It was an edifying spectacle, the young man in his easy-chair taking his coffee, and the old man, with his grey head bent, standing awaiting his pleasure (p. 182) — James Mahoney's thirty-first illustration for Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, Household Edition (New York), 1875. Wood engraving by the Dalziels, 9.3 cm high x 13.5 cm wide. The Harper & Brothers woodcut for first chapter, "Lodgers in Queer Street," in the third book, "A Long Lane," realizes the scene in Fledgeby's bachelor rooms in The Albany when Riah arrives from the youth's place of business, Pubsey and Co., and his employer finally chooses to get up, having kept Riah waiting in the second-floor hallway, and then in his rooms. Fledgeby in the picture affects the sartorial style and habiliments of a Turkish pasha, including the following from the text: "Turkish slippers, rose-coloured Turkish trowsers (got cheap from somebody who had cheated some other somebody out of them), and a gown and cap to correspond" (181-182).

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.]

Passage Illustrated

The old man [Riah] shook his head, gently repudiating the imputation, and suppressed a sigh, and moved to the table at which Mr. Fledgeby was now pouring out for himself a cup of steaming and fragrant coffee from a pot that had stood ready on the hob. It was an edifying spectacle, the young man in his easy chair taking his coffee, and the old man with his grey head bent, standing awaiting his pleasure.

"Now!" said Fledgeby. "Fork out your balance in hand, and prove by figures how you make it out that it ain't more. First of all, light that candle."

Riah obeyed, and then taking a bag from his breast, and referring to the sum in the accounts for which they made him responsible, told it out upon the table. Fledgeby told it again with great care, and rang every sovereign.

"I suppose," he said, taking one up to eye it closely, "you haven't been lightening any of these; but it's a trade of your people's, you know. You understand what sweating a pound means, don't you?"

"Much as you do, sir," returned the old man, with his hands under opposite cuffs of his loose sleeves, as he stood at the table, deferentially observant of the master's face. "May I take the liberty to say something?"

"You may," Fledgeby graciously conceded.

"Do you not, sir — without intending it — of a surety without intending it — sometimes mingle the character I fairly earn in your employment, with the character which it is your policy that I should bear?"

"I don't find it worth my while to cut things so fine as to go into the inquiry," Fascination coolly answered.

"Not in justice?"

"Bother justice!" said Fledgeby.

"Not in generosity?"

"Jews and generosity!" said Fledgeby. "That's a good connexion! Bring out your vouchers, and don't talk Jerusalem palaver."

The vouchers were produced, and for the next half-hour Mr. Fledgeby concentrated his sublime attention on them. They and the accounts were all found correct, and the books and the papers resumed their places in the bag. &mdash, Book 3, Chapter 1: "Lodgers in Queer Street," p. 182.


Despite the fact that it was his visual antecedent, Mahoney ten years later deviated from the choices for illustration made by Dickens and his original illustrator, Marcus Stone, so that, for the March, 1865 instalment, the eleventh monthly part in the British serialisation, there is no counterpart to this illustration of the Fledgeby's levee. Stone's plate for instalment eleven (Book 3, Chapters 1 — 4), Trying on for the Doll's Dressmaker, the first illustration for the March 1865 monthly part in the British serialisation, concerns Jenny Wren's using London society fashions as the basis for her dolls' dresses. And, although they had access to the Stone series, American illustrators Sol Eytinge, Jr. (1867) and Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1866) chose other scenes. Both artists interpreted Fledgeby and Riah in a similar manner — for example, the self-important expression of the young socialite in Eytinge's Fledgeby and Riah. Nonetheless, Mahoney's depiction of Fedgeby's reception of Riah at The Albany is without parallel or precedent. Mahoney's depiction of the money-lender and his front man is consistent both with his own earlier illustrations and with such Marcus Stone illustrations as The Garden on the Roof (November 1864).

In his portrait of Fascination Fledgeby as a Turkish pasha, Dickens may have been relying on his readers' recognizing the negative aspects of Ottoman functionaries, the ​​ enemies of Western culture in Eugene Delacroix's Massacres at Chios Greek Families Awaiting Death or Slavery (1824) and Greece Expiring on the ruins of Missolonghi (1826), two of the most celebrated French paintings of the Romantic era by one of the leading French Romantic painter of the early nineteenth century.

Readers of the Household Edition in 1875 might also have interpreted Fledgeby as a "poser," a pallid youth aspiring to possess a swash-buckling image like that of Pasha Hobart, a former British naval officer who became a blockade runner during the American Civil War and then an admiral in the service of the Ottoman Empire from 1867, when he immediately undertook the suppression of a nationalist uprising on Crete, for which service he was awarded the title of "Pasha" in 1869 by the Sultan of Turkey. The year before Chapman and Hall's issuing this edition, Hobart, whose name had, on representations made to Her Majesty's government by Greece, been struck from the British Navy List, was reinstated; his restoration did not, however, last long, since upon the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war he again entered the Ottoman service.

Riah and Fledgeby in the original and later editions, 1865-1867

Left: Marcus Stone's November 1864 serial illustration of the pair emerging on the roof to discover Lizzie and Jenny reading, The Garden on the Roof.​ Right: Sol Eytinge, Junior's dual character study of the​ Riah and Fledgeby as they were introduced in the latter's business at St. Mary Axe, Fledgeby and Riah (1867). [Click on images to enlarge them.]


Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.

The Characters of Charles Dickens pourtrayed in a series of original watercolours by "Kyd." London, Paris, and New York: Raphael Tuck & Sons, n. d.

Cohen, Jane Rabb. "The Illustrators of Our Mutual Friend, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Marcus Stone, Charles Collins, Luke Fildes." Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Canton: Ohio U. P., 1980. Pp. 203-228.

Darley, Felix Octavius Carr. Character Sketches from Dickens. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1888.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. Illustrated by Marcus Stone [40 ​composite wood-block engravings]. Volume 14 of the Authentic Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens. London: Chapman and Hall; New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1901 [based on the original nineteen-month serial and the two-volume edition of 1865].

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Household Edition. New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1866. Vol. 1.

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Illustrated Household Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Field; Lee and Shepard; New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1870 [first published in The Diamond Edition, 1867].

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. Illustrated by James Mahoney [58 composite wood-block engravings]. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall' New York: Harper & Bros., 1875.

Grass, Sean. Charles Dickens's 'Our Mutual Friend': A Publishing History. Burlington, VT, and Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2014.

Hammerton, J. A. "Chapter 21: The Other Novels." The ​​ Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles​Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 17. Pp.​441-442.

Kitton, Frederic G. Dickens and His Illustrators. (1899). Rpt. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2004.

Kyd [Clayton J. Clarke]. Characters from​ ​ Dickens. Nottingham: John Player & Sons, 1910.

Muir, Percy. Victorian Illustrated Books. London: B. T. Batsford, 1971.

"Our Mutual Friend — Fifty-eight Illustrations by James Mahoney." Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, Being Eight Hundred and Sixty-six Drawings by Fred Barnard, Gordon Thomson, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), J. McL. Ralston, J. Mahoney, H. French, Charles Green, E. G. Dalziel, A. B. Frost, F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1907.

Queen's University, Belfast. "Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, Clarendon Edition. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, June 1864-December 1865." Accessed 12 November 2105.

Vann, J. Don. Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: Modern Language Association, 1985.

Last modified 24​December 2015