The New York Public Library, Berg Collection of
English and American Literature
"The Last Chance."
This original pencil, pen and watercolor sketch by George Cruikshank shows Bill Sikes in his flight from the angry mob, just moments before he plunges to his gruesome death. "Staggering as if struck by lightening," Dickens writes, "he lost his balance and tumbled over the parapet. The noose was at his neck; it ran up with his weight; tight as a bowstring, and swift as the arrow it speeds. He fell five and thirty feet, and hung with his open knife clenched in his stiffening hand." The engraving of Cruikshank's drawing would become the frontispiece to volume 3 of the novel.