"Now, old chap," said Mr. Pancks, "Pay up!" (See page 156) — Book I, chap. 25, "Conspirators and Others," p. 145. Sixties' illustrator James Mahoney's ​twenty-second illustration for Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, Household Edition, 1873. Wood-engraving by the Dalziels, 10.6 cm high x 13.6 cm wide. The Chapman and Hall woodcut is identical to that in the New York (Harper and Brothers) edition; however, the American volume has a much longer caption: Mounting to the attic, attended by Mrs. Plornish as interpreter, he found Mr. Baptist with no furniture but his bed on the ground, a table and a chair, carving with the aid of a few simple tools, in the blithest way possible. "Now, old chap," said Mr. Pancks, "Pay up!" — Book 1, chap. xxxiii..

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Passage Illustrated

However, the Bleeding Hearts were kind hearts; and when they saw the little fellow cheerily limping about with a good-humoured face,​doing no harm, drawing no knives, committing no outrageous​immoralities, living chiefly on farinaceous and milk diet, and​playing with Mrs. Plornish's children of an evening, they began to​think that although he could never hope to be an Englishman, still it would be hard to visit that affliction on his head. They began​to accommodate themselves to his level, calling him ​ "Mr.​Baptist,"​but treating him like a baby, and laughing immoderately at his​lively gestures and his childish English​— more, because he didn't​mind it, and laughed too. They spoke to him in very loud voices as​if he were stone deaf. They constructed sentences, by way of teaching him the language in its purity, such as were addressed by​ ​ the savages to Captain Cook, or by Friday to Robinson Crusoe. Mrs. Plornish was particularly ingenious in this art; and attained so​much celebrity for saying "Me ope you leg well soon," that it was​considered in the Yard but a very short remove indeed from speaking​Italian. Even Mrs. Plornish herself began to think that she had a​natural call towards that language. As he became more popular,​household objects were brought into requisition for his instruction​in a copious vocabulary; and whenever he appeared in the Yard​ladies would fly out at their doors crying "Mr.​Baptist — tea-pot!" "Mr.​ Baptist​— dust-pan!" "Mr.​Baptist​— flour-dredger!"​"Mr. Baptist​— coffee-biggin!"​At the same time exhibiting those​articles, and penetrating him with a sense of the appalling​difficulties of the Anglo-Saxon tongue.

It was in this stage of his progress, and in about the third week​of his occupation, that Mr. Pancks's fancy became attracted by the​little man. Mounting to his attic, attended by Mrs. Plornish as​interpreter, he found Mr. Baptist with no furniture but his bed on​the ground, a table, and a chair, carving with the aid of a few​simple tools, in the blithest way possible.​

"​Now, old chap," said Mr. Pancks, "pay up!"

He had his money ready, folded in a scrap of paper, and laughingly handed it in; then with a free action, threw out as many fingers of his right hand​as there were shillings, and made a cut crosswise in the air for an odd sixpence.

"Oh!" said Mr. Pancks, watching him, wonderingly. "That's it, is it? You're a quick customer. It's all right. I didn't expect to receive it, though."

Mrs. Plornish here interposed with great condescension, and explained to Mr. Baptist. "E please. E glad get money."

The little man smiled and nodded. His bright face seemed uncommonly attractive to Mr.​ Pancks. "How's he getting on in his limb?"​he asked Mrs. Plornish. — Book the First, "Poverty," Chapter 25, "Conspirators and Others," p. 157.


A​lthough the novel has been illustrated some four times between 1855 and 1910, none of the other illustrators has focussed on this scene in the sequence of chapters that were originally in Part Seven (June 1856). Rather, Phiz and Furniss have focussed Little Dorrit's telling the wondering Maggy the story of the princess (Book 1, Ch. 24). The text accompanying the Mahoney illustration smacks of Dickens's youthful satire on the English character in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, but the picture, minimizing the figure of Mrs. Plornish at the door, does not support the narrator's tongue-in-cheek appreciation of English aprejudices towards foreigners and foreign languages. The composition is effectively organized, with the respectably dressed Panks holding his record book, leaning forward to direct the viewer's gaze towards the Italian on his mattress, the right-hand corner of a triangle whose apex is Mrs. Plornish's head in the darkness of the passage. As in seventeenth-century genre paintings, Mahoney captures the movement of light from the grimy, thick-paned window across the room, creating a chiaroscuro of darkness around the head of the smiling Cavaletto and his carving materials. Albeit in a less significant context, the illustration nonetheless serves to introduce the reader to Mr. Pancks, Mr. Casby's agent and rent-collector at Bleeding Heart Yard, and the Plornishes, residents of the yard, and marks the reappearance of "Mr. Baptist" (Caveletto, Rigaud's cellmate in Marseilles in the opening chapter).


Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.

Cohen, Jane Rabb. Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Checkmark and Facts On File, 1999.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"). The Authentic Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1901 [rpt. 30 May 1857 volume].

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Frontispieces by Felix Octavius Carr Darley and Sir John Gilbert. The Household Edition. 55 vols. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1863. 4 vols.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. 14 vols.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by James Mahoney. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1873. Vol. 5.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 12.

Hammerton, J. A. "Chapter 19: Little Dorrit." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Co., 1910. Vol. 17. Pp. 398-427.

Kitton, Frederic George. Dickens and His Illustrators: Cruikshank, Seymour, Buss, "Phiz," Cattermole, Leech, Doyle, Stanfield, Maclise, Tenniel, Frank Stone, Landseer, Palmer, Topham, Marcus Stone, and Luke Fildes. Amsterdam: S. Emmering, 1972. Re-print of the London 1899 edition.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.

Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.

Steig, Michael. Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978.

Vann, J. Don. Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: The Modern Language Association, 1985.

Last modified 3 June 2016