« ПретходнаНастави »
"... and then the news of your a little she said bravely and simplymarriage ..."
"Just-just--that I wanted you, "My marriage!—but, dear man, Eldred-dearest." I'm not married.”
Before she had finished, the man's Ward stood still, seeming half arms were round her as he gazed down stunned.
into her face, scanning her half-closed "Not married!—but I heard that frightened eyes which looked up to you had married a fellow called his, and her warm, parted, tremulous Allason."
lips. Then with the soft sweetness of The look of wonderment on Nan's the Indian night running like a strange face gave way to one of dawning fiery wine in their veins, their lips met. understanding.
"Captain Allason married my cousin, "Nan, Nan," called a woman's Helen Raynor, whom you've not met. voice from the minaret above. “You So you heard that, and thought it was must come up and see the view. It me” She stopped, breathing a looks like a dream city in the moonlittle quickly. “And then I waited— light. Harry will help you up if your and waited-for an answer to my letter ankle is too bad.”
-and you never answered, and life “Oh, dear,” said Nan, releasing herwas so lonely at home that I came out self, "you've made my hair all untidy.” here to stop with Helen. I thought- “All right, Helen, I'm coming up, that-I'd written a silly letter--and but Harry needn't come down. I've --you didn't care any more.”
got someone to help me up." "Nan," —Ward took a pace for- Then as she stood up, arranging her ward. "Nan, what is in this letter?” hair, she said softly: "It is a city of
She let go of the bench, and every dreams, isn't it, Heart's Delight-our trace of pride vanished, as swaying city, the city where dreams come true.” Blackwood's Magazine.
If the measure of an artist is the simple. He was born in London on accuracy with which the life of his August 29, 1817, the son of John times is reflected in his work, and the Leech, proprietor of the once very width of his range, then John Leech, prosperous London Coffee House on the centenary of whose birth has just Ludgate-hill, who was himself said to been celebrated (August 29, 1817), be something of a draughtsman and a is the greatest artist that this country Shakespeare enthusiast. The child has produced. But since such a took early to the pencil; and it is claim as that would submerge us in recorded that Flaxman, a friend of the controversial waters let it rather be family, found him at a tender age, on said that Leech is the most repre- his mother's knee, drawing well enough sentative artist that England has to be encouraged. The great sculptor's produced. The circumstances that advice was that the boy, whom he he worked in black and white and was thought to be clearly destined for an chiefly concerned with the humorous artist, should be permitted to follow aspect of men and manners do not his own bent. Three years later affect the position.
Flaxman seems to have repeated this The outlines of Leech's life are very counsel. · At seven, Leech was sent to
school at Charterhouse. then in its old London quarters; and the story is told that Mrs. Leech, who probably thought seven far too young, took a room which overlooked the playground in order secretly to watch her little son, thus displaying a sympathetic solicitude which that son inherited and carried through life. At Charter house Leech remained until he was sixteen, among his schoolfellows being Thackeray; but as Thackeray was six years his senior it is unlikely that they saw much of each other as boys, although they were always glad in after life, when they became very intimate colleagues on Punch, to recall their schooldays and extol their school.
On leaving, Leech went to Bart's to learn to be a surgeon, and there by curious and fortunate chance fell in with a congenial fellow student named Percival Leigh, whose interest in comic journalism was to play a very important part in Leech's career. Leigh had two friends who shared his literary tastes and ambitions-Albert Smith, a medical student at the Middlesex Hospital, and Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, a young barrister, these forming a humorous band of brothers to which Leech made a very welcome addition. Leigh was seriously concerned also with medicine, but there is no evidence that Leech burned any midnight oil in its pursuit, although he made some excellent anatomical drawings. The popularity of the London Coffee House on Ludgatehill meanwhile declining, a less expensive instructor than. St. Bartholomew became necessary; and Leech was placed with the ingenious Mr. Whittle of Hoxton, who, under the guise of a healer, devoted most of his attention to pigeons and boxing. Mr. Whittle of Hoxton (who is to be found in Albert Smith's novel, “The Adventures of Mr. Ledbury," which Leech illustrated, as Rawkins) may
not appreciably have extended his pupils knowledge of therapeutics, but he is our benefactor in quickening his interest in sport. Leech's next mentor was Dr. John Cockle, son of the Cockle of the pills; and then, the paternal purse being really empty, he, at the age of eighteen, flung physic to the dogs and trusted for a living to his pencil, which, since because Charterhouse had the most indifferent of drawing masters, was still untrained.
In those days there were many ephemeral satirical sheets, in addition to the magazines, of which Bentley's Miscellany was one of the chief, to offer employment to the comic draughtsman, and Leech did not starve; his two experiences at this period of the inside of a sponging house being due to his good nature rather than to financial foolishness of his own. His first publication was a slender collection of street types entitled "Etchings and Sketchings," by A Pen, 1835. He tried also political caricatures and drew bruisers for Bell's Life in London. In 1836 he was among those draughtsmen (Thackeray was another) who competed without success for Seymour's post as illustrator of a series of humorous papers describing the proceedings of the Pickwick Club. In 1837 he illustrated Theodore Hook's “Jack Brag." In 1840 appeared his parody of the Mulready envelope, which was very popular and a real foundation stone for the young artist, and Percival Leigh's “Comic Latin Grammar" and "Comic English Grammar," the illustrations to which fortified the impression which the Mulready skit had made and established the fact that a new pictorial humorist of resource and vigor had made his appearance.
In 1841 Punch was founded, with Mark Lemon as its editor and Leigh on its staff; and for Leech to join up was merely a matter of time. His
first efforts were tentative, and, indeed, his earliest drawing, a sketch of Soho aliens called “Foreign Affairs,” arrived so late that it delayed the number and led to financial loss; but by 1844, when Thackeray was also a power on the staff, he had become the paper's strong man, and its strong man he remained until his death twenty years after. Punch had a great per
sonnel, courage, and sound ideas, but .
without Leech's sunny humanity week after week it is unlikely to have won - its way to such complete popularity and trust. It was he, more than any other contributor, who led it to the heart of the nation. Leech's cartoons were for the most part suggested to him, the outcome of discussion at the round table, (which is not round); but to a very large extent—a larger extent probably than with any of his colleagues or successors: Keene, Du Maurier, or Phil May—the social drawings, by which he is now best known and by which he will live, were the fruits of his own observation, visual and aural. That is to say, he provided words as well as drawings. He also followed the line of least resistance. It was enough for him to think an incident funny, to set it down, and by the time it had passed through that filter—a blend of humane understanding and humane fun—which he kept in his brain it was assured of a welcome by Punch's readers too. Today the paper is a little more exacting, a little more complex: a consequence possibly, in some measure, of the fertility and universality of its earlier giant, who anticipated so many later jokes. Today, as it happens, there is more of the Leech spirit in the American Life, where absurdity for its own sake is to a greater extent cultivated. But for twenty years that spirit permeated and dominated Punch. Leech had a
great chance and he rose to it. Never Living AGE, Vol. VIII, No. 376.
before had things been made so easy for a satirical artist with alert eyes. Hogarth had had to plan and struggle to get his engravings before the public; Gillray and Rowlandson had only the print-sellers as a medium; but Leech had an editor who appreciated him and gave him his head, and employers who paid handsomely, while his work appeared in a paper which increased its circulation with every number. That is to say, he knew that he had an audience: no small incentive. Opportunity without the man is nothing; but here were both. Leech took it; and the result is the completest survey of the life of his times that any artist has ever made or is likely to make: as Thackeray said of the “Pictures of Life and Character,” a social history of London in the middle of the nineteenth century,” adding “lucky they (its future students) to have a book so pleasant!” Today this inexhaustible work in three immense volumes is out of print, but there never was a book that better deserved continuous accessibility. The Oxford University Press, which has become the foster-father of the best works of reference, should take it over; it would be national service of the best kind, and national service is in need of illustrious examples. The three volumes are Leech's monument, and he has no other. One learns from it, while laughing the honestest of laughter, how sympathetic were the hands that held this mirror to his fellow-creatures' foibles, one learns, too, how inveterate a plagiarist from herself is Dame Fashion. The number of drawings which need only the slightest modernizing change to be telling today is extraordinary. Leech missed nothing; and the world is always boxing the compass. The criticism has too often been made that Leech could not draw. Placed beside Keene or Phil May he is,
it is true, wanting in inevitableness; his line is merely efficient, never splendid; yet sometimes he could draw amazingly and get the very breath of life into a figure. In particular was he a master of gesture, and now and then his landscapes are a revelation. But the resplendent fact is that he could draw well enough; he did, as Thackeray said, what he wished to do: that is proved by his triumph. A man who cannot draw does not get all his fellow-countrymen following his pencil in a rapture (as though it were the Pied Piper's whistle) as Leech did for twenty years. Du Maurier, who admired him immensely, hit on a happy comparison when he said that Leech was "a ballad-writer among draughtsmen," or in other words, he had the simplicity, the lucidity, the movement and the story. It has to be remembered, too, that Leech did single-handed whatever since his day it has needed a syndicate to accomplish. He, himself and alone, was cartoonist, social draughtsman, low-life draughtsman and the provider of hunting scenes. If the Volunteers were to be chaffed, Leech's was the hand; if the priceless Mr. Briggs was to be invented and kept busy, Leech was his impresario. And it was he also who drew the prettiest girls in what Thackeray called Mr. Punch's harem.
All his life, after finding himself, Leech worked too hard, being in some mysterious way always in debt or about to be. Punch alone paid him over £40,000 in a little more than twenty years, and he received much besides; but necessity dogged him to the end, and he seems somewhat to have lacked method. At any rate, he was uniformly behind time; and Mark Lemon used humorously to bemoan a life half misspent in cabs between the Punch office and Leech's various residences collecting his be
lated work. Leech, however, when once he had made up his mind, drew very rapidly-always, of course, in those days before photography had come in, on the wood. An idea of his industry and vitality may be gathered from the books which he illustrated, each and all with the utmost care. Here are some of them: “The Ingoldsby Legends," "The Marchioness of Brinvilliers" (with etchings much in the manner of Cruikshank, who, as a matter of fact, gave him a few lessons in copperplate), Hood's "Comic Ani- • mals," Dickens's "Christmas Stories,” 1843-48, Jerrold's "Story of a Feather," “The Comic History of England," “The Comic History of Rome," "Bon Gaultier," and (which some people would call his masterpiece), the sporting novels of Surtees, 1853-65.
In private life—but all his life was private-Leech was not less simple than that other great Carthusian, Colonel Newcome. He loved his family, rode his horse Red Mullet whenever there was a free moment, and as often as possible got a day's hunting with the Puckeridge hounds, not only for enjoyment, but in order that that very important section of his work, his hunting scenes, might not languish.
He was fond of dinner parties, both as host and guest, and after them preferred conversation to cards. He sang lugubrious songs in a deep, melancholy voice, with his eyes fixed upwards—the favorite being Barry Cornwall's “King Death,” the words of which, Dickens averred, were inscribed on the ceiling in mystic characters discernible only by the singer. He told stories well, but the record of good things said by him is meagre, and his letters are singularly free from humorous passages. Once, however, when a liberty had been taken with him by a public man, he threatened "to draw and defend himself":
and there is a pleasant story of his retort to some rowdy inebriated men in Kensington who excused themselves by saying that they were Foresters: “Then, why the devil don't you go to the forest and make a din there?” Noise was, indeed, his bane. He had double windows in his house, but was always in danger of headaches and shattered nerves from street sounds and, in particular, barrel organs. It is even said that street music led to his early death; but probably that was so only indirectly. He died of overwork. Others of his antipathies were Jews, Irishmen, and Frenchmen; but these were more properly imperfect sympathies, cultivated humorously for business purposes. He was a foe, also, and partly no doubt for a similar reason, to excessive hair on the face; and once went so far as to cross hunting crops with two other artists, Tenniel and Pritchett, and join in an oath never to allow hair to grow either on lip or chin. Two of the three, however, defected. Pritchett returned from a sketching tour in Scotland all unshaven, while Tenniel's long mustache became famous, and in his old age he wore a beard as well. Leech to the end had only a fringe of whiskers of modest dimensions. Although Leech nursed or affected to nurse certain intolerances, it is pretty certain that there were no reprisals. Unlike other satirists, he cannot have had an enemy, so kindly were his shafts. For a brief period Mulready nursed a grievance; but it was founded not upon the burlesque of his “envelope,” but upon an imagined criticism in the signature—the usual leech wriggling in the bottle. This the painter, who was not a reader of Punch and who seems to have been dangerously ready to fit on caps, conceived to be a subtle suggestion that his commercial methods were those of a blood sucker. But
all was eventually put right at a dinner at Egg's. Leech's friends were devoted to him, as he to them. Thackeray came first, and indeed once he said that he loved him more than any man, although on another occasion it was FitzGerald and Brookfield whom he named as chief. Dickens and Leech were close friends as well as collaborators; and on one occasion when they were staying together by the sea Dickens had to act both as Leech's doctor and nurse, and performed the tasks with great success. It is to another friend, Dean Hole, with whom Leech took the “Little Tour in Ireland” in 1858, that we must go for the best description of Leech's appearance—“A slim, elegant figure, over six feet in height, with a grand head, ‘on which nature had written Gentleman,’ with wonderful genius in his ample forehead; wonderful penetration, observation, humor in his blue-gray Irish eyes, and wonderful sweetness and sympathy and mirth about his lips, which seemed to speak in silence.” Millais, who coached Leech in oil painting for his exhibition of enlarged scenes from the career of Mr. Briggs, also was his close friend; and another remarkable man, whom Millais painted, and whose name seems a little strange here, Trelawny, who wrote “The Adventures of a Younger Son,” claimed to have loved Leech next only to Shelley. “Very few of us painters,” said Millais before a committee to inquire into the workings of the Royal Academy, “will leave behind us such good and valuable work as Leech has left—work which is in great part historical,” the point being that, in the opinion of Millais, the Royal Academy's doors should be thrown open also to artists in black and white. Another painter friend was W. P. Frith, who became Leech's biographer; but the Life is rather a collection of notes for a book than a