Great Expectations. Artist: Charles Keene. Source: Punch's Almamack for 1868 (30 November 1867): 220.

Ethel (youngest daughter).— “Oh, Pa dear, what did Geo — what did young Mr. Brown want?

Pa.— “Secret, my love. Wanted to speak to be privately. ”

Ethel.— “Oh Pa, do tell me– Cause he was so very attentive to me before you came in– and then asked me to leave the room.”

Pa.— “Well, my dear–(in a whisper) he left his purse at the office, and wanted to borrow eighteen pence to pay his train home!!”

Two things root this cartoon in the mid-Victorian years: in addition to having the title of a famous novel by Charles Dickens, it takes place in a time when people regularly travel considerable distances by railroad, and the home from which we see the back of the young man walking away is probably located in a suburb. Keene’s effective drawing and extensive dialogue make this the germ of a romance novel, for unlike most of the other cartoons by Keene and George du Maurier emphasizes a situation more its punchline.

Image capture, caption, and formatting by George P. Landow. 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.

Created 8 July 2013

Last modified 8 May 2020