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´╗┐Title: John Leech's Pictures of Life and Character
Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By William Makepeace Thackeray

* Reprinted from the Quarterly Review, No. 191, Dec. 1854, by permission
of Mr. John Murray.

We, who can recall the consulship of Plancus, and quite respectable,
old-fogyfied times, remember amongst other amusements which we had as
children the pictures at which we were permitted to look. There was
Boydell's Shakspeare, black and ghastly gallery of murky Opies, glum
Northcotes, straddling Fuselis! there were Lear, Oberon, Hamlet, with
starting muscles, rolling eyeballs, and long pointing quivering fingers;
there was little Prince Arthur (Northcote) crying, in white satin, and
bidding good Hubert not put out his eyes; there was Hubert crying; there
was little Rutland being run through the poor little body by bloody
Clifford; there was Cardinal Beaufort (Reynolds) gnashing his teeth, and
grinning and howling demoniacally on his death-bed (a picture frightful
to the present day); there was Lady Hamilton (Romney) waving a torch,
and dancing before a black background,--a melancholy museum indeed.
Smirke's delightful "Seven Ages" only fitfully relieved its general
gloom. We did not like to inspect it unless the elders were present, and
plenty of lights and company were in the room.

Cheerful relatives used to treat us to Miss Linwood's. Let the children
of the present generation thank their stars THAT tragedy is put out
of their way. Miss Linwood's was worsted-work. Your grandmother or
grandaunts took you there and said the pictures were admirable. You saw
"the Woodman" in worsted, with his axe and dog, trampling through the
snow; the snow bitter cold to look at, the woodman's pipe wonderful: a
gloomy piece, that made you shudder. There were large dingy pictures
of woollen martyrs, and scowling warriors with limbs strongly knitted;
there was especially, at the end of a black passage, a den of lions,
that would frighten any boy not born in Africa, or Exeter 'Change, and
accustomed to them.

Another exhibition used to be West's Gallery, where the pleasing figures
of Lazarus in his grave-clothes, and Death on the pale horse, used to
impress us children. The tombs of Westminster Abbey, the vaults at St.
Paul's, the men in armor at the Tower, frowning ferociously out of
their helmets, and wielding their dreadful swords; that superhuman Queen
Elizabeth at the end of the room, a livid sovereign with glass eyes, a
ruff, and a dirty satin petticoat, riding a horse covered with steel:
who does not remember these sights in London in the consulship of
Plancus? and the wax-work in Fleet Street, not like that of Madame
Tussaud's, whose chamber of death is gay and brilliant; but a nice old
gloomy wax-work, full of murderers; and as a chief attraction, the Dead
Baby and the Princess Charlotte lying in state?

Our story-books had no pictures in them for the most part. Frank (dear
old Frank!) had none; nor the "Parent's Assistant;" nor the "Evenings
at Home;" nor our copy of the "Ami des Enfans:" there were a few just at
the end of the Spelling-Book; besides the allegory at the beginning, of
Education leading up Youth to the temple of Industry, where Dr. Dilworth
and Professor Walkinghame stood with crowns of laurel. There were, we
say, just a few pictures at the end of the Spelling-Book, little oval
gray woodcuts of Bewick's, mostly of the Wolf and the Lamb, the Dog and
the Shadow, and Brown, Jones, and Robinson with long ringlets and
little tights; but for pictures, so to speak, what had we? The rough old
wood-blocks in the old harlequin-backed fairy-books had served hundreds
of years; before OUR Plancus, in the time of Priscus Plancus--in Queen
Anne's time, who knows? We were flogged at school; we were fifty boys in
our boarding-house, and had to wash in a leaden trough, under a cistern,
with lumps of fat yellow soap floating about in the ice and water.
Are OUR sons ever flogged? Have they not dressing-rooms, hair-oil,
hip-baths, and Baden towels? And what picture-books the young villains
have! What have these children done that they should be so much happier
than we were?

We had the "Arabian Nights" and Walter Scott, to be sure. Smirke's
illustrations to the former are very fine. We did not know how good
they were then; but we doubt whether we did not prefer the little old
"Miniature Library Nights" with frontispieces by Uwins; for THESE books
the pictures don't count. Every boy of imagination does his own pictures
to Scott and the "Arabian Nights" best.

Of funny pictures there were none especially intended for us children.
There was Rowlandson's "Doctor Syntax": Doctor Syntax in a fuzz-wig, on
a horse with legs like sausages, riding races, making love, frolicking
with rosy exuberant damsels. Those pictures were very funny, and that
aquatinting and the gay-colored plates very pleasant to witness; but if
we could not read the poem in those days, could we digest it in this?
Nevertheless, apart from the text which we could not master, we remember
Doctor Syntax pleasantly, like those cheerful painted hieroglyphics in
the Nineveh Court at Sydenham. What matter for the arrow-head, illegible
stuff? give us the placid grinning kings, twanging their jolly bows over
their rident horses, wounding those good-humored enemies, who tumble
gayly off the towers, or drown, smiling, in the dimpling waters, amidst
the anerithmon gelasma of the fish.

After Doctor Syntax, the apparition of Corinthian Tom, Jerry Hawthorn,
and the facetious Bob Logic must be recorded--a wondrous history indeed
theirs was! When the future student of our manners comes to look over
the pictures and the writing of these queer volumes, what will he think
of our society, customs, and language in the consulship of Plancus?
"Corinthian," it appears, was the phrase applied to men of fashion
and ton in Plancus's time: they were the brilliant predecessors of the
"swell" of the present period--brilliant, but somewhat barbarous, it
must be confessed. The Corinthians were in the habit of drinking a great
deal too much in Tom Cribb's parlor: they used to go and see "life" in
the gin-shops; of nights, walking home (as well as they could), they
used to knock down "Charleys," poor harmless old watchmen with lanterns,
guardians of the streets of Rome, Planco Consule. They perpetrated a
vast deal of boxing; they put on the "mufflers" in Jackson's rooms;
they "sported their prads" in the Ring in the Park; they attended
cock-fights, and were enlightened patrons of dogs and destroyers of
rats. Besides these sports, the delassemens of gentlemen mixing with the
people, our patricians, of course, occasionally enjoyed the society of
their own class. What a wonderful picture that used to be of Corinthian
Tom dancing with Corinthian Kate at Almack's! What a prodigious dress
Kate wore! With what graceful ABANDON the pair flung their arms about
as they swept through the mazy quadrille, with all the noblemen standing
round in their stars and uniforms! You may still, doubtless, see the
pictures at the British Museum, or find the volumes in the corner of
some old country-house library. You are led to suppose that the English
aristocracy of 1820 DID dance and caper in that way, and box and drink
at Tom Cribb's, and knock down watchmen; and the children of to-day,
turning to their elders, may say "Grandmamma, did you wear such a dress
as that, when you danced at Almack's? There was very little of it,
grandmamma. Did grandpapa kill many watchmen when he was a young man,
and frequent thieves' gin-shops, cock-fights, and the ring, before you
married him? Did he use to talk the extraordinary slang and jargon which
is printed in this book? He is very much changed. He seems a gentlemanly
old boy enough now."

In the above-named consulate, when WE had grandfathers alive, there
would be in the old gentleman's library in the country two or three old
mottled portfolios, or great swollen scrap-books of blue paper, full of
the comic prints of grandpapa's time, ere Plancus ever had the fasces
borne before him. These prints were signed Gilray, Bunbury, Rowlandson,
Woodward, and some actually George Cruikshank--for George is a veteran
now, and he took the etching needle in hand as a child. He caricatured
"Boney," borrowing not a little from Gilray in his first puerile
efforts. He drew Louis XVIII. trying on Boney's boots. Before the
century was actually in its teens we believe that George Cruikshank was
amusing the public.

In those great colored prints in our grandfathers' portfolios in
the library, and in some other apartments of the house, where the
caricatures used to be pasted in those days, we found things quite
beyond our comprehension. Boney was represented as a fierce dwarf, with
goggle eyes, a huge laced hat and tricolored plume, a crooked sabre,
reeking with blood: a little demon revelling in lust, murder, massacre.
John Bull was shown kicking him a good deal: indeed he was prodigiously
kicked all through that series of pictures; by Sidney Smith and
our brave allies the gallant Turks; by the excellent and patriotic
Spaniards; by the amiable and indignant Russians,--all nations had boots
at the service of poor Master Boney. How Pitt used to defy him! How
good old George, King of Brobdingnag, laughed at Gulliver-Boney, sailing
about in his tank to make sport for their Majesties! This little fiend,
this beggar's brat, cowardly, murderous, and atheistic as he was (we
remember, in those old portfolios, pictures representing Boney and his
family in rags, gnawing raw bones in a Corsican hut; Boney murdering the
sick at Jaffa; Boney with a hookah and a large turban, having adopted
the Turkish religion, &c.)--this Corsican monster, nevertheless, had
some devoted friends in England, according to the Gilray chronicle,--a
set of villains who loved atheism, tyranny, plunder, and wickedness in
general, like their French friend. In the pictures these men were all
represented as dwarfs, like their ally. The miscreants got into power
at one time, and, if we remember right, were called the Broad-backed
Administration. One with shaggy eyebrows and a bristly beard, the
hirsute ringleader of the rascals, was, it appears, called Charles
James Fox; another miscreant, with a blotched countenance, was a certain
Sheridan; other imps were hight Erskine, Norfolk (Jockey of), Moira,
Henry Petty. As in our childish, innocence we used to look at these
demons, now sprawling and tipsy in their cups; now scaling heaven, from
which the angelic Pitt hurled them down; now cursing the light (their
atrocious ringleader Fox was represented with hairy cloven feet, and a
tail and horns); now kissing Boney's boot, but inevitably discomfited by
Pitt and the other good angels: we hated these vicious wretches, as good
children should; we were on the side of Virtue and Pitt and Grandpapa.
But if our sisters wanted to look at the portfolios, the good old
grandfather used to hesitate. There were some prints among them very odd
indeed; some that girls could not understand; some that boys, indeed,
had best not see. We swiftly turn over those prohibited pages. How many
of them there were in the wild, coarse, reckless, ribald, generous book
of old English humor!

How savage the satire was--how fierce the assault--what garbage hurled
at opponents--what foul blows were hit--what language of Billingsgate
flung! Fancy a party in a country-house now looking over Woodward's
facetiae or some of the Gilray comicalities, or the slatternly
Saturnalia of Rowlandson! Whilst we live we must laugh, and have folks
to make us laugh. We cannot afford to lose Satyr with his pipe and
dances and gambols. But we have washed, combed, clothed, and taught the
rogue good manners: or rather, let us say, he has learned them himself;
for he is of nature soft and kindly, and he has put aside his mad
pranks and tipsy habits; and, frolicsome always, has become gentle and
harmless, smitten into shame by he pure presence of our women and the
sweet confiding smiles of our children. Among the veterans, the old
pictorial satirists, we have mentioned the famous name of one humorous
designer who is still alive and at work. Did we not see, by his own
hand, his own portrait of his own famous face, and whiskers, in the
Illustrated London News the other day? There was a print in that paper
of an assemblage of Teetotalers in "Sadler's Wells Theatre," and we
straightway recognized the old Roman hand--the old Roman's of the time
of Plancus--George Cruikshank's. There were the old bonnets and droll
faces and shoes, and short trousers, and figures of 1820 sure enough.
And there was George (who has taken to the water-doctrine, as all the
world knows) handing some teetotal cresses over a plank to the table
where the pledge was being administered. How often has George drawn that
picture of Cruikshank! Where haven't we seen it? How fine it was,
facing the effigy of Mr. Ainsworth in Ainsworth's Magazine when George
illustrated that periodical! How grand and severe he stands in that
design in G. C.'s "Omnibus," where he represents himself tonged like
St. Dunstan, and tweaking a wretch of a publisher by the nose! The
collectors of George's etchings--oh the charming etchings!--oh the
dear old "German Popular Tales!"--the capital "Points of Humor"--the
delightful "Phrenology" and "Scrap-books," of the good time, OUR
time--Plancus's in fact!--the collectors of the Georgian etchings, we
say, have at least a hundred pictures of the artist. Why, we remember
him in his favorite Hessian boots in "Tom and Jerry" itself; and in
woodcuts as far back as the Queen's trial. He has rather deserted satire
and comedy of late years, having turned his attention to the serious,
and warlike, and sublime. Having confessed our age and prejudices, we
prefer the comic and fanciful to the historic, romantic, and at present
didactic George. May respect, and length of days, and comfortable
repose attend the brave, honest, kindly, pure-minded artist, humorist,
moralist! It was he first who brought English pictorial humor and
children acquainted. Our young people and their fathers and mothers owe
him many a pleasant hour and harmless laugh. Is there no way in which
the country could acknowledge the long services and brave career of such
a friend and benefactor?

Since George's time humor has been converted. Comus and his wicked
satyrs and leering fauns have disappeared, and fled into the lowest
haunts; and Comus's lady (if she had a taste for humor, which may be
doubted) might take up our funny picture-books without the slightest
precautionary squeamishness. What can be purer than the charming fancies
of Richard Doyle? In all Mr. Punch's huge galleries can't we walk as
safely as through Miss Pinkerton's schoolrooms? And as we look at Mr.
Punch's pictures, at the Illustrated News pictures, at all the pictures
in the book-shop windows at this Christmas season, as oldsters, we feel
a certain pang of envy against the youngsters--they are too well off.
Why hadn't WE picture-books? Why were we flogged so? A plague on the
lictors and their rods in the time of Plancus!

And now, after this rambling preface, we are arrived at the subject in
hand--Mr. John Leech and his "Pictures of Life and Character," in
the collection of Mr. Punch. This book is better than plum-cake at
Christmas. It is an enduring plum-cake, which you may eat and which you
may slice and deliver to your friends; and to which, having cut it,
you may come again and welcome, from year's end to year's end. In the
frontispiece you see Mr. Punch examining the pictures in his gallery--a
portly, well-dressed, middle-aged, respectable gentleman, in a white
neck-cloth, and a polite evening costume--smiling in a very bland and
agreeable manner upon one of his pleasant drawings, taken out of one of
his handsome portfolios. Mr. Punch has very good reason to smile at the
work and be satisfied with the artist. Mr. Leech, his chief contributor,
and some kindred humorists, with pencil and pen have served Mr. Punch
admirably. Time was, if we remember Mr. P.'s history rightly, that he
did not wear silk stockings nor well-made clothes (the little dorsal
irregularity in his figure is almost an ornament now, so excellent a
tailor has he). He was of humble beginnings. It is said he kept a ragged
little booth, which he put up at corners of streets; associated
with beadles, policemen, his own ugly wife (whom he treated most
scandalously), and persons in a low station of life; earning a
precarious livelihood by the cracking of wild jokes, the singing of
ribald songs, and halfpence extorted from passers-by. He is the Satyric
genius we spoke of anon: he cracks his jokes still, for satire
must live; but he is combed, washed, neatly clothed, and perfectly
presentable. He goes into the very best company; he keeps a stud at
Melton; he has a moor in Scotland; he rides in the Park; has his stall
at the Opera; is constantly dining out at clubs and in private society;
and goes every night in the season to balls and parties, where you
see the most beautiful women possible. He is welcomed amongst his new
friends the great; though, like the good old English gentleman of the
song, he does not forget the small. He pats the heads of street boys and
girls; relishes the jokes of Jack the costermonger and Bob the dustman;
good-naturedly spies out Molly the cook flirting with policeman X, or
Mary the nursemaid as she listens to the fascinating guardsman. He used
rather to laugh at guardsmen, "plungers," and other military men;
and was until latter days very contemptuous in his behavior towards
Frenchmen. He has a natural antipathy to pomp, and swagger, and fierce
demeanor. But now that the guardsmen are gone to war, and the dandies
of "The Rag"--dandies no more--are battling like heroes at Balaklava and
Inkermann* by the side of their heroic allies, Mr. Punch's laughter is
changed to hearty respect and enthusiasm. It is not against courage
and honor he wars: but this great moralist--must it be owned?--has some
popular British prejudices, and these led him in peace time to laugh
at soldiers and Frenchmen. If those hulking footmen who accompanied the
carriages to the opening of Parliament the other day, would form a plush
brigade, wear only gunpowder in their hair, and strike with their great
canes on the enemy, Mr. Punch would leave off laughing at Jeames, who
meanwhile remains among us, to all outward appearance regardless of
satire, and calmly consuming his five meals per diem. Against lawyers,
beadles, bishops and clergy, and authorities, Mr. Punch is still rather
bitter. At the time of the Papal aggression he was prodigiously angry;
and one of the chief misfortunes which happened to him at that period
was that, through the violent opinions which he expressed regarding the
Roman Catholic hierarchy, he lost the invaluable services, the graceful
pencil, the harmless wit, the charming fancy of Mr. Doyle. Another
member of Mr. Punch's cabinet, the biographer of Jeames, the author
of the "Snob Papers," resigned his functions on account of Mr. Punch's
assaults upon the present Emperor of the French nation, whose anger
Jeames thought it was unpatriotic to arouse. Mr. Punch parted with these
contributors: he filled their places with others as good. The boys at
the railroad stations cried Punch just as cheerily, and sold just as
many numbers, after these events as before.

     * This was written in 1854.

There is no blinking the fact that in Mr. Punch's cabinet John Leech is
the right-hand man. Fancy a number of Punch without Leech's pictures!
What would you give for it? The learned gentlemen who write the work
must feel that, without him, it were as well left alone. Look at the
rivals whom the popularity of Punch has brought into the field; the
direct imitators of Mr. Leech's manner--the artists with a manner of
their own--how inferior their pencils are to his in humor, in depicting
the public manners, in arresting, amusing the nation. The truth, the
strength, the free vigor, the kind humor, the John Bull pluck and spirit
of that hand are approached by no competitor. With what dexterity he
draws a horse, a woman, a child! He feels them all, so to speak, like
a man. What plump young beauties those are with which Mr. Punch's chief
contributor supplies the old gentleman's pictorial harem! What famous
thews and sinews Mr. Punch's horses have, and how Briggs, on the back
of them, scampers across country! You see youth, strength, enjoyment,
manliness in those drawings, and in none more so, to our thinking, than
in the hundred pictures of children which this artist loves to design.
Like a brave, hearty, good-natured Briton, he becomes quite soft and
tender with the little creatures, pats gently their little golden heads,
and watches with unfailing pleasure their ways, their sports, their
jokes, laughter, caresses. Enfans terribles come home from Eton; young
Miss practising her first flirtation; poor little ragged Polly making
dirt-pies in the gutter, or staggering under the weight of Jacky, her
nursechild, who is as big as herself--all these little ones, patrician
and plebeian, meet with kindness from this kind heart, and are watched
with curious nicety by this amiable observer.

We remember, in one of those ancient Gilray portfolios, a print which
used to cause a sort of terror in us youthful spectators, and in
which the Prince of Wales (his Royal Highness was a Foxite then) was
represented as sitting alone in a magnificent hall after a voluptuous
meal, and using a great steel fork in the guise of a toothpick. Fancy
the first young gentleman living employing such a weapon in such a
way! The most elegant Prince of Europe engaged with a two-pronged iron
fork--the heir of Britannia with a BIDENT! The man of genius who drew
that picture saw little of the society which he satirized and amused.
Gilray watched public characters as they walked by the shop in St.
James's Street, or passed through the lobby of the House of Commons.
His studio was a garret, or little better; his place of amusement a
tavern-parlor, where his club held its nightly sittings over their pipes
and sanded floor. You could not have society represented by men to whom
it was not familiar. When Gavarni came to England a few years since--one
of the wittiest of men, one of the most brilliant and dexterous of
draughtsmen--he published a book of "Les Anglais," and his Anglais
were all Frenchmen. The eye, so keen and so long practised to observe
Parisian life, could not perceive English character. A social painter
must be of the world which he depicts, and native to the manners which
he portrays.

Now, any one who looks over Mr. Leech's portfolio must see that the
social pictures which he gives us are authentic. What comfortable little
drawing-rooms and dining-rooms, what snug libraries we enter; what fine
young-gentlemanly wags they are, those beautiful little dandies who wake
up gouty old grandpapa to ring the bell; who decline aunt's pudding and
custards, saying that they will reserve themselves for an anchovy
toast with the claret; who talk together in ball-room doors, where Fred
whispers Charley--pointing to a dear little partner seven years old--"My
dear Charley, she has very much gone off; you should have seen that girl
last season!" Look well at everything appertaining to the economy of
the famous Mr. Briggs: how snug, quiet, appropriate all the appointments
are! What a comfortable, neat, clean, middle-class house Briggs's is (in
the Bayswater suburb of London, we should guess from the sketches of the
surrounding scenery)! What a good stable he has, with a loose box for
those celebrated hunters which he rides! How pleasant, clean, and
warm his breakfast-table looks! What a trim little maid brings in
the top-boots which horrify Mrs. B! What a snug dressing-room he has,
complete in all its appointments, and in which he appears trying on the
delightful hunting-cap which Mrs. Briggs flings into the fire! How
cosy all the Briggs party seem in their dining-room: Briggs reading
a Treatise on Dog-breaking by a lamp; Mamma and Grannie with their
respective needleworks; the children clustering round a great book of
prints--a great book of prints such as this before us, which, at this
season, must make thousands of children happy by as many firesides!
The inner life of all these people is represented: Leech draws them as
naturally as Teniers depicts Dutch boors, or Morland pigs and stables.
It is your house and mine: we are looking at everybody's family circle.
Our boys coming from school give themselves such airs, the young
scapegraces! our girls, going to parties, are so tricked out by fond
mammas--a social history of London in the middle of the nineteenth
century. As such, future students--lucky they to have a book so
pleasant--will regard these pages: even the mutations of fashion they
may follow here if they be so inclined. Mr. Leech has as fine an eye for
tailory and millinery as for horse-flesh. How they change those cloaks
and bonnets. How we have to pay milliners' bills from year to year!
Where are those prodigious chatelaines of 1850 which no lady could be
without? Where those charming waistcoats, those "stunning" waistcoats,
which our young girls used to wear a few brief seasons back, and which
cause 'Gus, in the sweet little sketch of "La Mode," to ask Ellen for
her tailor's address. 'Gus is a young warrior by this time, very likely
facing the enemy at Inkerman; and pretty Ellen, and that love of a
sister of hers, are married and happy, let us hope, superintending one
of those delightful nursery scenes which our artist depicts with such
tender humor. Fortunate artist, indeed! You see he must have been bred
at a good public school; that he has ridden many a good horse in his
day; paid, no doubt, out of his own purse for the originals of some of
those lovely caps and bonnets; and watched paternally the ways, smiles,
frolics, and slumbers of his favorite little people.

As you look at the drawings, secrets come out of them,--private jokes,
as it were, imparted to you by the author for your special delectation.
How remarkably, for instance, has Mr. Leech observed the hair-dressers
of the present age! Look at "Mr. Tongs," whom that hideous old bald
woman, who ties on her bonnet at the glass, informs that "she has used
the whole bottle of Balm of California, but her hair comes off yet."
You can see the bear's-grease not only on Tongs's head but on his hands,
which he is clapping clammily together. Remark him who is telling his
client "there is cholera in the hair;" and that lucky rogue whom
the young lady bids to cut off "a long thick piece"--for somebody,
doubtless. All these men are different, and delightfully natural and
absurd. Why should hair-dressing be an absurd profession?

The amateur will remark what an excellent part hands play in Mr. Leech's
pieces: his admirable actors use them with perfect naturalness. Look at
Betty, putting the urn down; at cook, laying her hands on the kitchen
table, whilst her policeman grumbles at the cold meat. They are cook's
and housemaid's hands without mistake, and not without a certain beauty
too. The bald old lady, who is tying her bonnet at Tongs's, has hands
which you see are trembling. Watch the fingers of the two old harridans
who are talking scandal: for what long years past they have pointed out
holes in their neighbors' dresses and mud on their flounces. "Here's a
go! I've lost my diamond ring." As the dustman utters this pathetic
cry, and looks at his hand, you burst out laughing. These are among the
little points of humor. One could indicate hundreds of such as one turns
over the pleasant pages.

There is a little snob or gent, whom we all of us know, who wears little
tufts on his little chin, outrageous pins and pantaloons, smokes cigars
on tobacconists' counters, sucks his cane in the streets, struts
about with Mrs. Snob and the baby (Mrs. S. an immense woman, whom Snob
nevertheless bullies), who is a favorite abomination of Leech, and
pursued by that savage humorist into a thousand of his haunts. There he
is, choosing waistcoats at the tailor's--such waistcoats! Yonder he
is giving a shilling to the sweeper who calls him "Capting;" now he is
offering a paletot to a huge giant who is going out in the rain. They
don't know their own pictures, very likely; if they did, they would have
a meeting, and thirty or forty of them would be deputed to thrash Mr.
Leech. One feels a pity for the poor little bucks. In a minute or two,
when we close this discourse and walk the streets, we shall see a dozen

Ere we shut the desk up, just one word to point out to the
unwary specially to note the backgrounds of landscapes in Leech's
drawings--homely drawings of moor and wood, and seashore and London
street--the scenes of his little dramas. They are as excellently true
to nature as the actors themselves; our respect for the genius and humor
which invented both increases as we look and look again at the designs.
May we have more of them; more pleasant Christmas volumes, over which we
and our children can laugh together. Can we have too much of truth, and
fun, and beauty, and kindness?

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