"Did you speak to me, sir?" Chapter VIII of Dickens's Old Curiosity Shop by Thomas Worth in the first Household Edition volume published by Harper & Bros., New York (1872), 34: 3 ⅝ x 5 ¼ inches (9.2 x 13.4 cm) framed. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Passage Illustrated: Dick Swiveller contrives an argument with the Market Gardener

Though this was a concerted plot between Miss Sophy and her sister, originating in humane intentions and having for its object the inducing Mr. Swiviller to declare himself in time, it failed in its effect; for Miss Jane being one of those young ladies who are prematurely shrill and shrewish, gave such undue importance to her part that Mr. Swiviller retired in dudgeon, resigning his mistress to Mr. Cheggs and conveying a defiance into his looks which that gentleman indignantly returned.

"Did you speak to me, sir?" said Mr. Cheggs, following him into a corner. "Have the kindness to smile, sir, in order that we may not be suspected. Did you speak to me, sir?"

Mr. Swiviller looked with a supercilious smile at Mr. Chegg’s toes, then raised his eyes from them to his ankles, from that to his shin, from that to his knee, and so on very gradually, keeping up his right leg, until he reached his waistcoat, when he raised his eyes from button to button until he reached his chin, and travelling straight up the middle of his nose came at last to his eyes, when he said abruptly,

"No, sir, I didn’t."

"’Hem!" said Mr. Cheggs, glancing over his shoulder, "have the goodness to smile again, sir. Perhaps you wished to speak to me, sir."

"No, sir, I didn’t do that, either."

"Perhaps you may have nothing to say to me now, sir," said Mr. Cheggs fiercely.

At these words Richard Swiviller withdrew his eyes from Mr. Chegg’s face, and travelling down the middle of his nose and down his waistcoat and down his right leg, reached his toes again, and carefully surveyed him; this done, he crossed over, and coming up the other leg, and thence approaching by the waistcoat as before, said when had got to his eyes, "No sir, I haven’t." [Chapter VIII, 33-34]

Related Material about The Old Curiosity Shop

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 Thomas Worth. The Household Edition. 16 vols. New York: Harper & Bros., 1872. I.

Created 24 August 2020

Last modified 26 November 2020