London: Chapman and Hall, 1840. Item #04955
First Edition in Book Form of Master Humphrey's Clock - The Old Curiosity Shop - Barnaby Rudge
DICKENS, Charles. Master Humphrey’s Clock. With Illustrations by George Cattermole and Hablot Browne. Vol. I. [II. III.] London: Chapman and Hall, 1840-1841-1841.
First edition in book form. Three large octavo volumes (10 1/16 x 6 5/8 inches; 255 x 169 mm.). [i-viii], 2-306; [i-v]vi, 2-306; [i-v]vi, 2-426. Two frontispieces, 130 woodcuts, and twenty-five initials by Browne; one frontispiece and thirty-eight woodcuts by Cattermole; one woodcut each by S. Williams and Maclise.
Publisher's dark purple-brown rib-grain blind-stamped cloth, with primary clock design stamped in gilt on front covers, spines lettered and tooled in gilt. Original Spanish hair-vein marbled endpapers in black, blue and red, all edges marbled. Some minor wear to top of spines, minimal fading to covers, the gilt bright and fresh. Some light scattered foxing to throughout. An excellent set. With the armorial bookplate of Barbara Hylton Madge on front paste-downs and also the early in signature of Agnes Barron 1841 on all three front blanks.
“Being a hard sleeper likewise, he divided his time pretty equally between these two recreations, always falling asleep when he had done eating, and always taking another turn at the trencher when he had done sleeping, by which means he grew more corpulent and more drowsy every day of his life.” - Charles Dickens, Master Humphrey's Clock
Master Humphrey's Clock was a weekly periodical edited and written entirely by Charles Dickens and published from 4 April 1840 to 4 December 1841. It began with a frame story in which Master Humphrey tells about himself and his small circle of friends (which includes Mr. Pickwick), and their penchant for telling stories. Several short stories were included, followed by the novels The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge. It is generally thought that Dickens originally intended The Old Curiosity Shop as a short story like the others that had appeared in Master Humphrey's Clock, but after a few chapters decided to extend it into a novel. Master Humphrey appears as the first-person narrator in the first three chapters of The Old Curiosity Shop but then disappears, stating, "And now that I have carried this history so far in my own character and introduced these personages to the reader, I shall for the convenience of the narrative detach myself from its further course, and leave those who have prominent and necessary parts in it to speak and act for themselves."
Master Humphrey is a lonely man who lives in London. He keeps old manuscripts in an antique longcase clock by the chimney-corner. One day, he decides that he would start a little club, called Master Humphrey's Clock, where the members would read out their manuscripts to the others. The members include Master Humphrey; a deaf gentleman, Jack Redburn; retired merchant Owen Miles; and Mr. Pickwick from The Pickwick Papers. A mirror club in the kitchen, Mr. Weller's Watch, run by Mr. Weller, has members including Humphrey's maid, the barber and Sam Weller.
Master Humphrey's Clock appeared after The Old Curiosity Shop, to introduce Barnaby Rudge. After Barnaby Rudge, Master Humphrey is left by himself by the chimney corner in a train of thoughts. Here, the deaf gentleman continues the narration. Later, the deaf gentleman and his friends return to Humphrey's house to find him dead. Humphrey has left money for the barber and the maid (no doubt by traces of love that they would be married). Redburn and the deaf gentleman look after the house and the club closes for good.
In the portion of Master Humphrey's Clock which succeeds The Old Curiosity Shop, Master Humphrey reveals to his friends that he is the character referred to as the 'single gentleman' in that story.
Provenance: With the armorial bookplate of Barbara Hylton Madge (1882-1967) on front paste-downs. Barbara Hylton Madge was the wife of Lieut. Col. C.A. Madge and mother to John Madge who wrote The Origins of Science Sociology. His brother Charles Henry Madge who was a poet, journalist and a literary figure from his early twenties, and founder of Mass Observation.
Smith I, 6.