The crowd were on the tiptoe of expectation.

Background.

Sketches by Boz

The crowd were on the tiptoe of expectation.” is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Characters, Chapter 12 (The Prisoners’ Van).

Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.

 

Context.

A crowd, gathered outside London’s Bow Street Magistrates Court, eagerly await prisoners disembarking from a van that has brought them to be charged at the Court.

Taken from the following passage in The Prisoners’ Van:

The covered vehicle, in which prisoners are conveyed from the police-offices to the different prisons, was coming along at full speed. It then occurred to us, for the first time, that Her Majesty’s carriage was merely another name for the prisoners’ van, conferred upon it, not only by reason of the superior gentility of the term, but because the aforesaid van is maintained at Her Majesty’s expense: having been originally started for the exclusive accommodation of ladies and gentlemen under the necessity of visiting the various houses of call known by the general denomination of ‘Her Majesty’s Gaols.’

The van drew up at the office-door, and the people thronged round the steps, just leaving a little alley for the prisoners to pass through. Our friend the cobbler, and the other stragglers, crossed over, and we followed their example. The driver, and another man who had been seated by his side in front of the vehicle, dismounted, and were admitted into the office. The office-door was closed after them, and the crowd were on the tiptoe of expectation.

 

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2018-04-30T12:24:54+00:00Categories: Sketches by Boz, The Prisoners’ Van|Tags: , , |

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