A Jealous Husband — William Cubitt Cooke's black-and-white lithograph for Charles Lever's A Day's Ride: A Life's Romance (1894), Chapter XI, "A Jealous Husband." 3 ⅞ by 5 ¼ inches (10 cm by 13 cm), vignetted, facing page 112. [Click on image to enlarge it; mouse over links.]

Passage Illustrated: A Jealous Husband Attacks Potts

There was a large table in the room, and I intrenched myself at once behind this, armed with a light cane chair, while I screamed murder in every language I could command. Failing to reach me across the table, my assailant tried to dodge me by false starts, now at this side, now at that. Though a large fleshy man, he was not inactive, and it required all my quickness to escape him. These manoeuvres being unsuccessful, he very quickly placed a chair beside the table and mounted upon it. I now hurled my chair at him; he warded off the blow and rushed on; with one spring I bounded under the table, reappearing at the opposite side just as he had reached mine. These tactics we now pursued for several minutes, when my enemy suddenly changed his attack, and, descending from the table, he turned it on edge; the effort required strength. I seized the moment and reached the door; I tore it open in some fashion, gained the stairs, the court, the streets, and ran ever onward with the wildness of one possessed with no time for thought, nor any knowledge to guide; I turned left and right, choosing only the narrowest lanes that presented themselves, and at last came to a dead halt at an open drawbridge, where a crowd stood waiting to pass. [Chapter XI, "A Jealous Husband," 112]

Commentary: Algernon Sydney Potts embroiled in a scene from Domestic Farce

The narrator-protagonist has just landed at Ostend, port of entry to the Continent, and, like the foolish, naieve young Romantic he is, has offered his protection to a young lady in deep mourning who has just arrived at the same inn from the channel steamer on which both were passengers. Mistakenly, he believes that the young lady in deep mourning (as the waiter has informed him) from the recently arrived vessel and travelling on her own to Brussels is Miss Herbert, whom he met in England.

Potts has made what proves a nearly fatal error: he has misidentified the young lady in mourning at the Ostend hotel with the young lady had had encountered two days earlier at the Milford Station as he set out on his journey to the Continent in quest of the mount from his "day's ride," Blondel, the retired circus horse. All three illustrators (Newman, Phiz, and Cooke) have seized upon the same moment, when Potts (aka "Pottinger"), thinking himself secure in his hotel room and about to entertain the wistful Miss Herbert, fellow passenger on the mail packet from Dover, instead encounters a very different sort of visitor: the woman's husband, who has just arrived on the 9.40 train from Brussels to collect his wide, and has thus intercepted Potts's note. The black-and-white illustrations do not do justice to the imposing figure who bursts into Potts's room, but all three certainly make Mr. Christopher Jopplyn large, angry, and depict him wearing a tweed suit, and all three arm him with a heavy stick like a shillelagh.

Relevant Illustrations of This Scene from Other Editions (1860 and 1862)

Left: Phiz's earlier illustration emphasizes the contrast between the berserk husband and the timorous Potts in He very quickly placed a chair beside the table and mounted upon it (1862). Right: William Newman's woodcut makes the irate husband a giant out of a fairytale: While I screamed murder in every language I could command (Harper's Weekly (13 October 1860).

Related Serial Illustrations

Scanned images and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use these images 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.]


Lever, Charles. A Day's Ride; A Life's Romance. Illustrated by John McLenan. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Vols. IV and V (18 August 1860 through 13 April 1861) in 35 weekly parts.

_______. A Day's Ride; A Life's Romance. Illustrated by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1863, rpt. Routledge, 1882.

_______. The Daltons and A Day's Ride. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). Vol. VI of Lever's Works. New York: P. F. Collier, 1882; rpt. from Chapman and Hall, 1852.

_______. A Day's Ride: A Life's Romance.  Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). Vol. XIV of Lever's Works. New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1900. rpt. from Chapman and Hall, 1863.

_______. A Day's Ride: A Life's Romance. To Which is Added That Boy of Norcott's. Illustrated by William Cubitt Cooke. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1904.

Lever, Charles James. A Day's Ride; A Life's Romance. http://www.gutenberg.org//files/32692/32692-h/32692-h.htm

Stevenson, Lionel. Dr. Quicksilver: The Life of Charles Lever. New York: Russell & Russell, 1939, rpt. 1969.

Sutherland, John. "Charles Lever." The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford U. P., 1989. 372-374.

Created 21 June 2022

Last updated 26 July 2022