This illustration is from Charles Dickens' 1838 novel The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, which I've been thinking about since I posted a clip from the 2002 film version the other day. In this scene which takes place at Dotheboys Hall, Mr. Squeers is beating the unfortunate Smike for having run away from the school. Nicholas steps in to stop Squeers, who strikes him. Nickleby loses his temper and turns the tables on Squeers, administering a well-deserved thrashing to the cruel, sadistic schoolmaster. He then packs his bag and leaves Dotheboys Hall. Here's that scene as portrayed in the 2002 film:
This illustration is from Jane Austen's 1816 novel Emma. In it, Emma Woodhouse- the protagonist- fancies herself a skilled matchmaker and is attempting to arrange a romance between her friend Harriet Smith and the local vicar, Mr. Elton. With this end in mind, she gets Harriet to sit for a portrait while Mr. Elton is visiting. When he evinces great interest in the project, Emma takes this as proof positive that he is enamoured of Harriet. What she doesn't realize is that Mr. Elton, a shameless social climber, has actually set his sights on the wealthy Miss Woodhouse. His professed interest in Harriet's portrait is actually an attempt to curry favour with Emma. This eventually results in her being subjected to an extremely mortifying proposal scene, and Harriet having her feelings hurt because Emma had convinced her that Mr. Elton was in love with her.
This illustration is from one of the most ghoulish scenes in Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and that's saying something considering that it's a ghost story. In it, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Ebenezer Scrooge a grisly scene from his probable future. Scrooge's cleaning lady, his laundress, and the local undertaker are gathered at a pawn shop, selling off possessions they've pilfered from someone who has died (it turns out to be Scrooge). He has passed away alone, friendless, and unmourned, and his employees are stealing what possessions he had from around him as he lies dead in his bed- including his bedclothes and curtains. It's particularly horrifying when the laundress produces Scrooge's nightshirt to sell; she describes how she took it off his body, scandalized that someone was going to waste it by burying him in it. This is truly a dark scene.
This image is from the 1881 children's book Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Sent into the Swiss Alps to live with her grandfather, the young orphan Heidi is as friendly and outgoing as he is aloof and standoffish. She has become friends with Peter the goatherd as well as his mother and grandmother, and frequently visits them at their home further down the mountain. Once winter comes, however, Heidi can't get through the snow and she worries about not visiting Peter's grandmother who is blind and housebound. To her delight, her grandfather brings out a sled, bundles her up warmly, and takes her sliding down the mountain to the goatherd's house. He leaves her there and trudges back up the mountain, promising to return for her after her visit. As Heidi found out soon after her arrival on the mountain, her grandfather's bark is worse than his bite.
This image is from Stephen Leacock's 1912 book Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, which is a Canadian classic. It contains a series of short stories detailing the antics of a small (fictional) Canadian town called Mariposa. This particular image is from the chapter entitled "The Marine Excursions of the Knights of Pythias". It tells the tale of the sinking of the steamer Mariposa Belle on Excursion Day. One would think that this would be high drama but, like most events in Mariposa, it quickly devolves into farce with the rescuers, so-called, needing to be rescued themselves by the people on the deck of the sinkingship: "They might have wondered more about it, but it was just at this time that they heard the shouts from the rescue boat—the big Mackinaw lifeboat—that had put out from the town with fourteen men at the sweeps when they saw the first rockets go up. I suppose there is always something inspiring about a rescue at sea, or on the water. After all, the bravery of the lifeboat man is the true bravery,—expended to save life, not to destroy it. Certainly they told for months after of how the rescue boat came out to the Mariposa Belle. I suppose that when they put her in the water the lifeboat touched it for the first time since the old Macdonald Government placed her on Lake Wissanotti. Anyway, the water poured in at every seam. But not for a moment,—even with two miles of water between them and the steamer,—did the rowers pause for that. By the time they were half-way there the water was almost up to the thwarts, but they drove her on. Panting and exhausted (for mind you, if you haven't been in a fool boat like that for years, rowing takes it out of you), the rowers stuck to their task. They threw the ballast over and chucked into the water the heavy cork jackets and lifebelts that encumbered their movements. There was no thought of turning back. They were nearer to the steamer than the shore. "Hang to it, boys," called the crowd from the steamer's deck, and hang they did. They were almost exhausted when they got them; men leaning from the steamer threw them ropes and one by one every man was hauled aboard just as the lifeboat sank under their feet. Saved! by Heaven, saved, by one of the smartest pieces of rescue work ever seen on the lake. There's no use describing it; you need to see rescue work of this kind by lifeboats to understand it."