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whereas he knew that the light actually used should not

source:Supplements and supplements networkedit:governmenttime:2023-11-29 23:17:08

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.

whereas he knew that the light actually used should not

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.

whereas he knew that the light actually used should not

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.

whereas he knew that the light actually used should not

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.

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