Archive for Big Readers A place for discussing books and all things bookish.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> Author, author! A forum for threads about individual authors.


I read THE LAZY TOUR OF TWO IDLE APPRENTICES by Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins and published in Household Words in 1857. Itís the narrative of an excursion to the north of England by CD and WC who take it in turns to take up the narrative. My edition (Hesperus Books 2011) indicates which sections are written by whom. I think I could have worked it out any way. †Dickensí sections seem to me vastly superior to Collinsí. They sparkle delightfully and are full of CDís characteristic observation, humour and literary fingerprints. †WCís contributions, while very good, seem a bit flat in comparison. †There are two ghost stories within the longer narrative. Collinsí, which I had come across before elsewhere, begins with the promising idea of traveller agreeing to spend the night in room containing a recently-dead body. †Unfortunately Collins over extends the story and it ends -for me anyway Ė unsatisfactorily with a coincidence. Dickensí ghost story is a macabre piece with multiple apparitions about a young bride who is literally WILLED to die. †The travellers, Francis Goodchild (Dickens) and Thomas Idle (Collins) are well differentiated, the former is enthusiastic and lively, the latter is frequently bored. The two writers have great fun writing about each other. They begin their excursion in the Lake District and have a miserable ascent of a mountain. A later chapter describes their stay in Doncaster during race week. This section is packed with wonderful Dickensian detail. †A most enjoyable read.

The dog-cart, with Mr. Thomas Idle and his ankle on the hanging seat behind, Mr. Francis Goodchild and the Innkeeper in front, and the rain in spouts and splashes everywhere, made the best of its way back to the little inn; the broken moor country looking like miles upon miles of Pre-Adamite sop, or the ruins of some enormous jorum of antediluvian toast-and-water. The trees dripped; the eaves of the scattered cottages dripped; the barren stone walls dividing the land, dripped; the yelping dogs dripped; carts and waggons under ill-roofed penthouses, dripped; melancholy cocks and hens perching on their shafts, or seeking shelter underneath them, dripped; Mr. Goodchild dripped; Thomas Idle dripped; the Inn-keeper dripped; the mare dripped; the vast curtains of mist and cloud passed before the shadowy forms of the hills, streamed water as they were drawn across the landscape. Down such steep pitches that the mare seemed to be trotting on her head, and up such steep pitches seemed to have a supplementary leg in her tail, the dog-cart jolted and tilted back to the village. It was too wet for the women to look out, it was too wet even for the children to look out; all the doors and windows were closed, and the only sign of life or motion was in the rain-punctured puddles.

Thanks - I never knew about this.

I have the complete Wilkie Collins on my Kindle, so hopefully this is there.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> Author, author! A forum for threads about individual authors.
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum