X hits on this document





64 / 70

then listen to the inimitable context:  "That admirable and devoted

Major above all,--who had been for hours by Lady Clavering's side

ministering to her and feeding her body with everything that was

nice, and her ear with everything that was sweet and flattering--oh!

what an object he was!  The rings round his eyes were of the colour

of bistre; those orbs themselves were like the plovers' eggs whereof

Lady Clavering and Blanche had each tasted; the wrinkles in his old

face were furrowed in deep gashes; and a silver stubble, like an

elderly morning dew, was glittering on his chin, and alongside the

dyed whiskers, now limp and out of curl."  A good deal of this--that

fine touch in italics especially--could not possibly be rendered in

black and white, and yet how much is indicated, and how thoroughly

the whole is felt!  One turns to the woodcut from the words, and

back again to the words from the woodcut with ever-increasing

gratification.  Then again, Thackeray's little initial letters are

charmingly arch and playful.  They seem to throw a shy side-light

upon the text, giving, as it were, an additional and confidential

hint of the working of the author's mind.  To those who, with the

present writer, love every tiny scratch and quirk and flourish of

the Master's hand, these small but priceless memorials are far

beyond the frigid appraising of academics and schools of art.

After Doyle and Thackeray come a couple of well-known artists--John

Leech and John Tenniel.  The latter still lives (may he long live!)

to delight and instruct us.  Of the former, whose genial and manly

"Pictures of Life and Character" are in every home where good-

humoured raillery is prized and appreciated, it is scarcely

necessary to speak.  Who does not remember the splendid languid

swells, the bright-eyed rosy girls ("with no nonsense about them!")

in pork pie hats and crinolines, the superlative "Jeames's," the

hairy "Mossoos," the music-grinding Italian desperadoes whom their

kind creator hated so?  And then the intrepidity of "Mr. Briggs,"

the Roman rule of "Paterfamilias," the vagaries of the "Rising

Generation!"  There are things in this gallery over which the

severest misanthrope must chuckle--they are simply irresistible.

Let any one take, say that smallest sketch of the hapless mortal who

has turned on the hot water in the bath and cannot turn it off

again, and see if he is able to restrain his laughter.  In this one

gift of producing instant mirth Leech is almost alone.  It would be

easy to assail his manner and his skill, but for sheer fun, for the

invention of downright humorous situation, he is unapproached,

except by Cruikshank.  He did a few illustrations to Dickens's

Christmas books; but his best-known book-illustrations properly so

called are to "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the "Comic Histories" of

A'Beckett, the "Little Tour in Ireland," and certain sporting novels

by the late Mr. Surtees.  Tenniel now confines himself almost

exclusively to the weekly cartoons with which his name is popularly

associated.  But years ago he used to invent the most daintily

fanciful initial letters; and many of his admirers prefer the serio-

grotesque designs of "Punch's Pocket-Book," "Alice in Wonderland,"

and "Through the Looking-Glass," to the always correctly-drawn but

sometimes stiffly-conceived cartoons.  What, for example, could be

more delightful than the picture, in "Alice in Wonderland," of the

Document info
Document views240
Page views240
Page last viewedSat Jan 21 13:42:53 UTC 2017