Mr. Smallweed Breaks the Pipe of Peace by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne) for Bleak House, p. 338 (ch. 3, "A Turn of the Screw"). 4 x 5 3/16 inches. For passage illustrated, see below. Image scan and text by George P. Landow. [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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. ]

Passage Illustrated

"You can ask me anything, Mr. George." (There is an ogreish kind of jocularity in Grandfather Smallweed to-day.)

"And you can refuse, you mean, eh? Or not you so much, perhaps, as your friend in the city? Ha ha ha!"

"Ha ha ha!" echoes Grandfather Smallweed. In such a very hard manner and with eyes so particularly green that Mr. Bagnet's natural gravity is much deepened by the contemplation of that venerable man.

"Come!" says the sanguine George. "I am glad to find we can be pleasant, because I want to arrange this pleasantly. Here's my friend Bagnet, and here am I. We'll settle the matter on the spot, if you please, Mr. Smallweed, in the usual way. And you'll ease my friend Bagnet's mind, and his family's mind, a good deal if you'll just mention to him what our understanding is."

Here some shrill spectre cries out in a mocking manner, "Oh, good gracious! Oh!" Unless, indeed, it be the sportive Judy, who is found to be silent when the startled visitors look round, but whose chin has received a recent toss, expressive of derision and contempt. Mr. Bagnet's gravity becomes yet more profound.

"But I think you asked me, Mr. George" — old Smallweed, who all this time has had the pipe in his hand, is the speaker now — "I think you asked me, what did the letter mean?"

"Why, yes, I did," returns the trooper in his off-hand way, "but I don't care to know particularly, if it's all correct and pleasant."

Mr. Smallweed, purposely balking himself in an aim at the trooper's head, throws the pipe on the ground and breaks it to pieces.

"That's what it means, my dear friend. I'll smash you. I'll crumble you. I'll powder you. Go to the devil!"

The two friends rise and look at one another. Mr. Bagnet's gravity has now attained its profoundest point.

"Go to the devil!" repeats the old man. "I'll have no more of your pipe-smokings and swaggerings. What? You're an independent dragoon, too! Go to my lawyer (you remember where; you have been there before) and show your independence now, will you? Come, my dear friend, there's a chance for you. Open the street door, Judy; put these blusterers out! Call in help if they don't go. Put 'em out!" [Project Gutenberg etext (see bibliography below)]


Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. London: Bradbury & Evans. Bouverie Street, 1853.

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Project Gutenberg etext prepared by Donald Lainson, Toronto, Canada (, with revision and corrections by Thomas Berger and Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D. Seen 9 November 2007.

Last modified 14 November 2007