Friends of the Dickens Forum,

We have heard Grahame Smith on the closing of the BBC's "Dickensian."  
Edwin Plevljakovic  appears
to agree with Professor Grahame and sends us a review which includes one 
of the plummiest
passages from *Martin Chuzzlewit*:                                 pjm
--------

On 5/16/2016 2:45 AM, Edin Plevljakovic wrote:
> Dear Prof. McCarthy,
> I might be one of the few out there who welcomed the news about the 
> discontinuation of /Dickensian/ with a nod of approval, if not 
> unabashed joy, rather than groans and boos. Three months ago, when we 
> were fifteen or thereabouts episodes in, I wrote a review of 
> /Dickensian/, for Herb Moskovitz's excellent /Buzfuz/, and below you 
> can find an excerpt from it, revolving around the issue of the sorely 
> lacking Dickens' idiom and choice of characters, which I believe 
> Friends of the Dickens Forum might appreciate to read.
> Best regards,
> Edin Plevljakovic
> Sarajevo
>
> In addition to the novels that have not found its way into 
> /Dickensian/ (Oliver Twist /is/ an iconic Dickens’ novel, to be sure, 
> as is Great Expectations and the novella A Christmas Carol), my 
> complaint also extends to the choice of the characters from the novels 
> that have their representatives in the show. For instance, would it 
> not have been a truly rich experience to have seen Mrs Gamp 
> interacting with her husband, especially if we indulge in making 
> inferences on their conjugal life from the following excerpt from 
> Martin Chuzzlewit (the excerpt is also illustrative of Mrs Gamp’s 
> peculiar disposition and speech, which I wish was much more visible in 
> the series):
>
> `Ah dear! When Gamp was summoned to his long home, and I see him 
> a-lying in Guy's Hospital with a penny-piece on each eye, and his 
> wooden leg under his left arm, I thought I should have fainted away. 
> But I bore up.'
>
> If certain whispers current in the Kingsgate Street circles had any 
> truth in them, she had indeed borne up surprisingly; and had exerted 
> such uncommon fortitude as to dispose of Mr. Gamp's remains for the 
> benefit of science. But it should be added, in fairness, that this had 
> happened twenty years before; and that Mr. and Mrs. Gamp had long been 
> separated on the ground of incompatibility of temper in their drink.
>
> `You have become indifferent since then, I suppose?' said Mr. 
> Pecksniff. `Use is second nature, Mrs. Gamp.'
>
> `You may well say second natur, sir,' returned that lady. `One's first 
> ways is to find sich things a trial to the feelings, and so is one's 
> lasting custom. If it wasn't for the nerve a little sip of liquor 
> gives me (I never was able to do more than taste it), I never could go 
> through with what I sometimes has to do. "Mrs. Harris," I says, at the 
> very last case as ever I acted in, which it was but a young person, 
> "Mrs. Harris," I says, "leave the bottle on the chimley-piece, and 
> don't ask me to take none, but let me put my lips to it when I am so 
> dispoged, and then I will do what I'm engaged to do, according to the 
> best of my ability." "Mrs. Gamp," she says, in answer, "if ever there 
> was a sober creetur to be got at eighteen pence a day for working 
> people, and three and six for gentlefolks -- night watching,"' said 
> Mrs. Gamp with emphasis, `"being a extra charge -- you are that 
> inwallable person." "Mrs. Harris," I says to her, "don't name the 
> charge, for if I could afford to lay all my feller creeturs out for 
> nothink, I would gladly do it, sich is the love I bears 'em. But what 
> I always says to them as has the management of matters, Mrs. Harris:"' 
> here she kept her eye on Mr. Pecksniff: `"be they gents or be they 
> ladies, is, don't ask me whether I won't take none, or whether I will, 
> but leave the bottle on the chimley-piece, and let me put my lips to 
> it when I am so dispoged."' (Martin Chuzzlewit, ch. 19)
>
> ....
>
> Some of the more legitimate complains might pertain to the character 
> of /Dickensian’s/ Mrs. Gamp, which lacks consistency. There is not 
> much of her nature, as exemplified in the foregoing passage. The 
> moments when it comes through are seldom, and the following is a 
> precious illustration of Mrs. Gamp’s nature as imagined by Dickens. 
> Tending to the bedridden Little Nell, or better still, gorging herself 
> on oysters and treating herself uninhibitedly to gin, she is kindly 
> offered to take her leave by Little Nell’s grandfather, to which she 
> retorts that having seen her into this world, she is /dispoged/ to see 
> her out of it. Such amusing quips characteristic of Mrs Gamp fall into 
> obscurity, being very rare: once she is established as a selfish, 
> inattentive midwife, the intention is immediately abandoned, and she 
> grows to be somewhat bland, with far less /Gampian/ quips (if at all). 
> Similarly, there is no taking a pillow from under a patient’s head, or 
> asking for cucumbers, Mrs Gamp’s stark habits from the novel she 
> appears in. Moreover, I cannot recall a single instance of Mrs Gamp 
> referring to Mrs Harris, Mrs Gamp’s very good, but apocryphal friend, 
> whose name and purported good opinion of Mrs Gamp she uses to 
> advertise her services (although I allow the possibility that a 
> reference or two might have eluded me, as well as that Mrs. Harris 
> might be resorted to in the upcoming episodes). All that we see of Mrs 
> Gamp is a gin-begging old dear, contriving to prevail upon Silas Wegg 
> to have her board at his inn.
>