xxx xxx

Trabb’s Boy (page 267) — eighth hand-coloured lithograph (above, left) for Charles Dickens's Great  Expectations, first published as the eleventh black-and-white lithograph in the Robson and Kerslake edition (1885), Chapter XXX. 9.8 cm high by 7.9 cm wide (4 inches by 3 inches), vignetted, facing p. 214. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Passage Illustrated: Trabb's Boy Endeavours to Humiliate Pip Publically

Casting my eyes along the street at a certain point of my progress, I beheld Trabb’s boy approaching, lashing himself with an empty blue bag. Deeming that a serene and unconscious contemplation of him would best beseem me, and would be most likely to quell his evil mind, I advanced with that expression of countenance, and was rather congratulating myself on my success, when suddenly the knees of Trabb’s boy smote together, his hair uprose, his cap fell off, he trembled violently in every limb, staggered out into the road, and crying to the populace, “Hold me! I’m so frightened!” feigned to be in a paroxysm of terror and contrition, occasioned by the dignity of my appearance. As I passed him, his teeth loudly chattered in his head, and with every mark of extreme humiliation, he prostrated himself in the dust. [Chapter XXX]


Although Dickens has organized the text of the humiliating scene from Pip's limited perspective, Pailthorpe presents only Pip's back, leaving the reader to construct Pip's expressions of chagrin and humiliation. Whereas here Pailthorpe has focussed upon a single shopboy, Trabb's apprentice (whom he presents as an extreme caricature), in the Household Edition ten years earlier F. A. Fraser had presented Trabb's boy as theatrically playing to a host of shop-boys.

Other Editions' Versions of the Confrontation in the High Street

Left: Sol Eytinge, Junior's 1867 portrait of the sarcastic shop apprentice: Trabb's Boy, in the Diamond Edition. Centre: The original American serial illustration of the confrontation between Pip and Trabb's boy in Harper's Weekly 5 (6 April 1861): "Hold me! I'm so frightened!". Right: F. A. Fraser in the Household Edition realistically sets the scene, with Trabb's boy playing to his peers as he burlesques Pip: Drawling to his attendants, "Don't know yah, don't know yah!" (1876).

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

______. 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 23 October 2021