Old Curiosity Shop by Thomas Worth in the first Household Edition volume published by Harper & Bros., New York (1872), 78: 3 ½ x 5 ¼ inches (8.8 x 13.5 cm) framed. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]in Chapter XXIII of Dickens's
Context of the Illustration: Quilp delights in cheating at four-handed Cribbage
It being now Mr. Quilp’s cue to change the subject with all convenient expedition, lest Richard Swiveller in his heedlessness should reveal anything which it was inexpedient for the women to know, he proposed a game at four-handed cribbage, and partners being cut for, Mrs. Quilp fell to Frederick Trent, and Dick himself to Quilp. Mrs. Jiniwin being very fond of cards was carefully excluded by her son-in-law from any participation in the game, and had assigned to her the duty of occasionally replenishing the glasses from the case-bottle; Mr. Quilp from that moment keeping one eye constantly upon her, lest she should by any means procure a taste of the same, and thereby tantalising the wretched old lady (who was as much attached to the case-bottle as the cards) in a double degree and most ingenious manner.
But it was not to Mrs. Jiniwin alone that Mr. Quilp’s attention was restricted, as several other matters required his constant vigilance. Among his various eccentric habits he had a humorous one of always cheating at cards, which rendered necessary on his part, not only a close observance of the game, and a sleight-of-hand in counting and scoring, but also involved the constant correction, by looks, and frowns, and kicks under the table, of Richard Swiveller, who being bewildered by the rapidity with which his cards were told, and the rate at which the pegs travelled down the board, could not be prevented from sometimes expressing his surprise and incredulity. Mrs. Quilp too was the partner of young Trent, and for every look that passed between them, and every word they spoke, and every card they played, the dwarf had eyes and ears; not occupied alone with what was passing above the table, but with signals that might be exchanging beneath it, which he laid all kinds of traps to detect; besides often treading on his wife’s toes to see whether she cried out or remained silent under the infliction, in which latter case it would have been quite clear that Trent had been treading on her toes before. [Chapter XXIII, 78]
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 Thomas Worth. The Household Edition. 16 vols. New York: Harper & Bros., 1872. I.
Created 24 August 2020
Last modified 26 November 2020