Wood engraving, approximately 10 cm high by 7.5 cm wide (framed)
Fifth illustration for Dickens's Great Expectations in A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations in the Ticknor & Fields (Boston, 1867) Diamond Edition.
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Arriving in London from his village on the Marshes, Pip begins to understand the arcane ways of the "Modern Babylon," his initiation to "the immensity of London" beginning through Smithfield Market to Jaggers' offices in Little Britain via a brief carriage ride. In the office and in Batholomew Close, prospective clients of none too savoury aspect await Jaggers' return from court. He is of a peculiar class of English lawyers known until 1873 as "attorneys"; that is, although he is not a barrister, he is permitted to advocate for petty criminals in the lower courts. According to the red-eyed Jew loitering in the Close and muttering to himself, Jaggers is a superior advocate, other attorneys being mere "Cat's meat-men," that is, purveyors of old meat of the kind fit only only for cats. Jaggers, crossing the street into Little Britain, encounters several clients before he meets the agent for his cousin, a pawnbroker accused of knowingly having received stolen property ("plate") named Abraham Lazarus.Although Harper's illustrator John McLenan dramatises a scene between a client ("a man in a velveteen fur cap") and the attorney in his offices in "You infernal scoundrel, how dare you tell me that!" (23 February 1861), the small scale of that illustration does not give nearly so strong a sense of the criminal attorney as Eytinge's study of Jaggers in his "supreme indifference" as he leaves the supplicant "dancing on the pavement as if it were red hot." Clearly, then, this is the moment that Eytinge is realising in the illustration:
'I don't know this man!' said Mr. Jaggers, in the same devastating strain: 'What does this fellow want?'
'Ma thear Mithter Jaggerth. Hown brother to Habraham Latharuth?'
'Who's he?' said Mr. Jaggers. 'Let go of my coat."
The suitor, kissing the hem of the garment again before relinquishing it, replied, 'Habraham Latharuth, on thuthpithion of plate.'
'You're too late,' said Mr. Jaggers. 'I am over the way.'
"Holy father, Mithter Jaggerth!' cried my excitable acquaintance, turning white, 'don't thay you're again Habraham Latharuth!'
'I am,' said Mr. Jaggers, 'and there's an end of it. Get out of the way.' [Chapter 20]
Pip and the reader have already been introduced to Jaggers some chapters previous, when the attorney interrogates the "Boy of the neighbourhood" (ch. 11) whom Miss Havisham has invited to play with Estella at Satis House:
'Whom have we here?' asked the gentleman, stopping and looking at me.
'A boy,' said Estella.
He was a burly man of an exceedingly dark complexion, with an exceedingly large head and a corresponding large hand. He took my chin in his large hand and turned up my face to have a look at me by the light of the candle. He was prematurely bald on the top of his head, and had bushy black eyebrows that wouldn't lie down but stood up bristling. His eyes were set very deep in his head, and were disagreeably sharp and suspicious. He had a large watchchain, and strong black dots where his beard and whiskers would have been if he had let them. He was nothing to me, and I could have had no foresight then, that he ever would be anything to me, but it happened that I had this opportunity of observing him well. [Chapter 11]
Whereas McLenan's Jaggers is tall, lighter-haired, and somewhat full in the face, Eytinge's is much more faithful to this description in that he is "burly" and stolid, with deep-set eyes, extensive eyebrows, and a conspicuous watch-fob. More significantly, Eytinge gives him a determined, interior gaze that betokens the enigmatic attorney's singular ability to shut out entirely whatever and whomever he does not wish to deal with as with his left hand he dismisses the supplicant without expending much energy or emotion. Here, indeed, is a fully self-contained pillar of a man capable of keeping a great many secrets, and of employing information to his own advantage. Unfortunately, young Marcus Stone chose not to include Jaggers in his illustrations for the 1862 Library Edition, and F. A. Fraser in his twenty-eight illustrations for the Household Edition included only two rather mediocre renderings of the criminal attorney who knits together so many strands of the complex plot. One of these scenes makes an interesting vehicle for contrasting the greater — and more prosaic — realism of Fraser with the telling character study of Eytinge, "Say another word — one single word — and Wemmick shall give you your money back", since it dramatises a moment very close to the one which the earlier illustrator has realised so effectively, despite the comparative lack of detail.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Il. John McLenan. Vol. V (23 February 1861): 117.
Dickens, Charles. ("Boz."). Great Expectations. With thirty-four illustrations from original designs by John McLenan. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson (by agreement with Harper & Bros., New York), 1861.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Il. Marcus Stone. The Illustrated Library edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1862.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Il. F. A. Fraser. Volume 6 of the Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1871-1880 [this volume c. 1877].
Last modified 2 October 2011