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Chapter 2
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 reco............
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