described as being a 'disciple of Izaak Walton' (author of The Compleat Angler). Therefore when they begin to attempt their exhumation we are fully prepared for a humorous slant on so macabre a theme- 'they began to fish. They fished with a spade, at first'. Finally Young Jerry (who is spying on them), despite fleeing the scene in terror, has composed himself sufficiently by the morning to tell Cruncher 'oh, father, I should so like to be a Resurrection-Man when I'm quite growed up!', reminiscent of Wackford Squeers's demonic son in Nicholas Nickleby.

Yet elsewhere Dickens falters in his portrayal of Cruncher as comic; the jokes are either heavy-handed (he 'always spoke of the year of our Lord as Anna Dominoes; apparently under the impression that the Christian era dated from the invention of a popular game by a lady who had bestowed her name upon it') or distastefully violent ('something had gone wrong with [Cruncher]; at least, so Young Jerry inferred, from the circumstance of his holding Mrs. Cruncher by the ears and knocking the back of her head against the headboard of the bed'). Simply put, Cruncher is not as likeable or charismatic as former Dickensian comic turns. There are no passages in A Tale of Two Cities that cause one to laugh out aloud, and although it is unrealistic to call it entirely humourless, it is reasonable to state that its humour is sparing, dark and almost entirely related to the book's grimmer themes.

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