An Annotated Edition of the 1850 “Domestic Romance”
By James Malcolm Rymer
Currently a Work in Progress
General Editor: Rebecca Nesvet
Chapter Editors: UWGB Digital Humanists
Web Developers: Sarah Miles, Matt McAnelly
Annotations Editor (Spring 2016): Natalya Jensen
Technical Consultant: Kate Farley
Introduction. By Rebecca Nesvet
Chapter 1. The Strange Customer at Sweeney Todd’s.
Edited by Alex Crary.
London, A.D. 1785. Sweeney Todd, Fleet-street barber, warns his new young servant Tobias Ragg not to reveal anything he sees or thinks he sees. “Lieutenant” Thornhill comes to London with his dog Hector and a string of pearls, which Mark Ingestrie has asked him to bring to Johanna Oakley. Thornhill stops for a shave … and vanishes.
Chapter 2. The Spectacle-Maker’s Daughter.
Edited by Emily Harwood and Halle Johnson.
Johanna and her father, the spectacle-maker John Oakley discuss Mark Ingestrie, her fiance. Johanna has had a nightmare, and fears the worst. Mr. Oakley’s apprentice Sam Bolt, who has eyes for Johanna, overhears and swears revenge on Mark.
Chapter 3. [Untitled].
Edited by Paige Buchanan and Sarah Cottrell.
Colonel Jeffery of the “Indian Army”, who disembarked with Thornhill from Captain Rathbone’s ship the Neptune, worries about his disappearance. Hector leads Jeffery to Sweeney Todd’s shop. Is he involved in the disappearance? He denies this, but Hector thinks otherwise. Tobias almost blows Todd’s cover. Todd sends him away.
Chapter 4. The Pie-Shop, Bell-Yard.
Edited by Amber Beardsley and Gaojou Lor.
At Mrs. Lovett’s pie-shop, Tobias encounters an old acquaintance. We learn Tobias’s mother’s history, the cause of her son’s present “employment.” Todd mysteriously departs in a posh disguise.
Chapter 5. The Meeting in the Temple.
Edited by Natalya Jensen and Dana Mehlhorn.
Rev. Lupin visits the Oakley family, to Mr. Oakley’s displeasure. Johanna receives an anonymous message promising information about Mark. She ventures out to meet the mysterious messenger.
Chapter 6. The Conference, and the Fearful Narration in the Garden.
The messenger tells Johanna that Mark vanished in a shipwreck and Thornhill in London. She shares her nightmare, which proves a clairvoyant dream. “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Chapter 7. The Barber and the Lapidary.
Edited by Sarah Miles and Jennifer Berceau.
Sweeney Todd attempts to fence the string of pearls. A lapidary questions how he acquired the jewels. His answer (or lack thereof) leads to a high-speed chase.
Chapter 8. The Thieves’ Home.
Edited by Dylan Bergmann.
Sweeney Todd finds himself in a den of thieves. He manages to convince them he is a maker of “sham pearls.” The thieves fear he will reveal their hideaway. Can Todd get out of this predicament?
Chapter 9. Johanna at Home, and the Resolution.
Edited by Dylan Bergmann.
Johanna returns home to discover her mother entertaining a drunken Lupin. He proposes marriage to Johanna, but she is saved by the arrival of her father and his cousin Big Ben, a Tower of London beefeater and menagerie-keeper, who roughs up an apology out of the Reverend. Mr. Oakley reasserts his authority over the household, much to the chagrin of his wife.
Chapter 10. The Colonel and his Friend.
A digression on the homeward voyage of the Neptune. It stops in Madagascar. Colonel Jeffery is ambushed by “savages”; Thornhill saves him. The flashback ends. In London, Jeffery and Captain Rathbone trace Thornhill to the barber shop, then question an uncooperative Tobias. They warn him against “keeping dangerous secrets.”
Chapter 11. The Stranger at Lovett’s.
Edited by Matt McAnelly.
A homeless man named Jarvis Williams gets an opportunity to work in Lovett’s subterranean “pie manufactory.” The lone incumbent worker, Skinner, is imprisoned there–but he won’t be much longer. A famished and excited Williams begins work and eats his fill of London’s favorite pies.
Chapter 12. The Resolution Come to by Johanna Oakley.
Edited by Jennifer Berceau.
Johanna uses her powers of induction to decide that the vanished “Thornhill” must be Mark Ingestrie in disguise. Could Mark therefore be alive, and trapped in the barber shop? Meanwhile, at the Oakleys’, Ben demands a little snack and shares his philosophical opinions on love, marriage, and female humans.
Chapter 13. Johanna’s Interview with Arabella Wilmot, and the Advice.
Edited by Elizabeth Cina and Jennifer Newman.
Johanna and her old schoolfriend Arabella Wilmot talk about love and Mark’s disappearance. “True friendship,” Arabella says, “is best shown in the encounter of difficulty and distress.” They must investigate the barber shop, but how can two girls do that? They come up with a plan. It’s crazy, but it just might work.
(Continued in our Next.)