"Apparently one of the ghosts has lost his way, and dropped in to be directed. Look at this phantom." (p. 66). James Mahoney's twelfth illustration for Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, Household Edition, 1875. Wood engraving by the Dalziels, 9.3 cm high x 13.4 cm wide.

The woodcut for Book One, Chapter Twelve, "The Sweat of an Honest Man's Brow," depicts Rogue Riderhood's interview with the lawyer administering the reward money in the Harmon case. The illustration makes plain the close relationship between the two young attorneys, Mortimer Lightwood and Eugene Wrayburn, and is set in their "joint establishment" — a cottage that the bachelors have rented near Hampton-on-Thames for the Long Vacation, when the courts are not in session in the summer months. Their after-dinner banter is interrupted by the appearance in their entrance-way of the disreputable waterman, Rogue Riderhood, immediately identified in the reader's mind by his equally disreputable fur cap. In the New York edition, however, the picture bears the caption "An ill-looking visitor, with a squinting leer, who, as he spoke, fumbled at an old sodden fur cap." The former business partner of Gaffer Hexam is soliciting Lightwood's assistance in claiming the ten-thousand-pound reward offered by Nicodemus Boffin for information regarding John Harmon's murder. He asserts (falsely) that Gaffer has already confessed to the crime. Lightwood has yet to offer the visitor a glass of wine (probably port) from the decanter on the table, centre.

Passage Realised

He had walked to the window with his cigar in his mouth, to exalt its flavour by comparing the fireside with the outside, when he stopped midway on his return to his arm-chair, and said:

"Apparently one of the ghosts has lost its way, and dropped in to be directed. Look at this phantom!"

Lightwood, whose back was towards the door, turned his head, and there, in the darkness of the entry, stood a something in the likeness of a man: to whom he addressed the not irrelevant inquiry, "Who the devil are you?"

"I ask your pardons, Governors," replied the ghost, in a hoarse double-barrelled whisper, "but might either on you be Lawyer Lightwood?"

"What do you mean by not knocking at the door?" demanded Mortimer.

"I ask your pardons, Governors," replied the ghost, as before, "but probable you was not aware your door stood open."

"What do you want?"

Hereunto the ghost again hoarsely replied, in its double-barrelled manner, "I ask your pardons, Governors, but might one on you be Lawyer Lightwood?"

"One of us is," said the owner of that name. — Book One, Chapter 12, p. 66.


In the original serial for part four (August 1864), Marcus Stone had not illustrated this scene with the young lawyers, but jumps ahead to the scene at Limehouse when the pair, accompanied by a police inspector, stake out Gaffer's hovel, observing Lizzie, the waterman's daughter, in Waiting for Father (August 1864). On the other hand, Sol Eytinge, Jr. in the 1867 Diamond Edition focussed exclusively on a dual portrait of the young lawyers, smoking after dinner, in Wrayburn and Lightwood, and Felix Octavius Carr Darley does not depict the lawyers at all in his frontispieces for the novel (1866), James Mahoney has six illustrations involving these solidly upper-middle-class characters, his focus being steadily upon Eugene Wrayburn, one of the book's romantic leads. In Stone's early illustrations of him, the bearded Wrayburn is casual and disintersted. However, he is clearly leading the discussion with the "phantom" in the Mahoney illustration. He has his back to the fireplace and is smoking, asbout to enjoy a post-prandial glass of port (centre decanter). The amount of ruling in the plate suggests that the room is largely dark, there being light from the fire (left) and a lit candle (centre), so that Riderhood is standing in the darkness of the entrance to the cottage. We shall see the bearded Wrayburn again in the next illustration, looking in the window of Gaffer Hexam's cottage on the river, quite absorbed in watching Lizzie. in contrast, Sol Eytinge, Jr., depicts Mortimer Lightwood as having a beard and sideburns, and Eugene merely a moustache in order to make Wrayburn look younger in a moment from Book Three, Chapter 10, "Scouts Out." Oddly enough, Marcus Stone had distinguished the two attorneys by giving the slightly older man, Lightwood, a beard and moustache, whereas his Wrayburn has only a slight moustache; as evident here and in the later plate, They almost ran against Bradley Headstone, Mahoney has reversed the portraits by making Lightwood clean-shaven. After the Crimean War, such full beards as Mahoney gives Wrayburn became fashionable for young men wishing to effect a military air.

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 person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.]


Wrayburn and Lightwood in the original and Diamond Editions, 1864-1867

Left: J. Clayton Clarke's 1910 illustration of the uncouth waterman for the Players' cigarette card series of Dickens characters,​Rogue Riderhood. Right: Sol Eytinge, Junior's interpretation of the​young attorneys, Eugene Wrayburn and Mortimer Lightwood (1867). [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Above: Marcus Stone's November 1864 serial illustration of the lawyers in their rooms in the Middle Temple with Charlie Hexam and Bradley Headstone, Forming The Domestic Virtues. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]


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Last modified 3 December 2015