Context of the Illustration: Dickensian Coincidence Rescues Little Nell
It was not an easy matter to come up with him, and beseech his aid, for he walked fast, and was a little distance in advance. At length, he stopped, to look more attentively at some passage in his book. Animated with a ray of hope, the child shot on before her grandfather, and, going close to the stranger without rousing him by the sound of her footsteps, began, in a few faint words, to implore his help.
He turned his head. The child clapped her hands together, uttered a wild shriek, and fell senseless at his feet. [End of Chapter XLV, 167]
It was the poor schoolmaster. No other than the poor schoolmaster. Scarcely less moved and surprised by the sight of the child than she had been on recognising him, he stood, for a moment, silent and confounded by this unexpected apparition, without even the presence of mind to raise her from the ground.
But, quickly recovering his self-possession, he threw down his stick and book, and dropping on one knee beside her, endeavoured, by such simple means as occurred to him, to restore her to herself; while her grandfather, standing idly by, wrung his hands, and implored her with many endearing expressions to speak to him, were it only a word.
"She is quite exhausted," said the schoolmaster, glancing upward into his face. "You have taxed her powers too far, friend."
"She is perishing of want," rejoined the old man. "I never thought how weak and ill she was, till now." [Chapter XLVI, 168].
Related Material about The Old Curiosity Shop
- Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop (homepage)
- The Old Curiosity Shop Illustrated: A Team Effort by "The Clock Works"
- Illustrated Editions of The Old Curiosity Shop
- Kyd's Characters from Dickens (1889)
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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Dickens, Charles. The Old Curiosity Shop. Illustrated by Charles Green. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876. XII.
Created 8 May 2020
Last modified 22 November 2020