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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 humourist. 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.
JOHN LEECH'S PICTURES OF LIFE
E, who can recall the consulship of Plancus,
and quite respectable, old-fogeyfied 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 eye-balls, 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
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
1 Reprinted from the Quarterly Review, No. 191, Dec. 1854, by permission of Mr. John Murray.
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 armour 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 waxwork 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 grey 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 woodblocks 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 boardinghouse, 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-coloured 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-humoured enemies, who tumble gaily 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 parlour: 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 cockfights, and were enlightened patrons of dogs and destroyers of rats. Besides these sports, the délassemens 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