A Happy Announcement

This morning, while Nick continued brightening up the kitchen, Jackie helped the ailing Modus to Downton Service Station. Unsurprisingly the diagnosis, which was delivered later, was the need for a new clutch. It is hoped that we will receive it back by the weekend.

This afternoon, having reached the 3/4 point of Charles Dickens’s ‘Little Dorrit’, I scanned seven more of Charles Keeping’s remarkable illustrations.

‘It was a deserted place and looked upon a deserted scene’ which was the side of the River Thames at night. The ladder scaling the wall to the left of the illustration was placed for easy access to the river bed. It was at such a location when the tide was low that I had to fish my late wife Jessica out of the mud.

Mr Keeping remains faithful to earlier portrayals of these two characters in ‘He rolled Mr Flintwinch about with a hand on each of his shoulders.’

‘I am now going to devote an hour to writing to you again’ depicts the unmistakeable letter-writer from the opposite side in a different location from the first such image.

With ‘It was a dinner to provoke an appetite’ the artist captures what I think is one of the rare boring passages of the prose.

‘Mrs Plornish, now established in a snug little shop at the crack end of the Yard’, contains typical details of the illustrator’s work, such as worn steps, feral pigeons, and a horse in the stable. These are Keeping’s own embellishments.

‘Mr Sparkler came and sat down on the other side of her’, for a happy announcement. The artist makes the varying feelings about this very clear;

equally in ‘Nobody noticed the Bridegroom’, whose insignificance is well depicted.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; sage and onion stuffing; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage, with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Recital.


  1. when I read the title I assumed you were about to take holy orders or reveal that you’ve decided to self-identify as a new forest pony this summer…

  2. I am enjoying all these fabulous illustrations, Derrick, from the deserted place, to the evil character, to the overwhelming dinner centered around the tall candelabra, to the hardly noticeable bridegroom.

  3. I’m certain that everyone will be guessing about the title. ? The facial expressions are so wonderful in these drawings.
    I’m glad the Thames scene brought you happy memories and not tragic ones!

  4. Charles Keeping’s Illustrations certainly add charming character to the book Derrick, and I hoping my niece, Kerri’s drawings will add a touch of imagination to my poetry book coming out next month… I shall be posting her illustrations in the next week or two… my book is under ‘wraps’ at the moment..

    1. hey ivor20 – just wanted to mention something –
      i think it is awesome when a poet offers images to go with their pieces – it can really be enriching and so best wishes with using your nieces art with your book πŸ˜‰ ?

  5. i think the first part of 2021 will always be connected with Little Dorrit
    and your posts have been these tasty treats as i move from the mini series into my own reading of the book
    and today’s snippets were packed with Dickens flavor
    thanks again

  6. I’m finding these illustration real good, some absolutely brilliant! And Derrick my complements to the chef for putting together such a delicious sounding dinner, yummy!

  7. Charles Keeping is a meticulous artist with attention to minutest of details of various objects and moments. These illustrations seem to have become an inalienable part of the story, which is a hallmark of abiding art.

  8. A bad clutch? It has been a long, long time since I owned a car with a manual transmission. I learned to drive on one, but have since become spoiled. πŸ™‚

  9. Your title caught me like a fish and reeled me in, fast! πŸ˜‰ I thought maybe you were gonna’ tell us you are infanticipating! Ha! πŸ˜‰ Just teasin’! πŸ˜›
    Hope your car is in good order soon.
    Love Mr. Keeping’s illustrations, always! The faces/expressions are amazing! And I always thought Mr. Sparkler is the bestest name! πŸ˜€
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  10. I also thought there was to be a grand announcement, and after reading about the ailing Modus I assumed it was to be a new car!

  11. Hi Derrick – it is me again
    I wanted to know if you felt like dong a mini interview with me for the little dorrit challenge closing post.
    On Monday or Tuesday I am going to do my final post
    and would love to feature a mini Q and A with you because of the awesome way you shared the CK images and also read the book.

    If you are interested – I will send you the questions (and send them to me via email or through a comment on my blog

      1. no- it might be in one of your previous posts on little dorrit but i don’t recall right now.
        and you have me so curious –

        1. When we do the interview, I’ll explain. I haven’t put it on a post, but have mentioned it to one or two commenters. Will you send me your e-mail address?

          1. yes – can i email it to you through the address you have for your word press comments ?
            and thanks sooooioo much for your time with this

  12. The questions (if you want to do this)
    1) How old is your copy of Little Dorrit and do you have any thing to share about who you got this copy – or any other copies of Dickens books. (and maybe: How many Dickens books do you have in your library and how big is your home library?)
    2) How many times have you read Little Dorrit? What did you like about the book – what did you dislike?
    3) Can you share three takeaways from the current reading of this book?
    4) If someone wanted to read a section of this long book, where would you send them.
    5) Any little tidbits to share about the book – the CK illustrations, or notes to share about it with readers?

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