xxx xxx

Old Orlick Means Murder (page 464) — eighteenth black-and-white lithograph from engraving (1885), but fifteenth hand-Coloured lithograph (1979) for Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, first published in the Robson and Kerslake edition, Chapter LIII. 4.6 x 3.5 inches (9.9 cm by 8 cm), vignetted, facing p. 438. In his savage taunting, he flared the candle so close at me, that I turned my face aside to save it from the flame.

Passage Illustrated: Pip in the Sadistic Orlick's Power

Whom I had looked for, I don’t know. I had not looked for him. Seeing him, I felt that I was in a dangerous strait indeed, and I kept my eyes upon him.

He lighted the candle from the flaring match with great deliberation, and dropped the match, and trod it out. Then he put the candle away from him on the table, so that he could see me, and sat with his arms folded on the table and looked at me. I made out that I was fastened to a stout perpendicular ladder a few inches from the wall, — a fixture there, — the means of ascent to the loft above.

“Now,” said he, when we had surveyed one another for some time, “I’ve got you.”

“Unbind me. Let me go!”

“Ah!” he returned, “I’ll let you go. I’ll let you go to the moon, I’ll let you go to the stars. All in good time.”

“Why have you lured me here?”

“Don’t you know?” said he, with a deadly look.

“Why have you set upon me in the dark?”

“Because I mean to do it all myself. One keeps a secret better than two. O you enemy, you enemy!”

His enjoyment of the spectacle I furnished, as he sat with his arms folded on the table, shaking his head at me and hugging himself, had a malignity in it that made me tremble. As I watched him in silence, he put his hand into the corner at his side, and took up a gun with a brass-bound stock.

“Do you know this?” said he, making as if he would take aim at me. “Do you know where you saw it afore? Speak, wolf!”

“Yes,” I answered. [Chapter LIII, 199-200]

Commentary: Demonizing the Villain

We have plenty of examples of how realists sought to make Orlick's anti-social behaviour and enmity of Pip utterly comprehensible. Having been rejected by Biddy, having been fired by Joe after receiving a beating from him, and having (he believes) been driven to violent retribution by the shrewish Mrs. Joe, Orlick can now justify his treatment of Pip. Indeed, Dickens takes considerable pains through Orlick's dialogue to reveal his motives: his is not sheer "motiveless malignancy." But Pailthorpe, harking back to the style of his friend and inspiration, George Cruikshank, revels in Orlick's villainy. The illustrator distorts Orlick's visage as the former journeyman literally salivates at the prospect of utterly obliterating his life-long enemy, the favoured boy, the golden child of the forge. And, although terrified, Pip struggles and apparently offers the madman defiance; certainly, in Pailthorpe's treatment he is not the passive victim that one sees in other versions of this very scene. Pip is spirited, even as his eyes betoken fear, and Orlick is not a pitiable product of environmental forces, but a depraved killer and savage lunatic, the throwback Neanderthal to Pip's Homo Sapiens.

Relevant Illustrations from Other Editions (1876 and 1901)

Left: F. A. Fraser's version of the scene in the Household Edition: Do you know this?' said he." (1876). Right: H. M. Brock in the Imperial Edition creates suspense with a cunning Orlick's calmly taunting his victim, in "Ah!" he cried . . . "the burnt child dreads the fire!" (1901).

Three Other Editions' Versions of the Orlick's Entrapment of Pip (1898-1910)

Left: A. A. Dixon's 1905 lithograph of Pip's entrapment by a younger Orlick: "Ah! the burnt child dreads the fire", in the Collins Clear-type Edition. Centre: Harry Furniss communicates Orlick's pent-up animosity towards Pip's in Pip in the Power of Dolge Orlick in the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910). Right: Charles Green's lithograph of a younger Dolge Orlick's taunting the captured Pip: "Do you know this?" said he (1898).

Related Material

Other Artists’ Illustrations for Dickens's Great Expectations

Scanned images and text by Philip V. Allingham and George P. Landow. [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.]


Allingham, Philip V. "The Illustrations for Great Expectations in Harper's Weekly (1860-61) and in the Illustrated Library Edition (1862) — 'Reading by the Light of Illustration'." Dickens Studies Annual, Vol. 40 (2009): 113-169.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by John McLenan. [The First American Edition]. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization, Vols. IV: 740 through V: 495 (24 November 1860-3 August 1861).

______. ("Boz."). Great Expectations. With thirty-four illustrations from original designs by John McLenan. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson (by agreement with Harper & Bros., New York), 1861.

______. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Marcus Stone. The Illustrated Library Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1862. Rpt. in The Nonesuch Dickens, Great Expectations and Hard Times. London: Nonesuch, 1937; Overlook and Worth Presses, 2005.

_____. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. Diamond Edition. 14 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. XIII.

______. Great Expectations. Volume 6 of the Household Edition. Illustrated by F. A. Fraser. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876.

______. Great Expectations. The Gadshill Edition. Illustrated by Charles Green. London: Chapman and Hall, 1898.

______. Great Expectations. The Grande Luxe Edition, ed. Richard Garnett. Illustrated by Clayton J. Clarke ('Kyd'). London: Merrill and Baker, 1900.

______. Great Expectations. "With 28 Original Plates by Harry Furniss." Volume 14 of the Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book Co., 1910.

_____. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Frederic W. Pailthorpe with 17 hand-tinted water-colour lithographs. The Franklin Library. Franklin Center, Pennsylvania: 1979. Based on the Robson and Kerslake (London) edition, 1885.

Harmon, William, and C. Hugh Holman. "Picaresque Novel." A Handbook to Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Pp. 389-390.

Paroissien, David. The Companion to "Great Expectations." Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2000.

Created 26 February 2004

Last updated 9 November 2021