years later to support the agitation for
an international copyright agreement between his country and
America.
It that time (1875) England had made some gesture toward
protecting the works of Americans by the provision that copyright
in Great Britain could be secured if the writer was living on Bri­
tish soil when his book was published; but the American govern­
ment hau made no concessions in the field of international copyright,
all such acv-nces from England having been shelved without action.
The question which country pirated the works of the other more is
not important;
the fact that mutual copyrights arrangements were
extremely advisable is the point:
and so, as Matthew Arnold, wrote,
"If Englishmen suffer by having no copyright in America, they have
the American government anu people to thank for it.
If .Americans
suffer by having no copyright in England, they have only to thank
U
themselves."
The black flag which Carlyle said every American
bookseller should hang from his signboard was really flying in
both countries,
except in a few cases, and no one can begin to
estimate the sums lost to authox*s because of it.
In 1872 Reade
44.
Matthew Arnold, op. c i t . , p. 271.
The difference in tempera­
ment between Arnold and Reade is clearly illustrated by the
forme r’s claim that it is ridicuoous to call a writer’s or
a publisher's appropriation of a book stealing;
he describes
it as merely a "breach of delicacy" (Ibid., p. 2 7 4 ).
16ti
had written,
International copyright is Just and needed to raise the literary
character. Any class to he resoectable mus^ he well-to-do. No.
class, except ministers of religion, can be noor and noble. A
cla-ss without ’.property is a tribe of Bohemians. Copyright is the
authors* property; it gives them a stake in the country; and
international cooyright gives them a stake in other countries, and
interests them in keeping the peace. 45
Therefore, when the trans-Atlsntic campaign was organized Reade
wrote to
such Americans as Lowell, Bryant, and Longfellow, so
that agitation could go forward on both sides of the water.
Then
he drafted The Rights and Wrongs of Authors. the introductory com­
ment concerning which has already been given.
There are many points of similarity as well as difference
between the series of letters and the earlier Eighth Qommandment.
Since fteade was still dissatisfied with the domestic convright
situation in England, there is some repetition of the earlier
work there.
The tracing of copyright legislation and errors is
much the same in both studies.
But a very important difference
lies in the fact that the series of letters is more persuasive,
more patient, more friendly;
aside from Reade*s interest in
America as a growing nation and an appreciative audience for fis
books, he remembered that, unlike France, she was offending England
in the matter of copyright violation.
Again, the colorful anecdote,
and the simple, staccato tone of the letters seem to be by way of
concession to the journal reeding public.
Following some conuemts
on the state of affairs in America, the first five letters recent
in essence the history of cooyright as outlined in this study;
45.
’’The Situation,” Memoir, p. 361.
167
from the sixth through the th'irteentn letters Reade brings his
evidence to bear upon the Anglo-American situation, with increas­
ing emphasis upon the inconsistency of the American government
in protecting foreigners' patents so carefully, while neglecting
literary copyright, and a final elaboration of the mutual injuries
to be eliminated anj benefits enjoyed by international copyright
agreement.
In a long passage Reade traces the whole patent (monopo]y)
A
copyright (property) inconsistency as follows:
I spen^ two thousand hours' labour on a composition; to be
sold it must be weuueu to veuicles, paper, type, binuing, and it
must be advertised. I pay the paper-makers, the printers, the
binders.
I pay the advertisements: the retail trader takes
twenty-five per cent, of my gross receipts;
the publisher justly
shares my profits. The book succeeds.
I cross the water with it,
and its reputation earned by my labour, and my advertisements;
I ask a trifling share of the profits from an American publisher,
who profits by me as much as ever my British publisher did.
'You!'
says he, 'you are nobody in this business.
I shall pay for the
vehicles, but not for t-he production that sells the venicles.
I shall pay the paper-maker, and also the printers and binders,
Briton or not. But I shall take your labour gratis, on the
pretence that you are a Briton.' The American public pays a dol­
lar for the book; fifty-five cents of the value is contributed
by the English author. The various labourers, who are all paid,
make up the forty-five cents amongst them.
He who alone contri­
butes fifty-five per cent, is the one picked out of a half-a-dozen
workmen concerned to be swindled out of every cent, and the Legis­
lature never even suspects that by so doing it disgraces legisla­
ture and mankind. An Englishman writes a play, mixing labour with
invention. The stage carpenter contributes a petty mechanical
idea suggested by the scene; he uses wavy glass at an angle under
limelight to represent the water. The play crosses the Atlantic;
anybody steals it for all the legislature cares, but, if they
touch my carpenter's demi-semi-invention, his bare fleshless in­
tellectual idea of placing an old substance, glass, at an angle
under another old thing, limelight — 1Halte la — ne touchez pas
a la Reinel' The creature of Crown Prerogative protects in New
York and Boston the naked half idea of the British carpenter. . . .
Only the property can be stolen — because it belongs to the
everlasting victim of man's beastly cruelty and injustice; the
dirty little British monopoly is secure. The British actor must
be paid four times his British price for delivering the British
author's property in a New York or Boston theatre;
the fiddlers,
168
Britons or not, for fiddling to it; the door-keepers for letting
the public in to see it, etc.
Only the one imperial workman, who
created the production, and inspired the carpenter with his demisemi-idea, and set the actors acting, and the fiddlers fiddling,
and the public paying, and the thief of a manager jingling another
m a n ’s money, is singled out of about eighty people, all paid out
of his one skull, to be swindled of'every cent, on the pretence
that he is a Briton; but really because he is an auth or .' 46
The hypothetical cases summarized in this passage contain the
essential points of Reade’s condemnation of existing conditions.
His description of the mutual advantages which he promised would
accrue to any sound international agreement is less bombastic,
and has been borne out b*r subsequent developments so completely
that the man seems almost to have had the prescience of a prophet —
even to the print of being without honor in either country.
tion and forgery,
suppression of the author’s name,
Mutila­
cheating of
royalties, exploitation of young authors, servile imitation of
British styles and subjects —
all these evils, and the bitter
feeling concomitant thereto, would gradually disappear, he prom­
ised; and instead a more genuine American literature would de­
velop, more honest literary criticism would be fostered, interna­
tional friendship would increase, just remuneration would attract
and hold the best writers, publishers would open offices on both
46.
"The Rights and ’Vrongs of Authors,"
Readiana, pp. 178-179,
168
sides of the Atlantic* and so oratorically on —
all these great
things are to consummated
if amongst my American readers there is one senator • • • who will
lay the first stone of a mighty literature* and earn the gratitude
of the greatest minds in two great countries* This would he to
rise above the mob of senators* the noisy squabblers of a Congress*
and them 'whose talk is of bullocks •' If there be such a man at
Washington — and surely theve must be many — let him hold out
his hand and grasp true honor# not vociferous, but lasting; the
arts, immortal themselves# confer immortal fame# or infamy on friend
and foe; cliques and parties come and go; but these flow on
forever; end though no greasy palms applaud their Champion, to
the bray of trumpets and the flare of gas, a mild but lasting light*
3 till brightening as justice spreads and civilisation marches#
shall hover around his living head* and gild his memory when dead*
48
Reade died in 1884* just two years before the enactment of England's
International Copyright Act# and the first Berne Convention;
but
he surely saw such organization coming* as he foresaw the legisla­
tion t.hft would protect English books in America as well as Ameri­
can books in England.
So the world has tardily arrived at an
approach to his conception of just protection for all artists*
47* A sample of Reade*8 business acumen is contained in the
following eager excerpt from a letter to Harper Brothers# then
(1873) his American publishers, concerning the possibilities in­
volved in international copyright; the passage bears the caption
wThe Big Game*" He continues#
Pass a measure of international copyright*
Be ready to set up a branch in London; you shall publish my
work in both countries* on commision if you like* or on terms
yielding a sure remuneration in this country# to say nothing of
the states* I will secure you Wilkie Colling too* or Miss Braddon*
or anybody you like. Your MONTHLY with a fair proportion of
European matter will knock the Comhlll and all the other monthlies
to the devil* Your WEEKLY, not 'being so superior to the English
weekly as your MONTHLY is to the monthlies* will still hold its
ground and return a small amount of profit* besides being a han­
dle to secure some good European matter at first hand* for your
American issue" (Elwin# p. 254).
48*
"Hie Rights and Wrongs of Authors#"
Read 1ana, pp. 204-205*
170
There remains one important matter to be considered briefly:
the question of how carefully Reade adhered in practice to the
copyright and ownership principles he preached so vehemently.
Emerson has announced the foolish
consistency is the rrfuge of
small minds, but still most men seem to indulge the habit of expect­
ing individuals to do themselves what they advocate for others in
similar circumstances; and at least it must be acknowledged that
some of Reade's literary transactions have been criticized.
In the matter of international copyright Reade seems to have
committed several breaches against his own doctrine.
He never made
a secret of the fact that before 1851 he translated and adapted
several French plays.
Everyone did it, and there was no lav/ to
discourage it by either letter or spirit.
But after that time
he did two not very important but strangely inconsistent things:
first, he bought Le Chateau Grantier from Auguste Maquet for
forty pounds;
the agreement was that if Reade's adaptation did
not go on the stage wfEthi'n, two years, half the sum was to be re­
turned.
Reade*s plans did not develop smoothly, and the play was
not produced.
Maquet sent Reade his twenty pounds.
But four years
later Reade published the novel White L i e s , which is a direct adapta­
tion of The Double Marriage. Reade's play based upon Le Chateau
Grantier.
Bentley had offered him £700 for the novel —
a great
deal more than he would have received for the play, perhaps, and
in any case, his agreement with Maquet was for dramatization, not
novelizing.
Reade did return the twenty pounds, and the fac+ that
their relations remained cordial indicates that Maquet did not con­
sider himself ill-used.
so easily condoned.
The deal with Briseberre and Nus is not
In. 1856 Reade secured from only one of the
171
authors the exclusive right to "translate and produce" in England
the play Les Pauvres de Paris. in exchange for one half the pro­
ceeds.
He returned to London, wrote his adaptation, and then
accepted twenty nounds from another manager to allow him to play
his adaptation of the original.
Brisbarre had specified that
49
Reade had the "sole right to translation and production."
In 1877, after he had written not only The Eighth Commandment,
but The Rights and Wrongs of Authors also, Reade saw an adaptation
of Fanny Burnett’s That Lass o ’ Lowrle ’s on the London stege.
He
was much taken with the character of Joan Lowrie, and the play in
general, so he wrote another adaptation of the novel, called it
Joan, and went on the stage v/ith it in 1878.
Immediately he was
attacked as inconsistent to the point, of dishonesty, having preached
the rights of American authors in 1875, and proceeded to appropriate
the work of one of them at the first opportunity.
Reade’s vanid
defense, that his works were being pirated in America, probably
v
elicited only derision;
But he did claim that he had offered
Mrs. Burnett a division of the profits from the play, which, in50'
cidentally, was unsuccessful.
Following the American publication 6f The Rights and Wrongs
of Authors, a voung American writer who considered himself a mem­
ber of the class of authors who could not compete with British
49.
Elwin, p. 124,
50.
Ibid. , pp. 335, ff.
172
writers whose works were either free or very inexpensive in Ameri­
ca, sent Reade the short story, An Old Bachelor’s Adventure.
Reade,
a British writer, corrected it and had it oublished under his name
51
as joint author.
Only a few months before, he had written, con­
cerning the vile treatment young American authors were receiving
at the hands of American publishers,
He is paternally advised to study certain models (British), and
encouraged to bring another MS. improved by these counsels. . . .
He sees, one fine day, some sketches of life in California, Colo­
rado, or what not, every fact and idea of which has been stolen
from his rejected MS. , and diverted from its form, and reworded,
and printed; while he, the native of a mighty continent, has been
sent away, for mundane instruction, to the inhabitants of a penin­
sula on the north coast of France. 52
Did Reade consider himself the single literary exception in that
diminutive
peninsula?
And in any case why did hesign his name to
the story?
The tale is orinted in the Chatto and 'Hindus Library
edition of
Reade*s works with his name first, and in the Sterling
edition of
the Dana Estes Company, the standard American edition,
Lewis* name is not even mentioned.
The fact that the orice paid
for the story by the Tribune went to Lewis is not as important
as the fact that Reade merely redrafted the story, and then inti­
mated that he had a share in writing, that is, conceiving it.
51.
Ibid. , p; 284.
52.
"The Rights and Wrongs of Authors," Readiana. pp. 186-187.
173
53
The well known difficulty with Anthony Trollope
is differ­
ent in that it involves an alleged injury to a fellow-countryman
instead of a foreigner, and therefore an alleged infringement upon
domestic rather than international copyright.
In 1871 appeared
one of Trollope’s less Known novels, Ralph the h e i r .
Reade
liked it, and, according to iir. Eiwin, agreed to a suggestion
from John Hollingshead, manager of the Gaiety Theater,
dramatize it.
that he
Reade claimed al terwui'd that the date originally
scheduled for the first appearance of ihilly-ohally, his adapta­
tion, was October, 1672.
Trollope had gone to Australia before
the serial run of Ralph the Heir was completed, so Reade wrote
him there, informing him of the plan to dramatize the story, and
requesting his permission;
but then hollingsheau decided to hasten
the production, moving it up in the calendar from October to April.
There was no time to hear from Trollope,
the piroduction.
so Reade went aheuU v.ith
V.’hen notices of tiie play went abroad Trollope
was extremely angry, and wrote to the English press from Melbourne,
denying that Reade hau consulted him in the matter.
privately uckncv-1 edged tlie receipt of Reade ’s letter.;
(He had not
lie also
scored Reade for his alleged inconsistency, and accused him. of
carelessness in literary ethics, if not in morals.
53 •
E lvvin ,
pp.
a po ,
Reade*s
f f .
54.
In his ..utoblography, Trollope says of Reade, "Of all the
writers of my day he lias seemed to me to understand literary
honesty the least"(p. 142).
174
reply, reprinted for the first time by Mr. Elwin, is not illogical;
dwelling upon the shift from October to April for the first presenta­
tion he says,
Obliged to decide one way or other, I did as I would be done by.
It has been the custom of playwrights to take the novelist’s inven­
tion and use it on the stage, and rob the novelist of all the drama­
tic credit and money due him.
But this practice has often been
publicly denounced, and I must venture to think that the opposite
of a double wrong must be right. So 1 took advice [|’hose?J , and de­
cided to give Mp. Trollope half the receipts of Shilly-Shally, and
by the Same rule, half the credit. 55
There is no doubt that these instances of inconsistency are
reprehensible.
But in the cases of Fanny Burnett anu Trollope
particularly, heade had every philosophical right to oelieve that the
authors concerned would have been glaa to be adapted by him and paid
for it, rather than by some nameless cobbling hack, whose manager
would have paiu them nothing.
And again.,
it must have aggravated
him profoundly, with his neon interest in and knovleuge of the
stage, to see a good story butchered by some novice, when he felt
confident he could do it justice, make it pay, and pay for it too.
The theory that Mr. Elwin advances to explain his subject's incon­
sistency -- that the novels were appropriated "to draw attention to
56
the crying need for copyright reform"—
very
nature of Reade*sdefense.
that
the man was eminentlyhuman, and so
55.
E lw 'in , p.
2 39.
do.
I b id ., p.
337,
seems to be refuted by the
Itis perhaps
more candid
bothfallible
to admit
and frail.
CHAPTER EIGHT
K':IS0I!3 AND AGXLUL33
I t w..s the novel I t I s I,'ever Too L a te to -.-end th a t made Charles
Reade’ s r e f u ta tio n both as a w r it e r and a re fo rm e r.
U n t i l i t s pub­
l i c a t i o n , on . .ugust f i r s t , 1856, he had been lenown as the author o f two
vaguely prom ising s to r ie s , Leg Ro ffin g to n and C h r i s t i e Johnsto n e , and a
number o f p lays, most o f which were e ith e r a d a p ta tio n s from ..reneh
d ra m a tis ts , o r c o lla b o ra tio n s v/ith the more exp erien ced and more popular
( though younger) p la y -w rig h t, Ton T a y lo r .
But It_ Is_ Lev er Too Late to
llend caught the p u b lic eye su rely though g ra d u a lly , and i t s author was
a b le to w rite two months a f t e r the f i r s t issue th a t h is p u b lish ers "had
r e a l l y made a cut in to a second e d i t io n . ’’ ■*• Less th an a yea r l a t e r a
c r i t i c viho ca s tig a te s alleged m is re p re s e n ta tio n in the booh announces
th a t d i r . 16046’ s n o vel, ’ I t is never too l a t e
to mend’ ( s i c ) , i s
a d v e rtis e d to have reached the tw e lfth thousand of i t s c ir c u la tio n ."
o
The e d itio n published by Ticlaior and .. ie ld s i n fanerica was e q u a lly suc­
c e s s fu l, and served fu r th e r to consolidate th e in te re s ts o f p u b lish ers
on one side o f she A t la n t ic , and author on th e o th e r.
I n 1865 ...eade
f i r s t produced h is dram atic version of th e s to r y , and n o tw ith stan d in g
severe c r it ic is n s of i t s " r e v o ltin g re a lis m ," th e p la y vras repeated
1.
J lw in , p . 115,
2.
Edinburgh Review, V o l. 106, Ho. 215, p . 1 2 5 (July, 1 8 5 7 ).
1?o
successfully for many years, both in London and the provinces,
I2r, Llwin Rives considerable space to a discussion of Leade’s obvious
anxiety during the last fe*:r weeks of composition and correction.
Ihe
novelist was in his fortieth year hen he began to labor at his first
long, orlc, ond 'hen the book was published he was forty-two. His desperate
a'peals for more time to correct LSS. and proof, his deep concern about
the illustrations, end his "heart-breaking" work of cutting0 all are
described in Lr. -LLwin’s biography.
But vhat is infinitely more interest­
ing, at leant from the viewpoint of a social analysis, is the genesis of
the book itself.
In August ana September of 1852 neade had written a
play called Gold. Ihe piece had no very striking qualities as a drama,
but was finally put on for a short but moderately successful run, begin­
ning January 10, 1855, in the wrury wane Theater
The story deals with
the romantic adventure in Australia which is elaborated in It Is Lever
Too Late to Lend, but the vital wortions of Book One, which constitute
the prison scenes, do not appear in the play.
Low in the sumier of
1855 there arose many complaints about the manner in >.hich the prisoners
in Biuaingham tail were treated,
mi .hen a boy named .jidrewm hanged
himself there certain facts which were brought to light at the inquest
caused a Government Board of Inquiry to be appointed for the purpose of
investigating the jail governor and his methods,
ihe ensuing report
«
condemned Lieutenant Austin on whe basis of evidence showing that
and illegal methods
cruel
of punishment had been inflicted during his regime,
S.
In his interesting article which discusses the plots of .reads’s
novels, Lr. E. G. Sutcliffe points out that the demand of the .ictorian
libraries for three-volume novels encouraged prolixity and padding,
and suggests that Leads’s elaborate notebook system, and his frequent
"double-barreled" and even "triple-barreled" plots were introduced to
achieve the desired length(H.ILA, Vol. 47, Lo. 3, pp. 834, ff. September,
if5d ).
4.
Llwin,
p. 84.
177
and lie was called to trial, convicted, and sentenced to serve a threenontlis’ term in the ueen’s prison.
Leade v.us at Oxford till ..ugust of
1013, end there he must have read of the alleged Birmingham abuses.
Immediately the self-righteous and passionate reformer cane to the front
in Leade*s typically Victorian personality, here was his opportunity to
write a good story based upon prison conditions, to guarantee a large
audience bir getting it out before the scandal fell from public attention,
and. at the same time perform a substantial and permanent work in the field
of prison reform.
It was in nme, 1055,that he wrote in his notebook,
■The plan I propose to myself in writing stories will, I see, cost me
undeniable labor:
I propose never to guess where I can know.”5 m d then,
upon deciding to recount the prison experiences of his fictional jail­
bird, he visited the ^risons at hurham,
ending, and Oxford.
Two months
later, having come up to rondon, ana lodged himself comfortably in the
apartment formerly occupied by Tom Taylor, he --esolvea, also in his
notebook,
or another.
I will work hard at ray tale of Gold, whether under that title
. . .
I will visit jLLI the London prisons, and get warn
facts from them for the ..obinson business.i|b Thus his dissatisfaction
with the general word ''Gold" for a title is noted,
rater he hit upon
the equally inappropriate 3usan _.erton, after the sporadically present
and indifferently strong heroine (Reade himself afterward remarked upon
between Susan
the difference in strengthen! her two predecessors, leg offin; ton and
Christie ^olmstone), but at last, just on the eve of public tion,
3,
_.lwin,
., p. 86.
6.
Ibid.. pp. 90-91. In the opinion of -eintsbury the freshness of
Christie Johnstone and leg ..offington is absent from aeade’s later, more
positively "purpose" novels, "having been killed by ’the document*"
(George aintsbury, history of nineteenth oentury niterature, ...ncmillan
Go., lew York, 1839, p. 353).
176
7
come the happy suggestion of It Is never Too Late to mend. therefore the
change in Reade’s mind from the selection of the romantic Gold to the
propagandists It Is Lever Too nate to Lend may veil serve as the cir­
cumstance from which to date his conscious and deliberate self-dedicat ion
to the school of "purpose" novelists.
..ccording to the strict definition of the .ord It Is ..ever Too nate
to ...end does not in any part subscribe to the requisites of a picaresque
novel.
.JLthough Tom Robinson is a criminal ;.ith a jail record vrhen we
meet him, his offenses have been committed before the story opens, and
cone to our attention only after he has repented, through the excellent
autobiography •hich he writes as a warning to others at the Reverend
Tden’s behest.
Toetic justice is visited upon John fieadovs, feter
Urawley, and the fustralian thieves who conspire in sordid dens while
bolstering up their shaby courage
ith alcohol.
.JLthough among ..ea-.ie’s
contemporaries Lord Lytton and. ...hacberay both supplied picaresque
precedent '..ith their haul 01ifford(1850) and Larry -indon(1844 ), it
should be noted that Reade’s hero comes to a happy end tlirough the large
understanding and dogged persistence of
good man.
f.eade also carefully refrains from any attempt to
-nd in hi. novel
iscuss abuses in the
debtors’ prisons, perhaps partly because Lichens’ Little horrit, with
it
record of the vicissitudes of Ihe "Lather of the marshalsea", was
co: ing out serially even as he v.rote his prison and adventure tale, Leade
7.
In his criticism of Leade Swinburne refers to this title as an
’’awkward label," and so it may have seemed to Swinburne in 1684. But
to the acutely moral and humanely messianic mid-1
,ictorians of 1856 it
probably sounded lire the trumpet of command, as well as of prophecy,
shortly after publication of the boob in ..ngland Leade wrote to -iclaior
and fields, "I am happy to inform you that the title is a:;; successful as
1 expected— letters have been written in the journals under Lie .ignature
’It Is ..ever Too L,’ etc., and many public allusions show shat the title
has hit”(Llwln, .
'
p. 115). And its use again calls up the in­
evitable subservience of the artist to the propagandist in Reade*s per­
sonality.
I7y
selects for his province of ref 'Em a county jail, and attemptrj. to draw at­
tention to t o great evils relating thereto:, first, the unreasonable code
of lavs hic’
n committed persons to such institutions, and second, the
inhuman treatment which they received when confined.
Therefore in out­
line -Leade’s whole purpose is identical '-ith half of Lytton’s in laul
Clifford —
::to draw attention to tv.:o errors in our penal institutions,
vis., a vicious Priaon-uiscipline, end a .sanguinary criminal Code, — the
habit of corrupting a boy by the very puni; hjaent that might to redeem him,
and then hanging the nan, at the first occasion, a: the easiest './ay of
getting rid of our ovn blunders.1'8
Indeed, Ton Hobinson and laul Clif­
ford are very like in the beginning; but one. encounters the intense and
sympathetic Lden in time, while the other finally stands in a melodramatic
courtroom scene to tell the judge, his own f'ther,
Seven year., e/;oI vr.s sent to the house of com. ction for an of­
fence which I did notcommit; I went thither, a boy who had never
infringes a single lav — I came forth, in a few weeks, a roan '.ho was
prepared to break alllavs. . . . Your legislation m3.de me what I
onl and. it not; destroys me, en_ it has_ destroyed tlious•'nds,for being
what it made me iJ & ------------------------------------------■ineteenth century prison reform seems at first glance to consist
of a hodge-podge of superficial iarliamentary inquiry, inaccurate and
incomplete recomneno ation, and ineffectual legislation.
Tut a compar­
ison of the situation at the beginning of the century ..ith that at its
close indicates that however circuitous the road, certainly definite
progress was made upon it.
Perhaps the greatest deterrent to more
drastic reform was the fact that transportation offered such m easy
method of despatching prisoners,
.nd v.hen the .American revolution closed
this side of the .Atlantic to convict colonization, by a strange coinei8.
fir fdmrd fulwer-Lytton, PauJ. Clifford, George Toutledge and Tons,
Ltd., London, 1896, preface to the 1840 edition.
9.
Ibid.. p. 48S.
ISO
deuce the re-discovery and. settlement of Australia made Botany Bay a
by-';ord among relish prisoners. It was not until 18S7 that Parliament
condemned transportation as corrupting, uajillt, and erpenoive, and then
the social ramific' tions of prison reform compelled general attention.
Hie first concentrated efforts to"art in'-iroving prison co . itions
■■..ere made by john norrard (1726-1790), who advocated that t!if offenders
aers ordered to solitary imprisonraent accompanied by v;ell-regulated hard
labor '.nd religious instruction, it night be the means, under Providence,
not only or deterring oth rs, but aloo os refor dug individuals and train­
ing them to habits of industry ."xU He also urged die classification of
■•ori■.‘•oners and the cons truetion of -enitcntiary houses in various parts
of the country, to be built chiefly by tlie prisoner.o themedve. . In
his program may bo seen the s'licnt points of all modern prison ■.■'..'.minis­
tration, but though Parliament passed an ..ct (1774) authorising the
execution of his Ion, dissension exionr the reformers caused ihe fork
to ‘c stopped,
bpon the death of ::o; arc, the Utilitarian Jeremy Bentham
(1748-lGBf) came forvard ; ith. :n ela,.orete plan of prison management which
has not been completely roslir.ee to this day.
He submitted the archi­
tectural scheme of his famous r.heel-like "lanopticon" prison, e. copy of
uhich stands in the modern penitentiary at Joliet, Illinois, he premised
to develop health a veil as morality, to inaugurate s. pension system for
discharged prisoners, end; to take practical steps tovr&rd crime prevention.
Here again the sanction of an Act of Parliament (1794) authorising the
work v;as frustrated by procrtstination and litigation,
then for many
years efforts at reform mere sporadic end unorganized, until Sir Samuel
Honilly (1757-1813) and Sir James Aac3:intosh (1765-1852), both members
10.
D. fraiil, on. cit., 'ol. V., pp. 485, ff.
181
of Parliament cncl disciples of Lentham, begen their agitation for
reducing the number of crimes punishable by death, and dor improving
prison conditions generally.
It ras in support of tbeir programs that
Lytton vrote haul Clifford, end much more might have been done by Lord
Ronilly but for hie tragic death.
'hile reform tras moving uncertainly
through the legislature a group of earnest lay reformers, many of them
..ushers, formed themselves in a ‘'Society for the Ii.iprovenent of irison
discipline." In 1C;18 Car Thomas Duxton, a prominent philanthropist,
and one of the society’s most active members, vrote .n Inruiiy vhether
Crime and Ilisery are produced or prevented by our present system of
irison ;iiscinline, r.hich v:ent through five editions
in a -.ingle
year. The little book contains reviev.s of conditions in some eight
Anglish prisons, and places the respon.*•ibility for daseose, incorrigi­
bility, end re-inccrceration with the ^bvernment. upon the subject of
a risoncr’s rights, a out \iiich Reade had a. great deal to say, ..urton
v.rites,
'You have no right to abridge him of pure air, wholesome and suf­
ficient food, and opportunities of exercise. You have no right t<J
debar him from the craft on ..hich his family depends, if it can be
exercised in prison. You have no right to subject him to suffering
from cold, by want of bed-clothing by night, or firing by day; and the
reason is plain,— you have taken him from his home, and have deprived
him of the means of providing himself .itli the necessaries or comforts
of life, .and therefore you are bound to furnish him rith noderate, indeed,
but suitable accommodation.
You have for the same reason no right to ruin his habits, by com­
pelling him to be idle, his morals, by compelling him to nix vdth a
promiscuous assemblage of hardened ana convicted criminals, or his health,
by forcing him at night into a damp, unventilated cell, with ouch crowds
of companions, as very speedily render the air foul and putrid, or to
make him sleep in close contact aith the victims of contagious and
loathsome disease, or amidst the noxious effluvia of dirt and corruption.*-!!
11.
Thomas .Y urt on, . n In q u ir y , e t c . ,
A rch, London, 1ST3, p p . 1 1 -1 2 .
(see above), Join and m rthur
182
loo doubt the work of Burton, Elizabeth fry (1700-1845), and others
of their organization did much to secure passage of the ,.cts of 18-5-24,
which inef. ectually ordered measures taken for cleanliness, sanitation,
hard labor, moral improvement, instruction, and if not separate cells, at
least individual bedsX nevertheless these laws were ignored or evaded by
communities which vrould not or could not spend the money to improve and
remodel their prisons.-'•2 During this period many who misunderstood the
"classification” plans of Howard and Bcntham advocated that prisoners of
the same type should be placed together.
This resulted in all hinds of
unfortunate association, so that, as a 'ticket-of-Leave man puts it,
,*A London clerk (perhaps an underpaid one and with a large family)
has forgotten for a moment that ’honesty is the best policy.’ His
associations up to the time of his ’lapse’ had been moral and virtuous.
In a weal: moment he takes a stray sovereign from the petty-cash drawer.
He is sent to Dartmoor, and upon his release — thanks to the good
fellovrship of the men amongst whom the Government places him for punish­
ment and reform — he is able to open a cash-box, and close it again,
without the use of a key-t13
The reaction against classification caused a parliamentary Committee
to recommend complete isolation of prisoners in 1831, and in 1842 the
notorious "separate and silent" system which Leade condemns in his novel
came into being v;ith the order from Lord bohn Russell for the construction
of lentonville Irison, where the convicts even wore masks to make their
isolation more complete.
The separate and silent system became increas­
ingly popular, so that by the time Reade came to write _It_ I_s_ Lever Too
Late to Ilend it obtained in most of the penitentiaries throughout the
country.
12. H. D. Traill, on. cit., Vol. i/T, pp. 230-231,
15. A Ticket-of-Leave Han, Convict Life, Hyman and cons, London, 1879,
Intro., p. 7.
188
In 1856, then, the English prison was based upon separate and silent
cellular confinement, and hard labor; and the difficulties involved in
maintaining the first while enforcing the second led to the intror
duction of those two sad implements, the treadwheel and the crank. The
questions of how long men were to be kept under the separate and silent
system, and how much labor should be performed on crank or treadwheel were
left to the prison governor, who was responsible only to the county magis­
trates; these gentlemen in turn often relegated the immediate responsi­
bility of supervision and inspection to "visiting justices" — men who
served gratuitously, and who very often had little time or inclination
to scrutinize the governor’s activities properly.
Thus Heade’s two
main platforms of attack were the separate and silent system, end im­
proper supervision of prisons.
Before leaving this lengthy but necessary
introduction it should be noted that the Government did not thee over
direct control of prisons till 1877, that a few* cranks nd treadwheels
were still in evidence as late as 19-0, and that boys the age of Josephs
-- fifteen, and often younger — were sent to prison till 1908. There
was no strict legislation specifically forbidding unnecessary or exces­
sive corporal punishment till the Act of 1898, and even then, as now-,
there was the delicate matter of interpreting the meaning of those two
qualifying terns.
The separate and silent system has been softened
somewhat, even in the rigorous Pentonville, about which a visitor of
fif^rears ago writes;
Let me emphasize the fact . . . that, although, in ~ technical
sense, speaking is forbidden, it is not severely enforced. I saw men
at the Tentonville working in pairs making basket;' and chopping wood.
They are bound to talk in the execution of their work. Prisoners, too,
are now permitted to shave eali other. How then is it possible to tell
that talk is purely on business or on private matters? Anyway, even
the presence of the high official who accompanied me did not deter a
good many men from exchanging remarks more or less openly.*L4
14. S. A. Iloseley, The Convict of To-Day, Cecil Talmer, London, 1927,
p.- 172.
184
But in the eighteen fifties prisons v©re different, and in some
respects
—
Jail is different from others of its find.
In his intro­
duction to the orison plot /leade says, "Prisons might be said to be in
a transition state. . .
the old
. The two systems vary in their aims.
Under
’'associated" system , jail was a finishin." school of felony and
petty larceny,
under the new
"separate and silent'' system it is
intended to be a penal hospital for diseased and contagious souls. 1^
In the first place, the
"separate and silent" system, -:hich means no
talking, even while at fork, is in order.
On the m y -o chapel the
prisoners rear masks, and once in the -lace of worship they sit in
"sentry-bores," with only the side facing the chaplain open. The men,
Gregarious by instinct, are doomed always to be alone.
In the second
place, Tares, the governor, is a beast; Reade points that out immediate­
ly, and allows the reader to reflect upon the system — or lack of it —
which tolerates him in such a position,
.-ost of the subordinate officers
in -.he jail are in league with him, and the few who are not stand in
abject fear of his wrath.
The visiting justices, whose responsibility
it is to supervise vhe arministration of prison affairs, and investigate
any apparent
iscrepnncies, arc self-righteous, snug fogies, who are
flattered into quiescence by officious gestures and ostentatious ef­
ficiency.
In such a situation anything can happen.
Commenting upon
the weakness of a penitentiary system which lias no central ooivcrol
of..icer, Reade writes,
ithin certain limits the law unwisely allows
a discretionary p'vrer to the magistrates of the county ‘.here the jail
is; and the governor is their agent in these particulars."--^ In
15.
It_ Is Reyer Too Late to I,lend, p. 151.
16.
Ibid.
-185
describing the inspection tours of the magistrates, usually conducted
"vicariously" through the visiting justices, Reade points out again
and again that when these benevolent creatures visited the cells and
asked the prisoners if they were well and satisfied,
All expressed their content: some in tones so languid and empty
of heart that none but Justice Shallow could have helped seeing through
the humbug. Others did it better; and not a few overdid it, so that
any but Justice Shallow would have seen through them. These last told
Messrs. Shallow and Slender that the best thing that ever happened to
then was coining to _____ Jail. They thanked heaven they had pulled up
short in a career that must have ended in their ruin body and soul. . .
The jail-birds who piped this tune were without a single exception
the desperate cases of this moral hospital; they were old offenders ~
hardened scoundrels who meant to rob and kill and deceive till their
dying day. While in prison their game was to be as comfortable as they
could. . . . Under these circumstances to lie came . . . natural
to them. . . • ^7
The occasional visits of the justices and magistrates may be described
by repeating the description of a typical so-called tour of inspection:
Mr. Williams inspected the prison; was justly pleased with its
exquisite cleanliness. He questioned the governor as to the health of
the prisoners, and received for answer that most of them were well, but
that there were some exceptions; this appeared to satisfy him. He went
into the labor-yard, looked at the cranks, examined the numbers printed
on each in order to learn their respective weights, and see that the
prisoners were not over-burdened.
Went with the governor into three or four cells, and asked the
prisoners if they had any complaint to make.
The unanimous answer was 'No.1
He then complimented the governor, and drove heme to his own
house, Ashton Park.
There after dinner he said to a brother magistrate, *1 inspected
the jail to-day. Was all over it. ■*-8
17. I&d., p. 163.
18. Ibid.. p. 145.
18b
So nucli for the likelihood of interference
ron men v.'ho verc nreclis-
posod in favor of both the governor and the system.
ince co .-faint or
accusation of misconduct should naturally come from Governor :aves’s
superiors, end not from convicts, it seems that in the ordinary course
of event, the sadistic jailer mas destined to enjoy a long career of
crime.
The type of hard labor nhich the men in — -—
Jail are compelled to
perform is more insulting to human intelligence than the silent regula­
tion. At t c time Reade vrote, the treadvheel va•: the chief i-v'lenent
urnn 'hich to fulfill the quota of hard labor, •nd it and its follow,
the crank, fostered the decline of their victims into imbecility by
the depressing prospect of hnrcl labor done to produce nothing.
..he
chaplain of the county Jail at Reading vrrites of lie former,
■Iften '..'ill the incorrigible offender, -..hose repeated comiittals have
habituated him to the tread-vheel1s notion, be subjected to a penalty
far less painful than the novice in crime, sentenced to suffer for his
first offense. It has also been hovn to be destitute of any corrective
influence; and the fo loving evidence may still further prove the in­
justice and inequality of such a penalty, inasmuch as ihe injury sometimes
to the body, and always to the character of the criminal, ~::tcn s beyond
the period assigned for punishment. I felt it my duty to rsur sent a
fev yenrs since that the emaciated condition to vhich sorao prisoners
v;cre reduced by labour and irritation on the tread-vheel, was certainly
injurious to the mental faculties.,
A man writing just before Reade began to vork on his novel describes
the "Labour :f chine" as
am iron crank in the interior of the cell -.ith machinery inserted in
the vail, on she outside of vhich, in the corridor, is a dial plate
connected .ith the vorks, -mb shoving the number of turns given to the
crank by the criminal. \Jn ---- Jail the prisoner could see the dial
himself3
the machine may be regulated to turn ith difficult;-- or
facilit'r, proportionate to the strength of the prisoner; it costs from
Cb to £.6 , and is entirely incapable of being applied to any useful vork.
This machine is entirely an instrument of torture and of emsrei :e; it is
plain that the prisoner employed at it must be . .
either listless,
19.
J. Pield, Prison Discipline, Green and Longraans, .London, 1848,
p. 161.
dull, inanimate, and in a progress to imbecility, or he must be filled.
Ith hatred and indignation, at being compelled to toil at an unmeaning
end unprofitable work.
Yet day after day this
s the machine at which uobinson, and
young Josephs, and even the imb^Lle Garter,'2-*- were set to work. To
perform five, eight, twelve thotisand revolutions of this senseless
mechanical handle and call it labor I The episode in hich the cl’-~leninded barter tears the machinery out of his crank is really pathetic,
as is the sorry awakening of Ton Robinson, who tac’des the
ork hope­
fully, but. soon is beaten down to smoldering despair by the cruelty of
it.
The insistence of the demon Hanes nd his underlings that the -orl:
bo done if the prisoner can stand upon his feet gives peade repeated
op-portuni" ies to expose whe inhuman punishments inl'licted in some
prisons. Robinson fells a victim of fever, but still is made to perform
his taslc till he drops insensible; upon being discharged iron the prison
hospital as cured, but still hopelessly weak, he is set an impossible
task at the crank. Young Josephs, aged fifteen, and serving his third
prison terra — one for throwing atones, one for robbing an orchard, and
a third for stealing e piece of beef from a butchr’s counter I —
is
assigned a •uota of turns that it is beyond his power to accon-lish.
.nd then for both come the punishments of the "jacket," of food and
bedding and light -Ithhelt, and for .obinson the indescribable terror
of the "black hole."
20.
P. Fry,
dystem of renal riseinline. nongnan, Broun, Green,
and Tongmans, 1850, p. 55.
31.
Concerning the incarceration of poor Carter, Reade writes,
’Go into an;'- large knglish jail on any day in any year you like, you shall
find, there two or three prisoners vrho have no business to be in such a place
at all — half-'-'itted, half-responsible creatures, missent to jail by shallow7
judges contentedly executing those shallow laws they ought to modify and
stigmatize until civilization shall come and correct them.
’These imbeciles, if the nation itself was not both half-witted and a
thoughtless, ignorant dunce in all matters relating to such a trifle (Heaven
forgive usl) as its prisons, would be taken to . . .a mild asylum "ith a
186
Swinburne regrets "the interminably disgusting reiteration of
diabolical and bestial cruelties by which a third part of his dmst-known
booh is ore-’loaded an deforxaed."
OO
So would, any artist, unless he were
an ardent 'isciple of Orabbcicn realism; but with Reade the social re­
sponsibility of r. novelist mounted almost to consecration.
In M s
o inion authors are "the moral instructors and s If-a" ointed judges of
mankind," and arc therefore bound to see -'.hat their wor-'s are heeded as
well as heard.
Upon this uremia:: a g eat deal of latitude in taste as
'.■ell a r:petition nay be granted a "purpose" 'writer; and d.vinburne
hinseli’ is not long in adding,
’It is equally inpos :ible not to recognise and not to respect he practical
proof dims (through It Is .ever Too Late to .dencH given that Maries "leade,
as a lover of justice and mercy, a hater of atrocity and foul -lay, nay
claim a ->lace in the noble army of hich doltaire vac in the last century,
as f.ugo is in this, the indefatigable end lifelong lea '.er.u2®
12. 1. ^Swinburne, op. cit., p. 518. In 1 11 ±r. .
. orning described
the novel as still "unanuroached by any convict story written in tnglisk,"
and the prison, section as ''the most powerful that Charles deade ever
wrote" (Hondon mercury, "'Charles Reade," Vol. 4, ITo. 19, p. 112).
Z'6, Ibid. Reade vs s a c eat admirer of both ^ugo and loltftire, and nay
have been inspired to champion the cause of 'he clown-trodden dps letters
to the wress through the example of the latter. In A Terrible re-.ptation,
while advocating tho novels of j-r. kolfe (of whom ?:eade is -'die diving
prototype, as instruments in he cause of social justice, djigelo compares
him with t.ie great eighteenth century iconoclast in 'he state-.ont; hen
the family solas vers about to do executed unjustly, with "ha consent of
all she lawyers and statesmen in rancc, one nan in - nation asa- the error,
end :dou;dit -dor the innocent, and saved them; and that one in.se man in a
ns.tion of fools, i: a writer of fiction" (p. 214). In his ..otcboolcs
.ea.de ref rs to —ugo as !hi deni-god, the one ruprene genius of the e;->och,
but geniuses sonetirv. s have the nightmare like lessor folk" (. . d. Cobley,
"Charles eade and ..is i.ovels," op. cit., p. 238).
18 jI
does not "er-.iit any very flagrant violations of ;wirb\u.’nc »s good
pace
ta-fc by
k. inclu i"n
of 1 <n -thy ercerpts from "the hideous and nauseous
narrative," but sons description o:i tlic ingenious prison --'unis:; r.nts
■icsiynod
b
those earnest Victorians is neceSOlki"^." ’oO CO-.l J.G'JG C.’T'G'OCiGl"UXQ21
of fou.e’s research end proposed renedios. One of the more
go::
'.on Corns of
punishment is the lash, or cat-of-nine tails, vhich may bo a fine ''eterront
in its place; but in
—■■■ .Tail is a lad named Gillies, aged thirteen, ‘.ho
r'T-C his cell bell, and. then insisted it ~r s an accident.
..■unishncnt, duly
authorised by the justices, a flogging of tventy lashes; and the humane
:*r. he: es suggests th.at vkether the boy can st- nd all at once is a serious
question; he obtains pemission to divide then into h o rroupc of ten or
tuclve each,
ith ' d y or h o in between for recovery!®- ikerc is the
description of r. flogging, not fron a novel, but fron a -rison history:
fhe ;;risoner is fastened to a triangle, or to rn apparatus aoncuhut
rose:-.bling the stochs, so that lie can nove neither hand nor foot, his
bach is bare; the man .lio vields the ’cat’ shakes out its nine thongs,
ra.is. s it aloft -..1th both hands, and deals the criminal the first blot:
across the shoulders, h red streak appears on the .hite shin. ..gain the
thongs arc shaken out, again the har.clc rise, again the -..-hips arc brought
do:.n " ith full force, and the streed: on the shin has been na.de redder and
broader. _h turnkey gives out the number as each stroke falls, and the
silence is only broken by his voice, the descent of each successive blow,
and by the cries or groans of the sufferer.
_bnd a footnote at the bottom of the s'.me page contains the interesting
inform: tion that a certain jail governor "prefers to fitness an execution
rather than a flogging."®^
iuch is the medicine prescribe” for a ha.lf-
g m n hoy ho hr.c mocked over hi'• hell, or pa:’rear'fed -one similar
sacrilege,
hobinson and Josephs repeatedly have their lights •nd bedding
taken " ay, and both are puni lied for not fulfilling the quota of turns at
the crank by having their rations reduced, so that they ""ill h vc even less
strength for the performance of their daily degradation.
id.
It js never Too Lato to 'lend, p. 162.
25. G. ilobhouse, and?. Brocluaay, eds., -.n lish
Green and Co., London, 1922, p. .--40.
it icons
Today, Longmans,
190
One of the ;x>rc brutal types of "crucifixion” as Reade decc ibcs it,
is the strait .acket. This is the diabolical instrunent that so materially
helps to make little Gillies an attempted suicide, Robinson a prospective
suicide as veil as a prospective murderer, and poor Josephs a suicide,
flic agonies suffered in the grip of this invention are repeatedly presented
by the author, and he significantly points out ndfronly that the sight of
a prisoner suffering in it incite3 the chaplain, a strong man, ill,2® but
th't -hen ’vans, or*of the turnkeys, is bribed to stand in it for a. halfhour, he is forces to give up vhen seven minutes of his time remain.27
lieode so describes the instrument as it encloses Josephs:
A la about fifteen years of age vas pinned again£ C 'GixG VJG..L1 in agony
by a. leathern belt passed around his shoulders end dram violently round tvro
staples in she rail. M s arms rere jammed 'gainst his sides by ■ strait
raistcoat fastened v;ith straps behind, and those straps dram -’ith the utmost
severity. But this ras not all. A high leathern collar a uarter of an
inch thick squeezed his throat in its iron grasp. Iiis hair and his clothes
rerc drenched .ith rater ’.hick had been throvm in bucketfuls over him ^o
restore liin to eonsciousnesgj , and nor dripped fron him on the floor, his
face ..re ..hite, hie lips livid, his eyes rere nearly glased, and his teeth
chattered ■.•ith cold end pain. °
f. further detail about the collar is supplied later:
•This collar, by a refinement of cruelty, vias made v.lth unbound edges,
so that rhen the victim, exhausted ..ith the cruel cramp that rc.c3:ed his
aching bones in the fierce grip of Ea'.es’s infernal machine, sank his heavy
head and drooped his chin, the jagged collar sav.ed him directly, and
lacerating the flesh, drove him a*.’ay from even this nis< r-'ble annroach of
ease.*29
dll the prison-.rs r:ho fell into disfavor through in bility to perform
through
allotted t-sks, oo^.ome trifling irregularity, spent Pours in these
jackets,” suffering excruciating ain, and kept from choking to death
on the high collar only through the introduction of the -..nter buckets,
36.
37.
3C.
39.
It_ Is ITever Too Late to Ifend, p. 194
Ibid., p.”199.
I'bid., p. 149.
Ibid., p. 155.
191
the contents of hich revived them as soon as they fainted.
binson, weak
with fever, was kept in one too Ions, end so did not some to ..hen dashed with
water; lie was accordingly taken out of the jacket, stripped, and scrubbed
with a hard brush till "the blood cane under the bristles."
Then he
was clothed without being dried, and ordered to his cell; but as he era led
awcy the governor called him back, and again crushed him into the jacket,
where he stood five hours before fainting, and one hour after being revived!®®
The concise realism with 'hich Reade re- oris Robinson’s horrible experience
is revolting in itself, and thejfeigned nonchalance with -..hich he passes
to the newt frightful episode actually exudes a kind of morbid fascination
for the re der.
Rrobc.blw non* of the other uniohnenis described by
fearful as \k: d^. olate, ?olionr: "black hole," into -hich
placed for communicating in chapel.
(The prisoner
eo-de is as
obinron is
to whom, he spoke re­
ported kinl) The debilitating effects ofcomplete isolation w o n aman’s
mind are now well known.Jven today the
r.rden of
ing Ring Irison reports,
"Prisoners unanimously agree uhat this period of reception segregation,
arhich approximates solitary confinement, is the worst part of 'the ’bit.’”0^
.nd Hr. Lawes further mentions cn ’experiment' in solitary confinement which
was carried on at waburn Prison in 1821, and as a result of hich ;a number
SO.
Ibid., pp. 151, ff.
31.
L. R. Lawes, Life and Death in
Inc., hew York, 1928, p. 58.
ing ing, Doubleday, :-oran, end Co.,
5P
of men became raving maniacs'' J Add to solitude a darkness so black that
it precludes all sense of form, or space, and a silence almost as complete,
and thxre is the "terrible and unnatural privation that chilled and crushed
the jgyptians." Reade asserts that deprivation of light is most harmful to
men of imagination end excitability, and continues,
».."ov :lobinson xas a man of this class, a man of rare capacity, full of
talent and the courage end energy that vent themselves in action, but not
rich in the tough fortitude -hich does little, feels little, ■:n" beers much.
* hen they took him out of the black hole after six hours* confinement,
he ana observed to be ahite as a sheet, and to tremble violently all over,
ant in this state at the xord of command he crept back all the '.ay to his
cell, his hands to his eyes, that -sere dazzled by xhat seemed to him. bright
daylight, his body shading, hile every nor; and then a loud convulsive ob
burst from his bosom.’*00'
The next morning he '..'as found staring stupidly at the floor,
-nd the
detailed record of his second confinement, '..hich brings him to the threshold
of madness, indicates the author’s attempt to emphasize further the fiendish
character of such treatment. ..nd here again Robinson’s plan to commit
suicide is frustrated only by the finely appearance of the ubiquitous
Reverend den, xho colls "Brothcrl" through the door.
scene in the novel —
The moot shocking
the "horrible episode," as '.Inhume calls it —
51. Ibid., p. 6S, In discussing Gerard’s imprisonment in ho toner in
the early part of The Cloister and the hearth, Reade mites, ’Ihe first
day of imprisonment is very trying, especially if to the horror of cap­
tivity is added the horror of utter solitude. I observe that in our o n
day a great nary persons commit suicide during the first twenty-four hours
of the solitary cell. This is doubtless '.:hy our Jairi abstain so c refully
_roii the impertinence of matching their little experiment u m n he human
soul at that particular stage of it’(Book I, p. 97). I.lr. llornimg states
text Reade once had himself locked up in the dungeons of York Ga tie "so
long that another five minutes, he felt, mould have driven him mad"(-London
Mercury, op. cit., p. 152),
55. It Is Hever Too Late to I.lend, p. 159. harden Johnson of ..TLcr.traz -rison
says, "The idea of imprisonment array from natural daylight and •Ithout
"•ocreation periods in the open air is enough to instil fear in the most
hardened criminal"(ITex York Times, I,lay 25, 1937, p. 1).
193
is the story of Josephs* suicide.
The event
leading up to and following
it are resented vrith the elib rot: intention of inspiring :.tark horror,
and perhaps thereby destroying cone of John 3ull*s apathy.
The scenes are
arranged in a clever dramatic sequence 'hich bears 7 Itness to T.eade’s
stage proclivities.
In — ——
Jail thereevist further evils hich can only be nentioned.
The prison doctor also has a private practice, and so cones to tin jail
inire uently; it is ''’inconvenient1' for him to attend the flogging of
Gillies, though rcgud ation requires it. In return for haves’s leniency
here, the doctor supplies saticf"ctory verdicts in cases of prisoners v.ho
in the governor’s opinion are "shamming.” The leverend Jone a, hden,s
predecessor, 'oiovs the horrible conditions prevalent in the prison, protests
mealcLy, r:nd then resigns,
‘..he 'marts are coarse, ignorant, -nd cruel at
fir ', though Tden achieves •ondcr.-. ‘.ith —edges -nd
The ne
chrjloin*s long struggle
ith haves,
vans.
is accwvl-.tion of
ovideuce r-gainst the governor, his desperate comnunic tions of complaint
{at firct responded to by "Her majesty*s secretary's secretary's secretary'),
and finally the oxaaring transforraation '.'hich takes place in — —
Jail under
the -and of the Kevorend h'rancis .Tden, are not so important to this study.
The contrast w,s presented by lee.de in order to advertise his conception of
-.chat a jail should be.
It is enough to point out that the horrors he
enposed have all disappeared, and that many of them rrere eliminated during
his own life;
n the other hand his sane’..hat idealistic portrayal of the
men '.’nd “orion learning tra.-'es, cultivating consideration for other ■, t; king
sincere pride in real production, end otherwise approaching a measure of
content has been realized from ev.:ry practical point of view in .all modern
prisons.
:hiu the contrast between the two prison systems can cost be
summarised by noting their effects upon Tom lobinson, rho van "turned into
194
a fiend by cruelty, and turned back to a nan by
h u m a n i t y ."
There is no mistaking the power and influence of leade’s first
three-volume novel,
his nephew reckons its readers by the million,
•and hr. r.lwin reports the stir it caused by relating that many persons
connected '1th prison administration wrote open letters to the newspapers,
r?
c
"denying and challenging the truth" D of the author's accusations.
To
these people Teade replied 'ith references to facts vrinted in the daily
press, so that his claim of "fiction founded on fact" '.us vindicated.
The
—emoir (p, 344) contains a letter written by leade in reply to a request
for verification of his prison allegations; in it he -.-rites, '--Of course
I have invented many things, but not one single horror," and he refers
his correspondent to newspapers for the kind of factual proof -hich has
been supplied from books in this study.
The record of the trial and conviction of Lieutenant ..ustin, governor
of 'liriinghan jail, supplied the focal point fron hich Pt Is l.'evcr Too
Late to j.end begins, and therefore Ilawes, Josephs,Robinson, et
al«, had
their living prototypes. But once supplied withcharacters .and circum­
stances fron one orison, Reade appropriated swanples of abuses in other
jails and applied then to his initial set of characters -nd incidents,
thereby constructing a "fiction" on far as any one jail was concerned,
but a "truth" as related to convict prisons in .general.
In other words
everything set forth in his book is "substantially true, and within the
truth," as Dickens had already said of the Chancery Court abuses in Bleak
” 17
House.
But ’.hen reade’s book had been out a year Titzjanes
54,
Ibid., p. 511.
5b.
--cr.oir, p. 245.
56.
hlwin,
57.
Charles Dickens, Bleak house, ireface.
~i. 115.
tephen wrote
19o
an .article on "The license, of lodern isovelists," in vhich he checked ihe
statements in Peace’s book against the facts discovered at Lieutenant
.iuctin’s trial, and on this basis accused leade of "distortion" and
”ni srepresentation • " 5 8
In a neper hick is a model of the sampling
type of research itephen points out, quite truly, that Andrevrs, the
prototype of Josephs in the story, actually gained tvro pounds during his
imprisonment; that "bile the novel _ays he vas required to tarn the crank
50 >0 and COO0 revolutions, actually the number vas only 4000; that although
the
novel
reports he
tjs.
s
unable to do the vork at the crank,
the
evidence
shoved that Andrevs failed to turn his quota on only four of about t-.ventyeight days, and that on seven days he exceeded it; that the leathern
collar 'hich 'leade describes a. a "high circular-sav” had unbound but not
"jugged" edges; that although the novel says he vas vetted reooatodly
vhile in the punishment jacket, he vms really vetted only once; and so
on, attempting to disprove •liat .cade never even intimated, that the novel
uur. r. copy of the facts brou ~ht to light at .rutin's trial.
either missed or consciously evaded the "hoi': vurport of
fiction.
Stephen
eade’s "purpose"
P.eade felt that the crank and the nunishment jacket vere unholy
instruments; he kriev that sarong measures ...re necessary to expurgate them —
as he vrotc hims I f , "A dur ane dur aiguillon" — so he made his fiction
a: strong as the boundaries of logic and experience v/ould per.:I t . Undoubtedly
there vrere some prisoners vho could not perform their tasks of 8000 turns,
and that very facl; may have prompted leade to assign Josephs a larger
number of turns than .-indreys had accomplished.
I3ut no elaborate defense
of his method is necessary, any more than a defense of Dickens’ Little
30.
Edinburgh teviev, "ol. 106, ho. 215, pp.. 124-155, (July, 1857).
Dorrit, which in attacked in the same article.
The Saturday Review took
up the cry®® from the Edinburgh, accusing Her.de of questionable "propriety."
Reade answered both,
ith more brevity than was his custom, in a neat
epistle which the Saturday Review editor published4 0 in the folio- in~ con­
test:
be have received the subjoined communication from x,ir. Reade. In this
case, contrary to our usual rule, v,e publish our correspondent’s letter: —
isjtottoay HlP/I J ,— You have brains of your own, and good ones. Do not you
echo the bray of ouch a verysmall ass as the Edinburgh deview. 3e more
just to yourself andto me. deflect! I must be six times a greater writer
than ever lived, ereI could exaggerate suicide, despair, and the horrors
that drove young andold to them; or (to vary your own plirv.ce) write ’a
libel upon hell.’.
Yours sincerely,
bharles Reade
Garrick blub, July 28.
Llany years later, '.hen A Terrible Temptation (1871) wa
published,
an old Oxford acquaintance of Reade named Goldvrin nith -rote an anonymous
condemnation of the book as immoral, and in addition attacked its author
for evincing the qualities of a "national malefactor” in hi a castigation
of all jails because of the evils existing in one. Reade rcp-liss sharply
anu effectively to the "anony macule" that he has ample evidence of general
jail abuses, and refutes t: e anti-government accusation by pointing out
that the brutal Hawes's infractions of prison rules are exposed by one
government official, the chaplain, and that the jailer is finally dismissed
by another government official, the inspector of prisons
59.
Saturday Review, Vol. 4, Do. 90, pp. 57-58, (July lb, 1057).
40.
Ibid., p. 84.
41.
"A Terrible Temptation,’’ Readiana, pp. 267-559.
Iso printed in Readiana (p. 595).
19V
In Readiana (p. 309) is printed a short prison "dialogue" that
apparently was published in the Daily Telegraph in a certain Christmas
season.
he 7/ear is not given, hut the piece is sub-addressed
"Lnightsbridge," to which Reade did not move till 1869.
'-.he "dialogue”
is betvreen a judge and a jailer, concerning the four-months’ sentence
which has just been inoosed upon a orisoner; the jurist reminds the
jailer that the culprit is sentenced to serve his time "in a house of
detention, not destruction, r house of correction, not a eu’hie -hanblcs,"
and warns him to take proper c~re of his charge under penalty of indictment
for homicide.
o the spirit of It Is lever Too Late to .-end speaks again,
after a lapse of at least thirteen
. ike It Ij3 liever Too Late to i..end, the novel .■■.ard Cash had its origin
in actual incident.
In 189£ heade heard the story of one Fletcher, a young
non '.ho drank heavily, lived ecara-v gently, and finally atte::gted to collect
£.73,000 from the dim of ■hie’: his father had been a partner before his
dccewe,
'.he bu.rines' hour- erxcutiw-.r -er: winoycd by Flotlicr’s claims,
■::d finall* • had 'in ccrt'l'i'-d as ins •ne -.nd co*ritterl to ■* :rr."’'ov c.
b -dc ' ■
’:en
•'.etc the young ivn had escaped, so 'he write;1 ought his
acgu iutcr.ce, learned his story, -nd. fro; 1 this secured the 'utr. 'hich
constitute t’w, scries of letters to the press called "Gar Dark Ilaces."
who wnch.ousc proprietors failed to prove Fletcher’s insanity in court,
and the victory thus achieved sent Reade off on an intensive program of
study relating to asylums in general. Like It Is Lev; r Too Late to Ilend,
the mvel exposing asylum .-.buses vac also to be based upon "fact," ■nd as
he points out in the preface, the author secured his f-cts through "long,
severe, systematic labor, 'ron a multitude of volumes, penphlets, journals,
reports, blue-books, manuscript narrations, letters, and living people,
198
T-hn m
I have sought out, err.'lined, and cross-era?:'lined, to get at the trutli
. .
eacii n a m topic.
021
. . .„42
It lias already been stated that Res.de net rielreus through lord Lytton,
late in 1859 or early in 1860.
On September 26th, 1860, Dickens vrote his
sub-editor that P.eade and hinself had discussed the "ossibility or the former’s
ATI
producinc £ serial tor .11 Hie Year homd,
and Hard Cash eventually appeared
fron larch to Dccenber, 1863, in that magazine. Sec.de bad little ability
at or interest in building up situations of dramatic suspense vith v.liich to
close each serial issue, and consequently the .story v;as not very popular
in nacazinc tom.
Is a booh the novel sole very veil, liouerer, and evoked
a. large con'roversial correspondence ’.:itli the author. I1]vs no*'el
1
Terrible
Te .ptation •as published, first serially, in 1071, ant : ilc the basic
thene v: s not suggested b asylum abuses, they are trested at so'ie lenpth
through the niafortimes of fir Charles fassett.4 4
The first grave fault vhich P:eade attacks in connec ion •ith M s
aayluia erase ir. the feet that it is so easy to have sane people committed.
_'_c he points out in "Our Dark “laces," "A relative has only to buy tiro
doctors, tvo surgeons,
Tall
or even tvo of those ’vhose poverty thoughnot their
consents,T and he can clap in a nadhouse any rich old fellon. .
A5
or any trouble.':one young fellov:."'
..
This is -..bat a-tually happ.ened to
42. Hard Cash, Vol. 1, Preface.
43.
44
.
43.
..Ivin,
■ p. 162.
Detv/een these tvo books raaubliiitd tie collaboration foul H a y
(I860), at the end of vhich Arthur crdlav is placed in aprivate
lunatic as-bum, ‘.here he is "taken great care of."
Op. cit., headiana, p. 12. In Put Yourself in His Place (1870), pub­
lished just before A Terrible Temptation, Coventry plan: for the
kidnapping of Grace Garden by aiming hinself -.ith false certificates
of lunacy (Book II, p. 102).
199
metcher, and is vhn' occurs in Hard Cash
and A Terrible Temptation.
In tlie former and more important book -ichard Bardie's dishonest
dealings are suspected br- his son .’Ifred, v.-ho further incurs varental
displeasure by coning of age to inherit his ten thousand p voids, and
by becoiling interested in a girl of Thom his father discy roves;
result, Bardie vbve compels his weak-willed end rascally brother to
report ..Ifred, his own con, a: insane, and :he half-mad doctors have
him co:rutted to the horrible Bilverton C-rove private dcylun.4 6
In
the second novel Bichard Bassett proceeds against his cousin, 3ir
Charles Bassett, who possesses large estates which -..ill revert to the
former in the event of hie victim’s certified insanity.
fvro certifi­
cates, "purchased beforehand," and a virtual kidnapping,
1
Charles in Bellevue house, a nrivate asylum.
nd dir
These fcatc had been
accomplished many times before heade vrote hie
tor:..-, and have been
achieved frequently since, but so little was and is '"nun of lunacy
laws end asylums that the public rarely becomes concerned about them,
h lady T.-.'itin" shortly after the Bletcher case says, "There is,
perhaps, no department of our national s.--stem surrounded
ith :o much
mystery as the tre tment of lunatics, . . . and the points on which
most persons arc interested always happen to be those ::.b nt ’hich
least is said."blven years after the publication of hard Cash, Dr.
Buumill, an authority on lunatics and lunacy lav.', referred to "the
present most defective system of admission into asylums," ^;w.nd John
Stuart Bill wrote the folio ing lucid condemnation of it:
46. Heade*s attacks are launched against
asylums, and not government institutions,
remembered here that poor Baxley, who was
persuade Bichard Bardie to sand him to an
mad rave, the lunatic killed Bardie’s own
private or ’•proprietary"
in every case. It will be
really insane, c~>uld not
a s y l u m , and that later, in a
daughter (B.-ok 11, pr>. 56, ff.).
47. J. C. Byrne, Undercurrents Overlooked, :ichard. Bentley, London,
1860, Vol. 11, p. 187.
48.
J. C. Bucknill, Dare of the Insane, ...acivilian and Co., London,
1880, p.5.
200
'The practice of the Znglish lew i.lth respect to insane persons,
especially on the all-important point of he ascertainment of insanity,
most urgently demands reform. At pres nt no prrons, hose property
is worth coveting, end whose nearest relations are unseru ulous, or on
had terras with then, are secure against a commission of lunacy. ,--t the
instance of the persons ho -ould rofit by their being declared insane,
a jury nay be impaneled ana :n investigation held at the crpense of the
pro -erty, in which all their personal peculiarities, with all the ad­
ditions made by the lying gossip of lovr servants, are pourec1 into the
credulous ears of twelve petty shop keepers, ignorant of ell ways of
life eucept those of their own class, and regarding every trait of
individualitj’- in character or taste as eccentricity, and all eccen­
tricity aa either insanity or wickedness. ’4®
fn. excellent illustration of she criminal -ossibilitios by •hich
sane nernons could bo coremitted as lunatics is contained in the An ort
of the GoarI s ioncrs for the year 1065, the very year in .h.ich Jdard
Cash two published.
One Ar. Hall w s aA*jitted to ...unstsr douse, a
private or ''proprietary1' as-lun, on ,uly 51, 1862, ar a lunatic.
3ut
on examination of his certificates it t. s found fir t a surgeon named
Guy had signed one br scd upon an erwiination ■hich h.ad taken lane
■'uni !rds of si" v/eoks'1 before the 'ate of his reception, 'her. the law
prescribe'' that c-ecuninations to detcminc insunit- should be held "not
-.ore than seven clear days" before commitment to an a yin.
.few
days later two members of the hoard of Gomnis cioncrs called at iiunster
Aouse, and were then informed by wlliot, the proprietor, that Aall was
"aopnrently not ins-me.”
(Leg crtheless if Gould be noted that Jlliot,
Had
pri \arily inser stc-c. in profity^iccepted lie natier.t., The .oeniscionors then
iscovered fh
tww; im.iedi: tely
'iscrepnncy in Guy’s ccrtific- to,
released.
.eA "all
Aon. 'securin'- h.is freedom hi br ’wht -.’it
against "r. :3e iple, who had signed the other no cess ry certificate,
-*•?. J. ". Aill, irinciplos of Political hconomy, people.tuition,
Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1186, p. is78n. Hill insisted that
all insane should be cared for by the state.
201
alloying that lie liad ’’negligently and culpably failed duly to inquire
into the truth of the facts, from hich mainly he ti
a vs. diet of fiSO d:
7
M s conclusion
co thus in a single case the three major
figures— tv/o doctors -no a-ylum proprietor — vrerc proved in court to
grossly negligent or ignorant; on' ;’uy m l ...lliot hath e caped
ro'rinandsi
ith
11 this developed because "all, the :;oi-bio nt lunatic,
uas luc’oy enough to be released; vhr.t aoal'l be the anguish of those
li’ro sir Charles fassett, -.nd especially bardie,
ho c 'vAd not act out
until he refuted the certificates of commitment, hut
hn .vulo not
refute then till he could see then, and aha could not see the •_till
he yot out I .nd •hos. efforts to stir the lethargic
blance of action vere irus'c:nted py
asylum to another.
.Ascioners into
.lifted from one
Dr. lucknill has the folio*.,in •: pertinent remark
to rulb concerning discharges ~ron asylums:
'Wien the patient has been pot into an asylum, a different estimate of joint exa ii otions is dopted; for no patient com be
discharged out of the. asylum, by the commissioners, except u. on a
joint examination made by tro of then, repeated at an interval of not
Icss than fourteen clays, end a concurrent opinion u on slis paint at
issue. If it v.-orc as easy to act a nan out of an asylum rr to get him
into ons, the forme of admission voulc not, perhaps, be so i vy-ortant
as they are; but e.hen the exit is hedged in ‘ith legal if: iculfies,
the entrance ouoht
surely to be guarded -ith an eeual amount of care
. rr-i
ancl forethought,
oO.
Co. riissioncrs1 herorts, 1865, 'vol. 20, pp. 474-175.
51.
I. C. fuelmill, op. cit., pp. 20-21.
20*
In 1S61 the Oomnissioners * Reuort contains the story of a lady
received into an a ylun by authority of tvo certificates
hich did not
even be.yin to state the lepally required circunctanc.s upon
dir.prosis of insanity vr.r '.-.sod; v d
hich the
inee fair omission nr. e the
certificates invalid, the patient vras ffschsrGeci so hat. a re-eyanination
ar.d le;.;itiric.te certificates could b: oht' in.su, -o proseo tier, of the
offenciiv r:U.aical nen vac le.un.c3v.d, h-'* ever, "nd in corcl-avion the Report
an.o'-nccc •hat the certificates ha: not been obtained at •he tine of
•ritinc, and ther- fare 'he
lira
1
-dy vns still at lar;;e!^-J these tvo cases
e been chosen a.orely -as ty cs to prove ah-t
ca e var siyht in his
assertion — that so:ieti.nos ..ot only aerc sane "ersons
Par.porous lunatics verc allowed th.eir liberty un'cr til.
system.
et
:1
..a, bat
a: as’cious
no althouyh no malice cforethou. lit vro 'mov d in 'he first
esse or alls - d in ih: s ennd, it is uite nos -ible that
’jan satur- ted •It: it.
aill nr.y bare
nd, a. .-r:. rchhold neatly — >intr: mrt to
Ifrad "iivdie, "hr. Baber coil' be punished for corfininn a nas’nan in
thin house •itho’t an outer seat tvo certific- tes; but he c-r.ldn't for
coulninp: s anc parson un'er ms order n
Reade fin’s fault
tvo cartifleases
ith sev< rs 1 other abuses of in press and eyress
■■iiich he clleycs are oncoara-:ed by inadequate Icyislafion .inc. s-ia rvision.
..irst he point- out that persons
ho acre co v.itted le ally aid justly,
but have sir.ee been eared, are unable to secure their freed a: because
they arc profitable customers. In this connection lr. fuelmill states
that as j-'ord Jtunicellor’s a: ylun visitor ho found arm: five hundred
:h r.ccry patients ’’five c see of persons alio vers detain! in asylums
52.
Parliamentary .sap.rs, 1861, 'hoi. 27, pa. 15-65.
53.
hard Gash, vol. 1, g. 541.
2m
u n d e r t:io input ution of i n s a n i t y a consid..ruble -bin. a f t e r tlioy had
recovered.
.
54
.
n o t n e r instance of shaneful a o u s e ic that
illiistre.tcd by vrr/.eieur in .. T e r r i ble fei rotation.
business nan,
Ion;: *
I
ot
creditors as
ev rat' dii;: on the "Derby;
"Ao no-- it ••ac a race • hich should t he vie.
in ; corner.
a ylun.
and gurbler besides, he h a d stood off hi;
he could, "nd then atahed
.•.or:.e von.
.n, unscrupulous
friend that h n o w , e v e r / nave to
They thought it i s all u o
' on,
"n" ho
out a dark
. . .
in
I vas
vie into this
is br i n y i n g
' o n to a
t;r.
chilling in the pound,"'-0
hen t h e f u r o r e hv . s u b s i d e d m a a ’iustncnts
h a w been ua'.e_, the "limvtic" plan,
to b
d i s m i s s e d as cured,
The c-.se
of . rancis bcverley in .far.. G a s h e:-;e’
. nlifies the p l i-ht of siuple■lnd-d but hornless versons
ho o u y h t not to be c o n f i n e d at all, but
-;ho arc victi.vised by the " d u b - l o t t i n g Sui n d l e " p o s s i b l e u n d e r the
thrucery "protection" s y s t e n
e s c r i b e d in the chapter o n 1bvcrivient.
dcverley perf ottos nueh of the D e n i a l l abor in Drayton .souse, and
accepts h i
.I f red
hir
da.il-- routine of b r utal treat-vent until w n.irat ion
r-rdio nrorv't ■
i d o l ’s e.,ca-ne.
i n to
ct hire to the evj.m,
'or
-'nd ‘o ef cels
hr. h u c h n i l l insists tlv t the evil of let"ining
v aavierly insane ne - on." alio are cured "is but a m i l
one covaaar d
v i t h tlie navnitude of tlr t oth.ea evil of d e t a i n i n g in a y l u i s unsuitable
patients
ho have not r e c o v e r e d , " 00 o n l y because th e y are sources of
profit to a p r i v te bu iness enterprise.
ah- abusos so far r e c o r d e d di d not
h e u d e ’s c o untry or his tine.
stop or start
ith either
57
. v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g b oo1: -vas -ublished
54. J. 0. auchnill, on. cit., p. 32.
a■. A Terrible Temptation, p. 291.
56 . J . C. Tuchnill, can. cit., pp. 32-35.
57.
, . Chamber , A Had
He ■rTori:, 1877.
orld ione. Its Inliaaioan os, T. Appleton and Co* ,
204
in London in 1377, 'nd, later in the sane year, in lie:-Tori:.
It
concerns the c:ipos^ of conditions in one Dr. baldric's eaoltrive
ar.r lun in upper Harlem, Her; York, end connects itself loosely ith
this study onl;- by the fact that part of it • preface consists of the
folio iny letter, ritten to the author:
<3 filbert lemace, uightsbricTgc,
- :ido:., October 9th.
lay dear air:
I be.;: to achno ledge ith thanks the account of your voluntary
incarccn tion in private asylum, and the obscy.' tions you the:'e
na.de in •'■■he inter.ct of the public and suffering kuricnity.
Thi~ is the vay to vorlc. ... grant tattle is not to Iv. on 'it’1out
self-s crifice. ..ccept a tribute of rcc'ect frori a broth.or -riter
i’r’cr
in that rood cause, "nd nny heaven prosper your efforts!
I con, dew sir,
four very :h ithful s rvant,
1harles Hoche
*•'ulius •’haula rc, hec .
This boo:: fella "she story of '':h.c illegal consitnent of the author,
vho siminted madness, and hose "riends offered a to satis y cosh fee
'or ’sis ’
•’care."nd the brutalities recorded by this eye
iiness,
the c see oftoter.tion o.'. si sletons, and iscss rye of •sio.lent but
poverty-stricken r.unatics mho up an account hich irhic'tsc
crier’s •'•royrr.-.i or the insane had. little to rscorrv nf it over flirt
of hngland.
"o :iuch bs
-he "t'tuf"r-w
’'e-c.c’s enr.tiy-ti n of
lures again t anS ‘it1in
run ■ Iris-ion to ".nd dicchc rge frori aryl"ns.
cos.iprchen 'ive rcviev of the wrocitiec pemetr-atod
t'sesselvcs
oul' rer.uire the cat-log "yeten.
A
it .in she asylums
In the first "lace, the
eomiscioncr.r *nd justices del egated to visit these institutions are
represented by heacie a:, senile old fogies, half fe arful of their hides
in such an environment, or cTele.sc public figure:.:,
ho have become
205
calloused to the iniquities at V ic h th e y blind:, or of
-pretend cornlete ignorance.
'nd v:hen, o n rare
scientious investigator line .,r. V a n e in m r d
' icli they
occasions,
one con­
C a s h cones up o n the
scene, his inchoate vrath is p l a c a t e d by •'•rsoentation of the sacred
tvo
certific" tes of I m r cy,
hept da;,-booh records,
discovered,
or i n s p e c t i o n oi' ahe av.biguo l!S I’
.IICl looselyfinally, \ ’ e n
'er a rate c i r c u m s t a n c e s arc
ho aonnis si oners m e r e l y r c v r i m a n d those responsible, and
a;ern then that conditions m u s t be r e p r o v e d before t h e i r rout visit,
. t both
il vert o n trove h o u s e end v r a y t o n --ouse the prop r i e t o r s and
heouers have as sole notice of she Go:i eissioncrs* arrivals,
oven aiien
the l atter thin": ''hey are raahiny a s u r p r i s e visit.
''trait jachots,
nsnaoloc,
.trchbold calmly
rotatory chairs oeee h i d d e n assay
.ten a r e ,
announces: th.at ”the 'h'O old ••oven” are coaling.0 ®
n d •hen
I f red
" urdie finally secures the p r i v i l e g e s of a re— one.: sination at Dr,
" y o h e r l e y ’s asylum,
inee the lav r e c u i r c s that
mu.l be: a "hysician "nd the other a b"r ister,
ex-barrister end an e::-;hyc ician,
one of '.is cnsriiners
he is vis i t e d by an
:uho h a v e c o n s e n t ' d to r e s i g n
feelessmess and brieflcs.ness for a sn u g f i f t e e n h u m - r e d - oumds a
year at
bite flail.”® 0
dflfred is same,
.,ven these t v o n o n e n t i t i e s rea l i s e that
declare h i m so;
t h e n ensues the
three months of
’’shuffling"' correspondence a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d i n the chapter on Govern­
ment, • hilc .l f r c d ’s father a r r a n g e s to ha v e a certificate of transfer
s i m v d by tvo Gomniscioners v ho are
ignorant o f the prisoner's sanity,
ar.f the y o u n g n a n is moved t o the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of f)r. h'olf.
£8.
Hard Gash, Vol. 1, p. 545.
59.
I b i d ., Vol.
GO.
Ibid.,
p.
11, p. 188.
78.
Tlius
I
206
Rec.de has pointed. out,
irst, that the lavs ;;orenun,r; .fiurtics and
lunacy are inadequate; and secon. , that the '--stem of r.pes’vision of
n^
private asylums is rroef'lly deficient . 0 - 1
The private asylum proprietors are organised for professional
protection, end so ness;..css concerning the movements of the oovmission­
s' -s -'.re conveniently encharg cl; therefore -rhen a patient
upsets the
sviooth machinery of any given institution by demonstrating obstreperous
sanity and reaching the ear of a momentarily interested Commissioner
or a visiting justice, a quich dispatch to another asylum arranges his
transportation thither,
ho llfred is shi--ed Iron .ilvorton 'trove
house to the insane hr. ' /-cherley's, and thence to Crayton
ouse.
and
the suave insolence of hr. Suaby in ._ Terrible Terrotc.tion is based
u'on •' realisation of the strength "nd resourcefulness of his staff
-.nd his brotherhood.
..-o the inadequacy of the la.-- and the deficien­
cies of the inspectors encourage these inhuman -■roprietors to conri.it
the brutal.ities •hich t o m
for reform,
the
the uhird major item in ’lade's crusade
'
.
'
.
’he injuries are .so many and so frequently ?y posted that
tv ;lest method of classifying the'-, is to summarise .If red’s ovm
experiences,
.ft silverton Grove louse he first sees shat he soon
becomes sonmhat inured to —
filthy beds, insufficient toilet equip­
ment, •nd a proponderanee of plain dirt.
Irdiausted by his first
strug l e rrith the attendants, he is hobbled and bound to his bed for
the night,
is sleep is about to com
the lice and bedbugs crar.'l out
to feast;
61.
John lorster, eminent publisher and biographer of lichens, i t s a
■Umatic Commissioner at this time, having served as secretary to the
Commission from 1855 to 1861, and member from 1861 to 1C7C.
2or
fBoth hands were confined; he could not move them. He bounded, he
flung* he a,Tithed. Ilis little persecutors were quiet a moment, but
the next they began again; in vaih he rolled and writhed, and shuddered
S& wiJJj. loathing inexpressible. They crawled, they smelt, they
bit.«0<i
In the nor ing he is handcuffed, end fed his breakfast by a
maniac* '‘■'ho near1 3 - chokes hin; then following his belligerent con­
demnation of the asylum as a "den of thieves," he is rel e n t e d to
a padded cell for five hours by the head-keener.
Shortly afterward
he is given an "opiate," ostensibly to quiet him, but really to
deprive him of rest; end consequently he becomes light-headed and
incoherent, ’.'hich furnishes the opportunity for a significant entry
regarding his sanity in the lyin. record book.
Late:: tie hair is
shorn and - large blister raised on the top of his head, presumably
to relieve the brain pressure; and during ell this tino the program
of "aviates," lice, manacles, and the sight of continued brutal
oppression of others makes serious inroaas upon hie reason, and
causes the author to characterize as-'lums as places -..hero sane
people go mad.
The climax at oilverton Grove Hou.se occurs vhen
Ifred tells his story to the visiting justices.
As a punishment he
is handcuffed end strait— jacketed, and then makes his first acquaintance
with the art of "kneeing."
VJvery art has its secrets; the attendants in :uch madhouses as
this have been for :'ears possessed of one they are too modest to reveal
to justices, commissioners, or the public; the art of breaking a m a n ’s
ribs, or breastbone, or both, without bruising hin externally. . . .
Hr. Cooper jjhe head-keepe:Q anc. his fellows do their work with the
knee-joint: it is round and leaves no bruise. vhe;p subdue the patient
0 3 ; walking up and do n him on their ’
cnees. If they don’t jump on him,
62,
Hard Cash, Vol. 1, p. 517.
208
as v.-ell as promenade him, the m a n ’s spirit is often the orAy thing
broken; if they do, the man is apt to be broken bodily as "ell as
mentally . ’ 6 3
Apparently Cooper and his cohorts mere not unduly fastidious in
the natter of bruises, for upon being quickly transferred to Dr.
'..'ycherley’s asylum in London, Hardie’s injuries are laconically
cataloged by the Physician’s assistant:
"Six contusions: taro on the
thorax, one on the abdomen, taro on "he thighs, one near the patella.
.
. a slight dorsal •;bras ion; also of the
rists; a sere re ex­
coriation of the an':le.
Leg-locX, eh?”6 -
At Dr. kycherley’s the
treatment is excellent.
Aar die’s nail is actually posted, and the
demented academician really assists Alfred -.Ith his studies, finally
pres nting him -1 th a certificate of sanity as a re ard for pretending
agree. :cnt eith the Doctor’s favorite delusion —
nadl
that hamlet is really
-iut at Drayton house the old order is restore;!, and even em­
bellished.
hhe beer served to Alfred mith his first meal contains
morphia, "the accursed druc ’ ith ’.'hich these dark men in these dark
'■ubaces coax the reason amay out of the head by degrees, or "ith a
potent dose stupefy the victim, then act surprise, alarm, .
and an ly medical treatment to the doomed wretch .
" 6 3
.
.
fhe bugs, fleas,
-.nd howling dogs unite to destroy sleep, -nd dirt and filth again
o'. ound.
Here "the keeperesses eclipsed the keepers in cruelty to
the poorer patients," and foul names, petty insolence, spiteful
prohibitions, and the ingenious institution called "tanking" mere
the monotonous ceremonies of each day.
63*
ibid.,
64.
Ibid., Vol. 11, p. o.
63•
pp. 545-D46•
Yo1* 11»
9S*
20 j
XlTor the least offence, or out of nere wantonnesc., they mould drag
a patient stark naked across the yard, and thrust her bodily under
mater again one again, ’seeping her dovxn till alnost gone aith suf­
focation, ana dismissing her more dead than alive '.Ith obscene and
insulting consents ringing in her ears, to g e t t n m again in the cold.
. . . finally, these keeperesoes, adth diabolic insolence end cruel­
ty, TOuld bathe tventy patients in this tank, and th.en make then
drink that foul rater for their meals.XuG
It is also at f-rayton "".ouse that on old- non is nice-, d in o. cold
shor r for thirty ninu.tes, and, circulation paralysed, he dies.
here that .Jtfrcd is obliged to shore his room
ith the insane Captain
Dodi , •..hose nightly muttering-; and racings make sleep
i: sos.sibie,
It is
nd. even nest
.Jtid it is: here, finally, that hr: . .Irckbold, '.ho e
afm-ction ..Ifred has scorned, promisec to drive hin mad; he is hand­
cuffed, brought donn to the violent maniacs’ corridor, and flung into
a cell, from '..here he listens through a terrible night to the • ild
singing, preaching, and blasphe-ring of violent madmen.
.ft..• ouch a
harroring recitation it is '..ell to say tho.t .fLfr.m. e”entually escapes,
an
lives to sec his ovn fatter a mono.r.niac on tb... subject of his
ouauose' money losses,
heo.de alvxys insists u">on retribution,
sane a ylun business is re eated in much milder h r
To:
the
in d. terrible
I h this story dea.de r c obv.iou.sly more concc nccl about
the success of the plan
hich he organises as dolfe,
'he ahilmitliroaic
novelist, to err.ricute h r .diaries Bassett from the asylum, end
the: cfore the picture of inhvnanitics com itted
ith.tn m m
institution
o :. Ibid., pa. 101-10r.. d. dad orld -.'nd Its Inhabitants, 'ublishc-d
fifteen years after ;derd Cash, tells the revolting story of a cultured
.::oricon monan’s uunishnents. Tier mfLady occasionally took the f o m of
a refusal to eat, in hich instances she mas "tanked" to the '-oint of
suffocation; and finally one day the fiendish nurse had the patient’s
shuddering body held b; tvso as si stents, ah lie she fed u r forcibly
aith the ’’iron spoon," an operation daring the course of '..hick "the
roof of the lady’s mouth sr s broken through, the tonsils rrerc cut off,
and the pillom and the nurse’s a m mere bathed in blood” (p. 170). This
is not Charles Ber.de’c fiction, but stark fact, de sosccl to on oath.
210
is not presented so sharply.
But heade does use this ' ooh as a means
oi’ publishing sonc oi‘ his ideas concerning the ins re; t : v : are
in the guise of letters iron
vritten
ir Charles to volfe, describing several
oi the former's iellov-patients.
In uniting liard Cash ioe.de had been
aided a great deal by the alienist Dr. Dicbson, \ho is Impooned as the
‘a ipson oi‘ the story, but the novelist also felt a definite ability
at psychiatry himself.
Darly in the sccon
volume oi’ hard Gash her.de
•r.c and insane
unites about the difference cotveen the letters of
aer.ons, "nd he concludes by assert in;;:, '.aid I an no conteeiplible
judge; for I have a c c u ulrted Curin- the last feu
ears a h r e col­
lection o : letter . .Torn. persons deranged in vrriours decrees, and
studied then minutely, more minutely than no t vsychologicols study
anything but pounds, shillings,
nd verbiage .
" ° 7
fuch va.o the crusader*s campaign to expose hie "villainous lunacy"'
of the lunatic lars -nd the suvuge besti lity of .irny private ins :.ne
a.yluns.
hile the booh rvs still running in serial
o m one hr. J. 3,
Buhnan, hinself proprietor of an asylum, -..rote to the hail;.' hens an
open letter accusing hcade of gross exug-ero.tion and "'terrible slander,"
and challenging him to proauce any tangible evidence th"t the atroci­
ties glaring from the pares of his "sensation" novel had any basis in
fact,
fhe letter is m i n t e d at the beginning of hard Cash, along -."ith
heade*s crushing reply.
But instead of depending upon evidence vhich
the novelist gleaned frori the newspapers, it is veil to glance at the
37. Ibid., \ol. 1.1, p. 10. In this connection Saints bury vrites of
P.eade, "indeed he has in more than one. of his boohs introduced mental
delusions vith such startling subtlety and truth, and vne so entirely
odd in the ordinary relations of life, that some hav. not hesitated
to hint a slight v/ant of sanity"(op. cit., p. 552) J
211
contemporary reports of the .umacy Commissioners themselves.
acre
is their official accoimt of "hat follov:ed a patient’s becoming
refractory after the Banner of Alfred Hardier
'Becon'ng more than usually noisy and troublesome, on being ordered
from the ard, later pan attendant)} ,one of the accused, seised the
patient p'vrif-y , tripped hin up, and ith the help of
theother at­
tendant, Vivian, dragged him to the padded room, mere they remained
alone •-ith him; but a n o i m
ron "ithin as of scuffling, thro" lng
aoan, and kicking, and cries fron the deceased, v.vro heard on the
ouJ' :ide; and the next day, though "iff ate hi a brenhf nt a usual, and
one of the .assistant ...cdical Officers of the Asylum state-'1. !;hat he had
f--.lt his au3.se in he morning, and it a-.s in its ordinary st-te, he
appeared much hurt in sitting doan and getting up; called the atten­
dants vivian and flater "brutes^- s---id it v;as too bad to hick him so;
and in the afternoon of tha.t daja, hile in she ..iring Court of the
ard he had been •laced in, complained, of their con net to him. Im­
mediately after this, the alleged more fatal injuries • or: inflicted.
:
Jhe non, Vivian and Inter, '..-ere seen, a little before five that
afternoon, in a. scuffle :-ith the deceased. They mere obs rved by
other patients throning him doun, kicking and kneeling upon him; and
finally they took him again to the padded room, from •hich. he m s
h and to cell out '-'murder," and in r.-hich he mar; seen, tmenty minutes
later, lyihg silent on his buck, aith flater* a hand u-on his head.
t tventy minutes to eight the medical attendant '.ram; sent ;>>r, "ho
crme in three minutes after and found hin lying on his buck, evidently
recently dead. On a post mortem examination it mnr. found that his
sternum and eleven ribs --ere broken, and that death must have ensued
from hemorrhage into the cavity of the abdomen from a m a t u r e d or
1 ace ra ted 1 ive r .*
nd "hat happened to then, tvo ere- tures?
first, they - ere "summarily
dicroissed from .he .v.ylua. for ill-usage of another patient.*'
Later
C
they ’..ere tried, and acquittedI "
an account o A
V.
ik.ge ten of the r; me volume gives
~Ti.Uient’s being ber.ten - ith a strap; p-.-e forty-three,
of a female patient being struck a !isevere blovj*' on the f .ce by a
male attendant.
is so described:
In the deport for the year 1865 the death of V . IT.
"The body externally vu.s discovered to 'e very much
bruised, end the skin in places broken.
Three ribs vs re fractured
on the right side, rnd sir on she left,
she heart vus also exten­
sively d i s e a s e d . * ' I t develops that the deceased had :,had a struggle"
6 8
. Lunacy Commission P.euort, 1861, Vol. 2V, pp. 27-58
69.
Ibid.. 1865, Vol. 20, p. 463.
21 ‘
4
-.•.ith. attendants;
nd finally tlic ins'estivating Coramis-.ioncrr. decided
to describe the latters* conduct as "not judicious."
There are other
sisiilsrly brutal cases in the o-.ne volume*
Concernin': the attacks Ider.de ia.de upon deficiencies of equipment,
bad food, filth, "toning," and isv>ro''erly kept records, all nay also
be justified by yl'nciny at the Commissioners * Reports,
18G5 yields the folloving ■- ecific information:
disorderly room: , p or clothing,
de th in ' h.ot bm:h;
kocrbon ;
70
that for
Teckhari 'ouse,
poor foot., ■oarisist sco.ldsc. to
; , discre itcmle condition of the
beddiny, insufficient supply of blankets, poor clothing, ne leeted
daily record bool: (and yet t's.e incpoctors observe that this institu­
tion has reproved some over the last visit!;; Grove hall, poor clothing,
croaded roans, beds infested ' ith "ous;s;
1 1
;mouth -muse, personal
condition of eonc of the patients imsctisfmctory, roar clothing,
in.suf: icient supervision, overcrowding.1^
nd the a h i s i of the
Commissioners is usually a true travesty si on justice; they nildly
re-ionrtrc.te, or ez cress the hope that conditions i;ill be better at
tlicir ne::t visit, or organir.e a kelf-arologctic, insipid inquiry
tlv t results in - gravely phra'ed rebuke —
these cases all •'.eel only
tli
1
delivorc
h- nail.
.hnd
th "riveroly o m e d •: y l u n ; mho can tell
sed horrors of the o o u m r institrtions and the ain'lc vatients,
t
locked up eier ally, like the read v:ife of ho Chester in 1 one lyre, till
incendiarism, or suicide, or murder is thrust anon then by the
'd . Is. hard jash hr. ?3a’.:er, the oaner of ilverton drove ..sylrm,
still keeps up his pamshop, an vl.nn he roceivec so:vo money ith the
request to r-urchas nem clothes for a patient, he dives among the
unclaimed rays in his establishment, and so .keeps his stock moving
an "pockets five hundred per cent on the double transaction" (Vol. 1,
p. 510).
71.
Ibid., 1565, Vol. 31, pp. 19, ff.
216
unnatural conditions ox’ their corfinenent?
7'c.rd '"fish included the bland ct'te:rnt,
Yet c. critic v:ho reviewed
Yeade is a ■r.n oi rare
o’.-ir, "ii' though he ic too foncl oi trhing airings
nates lii.'j hobtiy canter very gaily before us.”
0:1
his hobby, he
..ncl beneath the
clip' in;:, -.:Lich is nested in one oi hie noteboohc, Ycncio ‘.rote, -Go
then Justice
ho.:bies.
7,t.
nc. humanity arc :Tionn to
n n Luces only as .r. Y e a ’.e’s
hat a ;; n.-.t nan llr. Yende must bc.''7^
G. .utcliiie, :,C’rvrles Y c ade’s Y o t e b o o h s qt>. cit.., vol. .77,
Yo. 1, p . 6'7, (January, 1C0 i ) .
214
CHAPTER NINE
" SOCIETY"
R e a d e *s c o n d u c t
q u ite
in
as
w h ic h
h is
and
id e a s
c o m p le te ly
marked
he
h im s e lf
e xe rte d
a y rre s s iv e
p h ila n th ro p y "
c ie s
of
any
nary'
s o c ia l
aye,
ra m ific a tio n s
s p re a d in y
and
As
h is
crusades,
o th e r
and
personal
b le
c o n s is te n c y
makes
as
in te re s tin g
as
U n til
in
had
1869,
he
stu d y
became
a p a rtm e n ts
in te rs p e rs e d
and
h is
of
to
o th e r
change.
any
O b v io u s ly
th o u g h t,
c ritic iz e
p e re n n ia l
in
and
th e
upon
th e
ris e
b e fo re
h im
as
of
each
th e
tin e
b is
has
borne
out
many p r o y r a n s
h is
m id d le
s lid
by.
Inn ru n ve
a lm o s t
in v a ria ­
p e rs u n s io n s
s o c ia lly
fa n ­
had th e
.cruet
year
th e
here,
a ma n o f
Reade
but
a pp arent
and
r.i'-n ific ^ r.t
th e m s e lv e s .
at
liv in r
in
th e se
A lb e rt
'/e re
London,
p la c e s
Terrace,
e s s e n tia lly
O xfo rd ,
w ith
and
fa irly
e
fie ld
evanescent
s u b je c ts
c
"p a s s io n a te
are
w ardrobes
v is its
as
stronn*
e s ta b lis h e d
R e a d e *s h a b i t s
c o n v e n tio n
fo r
of
in
s o c ia l
Reade’ s p r o c l i v i t y
w h ic h
p ro p h e c ie s
w e ll
the se
c ry s ta lliz in g
w ith
a
to
of
a g ita tio n
in d e p e n d e n t
a tte n d a n t
c o n d e m n a tio n
re a lm
produce
much
b e sid e s
c la s s
in
to
d is c o v e r
and
the
by r e f o r m
in d iv id u a lity ,
must
ir,
U n i^ h ts b rio iv e ,
B o h e m ia n .
Ip s d e n ,
fre q u e n t
He
and
trip s
a cross
fo r
the
research
jo u rn e y s
to
Channel
about
become
h is
it .
h is
H is
is
c a lle d
or.
ur.a b l e ,
or
even
s c h e d u le
of
to
this
time
ul-’r
"Aunduy
sonal
a
end
•;i 1h H r s.
the
instigated
by
its
and
ex - ./naive
ra th e r
re la x a tio n
fro m
Laura
Ms
lo .-.rpton Reab'! r e p o r t s
d v a t ’. h i s t
('. e m o i r ,
and
s ta re ,
Hut
to w a rd
in
by
this
'..'ho o n e
here
ours r*od
moved
and
Mo
into
from
fairly*
'-0 0 0 *''- o f
r'1'-per­
o.Merlv- i n n e n t
the
a u t h o r *s
vis­
’..a
to il.
ho
were
t o d s ’*
when
w hit:
'./hich
'-h a t
p ro tra c te d
* .-ere
.Meat
of
a ll
c o n s e q u e n tly
Hoa.de
:vvll
these,
tem p e r,
frie n d s
s ix tie s ,
there
m ale
c irc le s
and
any
en­
th a n
housekeeper,
1879,
of
the
h is
ar.rured,
chiefly
most
in
in
of
so w e re
la te
a s hi r
had
m ore
to m o rro w ,
th e
wore
a ll
and
scene
in
and,
n e a rly
Iona: e n o u rh
o rth o d o x
s e n s itiv e n e s s
p a rtic ip a te
Math,
d a ily
1.
one
th e
d rin k in g ,
of
'eynour,
d a rs ic k
I . hi:
to
the
to
of
te n d e n cy
status
even
th e
11'/in,
Hub,
d is p o s itio n
a TW e n d e d
I robnbly
wa s
h is
'"eyw our
l a t t e r ’s
evenings,"
if
charwe
financial
num erous
even
F in a lly ,
a c tiv ity .
on
s ta tio n a ry
any
so d i s p o s e d ,
h im
o b s e s s io n
not
and
or
sent
H is
was
tongue
p re c lu d e
hunt in ?
if
f "ion's.
of
th e a te r.
he
d is re g a rd
sn io kina
lite ra tu re
i’or’mce,
Albert
to
s o c ia l
rrofenr i o n n l
of
"S o c ie ty ."
••/ith
to u r
th a t
d is d a in fu l
harshness
fu rth e r
and
so
F rench
in fo rm a tio n
any " s e t , "
d is lik e
co m b in e d
a s s o c ia te d
of
the
c o lo r
F n rla n d ,
d o h n s o n in n
s t ill
a tte n d
lo c a l
a part
couraged
a ttire ,
and
to
Reade
h°d
th a t h is
a. M I R .
beer;
a ls o
fre q u e n tly
e le c te d
u n c le
M a t
in
as
o
v is ite d
IM f,
much
as
awl
t *• . ;.a
in
21G
3
saw L y t t o n ,
th e
lo n g -e s tra n g e d
T ro llo n e ,
T hackeray,
h is
tw o
4
fa v o rite s ,
D ic k e n s
But
be
it
may
and
s a fe ly
C o llin s ,
s a in
of
Reade
anyone
because
of
h is
o o s itio n ,
he
n e ith e r
in
nor
of
was
a b le
to
re p o rt
and
upon
th a t
ana
s o c ie ty ,
a c c u ra te ly
o th e rs
th a t
but
its
of
he
never
d u rin g
c lo s e
id le
a rtis tic
b e n t.
sought
h is
w h o le
enough t o
o s te n ta tio n
a fte r
it
and
life
to
be
v ic io u s
in trig u in g .
Reade d e v o te d
"snobs"
c a s te
fo r
s o c ia l
system
nouveau
at
ric h e s
very
lit t le
a tte n tio n
re c o g n itio n ;
any le n g th ,
a lik e
stand
he
or
and
when
a lw a y s
fa ll
to
the
s tru g g le s
of
he
d in
tre a t
s o c ia l
managed
upon
th e ir
to
th e
r aa ke n o b s
own m e r i t s ,
th e
and
and
not
5
upon
th e ir
p o s itio n s
Ham
P e ru g in i
a s s e rts
in
s o c ie ty .
In
h is
book
on
V ic to ria n
life
th a t
I n V i c t o r i a n d a y s l i f e was
t h a t S o c i e t y was c o n v e n t i o
U p p e r, H i u u l e , and L o w e r.
and e v e r y b o d y was su pp o se d
s im p lifie d fo r
n a lly d iv id e d in
One w a s b o r n i n
t o "know t h e i r
m ost p e o p le by th e f a c t
t o t h r e e m a in c la s s e s ,
t o t h e one o r t h e o t h e r ,
p l a c e " and - - k e e p i t . 6
3.
I t was a f t e r h is. q u a r r e l w i t h T r o l l o p e t h a t Reade r e p e a t e d l y
b e s o u g h t E l l e n T e r r y t o re m em ber t h a t " T h e r e do e x i s t s u c h t h i n g s
as h o n e s t m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s " ( E l l e n T e r r y , The S t o r y o f Hy L i f e ,
D o u b l e d a y , P a g e & C o . , L e w Y o r k , 1 9 0 9 , p . 95) •
q.
Appended to a s k e tc h o f Reade*s l i f e
b y L e w is H e l v i l l e i n The
B o o x m a n ( V o l . 4 3 , F e b r u a r y , 1 9 1 3 , p p . 2 5 3 - 2 6 0 , p l a t e s f f . ) , a r e some
f i n e p i c t u r e s oi' . c o s t e r s a d v e r t i s i n g p l a y s b y R e a d e , T a y l o r , and
B o u c ic ^ a u l t , b e s in e s p h o to g ra p h s o f th e a u th o r s .
5.
An i n t e r e s t i n ' r e f l e c t i o n u p o n " t h e m a d d i n g c r o w d ' s i g n o b l e
s t r i f e " f o r p r e s t i g e i s t h e p a s s a g e , " T h e f o r t u n a t e man i s he w h o ,
b o rn p o o r , o r n o b o u y , w o rk s g r a d u a l l y up t o w e a l t h and c o n s i d e r a t i o n ,
a n a h a v i n g g o t t h e m , u i e s b e f o r e h e f inus t h e y w e r e n o t w o r t h s o
much t r o u b l e " ( C h r i s t i e J o h n s t o n e , p . 3 ) *
6.
H ark
E.
1932 , p . 31•
P e ru g in i,
V ic to ria n
Days
and
V /ays, J a r r o l d s ,
London,
217
B efo re
both
anyone
V a n ity
c lo s e
had h e a rd
F a ir
upon
the
the
in
L o n d o n 's
the
Reade* s
lo n g
a cco u n ts
by
of
th e
and
the
fo r
a m is ta k e n
and
as
and
c e le b ra te
she
m e s m e riz e s
a u th o r
is
real
co n c lu d e s
if
e ith e r
Is
th a t
dence
in d ic a tin g
s o c ia l
G u y Re b y ,
7.
Op.
"an
c i t .,
h is
ne
of
a ll
of
savent
Reade*s
a n tiq u e
th is
is
the
is
the
re a l
of
h ie
foun d
two
to
v iv re ,
in
s q u ire ,
fo r
Put
...
and
and
the
c irc le
w a tche s
th e
f c on d
re a 1 f u n .
p a rtie s
^udge
ce
le a v e s
the
casnet
d a n c in g ,
a llo w e d
pas
the
and L o r d
the re
d e s c rib e s
w ith
The
in te n tio n ;
eavesdropper
d is re g a rd
dory
77-94.
a u th o r 's
fre q u e n tly
andof
o f"S o c ie ­
c o n s tru c tio n
S in c la ir
on
fo llo w e d
s to rie s
s tro n g h o ld s
the
p u b lis h e d
c la s s e s ,
J o h n sto n e.
goes
w e d d in g ,
and
were
th a t
had
buzzed w ith
the
had
Newcomes
D ic n e n s
upon
L a d y Barba r s
co n tra st
le v e ls
pp.
a s s a u lts
a u d ie n ce
m u s ic ,
group
agree
v a rio u s
"I
of
The
and m id d le
have
C h ris tie
the re
her
lo w e r
must
in
Thackeray
J o h n sto n e .
p ic n ic s
C e rn ie 's
and
and
a ll
im p re s s io n
Jean
Snobs,
b o tii
cru sts"
in a n ity
frie n d s ,
th e re
th a t
two
of
a w rite r
c o n c e rn in g
c irc le
te d io u s
her
"upper
comment
of
C h ris tie
n a n u fa c tu re rs ’
ty ."
to
of
"s n o b b is h n e s s ”
parvenu
a tte n d e d
The B oo k
h e e ls
exposed
1853
and
o f Reade as
of
firs t
is
Ip sd e n ,
no
room
second,
of
C h ris tie
h e ro in e
s to ry ,
And
the
by a s s o r tin g
o t h e r , b o th w o u ld
7
g e n s -la ."
F u rth e r e v i­
the
th e
b o u n d a rie s
Y o u rs e lf
p u ffe d
in
H is
up w i t h
of
the
P l a c e , when
a ris to c ra tic
218
8
n o t i o n s , ’* w h o h a s
h im s e lf
up
m a rrie s
s o c ia lly
a fo rtu n e
C arden,
the
h is
by k r s .
a lth o u g h
fo r
cures
L ittle .
firs t
he
crashes
In
and
fo r
same
th a t
out
m a rry in g
Dence,
a p a s s io n ,
h is
is
he
L ittle
makes
O -r ac e
sym p a th y
sphere.
by
p o lis h e d
m a rrie s
was no
h a ile d
tra d e ,"
been
ILurry
b e fo re
"th e re
of
f,i n t o
who h a s
s to ry
in v e n tin g
lo v e s
such
Jael
the
le a rn s
a n y man wh o
or
s is te r
own s e r v a n t ,
by m a n u fa c tu rin g
w o rld
ever
condemned h i s
Indeed,
the
in
w h a t­
b y s ta n d e rs
Q
✓
as
a
sharp
he
Long,
a novel
D a v id
and
is
h is
to
th e
of
o n ly
In
m arry
fa m ily
book
b rie fly
as
h is
"came
to
one
Lve
of
n ie c e
in
w ith
and
Reade' s w h ic h
s a tiriz in g
the
Reade d e r i d e s
because
o ld e s t
"a
the
in
s tic k
in
th e
the
of
L it L ie ,
u n tu to re d
b u s in e s s
L’d w a r d
re se a rch
has
and who
T a lb o y s ,"
th e
he
a c c u ra te ly
U n c le
co un ty,
c a lle d
R e v o c a tio n
be
w h o le
o ld
her
Love
may
F o u n ta in m a rrie s
Do d d
the
to
m e d ic in e ";
of
Lucy
baonground,
g ra te fu l
name
w holesom e
m anners,
Dodd.
fa m ily
so
but
E d ic t
of
c a lle d
s a ilo r,
p e d ig re e
F o u n ta in ,
who
e s ta b lis h e d
is
because
of
Love
a n x io u s
the
N a n te s ,
la tte r* s
known
8.
A s l a t e a s 1 8 8 5 R i c h a r d G. 7 / h i t e w r o t e , " T h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e ­
t w e e n p e r s o n s who a r e ' i n t r a d e * and t h o s e who a r e n o t i s i n s i s t ­
ed u p o n w i t h c o n s t a n t v i g i l a n c e .
T h is d is c r im in a tio n is p e rp e tu a ­
t e d a n d d e e p e n e d by t h e e t i q u e t t e o f t h e c o u r t . . . .
I t h a s been
t o l d r e c e n t l y i n a London new spaper o f an E n g l i s h l a d y , whose m ar­
r i e d n am e i s o f ' m o s t b a s e a n d m e c h a n i c a l ’ o r i g i n , t h a t h a v i n g h a d
o n e i n t e r v i e w w i t h a g o v e r n e s s wh om s h e t h o u g h t o f e n g a g i n g , a n d
h a v in g ; b e e n much p le a s e d w i t h h e r , she o n th e s e c o n d i n t e r v i e w i n ­
f o r m e d h e r t h a t she was s o r r y t h a t s h e c o u l d n o t e n g a g e h e r , a s she
had d i s c o v e r e d t h a t she h a d l i v e d i n a f a m i l y t h e h e a d o f w h i c h
was ' i n t r a d e * - - S i r B ache C u n a r d " ( E n g la n d V / i t h i n and U i t h o u t ,
H o u g h to n , I d i f f l i n and C o . , B o s to n , 1 8 8 5 , p T 2 8 3 ) •
9*
Uji*
c i t . , p.
127.
21B
10
in
p e d i g r e e s
as ’the Norman Conquest.'"
After a long estrangement,
old Fountain becomes friendly with Luc./ and Captain Dodd again when
some antiquarian proves to him that actually the Dodds were of a
much more ancient family than Talboys.
Although Reade did not concern himself very much with the at­
titudes and movements of any one level of society toward another,
he frequently inveighed agairist the intrigues, frivolities,
hypo­
crisies, and immoralities prevalent within that specific stratum
of human activity which is generally described as "Society."
It
must be borne in mind that notwithstanding his preaching about
fiction as an art, in practice the chief force which guided his
literary efforts was the conviction that as the "moral instructor"
of his tines, a writer's first obligation was "to do good."
This
doctrine is no more apparent in any other department of Reade's
reform activity than in his comments uwon "societ,," ana there it
11
is clearly manifested in the author's crusade against immorality.
rifeode ’S first novel, Pee
'..offlug ton, treats the uuplicities
and eventual exposure ol‘ the suave country gentleman who leaves
his wife safely at nome while he pursues more exciting game in
10.
hard Cash, Vol. 2, p. 55.
11. A careful study of Re ait's worms furnishes complete proof
that his personal code of morals was strictly liid-Victorian, and
his boohs contain occasional contemptuous references to what Arnold
calls the "lubricity" of French literature.
For example, in The
Ji lt , he explains that "Greaves, who had read no French novels,
and respected the marriage tie, became more distant and respectful"
220
London— "Mr. Vane, the good, the decent, the church-rtoer-Mr. Vsne, whom Mrs. Woffinston had selected to improve her morals —
12
Mr. Vene was a merried man!"
And in The Cloister end the Hearth
the author exposes the immorality oi' an earlier society in his
extensive treatment of the conduct of the younger set of Florence,
end particularly in his description of the temptation suggested
to Gerard by the Princess Cesarini.
Notv/ithstanding the ferocious
attacks of immorality launched against its author in 1866, any
present-day reader whose mind is neither prejudiced nor perverted
can see that Griffith Gaunt represents R e a d e ’s attempt to set
forth clearly ana nonestly the individual unhappiness and concom­
itant widespread social evil resulting from transgressions against
the merrigee laws.
Apart from the artistic excellence of the story,
Feace's attitude toward Mercy Vint, and Fate Gaunt, end indeed
toward Gaunt himself,
is one of unmistakable pity, and perhaps
the fact that the author was attacked by Puritans in America and
England for describing the true nature of bigamy and adultery
is the best vindication of his coursre ss a reformer.
A_ Terrible
Temptation, published live years later (1871), contains an equal­
ly plain-spoken account of the sordid affair indulged in by the
wealthy young Sir Charles Esssett and Fhoda Somerset, and it
should be noted that the account of the conspiracy organized to
make Sir Charles believe his wife has eiven birth to a child is
13
based upon an actual court case which was tried in 1870.
Although
12.
Op. ci t., p. 107.
13.
Elwin, p. 217,
221
Aeade deiended himseli end his work l bly e n o u h
in the withering
replies to Goldwin Smith's end the T imes* s charges of immorality,14
perhaps the best justification of his motives in writing the
story is to be found in a brief notebook entry, made six months
before the story began its serial run in Cassell's family Mag a­
zine .
After expressing the fear chat the book will offend in some
quarters, Reede writes on, "Yet is it really wrong to tell the
truth soberly -- v i z . that young men of fortune hi ve all mistresses;
ana
chat these are not romantic creatures, but only low, uneducated
15
women bedizened in fashionable clothes?"
Go a sincere effort to
expose and castigate one form
:f evil existing in some quarters
of so-called society (certainly the word "all" in the quotation
is unjust) brought upon its author a veritable avalanche of foul
16
names and vile insinuations.
Therefore, in his campaign against
immorality heade should be credited with the distinct courage re­
quired to discuss his points of reform in language which left no room i
for misinterpretation.
14.
See "A Terrible
A adiana.
15.
[’captation" end"Eacts hust Be Raced " in
Elwin, p. 216.
1 6 . in the course of his denunciation of the novel as irmaoral, an
American newspaper reviev/er described net de as "a slimy, poisonous
literary reptile," and "a gatherer of offal for the hyenas of the
human race"; the some article refers to the boon as a "mass of broth­
el garbage *' (E. W. TIornung, o p . c i t . ,p . 1 6 0) 1 At this time Aeade's
own association with Lrs. Seymour subjected him to criticism from
quarters as slimy as the American reviewer must have been, and so
Ellen Terry, who nnew kcade intimately, both as friend and producer,
and who was a frequent visitor at Albert Terrace after 1874, wrote
in her autobiography, "Between M r s . Seymour and Charles heade ex­
isted a friendship of that rare sort about which it is easy for people
who are not a$ all rare, unfortunately, to say ill-natured things.
Charles ueede worshiped Laura Seymour, and she understood him and
sympathized with his work and his whims.
She died before he did, and
he never got over it" (E. Terry, o p . c i t . , p. 112).
Reade’s philippics against drunkenness among the laboring
classes have already been discussed*
His attacks upon the same
evil in high placet's are no less denunciatory.
Although in the
beginning of The Eighth Commandment. published in 1860,the author
is pleased to note a "Decline of drunkenness in monarchs, prime
17
ministers, chancellors, bishops, and dignities in general,"
he continues to berate a society which seemed to depend upon
alcohol for social exhiliration and mental relaxation.
He points
out in The Simpleton that Reginald Falcon is given courage to
deceit upon Mrs. Staines by drinking brandy, and pauses to
commit his terrible act o^exclaim, "Drink forever I great ruin of EngIS
lish souls as well as bodies.”
In the tense wedding breakfast
scene of Put Yourself in His Place he digresses to score "The
19
usual folly of drinking healths,"
and in Love Me Little, Love
Me Long, when describing the wealthy Mr. Hardie’s custom of in­
viting his employees to dinner once a year, he adds that by the
end of the meal they "were always expected to be solemnly, not
improperly intoxicated; ... nowise fuddled, but muddled.
For
the graceful superstition of the day suspected severe sobriety
20
at solemnities as churlish and ungraceful.”
17.
Op. _c_i_t• i p .3•
18.
Ojd• cit. t p. 400.
And in the little
19. 0£. cit. , p. 44. He hasalreadysuggestedthat all pre-wed­
ding letters should bewritten andread bymachinery (p. 28)1
223
•"1 .
" h ’. V
...
- n:
t
-I-
I'-1 a h' A s
’9
I
.'iUJrziii;"
v.co
n^vor
univc
ilv
iOrol i n
r e \ i ro ec
usoooiatxon \ it..', i-ij'iihiia *! one to c r e a t e
itr« I f ,
itr
siu t n e ot..cr t i set isfy
tail's u } i.ax a il.aya oec . aJ..See t..a.iicaiy L1xa _.aa.a , .a k.
ia'0 a Ta,
a oaji'i'aiCo ax i...a ..a Dit as ii j l. /fl-i-J a ,iat J , oU.t aa iau_. >a iix..)aa 11 y
f .±, ia worthy a moment ’’s attention.
t i i l
\s_
r e a s r e t;u
jciit 1 e. i0 ii u i u
In the forties it
iia D i t , a v u. 1 a_. I - i a
iiiUu L.at. i n
itj
a at
only
out
of
l
j. t .
doors,
..rue
j.n i.,e
a one
stables,
23
or
at
n ig h t,
in
soi.u me an
bc.onstui.ro
te a
la te x ',
bcia . j t o
\a a tt,
h u it
a;.o.; i a 1 was
a1
the 1Giio .iij>•>-roaiu*—
21 .
1x1.• jKLt . , 1.* o •
2d »
__il\ .iii, a . 3 a 3 •
23.
11SL
G.
G.
1 0 x*a,
years
i
a
even
i n
_cO.aa.ee o.a -aa,.-aa..c c a as
when there
h e e l , '.'he s t r e a m
19a
a s u rtK e u t,"
''•
of
a.s
etui w h e n
'e .itle . .lji t r
s.1, iai.ct., i v
one
r'im e , C h a r-lo s
n ot
l e i ae
cluas.
tse
c aa.i I aeci
that
’' c r i b l e r ' s
the
oa. ,
to
224
habit was considered actually immoral, but worse — namely, un24
cleanly.”
In one of Reades’s first and best short stories,
The Box Tunnel, published in 1853, the author describes Captain
Dolignan as pursuing Miss Haythorn even to church, where he
learns that "there is a world where they neither polk nor smoke 25
the two capital abominations of this one."
Twenty-five years
later, in The Coming Man. Reade laments the wastefulness of Eng­
lishmen who "spend twice as much in the mere tax on tobacco, 8S
26
they do in all the books and newspapers."
In his reflections upon the attitudes of the women of society
toward one another and toward men, Reade is mercilessly analytical.
He defines society as a "clique" at best, and avers that "The sur­
face of every society is like the skin of a man — hides a deal
27
of secret machinery."
That this machinery is manipulated largely
by the dainty fingers of unscrupulous ladies, Reade assumes as
granted.
In the early Peg Woffington he asserts that "Women are
generally such faithless, unscrupulous and pitiless humbugs in their
dealings with their own sex, which, whatever they may say, they'despise
24.
M. E. Perugini, pp. cit., p. 57.
j
25. The Jilt, and Good Stories. Chatto and Wii^is, Library edi­
tion, London, 1912, p. 146. In discussing the reel, Reade des­
cribes it as "articulate” dancing, "compared with the loose,
lawless diffluence of motion that goes by that name” (Christie
Johnstone, p. 92).
26.
Op. cit., p. 8.
Love
Little. Xo,y.e Me Long, p. 105.
225
o
do
at heart."
As illustrative of their designing cruelt ’7 toward one
another Reade condemns their gossip, which "always backbites, you
know."
Again, in A Woman-Hater he exclaims,
"Oh gossipJ delight
of ordinal-'7 souls, and more delightful still when vou furnish food
29
for detraction."
In country as well as town (for "Villages are
30
alwavs concluding there is something wrong about people")
the
round of dissimulation and deceit goes hcurlv forward, supported
by camouflages of faintings, fits, restoratives, and oceans of
tears.
In A Simpleton the beautiful and calculating Rosa Lusig-
nan confides to her fiance, "I find people leave off teasing you
31
when you cry — gentlemen, I mean.
Ladies go on all the more,”
and in Love he Little, Love Me Long Lucy Fountain herself "had
observed what an unlimited command of eve-water an hysterical
32
female possesses."
Lest the multiple application of tnis liquid
abundance be lost upon his readers, the autnor later declares
that "The sex, accustomed to read the nicer shades of emotion,
distinguisnes tears of pique, tears of disappointment, tears of
33
spite, tears various, from tears of grief."
Reaae excoriates
28.
Ojo. cit.,
29.
0£. cit. , p . 35.
30.
p. 181.
It Is Nev er .Too Late to M e n d , p. 43.
31.
0£. cit. , p. 10.
32.
Ojc. c i t . , p. 417.
33.
Ibid., p. 427.
226
the nee pant, srirls of fifteenth century Holland for twitting
Mersraret, Brandt about the orotracted ^hpence of her betrothed;
end he purports his assertion thet women ere basically and cruel­
ly gavpse by remarking of the eighteenth century Gri^'ith Gauntfs
desertion o^ his wife, "A wife ehandonded is a woman insulted,
34
end makes the wives that are not, abandoned--cluck."
Reade
tekes his attack unon women’s cruelty to one another even through
the doors of religion when he causes Mr. Carden to say, in res­
ponse to Henry Little's query regarding the hiding place of the
former’s daughter, "Phe is amonpr people she takes for angels, at
present.
Fhe will ^ind them to be petty, mean, malicious devils.
35
She is in a Protestant convent."
His last word in the catalog
of feminine cruelty is illustrated through the character of
Mrs. Bazalgette in Love Me Little, Love Me Long.
This quite
convincing creature, part fool and part fiend, neglects child,
husband, and household while she fills her ward with romantic gush,
and
at the same time conspires to wreck the latter's life so that
she
may indulge a veritable passion for flirtation.
Much of her
conduct at first appears merely idiotic, but occasional glimpses
of her cold preoccupation with dress, social prestige, personal
comfort, and men, obsessions to be indulged at any cost to others,
all contribute to the convincing portrait of a figure for the de­
lineation of which its painter has received too little credit.
34.
35.
Griffith Gaunt, p. 282.
Put Yourself in His Place, Book 2, p. 79.
227
Reade also holds forth at considerable length upon the In­
tricacies of society’s marriage marts.
There are unions for con­
venience, unions for wealth, unions for title, unions for spite;
millions for joining together, but few pennies indeed for putting
36
asunder. Young Rosa Lusignan, even without benefit of maternal
advice, but with a generous share of Sharpian foresight, allows
her mind to dwell complacently upon the prospect of having "A gentle­
man all her own, whom she could put her finger on any moment, and
37
make him take her about." Robert Penfold, sighing away his seem­
ingly hopeless love, stares wistfully at the cases of gold con­
signed for shipment on the Proserpine, for he knows that "wealth
can pave the way to hearts, ay, even to hearts that cannot be
downright bought."
In Love Lie Littl e, Love Lie Long the redoubtable
Eve Dodd exclaims to her heart-sore bother,
'David! David! you d o n ’t know these great houses, nor the
fair-snoken creatures that live in then, with tongues turned to
sentiment, and mild eyes fixed on the main chance; their drawing­
rooms are carpeted market-places; you nay see the stones bulge
through the flowery pattern; there the ladies sell their faces,
the gentlemen their titles and their money; and I fear LTiss
Fountain’s hand will go like the rest — to the highest bidder.' 39
35. Tn A ’"cman-Hater, wh°n discussing the possibility of Jna, rlosking’s d'i vorcl np Sev^rne, Rhoda (tale remarks, "That is not so easy
in ihis country. It is not like our ’"astern states, where, the
saying is, they give you five minutes at a railway station for a
dT-vorce"(p . 43y).
37. A Simpleton, n.ll,
38. Foul ^lay , p. 34.
39. On. cit., p. 314.
228
A Simpleton’s kindly end shrewd Lady Cicely Treherne becomes con­
cerned sbout the married future of her far from brilliant cousin,
Lord Podcaster.
In excellent, though not quite consistent anal­
ogy, neade declares that she freukly
ssxied herself what were Todcaster's chances in the lottery of
wives. ,T1he heavy army of scheming mothers, the light cavalry
of artful daughters, rose before her cousinly and disinterested
eyes, and she asked herself what chance poor little Podcaster
would have of c; tching a true love, with a hundred female artists
manoevering, wheeling, ambuscading, and charging upon his wealth
and titles .4 0
From the same book must be taxen a longer passage which amply sum­
marizes the salient characteristics of many a social affair given
before and since Reade 's day.
Dr. Staines and his beautiful wife
have moved to London, and in the course of tii.m have been invited
to one of the soirees of the day:
They had not taken many steps, on ihe chance of finding
their hostess, when a slight buzz arose, and seemed to follow them.
Rosa wondered whet that was; but only for a moment; she
observed a tall, stout, aquiline woman fix an eye of bitter, dia­
bolical, malignant hatred on her; and as she advanced, ugly noses
were cocked disdainfully, and scraggy shoulders elevated at the
risk of sending the bones though the leather, and a titter of
two shot after her. A woman's instinct gave her the key at once;
the sexes had complimented her at sight; each in their way; the
men with respectful admiration; the women with their inflaiumable
jealously and ready hatred in another of the quality they value
most in themselves.
But the country girl was too much for them;
she would neither see nor hear, but moved sedately on, and calmly
crushed them with her southern beauty.
Their dry, powdered faces
could not live by the side of her glowing skin, with nature's
delicate gloss upon it, and the rich blood mantling below it.
The got-up beauties, i.e., the majority, seemed literally to fade
and wither as she passed.
40.
Op. c i t . , p. 346.
229
Mrs. l-ucas got to her, suppressed a slight maternal pang,
having daughters to marry. ana took her in line in a moment;
here was decoy duck. Mrs. Lucas was all graciousness, made
acquaintance, and took a little turn with her. introducing her
to one or two persons;
anon" the rest, to the malignant woman,
Lrs. Larr. M r s . burr, on this, censed to look daggers and sub­
stituted icicles; but or. the hateful beauty moving nwav, droope
tin: icicles, and resumed the ooinaras.
The rooi.is Tilled;
the heat became oppressive, mid the nix
odors j1‘ flowers. scents. and pernoirinr humanity, sickoninn.
dome, unable to bear it. trickles out of the room, and set all
down the stall's. 41
Jlosel'
ve rsio •
. I'or all the sunerfici
w.da’s ■xer
Ip
relates to his h ij.onoroval of social iatrimue st-n
i're 'uentl'
1'ie icui'
o.ae m yi'J. •••.; r.a; icn
ooa rr
;oc i.at v h ... •
ie ii.vari d
1
eS111r
- o n 0 ' r*:-..
ire i v i L
d.' ■ 1 0 .■mr" W
.lit-
o
n
e se
:w
imui"
:
iteb s > evi:
230
d e c lu re s
th a t
c o rd ia lity ,
co n tra sts
"In
c e rta in
w h ic h
th is
at
co m p a n ie s
b o tto n
s p u rio u s ,
is
as
you
s h a ll
h o llo w
lu n c h e o n -c lu b
as
th a t
passes
wo me n a t H r .
when t h e r e
s m ile
at
fo r
F o u n ta in 's
is
no
re a l
a g re e a b le n e s s
p a rty
have
o c c a s io n
a hum orous
s to ry ,
th e y
p a rtin g
lo v e rs
as
and
Oo o d - i ‘ e l i o w s h i p
b lo om
the
v ic io u s
so
is
re la te s
th a t,
h a v in g
burst
fo rth
m irth fu lly
to
th e
s tu p id ity
th a t
accustom ed
it
he
w ith
th e
w h e n he
become
fo r
a b o is te ro u s
d ip lo m a c y ,"
"m odest g e n i a l i t y , w h ic h i s to s o c i e t y w h a t
44
p lu m ."
E a r l i e r i n t h e same s t o r y h e f l a y s
o f much
see
th e
to
fa ile d
la u g h in g
even
at
to
the
•15
p a th e tic
At
the
th a t
and
c lo s e
the
of
of
th e
e ig h te o th
frie n d s h ip
D u ja rd in 's
was
d e s c rib e d
w h ic h
sacreu
c e n tu ry
e v e n tu a lly
--"a
in
a sad
S cotch
n o v e l V.'hite
d e ve lo p e d
frie n d s h ip
of
L i e s , he
betw een
the
song.
w rite s
th e
a n c ie n t
h a y n a l's
G reens,
bo
not
of
London
the
m odern
life
of
c lu b -h o u s e ,"
C h ris tie
and
and
fin a lly ,
C h a rle s
C a tty ,
in
he
d e s c rib in g
in fo rm s
us
the
th a t
They have p l e n t y o f s o c i e t y , r e a l s o c i e t y , n o t th e i l l - a s s o r L e u
c o l l e c t i o n o f a p r e —a e t e r m i n e u n u m b e r o l b o d i e s , t h a t b l i n d l y
assumes th a n n a m e , b u t t h e r i c h c o m m u n ic a tio n o f v a r i o u s anu f e r ­
t i l e m in d s ;
t h e y v e r y , v e r y se ld om c o n s e n t t o s q u a t f o u r m o r­
t a l h o u rs on one c h a i r ,
. . . £ to w a ste tixa ej n i b b l i n g , s i p p i n g ,
a n d t w . u i d l i n ^ , , i n f o u r m o r t a l h o u r s , whan c o u l d h a v e b e e n e a t e n ,
d r u n n e i i t s i q j . a n d s a i d , i n t n i r t y - f i v e m i n u t e s . 47
One w i s h e s
he
consumes
c u rio u s ly
in
tn a t
d e c ry in g
s ile n t
n il * c i t . ,
p.
45 •
I b id .,
36.
4o.
Op.
47.
C h ris tie
c it . ,
rj .
th e
re c o rd in g
44*
p.
h e a le
hau
o t h e r 1/ r s e
d ic ta te s
the
men' s . j
1 j-9 •
410 .
J ch n sto n e ,
p.
of
187-
spent
la u ie s '
H is
tne
tin e
and
fa s h io n s .
c a s tig a tio n s
energy
(lie
of
is
such
231
characters ay ,.rs. hie ra l-_Mc.te, \
a;.'..
i'r
j. ■ t ... L/iC
b a n u , a/iu
Carol M o
no
C o.a-t e n u y
a «ub;. , a m .
0 1 i0
.. ..t■ .lOO
-1. h j C * s-X
O
• O
0
J.U
a t
... , i y
i . r s .
ox
a
t a
.ic..
L . L A .A.
,
a t
■,
a l l
L". .. L.
iVjhi 0
icr
v
I*t
e
]p
e
a u t h o r 1a
)b:;^'-vrr
arc
a ’1
-vjBRi on
oh
the
e
■: a
o
, . ',
t
by
,
irit<2 r e ~t i . n y ,
for
tMoe
r e J h r ’i,
to
ta
a .1
n
;
1
o.
e._. t -
i n i
'
'
or.
i a .,
j o
>
......
..
O
. }
;.l.
jJ
m e
.
a _L
v
. o c a r e ’. l
■
tie.
i a
,
/
t r
1 J'f:
h :■
>1'
but
JU'L.
.... a
i..u u u
, I .ie
l e t
1 6
n-ll
<..
; .. t l .
. ——
i. . . . . >
j
■. ,r e
a M y
o r) t
a u i h
.■! c
"
_t..
. . e ;-
t . n
.
c .a t .
oa a a .
.to .
..
'
h
o_ r * c n t .
. n e .e
y
a ■■ t o
re ; h
t ' - e l
h
r e a l ]
e ..
a l. a ... .. .c
t h e
> '•'
o en-a o
jail, at.
.. i. u
h
o l i e / . n e n t
.a
o
.. o ' .
. . u*
l
Wo-. M
ho
.on j g o o -i e a ,i ;i
c. . x * a .
t i
uu r i
a : n
t.La.,
t-
a 'Me'
;■oo ■
at. :
.i.. . .i
rj.
e h ) t h a;,
Oa-n n.ty,
.e
' a a. - . . t o y
U J i.0 . ... a I"
h o n . i M i.i' o
a
a l l
uCi.iti.
,ia i.a y
/au.ij
j
}
o t
. 1j 1 1 t t i
the
e it-L ... t
t
t..i.i
a
oh
fir;t
a ,t ..or
j
. . e... . o “ a
O.Lj
the
.to ., u
. i ^ h e r
o. l
■~ye
-•(.
G f r e c t i n : blorv . o r ::-,
L ii
______
.-CO.
t . . J ... e
t.i-. e l
t ) be
■tin
e ...e
j
u .iu
u
oi
■
c a i l o
(
.. .a a
01’
C
C i.. ..
i e . t y t L
h o c u
.1u
0. h
1
. or
iodic. l i v e
• -C - U
.r
j i
...j1.
"burned
a, ti'.o.. o- .a
»» ,oi<; c . 1 i c
t,.e
to
.. 6
.
..
.1
U. . I
a ;f i t h ..... v
'■ J
C
Oii
'
tin
a.u.
a ,o ,
:i'.
oh
J ‘j
or
cc t ..o 0. .J.
.0 • Oat*.
Pt0
t
L,
232
bo a n n o u n c e
an
in
th e
am orous
m is tre s s
of
the
fe te
d 'U r
"m ade
e q u e s t r i a n t o i l e t i n o n l y f o r t y m i n u t e s , she b e i n g r e a l l y
51
a h u rry ."
I n A S i m p l e t o n lie. d e c o m p l a i n s b i t t e r l y o f R o s a
S ta in e s ’ s
der
th a t
e x tra v a g a n t
purse,
and
in
one
The re ' s 12any s S l i p
th a t
Ile lu s in a
dia m on d s
and
demands
of
th e
’ T w ix t
lle w to n
le s t
the
c lo th e s
p ie c e s
Cup a n d
p a u p e riz e s
her
upon
her
he w r o t e ,
the
L ip
husband
h u s b a n d 's
the
short
(1 8 8 1 ),
by
her
he
s le n ­
s to ry
e x p la in s
purchases
of
s a b le s .
That
Reade
a ffe c te d
s ty le
in
la d ie s '
gowns
b ra te
the
and
fo r
the
may
re c o n c ilia tio n
G riffith ,
L irs .
pose
be
seen
w h ic h
Gaunt
of
gave
has
to
an
a u th o rity
fro m
h is
ta xe n
on
re p ort
p la ce
q u a lity
th a t
b etw een
to
and
c e le ­
h e rs e lf
h e r m aid
a d r e s s she had o n l y w o rn a y e a r .
P..is does n o t so u n d q u e e n l y
t o y o u l a d i e s ; b u t xnow t h a t
a w e e x 's w e a r t e l l s f a r m o re on t h e
f l i m s y t r a s h y o u w e a r now ada ys th a n a y e a r d i d on t h e g l o r i o u s
s i I k s o f L y o n s I . l r s . G a u n t 'p u t
o n ; t r i c k a s b r o a d c l o t h a n d em­
b r o i d e r e d so c u n n i n g l y b y th e
lo o m , t h a t i t
w o u ld p ass f o r
ra re st
n e e d le w o rk .
B e s i d e s , i n t h o s e d a y s , s i l x w a s s i l x . 52
The
s ame
fam ous
la n d
if
a ttitu d e
c rin o lin e s ,
d u rin g
m e nts
lis h
s n o w in g
one
the
beg: a
d e ftly
m a n ne r,"
and
to
flo a t
even
th e
the
tim e s
about
b illo w e d
s te rn ly
in
anon
C o n c e rn in g
upon
managed,
; d o tte d
s e ttle d
fiftie s .
c o m m e n ta to r
la d ie s
not
w h ic h
is
in
out
h e ro ic
h is
the
c tta c n s
w h o le
of
upon
fe m a le
these
m o u n ta in o u s
note s
th a t
enorm ous
and
up i n
F lo re n c e
a fte r
w ire
1855
an
to
Eng­
re fin e ­
cages
q u ite
went
the
"Eng­
w h ic h ,
u n s e e m ly
C rim e a
53
"in
. he r
sw e e p in g
51.
T h e GL l o i ' s t e r
52 *
G riffith
53.
0.
S.
s a in ts
and
G aunt,
P e e l,
op.
th e
p.
--
under w h ic h
H e a rth ,
p.
328.
c it . ,
p.
234.
she w ore
104#
fiv e
p e ttic o a ts ."
233
In Put Yourself in His Place Reade relates that the "tyrannical
crinolines"
of Grace Garden and her friend force Henry Little
5 4
off the sidewalk to make room for then,
arl(^ nine years before
he had lamented tha-t "Cur crinoline spares the' nobler parts of
r,ty
women, and makes the base gigantic."
3o he nourns "the
days of old" when "female dress commit ted two errors that are
disappe ■r i n n :
it revealed the whole foot by day, and hid a sec0
5G
tion of the bosrn at night."
But R e a d ’s soundest and most vehement cr u m do a^a^inst the
foibles of female fashion is based upon his claim of their dam­
age to health.
Dr. Btoines takes the trouble to domonst-ate to
his wife that her habit of blocking the pores of her skin with
57.
face powder is actively injurious to her health;
in A Terrible
Ternptatj on ilary "/ells, only a l a d y ’s no id, suffers long and acute
bodily discomfort before permitting that a mown which hurts her
intensely be unhooked -- but she belongs "tc a sex which can
walk not only smiling, but jauntily, though dead lame,
ping stilts —
on slo50
as you nay see any day in Regent Street" ; and
in the comparatively late and brief The Coming Han
(1878) Reade
rehearses the sundry follies of "the sex" in their slavish pursuit
54. Op. c i t ., p. 128. Hr. Perugini reports that some were "so wide,
indeed, t"Ka"t a circumference of ten or twelve yards at the hem was
not unusual" (0 £. cit., p. 99).
55.
The Cloister and the Hearth, p.464.
56.
Love Lie Little, Love He Long, p.39.
57.
a
S i m e o n , p. 140.
58. 0£. c i t ., p. 308.
234
of fashion:
As for our civilized women, the" spend next to none of their
own money in mental food.
They are, as a sex, economical, and even
pars in on x on s , -- till they nass a draper's, and then exit ■Economy,
and enter the worst waste.
On to their backs ^o their incomes;
and even in needless, and ugl" additions, to their clothing; and
in distortin'; their ears — those perfect shells -- with ear-rings,
and crushing their vitals with corsets, that redden their noses,
and disease their bodies; and in dyes that burn off their hair, and
piles of dead hair that rub the live hair off their skulls where
no forethought is, the ;•? spend, without exaggeration, three hundred
times more money than the" do in printed matter, which is the v i ­
tal food and wholesome nutriment of the civilized mind, whether
nale or female. 59
Among all the possiile methods of cultivating fashion at the
expense of health, Reade cries out most rabidlv at the institution known to a less dignified age as the corset.
He f i m l v believed
GO
that f!rs. S e m o u r died cf "-out in the stomach,"
aggravated b^
the tight lacin^ which the fashion of the day dictated, and in
the introduction to A Simpleton he states that the incident of
Rosa Lusiynan1s expectorations of blood due to her tight sta vs 1
interfering with respiratory action is based upon an actual case
of which he had personal >nowledTe.
harks hack tc- one of the first of his
But his anti-stav campaign
literor--
efforts,
he writes that both Christie Johnstone and. Jean Carrie
lar-'e corporeal tract; the-’ had never known a corset,
wore straight as javelins;
their heads J
intended;
in which
"had a
so the"
the" could lift their hands above
actuallvJ
Their sur.ple nersens moved as Nature
61
every gesture was ease, grace, and freedom."
In
o1).
Op.
cit., p. 9.
60.
See Elwin, p. 346.
61.
Christie Johnstone, p. 18.
235
Singleheart and Doubleface Deborah Smart laughs "from the chest,
62
as young ladies are ordered to sing (but forbidden by Sir Dorset),"
and in the short story Tit for Tat Daria Solavieff "sang out from
a chest and frame whose free play had never been confined by
63
stays."
Finally, in complete artistic as wall as physiological
despair, Reade exclaims,
Europe and America crush tne vitals of t,.e growing female,
rob that m-sterpiece, the floating ribs, of their elastic play,
and substitute a bad hour-glass, a hideous meeting of the Triangles,
for the serpentine line of beauty nature has bestowed on women.
By this the body not only loses its beauty of outline, but is
filled with dise'ses, some of them disgusting. 64
62.
Ojd. c i t . , (Hard Das h. Vol, 2), p. 18.
63.
Ojc. c i t . , p. 75.
64.
The Doming M a n , p. 33.
236
CHAPTEN TEN
'’CROTCHETS"
Mr. Elwin informs us thst even in his Magdalen days Charles
Reade "Is id the foundstior of thst reputetion for eccentricity
1
which remained with him through life."
Forty years later, in the
course of a review of Free Labor, the dramatic version of Put Your­
self in His Place, s Times critic offered the somewhat irrelevant
but accurate observation, that "Mr. Reade is as clever ss he is
2
crotchety."
The statement would have been more exact still if the
order of characteristics had been reversed.
His penchant for
striking attire, his irtimate associations with squirrels, robins,
and hares, end his strong and bluntly expressed personal sentiments
all combined to encourage the reputation for eccentricity to
which his biographers have given due notice.
but from the viewpoint
of social analysis, Reade cemonstroted idiosyncrasies of reform
which have been either slighted or neglected entirely by those
1.
Elwin, p. 3 0*
2.
Memoir, p. 3^-6.
237
who have attempted to record the history of his life.
Although
perhaps enough discussion to establish the significance of his
position as a reformer already has been presented in this study,
there are some additional matters whicJa may serve not only to
complete an understanding of his indefatigable crusad/^1tempera­
ment, but also to illustrate that occasionally the expressions of
its convictions may well be described as "crotchety."
In 1883, only a year before his death, Reade wrote a posthu­
mously published article which indicates his reaction to the
masculine habits affected by many ardent female feminists.
The paper
is entitled Androgynism; or Woman Playing at Man, and it was
3
published in 1911. At its beginning he remarks that "Between
the years 1858-62, i. e ,., about the date when I first began to
collect from real life material for the drama, instances of an­
drogynism occurred, or were brought to light, with unusual fre4
quency, and I devoted a folio of 250 leaves to tabulating them."
He recounts the case of one Kate Tozer, a strange young girl who
married an
itinerant house painter named Coombe, in 1853.
The union
was a loveless one, and as they tramped about the country seeking
3. See the English Review, Vol 9, pp. 10-39 (August), and
pp. 191-212 (September).
4. Ibid., p. 11. Here is a striking illustration of Reade’s elab­
orate notebook program — writing in 1883 of an incident which
he had recorded from the newspapers twenty-odd years previously.
238
employment and living from hand to mouth, the slow-witted husband
began to stand in awe of his spouse’s masculine coldness toward
him.
Finally Kate
received a small legacy, and immediately used
It to provide herself with a complete wardrobe of men’s clothing,
insisting that she would pose as her husband's son, secure work
as his helper, and thereby increase their meager earnings.
Her
disguise was completely successful, and after a time the painter
and his supposed son Fred settled together for a long job in a
small English town.
There the latter met Nelly Smith, who fell
passionately in love with her, and after a time the Imposter wrote
letters to Nelly which Indicate that some Platonic or poetic
variety of her passion was returned.
The real girl's parents
demurred at the prospect of an Immediate marriage, and In the
Interiih the Coombe’s decided to leave the town.
Matters came
to a climax when Nelly ran away with the couple, and settled
in another village as Kate's sweetheart.
The law finally dis­
covered them (the disguise was not penetrated till the end),
and Kate was brought to trial, where she defended herself ably
enough to secure a discharge from the court.
In an effort to
explain how Nelly could have fallen in love with such a strange
creature Reade points out that
Even, so the maiden under the spell of love idealizes a common­
place, nasty brute, until by this magnifying process he becomes
a rather superior archangel, and many cuts above gentlemen ten
thousand-fold his betters in mind, body, and estate. There Is
no limit to illusion. Titania fondles, an ass, and the wives of
drunkards excel all others In devotion. There must surely be
some kind of flaw in the feminine Iris, a variety of color-blind-
239
ness, or there amazing errors would cease to be repeated, froui
veneration to generation. 5
And at the close of his story the writer assorts that Kate she aid
not be condemned as criminal, but classified as weirdly poetic,
or
' ' j T)«! i n f ! ) ”
and
Besides,
a n e r o c h w h l o t h a s i n d e n t e d t h e d i v id e d , s k i r t n e e d
n e t b o t'-’O s e v e r e
a n d w ; w r i l ' ’n .
h e x e s , like c l a s s e s , have
a t e n d e n c y t o f u s e , arid b o r r o w e a c h o t h e r * o d i f f e r e n t i a .
7 r e d * s fT r.ite ’ sj s h o r t v a i r
i n IP-dO 11 os a n m . i t r a y e , a n d t h ° I n. m o s
o f P i o e b o r o u r 1! t o l d v' e r s c .
In 1 8 f t th e h a te s one m e e ts a re
a r c h e d a l c' n i l 1 t n i r e , a n d p a r a d e w i t h
' o l d - ’r' c o d e d s t i c k s l i k e
bedells.
T h e s o x i s f n l l o v / i n y P r e d t o do e v i l ,
->nd u t t h e r o l e
o f p r o g r e s s o n d ro y y u is .n i s w a k i'.y , f be t a b le o f a f f i n i t y w i l l
s o o n h a v e t o be e r l n r y e d b y t h e " ' e d i t i o n o f t h e p r o h i b i t i v e
e n a c t m e n t , ” A w o ; ,nn m a y r
o t •• ••• r r y 1 e r ••ra. n c m o t h e r . ’ •:
?’r o r:i A n -"ch
Tel err^-rh
+he
five
si n y l e
a nd
title
letters
star
attention
are
boxer,
and
Pi e
which
th e
e r*ie r
for
s in
t"n e
to d i n s i p h,i
so:^ of
in p ow e r,
dexterity,
finr- t f o r c e
b eh i n d
7 a 11 v
l e t to m
d .irinr the sa ne
^ear.
’T1n
refute
superiority of
and d i u u i t y .
th e l e f t - h a n d e d
~h ~ claim
that
since
fo^t
advo
t i.n.o
~hn
<*1 r-t
p ;e m y t h s
the
an 1
the r i u h t
Ileaue
punch
t he mg -••t^rly d e x t e r i t ' r r e u j i r e c
l e n d s ^c>in t° o u t
I b 1d ., p . t r y
•'->»ot e
i u- r e p u t e d
th e i” " l a m e n t j? r'f dr'.
5.
1°
support
em^hasir.es
^h'" ' f y d
a
Jon; u.
v l o l i r i a t * s l e f t v nnd.
mere
of 1878
'eeV.lv
devoted
Liu l o f t
to
•.'oril
" a r t * n r * s.
superstitions
hana
to
of
of
the
she
r i r ’^t
if vm.n a l w a y s
c al ls
is
l,v a
.•'•per:1,ted
. aid ■■ i"'1ir is i' ■ .'w>o l ’r c o n n n t i o i e w i th
240
Christ i'm
cnnnot
3 c1 m i s , t h e
lo••oleoily
the
letters
t"h 3
Z .r'1A Iy O ^ T 3 r] ^
tO
j'r. 3 O W
is
A
he
the
::o‘d e
cio'jornent
set
of
fron
the
ts r y
trapeze
jn
^ t' : ° A d
i n l 'nur
s u r e ri o r
if.
P’
T fo T't
nut
<'hich
* V|(• -’no
e o n to.ins
au«-'t‘e s tiotio
of
for
1• , t ,
OlflO^rO
The
'vltim
to
stupe
rVJ.lt i v ': J' o
u nu
forward.
later,
h - m d - b r l l , t y m * n ’itiiip, •••>:>a
o m e n t
of
mothers
ci
Kf> <-
for
^ V i fi
ricd a •:v 3
vide®
The
as
both
sides
* v*
a h
*! 1 ~ -•* o n
1*s o n
is
e. .x. .o'n-p]
q-f1
d ._1 n c*
. 4.^ - o
.
'■re l l
as
’2 e a d e
to
rood
invites
>'ive
cooper^
sands,
sriQ
letters
lie
fro::
f>r\
of
for
X f 1 (’'
:,|irhO''1t
nurses
XX A
r.lv
corv!uniion
co-v.
pr
’’ I
his
uti
■.
l-mt
>■><-•, ric.oj^ r.(>rrf"-i-j 1
)
o r os1 i°>
attention
h is
"e-;riie-tn.oss
..as
de f u s e d , privately
and
in
corresnonuents
press,
resident
3n
' nd
i n f e jted
w i th
various
7
parts
7.
of
the
world. '
Illwin, p. 3«28.
Physicians
and
laymen
in
y
2 -f t e r
and
that
of
TfO
claims.
■mm*.1
. . . 1
. f
rl'-vin
classes
£
') ^ "C
excellent
"nemor.®
the
^
'**
"no I Jit 13 , Alid
..r.
all
reports
i
h La
interested
fi,o m
and
-aid h m f ° r l .-oily
is
"lone
oovel-
" cut;to;::'• i n
t. earn u s t r u t e
r e f o r m , and
..t t h e
o pal
and
’) A
rudimen­
s w i i in inp, a n a
the
•’ ea t o i l i—n. .—*"*_ a. .net
r>
-vi e p i
.
.....*.
effort.
fh’n t
A.
chiluren,
’
nanus,
'cant''
y .r.
to
c:1JT*P
ingenious
pres: a r i s e s
tin ■ r ' a y s i n i o v i u u l i y
viev/po Int
literary
t<"
of
r ^oohesles
-nf
in
scores
h 3
to
#* f
11 l u s t m tions?
i •i t * r £
r’n ,T anf>e,<s
’ion.
•m n J
TtV, •
ne-n-n: u.i ■s e l y
both
and
left
Te 1 1^* 0 T - v’rj.W ? A<1 H O V O # |!
roila'p,
‘u P ' c v e n m
n,
inter-'
the
boilv
»'1 t X 3 ^
2 f^irn"
story
e.v
'* 1_
n t ’1j n t t r
f r-*'pnppt
vre i l
the
t h e i ** s l a v i s h
t>'T
whole
of
o
author
w i th
the
i n t e r o n tlm-.
niubid e x t e r I ty
7re
thro wins
over
convincingly
n f; c - -f <*-1 * n
developing
exercises-,,
t; e m m t
’" e n d e
eln'.,oru!e
for
d . l enit y
:\,,u . m e .
La c
u
-
241
ica poured anecdotes, illustrations, and opinions into his study.
Miss Braddon even wrote him a letter with her left hand.
To all
these Reade repli* d with a care and enthusiasm that prove his
delight in making himself the chief instrument of any campaign,
whether the enemy was werewolf or windmill.
8
In the year 1877 Reade contributed two interesting articles
on "Doubles” to Belgravia. of which Miss Braddon was then the
editor.
In the course of his remarks the author admits that
there are many instances of "sham doubles" (he writes, "My note­
books are full of them"), in which resemblance is exaggerated
to identity, such as in the celebrated Tichborne case, and that
of the fifteenth century Martin Guerre;
but he also asserts
that there are genuine cases of perfect doubles, resemblances which
are so close as to be indistinguishable, and brings forv/erd the
story of Moliere’s flirtatious widow to illustrate his statement.
Knowing of the lady’s coquettish disposition, and falling in
love with her across the footlights, M. Lescot, gentleman of
means, and president of the Parliament of Grenoble, seeks an
introduction through Madame Ledoux, who is well known as an
)•
intermediary in such matters. All is a^anged, and Madame Moliere appears to return the gentleman’s affection; but after
a season of clandestine trysts, replete with nrotes^stionsof
love and fidelity from the actress, she begins to bestow her
8.
"Good Stories," see Hard Cash, Vol. 8.
242
affeotion elsewhere.
The Infuriated Lesoot visits her theater
against her express command, and there upbraids her for her duplioity.
Madame Moliere olalms she has never met him before, and
as a result of the ensuing scene, brings him to trial for slander
and personal violence.
It is then that Lesoot finds himself the
victim of a conspiracy between Madame Ledoux and La Tourelle, a
young woman wh% is the perfect "double" of Moli&re.
Certainly
Reade *s "orotohety" researches and notebook entries in the field
of close resemblances among people has no bearing upon his work
as a reformer;
yet they do indicate his passion for truth, and
his insatiable interest in the conglomeration of incidents whioh
helps to make up the passing show.
In his notebook he wrote,
own double is a Lord Ernest (or Henry) Butler.
9
a sight of him."
Mem. to get
Another example of Reade*s interest in what he indexed under
the heading Curlalla is the material published, also 4 n Belgravia.
under the title BuspenfladJIriJbaktlon (1876).
Apparently motivated
by a story in the Los Angeles Star whioh desoribed the phenomenal reanimation of a oat, Reade writes that suoh oases of "suspended anima­
tion" are not infrequent among human beings, and adds that from his
9.
E.G. Sutoliff, "Charles Reade’s Notebooks," oj>. cit., p. 88.
10. "Good Stories," Hard Cash. Vol. 2.
243
notebooks he "could give a volume of instances at home and abroad."
He rpcounts the story of another Jerry Cruncher who sold a male
body to a surgeon.
The latter was about to begin his dissecting
operation when he noticed that the limbs of the cornse were not
completely rigid, nor was the body entirely cold about the region
of the heart, although he could detect no pulsation.
Calling an
assistant, he began to pour water upon the creature , and sfter a
time was rewarded with grsps, sputtering, and consciousness.
The
supnosed cornse turned ou" to be a nauper, who refused to be
dismissed, but continually called upon his savior to secure charity,
repeating the argument that the surgeon, having brought him back
to this earth, thereby incurred the responsibility of keening him
alive.
More interesting, because Reade uses a version of it
in one of his novels, is the story of a young woman whose mother
refused to allow her to be buried, because- the corpse did not be­
come completely cold, and there were no signs of incinient decomnosition.
V/hile the body was exposed a fly lit unon and bit
it, and the resultant trickle of blood convinced all that life
vas still there.
The girl later recovered, and Reade adds that
she was alive cnd well when he wrote the story.
In Hard Cash
the insane Captain Dodd, thought drowned, pronounced dead by
the ship’s doctor, and waiting in Cantain Bazelgette’s cabin for
proDer burial, is revived bv being dashed with water after a fly11
bite has revealed that his blood is still circulating.
11.
Ojd. cit,., Vol. 2, pp. 305, ff
244
In
in:; s c f . / t
hr urn,
but
e n L r t i - n i .? 'h.-usy- r d- .i1'
it is lorl oal tc
inch.-"ir.it. ly but A r an
j.I-
t
i
C
lour lettcrs
lisn
sharply criticiz'd ny "that
vt
C l o i s t e r oiid the- Hearth,
and
subject
fuuat tlui
call A .bibb',
u H i rrin."
acclaimed)
up*. i. the. bnr-
y e w an i.utior r.tic
ceuici turn
r .
t h i i" s
An
'
and G r i f f i t h Go u n t bod a l r e a d y be on p u b ­
consi d e r a t i o n
of suc h a mundane
as B u i l d e r s ’ Blunders ma y m y s t i f y so.,.c ; indeed,
the sa
in
(It Z j i IVVcj* Too La t c tc, lbon cl, The
to a cartful
hisiCiolf 'crcte to :mvS, 3
GI
esp scie liy an it is
sc successful at nature n ovel v r i t i n r
i'iusu of bis tri umpus
lished
ccnt^iucc!
-PC Or, tc t ir- _c;ll julC.j. Gazette o G'.V i -/
in our s tree U : , ro’r s , end
had b e e n
£• b c u t
c/sumo the t it v/cul<J have
ir s,. c b 's t m y n r .
i n t e l l e c t , the tbiry
built
tut
t ■. C
u
r c n ly a I: c u t t v - r t y - f o u r
idjr,
Reade
"J feel i;ii sera bio at having to write
yet I knov; I must.
Hove or n ever
13
I must
rive a ticture- o
the i n e x perienced
But perhaps the letterr furnish a do iti rm l
house he i d e r ’s t r o u b l e s . ”
evidence of bis ’’dro cL.ety ”
reform t ..rrwrem-nt -- of t'n fact that ...voi: while p-'ursuiny ixuari na­
tive i rt hr could turn bis ey„ tc s. more humble but not A n o b l y
cc.nceive-d mission.
The Ret as of Builders ’ Blunders m a y be a mere
pronounced eccentric, but r.ot a mure sincere reformer than the
Reade of I_t Is_ Never Too Late to Mend.
And finally, it is even
more true of him than of the classic lev/ that when pricked he
bleu, and he had just acved into the remodeled home in Albert
12.
" B u i j. d o r s ’ B l u n d e r s , ” R e a d i n n a ,
13. i'lv/in, p. 215«
p.
58.
245
Terrace.
and at
The letters themselves
the
same tine contain n u m e r o u s
alleviating
three
the annoyances
caused
cover the inconvenient and
h i d d e n drains,
small,
perty
ingenious
insanitary
lazy,
to r e c t i f y t he blunders
It
at the
drunken,
s i t u a t i o n s arising from
p o o r l y laid floors,
of a plus
to
trying,
dishonest"
of t h o u g h t l e s s
is r ally airiieult
sight
The first
and a d o z e n other a l l e g e d l y unnecessary
while the fourth a c t u a l l y consists
of the "loose,
s u g g e stions for
by careless builders.
ovnc-r, v.ho is excos; ively t a x e d while
ful aid
for the
pro­
w i t h the doubt­
B r i t i s h workman,
builder.-. .
mut-rsband
bow a mar: .,ho hud fuinteu
of alood in an D u i n c u r y n c»pt;r..fmy. x'oom, anu sat;
arc; c" el a- airs.I the inhumanity
blunt
of t erse recrimination,
i m properly h u n g windows,
s e n i - p e r p e n d i c u l a r roofs,
errors,
are m o d e l s
or vivir.oction, co -.1:. r-.gi:.ter such
n :.j -cilmi to the abslitinn of pul:,lie h a n g i n g s .
Yet in 1C 7^
n.as.U'1 ; r o t e , "These excusable h o m i c i d e s
are ; ov. done privately.
tain
scandals
shallow men uryeu
cution,
arid crii.inals
on tin- : tats- t he
sr.- now h a n g e d
cunnily
of - public
in a c o r n e r . "
del*
exe­
aiiu
lie c o n t i n u e s ,
T he deliberate slaughter in coiu M o o n , oven of a murderer,
can be justified on two grounds combined:
r e t r i b u t i v e justice and
p ublic terror.
This is the only sound theory of capital punish­
m e n t . But subt-'-ct publicity, and the act is l o w e r e d to clandestine
v enge a n c e .
Intelligent men, w h o have seen these justifiable homicid ts,
come a\.f y shudder inc., and sa y i n g to themselves, "’.Ye have
sen.-n a m a n ' s life stolen secretly."
Id
D urin g most
of his. mat tire life
Reade m a i n t a i n e d
close interest
in the cases w h i c h were going t h r o u g h the civil and criminal
14.
"The Situation," I.Ienoir, p.
351.
c o u rts ,
but
d u rin g
th e 's e v e n tie s
mania f o r
c rim in o lo g y ,
T ic h b o rn e
case
th e
Hews a s h o r t
D a ily
O rto n
and
p a id
to
bore
cut
and
th e
b is
was
had
h is
’"hen t h e
been
to
at
the
w rite
fir s t
c la im a n t
s ta te m e n ts
asked
d e v e lo p e d
tr ia l
a v e rita b le
in
th e
n o to rio u s
c o m p le te d , i n H a rc h , 18 7 2, he v /ro te to
15
le tte r,
a s s e rtin g h is b e lie f th a t A rth u r
T ic h b o rn e
comment
he
w ere
tin e ,
h e came
but
to
a h is to ry
one.
when
L ittle
the
lo n g
v e regarded
of
th e
w h o le
a tte n tio n
as
was
second
tria l
real
s le u th ,
a
case#
In
a s e rie s
16
of
fiv e
le tte rs ,
’- ' r e s e n t s
of
th e
nent
a tre n c h a n t,
strange
fo r
to
of
the
v o c a b u la ry
th e
e d ito r
condensed,
and
p e rfe c tly
”'ith
s tir
on v a r i o u s
e d ito r
to
case w h ic h
p e rju ry .
d e te c tiv e
press
addressed
h im
th is
on,
th e
cases.
fo r
the
a
one
o u tlin e d
of
as
the
w ritte n
T' a da mo D i b l o n c
irv rris c n -
a c rim e
to
co n d e m n in g
Feade
re v ie w
O rto n ’ s
le tte rs
a lre a d y
le tte r
c o n v ic tin g
(1871),
a ch ie ve m e n t
s e rie s
ITe h a d
Fact
im p o s te r
c o n s id e ra b le
G aze tte
court
in
he b e g a n
c rim in a l
F a 11 h a l l
and
re s u lte d
of
to
the
the
le g a l
of
m urder
j- ,
when
her
Hews
a n o th e r
Lurdock,
c rim e
o b v io u s ly
n ote
who had
had
d e c ry in g
choked
to
been
the
m a n s la u g h te r,
e x e c u tio n
d ea th
th e
as
aged
and
to
a m urd erer
keener w h ile
th e
of
Fa i l y
one
try in g
18
escape
trie d
fro m
fo r
Lewes
C e il.
In
a t t a c k i n g , a 'o m a n ,
15.
" whc
is
Tie?”,
16.
"The
D o c trin e
17.
"The Legal V o c a b u l a r y , "
IS .
"P ro te s t
18*75 a
c e rta in
c o n v ic te d ,
find
C o lo n e l
"’ a k e r
sentenced
’’e a d ia n a .
of
a g a in s t
C o in c id e n c e s ,"
the
Ib id .
Ib id .
I'u n d e r
at
Lev/e 0 G a o l , "
Ib id .
to
v;as
wey a
to
247
fine off.500 and serve a year in prison.
Apparently the news­
papers claimed that the punishment was much more lenient than
it would have been had the convicted belonged to the lower class,
19
for Reade wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph denouncing the
journals’ contention, and oroving from his own "list" of similar
cases that Baker’s sentence was one of unprecedented severity
for such an offense.
In the next year he wrote the strange chron­
icle 7/hat Has Become of Lord Camelford’s Body?
for the New York
20
Tribune, and late in 1377 he organized the series of six letters
written to the Daily Telegraph in protest against the verdict
handed down in the famous Penge murder trial.
case are simple:
The facts of the
One Louis Staunton had contracted with his
married brother, Patrick, to house, feed, snd clothe the former's
wife, while he lived apart with his paramour, Alice Rhodes.
Louis' wife was beaten, terrorized, and finally starved to death
by Patrick, with the result that the two Staunton's, with the
wife of one and the lover of the other, were all tried, convicted
of murder, and sentenced to death.
Reade's first two letters
protesting the verdict constitute an attack uoon the court for
refusing to give the jury a copy of the indictment to compare
with the evidence, and an attack upon the legal profession,
which he describes as a "pedantic clique," for phrasing such
documents in "jargon” instead of in language readily understood
19.
"Colonel Baker's Sentence," I b i d .
20.
"Hang in Haste, Repent at Leisure," Ibid.
248
by laymen.
Then he proceeds to excuse the failure of Mrs. Patrick
Staunton to expose the treatment her sister-in-law was receiving,
and to refute the ridiculous evidence offered by Clara Brown,
Patrick’s stupid servant girl.
He also insists that Louis Staun­
t o n ’s financial provision for his w i f e ’s living relieved him of
responsibility for her death, and adds that Alice Rhodes really
had no connection with the case.
Reade*s logic, his keen insight
into human nature, and his masterly arrangement of detail are as
striking here as in the Tichborne and Diblanc cases, and were
later vindicated by the free pardon of Alice Rhodes, and the sub­
stitution of life imprisonment for the other three offenders.
It is one thing to lay out a fictional court proceeding in
leisurely fashion for the pages of a novel; this Reade has
done eminently wrell in Hard C a s h . Griffith G a u n t . and The '!'tender­
ing H e i r .
But it is quite another to review trial evidence as
it appears daily in the press, to watch the examinations and crossexaminations for errors and omissions, to detect colorings of
evidence, to read between the lines, and to fit the flesh of
human nature over the whole skeleton; yet Reade has also done this
well —
so well that his letters served to defend and promote
justice, as well as to chastise violations of it.
Had he elected
to practice the profession for which his training prepared him,
certainly he would have served the law well.
But it is just as
certain that his inherent belligerence and impatience would have
resulted in a tempestuous and abbreviated career, which in total
would probably have yielded as much less in service to others as
in happiness to himself.
2 49
In
c o n n e c tio n
(jjiu- iu o x v t . io n
s h o u iu
to
tn e
press
is
h is
account
a .Scotch
v itii
be
D rought
of
h ly u a ,
o u t v..o \
_
o oo h - a
g iv e n
uej.oi'6
the
la b o re r
"eaae ’ s
who
to
o liv in g
21
r t , l at e
in
b e h a lf
eases
p e rfo rm e d
many
d ire
in
fro m
in d iv id u a ls ,
] irs t
by
Janes
a r o v niii;.:
n o v e r t v -.-hen
l ' ’ vh.
of
\ '..icU h i s
ye ne a a 1 T )uo lio «
doecc
so , t a
on
several
tu t;
h e ro ic
hau
crusaues
in
le tte rs
ai'jony t u e s e
L am be rt,
the
"'iv e r
hea rt e r> : h ] i n h e u
L a m b e rt's
cam-
to
Lai ;rue-
*■'. ■
f ..- e
. ra te r 's
anu
in
lo o 8
purpose
s to ry
. .S
en
of
w.u-,
sox-ies
t
ho
t oo! -: l i e
n ri.ite n
of
in
t
X
, ij 1 L
.
th e
not
u e s o rv iu j
t
t
of
2'i.e
i . 11i s ix a ,::io y c ,i.‘. ,i .1.11 j. o .!.
O "!
fj . -
; •J- •
. ,o 4 +
*• O
•-
J
rf!V r
- i
oi
‘ '
t.% 1 ,
A »•,
- -v»
1 i U.
J
.Ui
■■
s a le
of
le t-, v
and
th a l,
•
th e
the
b e fo re
th e n
Lae
-u
fo r
be yon
it:
. UdlxL
si i r y
ib 1
i
3n to
r '. r ?
e ' s a c c ,••u i t ,
brought
s u it,
^ut
tie
a
ris
p r of i t s } ,
' ' r
sale
1 •y ; u n v i ; . e t h e
^ “ • >
#
-»'
v '-t-
f p - r 4- + - . —
■___ _ •
J
-
r ~ ~ 1 1 1 _ 1 .’ O
,
'
•• -.- --
-T
> ' *
,,1
s lu r
u ra n i:
t .oy
,.i| •, w -
of
.. u >.<c t,c
o riv o te
a you.
t
-
-
-
ex
r e J ore.
on a
th e
J
•
. -Ur
vac
it,
, x.iis-1 l 1*
“
fu .il
r a : . i f i r o t 1 one
th is ,
f
-"r-r
i j r.s
o . o , a .—
i V
in
3
. .L
0C I
.
tea*". w r t
• ith
'
the
Li'■! ij i ' C i ‘ j. 3o 3. 0 i i '3 U.f t u O
am
tJ
o 1 fT
i
tie
c l 'u rn
D im a s ,
■ L
*') J }’‘ ’**>
J- -
s a le
■
:3
11er. i. x^
' I n n : .
-’
years
'fa u e t t e ,
re" r u . e r u ' ,
H a s you
. e r s. 1 a i u t i w H t o u .
a v irm r
n in e ty
anu
n ,,> ? ^
s ix
to
t.eo
so ; i n c h f i O n o r a m . c o u r . i d e r a t i on , s i n c t
it.
s . m m u i p t i one
'
tie
f ,.o
to
ju ^ g .n u t
’. a ' -
i.xU p C IK i c u t
n l t i i ou u, t n o y
tia l
., O
1 ) s o l i ai t
of
n ii, fo r
tra v e l
h e 11
h o i.
c a s.Oil v e l y , ciuu
pay
t ,ro u n
in c o n v e n ie n c e s -
i. 1
S
on i f o r e
u i j re
to
I t
ro ll
p ro f its
1 01' - O . L i i t r t , i ■30',
uut t..o
!iiu .
a in
r.‘>
y ..... r ..
+ r rut l o
the
irrita tio n s
i.iv u ft
tii.ii, j
vnny
iu ts rv ic '.. in y
Ux a . .,” 0li
to
a tte o tio u
y
250
Scot with an annuity of fifty-two pounds -- an achievement which
Reade himself may be pardoned for describing as "A rare triumph
of the individual pen." He attempted to oerform a similar ser23
vice for the family of Edwin Ellis, an orchestra leaner and
arranger who had ;,.la.,ed in the London theaters for years, trying
conscientiously "to watch the stage with one e./e and the orchestra
with another, and so accompany wit/, vigilant delicacy a mixed
scene of action and dialogue."
But 5 1 -is had died in poverty,
and x.eft behind a penniless widow ar.d nine children, so Reade set
aside the
lucrative pursuit of novelizing to write briefly con­
cerning the ma n’s exemplary life, and to beg some assistance for
his fa:..11,; from those whom re had entertained.
In 1878 a woman named M r s . Rose Freeland was badly mangled
in a train wreck near Sittingbourne.
of the cars, a wheel upon ner back,
ated.
Sx^e was found beneath one
and her bod., crushed and lacer­
let she not only remained conscious, but d <recced her own
rescue, and once out, demonstrated remarkable fortitude v/hile
her
ody was being stitched and straightened.
She never recovered
entirely from the effects of tne accident, but crawled a out
helping the sick, organizing charities, and otherwise serving, as
a living example of courage and uuself ishness.
Reade L e a t h e r
24
story and wrote it under the title A brave Roman,
in the hope
23.
"A Dramatic Musician," Readiana.
24.
See Readiana.
251
that others, with lighter burdens, would go and do in like manner.
7/hen Lord Justice Robert Lush died,
in 1882, Reade wrote a mes­
sage celebrating his sober ambition and persistent industry. The
25
article is titled Perseverance. and was first published in Life.
Reade had known its subject for many .years, and was acqu- inted
witii his riS'-x to honor an<J position in the face of considerable
obstacles.
Thus here again the reformer sought to improve .
the attitudes and ideals of casual rea< ers by presenting to then
the account of a career which demonstrates one of Dr. Johnson’s
aphorisms -- that great things are done not by strength, but byperseverance .
It is appropriate, as characteristic of Reaue's life-long
championship of the cause of the under-dog,
that this chapter
26
of miscellaneous crusades s h o u j f l close with me-'ticnof bis letter
to the Pail.; Telegraph deploring the Outrages on the Jev/s in Russia,
Written in 1882, when its own writer's hand was shaking with age,
the letter recalls the ancient dignity of the Hebrew tradition,
and laments ti.at tne descendants of Abraham are dispossessed and
slaughtered by a conspiracy of barbarians who feign Christianity.
The letter also indicates his c o m p l e t e a c c e p t a n c e
prophecy
r.ov f u l f i l l e d
a 1 Is
e x p re s s io n
.is
1 y t-.e cur 'ert
of co.ufi I v . o c
h
of t'.v' b i b l i c a l
3 .• g a ' .. cl ral. j t ine, and
tne
s c rip tu ra l
promise that
11this event is to be the first of a great series of changes, lead­
ing to a vast improvement in the condition of poor suffering man-
25.
Ibid.
26.
Ibid.
\
252
kind and of creation
fault with the world
27
in general." Amen.
Reade found
of nis da./, out he never lost his faith in
the inherent dignityof man, or in the inevitability of
And Time has already vindicated him.
27.
Ibid., p. 254.
much
progress.
253
CHAPTER ELEVEN
CONCLUSION
Criticism of Reade as an artist lias been as varied as the
sco^e of his own reforms, but no one has disputed his nosition
as a writer of undeniable if unstead?/ rrenius.
In 1884 Sir
Valter
besant referred to him as a "rreat :'aster of Fiction, " who treated
lenrthy topics like the journe?rs of herard and Den?rs "with the fewest oossible of words," and who wrote shorter stories that are
1
"truly admirable. "
In lament.-inn the allerred harmful effect of
the Victorian theater upon novelists of the day, Sir Arthur
Ruiller-Gouch remarks,
The bad early and mid-Victorian sta.yc hurt more than one Victorian
novelist of yenius.
It seriously hurt Charles Reade, for example,
who habitually sought the advice oh Syeria from a fourth-rate ac­
tress J£*rs. Se?/mou0
and that should briny tears to the e?res of any
critic who knows Reade’s stronr country nurture and has sized his
yenins. 2
1. The Art of Fiction (A Lecture),
1884, pp. 10, 2TT.
Chatto and '.Vindus, London,
2.
Charles Dickens and Other Victorians, Caribridme Universit?r Press,
1025, p. “59.
254
Certainly Reade displays many evidences of literary genius in his
novels, but they are frequently completely submerged beneath the
sea of so much material that is incontrovertible truth, but com­
monplace artistry;
and what is more, it can be clearly demonstrated
that his descents from sublimity to bathos are nearly always traceable
to his reformer disposition.
In the matter of style, Reade writes in It Is Never Too Late
to Mend, Put Yourself in His P l a c e , and Griffith Gaunt many pas­
sages which are models of terse lucidity and restrained power;
but in the same works he offsets these purple passages with pages
of dashes, capitals, type-size variations,
repetitions.
cause.
ejaculations, and dreary
Mere art faded to a shadow in the presence of a
Ilis plots, only episodic at best, are shot through with
divagations culled from the newspapers, and hampered by the re­
peated editorial insertions which his purpose dictated.
To recall
that truth is stranger than fiction is a poor defense for the mass
of weird concidences, euvusuroppings, intercepted letters, storms,
floods, and fires which he conjures up to prod his stories aheua,
and which are introduced even without the typically Hurdian pre­
face,
"A strange concurrence of phenomena now confronts us."
Reaue's plots were means, not ends, and so Rhoda Gale, Henry Little,
Tom Robinson, Gerard Eliassoen,
et a l ., are torch-beurers who
must muddle through, however stony and circuitous the path.
It
is true that Reade was "a poetic seer and dreamer, of the strongest
romantic force, and capable of extraordinary flights of power,
3
passion, and pathos,"
3.
but the wings on which he soared were
George Saintsbury, ojo. cit. , p. 332.
-255
usually those of philanthropy, not art*
Much has been written about the harsh realism which permeates
so many of Reade’s plays and novels, and which shocked so many of
his contemporary critics.
Certainly realism has a definite place
in art, but it is an invaluable part of the reformer's stock In
trade, as the flesh and blood which makes the dry bones of docu\
ments live.
And so Reade nursed and cultivated what Sir Arthur
Quiller-Couch praises as a "knack[not a r-iftjwith circumstantial
4
detail, used to convey a sense of events actually happening," And
it Is this same passion for realism, with the reformer's impetus
behind it, that brings upon its author the just censure of another
critic, who writes that
His artistic taste and judgment were extremely deficient;
he had
no sense of general proportion In his work;
and was quite as like­
ly to be melodramatic as to be tragical, to be coarse as to be
strong, to be tedious as to be amusing, to be merely revolting as
to pur if b?' pity and terror. 5
Charles Reade wrote deeply moving narrative about the
Australian gold fields, and transcendently beautiful and im­
passioned prose to the Australian dawn in It; _Is Never Too Late to
Mend:
yet this same story is jammed with bombastic and vitupera­
tive tirade, and some of the starkest realism fiction knows; he
4. Sir Authur Quiller-Couch, The Poet as Citizen, Macmillan Com­
pany, New York, 1935, pp. 212-213.
5.
A. Swinburne, oj>, clt., p. 375.
-2 5 6 -
<5
wrote glowing and sustained sea narrative and superb character
delineation in Hard Cash:
yet this same novel is packed with awk­
wardly adapted blue-book and commissioners' reports material on
insane asylums;
he wrote an epic description of the great flood,
and more masterly character development in Put Yourself in His
Place:
yet this same book is splotched with practical editorials
on mill machinery improvements, and rabid campaignings against
trade union abuses.
Some of Reade's artistic flights are really
majestic -- as Swinburne rather generously puts it, he was, when
“at his very best, and that not very rarely, a truly great writer
6
of a truly noble genius"-- but as always with him, not art, but
the crusade was the thing, and he knew that realism was needed to
shock man's callous apathy before the need for reform could penetrute his reason.
so impressive;
And so "At times he is so fine, so resilient,
at others, the dullest of pamphleteers, a
cramped Meredith in style, a very wax work among sensationalists,"
Reade never changed.
His personality and his temperament
were as transparently fervent in 1884 as in 1814,
of his own Denys —
The cry
"Courage, le diable est mortl" — •with
its burden of promise as well as achievement, is also
the watchword of its creator, who was really no artist,
nor scholar, nor philosopher, but reformer through all
his days,
Ellen Terry describes him conclusively when she
6, Michael Sadlelr, Excursions in Victorian Bibliography,
Chaundy and Cox, London, 1 9 2 2 , p, 159,
7.
Ibid.
257
writes,
"Dear kind, unjust, generous, cautious,
ate, gentle Charles Reade.
impulsive, passion­
Never have I known any one who com­
bined so many qualities ffcr asunder as the poles, in one single
8
disposition."
8.
lillen Terry, ££. cit. , p. 94*
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Readef8 Works
Reade »s Works: Illustrated Sterling Edition, 12 vols.,
Boston. 1899.
The Eighth Commandment. Boston I860.
The doming ftflan. Rew York, 1878.
Readiana - Bible Characters. second edition, London, 1896.
Andrpgynlsra: or Women Haying at Man. London, 1911 (posthumously).
"English Review, vol. 9, pp. 10-29, 191-212
Biographical Works
Coleman, John, Charles Reade as I Knew Him. London, 1904.
Elwin, Malcolm, Charles Reade. London, 193l.
Fields, Annie T., wAn Acquaintance with Charles Reade," Century
Magazine, vol. 29 (1884), no. 1, pp 69-77.
Melville, lewis,"Charles Reade," The Bookman, vol. 43 (1913),
pp. 253-260, plates ff.
Reade. Compton and Reade. Charles Liston. A Memoir of Charles Reade.
New York, 1887.
Critical Works
Besant, Sir Walter, The Art of Fiction. London, 1884.
Cobley, William D., w(Jharles“!reade and His Novels," Manchester
Quarterly, vol. 33 (1914), pp. 230-252.
Gosse, Edmund, Aspeots and Impressions. London, 1922.
Hornung. E. W.. HCharles Reade." London Meroury. vol. 4, no. 19
(1921), pp. 150-163.
Johnston, W. J., "Charles Reade and His Novels," Gentlemen»s
Magazine, vol. 285 (1898), pp. 365-373.
Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur, The Poet as Citizen. New York, 1935.
_________________ Charles Dickens and~5ther Victorians. Cambridge
University Press, 1925.
Saturday Review, neither title nor author given; vol. 4, no. 90
lT857T,"pp. 57-58.
Stephen, Fitzjames, " The License of Modern Novelists," Edinburgh
Review, vol. 106, no. 215 (1857), pp. 124-153.
Sutolif^, Emerson Grant, "Plotting in Charles Reade*s Novels,"
Publications of the Modern Language Association, vol. 47.
hcrry-T i^ r ),Tp‘r g 34'=8^ 7 —
---------------------_____ , "Charles Reade /S Notebooks," Studies in
Philology. University of North Carolina Press, vol.57, no. 1
11930)', pp. 64-109.
Swinburne, Algernon Charles, " Charles Reade," Miscellanies, vol. 14
of the Bonchurch Edition. Complete Works. London.,
Turner, Albert Morton, "Another Source for The Cloister and the
Heart," PMLA. vol. 40 (1925), pp. 898-909.
______________________ , The Making of The Cloister and the Hearth.
University of Chicago Press, 1938.
Miscellaneous Works
Arnold Matthew, "Copyright," Irish Essays. London, 1882.
Bucknill, John Charles, Care of the~lnsahe and Their Legal Control,
London, 1880*
Buxton, Sir Thomas, An Inquiry Whether Crime and Misery are produced
or prevented by our present system of Prison Discipline,
London, l8l8.
Bryne, J* C., Undercurrents Overlooked. London. I860.
Cazamian, LoulsT~Vodern England, New York. 1912.
Chambers, Julius. A Rad World and Its Inhabitants. NewYork, 1877,
Collings, Jesse, Land Reform. London. 1906 •
Commissioners * Reports. London. 1861, 1863, 1865.
Cunnington, C. f., Feminine Attitudes in the NineteenthCentury,
New York, 1936”;
!
Dawson, Eernard, The History of Medicine. London, 1931.
Elllot-Binns, L. S., Reilglon"T n the Victorian Era. London, 1936.
Field, J., Prison Discipline. Loh3on, 1048.
Fry, Henry P., A System oiTTenal Discipline. London, 1850.
Godwin, Mary WoTlstonecraTt, 'Vindication of the Rights of Women,
new edition, London, 1891.
Hammond, J. L. and Barbara, The Skilled Labourer, 1760-1832, London,
1919.
-------------------- ----------. The Town Labourer. 1760-1832, London, 1817.
........... ... . TEe VITTa ere Labourer, l7$0-1832, fourth edition,
London, 1927.
Heath, Richard, The English Via Dolorosa, London, 1893.
Hobhouse Stephen, and Brockway, Fenner, editors, English Prisons
To-dayi Report of the Prison System Enquiry Committee. London.
1922.
Lawes, Lewis E., Life and Death in Sing Sing. New York, 1928.
Macaulay, Thomas fe.,“ "Warren fiasTTngs, Critical and Historical
Essays, vol. 3, London, 1885.
Massingham, H. J. and Hugh, eds.. The Great Victorians, New York, 1932.
McCarthy, Justin, History of Our Own Times, new edition, London, 1901.
Messenger, J. Franklin, IriTnEerpreEaiive History of Education, New
York, 1931.
Mill, John Stuart, Principles of Political Economy. People*s Edition,
London, 1886.
Subjection of Women, (1869), New York, 1911.
Moseley. Sydney A.. The Convict of To-day. London, 1927.
Norwood, Cyril, The English fradTElon of Education. London, 1929.
Oman, C. W., England in the "Nlneteenth"~7entury, London. 1900.
0»Malley, I. 6., Women In Subjection. London. 1953.
Osier, Sir William, Evolution of Modern Medicine. Yale University
Press, New Haven, 1922.
Peel, C. S., The Stream of Time, New York, 1932.
Perugini, Mark. Vlctorlan“Days and Ways, London, 1932.
Saintsbury George, History of Nineteenth Century Literature, New
York, 1899.
Skone-James, F. E., Copinger on the Law of Copyright. London, 1936.
Stanton, Theodore, editor. lihe“Woman*~£uee£’lon in Europe. New York,
Strachey, Lytton, Queen victoria. Mew fork. 192T.
. Eminent Victorians. New York 1925.
Miscellaneous Works (Continued)
Terry, Ellen. The Story of My Life, New York, 1909.
Thring, G. Herbert. The flarlEetlng of Literary Property. London, 1933
A Ticket-Leave Man, Convict life. London, 1879.
Traill, H. D., SooiaI~~Knglan<i'. vols. 5 and 6, New York, 1879.
Trollope, Anthony, An Autobiography. Oxford, 1929.
White, Richard GrantT England Without and Within. Boston, 1885.
Wingfield-Stratford, Bsme. Those Earnest Victorigjla, New York, 1930.
Note: The above bibliography contains only those titles to which
specific reference is made, either in the text or the footnotes,
in this study. Relevant readings in the novel haveinot been listed,
nor have many single references which were made in passing.
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