An Epitome

The impending visit by storm Dennis determined that we batten down the hatches and stay indoors.

In the event the morning was quite mild so Jackie ventured out to Everton Nursery to purchase a couple of

double hellebores that she had heard they were stocking. One even held up its head at the prospect of being photographed.

I occupied myself reading more of The Pickwick Papers, from which

here are another half dozen of Charles Keeping’s splendid drawings. I will write more when I have finished the book, but this illustration of Sam Weller labouring over a love letter epitomises the artist’s adherence to the author’s description, even to the extent of resting his head on his left arm in his efforts to follow his letters across the page. (It may be helpful for anyone reading the text accompanying this illustration to know that ‘mother-in-law’ is an archaic term for stepmother).

This evening we dined on fine fusion fare consisting of tasty tempera prawns; a rack of pork ribs doused in plum sauce; savoury rice jam-packed with finely chopped omelette and vegetables; and tender mange-toutes, followed by moist and crunchy baklavas, with which the Culinary Queen drank Peroni and I drank Clos des Batuts Cahors 2017.


  1. Wonderful illustrations – he has really captured the characters beautifully. I love Dickens, have just finished reading Great Exp (about the twentieth reading for me) to my two eldest 🙂

  2. Lovely hellebores. I’ve just heard the first heavy rain here. Glad to be snug indoors… Enjoy your reading and the illustrations, Derrick!

  3. The drawings of Charles Keeping, are indeed splendid with wonderfully expressive detail…. thank you Derrick for sharing these drawings…

  4. Those illustrations are amazing! I am enjoying them so much! 🙂
    I was thinking of some Dickens’ quotes the other day. His writing is so intelligent, vivid, fun, etc! 🙂 I love reading him!
    How was the storm?
    Stay safe and warm!
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…”Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, are all very good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism.” – Charles Dickens

  5. I am trying to diet and you have made me sooooo hungry first with the photo and then your description of your meal. You should be writing copy for restaurants!!!

  6. I have enlarged the images to enjoy every detail of these fabulous illustrations. Thank you for posting them, Derrick.
    My compliments to the Culinary Queen for an interesting and quite appetizing combination of foods,

  7. The one thing I never really understood about Dickens is the use of a “w” for a “v”. Sam Weller, for example, says “Walentine” and “Wery”.

  8. A good way to pass a stormy day and your supper looks and sounds delicious.
    The morning here was like yours the calm before the storm.
    Once again, the driving rain caused wet carpets and again found its way through the extractor fan in the guest bathroom and dripped into the kitchen.
    Everyone was out yesterday so I spent my time going around the house looking for leaks and mopping up.
    Clearer skies this morning but still very windy.

      1. The house has no windbreaks, no shelter and with such constant heavy rain being blown into the south-west corner it didn’t stand a chance in these storms.

  9. Those Charles Keeping illustrations are wonderful! My elder daughter bought me a boxed set of DVDs of BBC adaptations of Dickens novels. (Too many of’s in that sentence!) The 1985 adaptation of Pickwick with Nigel Stock in 12 (!) episodes is very good.

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