"Bless my soul!" exclaimed the agonized Mr. Pickwick, "there's the other horse running away!" by Thomas Nast (1873), Chapter V, p. 35.

Bibliographical Note

The illustration appears in the American Edition of Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter V, "A Short One — showing among other matters, how Mr. Pickwick undertook to drive, and Mr. Winkle to ride, and how they both did it," page 35. Wood-engraving, 4 ⅛ inches high by 5 ¼ inches wide (10.4 cm high by 13.3 cm wide), framed, half-page; referencing text on the same page; descriptive headline: "The Order of Travelling is Disarranged" (p. 35), precisely the same headline which the Chapman and Hall edition of 1874 employs on p. 31. New York: Harper & Bros., Franklin Square, 1873.

Scanned image, colour correction, sizing, caption, and commentary 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.]

Passage Illustrated: The Pickwickians Lose their Mounts

"Bless my soul!" exclaimed the agonised Mr. Pickwick; "there's the other horse running away!"

It was but too true. The animal was startled by the noise, and the reins were on his back. The results may be guessed. He tore off with the four-wheeled chaise behind him, and Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass in the four-wheeled chaise. The heat was a short one. Mr. Tupman threw himself into the hedge, Mr. Snodgrass followed his example, the horse dashed the four-wheeled chaise against a wooden bridge, separated the wheels from the body, and the bin from the perch; and finally stood stock still to gaze upon the ruin he had made. [Chapter V, "A Short One — showing among other matters, how Mr. Pickwick undertook to drive, and Mr. Winkle to ride, and how they both did it," p. 35]

Commentary: The Pickwickians, unable to control their horses, find themselves stranded

Left: Robert Seymour’s Mr. Winkle Soothes the Refractory Steed (1836). Right: Phiz's less cartoonish 1874 wood-engraving of the farcical scene in which Pickwick, a thorough urbanite, cannot control the horse whom he has rented, The horse no sooner beheld Mr. Pickwick advancing with the chaise whip in his hand, &c. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Compare the Nast illustration of Pickwick's difficulties with the horse rented at The Bull Inn, Rochester, to Phiz's in the same chapter: The horse no sooner beheld Mr. Pickwick advancing with the chaise whip in his hand, &c. and the original serial illustration, Seymour's Mr. Winkle Soothes the Refractory Steed. Both Phiz and Nast in their Chapter 7 illustrations seem to have been influenced by the Seymour engraving, although Phiz has clearly based his sixth 1874 illustration more closely on Seymour's plate. Nast convincingly directs Pickwick's gaze to the rapidly disappearing chaise, up left, while his rather more realistic and more effectively modelled Winkle (right), watches the horse that the pair have been ineffectually trying to calm. Curiously, neither Phiz nor Nast, despite the more extensive programs of illustration in the Household Edition, elected to depict the subsequent scene (one attempted by Seymour, but never published), in which Snodgrass and Tupman throw themselves from the chaise and into the hedge as the vehicle crashes against the wooden bridge.

Nast focuses on the reactions of Pickwick and Winkle as one horse, pulling the chaise containing the distraught Tupman and Snodgrass, disappears up the road to the left and the other, saddled for Winkle to ride from Rochester, disappears down the road to the right. Pickwick, whip in hand, follows the progress of the chaise which he is supposed to be driving, and Winkle turns his head to watch the saddle-horse. Nast, in fact, is not so much interested in the runaway horses as in the stunned reactions of those who have rented them from the hostler at The Bull for the day's expedition into the countryside. Pickwick has made the error of trying to come to Winkle's assistance after Winkle has dismounted to retrieve Pickwick's carriage-whip. Now both are without transportation on the lonely rural highway. Nast's saddle-horse is doing much more than trot back to Rochester; rather, liberated from the inept Winkle's control, he gallops vigorously, his tail erect, while his fellow capers, causing Tupman (standing) to consider throwing himself into the hedgerow. Thus, the two "noble creatures" have gotten the better of the Londoners, who are totally unused to the ways of horses.

Other artists who illustrated this work, 1836-74

Related Material


Cohen, Jane Rabb. Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980.

Dickens, Charles. The Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Robert Seymour and Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37.

Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. Engraved by A. V. S. Anthony. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Thomas Nast. New York: Harper and Brothers 1873.

Dickens, Charles. Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.

Last modified 14 August 2019