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´╗┐Title: George Cruikshank
Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863
Language: English
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GEORGE CRUIKSHANK


By William Makepeace Thackeray



* Reprinted from the Westminster Review for June, 1840. (No 66.)


Accusations of ingratitude, and just accusations no doubt, are made
against every inhabitant of this wicked world, and the fact is, that a
man who is ceaselessly engaged in its trouble and turmoil, borne hither
and thither upon the fierce waves of the crowd, bustling, shifting,
struggling to keep himself somewhat above water--fighting for
reputation, or more likely for bread, and ceaselessly occupied to-day
with plans for appeasing the eternal appetite of inevitable hunger
to-morrow--a man in such straits has hardly time to think of anything
but himself, and, as in a sinking ship, must make his own rush for the
boats, and fight, struggle, and trample for safety. In the midst of such
a combat as this, the "ingenious arts, which prevent the ferocity of
the manners, and act upon them as an emollient" (as the philosophic bard
remarks in the Latin Grammar) are likely to be jostled to death, and
then forgotten. The world will allow no such compromises between it and
that which does not belong to it--no two gods must we serve; but (as one
has seen in some old portraits) the horrible glazed eyes of Necessity
are always fixed upon you; fly away as you will, black Care sits behind
you, and with his ceaseless gloomy croaking drowns the voice of all more
cheerful companions. Happy he whose fortune has placed him where there
is calm and plenty, and who has the wisdom not to give up his quiet in
quest of visionary gain.

Here is, no doubt, the reason why a man, after the period of his
boyhood, or first youth, makes so few friends. Want and ambition (new
acquaintances which are introduced to him along with his beard) thrust
away all other society from him. Some old friends remain, it is true,
but these are become as a habit--a part of your selfishness; and,
for new ones, they are selfish as you are. Neither member of the new
partnership has the capital of affection and kindly feeling, or can even
afford the time that is requisite for the establishment of the new firm.
Damp and chill the shades of the prison-house begin to close round
us, and that "vision splendid" which has accompanied our steps in our
journey daily farther from the east, fades away and dies into the light
of common day.

And what a common day! what a foggy, dull, shivering apology for light
is this kind of muddy twilight through which we are about to tramp and
flounder for the rest of our existence, wandering farther and farther
from the beauty and freshness and from the kindly gushing springs of
clear gladness that made all around us green in our youth! One wanders
and gropes in a slough of stock-jobbing, one sinks or rises in a storm
of politics, and in either case it is as good to fall as to rise--to
mount a bubble on the crest of the wave, as to sink a stone to the
bottom.

The reader who has seen the name affixed to the head of this article
scarcely expected to be entertained with a declamation upon ingratitude,
youth, and the vanity of human pursuits, which may seem at first sight
to have little to do with the subject in hand. But (although we reserve
the privilege of discoursing upon whatever subject shall suit us, and by
no means admit the public has any right to ask in our sentences for any
meaning, or any connection whatever) it happens that, in this particular
instance, there is an undoubted connection. In Susan's case, as recorded
by Wordsworth, what connection had the corner of Wood Street with a
mountain ascending, a vision of trees, and a nest by the Dove? Why
should the song of a thrush cause bright volumes of vapor to glide
through Lothbury, and a river to flow on through the vale of Cheapside?
As she stood at that corner of Wood Street, a mop and a pail in her hand
most likely, she heard the bird singing, and straight-way began pining
and yearning for the days of her youth, forgetting the proper business
of the pail and mop. Even so we are moved by the sight of some of Mr.
Cruikshank's works--the "Busen fuhlt sich jugendlich erschuttert," the
"schwankende Gestalten" of youth flit before one again,--Cruikshank's
thrush begins to pipe and carol, as in the days of boyhood; hence misty
moralities, reflections, and sad and pleasant remembrances arise. He
is the friend of the young especially. Have we not read, all the
story-books that his wonderful pencil has illustrated? Did we not
forego tarts, in order to buy his "Breaking-up," or his "Fashionable
Monstrosities" of the year eighteen hundred and something? Have we
not before us, at this very moment, a print,--one of the admirable
"Illustrations of Phrenology"--which entire work was purchased by
a joint-stock company of boys, each drawing lots afterwards for the
separate prints, and taking his choice in rotation? The writer of this,
too, had the honor of drawing the first lot, and seized immediately
upon "Philoprogenitiveness"--a marvellous print (our copy is not at
all improved by being colored, which operation we performed on it
ourselves)--a marvellous print, indeed,--full of ingenuity and fine
jovial humor. A father, possessor of an enormous nose and family, is
surrounded by the latter, who are, some of them, embracing the former.
The composition writhes and twists about like the Kermes of Rubens. No
less than seven little men and women in nightcaps, in frocks, in bibs,
in breeches, are clambering about the head, knees, and arms of the man
with the nose; their noses, too, are preternaturally developed--the
twins in the cradle have noses of the most considerable kind. The second
daughter, who is watching them; the youngest but two, who sits squalling
in a certain wicker chair; the eldest son, who is yawning; the eldest
daughter, who is preparing with the gravy of two mutton-chops a savory
dish of Yorkshire pudding for eighteen persons; the youths who are
examining her operations (one a literary gentleman, in a remarkably neat
nightcap and pinafore, who has just had his finger in the pudding);
the genius who is at work on the slate, and the two honest lads who are
hugging the good-humored washerwoman, their mother,--all, all, save,
this worthy woman, have noses of the largest size. Not handsome
certainly are they, and yet everybody must be charmed with the picture.
It is full of grotesque beauty. The artist has at the back of his own
skull, we are certain, a huge bump of philoprogenitiveness. He loves
children in his heart; every one of those he has drawn is perfectly
happy, and jovial, and affectionate, and innocent as possible. He makes
them with large noses, but he loves them, and you always find something
kind in the midst of his humor, and the ugliness redeemed by a sly
touch of beauty. The smiling mother reconciles one with all the hideous
family: they have all something of the mother in them--something kind,
and generous, and tender.

Knight's, in Sweeting's Alley; Fairburn's, in a court off Ludgate
Hill; Hone's, in Fleet Street--bright, enchanted palaces, which George
Cruikshank used to people with grinning, fantastical imps, and merry,
harmless sprites,--where are they? Fairburn's shop knows him no more;
not only has Knight disappeared from Sweeting's Alley, but, as we are
given to understand, Sweetings Alley has disappeared from the face of
the globe. Slop, the atrocious Castlereagh, the sainted Caroline (in
a tight pelisse, with feathers in her head), the "Dandy of sixty," who
used to glance at us from Hone's friendly windows--where are they? Mr.
Cruikshank may have drawn a thousand better things since the days when
these were; but they are to us a thousand times more pleasing than
anything else he has done. How we used to believe in them! to stray
miles out of the way on holidays, in order to ponder for an hour before
that delightful window in Sweeting's Alley! in walks through Fleet
Street, to vanish abruptly down Fairburn's passage, and there make one
at his "charming gratis" exhibition. There used to be a crowd round the
window in those days, of grinning, good-natured mechanics, who spelt
the songs, and spoke them out for the benefit of the company, and who
received the points of humor with a general sympathizing roar. Where are
these people now? You never hear any laughing at HB.; his pictures are a
great deal too genteel for that--polite points of wit, which strike one
as exceedingly clever and pretty, and cause one to smile in a quiet,
gentleman-like kind of way.

There must be no smiling with Cruikshank. A man who does not laugh
outright is a dullard, and has no heart; even the old dandy of sixty
must have laughed at his own wondrous grotesque image, as they say Louis
Philippe did, who saw all the caricatures that were made of himself. And
there are some of Cruikshank's designs which have the blessed faculty of
creating laughter as often as you see them. As Diggory says in the play,
who is bidden by his master not to laugh while waiting at table--"Don't
tell the story of Grouse in the Gun-room, master, or I can't help
laughing." Repeat that history ever so often, and at the proper moment,
honest Diggory is sure to explode. Every man, no doubt, who loves
Cruikshank has his "Grouse in the Gun-room." There is a fellow in the
"Points of Humor" who is offering to eat up a certain little general,
that has made us happy any time these sixteen years: his huge mouth is a
perpetual well of laughter--buckets full of fun can be drawn from it. We
have formed no such friendships as that boyish one of the man with the
mouth. But though, in our eyes, Mr. Cruikshank reached his apogee some
eighteen years since, it must not be imagined that such is really the
case. Eighteen sets of children have since then learned to love and
admire him, and may many more of their successors be brought up in the
same delightful faith. It is not the artist who fails, but the men who
grow cold--the men, from whom the illusions (why illusions? realities)
of youth disappear one by one; who have no leisure to be happy, no
blessed holidays, but only fresh cares at Midsummer and Christmas, being
the inevitable seasons which bring us bills instead of pleasures. Tom,
who comes bounding home from school, has the doctor's account in his
trunk, and his father goes to sleep at the pantomime to which he takes
him. Pater infelix, you too have laughed at clown, and the magic wand of
spangled harlequin; what delightful enchantment did it wave around you,
in the golden days "when George the Third was king!" But our clown lies
in his grave; and our harlequin, Ellar, prince of how many enchanted
islands, was he not at Bow Street the other day,* in his dirty,
tattered, faded motley--seized as a law-breaker, for acting at a penny
theatre, after having wellnigh starved in the streets, where nobody
would listen to his old guitar? No one gave a shilling to bless him: not
one of us who owe him so much.

     * This was written in 1840.

We know not if Mr. Cruikshank will be very well pleased at finding his
name in such company as that of Clown and Harlequin; but he, like them,
is certainly the children's friend. His drawings abound in feeling for
these little ones, and hideous as in the course of his duty he is from
time to time compelled to design them, he never sketches one without
a certain pity for it, and imparting to the figure a certain grotesque
grace. In happy schoolboys he revels; plum-pudding and holidays his
needle has engraved over and over again; there is a design in one of the
comic almanacs of some young gentlemen who are employed in administering
to a schoolfellow the correction of the pump, which is as graceful
and elegant as a drawing of Stothard. Dull books about children George
Cruikshank makes bright with illustrations--there is one published by
the ingenious and opulent Mr. Tegg. It is entitled "Mirth and Morality,"
the mirth being, for the most part, on the side of the designer--the
morality, unexceptionable certainly, the author's capital. Here are
then, to these moralities, a smiling train of mirths supplied by George
Cruikshank. See yonder little fellows butterfly-hunting across a common!
Such a light, brisk, airy, gentleman-like drawing was never made upon
such a theme. Who, cries the author--

         "Who has not chased the butterfly,
            And crushed its slender legs and wings,
          And heaved a moralizing sigh:
            Alas! how frail are human things!"

A very unexceptionable morality truly; but it would have puzzled another
than George Cruikshank to make mirth out of it as he has done. Away,
surely not on the wings of these verses, Cruikshank's imagination begins
to soar; and he makes us three darling little men on a green common,
backed by old farmhouses, somewhere about May. A great mixture of blue
and clouds in the air, a strong fresh breeze stirring, Tom's jacket
flapping in the same, in order to bring down the insect queen or king
of spring that is fluttering above him,--he renders all this with a few
strokes on a little block of wood not two inches square, upon which one
may gaze for hours, so merry and lifelike a scene does it present. What
a charming creative power is this, what a privilege--to be a god, and
create little worlds upon paper, and whole generations of smiling,
jovial men, women, and children half inch high, whose portraits are
carried abroad, and have the faculty of making us monsters of six feet
curious and happy in our turn. Now, who would imagine that an artist
could make anything of such a subject as this? The writer begins by
stating,--

         "I love to go back to the days of my youth,
            And to reckon my joys to the letter,
          And to count o'er the friends that I have in the world,
            Ay, and those who are gone to a better."

This brings him to the consideration of his uncle. "Of all the men
I have ever known," says he, "my uncle united the greatest degree of
cheerfulness with the sobriety of manhood. Though a man when I was a
boy, he was yet one of the most agreeable companions I ever possessed.
. . . He embarked for America, and nearly twenty years passed by before
he came back again; . . . but oh, how altered!--he was in every sense
of the word an old man, his body and mind were enfeebled, and second
childishness had come upon him. How often have I bent over him, vainly
endeavoring to recall to his memory the scenes we had shared together:
and how frequently, with an aching heart, have I gazed on his vacant and
lustreless eye, while he has amused himself in clapping his hands and
singing with a quavering voice a verse of a psalm." Alas! such are
the consequences of long residences in America, and of old age even in
uncles! Well, the point of this morality is, that the uncle one day in
the morning of life vowed that he would catch his two nephews and tie
them together, ay, and actually did so, for all the efforts the rogues
made to run away from him; but he was so fatigued that he declared
he never would make the attempt again, whereupon the nephew
remarks,--"Often since then, when engaged in enterprises beyond my
strength, have I called to mind the determination of my uncle."

Does it not seem impossible to make a picture out of this? And yet
George Cruikshank has produced a charming design, in which the uncles
and nephews are so prettily portrayed that one is reconciled to their
existence, with all their moralities. Many more of the mirths in
this little book are excellent, especially a great figure of a
parson entering church on horseback,--an enormous parson truly, calm,
unconscious, unwieldy. As Zeuxis had a bevy of virgins in order to make
his famous picture--his express virgin--a clerical host must have passed
under Cruikshank's eyes before he sketched this little, enormous parson
of parsons.

Being on the subject of children's books, how shall we enough praise the
delightful German nursery-tales, and Cruikshank's illustrations of
them? We coupled his name with pantomime awhile since, and sure never
pantomimes were more charming than these. Of all the artists that ever
drew, from Michael Angelo upwards and downwards, Cruikshank was the man
to illustrate these tales, and give them just the proper admixture of
the grotesque, the wonderful, and the graceful. May all Mother Bunch's
collection be similarly indebted to him; may "Jack the Giant Killer,"
may "Tom Thumb," may "Puss in Boots," be one day revivified by his
pencil. Is not Whittington sitting yet on Highgate hill, and poor
Cinderella (in that sweetest of all fairy stories) still pining in her
lonely chimney-nook? A man who has a true affection for these delightful
companions of his youth is bound to be grateful to them if he can, and
we pray Mr. Cruikshank to remember them.

It is folly to say that this or that kind of humor is too good for the
public, that only a chosen few can relish it. The best humor that
we know of has been as eagerly received by the public as by the most
delicate connoisseur. There is hardly a man in England who can read but
will laugh at Falstaff and the humor of Joseph Andrews; and honest Mr.
Pickwick's story can be felt and loved by any person above the age of
six. Some may have a keener enjoyment of it than others, but all the
world can be merry over it, and is always ready to welcome it. The best
criterion of good humor is success, and what a share of this has Mr.
Cruikshank had! how many millions of mortals has he made happy! We have
heard very profound persons talk philosophically of the marvellous
and mysterious manner in which he has suited himself to the time--fait
vibrer la fibre populaire (as Napoleon boasted of himself), supplied a
peculiar want felt at a peculiar period, the simple secret of which
is, as we take it, that he, living amongst the public, has with them
a general wide-hearted sympathy, that he laughs at what they laugh at,
that he has a kindly spirit of enjoyment, with not a morsel of mysticism
in his composition; that he pities and loves the poor, and jokes at the
follies of the great, and that he addresses all in a perfectly sincere
and manly way. To be greatly successful as a professional humorist,
as in any other calling, a man must be quite honest, and show that his
heart is in his work. A bad preacher will get admiration and a
hearing with this point in his favor, where a man of three times his
acquirements will only find indifference and coldness. Is any man more
remarkable than our artist for telling the truth after his own manner?
Hogarth's honesty of purpose was as conspicuous in an earlier time,
and we fancy that Gilray would have been far more successful and more
powerful but for that unhappy bribe, which turned the whole course of
his humor into an unnatural channel. Cruikshank would not for any
bribe say what he did not think, or lend his aid to sneer down anything
meritorious, or to praise any thing or person that deserved censure.
When he levelled his wit against the Regent, and did his very prettiest
for the Princess, he most certainly believed, along with the great
body of the people whom he represents, that the Princess was the most
spotless, pure-mannered darling of a Princess that ever married a
heartless debauchee of a Prince Royal. Did not millions believe
with him, and noble and learned lords take their oaths to her Royal
Highness's innocence? Cruikshank would not stand by and see a woman
ill-used, and so struck in for her rescue, he and the people belaboring
with all their might the party who were making the attack, and
determining, from pure sympathy and indignation, that the woman must be
innocent because her husband treated her so foully.

To be sure we have never heard so much from Mr. Cruikshank's own lips,
but any man who will examine these odd drawings, which first made him
famous, will see what an honest hearty hatred the champion of woman has
for all who abuse her, and will admire the energy with which he flings
his wood-blocks at all who side against her. Canning, Castlereagh,
Bexley, Sidmouth, he is at them, one and all; and as for the Prince, up
to what a whipping-post of ridicule did he tie that unfortunate old man!
And do not let squeamish Tories cry out about disloyalty; if the crown
does wrong, the crown must be corrected by the nation, out of respect,
of course, for the crown. In those days, and by those people who so
bitterly attacked the son, no word was ever breathed against the father,
simply because he was a good husband, and a sober, thrifty, pious,
orderly man.

This attack upon the Prince Regent we believe to have been Mr.
Cruikshank's only effort as a party politician. Some early manifestoes
against Napoleon we find, it is true, done in the regular John Bull
style, with the Gilray model for the little upstart Corsican: but as
soon as the Emperor had yielded to stern fortune our artist's heart
relented (as Beranger's did on the other side of the water), and many
of our readers will doubtless recollect a fine drawing of "Louis XVIII.
trying on Napoleon's boots," which did not certainly fit the gouty
son of Saint Louis. Such satirical hits as these, however, must not be
considered as political, or as anything more than the expression of the
artist's national British idea of Frenchmen.

It must be confessed that for that great nation Mr. Cruikshank
entertains a considerable contempt. Let the reader examine the "Life in
Paris," or the five hundred designs in which Frenchmen are introduced,
and he will find them almost invariably thin, with ludicrous
spindle-shanks, pigtails, outstretched hands, shrugging shoulders, and
queer hair and mustachios. He has the British idea of a Frenchman; and
if he does not believe that the inhabitants of France are for the most
part dancing-masters and barbers, yet takes care to depict such in
preference, and would not speak too well of them. It is curious
how these traditions endure. In France, at the present moment, the
Englishman on the stage is the caricatured Englishman at the time of the
war, with a shock red head, a long white coat, and invariable gaiters.
Those who wish to study this subject should peruse Monsieur Paul de
Kock's histories of "Lord Boulingrog" and "Lady Crockmilove." On the
other hand, the old emigre has taken his station amongst us, and we
doubt if a good British gallery would understand that such and such a
character WAS a Frenchman unless he appeared in the ancient traditional
costume.

A curious book, called "Life in Paris," published in 1822, contains
a number of the artist's plates in the aquatint style; and though we
believe he had never been in that capital, the designs have a great
deal of life in them, and pass muster very well. A villanous race of
shoulder-shrugging mortals are his Frenchmen indeed. And the heroes
of the tale, a certain Mr. Dick Wildfire, Squire Jenkins, and Captain
O'Shuffleton, are made to show the true British superiority on every
occasion when Britons and French are brought together. This book was one
among the many that the designer's genius has caused to be popular; the
plates are not carefully executed, but, being colored, have a pleasant,
lively look. The same style was adopted in the once famous book called
"Tom and Jerry, or Life in London," which must have a word of notice
here, for, although by no means Mr. Cruikshank's best work, his
reputation was extraordinarily raised by it. Tom and Jerry were as
popular twenty years since as Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller now are;
and often have we wished, while reading the biographies of the latter
celebrated personages, that they had been described as well by Mr.
Cruikshank's pencil as by Mr. Dickens's pen.

As for Tom and Jerry, to show the mutability of human affairs and the
evanescent nature of reputation, we have been to the British Museum and
no less than five circulating libraries in quest of the book, and "Life
in London," alas, is not to be found at any one of them. We can only,
therefore, speak of the work from recollection, but have still a very
clear remembrance of the leather gaiters of Jerry Hawthorn, the green
spectacles of Logic, and the hooked nose of Corinthian Tom. They were
the schoolboy's delight; and in the days when the work appeared we
firmly believed the three heroes above named to be types of the most
elegant, fashionable young fellows the town afforded, and thought
their occupations and amusements were those of all high-bred English
gentlemen. Tom knocking down the watchman at Temple Bar; Tom and Jerry
dancing at Almack's; or flirting in the saloon at the theatre; at the
night-houses, after the play; at Tom Cribb's, examining the silver cup
then in the possession of that champion; at the chambers of Bob Logic,
who, seated at a cabinet piano, plays a waltz to which Corinthian Tom
and Kate are dancing; ambling gallantly in Rotten Row; or examining
the poor fellow at Newgate who was having his chains knocked off before
hanging: all these scenes remain indelibly engraved upon the mind, and
so far we are independent of all the circulating libraries in London.

As to the literary contents of the book, they have passed sheer away. It
was, most likely, not particularly refined; nay, the chances are that it
was absolutely vulgar. But it must have had some merit of its own, that
is clear; it must have given striking descriptions of life in some part
or other of London, for all London read it, and went to see it in its
dramatic shape. The artist, it is said, wished to close the career
of the three heroes by bringing them all to ruin, but the writer, or
publishers, would not allow any such melancholy subjects to dash the
merriment of the public, and we believe Tom, Jerry, and Logic, were
married off at the end of the tale, as if they had been the most moral
personages in the world. There is some goodness in this pity, which
authors and the public are disposed to show towards certain agreeable,
disreputable characters of romance. Who would mar the prospects of
honest Roderick Random, or Charles Surface, or Tom Jones? only a very
stern moralist indeed. And in regard of Jerry Hawthorn and that hero
without a surname, Corinthian Tom, Mr. Cruikshank, we make little doubt,
was glad in his heart that he was not allowed to have his own way.

Soon after the "Tom and Jerry" and the "Life in Paris," Mr. Cruikshank
produced a much more elaborate set of prints, in a work which was called
"Points of Humor." These "Points" were selected from various comic
works, and did not, we believe, extend beyond a couple of numbers,
containing about a score of copper-plates. The collector of humorous
designs cannot fail to have them in his portfolio, for they contain
some of the very best efforts of Mr. Cruikshank's genius, and though not
quite so highly labored as some of his later productions, are none the
worse, in our opinion, for their comparative want of finish. All the
effects are perfectly given, and the expression is as good as it could
be in the most delicate engraving upon steel. The artist's style, too,
was then completely formed; and, for our parts, we should say that we
preferred his manner of 1825 to any other which he has adopted since.
The first picture, which is called "The Point of Honor," illustrates the
old story of the officer who, on being accused of cowardice for refusing
to fight a duel, came among his brother officers and flung a
lighted grenade down upon the floor, before which his comrades fled
ignominiously. This design is capital, and the outward rush of heroes,
walking, trampling, twisting, scuffling at the door, is in the best
style of the grotesque. You see but the back of most of these gentlemen;
into which, nevertheless, the artist has managed to throw an expression
of ludicrous agony that one could scarcely have expected to find in
such a part of the human figure. The next plate is not less good. It
represents a couple who, having been found one night tipsy, and lying
in the same gutter, were, by a charitable though misguided gentleman,
supposed to be man and wife, and put comfortably to bed together. The
morning came; fancy the surprise of this interesting pair when they
awoke and discovered their situation. Fancy the manner, too, in which
Cruikshank has depicted them, to which words cannot do justice. It is
needless to state that this fortuitous and temporary union was followed
by one more lasting and sentimental, and that these two worthy persons
were married, and lived happily ever after.

We should like to go through every one of these prints. There is the
jolly miller, who, returning home at night, calls upon his wife to
get him a supper, and falls to upon rashers of bacon and ale. How he
gormandizes, that jolly miller! rasher after rasher, how they pass away
frizzling and, smoking from the gridiron down that immense grinning gulf
of a mouth. Poor wife! how she pines and frets, at that untimely hour of
midnight to be obliged to fry, fry, fry perpetually, and minister to the
monster's appetite. And yonder in the clock: what agonized face is that
we see? By heavens, it is the squire of the parish. What business has he
there? Let us not ask. Suffice it to say, that he has, in the hurry of
the moment, left up stairs his br----; his--psha! a part of his dress,
in short, with a number of bank-notes in the pockets. Look in the next
page, and you will see the ferocious, bacon-devouring ruffian of a
miller is actually causing this garment to be carried through the
village and cried by the town-crier. And we blush to be obliged to
say that the demoralized miller never offered to return the banknotes,
although he was so mighty scrupulous in endeavoring to find an owner for
the corduroy portfolio in which he had found them.

Passing from this painful subject, we come, we regret to state, to a
series of prints representing personages not a whit more moral. Burns's
famous "Jolly Beggars" have all had their portraits drawn by Cruikshank.
There is the lovely "hempen widow," quite as interesting and romantic as
the famous Mrs. Sheppard, who has at the lamented demise of her husband
adopted the very same consolation.

     "My curse upon them every one,
     They've hanged my braw John Highlandman;

     .      .     .      .

     And now a widow I must mourn
     Departed joys that ne'er return;
     No comfort but a hearty can
     When I think on John Highlandman."

Sweet "raucle carlin," she has none of the sentimentality of the English
highwayman's lady; but being wooed by a tinker and

     "A pigmy scraper wi' his fiddle
     Wha us'd to trystes and fairs to driddle,"

prefers the practical to the merely musical man. The tinker sings with a
noble candor, worthy of a fellow of his strength of body and station in
life--

         "My bonnie lass, I work in brass,
            A tinker is my station;
          I've travell'd round all Christian ground
            In this my occupation.
          I've ta'en the gold, I've been enroll'd
            In many a noble squadron;
          But vain they search'd when off I march'd
            To go an' clout the caudron."

It was his ruling passion. What was military glory to him, forsooth?
He had the greatest contempt for it, and loved freedom and his copper
kettle a thousand times better--a kind of hardware Diogenes. Of fiddling
he has no better opinion. The picture represents the "sturdy caird"
taking "poor gut-scraper" by the beard,--drawing his "roosty rapier,"
and swearing to "speet him like a pliver" unless he would relinquish the
bonnie lassie for ever--

         "Wi' ghastly ee, poor tweedle-dee
            Upon his hunkers bended,
          An' pray'd for grace wi' ruefu' face,
            An' so the quarrel ended."

Hark how the tinker apostrophizes the violinist, stating to the widow
at the same time the advantages which she might expect from an alliance
with himself:--

         "Despise that shrimp, that withered imp,
            Wi' a' his noise and caperin';
          And take a share with those that bear
            The budget and the apron!

         "And by that stowp, my faith an' houpe,
            An' by that dear Kilbaigie!
          If e'er ye want, or meet wi' scant,
            May I ne'er weet my craigie."

Cruikshank's caird is a noble creature; his face and figure show him to
be fully capable of doing and saying all that is above written of him.

In the second part, the old tale of "The Three Hunchbacked Fiddlers" is
illustrated with equal felicity. The famous classical dinners and
duel in "Peregrine Pickle" are also excellent in their way; and the
connoisseur of prints and etchings may see in the latter plate, and in
another in this volume, how great the artist's mechanical skill is as an
etcher. The distant view of the city in the duel, and of a market-place
in "The Quack Doctor," are delightful specimens of the artist's skill
in depicting buildings and backgrounds. They are touched with a grace,
truth, and dexterity of workmanship that leave nothing to desire. We
have before mentioned the man with the mouth, which appears in this
number emblematical of gout and indigestion, in which the artist has
shown all the fancy of Callot. Little demons, with long saws for noses,
are making dreadful incisions into the toes of the unhappy sufferer;
some are bringing pans of hot coals to keep the wounded member warm;
a huge, solemn nightmare sits on the invalid's chest, staring solemnly
into his eyes; a monster, with a pair of drumsticks, is banging a
devil's tattoo on his forehead; and a pair of imps are nailing great
tenpenny nails into his hands to make his happiness complete.

The late Mr. Clark's excellent work, "Three Courses and a Dessert," was
published at a time when the rage for comic stories was not so great
as it since has been, and Messrs. Clark and Cruikshank only sold their
hundreds where Messrs. Dickens and Phiz dispose of their thousands.
But if our recommendation can in any way influence the reader, we would
enjoin him to have a copy of the "Three Courses," that contains some of
the best designs of our artist, and some of the most amusing tales in
our language. The invention of the pictures, for which Mr. Clark takes
credit to himself, says a great deal for his wit and fancy. Can we, for
instance, praise too highly the man who invented that wonderful oyster?

Examine him well; his beard, his pearl, his little round stomach, and
his sweet smile. Only oysters know how to smile in this way; cool,
gentle, waggish, and yet inexpressibly innocent and winning. Dando
himself must have allowed such an artless native to go free, and
consigned him to the glassy, cool, translucent wave again.

In writing upon such subjects as these with which we have been
furnished, it can hardly be expected that we should follow any fixed
plan and order--we must therefore take such advantage as we may, and
seize upon our subject when and wherever we can lay hold of him.

For Jews, sailors, Irishmen, Hessian boots, little boys, beadles,
policemen, tall life-guardsmen, charity children, pumps, dustmen, very
short pantaloons, dandies in spectacles, and ladies with aquiline noses,
remarkably taper waists, and wonderfully long ringlets, Mr. Cruikshank
has a special predilection. The tribe of Israelites he has studied with
amazing gusto; witness the Jew in Mr. Ainsworth's "Jack Sheppard," and
the immortal Fagin of "Oliver Twist." Whereabouts lies the comic vis in
these persons and things? Why should a beadle be comic, and his opposite
a charity boy? Why should a tall life-guardsman have something in him
essentially absurd? Why are short breeches more ridiculous than long?
What is there particularly jocose about a pump, and wherefore does a
long nose always provoke the beholder to laughter? These points may be
metaphysically elucidated by those who list. It is probable that Mr.
Cruikshank could not give an accurate definition of that which is
ridiculous in these objects, but his instinct has told him that
fun lurks in them, and cold must be the heart that can pass by the
pantaloons of his charity boys, the Hessian boots of his dandies, and
the fan-tail hats of his dustmen, without respectful wonder.

He has made a complete little gallery of dustmen. There is, in the
first place, the professional dustman, who, having in the enthusiastic
exercise of his delightful trade, laid hands upon property not strictly
his own, is pursued, we presume, by the right owner, from whom he flies
as fast as his crooked shanks will carry him.

What a curious picture it is--the horrid rickety houses in some dingy
suburb of London, the grinning cobbler, the smothered butcher, the very
trees which are covered with dust--it is fine to look at the different
expressions of the two interesting fugitives. The fiery charioteer who
belabors the poor donkey has still a glance for his brother on foot, on
whom punishment is about to descend. And not a little curious is it to
think of the creative power of the man who has arranged this little tale
of low life. How logically it is conducted, how cleverly each one of
the accessories is made to contribute to the effect of the whole. What
a deal of thought and humor has the artist expended on this little block
of wood; a large picture might have been painted out of the very same
materials, which Mr. Cruikshank, out of his wondrous fund of merriment
and observation, can afford to throw away upon a drawing not two inches
long. From the practical dustmen we pass to those purely poetical. There
are three of them who rise on clouds of their own raising, the very
genii of the sack and shovel.

Is there no one to write a sonnet to these?--and yet a whole poem was
written about Peter Bell the wagoner, a character by no means so poetic.

And lastly, we have the dustman in love: the honest fellow having seen a
young beauty stepping out of a gin-shop on a Sunday morning, is pressing
eagerly his suit.

Gin has furnished many subjects to Mr. Cruikshank, who labors in his own
sound and hearty way to teach his countrymen the dangers of that drink.
In the "Sketch-Book" is a plate upon the subject, remarkable for fancy
and beauty of design; it is called the "Gin Juggernaut," and represents
a hideous moving palace, with a reeking still at the roof and vast
gin-barrels for wheels, under which unhappy millions are crushed to
death. An immense black cloud of desolation covers over the country
through which the gin monster has passed, dimly looming through the
darkness whereof you see an agreeable prospect of gibbets with men
dangling, burnt houses, &c. The vast cloud comes sweeping on in the
wake of this horrible body-crusher; and you see, by way of contrast, a
distant, smiling, sunshiny tract of old English country, where gin as
yet is not known. The allegory is as good, as earnest, and as fanciful
as one of John Bunyan's, and we have often fancied there was a
similarity between the men.

The render will examine the work called "My Sketch-Book" with not a
little amusement, and may gather from it, as we fancy, a good deal
of information regarding the character of the individual man, George
Cruikshank: what points strike his eye as a painter; what move his
anger or admiration as a moralist; what classes he seems most especially
disposed to observe, and what to ridicule. There are quacks of all
kinds, to whom he has a mortal hatred; quack dandies, who assume
under his pencil, perhaps in his eye, the most grotesque appearance
possible--their hats grow larger, their legs infinitely more crooked and
lean; the tassels of their canes swell out to a most preposterous size;
the tails of their coats dwindle away, and finish where coat-tails
generally begin. Let us lay a wager that Cruikshank, a man of the people
if ever there was one, heartily hates and despises these supercilious,
swaggering young gentlemen; and his contempt is not a whit the less
laudable because there may be tant soit peu of prejudice in it. It is
right and wholesome to scorn dandies, as Nelson said it was to hate
Frenchmen; in which sentiment (as we have before said) George Cruikshank
undoubtedly shares. In the "Sunday in London,"* Monsieur the Chef is
instructing a kitchen-maid how to compound some rascally French kickshaw
or the other--a pretty scoundrel truly! with what an air he wears that
nightcap of his, and shrugs his lank shoulders, and chatters, and ogles,
and grins: they are all the same, these mounseers; there are other two
fellows--morbleu! one is putting his dirty fingers into the saucepan;
there are frogs cooking in it, no doubt; and just over some other dish
of abomination, another dirty rascal is taking snuff! Never mind,
the sauce won't be hurt by a few ingredients more or less. Three such
fellows as these are not worth one Englishman, that's clear. There is
one in the very midst of them, the great burly fellow with the beef: he
could beat all three in five minutes. We cannot be certain that such was
the process going on in Mr. Cruikshank's mind when he made the design;
but some feelings of the sort were no doubt entertained by him.

     * The following lines--ever fresh--by the author of
     "Headlong Hall," published years ago in the Globe and
     Traveller, are an excellent comment on several of the cuts
     from the "Sunday in London:"--

                        I.

         "The poor man's sins are glaring;
          In the face of ghostly warning
            He is caught in the fact
            Of an overt act,
          Buying greens on Sunday morning.

                       II.

         "The rich man's sins are hidden
          In the pomp of wealth and station,
            And escape the sight
            Of the children of light,
          Who are wise in their generation.

                      III.

         "The rich man has a kitchen,
          And cooks to dress his dinner;
            The poor who would roast,
            To the baker's must post,
          And thus becomes a sinner.

                       IV.

         "The rich man's painted windows
          Hide the concerts of the quality;
            The poor can but share
            A crack'd fiddle in the air,
          Which offends all sound morality.

                        V.

         "The rich man has a cellar,
          And a ready butler by him;
            The poor must steer
            For his pint of beer
          Where the saint can't choose but spy him.

                       VI.

         "This rich man is invisible
          In the crowd of his gay society;
            But the poor man's delight
            Is a sore in the sight
          And a stench in the nose of piety."

Against dandy footmen he is particularly severe. He hates idlers,
pretenders, boasters, and punishes these fellows as best he may. Who
does not recollect the famous picture, "What IS taxes, Thomas?" What
is taxes indeed; well may that vast, over-fed, lounging flunky ask the
question of his associate Thomas: and yet not well, for all that Thomas
says in reply is, "I DON'T KNOW." "O beati PLUSHICOLAE," what a charming
state of ignorance is yours! In the "Sketch-Book" many footmen make
their appearance: one is a huge fat Hercules of a Portman Square porter,
who calmly surveys another poor fellow, a porter likewise, but out of
livery, who comes staggering forward with a box that Hercules might lift
with his little finger. Will Hercules do so? not he. The giant can carry
nothing heavier than a cocked-hat note on a silver tray, and his labors
are to walk from his sentry-box to the door, and from the door back to
his sentry-box, and to read the Sunday paper, and to poke the hall
fire twice or thrice, and to make five meals a day. Such a fellow does
Cruikshank hate and scorn worse even than a Frenchman.

The man's master, too, comes in for no small share of our artist's
wrath. There is a company of them at church, who humbly designate
themselves "miserable sinners!" Miserable sinners indeed! Oh, what
floods of turtle-soup, what tons of turbot and lobster-sauce must have
been sacrificed to make those sinners properly miserable. My lady with
the ermine tippet and draggling feather, can we not see that she lives
in Portland Place, and is the wife of an East India Director? She has
been to the Opera over-night (indeed her husband, on her right, with
his fat hand dangling over the pew-door, is at this minute thinking of
Mademoiselle Leocadie, whom he saw behind the scenes)--she has been
at the Opera over-night, which with a trifle of supper afterwards--a
white-and-brown soup, a lobster-salad, some woodcocks, and a little
champagne--sent her to bed quite comfortable. At half-past eight her
maid brings her chocolate in bed, at ten she has fresh eggs and muffins,
with, perhaps, a half-hundred of prawns for breakfast, and so can get
over the day and the sermon till lunch-time pretty well. What an odor of
musk and bergamot exhales from the pew!--how it is wadded, and stuffed,
and spangled over with brass nails! what hassocks are there for those
who are not too fat to kneel! what a flustering and flapping of gilt
prayer-books; and what a pious whirring of bible leaves one hears
all over the church, as the doctor blandly gives out the text! To be
miserable at this rate you must, at the very least, have four thousand a
year: and many persons are there so enamored of grief and sin, that they
would willingly take the risk of the misery to have a life-interest in
the consols that accompany it, quite careless about consequences, and
sceptical as to the notion that a day is at hand when you must fulfil
YOUR SHARE OF THE BARGAIN.

Our artist loves to joke at a soldier; in whose livery there appears
to him to be something almost as ridiculous as in the uniform of
the gentleman of the shoulder-knot. Tall life-guardsmen and fierce
grenadiers figure in many of his designs, and almost always in a
ridiculous way. Here again we have the honest popular English feeling
which jeers at pomp or pretension of all kinds, and is especially
jealous of all display of military authority. "Raw Recruit," "ditto
dressed," ditto "served up," as we see them in the "Sketch-Book," are so
many satires upon the army: Hodge with his ribbons flaunting in his
hat, or with red coat and musket, drilled stiff and pompous, or at
last, minus leg and arm, tottering about on crutches, does not fill our
English artist with the enthusiasm that follows the soldier in every
other part of Europe. Jeanjean, the conscript in France, is laughed at
to be sure, but then it is because he is a bad soldier: when he comes to
have a huge pair of mustachios and the croix-d'honneur to briller on his
poitrine cicatrisee, Jeanjean becomes a member of a class that is more
respected than any other in the French nation. The veteran soldier
inspires our people with no such awe--we hold that democratic weapon the
fist in much more honor than the sabre and bayonet, and laugh at a man
tricked out in scarlet and pipe-clay.

That regiment of heroes is "marching to divine service," to the tune
of the "British Grenadiers." There they march in state, and a pretty
contempt our artist shows for all their gimcracks and trumpery. He has
drawn a perfectly English scene--the little blackguard boys are playing
pranks round about the men, and shouting, "Heads up, soldier," "Eyes
right, lobster," as little British urchins will do. Did one ever hear
the like sentiments expressed in France? Shade of Napoleon, we insult
you by asking the question. In England, however, see how different the
case is: and designedly or undesignedly, the artist has opened to us a
piece of his mind. In the crowd the only person who admires the soldiers
is the poor idiot, whose pocket a rogue is picking. There is another
picture, in which the sentiment is much the same, only, as in the former
drawing we see Englishmen laughing at the troops of the line, here are
Irishmen giggling at the militia.

We have said that our artist has a great love for the drolleries of
the Green Island. Would any one doubt what was the country of the merry
fellows depicted in his group of Paddies?

         "Place me amid O'Rourkes, O'Tooles,
            The ragged royal race of Tara;
          Or place me where Dick Martin rules
            The pathless wilds of Connemara."

We know not if Mr. Cruikshank has ever had any such good luck as to see
the Irish in Ireland itself, but he certainly has obtained a knowledge
of their looks, as if the country had been all his life familiar to him.
Could Mr. O'Connell himself desire anything more national than the scene
of a drunken row, or could Father Mathew have a better text to preach
upon? There is not a broken nose in the room that is not thoroughly
Irish.

We have then a couple of compositions treated in a graver manner, as
characteristic too as the other. We call attention to the comical look
of poor Teague, who has been pursued and beaten by the witch's stick,
in order to point out also the singular neatness of the workmanship,
and the pretty, fanciful little glimpse of landscape that the artist
has introduced in the background. Mr. Cruikshank has a fine eye for such
homely landscapes, and renders them with great delicacy and taste.
Old villages, farm-yards, groups of stacks, queer chimneys, churches,
gable-ended cottages, Elizabethan mansion-houses, and other old English
scenes, he depicts with evident enthusiasm.

Famous books in their day were Cruikshank's "John Gilpin" and
"Epping Hunt;" for though our artist does not draw horses very
scientifically,--to use a phrase of the atelier,--he FEELS them very
keenly; and his queer animals, after one is used to them, answer quite
as well as better. Neither is he very happy in trees, and such rustical
produce; or, rather, we should say, he is very original, his trees being
decidedly of his own make and composition, not imitated from any master.

But what then? Can a man be supposed to imitate everything? We know what
the noblest study of mankind is, and to this Mr. Cruikshank has confined
himself. That postilion with the people in the broken-down chaise
roaring after him is as deaf as the post by which he passes. Suppose
all the accessories were away, could not one swear that the man was
stone-deaf, beyond the reach of trumpet? What is the peculiar character
in a deaf man's physiognomy?--can any person define it satisfactorily in
words?--not in pages; and Mr. Cruikshank has expressed it on a piece
of paper not so big as the tenth part of your thumb-nail. The horses
of John Gilpin are much more of the equestrian order; and as here the
artist has only his favorite suburban buildings to draw, not a word is
to be said against his design. The inn and old buildings are charmingly
designed, and nothing can be more prettily or playfully touched.

         "At Edmonton his loving wife
            From the balcony spied
          Her tender husband, wond'ring much
            To see how he did ride.

         "'Stop, stop, John Gilpin!  Here's the house!'
            They all at once did cry;
          'The dinner waits, and we are tired--'
            Said Gilpin--'So am I!'

         "Six gentlemen upon the road
            Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
          With post-boy scamp'ring in the rear,
            They raised the hue and cry:--

         "'Stop thief! stop thief!--a highwayman!'
            Not one of them was mute;
          And all and each that passed that way
            Did join in the pursuit.

         "And now the turnpike gates again
            Flew open in short space;
          The toll-men thinking, as before,
            That Gilpin rode a race."

The rush, and shouting, and clatter are excellently depicted by the
artist; and we, who have been scoffing at his manner of designing
animals, must here make a special exception in favor of the hens and
chickens; each has a different action, and is curiously natural.

Happy are children of all ages who have such a ballad and such pictures
as this in store for them! It is a comfort to think that woodcuts never
wear out, and that the book still may be had for a shilling, for those
who can command that sum of money.

In the "Epping Hunt," which we owe to the facetious pen of Mr. Hood, our
artist has not been so successful. There is here too much horsemanship
and not enough incident for him; but the portrait of Roundings the
huntsman is an excellent sketch, and a couple of the designs contain
great humor. The first represents the Cockney hero, who, "like a bird,
was singing out while sitting on a tree."

And in the second the natural order is reversed. The stag having
taken heart, is hunting the huntsman, and the Cheapside Nimrod is most
ignominiously running away.

The Easter Hunt, we are told, is no more; and as the Quarterly Review
recommends the British public to purchase Mr. Catlin's pictures, as they
form the only record of an interesting race now rapidly passing away,
in like manner we should exhort all our friends to purchase Mr.
Cruikshank's designs of ANOTHER interesting race, that is run already
and for the last time.

Besides these, we must mention, in the line of our duty, the notable
tragedies of "Tom Thumb" and "Bombastes Furioso," both of which have
appeared with many illustrations by Mr. Cruikshank. The "brave army" of
Bombastes exhibits a terrific display of brutal force, which must shock
the sensibilities of an English radical. And we can well understand the
caution of the general, who bids this soldatesque effrenee to begone,
and not to kick up a row.

Such a troop of lawless ruffians let loose upon a populous city would
play sad havoc in it; and we fancy the massacres of Birmingham renewed,
or at least of Badajoz, which, though not quite so dreadful, if we
may believe his Grace the Duke of Wellington, as the former scenes of
slaughter, were nevertheless severe enough: but we must not venture upon
any ill-timed pleasantries in presence of the disturbed King Arthur and
the awful ghost of Gaffer Thumb.

We are thus carried at once into the supernatural, and here we find
Cruikshank reigning supreme. He has invented in his time a little comic
pandemonium, peopled with the most droll, good-natured fiends possible.
We have before us Chamisso's "Peter Schlemihl," with Cruikshank's
designs translated into German, and gaining nothing by the change.
The "Kinder und Hans-Maerchen" of Grimm are likewise ornamented with a
frontispiece copied from that one which appeared to the amusing version
of the English work. The books on Phrenology and Time have been imitated
by the same nation; and even in France, whither reputation travels
slower than to any country except China, we have seen copies of the
works of George Cruikshank.

He in return has complimented the French by illustrating a couple of
Lives of Napoleon, and the "Life in Paris" before mentioned. He has also
made designs for Victor Hugo's "Hans of Iceland." Strange, wild etchings
were those, on a strange, mad subject; not so good in our notion as the
designs for the German books, the peculiar humor of which latter seemed
to suit the artist exactly. There is a mixture of the awful and the
ridiculous in these, which perpetually excites and keeps awake the
reader's attention; the German writer and the English artist seem to
have an entire faith in their subject. The reader, no doubt, remembers
the awful passage in "Peter Schlemihl," where the little gentleman
purchases the shadow of that hero--"Have the kindness, noble sir, to
examine and try this bag." "He put his hand into his pocket, and drew
thence a tolerably large bag of Cordovan leather, to which a couple of
thongs were fixed. I took it from him, and immediately counted out ten
gold pieces, and ten more, and ten more, and still other ten, whereupon
I held out my hand to him. Done, said I, it is a bargain; you shall have
my shadow for your bag. The bargain was concluded; he knelt down before
me, and I saw him with a wonderful neatness take my shadow from head to
foot, lightly lift it up from the grass, roll and fold it up neatly, and
at last pocket it. He then rose up, bowed to me once more, and walked
away again, disappearing behind the rose bushes. I don't know, but I
thought I heard him laughing a little. I, however, kept fast hold of the
bag. Everything around me was bright in the sun, and as yet I gave no
thought to what I had done."

This marvellous event, narrated by Peter with such a faithful,
circumstantial detail, is painted by Cruikshank in the most wonderful
poetic way, with that happy mixture of the real and supernatural that
makes the narrative so curious, and like truth. The sun is shining with
the utmost brilliancy in a great quiet park or garden; there is a palace
in the background, and a statue basking in the sun quite lonely and
melancholy; there is a sun-dial, on which is a deep shadow, and in the
front stands Peter Schlemihl, bag in hand: the old gentleman is down on
his knees to him, and has just lifted off the ground the SHADOW OF ONE
LEG; he is going to fold it back neatly, as one does the tails of a
coat, and will stow it, without any creases or crumples, along with the
other black garments that lie in that immense pocket of his. Cruikshank
has designed all this as if he had a very serious belief in the story;
he laughs, to be sure, but one fancies that he is a little frightened in
his heart, in spite of all his fun and joking.

The German tales we have mentioned before. "The Prince riding on the
Fox," "Hans in Luck," "The Fiddler and his Goose," "Heads off," are all
drawings which, albeit not before us now, nor seen for ten years, remain
indelibly fixed on the memory. "Heisst du etwa Rumpelstilzchen?" There
sits the Queen on her throne, surrounded by grinning beef-eaters, and
little Rumpelstiltskin stamps his foot through the floor in the excess
of his tremendous despair. In one of these German tales, if we remember
rightly, there is an account of a little orphan who is carried away by
a pitying fairy for a term of seven years, and passing that period of
sweet apprenticeship among the imps and sprites of fairy-land. Has our
artist been among the same company, and brought back their portraits in
his sketch-book? He is the only designer fairy-land has had. Callot's
imps, for all their strangeness, are only of the earth earthy. Fuseli's
fairies belong to the infernal regions; they are monstrous, lurid, and
hideously melancholy. Mr. Cruikshank alone has had a true insight into
the character of the "little people." They are something like men and
women, and yet not flesh and blood; they are laughing and mischievous,
but why we know not. Mr. Cruikshank, however, has had some dream or
the other, or else a natural mysterious instinct (as the Seherinn of
Prevorst had for beholding ghosts), or else some preternatural fairy
revelation, which has made him acquainted with the looks and ways of the
fantastical subjects of Oberon and Titania.

We have, unfortunately, no fairy portraits; but, on the other hand,
can descend lower than fairy-land, and have seen some fine specimens
of devils. One has already been raised, and the reader has seen him
tempting a fat Dutch burgomaster, in an ancient gloomy market-place,
such as George Cruikshank can draw as well as Mr. Prout, Mr. Nash,
or any man living. There is our friend once more; our friend the
burgomaster, in a highly excited state, and running as hard as his great
legs will carry him, with our mutual enemy at his tail.

What are the bets; will that long-legged bondholder of a devil come up
with the honest Dutchman? It serves him right: why did he put his name
to stamped paper? And yet we should not wonder if some lucky chance
should turn up in the burgomaster's favor, and his infernal creditor
lose his labor; for one so proverbially cunning as yonder tall
individual with the saucer eyes, it must be confessed that he has been
very often outwitted.

There is, for instance, the case of "The Gentleman in Black," which has
been illustrated by our artist. A young French gentleman, by name M.
Desonge, who, having expended his patrimony in a variety of taverns and
gaming-houses, was one day pondering upon the exhausted state of his
finances, and utterly at a loss to think how he should provide means for
future support, exclaimed, very naturally, "What the devil shall I do?"
He had no sooner spoken than a GENTLEMAN IN BLACK made his appearance,
whose authentic portrait Mr. Cruikshank has had the honor to paint.
This gentleman produced a black-edged book out of a black bag, some
black-edged papers tied up with black crape, and sitting down familiarly
opposite M. Desonge, began conversing with him on the state of his
affairs.

It is needless to state what was the result of the interview. M. Desonge
was induced by the gentleman to sign his name to one of the black-edged
papers, and found himself at the close of the conversation to be
possessed of an unlimited command of capital. This arrangement
completed, the Gentleman in Black posted (in an extraordinarily rapid
manner) from Paris to London, there found a young English merchant in
exactly the same situation in which M. Desonge had been, and concluded a
bargain with the Briton of exactly the same nature.

The book goes on to relate how these young men spent the money so
miraculously handed over to them, and how both, when the period drew
near that was to witness the performance of THEIR part of the bargain,
grew melancholy, wretched, nay, so absolutely dishonorable as to seek
for every means of breaking through their agreement. The Englishman
living in a country where the lawyers are more astute than any other
lawyers in the world, took the advice of a Mr. Bagsby, of Lyon's Inn;
whose name, as we cannot find it in the "Law List," we presume to be
fictitious. Who could it be that was a match for the devil? Lord ----
very likely; we shall not give his name, but let every reader of this
Review fill up the blank according to his own fancy, and on comparing it
with the copy purchased by his neighbors, he will find that fifteen out
of twenty have written down the same honored name.

Well, the Gentleman in Black was anxious for the fulfilment of his bond.
The parties met at Mr. Bagsby's chambers to consult, the Black Gentleman
foolishly thinking that he could act as his own counsel, and fearing no
attorney alive. But mark the superiority of British law, and see how the
black pettifogger was defeated.

Mr. Bagsby simply stated that he would take the case into Chancery, and
his antagonist, utterly humiliated and defeated, refused to move a step
farther in the matter.

And now the French gentleman, M. Desonge, hearing of his friend's
escape, became anxious to be free from his own rash engagements.
He employed the same counsel who had been successful in the former
instance, but the Gentleman in Black was a great deal wiser by this
time, and whether M. Desonge escaped, or whether he is now in that
extensive place which is paved with good intentions, we shall not say.
Those who are anxious to know had better purchase the book wherein
all these interesting matters are duly set down. There is one more
diabolical picture in our budget, engraved by Mr. Thompson, the same
dexterous artist who has rendered the former diableries so well.

We may mention Mr. Thompson's name as among the first of the engravers
to whom Cruikshank's designs have been entrusted; and next to him (if
we may be allowed to make such arbitrary distinctions) we may place
Mr. Williams; and the reader is not possibly aware of the immense
difficulties to be overcome in the rendering of these little sketches,
which, traced by the designer in a few hours, require weeks' labor
from the engraver. Mr. Cruikshank has not been educated in the regular
schools of drawing (very luckily for him, as we think), and consequently
has had to make a manner for himself, which is quite unlike that of any
other draftsman. There is nothing in the least mechanical about it; to
produce his particular effects he uses his own particular lines, which
are queer, free, fantastical, and must be followed in all their infinite
twists and vagaries by the careful tool of the engraver. Those three
lovely heads, for instance, imagined out of the rinds of lemons, are
worth examining, not so much for the jovial humor and wonderful variety
of feature exhibited in these darling countenances as for the engraver's
part of the work. See the infinite delicate cross-lines and hatchings
which he is obliged to render; let him go, not a hair's breadth, but
the hundredth part of a hair's breadth, beyond the given line, and the
FEELING of it is ruined. He receives these little dots and specks, and
fantastical quirks of the pencil, and cuts away with a little knife
round each, not too much nor too little. Antonio's pound of flesh did
not puzzle the Jew so much; and so well does the engraver succeed at
last, that we never remember to have met with a single artist who did
not vow that the wood-cutter had utterly ruined his design.

Of Messrs. Thompson and Williams we have spoken as the first engravers
in point of rank; however, the regulations of professional precedence
are certainly very difficult, and the rest of their brethren we shall
not endeavor to class. Why should the artists who executed the cuts of
the admirable "Three Courses" yield the pas to any one?

There, for instance, is an engraving by Mr. Landells, nearly as good
in our opinion as the very best woodcut that ever was made after
Cruikshank, and curiously happy in rendering the artist's peculiar
manner: this cut does not come from the facetious publications which we
have consulted; but is a contribution by Mr. Cruikshank to an elaborate
and splendid botanical work upon the Orchidaceae of Mexico, by Mr.
Bateman. Mr. Bateman despatched some extremely choice roots of this
valuable plant to a friend in England, who, on the arrival of the case,
consigned it to his gardener to unpack. A great deal of anxiety with
regard to the contents was manifested by all concerned, but on the
lid of the box being removed, there issued from it three or four fine
specimens of the enormous Blatta beetle that had been preying upon the
plants during the voyage; against these the gardeners, the grooms, the
porters, and the porters' children, issued forth in arms, and this scene
the artist has immortalized.

We have spoken of the admirable way in which Mr. Cruikshank has depicted
Irish character and Cockney character; English country character is
quite as faithfully delineated in the person of the stout porteress and
her children, and of the "Chawbacon" with the shovel, on whose face is
written "Zummerzetsheer." Chawbacon appears in another plate, or else
Chawbacon's brother. He has come up to Lunnan, and is looking about him
at raaces.

How distinct are these rustics from those whom we have just been
examining! They hang about the purlieus of the metropolis: Brook Green,
Epsom, Greenwich, Ascot, Goodwood, are their haunts. They visit London
professionally once a year, and that is at the time of Bartholomew
fair. How one may speculate upon the different degrees of rascality,
as exhibited in each face of the thimblerigging trio, and form little
histories for these worthies, charming Newgate romances, such as have
been of late the fashion! Is any man so blind that he cannot see the
exact face that is writhing under the thhnblerigged hero's hat? Like
Timanthes of old, our artist expresses great passions without the aid
of the human countenance. There is another specimen--a street row of
inebriated bottles. Is there any need of having a face after this? "Come
on!" says Claret-bottle, a dashing, genteel fellow, with his hat on one
ear--"Come on! has any man a mind to tap me?" Claret-bottle is a little
screwed (as one may see by his legs), but full of gayety and courage;
not so that stout, apoplectic Bottle-of-rum, who has staggered against
the wall, and has his hand upon his liver: the fellow hurts himself
with smoking, that is clear, and is as sick as sick can be. See, Port
is making away from the storm, and Double X is as flat as ditch-water.
Against these, awful in their white robes, the sober watchmen come.

Our artist then can cover up faces, and yet show them quite clearly, as
in the thimblerig group; or he can do without faces altogether; or he
can, at a pinch, provide a countenance for a gentleman out of any
given object--a beautiful Irish physiognomy being moulded upon a keg of
whiskey; and a jolly English countenance frothing out of a pot of ale
(the spirit of brave Toby Philpot come back to reanimate his clay);
while in a fungus may be recognized the physiognomy of a mushroom peer.
Finally, if he is at a loss, he can make a living head, body, and legs
out of steel or tortoise-shell, as in the case of the vivacious pair of
spectacles that are jockeying the nose of Caddy Cuddle.

Of late years Mr. Cruikshank has busied himself very much with steel
engraving, and the consequences of that lucky invention have been, that
his plates are now sold by thousands, where they could only be produced
by hundreds before. He has made many a bookseller's and author's fortune
(we trust that in so doing he may not have neglected his own). Twelve
admirable plates, furnished yearly to that facetious little publication,
the Comic Almanac, have gained for it a sale, as we hear, of nearly
twenty thousand copies. The idea of the work was novel; there was,
in the first number especially, a great deal of comic power, and
Cruikshank's designs were so admirable that the Almanac at once became a
vast favorite with the public, and has so remained ever since.

Besides the twelve plates, this almanac contains a prophetic woodcut,
accompanying an awful Blarneyhum Astrologicum that appears in this and
other almanacs. There is one that hints in pretty clear terms that with
the Reform of Municipal Corporations the ruin of the great Lord Mayor of
London is at hand. His lordship is meekly going to dine at an eightpenny
ordinary, his giants in pawn, his men in armor dwindled to "one poor
knight," his carriage to be sold, his stalwart aldermen vanished, his
sheriffs, alas! and alas! in gaol! Another design shows that Rigdum, if
a true, is also a moral and instructive prophet. John Bull is asleep, or
rather in a vision; the cunning demon, Speculation, blowing a thousand
bright bubbles about him. Meanwhile the rooks are busy at his fob, a
knave has cut a cruel hole in his pocket, a rattlesnake has coiled safe
round his feet, and will in a trice swallow Bull, chair, money and all;
the rats are at his corn-bags (as if, poor devil, he had corn to spare);
his faithful dog is bolting his leg-of-mutton--nay, a thief has gotten
hold of his very candle, and there, by way of moral, is his ale-pot,
which looks and winks in his face, and seems to say, O Bull, all this is
froth, and a cruel satirical picture of a certain rustic who had a
goose that laid certain golden eggs, which goose the rustic slew in
expectation of finding all the eggs at once. This is goose and sage too,
to borrow the pun of "learned Doctor Gill;" but we shrewdly suspect that
Mr. Cruikshank is becoming a little conservative in his notions.

We love these pictures so that it is hard to part us, and we still
fondly endeavor to hold on, but this wild word, farewell, must be spoken
by the best friends at last, and so good-by, brave woodcuts: we feel
quite a sadness in coming to the last of our collection.

In the earlier numbers of the Comic Almanac all the manners and customs
of Londoners that would afford food for fun were noted down; and if
during the last two years the mysterious personage who, under the title
of "Rigdum Funnidos," compiles this ephemeris, has been compelled to
resort to romantic tales, we must suppose that he did so because the
great metropolis was exhausted, and it was necessary to discover new
worlds in the cloud-land of fancy. The character of Mr. Stubbs, who
made his appearance in the Almanac for 1839, had, we think, great merit,
although his adventures were somewhat of too tragical a description to
provoke pure laughter.

We should be glad to devote a few pages to the "Illustrations of Time,"
the "Scraps and Sketches," and the "Illustrations of Phrenology," which
are among the most famous of our artist's publications; but it is very
difficult to find new terms of praise, as find them one must, when
reviewing Mr. Cruikshank's publications, and more difficult still (as
the reader of this notice will no doubt have perceived for himself long
since) to translate his design into words, and go to the printer's box
for a description of all that fun and humor which the artist can
produce by a few skilful turns of his needle. A famous article upon the
"Illustrations of Time" appeared some dozen years since in Blackwood's
Magazine, of which the conductors have always been great admirers of our
artist, as became men of honor and genius. To these grand qualities
do not let it be supposed that we are laying claim, but, thank heaven,
Cruikshank's humor is so good and benevolent that any man must love it,
and on this score we may speak as well as another.

Then there are the "Greenwich Hospital" designs, which must not be
passed over. "Greenwich Hospital" is a hearty, good-natured book, in the
Tom Dibdin school, treating of the virtues of British tars, in approved
nautical language. They maul Frenchmen and Spaniards, they go out
in brigs and take frigates, they relieve women in distress, and are
yard-arm and yard-arming, athwart-hawsing, marlinspiking, binnacling,
and helm's-a-leeing, as honest seamen invariably do, in novels, on the
stage, and doubtless on board ship. This we cannot take upon us to say,
but the artist, like a true Englishman, as he is, loves dearly these
brave guardians of Old England, and chronicles their rare or fanciful
exploits with the greatest good-will. Let any one look at the noble head
of Nelson in the "Family Library," and they will, we are sure, think
with us that the designer must have felt and loved what he drew. There
are to this abridgment of Southey's admirable book many more cuts after
Cruikshank; and about a dozen pieces by the same hand will be found in
a work equally popular, Lockhart's excellent "Life of Napoleon." Among
these the retreat from Moscow is very fine; the Mamlouks most vigorous,
furious, and barbarous, as they should be. At the end of these three
volumes Mr. Cruikshank's contributions to the "Family Library" seem
suddenly to have ceased.

We are not at all disposed to undervalue the works and genius of Mr.
Dickens, and we are sure that he would admit as readily as any man the
wonderful assistance that he has derived from the artist who has given
us the portraits of his ideal personages, and made them familiar to
all the world. Once seen, these figures remain impressed on the memory,
which otherwise would have had no hold upon them, and the heroes and
heroines of Boz become personal acquaintances with each of us. Oh, that
Hogarth could have illustrated Fielding in the same way! and fixed down
on paper those grand figures of Parson Adams, and Squire Allworthy, and
the great Jonathan Wild.

With regard to the modern romance of "Jack Sheppard," in which the
latter personage makes a second appearance, it seems to us that Mr.
Cruikshank really created the tale, and that Mr. Ainsworth, as it were,
only put words to it. Let any reader of the novel think over it for
a while, now that it is some months since he has perused and laid it
down--let him think, and tell us what he remembers of the tale? George
Cruikshank's pictures--always George Cruikshank's pictures. The storm in
the Thames, for instance: all the author's labored description of that
event has passed clean away--we have only before the mind's eye the fine
plates of Cruikshank: the poor wretch cowering under the bridge arch, as
the waves come rushing in, and the boats are whirling away in the drift
of the great swollen black waters. And let any man look at that second
plate of the murder on the Thames, and he must acknowledge how much more
brilliant the artist's description is than the writer's, and what a real
genius for the terrible as well as for the ridiculous the former has;
how awful is the gloom of the old bridge, a few lights glimmering from
the houses here and there, but not so as to be reflected on the water at
all, which is too turbid and raging: a great heavy rack of clouds goes
sweeping over the bridge, and men with flaring torches, the murderers,
are borne away with the stream.

The author requires many pages to describe the fury of the storm, which
Mr. Cruikshank has represented in one. First, he has to prepare you with
the something inexpressibly melancholy in sailing on a dark night upon
the Thames: "the ripple of the water," "the darkling current," "the
indistinctively seen craft," "the solemn shadows" and other phenomena
visible on rivers at night are detailed (with not unskilful rhetoric)
in order to bring the reader into a proper frame of mind for the deeper
gloom and horror which is to ensue. Then follow pages of description.
"As Rowland sprang to the helm, and gave the signal for pursuit, a war
like a volley of ordnance was heard aloft, and the wind again burst its
bondage. A moment before the surface of the stream was as black as ink.
It was now whitening, hissing, and seething, like an enormous caldron.
The blast once more swept over the agitated river, whirled off the
sheets of foam, scattered them far and wide in rain-drops, and left the
raging torrent blacker than before. Destruction everywhere marked the
course of the gale. Steeples toppled and towers reeled beneath its fury.
All was darkness, horror, confusion, ruin. Men fled from their tottering
habitations and returned to them, scared by greater danger. The end
of the world seemed at hand. . . . The hurricane had now reached its
climax. The blast shrieked, as if exulting in its wrathful mission.
Stunning and continuous, the din seemed almost to take away the power of
hearing. He who had faced the gale WOULD HAVE BEEN INSTANTLY STIFLED,"
&c. &c. See with what a tremendous war of words (and good loud words
too; Mr. Ainsworth's description is a good and spirited one) the author
is obliged to pour in upon the reader before he can effect his purpose
upon the latter, and inspire him with a proper terror. The painter does
it at a glance, and old Wood's dilemma in the midst of that tremendous
storm, with the little infant at his bosom, is remembered afterwards,
not from the words, but from the visible image of them that the artist
has left us.

It would not, perhaps, be out of place to glance through the whole of
the "Jack Sheppard" plates, which are among the most finished and the
most successful of Mr. Cruikshank's performances, and say a word or two
concerning them. Let us begin with finding fault with No. 1, "Mr. Wood
offers to adopt little Jack Sheppard." A poor print, on a poor subject;
the figure of the woman not as carefully designed as it might be, and
the expression of the eyes (not an uncommon fault with our artist) much
caricatured. The print is cut up, to use the artist's phrase, by the
number of accessories which the engraver has thought proper, after the
author's elaborate description, elaborately to reproduce. The plate of
"Wild discovering Darrell in the loft" is admirable--ghastly, terrible,
and the treatment of it extraordinarily skilful, minute, and bold. The
intricacies of the tile-work, and the mysterious twinkling of light
among the beams, are excellently felt and rendered; and one sees here,
as in the two next plates of the storm and murder, what a fine eye the
artist has, what a skilful hand, and what a sympathy for the wild and
dreadful. As a mere imitation of nature, the clouds and the bridge
in the murder picture may be examined by painters who make far higher
pretensions than Mr. Cruikshank. In point of workmanship they are
equally good, the manner quite unaffected, the effect produced without
any violent contrast, the whole scene evidently well and philosophically
arranged in the artist's brain, before he began to put it upon copper.

The famous drawing of "Jack carving the name on the beam," which has
been transferred to half the play-bills in town, is overloaded with
accessories, as the first plate; but they are much better arranged
than in the last-named engraving, and do not injure the effect of the
principal figure. Remark, too, the conscientiousness of the artist,
and that shrewd pervading idea of FORM which is one of his principal
characteristics. Jack is surrounded by all sorts of implements of his
profession; he stands on a regular carpenter's table: away in the shadow
under it lie shavings and a couple of carpenter's hampers. The glue-pot,
the mallet, the chisel-handle, the planes, the saws, the hone with
its cover, and the other paraphernalia are all represented with
extraordinary accuracy and forethought. The man's mind has retained
the exact DRAWING of all these minute objects (unconsciously perhaps
to himself), but we can see with what keen eyes he must go through the
world, and what a fund of facts (as such a knowledge of the shape of
objects is in his profession) this keen student of nature has stored
away in his brain. In the next plate, where Jack is escaping from his
mistress, the figure of that lady, one of the deepest of the [Greek text
omitted], strikes us as disagreeable and unrefined; that of Winifred is,
on the contrary, very pretty and graceful; and Jack's puzzled, slinking
look must not be forgotten. All the accessories are good, and the
apartment has a snug, cosy air; which is not remarkable, except that
it shows how faithfully the designer has performed his work, and how
curiously he has entered into all the particulars of the subject.

Master Thames Darrell, the handsome young man of the book, is, in Mr.
Cruikshank's portraits of him, no favorite of ours. The lad seems to
wish to make up for the natural insignificance of his face by frowning
on all occasions most portentously. This figure, borrowed from the
compositor's desk, will give a notion of what we mean. Wild's face
is too violent for the great man of history (if we may call Fielding
history), but this is in consonance with the ranting, frowning,
braggadocio character that Mr. Ainsworth has given him.

The "Interior of Willesden Church" is excellent as a composition, and a
piece of artistical workmanship; the groups are well arranged; and the
figure of Mrs. Sheppard looking round alarmed, as her son is robbing
the dandy Kneebone, is charming, simple, and unaffected. Not so "Mrs.
Sheppard ill in bed," whose face is screwed up to an expression vastly
too tragic. The little glimpse of the church seen through the open door
of the room is very beautiful and poetical: it is in such small hints
that an artist especially excels; they are the morals which he loves
to append to his stories, and are always appropriate and welcome.
The boozing ken is not to our liking; Mrs. Sheppard is there with her
horrified eyebrows again. Why this exaggeration--is it necessary for
the public? We think not, or if they require such excitement, let our
artist, like a true painter as he is, teach them better things.*

     * A gentleman (whose wit is so celebrated that one should be
     very cautious in repeating his stories) gave the writer a
     good illustration of the philosophy of exaggeration.  Mr. --
     -- was once behind the scenes at the Opera when the scene-
     shifters were preparing for the ballet.  Flora was to sleep
     under a bush, whereon were growing a number of roses, and
     amidst which was fluttering a gay covey of butterflies.  In
     size the roses exceeded the most expansive sunflowers, and
     the butterflies were as large as cocked hats;--the scene
     -shifter explained to Mr. ----, who asked the reason why
     everything was so magnified, that the galleries could never
     see the objects unless they were enormously exaggerated.
     How many of our writers and designers work for the
     galleries?

     The "Escape from Willesden Cage" is excellent; the "Burglary
     in Wood's house" has not less merit; "Mrs. Sheppard in
     Bedlam," a ghastly picture indeed, is finely conceived, but
     not, as we fancy, so carefully executed; it would be better
     for a little more careful drawing in the female figure.

     "Jack sitting for his picture" is a very pleasing group, and
     savors of the manner of Hogarth, who is introduced in the
     company.  The "Murder of Trenchard" must be noticed too as
     remarkable for the effect and terrible vigor which the
     artist has given to the scene. The "Willesden Churchyard"
     has great merit too, but the gems of the book are the little
     vignettes illustrating the escape from Newgate. Here, too,
     much anatomical care of drawing is not required; the figures
     are so small that the outline and attitude need only to be
     indicated, and the designer has produced a series of figures
     quite remarkable for reality and poetry too.  There are no
     less than ten of Jack's feats so described by Mr.
     Cruikshank.  (Let us say a word here in praise of the
     excellent manner in which the author has carried us through
     the adventure.)  Here is Jack clattering up the chimney, now
     peering into the lonely red room, now opening "the door
     between the red room and the chapel."  What a wild, fierce,
     scared look he has, the young ruffian, as cautiously he
     steps in, holding light his bar of iron.  You can see by his
     face how his heart is beating!  If any one were there! but
     no!  And this is a very fine characteristic of the prints,
     the extreme LONELINESS of them all. Not a soul is there to
     disturb him--woe to him who should--and Jack drives in the
     chapel gate, and shatters down the passage door, and there
     you have him on the leads.  Up he goes! it is but a spring
     of a few feet from the blanket, and he is gone--abiit,
     evasit, erupit! Mr. Wild must catch him again if he can.

     We must not forget to mention "Oliver Twist," and Mr.
     Cruikshank's famous designs to that work.*  The sausage
     scene at Fagin's, Nancy seizing the boy; that capital piece
     of humor, Mr. Bumble's courtship, which is even better in
     Cruikshank's version than in Boz's exquisite account of the
     interview; Sykes's farewell to the dog; and the Jew,--the
     dreadful Jew--that Cruikshank drew!  What a fine touching
     picture of melancholy desolation is that of Sykes and the
     dog!  The poor cur is not too well drawn, the landscape is
     stiff and formal; but in this case the faults, if faults
     they be, of execution rather add to than diminish the effect
     of the picture: it has a strange, wild, dreary, broken
     -hearted look; we fancy we see the landscape as it must have
     appeared to Sykes, when ghastly and with bloodshot eyes he
     looked at it.  As for the Jew in the dungeon, let us say
     nothing of it--what can we say to describe it?  What a fine
     homely poet is the man who can produce this little world of
     mirth or woe for us!  Does he elaborate his effects by slow
     process of thought, or do they come to him by instinct?
     Does the painter ever arrange in his brain an image so
     complete, that he afterwards can copy it exactly on the
     canvas, or does the hand work in spite of him?


             * Or his new work, "The Tower of London," which promises
             even to surpass Mr. Cruikshank's former productions.

A great deal of this random work of course every artist has done in his
time; many men produce effects of which they never dreamed, and strike
off excellences, haphazard, which gain for them reputation; but a fine
quality in Mr. Cruikshank, the quality of his success, as we have said
before, is the extraordinary earnestness and good faith with which
he executes all he attempts--the ludicrous, the polite, the low, the
terrible. In the second of these he often, in our fancy, fails, his
figures lacking elegance and descending to caricature; but there is
something fine in this too: it is good that he SHOULD fail, that he
should have these honest naive notions regarding the beau monde, the
characteristics of which a namby-pamby tea-party painter could hit
off far better than he. He is a great deal too downright and manly to
appreciate the flimsy delicacies of small society--you cannot expect a
lion to roar you like any sucking dove, or frisk about a drawing-room
like a lady's little spaniel.

If then, in the course of his life and business, he has been
occasionally obliged to imitate the ways of such small animals, he has
done so, let us say it at once, clumsily, and like as a lion should.
Many artists, we hear, hold his works rather cheap; they prate about bad
drawing, want of scientific knowledge:--they would have something vastly
more neat, regular, anatomical.

Not one of the whole band most likely but can paint an Academy figure
better than himself; nay, or a portrait of an alderman's lady and family
of children. But look down the list of the painters and tell us who
are they? How many among these men are POETS (makers), possessing the
faculty to create, the greatest among the gifts with which Providence
has endowed the mind of man? Say how many there are, count up what they
have done, and see what in the course of some nine-and-twenty years has
been done by this indefatigable man.

What amazing energetic fecundity do we find in him! As a boy he began to
fight for bread, has been hungry (twice a day we trust) ever since, and
has been obliged to sell his wit for his bread week by week. And
his wit, sterling gold as it is, will find no such purchasers as the
fashionable painter's thin pinchbeck, who can live comfortably for
six weeks, when paid for and painting a portrait, and fancies his mind
prodigiously occupied all the while. There was an artist in Paris, an
artist hairdresser, who used to be fatigued and take restoratives after
inventing a new coiffure. By no such gentle operation of head-dressing
has Cruikshank lived: time was (we are told so in print) when for a
picture with thirty heads in it he was paid three guineas--a poor week's
pittance truly, and a dire week's labor. We make no doubt that the same
labor would at present bring him twenty times the sum; but whether it
be ill paid or well, what labor has Mr. Cruikshank's been! Week by week,
for thirty years, to produce something new; some smiling offspring of
painful labor, quite independent and distinct from its ten thousand
jovial brethren; in what hours of sorrow and ill-health to be told by
the world, "Make us laugh or you starve--Give us fresh fun; we have
eaten up the old and are hungry." And all this has he been obliged to
do--to wring laughter day by day, sometimes, perhaps, out of want, often
certainly from ill-health or depression--to keep the fire of his brain
perpetually alight: for the greedy public will give it no leisure to
cool. This he has done and done well. He has told a thousand truths in
as many strange and fascinating ways; he has given a thousand new and
pleasant thoughts to millions of people; he has never used his wit
dishonestly; he has never, in all the exuberance of his frolicsome
humor, caused a single painful or guilty blush: how little do we think
of the extraordinary power of this man, and how ungrateful we are to
him!

Here, as we are come round to the charge of ingratitude, the
starting-post from which we set out, perhaps we had better conclude. The
reader will perhaps wonder at the high-flown tone in which we speak of
the services and merits of an individual, whom he considers a humble
scraper on steel, that is wonderfully popular already. But none of us
remember all the benefits we owe him; they have come one by one, one
driving out the memory of the other: it is only when we come to examine
them all together, as the writer has done, who has a pile of books
on the table before him--a heap of personal kindnesses from George
Cruikshank (not presents, if you please, for we bought, borrowed, or
stole every one of them)--that we feel what we owe him. Look at one of
Mr. Cruikshank's works, and we pronounce him an excellent humorist.
Look at all: his reputation is increased by a kind of geometrical
progression; as a whole diamond is a hundred times more valuable than
the hundred splinters into which it might be broken would be. A fine
rough English diamond is this about which we have been writing.





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