Mrs. William and the Sick Student by Charles Green. 1895. 8.0 x 9.2 cm, exclusive of frame. Dickens's The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time, Pears Centenary Edition (1912), in which the plates often have captions that are different from the short titles given at the beginning of the volume in the "List of Illustrations" (15-16). For example, the series editor, Clement Shorter, has used a direct quotation that illustrates the surliness of Green's sick student lying on his ample couch in his dressing gown, "'The pillows are not comfortable,' she said. 'I will soon put them right'" (90, adapted from the very top of the same page in the text).

The Context of the Illustration

"Dear Mr. Edmund,” said Milly, looking round, "they told me there was a gentleman here."

"There is no one here but I."

"There has been some one?"

"Yes, yes, there has been some one."

She put her little basket on the table, and went up to the back of the couch, as if to take the extended hand — but it was not there. A little surprised, in her quiet way, she leaned over to look at his face, and gently touched him on the brow.

"Are you quite as well to-night? Your head is not so cool as in the afternoon."

"Tut!" said the student, petulantly, "very little ails me." ["Chapter Two: The Gift Diffused," Pears Centenary Edition, 89]


Right: Frank Stone's description of Milly Swidger's tenderly ministering to the sick student, confined to his room, Milly and the Student.

Although the seventies illustrators of the British and American Household Editions of The Christmas Books, Fred Barnard and E. A. Abbey, offered fresh ideas and realised situations that their predecessors had not, Charles Green for the 1912 Pears Centenary Edition of The Haunted Man is still responding for the most part to the 1848 illustrations by the team of illustrators led by John Leech. In this instance, the illustration to which Green is responding is Stone's elegant composition, Milly and the Student. However, whereas Stone's aloof student seems genuinely ill and even despondent, Green's Denham's (i. e., Longford's) expression is one of discontent and sarcasm, as if he does not appreciate Milly's attention and kindnesses. Green has elected to show the effect of Redlaw's doppelganger on the poor student, and has therefore transformed despondency and despair into superciliousness, losing the beautiful complement in the tender facial expressions in the picture by one of Dickens's original illustrators, Stone, who had so effectively communicated the young man's hopelessness through the student's posture and expression.

Whereas Stone has placed the suffering youth on a small couch to imply his painful and constrained circumstances, Green has placed him on a full-length couch, perhaps to suggest that his background is one of middle-class comfort rather than indigence — and that he is not what he seems. However, both illustrators (unlike Harry Furniss in 1910, who foregrounds Milly and accentuates her figure) ably match their conceptions to the text realised, since he shows Milly in the very act of solicitously adjusting the student's pillow. Green's Mrs. William is much less the angular magazine beauty than the Milly of Furniss's pen-and-ink drawing Milly (see below), and rather more believable as a young married woman of the 1840s whose face and posture betoken genuine concern for the health and comfort of the "poor student," Longford (alias, "Denham").

Relevant illustrations from the 1848 and Later Editions

Left: Stone's second angelic description of Milly as she tenderly tends to the numerous Tetterby offspring, Milly and the Children. Centre: Furniss's elegant description of Milly's visit to Denham's rooms, Milly (1910). Right: Fred Barnard's 1878 melodramatic engraving of Redlaw and Denham earlier, "Mr. Redlaw!" heexclaimed, and started up..

Illustrations for the Other Volumes of the Pears' Centenary Christmas Books of Charles Dickens (1912)

Each contains about thirty illustrations from original drawings by Charles Green, R. I. — Clement Shorter [1912]

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.]


Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Dickens, Charles. The Haunted Man; or, The Ghost's Bargain. Illustrated by John Leech, Frank Stone, John Tenniel, and Clarkson Stanfield. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.

_____. The Haunted Man. Illustrated by John Leech, Frank Stone, John Tenniel, and Clarkson Stanfield. (1848). Rpt. in Charles Dickens's Christmas Books, ed. Michael Slater. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971, rpt. 1978. II, 235-362, and 365-366.

_____. The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time. Illustrated by Charles Green, R. I. (1895). London: A & F Pears, 1912.

_____. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

_____. Christmas Books, illustrated by Fred Barnard. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.

_____. Christmas Books, illustrated by A. A. Dixon. London & Glasgow: Collins' Clear-Type Press, 1906.

_____. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910.

_____. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.

_____. The Haunted Man. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Felix Octavius Carr Darley. The Household Edition. New York: James G. Gregory, 1861. II, 155-300.

Created 22 July 2015

Last modified 7 April 2020