The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Harper & Bros. New York Household Edition, for Chapter XIII. 9.3 x 13.7 cm (3 ¾ by 5 ⅜ inches), framed. Running head: "Nicholas Turns the Tables on Mr. Squeers" (71). [Click on the images to enlarge them.][Page 71] by Charles Stanley Reinhart (1875), in Charles Dickens's
Passage Illustrated: Nicholas turns the tables on Mr. Squeers
The 1910 Harry Furniss frontispiece, clearly based on the 1838 engraving, Nicholas's Vengeance on Squeers (Charles Dickens Library Edition).
Squeers caught the boy firmly in his grip; one desperate cut had fallen on his body — he was wincing from the lash and uttering a scream of pain — it was raised again, and again about to fall — when Nicholas Nickleby, suddenly starting up, cried "Stop!" in a voice that made the rafters ring.
"Who cried stop?" said Squeers, turning savagely round.
"I," said Nicholas, stepping forward. "This must not go on."
""Must not go on!" cried Squeers, almost in a shriek.
""No!" thundered Nicholas.
"Aghast and stupefied by the boldness of the interference, Squeers released his hold of Smike, and, falling back a pace or two, gazed upon Nicholas with looks that were positively frightful.
"I say must not," repeated Nicholas, nothing daunted; "shall not. I will prevent it."
"Squeers continued to gaze upon him, with his eyes starting out of his head; but astonishment had actually, for the moment, bereft him of speech.
"You have disregarded all my quiet interference in the miserable lad’s behalf," said Nicholas; "you have returned no answer to the letter in which I begged forgiveness for him, and offered to be responsible that he would remain quietly here. Don’t blame me for this public interference. You have brought it upon yourself; not I."
"Sit down, beggar!" screamed Squeers, almost beside himself with rage, and seizing Smike as he spoke.
""Wretch," rejoined Nicholas, fiercely, "touch him at your peril! I will not stand by, and see it done. My blood is up, and I have the strength of ten such men as you. Look to yourself, for by Heaven I will not spare you, if you drive me on!"
"Stand back," cried Squeers, brandishing his weapon.
"I have a long series of insults to avenge," said Nicholas, flushed with passion; "and my indignation is aggravated by the dastardly cruelties practised on helpless infancy in this foul den. Have a care; for if you do raise the devil within me, the consequences shall fall heavily upon your own head!"
"He had scarcely spoken, when Squeers, in a violent outbreak of wrath, and with a cry like the howl of a wild beast, spat upon him, and struck him a blow across the face with his instrument of torture, which raised up a bar of livid flesh as it was inflicted. Smarting with the agony of the blow, and concentrating into that one moment all his feelings of rage, scorn, and indignation, Nicholas sprang upon him, wrested the weapon from his hand, and pinning him by the throat, beat the ruffian till he roared for mercy.
The boys — with the exception of Master Squeers, who, coming to his father’s assistance, harassed the enemy in the rear — moved not, hand or foot; but Mrs. Squeers, with many shrieks for aid, hung on to the tail of her partner’s coat, and endeavoured to drag him from his infuriated adversary; while Miss Squeers, who had been peeping through the keyhole in expectation of a very different scene, darted in at the very beginning of the attack, and after launching a shower of inkstands at the usher’s head, beat Nicholas to her heart’s content; animating herself, at every blow, with the recollection of his having refused her proffered love, and thus imparting additional strength to an arm which (as she took after her mother in this respect) was, at no time, one of the weakest. [Chapter XIII, "Nicholas varies the Monotony of Dothebys Hall by a most vigorous and remarkable proceeding, which leads to Consequences of some Importance," 71]
Relevant Illustrations for Nicholas Nickleby (1838 & 1875)
Left: The Household Edition by Fred Barnard that deals with the same melodramatic incident, the composite woodblock engraving "Wretch," rejoined Nicholas, fiercely, "touch him at your peril! I will not stand by, and see it done. My blood is up, and I have the strength of ten such men as you" (1875). Right: The original July 1838 Phiz steel-engraving to which Furniss is apparently referring, Nicholas Astonishes Mr. Squeers and Family.
Related material by other illustrators (1838 through 1910)
- Nicholas Nickleby (homepage)
- Phiz's 38 monthly illustrations for the novel, April 1838-October 1839.
- Cover for monthly parts
- Charles Dickens by Daniel Maclise, engraved by Finden
- "Hush!" said Nicholas, laying his hand upon his shoulder. (Vol. 1, 1861)
- The Rehearsal (Vol. 2, 1861)
- "My son, sir, little Wackford. What do you think of him, sir?" (Vol. 3, 1861)
- Newman had caught up by the nozzle an old pair of bellows . . . (Vol. 4, 1861).
- Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s 18 Illustrations for the Diamond Edition (1867)
- Fred Barnard's 59 Illustrations for the British Household Edition (1875)
- Harry Furniss's 29 illustrations for Nicholas Nickleby in the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)
- Kyd's four Player's Cigarette Cards (1910).
Scanned image, colour correction, sizing, caption, and commentary 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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Barnard, J. "Fred" (il.). Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby, with fifty-eight illustrations. The Works of Charles Dickens: The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1875. Volume 15. Rpt. 1890.
Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. With fifty-two illustrations by C. S. Reinhart. The Household Edition. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1875.
__________. "Nicholas Nickleby." Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, being eight hundred and sixty-six drawings by Fred Barnard et al.. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1908.
Created 20 December 2019
Last modified 9 April 2021