Mrs. Quilp visits Bachelor's Hall by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). Wood engraving, 3 ¾ x 4 ½ inches (9.7 cm by 11.3 cm). — Chapter 50, The Old Curiosity Shop. Date of original serial publication of Part 28: 14 November 1840 in Master Humphrey's Clock, Headpiece for Part 31, Vol. 2: 79.

Context of the Illustration: Quilp camps out at the Thames Warehouse

"Do forgive me. Do come back," said his wife, earnestly.

"No-o-o-o-o!" roared Quilp. "Not till my own good time, and then I’ll return again as often as I choose, and be accountable to nobody for my goings or comings. You see the door there. Will you go?"

Mr. Quilp delivered this last command in such a very energetic voice, and moreover accompanied it with such a sudden gesture, indicative of an intention to spring out of his hammock, and, night-capped as he was, bear his wife home again through the public streets, that she sped away like an arrow. Her worthy lord stretched his neck and eyes until she had crossed the yard, and then, not at all sorry to have had this opportunity of carrying his point, and asserting the sanctity of his castle, fell into an immoderate fit of laughter, and laid himself down to sleep again. [Chapter L, 79]

Quilp's Man-cave: His undomesticated warehouse retreat

The bachelor's hall which Daniel Quilp and his wharf-boy, Tom Scott, have organized (or, rather, disorganized) possesses all the bachelor-merchant's necessities: a clock, a tea-kettle, an umbrella, the treasured Jamaican rum case-bottle (rear), a hammock, an open portmanteau, a stool — and little else. The figure of Quilp lies hidden underneath sail cloth, a boat-cape, and a night-cap, so that one sees only his nose and mouth. According to the clock, it is not yet time for Tom to awaken his master, who, quite disregarding Mrs. Quilp's proffered truce, terrifies his young wife into leaving precipitately, and goes back to sleep.

Left: Harry Furniss's version of the same scene casts Betsy Quilp as terrified rather than submissive: Quilp on his Hammock (1910). Right: Green's large-scale illustration actually minimizes the background details in order to focus on the hideous grin of the dwarf in his nightcap and the uncertain expression on the face of Betsy Quilp in "Halloa!" (1876).

Related Resources Including Other Illustrated Editions

Scanned images and texts 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 in Master Humphrey's Clock. Illustrated by Phiz, George Cattermole, Samuel Williams, and Daniel Maclise. 3 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1840.

Last modified 11 November 2020