Social Agonies

Social Agonies. From English Society. Sketched by George . Click on image to enlarge it.

Mrs. Bloker.— “Oh. I'm sorry to disturb you at breakfast, but I wanted to make sure of you. Mr. and Mrs. Dedleigh Boreham are stopping with me for a few days, and 1 want you to come and dine to-morrow, or, if you are engaged, Wednesday ; or Thursday will do, or Friday or Saturday; or any day next week!”

(Mrs. Brown feebly tries to invent that they have some thoughts of sailing to Honolulu this afternoon, and that they have just lost a relative, but breaks down ignominiously.)

Social Agonies, like many of the cartoons in English Society, seems more like the best examples of a talented Victorian book illustrator, such Charles Green, Harry Furniss, or Marcus Stone, than as what we today think of as cartoonist’s work. The viewer encounters very little distortion since du Maurier depicts the husband, wife, and maid as very attractive people, reserving exaggeration for the bothersome Mrs. Bloker. Among realistic touches: the table set for breakfast, the library statues on the mantle, the clock in the corner, and the way poor Mrs. Brown holds behind her back the newspaper she has been reading. Mr. Brown stands apart with his hands behind his back and looks askance at Mrs. Bloker serves — a good final touch.

Scanned image and text 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.]


English Society. Sketched by George du Maurier. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897.

Created 1 July 2001

Last modified 30 April 2020