Study Guide

Mr. Venus in Our Mutual Friend

Mr. Venus

When we first meet Mr. Venus, the narrator of Our Mutual Friend takes pleasure in making us wonder what this man's job could possibly be. It starts us off with teasing descriptions, saying,

His eyes are like the over-tired eyes of an engraver, but he is not that; his expression and stoop are like those of a shoemaker, but he is not that. (2.7.6)

We end up realizing that the Steve Buscemi look-alike Mr. Venus is a taxidermist who has stuffed animals and even human limbs in his store. Crikey! Like many characters in this book, Venus suffers from a sort of lazy depression. His depression is specifically connected to a young woman who has turned down his proposal of marriage because she finds his job too creepy (fair enough).

At first, Mr. Venus is happy to join Silas Wegg in a scheme of blackmailing the kind Mr. Boffin. But once he has time to think about it, Venus realizes that he has a conscience after all and he tells Boffin about the whole plot:

That proposal, sir, was a conspiring breach of your confidence, to such an extent, that I ought at once to have made it known to you. But I didn't, Mr. Boffin, and I fell into it. (14.14.24)

By the end of the book, Venus is rewarded for his honesty and he gets engaged to the girl of his dreams… and, yup, still stuffing dead animals.