+ ~ -
 
Article icon.

A Narrative of Extraordinary Suffering

Read me now! Export to PDF, including full article record, author information, and annotation.
Author Charles Dickens
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Great Britain—Description and Travel
Railroads
Transportation; Horse-Drawn Vehicles; Cab and Omnibus Service; Ballooning
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 12/7/1851
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume III
Magazine : No. 68
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns5.5
Payment-
Views : 1947

George Bradshaw first published his Railway Guide in 1839; from 1841 it was published as Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide (see Percy Fitzgerald, The Story of Bradshaw's Guide [1890]). Dickens seems to have had recurrent problems with it: in October 1851 he writes in a letter making an appointment of 'the intense folly of the unmeaning Bradshaw' (Pilgrim, Vol. VI, p. 502). In writing this satirical piece he seems to have used the 1851 May issue in which Ware is erroneously indexed as being on p. 6 (misprint for 36).


'Tu' refers, of course, to market-day in Ware being on a Tuesday and this is quite clearly explained in the notes. In the 'Classification of Railways' appears the Whitehaven and Furness Junction Railway, which anyone looking for Ware might well stumble upon – the line is listed as serving Ravenglass, Bootle and Broughton (the last-name either misread by Dickens or improved by him into the more outlandish-sounding 'Sprouston'). It is somewhat perverse of Mr Lost in travelling from Euston to Birmingham to choose a train to Leighton (Buzzard) or Tring (p. 6) since Bradshaw clearly shows four through services daily. The black line across the timetable at Leighton indicates the terminus of the train at Aylesbury. Worcester is listed in the index only on p. 4, which is the table for Birmingham to Worcester, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Bristol, so Mr Lost's attempt to travel there via Gloucester makes sense. The 12.30 from Paddington does go to Swindon via Didcot, where a branch line to Banbury via Aynho and other stations is indicated. But this particular table is certainly difficult to read: several trains are shown, not necessarily in sequence so it is necessary to work quite hard to disentangle individual journeys. The stations listed on p. [362] (II. 3–4) are all on the Great Western's main line to the South-West. The main line of the North Western Railway shown in Table 44 includes not only Four Ashes, Spread Eagle and Penkridge (all between Wolverhampton and Stafford) but also all the places listen from Manchester to Dundee and Glasgow. After that Dickens's references are, for comic effect, deliberately random. Kingstown is now usually known by its Irish name Dun Laoghaire. Mow Cop is actually in Cheshire, though the station is on the border with Staffordshire; the name is thought to mean 'hill with a boundary cairn'.
      Mr Lost would certainly have found things simpler after 1857 for in January of that year the first issue of Bradshaw's Through Route Railway Guide appeared. In the earlier Guides, as John Drew has noted, Mr Lost's proposed journey from London to Worcester required reference to four different pages; in the Through Guide all the necessary information could be found on p. 32 (J. Drew, Charles Dickens' 'Uncommercial Traveller' Papers (1860–9): Roots, Interpretation and Context, unpub. Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1994, p. 147).
      The 'hieroglyphic' referred to by Dickens as appearing among the advertisements for hotels and boarding-houses seems to relate to the month in which the advertisement was inserted and, probably, the number of times of its appearance and the name of the person taking the booking.

Author: Michael Slater; © J. M. Dent/Orion Publishing Group, Dickens' Journalism Volume III: 'Gone Astray' and Other Papers from Household Words, 1851–59 (1998). DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

Click here for further information about texts cited.

Attachments (0)

Who's Online

We have 812 guests and 2 robots online.

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.014 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.018 seconds, 2.05 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.735 seconds, 3.63 MB
Application afterRender: 0.806 seconds, 3.96 MB

Memory Usage

4185752

32 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '58b493d39f50a5b56fef22af2979f21e'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1638690148' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '58b493d39f50a5b56fef22af2979f21e'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( '58b493d39f50a5b56fef22af2979f21e','1638691948','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'a-narrative-of-extraordinary-suffering'
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'a-narrative-of-extraordinary-suffering'
  9. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '1109'
  10. UPDATE jos_toc_blocks
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='1109'
  11. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 70)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  12. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'a-narrative-of-extraordinary-suffering'
  13. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'a-narrative-of-extraordinary-suffering'
  14. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '1109'
  15. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  16. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_genres_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  17. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_documents (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents
      GROUP BY block_id;
  18. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links
      GROUP BY block_id;
  19. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_authors (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT id_block AS id, COUNT(id_block) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_authors  
      GROUP BY id_block;
  20. SELECT block.*,        IFNULL(periodical.title, "NA") AS title_periodical,        IFNULL(volume.title, "NA") AS title_volume,        IFNULL(magazine.title, "NA") AS title_magazine,        documents.cnt AS document_count,        links.cnt AS link_count,        subject.cnt AS subject_count,        genre.cnt AS genre_count,        authors.cnt AS author_count
      FROM jos_toc_blocks AS block  
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_magazines AS magazine
      ON block.id_magazine = magazine.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_volumes AS volume
      ON block.id_volume = volume.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_periodicals AS periodical
      ON block.id_periodical = periodical.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links AS subject
      ON block.id = subject.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_genres_links AS genre
      ON block.id = genre.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_documents AS documents
      ON block.id = documents.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_links AS links
      ON block.id = links.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_authors AS authors
      ON block.id = authors.id
      WHERE (block.published = 1)
      AND (block.id = 1109)
      ORDER BY id_magazine, id_page, ordering ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  21. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '74'
  22. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_periodicals
      WHERE id = '1'
  23. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '5'
  24. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1109, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 1109 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id  
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1109)
  25. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1109, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 1109 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1109)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  26. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1109, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 1109 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id  
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1109)
  27. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1109, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 1109 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1109)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  28. SELECT r.id, r.title, r.alias, r.names, r.surname
      FROM jos_toc_authors AS r  RIGHT JOIN jos_toc_blocks_authors AS l
      ON  r.id = l.id_author  
      WHERE l.id_block = 1109
      ORDER BY r.surname ASC
  29. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp , insignia.definition
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links
      WHERE id_estate = 1109
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  30. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp  
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links
      WHERE id_estate = 1109
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  31. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 70 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering
  32. SELECT guest, usertype, client_id, DATA
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE client_id = 0

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None