"'Do you know this?' said he." by F. A. Fraser (1844-1896). 10.8 cm high by 13.7 cm wide (4 ¼ by 5 ⅜ inches), framed (half-page, horizontally mounted), on page 200. Twenty-eighth illustration; for Chapter Fifty-three in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, which appeared as Volume 11 in the Household Edition in 1876. Running head: "My Life is Preserved" (202). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Passage Illustrated: Caught in Old Orlick's Trap

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: Foregrounding the Captor or the Captive?

xxx xxx

Left: Frederic W. Pailthorpe in the Robson & Kerslake edition creates a dramatic tension with raging Orlick's thrusting the candle into Pip's face in Old Orlick Means Murder (1885). 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).

Whereas Harry Furniss (1910) and Charles Green (1898) foreground Pip, trussed up on a ladder, the other illustrators tend to focus on the Dickensian villain whose smouldering resentment has burst out like fire upon the powerless Pip. The Orlicks presented by Fraser (1876) and Pailthorpe (1885) do not seem intellectually equal to the task of ensnaring Pip, but the other representations are an interesting amalgam of cunning, ferocity, and intense rage. The circumstances in all six illustrations of this pivotal moment in the last stage of the novel are similar: we are in the sluice house on the Kentish Marshes, and Orlick holds a firearm. He seems to be trying to decide how best to torture and terrify his victim with the candle flame before finally despatching him. However, whereas the Household Edition shows Orlick seated, opposite Pip, and presumably planning his next move, Furniss shows Orlick violently assaulting his victim. The Orlick in the present illustration is coarse, surly, and animalistic, unlike the Dixon version, whose angry gaze and perceptive face suggest that Pip is facing a formidable and determined adversary. In none of these realisations does there appear to be any hope of Pip's escaping his fate at the lime-kiln: the illustrations offer no suggestion of escape. However, the reader decodes the first-person narrative as indicating that Pip will survive the ordeal. Dickens manages the rescue of Pip through what amounts to a deus-ex-machina, the fateful intervention of Trabb's boy, Herbert, and Startop.

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. [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.

______. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. 16 vols. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

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

______. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Frederic W. Pailthorpe. 16 unnumbered pages of plates: color illustrations. London: Robson and Kerslake, 1885.

______. 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 Henry Matthew Brock. London: Hodder and Stoughton, n. d. [1916].

Created 19 March 2004

Last modified 27 September 2021