The Bloomsbury Christening – 1834 – a short story
|This first appeared in the Apr 1834 issue of The Monthly Magazine, and was reprinted in Sketches by Boz in 1836.|
This tells the story of the christening of Frederick Charles William Kitterbell.
His father is Charles Kitterbell, a nephew to Mr Dumps. He pleads, before it is born, with Dumps to be a godfather to his new child.
Nicodemus Dumps, aka Long Dumps, is six feet tall and fifty years old. He is a curmudgeon, termed as ‘the most miserable man in the world’. He disliked many things but most particularly children. He baulks at the invitation to be a godfather, but agrees that if it is a boy, and should live to be christened, then he would agree.
Six weeks pass, then Dumps receives a note confirming that a christening is planned, despite some early problems with a vaccination.
Dumps reluctantly orders a silver mug to be engraved with F C W K for the occasion. On the day he decides to take an omnibus, and has a difficult journey.
He arrives in a fluster, stressding that the baby bears no resembnlance to either of its parents. In the evening Dumps is distraught by the number of guests,including Mr Danton, who charmed all the young ladies present.
Dumps disrupts the christening party by losing the silver mug he bought for the child. At the dinner Dumps is asked to propose a toast. But he gives a long speech that lists all the problems that might afflict the child. The infant’s mother dissolves into hysterics and the occasion is ruined.
Dumps. Nicodemus (Long Dumps)
Kitterbell, Frederick Charles William