xxx xxx

— Shoulder to Shoulder (page 386) — fifteenth black-and-white lithograph from engraving (1885), but twelfth hand-coloured lithograph (1979) for Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, first published in the Robson and Kerslake edition, Chapter XLIII. 4 by 3 ⅛ inches (9.9 cm by 7.6 cm), vignetted, facing p. 342.

Passage Illustrated: Unlikely Bookends — Pip and Bentley Drummle at The Blue Boar

When we drove up to the Blue Boar after a drizzly ride, whom should I see come out under the gateway, toothpick in hand, to look at the coach, but Bentley Drummle!

As he pretended not to see me, I pretended not to see him. It was a very lame pretence on both sides; the lamer, because we both went into the coffee-room, where he had just finished his breakfast, and where I ordered mine. It was poisonous to me to see him in the town, for I very well knew why he had come there.

Pretending to read a smeary newspaper long out of date, which had nothing half so legible in its local news, as the foreign matter of coffee, pickles, fish sauces, gravy, melted butter, and wine with which it was sprinkled all over, as if it had taken the measles in a highly irregular form, I sat at my table while he stood before the fire. By degrees it became an enormous injury to me that he stood before the fire. And I got up,  determined to have my share of it. I had to put my hand behind his legs for the poker when I went up to the fireplace to stir the fire, but still pretended not to know him.

“Is this a cut?” said Mr. Drummle.

“Oh!” said I, poker in hand; “it’s you, is it? How do you do? I was wondering who it was, who kept the fire off.”

With that, I poked tremendously, and having done so, planted myself side by side with Mr. Drummle, my shoulders squared and my back to the fire.

“You have just come down?” said Mr. Drummle, edging me a little away with his shoulder.

“Yes,” said I, edging him a little away with my shoulder.

“Beastly place,” said Drummle. “Your part of the country, I think?”

“Yes,” I assented. “I am told it’s very like your Shropshire.”

“Not in the least like it,” said Drummle. [Chapter XLIII, pp. 384-385]

Commentary: The Haughty Aristocrat who is almost Indistinguishable from Pip

Pailthorpe introduces Pip's nemesis and romantic rival, the ill-natured but wealthy and aristocratic Bentley Drummle, as if he is Pip's double. Bentley has come down (apparently on horseback) from his native Shropshire to the "beastly" Kentish marshes to cement his engagement to Estella by meeting her guardian, Miss Havisham. The exchange between Pip and Drummle in the coffee-room that precedes this moment in the chapter has been anything but amicable. However, now the pair of Finches of the Grove present a convivial picture to the landlord. Although the young swells, down from London, have adopted identical postures as they lean against the mantelpiece, Pailthorpe distinguishes Pip by his now familiar pale face and wavy hair, and Drummle by his load suit and cigar-smoking, possibly a Freudian touch to characterize Drummle's domineering attitude. The illustrator has not made Drummle's face especially surly or disagreeable, and we see no evidence of either mental vacuity or jowls. Pailthorpe's interest here seems to be divided by the two swells dressed in the most up-to-date fashion and the somewhat overdressed, balding waiter with the nose of a veteran imbiber of spirits. His presence in the scene is decidedly odd since he does not appear in the pages that Pailthorpe has selected for realisation. The waiter only appears when Drummle summons him to ask whether his horse has been saddled in preparation for his ride to visit "the lady."

Relevant Images of Pip and Drummle from Other Editions (1876 and 1910)

Left: F. A. Fraser's depiction of Drummle on horseback at the inn: He came back, calling for a light for the cigar in his mouth, which he had forgotten (1876). Right: Harry Furniss's study of Pip's trying to hold his own against his snobbish rival: Drummle and Pip at The Blue Boar (1910).

Related Material

Other Artists’ Illustrations for Dickens's Great Expectations

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.]


Allingham, Philip V. "The Illustrations for Great Expectations in Harper's Weekly (1860-61) and in the Illustrated Library Edition (1862) — 'Reading by the Light of Illustration'." Dickens Studies Annual, Vol. 40 (2009): 113-169.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by John McLenan. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Volume IV: 740 through volume V: 495 (for 24 November 1860 through 3 August 1861).

_____. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. Diamond Edition. 14 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. XIII.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by F. A. Fraser. Volume 6 of the Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by F. W. Pailthorpe. London: Robson & Kerslake, 23 Coventry Street, Haymarket, 1885.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by H. M. Brock. Imperial Edition. 16 vols. London: Gresham Publishing Company [34 Southampton Street, The Strand, London], 1901-3.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol 14.

Harmon, William, and C. Hugh Holman. "Picaresque Novel." A Handbook to Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Pp. 389-390.

Paroissien, David. The Companion to Great Expectations. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2000.

Created 30 August 2021

Last updated 6 October 2021