Mr. Doyce had been to Twickenham to pass the day. Clennam had excused himself, Mr. Doyce was just come home. He put in his head at the door of Clennam's sitting-room to say good night. "Come in, come in!" said Clennam — Book I, chap. xxvi, "Nobody's State of Mind." Sixties' illustrator James Mahoney's twenty-third illustration for Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, Household Edition, 1873. Wood-engraving by the Dalziels, 9.5 cm high x 13.7 cm wide. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

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.]

Passage Illustrated

Mr. Henry Gowan would have clouded Clennam's mind, and would have been far oftener present to it than more agreeable persons and subjects but for the great prudence of his decision aforesaid. As it was, Mr. Gowan seemed transferred to Daniel Doyce's mind; at all events, it so happened that it usually fell to Mr. Doyce's turn, rather than to Clennam's, to speak of him in the friendly conversations they held together. These were of frequent occurrence now; as the two partners shared a portion of a roomy house in one of the grave old-fashioned City streets, lying not far from the Bank of England, by London Wall.

Mr. Doyce had been to Twickenham to pass the day. Clennam had excused himself. Mr Doyce was just come home. He put in his head at the door of Clennam's sitting-room to say Good night.

"Come in, come in!" said Clennam.

"I saw you were reading," returned Doyce, as he entered, "and thought you might not care to be disturbed."

But for the notable resolution he had made, Clennam really might not have known what he had been reading; really might not have had his eyes upon the book for an hour past, though it lay open before him. He shut it up, rather quickly. — Book the First, "Poverty"; Ch. 26, "Nobody's State of Mind," p. 157.


The Chapman and Hall woodcut is identical to that in the New York edition. However, the caption in the American Household Edition, published by Harper and Brothers, has a somewhat more extensive caption: Mr. Doyce had been to Twickenham to pass the day. Clennam had excused himself, Mr. Doyce was just come home. He put in his head at the door of Clennam's sitting-room to say good night. "Come in, come in!" said Clennam — Book 1, chap. xxvi.

Although the novel in serial and volume has been illustrated some four times between 1855-57 and 1910, none of the other illustrators has focussed on the interesting, atypical Dickensian character Daniel Doyce, an engineer and business partner of Arthur Clennam, in the sequence of chapters that were originally in Part Eight (July 1856). Rather, in Chapters 26 through 29 Phiz has set the stage for the introduction of Doyce by having Flora and Mr. F.'s Aunt visit the partners' factory ("works") in Bleeding heart Yard (Ch. 23), and in the eighth monthly part has scenes of Mr. Meagles' advising the volatile Tattycoram to count to five-and-twenty in order to calm down before she responds (Ch. 27), and Clennam's throwing rose petals into the Thames (Ch. 28). Mahoney's illustrations for these chapters do neither Daniel Doyce nor his invention any justice; indeed, the best illustration, of Clemman and Pet Meagles, is not particularly engaging, and certainly not as atmospheric as its equivalent in Phiz's sequence, Floating Away (Ch. 28). This omission by the chief illustrators of the novel, as well as by Sol Eytinge, Jr. in the 1867 Diamond Edition and Harry Furniss in the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition, is unfortunate as Doyce is representative of the class that would transform Victorian England, the scientific entrepreneur.

At the Circumlocution Office (for which Dickens omits no opportunity for vilification), where he has gone to deal with William Dorrit's chief creditor, Mr. Tite Barnacle, Arthur Clennam through Mr. Meagles meets the innovative engineer who is treated with contempt by the muddle-headed bureaucracy. With Doyce sets up a small factory for which he continues to seek in vain the governmental financial support through the Circumlocution Office in the coming chapters. Dickens describes the man of applied science as "a short, square, practical looking man, whose hair had turned grey, and in whose face and forehead there were deep lines of cogitation" (II: 10, p. 60), but who is regarded as "a public offender" by the Barnacles for his scientific ingenuity exercised over a dozen years in producing "a very curious secret process" with considerable commercial application and importance to the British economy. However, in the text as in the Mahoney illustration, "He was not much to look at, either in point of size or in point of dress" (60). Unlike the earlier illustrators, Mahoney at least includes Daniel Doyce in his cast of characters. And, with eighteen more scenes at his disposal, Mahoney has added satirical portraits of the Barnacles that are wholly lacking in Phiz's sequence. It is odd, considering the emphasis that Dickens as editor Household Words placed in those years on contemporary applications of applied science and principles of engineering, that Browne, acting under Dickens's instructions, did not give Daniel Doyce any place in the illustrations.

Mahoney could have made Doyce more significant had he introduced him in the context of the Circumlocution Office or the works in Bleeding Heart Yard. The earnest, somewhat diffident middle-aged gentleman in sober, bourgeois business clothing shares leased rooms with the young capitalist, John Clennam, in the financial district near the Bank of England, but the present illustration in no way does much to characterize either tenant. Nor does Mahoney distinguish Clennam's room, except for the bell-pull by the fireplace. On his lap is an unopened book, and the nearby gaslight implies that Clennam has stayed up, trying to read and waiting for Doyce's return.


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Last modified 12 May 2016