"What do I see?". Drawn by A. B. Frost. Wood engraving. For "Tales: IV, 'The Tuggses Ramsgate,'" in Dickens's Sketches by Boz Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-Day People, tailpiece, page 224. Wood-engraving; 4 ¼ by 5 ¼ inches (10.5 cm high by 13.3 cm wide), framed. This half-page illustration occurs on the same page of Captain Waters' calling for Lieutenant Slaughter's sabre when he finds the hapless Cymon Tuggs hiding behind the curtains in his wife's sitting-room. Slaughter has to restrain his friend vigorously to prevent an assault on the callow youth (left rear) in the presence of his shocked parents (left register), a composition reminiscent of the original plates in Chapman and Hall's Library of Fiction (1836).

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Bibliographical Information

The sketch which became "Sentiment" originally appeared in Bell's Weekly Magazine (2 June 1834). Collected, this story became the third of the "Tales"in Dickens's Sketches by Boz Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-Day People (1836 and 1839), illustrated with copper-plate engraving by George Cruikshank. In the Household Edition (1876), Fred Barnard provided a half-page illustration, set in the self-important M. P.'s office with the two teachers from the finishing establishment for young ladies, paralleling Frost's illustration in the American Household Edition.

Passage Illustrated: The Discovery of a Would-be Adulterer

Lieutenant Slaughter looked first at one person mysteriously, then at another: then, laid down his cigar, then approached the window on tiptoe, and pointed with his right thumb over his shoulder, in the direction of the curtain.

"Slaughter!" ejaculated the captain, rising from table, "what do you mean?"

The lieutenant, in reply, drew back the curtain and discovered Mr. Cymon Tuggs behind it: pallid with apprehension, and blue with wanting to cough.

"Aha!" exclaimed the captain, furiously. "What do I see? Slaughter, your sabre!"

"Cymon!" screamed the Tuggses.

"Mercy!" said Belinda.

"Platonic!" gasped Cymon.

"Your sabre!" roared the captain: "Slaughter — unhand me — the villain's life!"

"Murder!" screamed the Tuggses.

"Hold him fast, sir!" faintly articulated Cymon. ["Tales," No. IV: "The Tuggses at Ramsgate," p. 224]

Commentary: Cymon and the Tuggses Duped by a Team of Confidence Artists

British artists Robert Seymour and George Cruikshank had illustrated this short story for Chapman and Hall's Library of Fiction (1836-39) in the same farcical manner. Although he was probably aware of at least some of these earlier illustrations in a caricatural mode and undoubtedly had seen the Eytinge wood-engraving in the edition issued to coincide with Dickens's second American tour, A. B. Frost chose to imprint his own whimsical but realistic style on this key moment in the little satire of the the nouveau riche in the Regency. From the tranquility of their London grocer's shop, new-found wealth precipitates the lower-middle-class family to a fashionable resort, where they become the prey of a team of sharpers bent on extorting some of that inherited wealth.

Frost has also realised the humorous scene of the inept Cymon's struggling to remain in the saddle of a runaway donkey earlier in the story, "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" (frontispiece for Sketches by Boz in the American Household Edition, jointly illustrated by Frost and political cartoonist Thomas Nast).

Relevant Material

Relevant illustrations from other 19th editions, 1836-1876

Left: Cruikshank's copper-engraving of the discovery scene in the little prose farce, "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" (1836). Centre: The second of Robert Seymour's steel-engravings for the story, Vengeance of Captain Walter Waters and Lieutenant Slaughter. Mr. Cymon Tuggs discovered behind the curtains, at the Waters's lodgings (1836). Right: The Ticknor-Fields' Diamond Edition illustration for the story, in which fellow American illustrator Sol Eytinge, Jr., depicts both the married lady and the naive Cymon on their donkeys, "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" (1867).

Above: Fred Barnard's group study of the Waters, Slaughter, and the Tuggses, "So exactly the air of a marquis," said the military gentleman (1876) in the British Household Edition.


Barnard, J. "Fred" (il.). Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz, with thirty-four illustrations. The Works of Charles Dickens: The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876. Volume 13.

Barnard, Fred, et al. Scenes and Characters from Dickens. London: Chapman & Hall, 1908.

Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836.

Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Household Edition. 55 vols. New York: Sheldon and Company, 1864. Vols. 1-2.

Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 1.

Dickens, Charles. Pictures from Italy, Sketches by Boz and American Notes. Illustrated by Thomas Nast and Arthur B. Frost. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1877 (copyrighted in 1876).

Last modified 26 February 2019